After 5 years of bugging my wife to go on a cruise I finally convinced her and we sailed on the NCL Jade this July. We sailed from Venice and stopped at Dubrovnik, Athens, and Katakalon. At first I was a little hesitant to sail on the Jade because of some really bad reviews on cruise critic website but overall our trip turned out to be very good. I'll comment on the following but just keep in mind that my wife and I were first time cruisers so these opinions are not colored by past experience on other lines.
1. Food - fair to good. If you want a gourmet meal every night then this is not he cruise for you. The food was good for the most part but nothing special. We did not eat at the specialty restaurants so can't comment but the standard fare was good enough for us. Portions are indeed small as someone else mentioned but probably a good thing otherwise I would have gained a whole lot of weight.
2. Cabin - we had a balcony and the room was small but definitely enough space for two people. The bed was comfortable but could use a new mattress.
3. Service - all the crew were very friendly. Some cruise critic members noted that some of the crew were not all smiles, but come on, who is happy all the time? If you were stuck on a boat away from your family for 9 months receiving minimum wage would you be smiling all the time? For me, the service was more than adequate.
4. Boat - in very good shape, but decor needs updating. Still has Hawaiian theme.
5. Excursions - we can't comment on boats sponsored since we did all the excursions on our own. We were able to do everything for a fraction of the cost of the boat sponsored excursions. If you are sailing to Europe, I would definitely recommend the Rick Steves Cruising book, it was very helpful.
6. Entertainment - The shows were very good, but I was a bit put off by the other activities, such as bingo and "educational seminars". It always seemed like a thinly veiled attempt to separate you from your money.
7. Gym - ok, could be a little bigger as sometime I had to wait to get a machine or use the weights.
Overall, the wife and I had a great cruise and would recommend.