We managed to get this for $550 Australian, booking direct on the Norwegian Cruise lines website. This was much cheaper than we were offered even on a number of supposedly cheap cruise websites. During the final stages of the booking process, we were advised we would get $150 off the rack rate per person because we were both over 55 years old. This turned into about $100 off each because the fare we were booking was already below the rack rate but still a great bonus. Why they don't shout this out on the website I don't know given so many cruisers are over 55.
From the very start we just loved everything about the company, the ship and the experience. The check-in process was so quick we looked around and wondered what we still needed to do as we couldn't believe it was all over in less than 5 minutes (after going through the security screening which was also relatively quick also).
We boarded early and enjoyed a very nice lunch on board. We normally have an outside More
balcony cabin but this was a last minute cheapie for us so we settled for an inside cabin and it was fine. The room itself was not huge but good enough and certainly well appointed. The crew were wonderfully responsive, the food amazing and entertainment well worth seeing.
Regarding food, NCL does freestyle cruising meaning you can eat anytime you like in the main rooms (between set opening and closing hours). It got chaotic at peak times but they do give you a portable buzzer to take away with you (same as a lot of pubs do). The food quality and variety was excellent. They also have an ongoing buffet that was surprisingly good (I say that because our most recent cruise before this was a Costa ship and their buffet was atrocious). NCL had excellent variety in their buffet and even did on the spot cooking for things like stir fry etc for you. They also have a number of pay restaurants, as many ships do these days. The food at the free restaurants was excellent and the prices very reasonable e.g $10 US per person for a fantastic Italian meal in the Italian Restaurant and $15 US for a Chines banquet.
We went to most entertainment shows because they were so good, again at odds with Costa. We also saw a lot of the crew and senior officers around the ship again unlike Costa. Facilities around the ship were excellent and it was easy to find your way around.
The ports we stopped at were Madeira (Portugal) Santa Cruz and Arrecife (Canary Islands) Malaga and Barcelona (Spain), all great stops especially Madeira.
Just a tip, we do not often take ships tours, they can be expensive and limited. In Madeira we caught a taxi into town and on the way agreed to a three hour tour for 60 Euros. The driver was great, friendly and nothing was too much trouble. We saw parts of Madeira no-one else on the ship did for less than half the official tour (which was a busload of about 40 as opposed to our chauffeur driven taxi). We did the same in Malaga but for 100 euros. The driver there even walked with us for a bit and took us to a coffee shop his wife manages and refused to let us pay for our coffees. At Arrecife we caught the petit train from where the bus dropped us off, good value for a short sharp tour and an easy way to get up to the city and back. In Santa Cruz we did the hop on hop off bus tour but really it was just OK. Less
Norwegian Jade Cruises to the Western Mediterranean
Arrecife was a nice port, nothing spectacular but it does have good shopping, especially for clothes. We were taken to the edge of the city by bus then hopped on the petit train to get up to the city centre (and a bit of the surrounds too). Had a very nice Spanish meal at a small cafe and also bought a bottle of Lanzarote wine which was excellent.
Great island, do pay a taxi driver to take you around as we did. We paid 60 euros for three hours and he took us everywhere. Typical Portugese port even though it is a fair distance from mainland Portugal. Love the black and white design walking paths and the whole island is breathtaking
Santa Cruz was just OK as a port but really it was a new experience for us so we tried to make the best of it. Took the hop on hop off bus but not sure it was worth it. If you can walk a good distance just do it by foot, it's not that large.