188 Houston Family Cruise Reviews

.This was a retirement cruise for my wife and number 12 overall for us. For the last several years we had opted to do all inclusive do to cost factors, but this was a deal. We booked short notice and got an inside ros cabin which was ... Read More
.This was a retirement cruise for my wife and number 12 overall for us. For the last several years we had opted to do all inclusive do to cost factors, but this was a deal. We booked short notice and got an inside ros cabin which was fine. Although we were greeted with visitors in our toilet, the room steward Felipe and his supervisor, Alex got things handled. The regrets-Steiner employee did a play on words offering sale/sail day specials. Hotel management got that fixed quickly after I complained. Live pool music needs help, the Dj did a good job music in the lounges too loud, we were not able to hear the singers voices. now for all the good things....the dining room food was fabulous. We did not have one bad meal! Our waiter's name was Fraizer. He was top notch. It was like cruising in the old days. We ask for nothing, as he or his assistant, Elizabeth, had it at our table already. He was very personable, very genuine, and very professional. We are so glad we found him. And Elizabeth,with her captivating smile and eagerness to serve, should be elevated to waiter status. And to top off our Alziza restaraunt experience, after our first visit, valadia, our hostess, was calling me by name. And she did this every time she saw me one the ship! This dining crew made our cruise what it was...GOOD. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We planned our trip in the middle of October 2015. Since then I read reviews weekly and was a bit nervous, but honestly, if you are like me and read review after review, please remember that what some people complain about may not mean ... Read More
We planned our trip in the middle of October 2015. Since then I read reviews weekly and was a bit nervous, but honestly, if you are like me and read review after review, please remember that what some people complain about may not mean anything to your trip. My boyfriend and I took this trip and we had the time of our lives! All of the staff were awesome! By the end of the first hour that we were on the ship a bartender who served my boyfriend once knew him by name and greeted him at another area on the ship. They really care for all of the passenger and want to make your trip as memorable as possible! Our room attendant, Roma, was awesome as well. He greeted us by name every time he saw us in the hallways and always had our room cleaned and turned down before we went to bed every night. We saw him interacting with kids on the ship and he was so patient and kind to them. We had the unlimited beverage package and we are so glad we did. We never had to wait more than 3-5 minutes for a drink and we didn't encounter any beverages that we not included besides the few specialty coffee drinks my boyfriend ordered. We only had one excursion planned- It was a dune buggy excursion in Cozumel. We ended up being the only two in the whole excursion and were afraid that they would cancel but we ended up basically getting a private excursion and it was awesome! We did not book through the ship we ended up booking through trip advisor. Our guide, Omar, made sure that we were doing everything we wanted and that we made it back to the ship on time. Since we didn't have an exucrison planned for Belize we hoped to get some shopping done and explore the city on our own. The port area is a tourist trap and you really cant get out of it unless you have an excursion planned. Since we had to wait about an hour to get on the tender, we were late for all of the excursions besides going to Kumbacha Beach (Old Belize) so that's what we ended up doing. We did get a city tour on the way there and it was awesome. I expected something very different than what Belize City is. Old Belize was ok. The restaurant isn't worth going to. We didn't get a server for about 15 minutes and they food was just ok. Overall its a fine excursion if you are looking to relax in a beach chair. Also, be aware of you who book through as the guy who dropped us off never came back to pick us up we had to pay someone else to bring us back. Honduras was my favourite stop. Again we didn't have an excursion planned but we did decided to find something right away. We ended up going to West Beach. Our tour guide, Courtney, was super accommodating allowing us to stop at a gas station on our way. He always agreed to pick us up whenever we wanted. We ended up renting snorkel gear because there are several reefs you can snorkel on your own. It was so much fun. We then ate lunch at the paradise AQUA restaurant and had the seafood platter. All fresh yummy seafood! Absolutely the best food we had the whole trip. Courtney then came and found us around the time we were wanting to leave and took us back giving us a small tour. Our favourite spot on the ship was the garden café on the back of the boat. It wasn't very windy and was the perfect spot to watch the sunset each night or to enjoy breakfast in the mornings. Alizar was our spot for dinner every night the food was amazing! I highly recommend the French Onion Soup. The entertainment on the ship was awesome as well. DO NOT MISS SOULDUO!! You will be sorry if you do. The juggling comedian was funny too. We did not attend any of the parties because they were too late. We are in our mid 20's and a full day in the sun doesn't make for staying out late easy. We would check into our cabins around 10 pm every night and watch whatever movie was on. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
Overall, our 1st bi-annual multi-generational family cruise was a really awesome trip. Here's my review-in the simplest possible frame of mind: 1) the cabins-midship, 10th floor, 2 inside & 1 balcony staterooms-all BIG for a ... Read More
