Launched in 2006, Norwegian Jade isn't Norwegian Cruise Line's newest vessel, but via the Norwegian Edge project, the cruise line has made it look and feel new throughout. Cabins have been refurbished; carpeting and furniture have been replaced; some existing restaurants have been moved (Moderno Churrascaria) or expanded (Cagney's), while new ones were added (O'Sheehan's); and the formerly garish orange, purple and pink color palette has largely been replaced with more subdued tones.
What first greets you at embarkation is the vessel's revamped atrium area on Deck 7. It sports modern furniture in subdued hues of black, tan and cream. The neutrality of it all is nicely offset by a funky custom chandelier, which hangs overhead and features color-changing lights.
Although Norwegian has a reputation for nickel-and-diming its customers, we found the number and cost of for-fee offerings comparable to those of other lines. There were also plenty of free options, the quality and variety of which were above average. To boot, service was some of the best we've had at sea, with crew seeming to genuinely enjoy their jobs.
Entertainment on Norwegian Jade is in a category all its own. Shows included a comedian, a magician, a country music medley and an absolutely phenomenal Cirque du Soleil-type performance that included acrobats, aerialists, dancing and magic.
Above all, despite its age, Norwegian Jade holds its own among some of the newer, larger, more flashy ships in the fleet.
Meals in two main dining rooms and at Jasmine Garden, O'Sheehan's bar and grill and the Garden Cafe buffet; also Continental breakfast room service
Main theater production shows and live music in various venues
Most onboard activities, except as noted
Use of the fitness center (excluding most classes and training sessions)
Use of the sports deck
Splash Academy kids club
Daily service fees of $15 per person, per day for those in standard staterooms or $18 per person, per day, for anyone in The Haven, Concierge-level cabins and all suites
Drinks, except water, tea, coffee and select juices from the buffet
Gratuities of 20 percent on beverage, spa and salon purchases
Room service fee of $9.95 (waived for suites and continental breakfast orders)
Most specialty dining, on an a la carte basis, plus 20 percent service charge
Spa and salon services, plus access to the spa's Thermal Suite
Most fitness center classes
Select daily activities including bingo, alcohol tastings,bingo, and games like Deal or No Deal
After-hours kids supervision programs at the Splash Academy
Internet access and packages
Photos taken by shipboard photographers, artwork from the art gallery
The majority of passengers on Norwegian Jade's Europe-based itineraries are from the U.K. The rest are a mixture of people from Australia, France, Spain, North America, Mexico, Japan and Korea. The average age hovers around 55, with the largest number of passengers in the 55 to 70 range. During summer months, expect a sizable influx in families. Caribbean itineraries draw a younger, more American passenger base, including families.
Daytime: Norwegian Jade's dress code is relaxed, with many people adopting a casual style -- bathing suits, T-shirts, shorts and jeans -- during the day.
Evening: At night, passengers tend to dress smartly but comfortably, with most opting for slacks and blouses or collared shirts. Norwegian ships don't have formal nights, but each sailing offers at least one "Dress Up or Not Night," on which passengers can dress up if they want to. Few on our Caribbean sailing chose to do so; Europe voyages tend to be a bit dressier.
Not permitted: The only prohibitions are tank tops for men, flip-flops, baseball caps, visors, overly ripped-up jeans and swimwear. These are permitted in the Garden Cafe, though cover-ups or shirts and shorts must be worn over swimsuits and bare feet are not allowed.
For more information, visit Cruise Line Dress Codes: Norwegian Cruise Line.
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Amazing mid East venues, on an elderly ship that still comes through