I'll try and keep this short and to-the-point. Our cruise aboard the Jade was quite enjoyable, considering our intent, which was to treat the ship as a floating Hyatt or Hilton, that just happened to dock at interesting places. The Freestyle concept works well in this instance, as does the general casual nature of the cruise line itself. If you're looking for a luxury cruise, Jade isn't for you, i'd suspect, although perhaps the suite experience changes the dynamic (which begs the question, why go to Europe in the first place if your entire time is spent in the cabin?)
We booked an inside cabin, which was quite large at around 150 square feet. We never felt cramped, and never had a moment wishing for a window. The space is remarkably well organized, and the bathroom is flat-out cavernous for a cruise ship. Considering how close you are to decks that overlook the sea, it's foolish to spend on a balcony, especially if the purpose of the cruise is not "rest and relaxation" but More
"discovery and exploration."
We bought their $50 soda program. I highly advise on doing so, in that you'll easily drink its worth in 3 days.
We ate at both main dining rooms, the buffet, the poolside BBQs (when held,) and at the three Asian pay restaurants. The food was great at all of them, with a notable exception being the breakfast buffet's eggs (truly gross.) Teppanyaki was awesome. I highly recommend a visit.
We didn't really enjoy the entertainment revues on the ship, however. As expected, none of these kids are going to Broadway anytime soon. What WAS unusual involved a meager interaction from the singers and dancers with the rest of the boat. We might be more invested in the shows if you put in a little effort to be more invested in us (like the rest of the staff was, or pretended to be.) It was really remarkable: they gave, at most, 15 minutes to a dance party or karaoke event and then split. As a former performer myself, that's bonkers. They have the easiest jobs on board, by far, and their interaction is the difference between a good vacation or a great one for many. If just one of them went into the crowd and invited a wallflower to dance...that more drinks sold and more ROI, no?
Florence was quite amazing, but perhaps we had been oversold it. As such, we were underwhelmed. The "meat" of Florence was good, the architecture, statues and the rest really do amaze. The rest of Florence was a mixture of a revived downtown shopping street paired to cheap tourist crap. Do you really need to go all the way to Italy for a Bed, Bath & Beyond? And how many big-nosed puppets can one sell? This was the first of our excursions, and considering Italian traffic, it was wise to book through NCL. Many tours were late.
Monaco was the unexpected highlight of the trip. I was anticipating this being a "down time" port, with little to do and see. Wrong. Monaco is amazing. From the palace to the gardens to the shops and the casino, well worth it. Very small place, so no need to spend $$$ on the buses. I'd move there in a second.
Palma is Spain's answer to Panama City Beach. What. A. Hole. If you've been to a "get drunk and fornicate" style resort town before, you've been to Palma. Adding a cathedral doesn't erase that fact. Lose this port and add a day to Rome, NCL.
Rome, in and of itself, is amazing. The rating is based on the sites there: ruins, churches...stunning. However, Rome, in and of itself, is also horrid. Too many people, too many cars, too many tourists, too much traffic. Note to Italy: call Disney to better manage your treasures.