Overall, our 1st bi-annual multi-generational family cruise was a really awesome trip. Here's my review-in the simplest possible frame of mind: 1) the cabins-midship, 10th floor, 2 inside & 1 balcony staterooms-all BIG for a cruiseship. Magnificent! Comfortable! Great beds-Great Bedding! Everything you bring will fit. but bring extra hangars and magnetic hooks for stuff. Very rare awareness of sea motion. 2) the food (remember, Norwegian offers the "Freestyle" plan) no pre-scheduled dining times unless you choose to make reservations. ) This worked out beautifully for our variety of ages and appetites. We ate full service dinners twice in the Alazar and breakfasted once in the Grand Pacific--'they were all well-prepared and served. The only unpleasant meal we had was in the Jasmine Asian restaurant. We were given a 30 minute quote for a wait, but they beeped l us after 8 minutes. (Not a complaint-just an observation). Everything we ordered was awful. Especially the service! And most items tasted as if they'd been frozen - then - microwaved. 3) the entertainment-we enjoyed everything we saw-especially (and surprisingly) the juggling. I think our expectations were too high for Elements-basically a poor-man's cirque-de-soliel. 4) spa-adequate; regretted purchasing the thermal suite pkg because we spent most of our downtime out on our balcony-would have made better use of it as just a day-pass. 5) the only other negative we have to share is-we will not take another cruise which requires tendering -- uncomfortably crowded and a major waste of our precious island time! 6) workout facility-adequate, good machines. 7) bars-great! 8) excursion-Cozumel is like an old friend, Belize is just okay (too much tender!) Roatan is spectacular!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
we chose this cruise because of the open dining options and the houston departure; as some family members are based there. we had 1 balcony and 2 inside staterooms, 2 across from one-another which made the time spent in our rooms very ... Read More
we chose this cruise because of the open dining options and the houston departure; as some family members are based there. we had 1 balcony and 2 inside staterooms, 2 across from one-another which made the time spent in our rooms very comfortable for all. the majority of our meals were spent in the garden cafe, as we always found table room for the 6 of us and the 3 year-old didn't have the patience to wait for food. the shows were all excellent and we usually napped mid-day so we had no trouble finding seating for the later shows. we did one excursion with the ship, but found them to be overpriced and had pre-researched the private hires>this was definitely the best decision. no waiting for crowds, no time wasted gathering the troops (beside ourselves). we hired the photography people (the ones with their own office) and they took us to a private beach in honduras-van included-to do family pictures...this was the best day ever!!!! the pix were excellent, we ordered special pkg canvases, and they made for a lifetime of memories...aside from a day spent at a great private beach. houston was an easy-albeit ugly-departure point, and we will definitely do ncl again. only negative: our little one was turning 3 that week and they were very strict about age requirements for kids club-if we had it to do over again we would have waited till after her birthday. don't expect them to be flexible!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We last cruised with RCCL in 2011 - a 9-night European cruise from Norway to France, Ireland, England, Scotland and back to Norway. In the intervening years we took three Disney cruises to Hawai'i, Western Caribbean and Alaska. Quite ... Read More
We last cruised with RCCL in 2011 - a 9-night European cruise from Norway to France, Ireland, England, Scotland and back to Norway. In the intervening years we took three Disney cruises to Hawai'i, Western Caribbean and Alaska. Quite frankly, based on our 2011 RCCL cruise, we weren't expecting things to be better than Disney. Were we surprised. Five years later RCCL had really improved their ships and their service onboard. There were more things to do for families and the available activities were, for the most part, on par with or better than DCL. We even found the food in the main dining room and the Windjammer to be better than DCL. Not everything was rosy. I did have an issue with the charter bus going from Bush International to the terminal. On DCL buses, both charter and Disney, the front seats are reserved for persons with disabilities - of which I am one. It was very hard to have to work my way down the aisle past perfectly healthy passengers to the rear of the bus. Also, despite my notifying RCCL of my need for a wheelchair from the terminal to the ship, there were issues there too. At the terminal, as advised, I asked the RCCL employee for wheelchair assistance. She informed me that there weren't any wheelchairs there and could I walk to the terminal to get one. I have muscular dystrophy and, while I can walk a short distance with a cane, longer distances are a challenge. I made my way to the terminal and asked the staff there again for a wheelchair and was told I would have to stand in the winding line and once inside the terminal would be provided with a wheelchair. What a Mickey Mouse operation! I hope RCCL lets their terminal staff know how incompetent and inconsiderate they were. One more thing. It would be nice if RCCL didn't clutter up the entrance to the Windjammer with marketing tables. Its hard enough to navigate around hungry guests without having to work around guests looking over the latest offerings in jewelry, teeth whitening and spa treatments. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We just returned from our Norwegian Jade cruise from the Port of Houston to Cozumel, Belize, and Roatan, and had a lovely birthday celebration for my wife, accompanied by our daughter and her boyfriend. Highs: Port of Houston was very ... Read More
We just returned from our Norwegian Jade cruise from the Port of Houston to Cozumel, Belize, and Roatan, and had a lovely birthday celebration for my wife, accompanied by our daughter and her boyfriend. Highs: Port of Houston was very convenient (4 hour drive from Austin), with the fastest embarkation we've ever experienced. Also appreciated the convenient and reasonable parking, so close we could drop off passengers and luggage, park, and join our group in 2 minutes. (The sad news is that the port is closing, partly because NCL is pulling out). Dining was very good (Garden and other Buffets, Grand Pacific dining room) to excellent (Le Bistro, Moderno, Cagney's), with excellent service everywhere (the best we've seen in a dozen cruises on various lines). We especially appreciated the "free-style" cruise that NCL offers, with no need for coats & ties, or fancy dresses, and the ability to eat at our convenience, rather than on a fixed schedule. The specialty dining package promotions are widely available, and represent a very nice added value. Some of the shows were very good, especially the acrobats, and the pop singers & dancers. Others were pretty bad, such as the irritating cruise