Our flight didn't arrive until 2:00 p.m. so by the time we arrived at the dock most of the crowd had thinned out. We sailed through this very quickly and painlessly.
To my husband and I this was a trip of a lifetime. Not only were we finally going to see part of Italy, the pyramids and much more, we were going to be cruising again. For us, one of the most exciting things about boarding a ship is when you first walk into the atrium and see the openness and grandeur of the atrium. There is something magical about it unless you are on the Jade. There is nothing grand about the ship especially the atrium area. What a disappointment. The whole theme of the ship is wrong. Originally it sailed in Hawaii so the theme was bright colors, flowers, etc. Not the theme I would expect for Europe. To me it appeared old and tired even though the ship is not that old.
A. The Cabin - We had a category BA Balcony stateroom. If we hadn't had the mobility scooter it would have been a perfect size. Do not make the same mistake we did - make sure you have a cabin equipped to handle a scooter. The bathroom was a decent size with a roomy shower area. We had a lot of storage (drawers, shelves, closet and even under the beds). The balcony was perfect. We could not imagine being onboard for that long without it (21 days). The only issue we had with the cabin and the hallway for that matter was the smell of rotten eggs always being present. When you first turned the corner from the forward elevators into the hallway you were hit with a horrible smell of rotten eggs.
B.. The Casino - Upon entering the casino you were hit with a musty "old" oder which would disappear once you were there for a while. It was very dark and dingy. On the few occasions I was there during the late night/early morning hours I did not see a staff member.
C. Laundry Facilities - From what I have heard, the laundry room was removed to make the casino bigger. When you are on a cruise longer than 10 days I feel laundry facilities are essential. How many people want to spend $1.95 for one pair of under garments. They did have the "all you can fit in the bag" deal for $25.00 which was nice but it took almost two days to get your clothes back. We hung a clothesline out on the balcony for socks, under garments and an occasional shirt. I tried to make sure they were gone while we were in port.
D. Dining - We loved the Freestyle Cruising aspect of NCL. It doesn't make sense that when on vacation you always have to dress for dinner. For this reason we usually ate dinner in the Alizar dining room (my husband could wear his shorts) or the Cafe buffet on ``deck 10. The dining room itself was very dark and somewhat drab. Not much glitz there. I don't remember having a bad meal there. I am a picky eater so there wasn't a lot of choices for me but my husband truly enjoyed all the different fish dishes, escargot and any other weird thing he could find on the menu. The staff in this dining room were all great. The buffet usually had a good variety of foods. There is not enough seating and at times the noise can be deafening. After we to be dished up by kitchen staffwho were very unfriendly and rude a lot of the time. Didn't make for a good dining experience. We also found the hours of operation a little confusing. Never knew when they would close down to start preparing for lunch and/or dinner. We also ate in the Blue Lagoon (for breakfast and lunch). The only trouble with this place was the menu never changed. It was supposed to be open 24 hours a day but we found that it closed from 4-6 a.m. to start preparing for room service. So for early risers like us we had no place to go (other than room service which also has a menu that never changes) to get a cup of coffee and a danish until 6 a.m.
The cruise director was great. He had a wonderful personality and really seemed to enjoy his job. The entertainment was marvelous. We have no complaints about any of the shows we saw. We are early to bed early risers so we did not partake in any of the evenings activities. We also did not visit any of the many bars throughout the ship. We did play bingo several times but found the cost to high and the bingo callers were somewhat annoying. We did not attend any of the art auctions. We did utilize the Internet Cafe and found the person in charge to be quite helpful.
We thought that the photo's taken on the ship were very expensive. It was very difficult to find your picture in the photo gallery because they were spread out every where and the headings were not very explicit.
Overall the services we received from staff was O.K. We had two room stewards, a young man and a young lady. Neither of them were as conscientious as they could have been. The only item we asked for repeatedly was ice and for some reason they just couldn't understand that we wanted ice everyday, all day. They were both very friendly but just didn't seem to want to go that extra mile to make us happy.
As stated above the Cafe staff were very unfriendly and rude with the exception of a few. The young ladies at the door were always pleasant and cheerful making everyone feel special. The young man who usually made the fried eggs was exceptionally nice. All of the young ladies we had as servers in the Blue Lagoon were very sweet and did a good job. All of the servers in the dining room were excellent as were the greeters.
Most of the staff in the customer service area were rude and acted like they were doing you a favor if they helped you. The shore excursion personnel were the exception - they made sure you left their counter happy. We had luggage that was lost for 3 days and had it not been for me calling the airlines to see if it had been found and being told it was delivered to the ship I might never had known. No one from the customer service desk called, left a message on the phone, left a message on the door or just brought it up to the room to let us know it had arrived. I had to call down and was told "yes it's here, come and get it". Not my idea of good customer relations.
I hope this doesn't sound like we didn't have a good time. We had a wonderful time. Saw a lot of places we wanted to see, met a lot of nice people and just relaxed and had fun. I think we will cruise on NCL again but probably not the Jade.