My husband and I recently sailed on the Norwegian Jade, on the Nov 16, 2011 Eastern Mediterranean 10-Night Cruise. It was our second cruise but first cruise with NCL. Having read so many conflicting reviews on here, when i decided to book, i went in with an open mind and with a view that it would be what we made of it -overall it was a great cruise and a good ship with excellent staff who made the experience memorable.
DAY 1 -Embarkation:We embarked from Civitavecchia,in Rome -this port is an hours drive from the airport but will cost about â‚¬110 -you can get the train from the airport with a changeover for much less -â‚¬9 -18, depending on if you get the airport express -once you dont mind hefting your bags up endless stairs and then a 15min walk from train station to pier. Once you arrive at the pier there are shuttle buses to bring you to NCL embarkation spot. You had to queue but it was pretty quick moving and it wasnt long before you were able to get on board and go to your room or go have something to eat(at the Great Outdoors, the bar and small buffet area on Deck 12 aft) while you waited on your luggage.
DAY 2 -Day at sea: This was a great way to start the cruise and have a lie-in and get used to the ship & find out where everything was.we met that morning at a meeting organised by rollcall member on here -this was a great way to meet people and share tips/excursions
DAY 3 -Then we had a day in Katakolon/Olympia, Greece -the port of katakolon was small and very pretty, easy to get around and lots of souvenir shopping.There was a local train to olympia and a coach but neither departed till 9.30 despite details checked beforehand so a lot of people rushed off early to no avail.we paid â‚¬10 for the train and â‚¬12 for entry to olumpia and museum. Yes, olympia is historic but its very basic and without a guide, quite boring. The museum was fantastic.We then spent the afternoon in katakolon and bought snacks and drinks here to take back to the ship(this was permitted even though sometimes there were signs up saying not-they weere only concerned with taking alcohol off people)
Day 4 -A day in Athens -just outside the port, I took the "hop on/hop off" bus for â‚¬22 -this was great value for money as you got to see everything you wanted and spend more time where you wanted.
Day 5 -A day in Izmir/Ephesus, Turkey -we have family so spent the day with them in the local market which is fantastic value for all your shopping needs -if you have never been though, Ephesus is a lovely place to go
DAY 6 -A day at sea -just what we needed to recover from all that sightseeing -but plenty of activities on board all day if you wanted something to do.
DAYS 7 & 8 -Alexandria/Cairo, Egypt -we joined a 2 day(not overnight)trip that a member on here organised. The first day spent in cairo and the second in Alexandria. We were there when the political trouble was in full swing but itinerary was just changed when needed -was an excellent trip but a shame we didnt get to the museum which is supposed to be fantastic.
DAYS 9 & 10 - 2 days at sea before returning to Rome. This was a great way to unwind and relax before the end of the holiday.
STATEROOM: We had an outside picture window room -quite small but everything you needed and plenty of space. Lovely, comfortable beds and plentiful hot water -tv was small and old fashioned but these were to be updated at the end of our trip when the ship went into dry dock. There were no problems with noise from other cabins. Rooms cleaned daily and on request.
DINING: On the whole, dining was very good. The main buffet we used for breakfast or lunch had plentiful selections and choices. We chose to eat dinner mostly in alizar which was quieter and more elegant than the Grand pacific and you didnt have to wait as long -we opted to share our table so got to meet lots of nice, interesting people. The portions are small but not if you think that you are having soup/salad/starter/main/dessert/cheese -most people ordered 2 mains or starters -especially when it was crab cakes or lobster!!We went to 2 specialty restaraunts Pianolos -this was billed as spanish tapas but was actually mexican -the cover charge was â‚¬10 but worth it as the food was lovely and it included a free margharita(ok, a small one, but still)we went to Cagneys steakhouse which was expensive at â‚¬25 but we though tit was worth it as it was much better qulaity food and service and we got our moneys worth ordering some different starters and entrees
BARS: Plenty of bars, drinks are pricey with a service charge added. I opted for the soda package -about â‚¬8 a day for unlimited soda but if id known you could bring your own soft drinks on board i wouldnt have bothered -peple had their own drinks/cans/bottles on the ship and even filled up with the free water/juices at breakfast.Atrium had a free coffee bar and a variety of free pound cakes but most people didnt know it was free.
ENTERTAINMENT: There is always something going on with plenty of organised things to do.We saw all the shows in the Stardust Theatre, All were enjoyable. First up was SHOUT!, a London West End show featuring an all female cast performing a variety of songs from the '60s.There were other shows like singers, jugglers, magicians & ELEMENTS, the Jade's signature extravaganza is a MUST SEE. I was amazed at what they pulled off technically. The final night, they presented the crew show.
DISEMBARKATION: We took our own luggage off as we were making our own way to the airport and didnt want any delays or mishaps. We had a problem with my husbands passport as the port police had to check certain passports, even though we docked at 6(and were ready to leave at 6) they didnt arrive till 7 -so we were lucky we had plenty of time for our flight!
overall, a great cruise experience and a great itinerary