director and his constantly ingratiating integration of numerous ship officers and crew, taking half of two "shows." Lounge and atrium acts were generally quite good also. Overall, not as outstanding as the Breakaway, but very good. The ship's size is modest by "mega-ship" standards, which gave us a much less crowded feeling than we've had on larger ships, with plenty of room to sit inside and outside, and a high ratio of staff to passengers, with outstanding service throughout the ship. I should add that the stabilizers did a very good job, even in fairly heavy seas. Room service charges for food are annoying, but the restaurants offer fast service and very good food; so there are nice options. We had rain in 2 of the ports (Cozumel and Belize); so I cannot judge them completely. Never got to Belize, because the tenders were too infrequent (unlike Roatan, where the ship was allowed to provide their own tender service). Roatan's port city is very limited, unlike the concessions at Cozumel, and poverty is quite apparent. Guest services has some outstanding employees, who helped when we needed them. We especially liked sitting near the back of deck 12, enjoying the rear buffet and quiet tables, with terrific views and shade. Smoking policies are evolving, with smoking no longer allowed in cabins and on balconies, which we appreciated (smokers may disagree). The Promenade and 13th decks are the only places where you can walk around the ship, and unfortunately, allow smoking in several places (making you hold your breath if you want to avoid second-hand smoke). Overall, the positives significantly outweighed the minor negatives, and we would recommend the Jade to anyone who likes a relaxed atmosphere, great food and service, and plenty of personal space and privacy. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
This was a spur of the moment trip for us, and we the price was unbeatable, even for a balcony room. As this was to be our second cruise on NCL, we had high expectations. Our previous cruise with them had been wonderful (NCL Jewel) so ... Read More
This was a spur of the moment trip for us, and we the price was unbeatable, even for a balcony room. As this was to be our second cruise on NCL, we had high expectations. Our previous cruise with them had been wonderful (NCL Jewel) so we were really excited. Embarkation was a breeze! The Houston terminal knows how to move people swiftly through the check-in process, something Carnival needs to figure out. Parking at the terminal was also much better than any other terminal we've had the pleasure of sailing from. I really can't say enough about how wonderful the embarkation process is here. Upon first glance, our room was lovely and the balcony superb. Although the rooms are definitely smaller than Carnival, it was still roomy enough for the two adults and an active 8 year old. The bathroom is a nice size for a ship and I really liked the size of the shower and the separate toilet area. That being said, I did not like the smell of urine and no amount of cleaning took care of that smell. It didn't bother my husband and grandson as much as did me, but I have a sensitive nose. I knew the bathroom was clean, but the smell could be overwhelming for me. The cabin steward, Mario, told us this was his first time working on a ship. And it showed. There were three of us in the room, yet only 2 towels for bathing and 2 towels for the pool. It was an effort on our part everyday to locate him and ask for towels. Listening to some of the disgruntled stewards complaining in the hall was very disconcerting. I prefer dining in the restaurants vs the buffet, but we were so disappointed in the food that we ended up eating at the buffet. At least the buffet had several options. The jade offers Indian, vegetarian, and Asian fare on the buffet as well as traditional American food. There was something for everyone, even if a bit repetitive. NCL could take some cues from Carnival as far as the food goes. The ports: I loved the ports! The only thing I didn't like was having to draw numbers to wait on the tinders to take us to shore. This happened at 2 ports. While we were being tindered to shore, NCL Jewel came in was permitted to actually dock. The crew: Splash Academy is awesome! Our grandson begged to go there every day. Yeah, for us! I can't say enough about these wonderful people. They made our grandson's cruise memorable and he still speaks about the treasure hunts and sports activities. Overall, I loved the view from our room, the ports, the people we met, and the smile on our grandson's face. Will we cruise on NCL again? Yes, just not on the Jade. Read Less
Sail Date April 2016
We thought we done a lot of research before choosing our cruise and travelling from Sydney Australia with my Adult sons and their partners to Houston Texas. Well were we wrong!!!! Before I criticise this ship I would like to point out ... Read More
We thought we done a lot of research before choosing our cruise and travelling from Sydney Australia with my Adult sons and their partners to Houston Texas. Well were we wrong!!!! Before I criticise this ship I would like to point out we have done over 20 cruises, mainly in Australia and Europe with RCCL & NCL, so what I have to say is only compared to what we have done in the past. The ship on their website sounds and looks fantastic, we I can say its not like the Brochure, not even close. The ship is just old and worn. to be honest we are really at a loss to understand how people who have cruised before can rate this ship as being remotely good. There is just far too many rooms compared to public area and entertainment or things to do, there is very little to do on this ship, watch a movie!!! The worst part for us was how the ship catered for the very Elderly, it was almost a floating Nursing home, No fault to the people on the ship and I have all the respect in the world for the elderly but, they really should state this and point out its caters for over 70s, I also admit my travel agent should have known. When you spend the money we spent travelling from the other side of the world i do think you have a right to complain on a site like this and hope they take notice, considering we had taken on young adults who had nothing at all to do, nothing!!!! The entertainment was pathetic to say the least. The other point to note was the food, it was not good and well below average, on the other hand the two the speciality dinning rooms were quite good, the Buffet dinning was the same every day and not good at all, it was Gross. It was very obvious they were