My wife and I traveled with a tour company that works with churches as part of a large group of about 650 people. We had a wonderful time. Our tours focused on Bible-based sites and we had a guest lecturer who delivered 5 lectures in the theater on our at-sea days,
We arrived in Rome on Saturday morning and our tour company provided a bus tour of some of the sites, especially the Coliseum. Always dreamed of seeing it and now I have.
We were somewhat late in arriving at the ship because of the large number of buses that had to unload ahead of us. Then, in the terminal, NCL experienced some computer system troubles that slowed down the embarkation process somewhat, so we didn't get to our stateroom until about 4:30 pm.
Because of jet lag, we very much enjoyed the two days at sea to get our bearings. Our tour company arranged all of our shore excursions, but two (Limassol, Cyprus and Alexandria, Egypt) were through NCL. They were part of an all-inclusive package through our tour company.
We enjoyed all the places we visited -- Cyprus is a beautiful island; the pyramids were all I hoped, but Cairo is a nightmare of traffic and trash and smog; the catacombs of Alexandria were a wonderful surprise. We had very informative tour guides at all stops.
Because of "security concerns," we were informed on Tuesday night that we would not dock in Ashdod, Israel as scheduled on Friday. Instead we spent 2 nights in Haifa and toured Israel from there, which made the Jerusalem day quite long.
Our days ashore were mostly long, so we didn't avail ourselves of too many shipboard activities.
The ship was great. We enjoyed the food and ate in the Grand Pacific most nights, but once in the Alizar. We did not try the specialty places. We breakfasted and lunched mostly in the Garden Cafe or the outdoor places when on the ship.
The shows we attended were well done and I enjoyed Jill Tasker, the cruise director and her sense of humor. The staff were all very helpful, especially in reminding us constantly to "washy, washy."
We enjoyed beautiful weather on almost all days and that was a bonus.
Disembarkation was a breeze. They simply called our color and we walked off the ship. Preferred this to waiting as a group in a public area as we did on Princess.
Though this was only our 2nd cruise and our first on NCL, we would definitely return to the Jade or another ship.