Norwegian Jade Cruise Review by Newfoundland Traveller: Lovely week on Norwegian Jade...a few buts...
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Lovely week on Norwegian Jade...a few buts...
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
We thoroughly enjoyed our balcony stateroom - there is nothing like being able to wake up and enjoy spectacular views while still in your pajamas...or taking in that fresh breath of ocean air right before you drop off to sleep at night! The stateroom was lovely, although the bathroom was much tinier than others we've had in past. Everything you need is there and lovely, but a bit cramped in the toilet and shower stalls. The other big issue we had was with the bedding! The bottom sheet was not fitted, so we continually were waking up finding ourselves on the bare mattress and having to remake the bed (sometimes several times a night!) This sounds minor, but was really disruptive to our sleep over the course of a week. Also, we did get cigarette smoke from the cabin next door through the vent in the closet and from the balcony, which was horrible. We tried to cover up the vent which helped somewhat.
Overall, we loved the balcony cabin and were quite comfortable there for the More week.
This ship is lovely and seems kept in pristine shape. The staff are lovely and helpful and the entertainment was very high quality. We loved the flexible style.
Our biggest disappointment on the Jade was with the food. Wow. We are food lovers, though not food snobs by any measure. The two main dining rooms were gorgeous and we loved being able to sit at our own table for two by the window almost every time (we are early-ish diners, around 6:30pm). The food was well presented but OH MY what a shame that it just didn't seem to be freshly prepared. Our food came extremely quickly and tasted like it had been pulled from a row of waiting plates. Even salads didn't seem to be freshly tossed before coming to the table - the lettuce was wilted and soaked in dressing like it had been sitting there for a while waiting to be ordered. We ordered steaks a couple of times (I guess we just couldn't accept it!) and they were really not flavourful or tender. That's just one example. We did have a few dishes that were quite nice, but overall the food in the dining rooms was nowhere near the quality it should be, or near the quality we've had on other cruise lines. Very disappointing. There were some paid dining options, but given this experience in the formal dining rooms we were reluctant to try them.
The buffet offered a large selection of food and much of it was very, very good flavour and quality for a buffet. But the big drawback of the buffet is that it is not well set up - it is noisy and over-crowded and you have to walk around with your plate searching for an emptying table so you can sit and eat. Again, this is such a shame, as it makes it really more like a noisy school cafeteria than a comfortable place where you can enjoy a meal.
I REALLY hope Norwegian can fix up this food situation for its guests! It really is a shame, given that overall, the rest of the cruise was most enjoyable.
But sadly, for this reason, likely next time we will try another option. But this is mainly because we are such food lovers and really like to enjoy our meals.
I really should stress that other elements of the cruise were great - embarkation and disembarkation were perfectly smooth and flawless, for example.
p.s. - The ports were wonderful - Venice, Corfu, Santorini, Myknos and Izmir. We did each port on our own and really enjoyed the sights and views of each to the fullest! It was nice to avoid the crowds getting off and on at each port, and go at our own, relaxed pace. I would do it this way again for SURE. It was always easy and cheap to find either a free shuttle or a taxi to get where we wanted to go. Less
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Cabin review: BA Mid-Ship Balcony
Our mid-ship balcony was quite lovely. Overall we were quite comfortable there for the week. A good amount of storage. It was relatively quiet. Unfortunately, we did seem to be getting cigarette smoke from the room next door through the vent in our closet and of course, from the balcony. Yuk. Would love to have a non-smoking area of the ship next time.Bathroom was a bit cramped in the toilet and shower stalls, but very well appointed.Read All Mid-Ship Balcony (BA) Reviews >>
Port and Shore Excursions
They dropped us at the taxi stand and we loved wondering around Corfu town...make sure you go up toward the water and walk along the sidewalks along the cliffs. The views are just spectacular and lots of places to stop for a cold drink and just gaze at the view.
Had a lovely, lovely Greek lunch in town, shopped a bit and then hopped in a taxi back to the ship (10 euros).
We find it much more pleasant to see the ports on our own. The organized excursions are ok once in a while, but the freedom to do your own thing is nice too!
We easily caught a taxi from the port and asked them to take us to Kemeralti Bazaar, which was 10 euros, as it's not far from the port. (we asked them upfront how much it would be and this was the consistent answer) It cost the same to come back as well.
I LOVE bazaars like this...so many interesting shops and stalls to look at. And some great little food areas with yummy donair meat and other delish turkish treats. Cute little turkish coffee nooks everywhere. We spent a couple of hours poking around here, got a great deal on some beautiful silk scarfs to take home for souvenirs.
YES! some of the vendors, especially the leather and carpet ones, can be a bit aggressive trying to get you in to their shops. You just have to be firm and look straight ahead and say no thank you. If you waiver, they will keep you and keep you and beg - it's unpleasant. But we managed to be firm and got through just fine - some vendors don't bother you at all.
From the bazaar we made our way back out to a main street and then the waterfront (we wandered a bit but did find it in fairly short order)..we just began to walk in the direction of the port and came to a huge area of restaurants with outdoor seating all along the waterfront. We sat and had a fabulous turkish meal. Really amazing - we ordered 3 or 4 different dishes and I think in all it came to only about $40 Canadian. The place we chose was called Deniz, service was awesome, menu was electronic with pics and in english and we very, very much enjoyed it.
From there, we quickly found a taxi and cabbed it back to the ship (10 earos). We really enjoyed this day.
There is a free shuttle from the port over to the town, so this is an easy little one to do on your own.
We were there in July and I have to say, it was a bit too hot and crowded to full enjoy! I want to go back again sometime in the off season. But we did still enjoy it, for sure. We wandered away from the crowds and found a lovely little restaurant called the Oasis, in a beautiful little flowered and shaded garden. It really was an oasis and we had a fantastic Greek lunch.
Other than that, we just wandered around, enjoyed the gorgeousness, took pics and did a little tiny bit of shopping. I'm not a big shopper, but the shops were just so unique and cute, it was interesting to wander along and look at them.
We headed back to the bus area and got back to the ship early, and enjoyed the quiet ship for a couple hours before all returned. A great day!
These are GORGEOUS places, spectacular actually, and well worth seeing, but...
The line ups down below are horrid, especially if the weather is hot. There is no shade and we waited for one hour and ten minutes in the line to get a cable car up. And we even went a bit later to avoid the crowds! Next time I would bring an umbrella for shade for sure! It was really not a nice scene, people were so hot and uncomfortable for such a long period and trying to butt ahead in the line for the cable car. The donkey ride up is really not an option for most, as they really don't seem to be treated that well and most of us just couldn't bear to do it. I'm not an animal lover by any stretch, but if you see these poor things slogging up and down in the extreme heat all day with big tourists on their backs - you'll see what I mean. It really doesn't seem a humane thing to do!) COming back down wasn't so bad. We were a bit early returning, so we beat the rush. We waited in a slowly-moving line for about 20 min or so, and it was in a shaded areas, so still hot but much more manageable than coming up.
But BEAUTIFUL once you get to the top. We kept walking till we got out of the crowds and found the most gorgeous, quiet and spectacular little village/restaurant, overlooking the village and caldron. This lunch was a highlight of our trip!
We took the vaporetto #1 (water bus) all around the grand canal and thoroughly enjoyed the views!! This only cost 13 euros for two of us. There are other options for private boat tours, gondola rides, etc...
You can get a quick water taxi from the port to the main station in Venice (Santia Lucia), which is right on the grand canal. So much to see from there just by walking along...
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