cost cutting and knew the elderly were maybe not too fussy or tend to complain? Being self employed I had to use the internet, you get 600 minutes for $200, yes there was No unlimited package and it was sllooowww!! It cost me $600 in 7 days and I just refused to spend anymore. Also tipping was included and you don't get a paper receipt, so you need to keep track on a daily basis for your whole family, its just backwards and out of date. They clearly advertised for suite guest you get to use the Spa services, steam rooms etc. When we arrived to use this we were told No and you need to pay them $90 to use the facilities, I refused to pay.. Next to the Spa area is a smaller pool and just above this it has an area with nice padded chairs, it looked very nice But, sadly you had to pay $20 for half a days use, Yes suite guest cannot use this area without paying. And for the record, in the entire time we were on the ship I did not see one person use this area, 3 staff standing around all day doing nothing... Quite bizarre to say the least, but again zero care from anyone,. We decided to leave the ship on day 8 in Mexico, we simply could not last another day, it was depressing, it was a floating Nursing Home and the staff knew this, in fact they said this ship is know for it, and due to the heavily discounted tickets everything was cut back, simply the elderly people just don't spend money so they just keep it simply and cut costs, regardless what you pay or what room you stay in. Because we decided to leave the ship we had a visit from one of the senior lady managers, she came to our room and asked why and I simply told here what I have noted here, she also said the ship is know for a much older crowd, She also said she would fix the issue with using the spa and call us back when she spoke with the spa people, Well like everything else on this ship, It never happened, No care from anyone and a very depressed ship. Maybe the Spa was contracted out?? All I can say to people wanting a cruise is to stay clear from this ship, I have been told since Princess are known for the much older crowd and specialise for this on most of their ships. I can say for Value and entertainment RCCL & NCL runs rings around them, there is just No real comparison. If you are under 70 years of age just go elsewhere, terrible ship with no care and No after sales service, there is just No one at Princess you can call write to or contact. The No care Cruise Company... Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
The dining and excursions were fantastic. Dolphins, sharks, rays, and monkeys - oh my. Jade itself is a bit outdated. It was originally built for Hawaii use and has tacky Polynesian decorations only applicable when traveling there. ... Read More
The dining and excursions were fantastic. Dolphins, sharks, rays, and monkeys - oh my. Jade itself is a bit outdated. It was originally built for Hawaii use and has tacky Polynesian decorations only applicable when traveling there. Having stayed in the Haven on other bigger boats, this class was less worth-while. No dedicated bar/lounge or dinner restaurant. Our Concierge (Omar) did a wonderful job making up for these short comings outside of the haven courtyard, but the lack of staffing and priority in the courtyard meant long waits for meals by the pool or drinks on either floor. We typically only had one steward for all this and it is simply not possible as he had to leave the haven and go to another floor for everything. Entertainment was acceptable for a smaller vessel, but pales in comparison to larger ships like breakaway and Epic (Blue man group, cirque, and second city). The Houston terminal (which they are scheduled to stop using) was clean, modern, and quick. For parents out there - the main teen programs start at 11PM, so be ready for late nights. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
I am not an avid cruiser (yet). My first ever cruise was about 18 months ago aboard the Caribbean Princess. So it is from this point of view that I am offering a review of my experiences. The one thing that I have observed about ... Read More
I am not an avid cruiser (yet). My first ever cruise was about 18 months ago aboard the Caribbean Princess. So it is from this point of view that I am offering a review of my experiences. The one thing that I have observed about cruising is that when I have had less than positive experiences it was not necessarily anything that the crew or ship or line did. Most often it was the actions or demeanor of other passengers that sometimes made the trip less than enjoyable which I think happens anywhere you have large amounts of people gathering, whether its aboard ship or in a theme park. That being said I will state from the outset that I enjoyed my cruise aboard the Jade very much! I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 only because like most of these types of venues the resort or in this case ship, does some things very well and others maybe only good. Thats not a criticism its just an observation that often there is compromise and give and take when running an operation on this scale. EMBARKATION AND DEBARKATION: It was so much easier here at the Port of Houston using the Bayport Cruise Terminal, then at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. We drove to the Houston area from Albuquerque NM, arriving Friday at mid day and visited some family while there. On Saturday morning we made the 60 mile trip to the port in about an hour. Traffic was light and it was easy to find, arriving at our appointed time given to us by NCL. You could almost drive the car right up to the ship! We stopped in the unloading zone, gave our luggage to a porter who works for tips (many people forget that I think) and did not see it or handle it again until it was delivered to our suite. I parked the car and within about 20 minutes I was walking onboard. Even with 2K plus passengers they moved us through and unto the ship very quickly. My arrival time was 1230 we were up in the Buffett having an excellent lunch on the rear open patio of deck 12 by 100 PM. We were informed our Mini-Suite was ready for us to occupy at 130PM. Perfect timing! Leaving the ship was even quicker. We docked back at Bayport early in the morning. We went up and had a great breakfast at the Buffett at about 630 AM. If you carry your own luggage you could get off the ship as soon as Customs will start processing. In this case about 715 Am. By 740 Am we were in our car and headed back to Albuquerque! Nothing like Port Everglades where it was around noon by the time