The last NCL cruise we took was on the Epic in September 2010. The Jade by comparison, though not as GRAND as the EPIC was far more comfortable. Though the cabin decor is not as nice as on the EPIC, the cabin seemed more spacious and easier to maneuver around in. I guess when push comes to shove, comfort is more important than aesthetics. The beds could be more comfortable, though.
The food was a vast improvement over our previous NCL experience. I don't know if that should be attributed to the executive chef on board the Jade or if the improvement is NCL-wide. Although we did dine in two of the specialty restaurants, we could easily have been happy in the regular dining room. The menus and the food were excellent! We were part of a large group and most nights had standing reservations in the same part of the dining room. The staff that served us were excellent. Most memorable was Monika from Romania. She served us with such poise, grace and efficiency. Her customer service went a long way to making the 2 weeks very special.
In other parts of the ship, service was not too hot, though. Some of the wait staff in the Blue Lagoon left a lot to be desired. They seemed more interested in socializing with one another than doing their jobs. Housekeeping was OK. I don't know if our steward came on board midway thru the cruise but, Victor was an absolute joy! We enjoyed his cheery greetings when we passed him in the hallway and on land.
The entertainment was varied and excellent. This is one of the reasons we return to NCL.
The shore excursions were good but pricey. It would be easy to spend as much on shore excursions as it is on the cruise itself. A few times, we ventured out on our own which was OK too. Sadly, I waited too long to try to take advantage of some of the great recommendations made on Cruise Critic. If I had planned earlier, we could have saved a bundle.