My husband and I are experienced cruisers. This is our 3rd cruise with NCL. We found the Jade to be the nicest of the NCL ships we have cruised. We arrived the day before embarkation and stayed at Le Meridien. We love Barcelona, so spent our time just walking the Gothic Quarter. The morning of the cruise was rainy, but by noon the sun was out and we had a beautiful day!
Embarkation was pretty easy, once we found the VIP check in line. We were escorted to our cabin by our butler, Caesar.
We were very happy with our cabin size. The closet was good sized, too, and accessible from both sides. The bath had a door separating the toilet area from the sink and bathtub, which was nice. A dressing area was located between the closet and bathroom, and had good storage surrounding it, plus a lighted magnifying mirror. Storage for the whole cabin was good, as was the lighting. Our balcony was nice sized, and had a lounger, small table and one other chair. We were on the aft, port corner, deck 9. Caesar emptied our fridge for us, so we could fill it with our own soft drinks. He also saw to it that we had ice in the ice bucket almost all of the time. We also had an arrangement of fresh flowers in our cabin, which lasted a full week!
Our luggage arrived so promptly that we got busy unpacking and missed lunchtime in Cagney's that day. So we went to the Garden Cafe and had a good lunch. That night we dined in the Grand Pacific dining room. We enjoyed all of our dinners onboard the Jade. We alternated between the GP and the Alizar most nights. We actually preferred the Alizar (the menus are the same) just because it felt a little more intimate to us. Portion sizes were fine with us. By the time we got to dessert we were glad that the portions weren't any larger!
Our first day at sea we met with our Cruise Critic group in Le Bistro. We had a great time putting faces with names! We had planned some shore excursions with some of our CC friends, so we set up another meeting to organize those. The Captain and other officers plus Karen, our cruise director, met with us that first day and welcomed us all aboard. At lunch that day there was a Beerfest at the Great Outdoors cafe, so we found a table there, and lunched with some of our CC friends.
Our second sea day we passed by Stromboli Island around 8:15am. It's one of the 3 active volcanoes in Italy. It was a beautiful scene, from our aft balcony! There was even a rainbow, to add to the beauty. It was chilly that day, but not raining. That morning we met with other Cruise Critics that we were going to tour Istanbul with, to firm up those plans. In the afternoon we took part in a wine tasting ($15 pp) in Le Bistro. Fun time, and met some more fun friends! That evening there was a Captain's cocktail party for suite guests. Met some new friends from Australia there. After dinner we went to the Los Locos show in the theater. From the description in the daily newsletter I was tempted to skip the show, but we were glad we didn't! These 3 guys were so wild and crazy!
As we arrived into Istanbul we were out on our balcony and had so much fun watching the dolphins following the ship!! There were dozens of them! It was so unexpected! We loved it.
We left Istanbul on Monday morning, and our weather improved more and more, the further we sailed south. The show that night was a magic show. I say it was more show than magic. We were not impressed with this night's entertainment. But I will say it was the only night we were disappointed. The next day was a sea day, so we just took it easy. It was also our 2nd Dress Up or Not night. We did. The show that night was Flash & Fever. It was an old fashioned variety show, bringing back memories of some Ed Sullivan acts. Really enjoyable!
Our last day at sea the Jade had some electrical problems. Midship had the power out from 3 to 4 in the afternoon. Because of the inconvenience the Captain ordered complimentary wine for all at dinner that night, which was a very nice touch! Spent most of the afternoon packing, to have our baggage ready to set out by 10pm that night.
Disembarkation was a breeze. We met our concierge, Florentina, at Jasmine Garden at 7am and she led us off the ship, we picked up our luggage, we hopped in a cab and were at the airport by 7:30!