we cleared Customs. My only criticism here was that I had to pay the State of Texas a tax for some good Scotch I bought Duty Free. It irked me that as a free American Citizen I could buy Duty Free, at a very good price, high quality 25 year old scotch (saving hundreds of dollars) in international waters only to have to pay a tax on it when I went ashore. I was not bringing it in to the state to resell or even consume, I merely had to go through the State of Texas to get home. I had no such experiences in Florida when I did the same thing there. CABIN: We had a Mini-Suite on Deck 11 Midship which was worth the extra price because of the sometime rough ride when we hit some moderate sea swells a couple nights. The min-suite was well appointed and spacious enough for our family of four which included two young daughters. My In-Laws traveled with us and had the Mini Suite next to ours. We opened the door between them on the balcony and that gave us a lot of room between the two. Because we booked late (and at a great price) we were unable to get a large family suite but this was just as good. It was a few steps to the stairs and the buffett, spa, and pool where we spent most of our time aboard. Our Steward, Noel was excellent always attentive and surprising my girls with a variety of towel-animals each night. We made sure to thank him with a good tip and a excellent write-up. FOOD: This is an example of where my experiences diverged. Let me begin by saying that I had no bad meals! But there was a difference depending on the venue. The first evening at the "Sail Away Party" they set up an excellent Buffett line out at the pool. My kids went swimming and we snagged a pool side table. The food line was short and I ate a deliciously tender New York Steak cooked to perfection on the Barbecue the crew had going. All the other food items were equally excellent as we sat, had a great meal listening to great music and had a few drinks as the kids swam and used the water slide. A first class send off! The Buffett was also Excellent and we ended up taking most of our meals there. I do believe the food Qaulity and variety at the Buffett far exceeded my Experiences on the Princess. But as for the formal dining I was disappointed. I know that NCL really promotes their "Free Style Cruising" but I think their formal dining is compromised as a result. On the Princess for example we would dress formally for dinner on certain nights and Smart Casual on others then go down to the formal dining room where the Maitre d' would recognize us and seat us immediately. Then our Main waiter, our table waiter and his/her assistant would attend to us. They got to know us and would always bring an appetizer, scotch and bottled water to our table almost immediately. Truly it was first class service. On the Jade, the lines to get into the formal dining rooms could be a bit long. No one recognized us and when we were seated we dealt with one seemingly overworked wait person who when he/she would come to the table would immediately ask for our order. No inquiry about drinks, types of water or appetizers. Then they would disappear leaving you having to flag down a bus person for more water, bread, wine etc. This was unfortunately our experience in both of the formal dining rooms and we ate at the Buffett the rest of the time. If you enjoy dressing for dinner and having first class service the Jade is ok, but you will not receive the service you may be expecting. While we enjoyed a few nice dinners we were quite content with the Buffett as well and never felt disappointed by the food anywhere. We did not try any of the "up charge" venues as we saw no need to. SPA: We made good use of the spa, me especially. Having to share a bathroom with my wife and 2 young daughters, particularly at the end of the day after an excursion, it was nice to have a place where I could unwind, take a sauna or steam and shower and shave and get ready with out being cramped for space or time. Unlike the Spa on the Princess which was small and only had a sauna and steam room the one on the Jade is quite expansive. It is divided into a Male and Female side with a shared Thermal Suite between them. Unlike the Princess where the spa was free and could be crowded, there was a $125.00 fee for the week but in my estimation well worth it. The male side which is an exact duplicate of the female side has a sauna with great views with its large windows. There was a cold plunge, rain showers, steam room, hot tub and relaxation area with comfortable chairs, large screen TV's, magazines, flavored water and fruit in an area over looking the bow with large windows. There was a fairly spacious locker area with sinks to shave and showers complete with shampoo, conditioner and body wash. Robes and towels were always replenished and the facility was kept clean and neat by the attendant. The Thermal Suite, if you've never been, is made up of 6 or 8 tiled warming "couches" that are very relaxing. After a good soak, and hot sauna its a great place to wrap yourself in a robe and towels and take a nap or relax as you enjoy the views over the bow of the open sea. Unfortunately on several occasions when we were in there it was difficult to completely relax as it seemed be a gathering place for a few "cackling hens" who would be loud and were unconcerned with who heard their conversations. I would then just retreat to the men's side where it was always quiet and peaceful. If you want to get away from the sometimes crowded public areas of the ship I would highly recommend getting access to the spa. Aside from a discourteous few in the Thermal Suite it was a place where you could relax in peace and quiet. I did not use the gym which looked decent enough. I brought my work out clothes but since I work out daily at home I simply decided to take a break which I think your body needs now and then. Well thats my excuse anyway... EXCURSIONS: We went to Cozumel, Belize and Roatan. In Cozumel we went to the Playa Mia Beach which we found adequate, great food, nice pools, ok beach lots of rocks. They had jet skis you could rent and I bargained with the guy and got one for a couple hours for about 2/3 the price of the $60.00 per half hour he was asking. It wasn't a great place for swimming but we did have a blast riding the jet ski. When we did go swimming we used the pools which were very nice. On the way back I stopped at a street vendor and was looking at a 5-Pack of "Cuban Cigars" in a glass topped wood box. I was actually more interested in the box as any one knowledgable about cigars will tell you that 