In hindsight it was not the best plan to vacation in Barcelona and cruise from Barcelona in August, however, we have taken previous cruises in August on Princess with no problem including one in the Mediterranean. Barcelona is a very interesting city, and I am sure easier to navigate in spring or fall. We spent 5 nights at the Meridian Hotel near Plaza Catalunya. It was just "ok" and not as deluxe as you might expect a Meridian Hotel to be. Our room was very small and overlooked the 1894 Hotel next door. However, it was fairly quiet and had a nice bathroom. The hotel dining room was very expensive and most better restaurants were a long walk or cab ride. The crowds of people on Ramblas were overwhelming, and it was difficult to get up and down the street after 10:00 a.m. We did manage to get around to the major attractions mostly by taxi as cabs are always available, and you can go most places for $10 or less. Expect to do a lot of waiting in line for major tourist attractions and restaurants-at least in August.
We took a cab to the port about 11:30 on the day of the cruise and hundreds of people were already there even though departure was scheduled for 5:00 p.m. Signing in was disorderly and we waited in line for about half an hour for our turn at the counter. We boarded the ship, found our cabin and spent some time looking around as this was our first and we discovered later ourf last on NCL.
The Jade has numerous extra charge dining rooms that take up a lot of space on the ship. On this sailing the ship was full and it was very difficult to find a table in the buffet which is too small for the size of the ship. The ship seems poorly organized and difficult to navigate compared to the 3 Princess ships we've cruised on.
This particular cruise was at least half maybe two thirds Spanish people. Jade must have given them a big discount for children as there was a very large number of children running wild around the ship, pounding up and down the halls at all hours. I don't know why, but they didn't seem to be participating in ship programs for children. There was always translation of announcements and programs in 3 or 4 languages which is time consuming and annoying when it happens all day every day. We also discovered that Spanish people are not used to waiting in line. Pushing and shoving your way to the front seems to be the custom.
The third day out I discovered to my horror the BEDBUG BITES! It can only be bedbugs when the bites are in certain places that are always covered during the day, and my itchy welts were exactly as described on the internet. On arrival home we emptied our bags in the garage so as not to take a chance on bringing the bugs in our house. I had read that some good hotels are having bedbug problems, but I didn't expect to encounter them on the cruise. Also, the Jade has no self-service laundries. I guess there isn't enough money in that activity.
NCL prides itself on advertising "freedom and free style" Near as I can tell that means freedom to cater to a class of people who are rude and poorly dressed. Overall the food, entertainment and ambience were very mediocre. Never again for us on NCL!