99% of the "Cuban Cigars" in Cozumel are knock offs. Its not that they are bad cigars, often factory seconds from the Dominican Republic or someplace with similarly excellent smokes, but they are not Cuban. If for no other reason than Cuba can not produce enough to meet demand. You can get them and I did see some at a reputable cigar shop there, they are $20-$30 and up apiece. The vender was asking for $40.00 USD for the five pack, half the price he would have had to pay retail so no way they were Cuban, plus there are no Cuban Cigars exported in Glass top boxes FYI. I told him in Spanish that I liked the box, I would give him $10.00 for the Box and a $1.00 for each of the cigars inside. After some haggling we agreed on $20.00. I guess it depends on how you look at it, I either paid $4 per cigar and got a free box or $20 for the box and 5 free cigars. In the end the cigars were actually pretty good, I smoked one on the ship. Certainly the equal of a $10.00 cigar you would buy in the states. If you like cigars don't be fooled by the Cuban Labels or "Official Cuban Stamp." I did not even worry about hiding them. I knew that Customs doesn't care about fake cuban cigars. In Belize you have to Tender ashore and as we were doing a Ship Excursion we were allowed first onto the Tenders which as we found the next day to be a bit of problem since we had booked a private excursion. In Belize we went on the River Boat to the Lamanai Ruins which was a great adventure, we saw a lot of wild life going both ways including a few alligators who shared the river with us. We had a great meal and got to see a lot of the city. Our guide Derek was very informative and constantly pointed out things of interest. At Roatan we also had to tender in. Because we had booked a private excursion not offered by NCL we had to go to get tender tickets to get onto a tender. I showed up at 7 am thinking I had plenty of time as they were to start giving the tickets on a first come first serve basis at 730 AM. I was shocked at how long the line was and ended up getting Tender 12 which while much better than people who showed up even a few minutes later than me, was going to cause problems with our 9 am Meet Time. They began to operate the tenders shortly before 8 AM taking the passengers who had NCL booked excursions off first. I was told it would be about an hour before we could board a tender for the 5 minute trip to the pier. I thought we would make it, but then two problems occurred. One of the Tenders was taken out of service for some reason at the last minute and then the waves were choppy. You didn't feel it on the ship but they bobbed the tenders around making boarding them very slow. Watching how difficult a time some of the passengers had getting onto them made me shudder at the thought of the ship having to be evacuated quickly, but I digress. When 9Am came and they were only at Tender number 3 I went to Guest Services, not to complain but to ask to use their phone as I could not get a signal on mine so I could call the tour operator and let them know it would be 10 am at the earliest before we could meet them. When the Concierge found out we were to miss our appointed meet time she took us down personally and saw that we got onto the next tender, even reissuing us new numbers. It was not something I asked for, but it was a very nice thing to do! I got the impression that a certain amount of seats are reserved for crew going ashore on each tender and that gave her the flexibility to bump them to allow us on. I also believe by not making demands, it gave her the opportunity to do something nice for someone, after all the crew had no control over the waves, slow passengers or a broken down tender. I thought it was outstanding service by NCL! She got us ashore about 20 after 9 and the tour operator waited for us. We went to a place called "Little French Key" an all inclusive resort with beautiful white beaches and crystal clear water. It was the best day of the trip! If you go to Roatan go there! The only negatives on any excursion had to do with other passengers. One on a Bus in Cozumel who, along with his wife, to my amazement took the seat of an elderly handicapped lady and her husband that was being held by the tour operator. This passenger proceeded to argue with the bus driver that if the person wasn't on the bus he could take the seats. He was the very example of an "Ugly American" overweight and demanding. Kudos to the Mexican Bus Driver who kicked him off the bus and made him and his wife wait for another one then showing the handicapped elderly couple courtesy and dignity. I actually felt ashamed of my countrymen. The second incident was similar aboard one of the ship's tenders as we returned to Roatan. I gave my seat up for an elderly woman and stood. I watched in utter amazement as another male passenger healthy and younger than I would not move over for another Handicapped woman. The bench, he was told could seat 4 and there were only 3 people. He told the Crewman there was not enough room for her! The crewman, probably not wanting to have a passenger complain took the lady to another seat where another young man gave up his seat. I really am quite amazed at how inconsiderate and rude some people can be. I saw other examples of people making demands of crew members or complaining, I think just for the sake of complaining or to try to get something for free. I found it all quite repulsive. Fortunately that was the exception and most people we encountered were courteous, friendly and accommodating. POOLS: I think on any ship the real estate around the pool gets taken up pretty quickly and the Jade was no different. For me I did not care that much as I got into the pool mostly to play with my kids or cool off. There were always lounge chairs on the upper deck, a short walk up the stairs. There are two pools in contrast to at least four on the Princess. One of the nice things on the princess that two of the pools were adults only which made them less crowded and quieter. It wasn't a huge deal for me, but again if you want a quieter pool experience you are not going to have that option on the Jade unless you book the Haven level. One of the great things about the Jade was the Bar on the deck over looking the Pools. It was a great place to sit in the shade or sun depending on what you wanted, to look down onto the pool. It also is a smoking area so I could enjoy one of my "Cubans" while people watching or watching my kids swim while drinking a really good Mojito. On the Princess Cigars were only allowed in one special bar, no where on deck even where cigarettes could be smoked. On the Jade anywhere there was a smoking area, including some on the Promenade deck you could light up and enjoy a cigar! The Jade does have a "Cigar Bar" but its small and cramped, unlike the great Churchill Lounges on the Princess ships, but then again you had more options on the Jade. ENTERTAINMENT: What can I say. It was superb. Overnight they had great shows in the Star Dust Theater. The Cruise Director "Philly Joel" was highly visible and very interactive with the passengers. There were also a great number of smaller lounges where one could enjoy guitar music, piano, some great singers and even a Karaoke Bar. There was so much to do and see you were never wanting for something to do. I had planned on relaxing a fair bit and reading, but hardly had the chance! There are great options for Children and Teens and they have their own spaces onboard that are "parent free" zones. Overall I found the Jade to be a very nice, well appointed and clean ship. The food was outstanding and aside from the formal sit down restaurants the service always excellent. I was disappointed that I could not order a bottle of Scotch to the room as I could on the Princess. A bottle of wine yes, but not Scotch! I had to buy that by the glass, at the bar and walk it back to my room. Totally unacceptable. Sitting on the balcony having cheese, crackers, fruit, bread, olives etc and a good glass of Scotch is an excellent way to pass the time in the late afternoon after a busy day ashore. I was able to buy a 500L Bottle of some good Scotch in Cozumel and I stuck it in the cargo pocket of my shorts with a water bottle on top. I didn't mention it when I went back aboard and no one asked. Some things just depend on your demeanor... I would have no reservations on sailing on this ship again! Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We have cruised a different cruise line the last 5 years and decided to try Norwegian this year. We booked the Owners Suite with Haven perks. We were in the white Diamond Suite 9504. We were amazed with all the perks this offers. Not only ... Read More
We have cruised a different cruise line the last 5 years and decided to try Norwegian this year. We booked the Owners Suite with Haven perks. We were in the white Diamond Suite 9504. We were amazed with all the perks this offers. Not only do you get to have priority boarding, you have priority all over the ship! Not only do you get a concierge but also a butler and the usual steward. All of whom were amazing: Omar (concierge), Charlie (butler) and Menzi (steward). We cannot say enough great things about these 3 men!! They definitely made our vacation easier and more enjoyable!! The shows were great! The old cruise line's shows were getting old. Plus, on the Jade we had VIP seating. How cool was that!! The food was good, the buffet set up was a little hectic. We missed the layout of the other cruise line. The specialty dining was great! Definitely try Teppanyaki!! Enjoyable and delicious! We felt like we were inside more on this ship, but maybe that was due to its size (a smaller ship than used to)? We had a great time at the ports and felt they were comparable to what we've done in the past. All in all, we had a great time and will be back on Norwegian. Just may try a different, bigger ship. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Having read a couple of negative reviews I feel compelled to balance it, in favour or Princess who, in our opinion were impeccable. There is one recent review that frankly after reading the 6th sub heading I stopped, and it says to me ... Read More
Having read a couple of negative reviews I feel compelled to balance it, in favour or Princess who, in our opinion were impeccable. There is one recent review that frankly after reading the 6th sub heading I stopped, and it says to me nothing in this world would seem to please that person. For us - the service was second to none - the food was outstanding - the cabin was admittedly tiny, but then we expected that, and the sea wasn't 'knocking us from wall to wall' although it was unusually rough, but is that really Princess's fault!! The beds were incredibly comfy, and my pillow was perhaps the cosiest I have ever had in a 'hotel' style environment. Our only niggle is the 2 pools are too small for 3.5k guests, but then it is a boat!! Having said that we feared a mad scramble for sun beds, and there were enough to go around, and incredibly it wasn't crowded either. Theatre shows - amazing!! West end standard. Alcohol - a bit expensive, but we knew that, so were grateful we didn't over indulge. NEVER saw a drunken person once! We chose to eat 'anytime' dining, and apart from the first night which coincided as my 50th birthday too (where we ate in Coral), we ate in the Horizon buffet every night and we couldn't fault the choice, or quality of food. We didn't do the formal nights as frankly dressing up and trying to be something we're not wasn't our thing and some sites were to be best forgotten!! Guys from across the pond - a 'please' and 'thank you' in customer services goes a long way, and believe me, gets noticed when it's short coming!! I was astounded at the amount of times I heard a demand for food or drink with neither word at the beginning or end of the request. The waiters may be waiting, and most were from many different parts of the world, but they didn't need to constantly be made to feel servile. More so to witness hats being worn at dinner and many not making the least bit of effort to dress for dinner, even if it was just casual dress was disappointing to see. Princess actually ask that guests wear what they would do for a casual dinner - SO, a lot of you go to dinner in short shorts and scrappy T-Shirts do you??? So - in summary, where those choose to put down a company who I believe actually couldn't really have done much more than they did, perhaps if only the company could do a review about the customers, about trying their best to please people who in truth simply will moan at anything, then that would be a review worth reading!!! As they can't - I've done it for them. For the reasons above cruising isn't for us, based on being surrounded by people who want to eat and be lazy all day every day (the sites we witnessed proved that one!!). Perhaps there wasn't enough food guys! I am English - though you would have worked that out I'm sure. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Compared to our first sailing with Princess, this ship did a fine job with service. The Caribbean Princess was also in better condition. On the Grand Princess (sailed 2011), the stewards and dining room staff were so overworked they ... Read More
Compared to our first sailing with Princess, this ship did a fine job with service. The Caribbean Princess was also in better condition. On the Grand Princess (sailed 2011), the stewards and dining room staff were so overworked they appeared feverish with exhaustion. While the crew certainly had to work hard on this sailing, they appeared to have been allowed time to sleep. Special kudos to Stefano at customer service, Maria at shore excursions, and our steward, Romy. Even more so for a waiter in the Lido Buffet, Andriy, who noticed I appeared dehydrated after a hot day in Grand Cayman and kept refilling my water and lemonade glasses. That may be part of his job, but I felt cared for, which isn't common. Highlights included embarkation - the smoothest we've ever experienced. Princess hit a home run with their show, Bravo, and several other shows were popular with passengers, too. With one exception, the food on the Caribbean Princess varied from not bad to pretty darn good and their chocolate specialty desserts were a big success. They had yet another home run with their coffee. Who might particularly like this ship? For cruisers who appreciate large ships with plenty to explore, the Caribbean Princess is a good choice as it rarely felt overcrowded. There are signs about not saving seats in the theater or on deck and passengers were good-natured about following the rules. If you enjoy art auctions, the Caribbean Princess is a champion. I checked with the gallery staff, and as I suspected, this vessel has more sales and a larger art gallery than other liners, even other Princess ships in the same class. According to the manager of their Effy store, the Caribbean Princess gets special consideration and greater jewelry selections as well, but that brings me to the next topic. Who might not like this ship? Enrichment gets a zero, unfortunately. Compared to lectures on Holland America, which are first rate, Princess' offerings are ridiculous. Their listed enrichment talks consisted of a jewelry seminar and another on watches. The emphasis on shopping is heavy for a deluxe liner when compared to Celebrity or Holland America. More than one fellow passenger said the pressure to buy was surprising. Overall, not a deal-breaker, but an itinerary including stops in Jamaica, Roatan, and Belize would be ideal for talks on the history of Caribbean piracy or the Garifuna people. Princess missed those opportunities and should do better. The trouble spot for me was ventilation. I'm likely a special case as I have a breathing issue (to the point I've been prescribed a CPAP machine to help me sleep though I'm unable to use one) as well as anxiety. However, I've had a particularly tough time with non-balcony rooms on Carnival and Princess while I didn't experience problems with the same kinds of cabins on Holland America or Celebrity. The fact that I had trouble with breathing a second time on Princess means I'm reluctant to sail with them again unless I have a balcony room. Honestly, I think the ventilation and AC were in good order, but keep this in mind if you also have breathing difficulties in non-balcony rooms. More on the ventilation: One more strong point for Princess was how quickly and how well they fixed a problem when a sewer gas smell seeped into the air ducts late in the cruise. No complaints there and thanks again to Stefano. However, I'll add that our temporary room up on the Caribe deck (also interior) seemed airier. There, I was able to sleep. Other than that, shore excursions went fairly well though we heard of some problems, major and minor. To their credit, Princess seemed honestly interested in passenger feedback, even the negative. The ship appeared clean, the decor pleasant if not memorable, elevators didn't take forever to arrive, and most importantly, the ship and captain provided a smooth ride, got us to every port on time, and got us home safely. Our fellow passengers were largely in good moods and seemed to be having a good time. I'm sad Princess has no plans to sail from Texas next year and hope they return soon. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
The cruise on the Norwegian Jade was the best cruise I have taken so far. I was slightly skeptical before boarding the ship because some of the reviews were shaky. The embarkation process was very smooth, and very fast. We boarded the ship ... Read More
The cruise on the Norwegian Jade was the best cruise I have taken so far. I was slightly skeptical before boarding the ship because some of the reviews were shaky. The embarkation process was very smooth, and very fast. We boarded the ship without any obstacle. The food on the ship was outstanding. Some restaurants were better than others. I would recommend Le Bistro for a fabulous cuisine, and Teppanyaki was outstanding for a presentation while dining. The number of specialty restaurants was remarkable. You could eat french, brazilian, italian, japanese, chinese, sushi and steakhouse. Of course, on nights you don't want to pay for specialty dining, the food at the complementary Grand Pacific dining room is also delicious. You can also eat at the Alomar dining room for free, but it is more cramped and noisy. The cruise staff made the days exciting with awesome shows in the Starsust Theater, and game shows that are sure to entertain the family. The days at sea were not boring at all. Our cabin steward was extremely friendly. He greeted me by my name, and showed outstanding work ethic and customer service. Overall, the ship was beautiful, and very clean. People complained that it was woenough out, but it was in great shape. The Jade was as good as new. I have been on 3 other cruises, and Norwegian sold me. This was the best cruise I have been on by far. I will stick with Norwegian, and I am part of the Norwegian family. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We decided to book a cruise on a whim and take our kids (11,7) somewhere amazing for spring break. We reserved a mini suite with the hopes that having a spacious room would ensure a better experience. We drove to Houston and found the ... Read More
We decided to book a cruise on a whim and take our kids (11,7) somewhere amazing for spring break. We reserved a mini suite with the hopes that having a spacious room would ensure a better experience. We drove to Houston and found the port easy to find, quick to part and embarkation experience was efficient, shame this was on of the last cruises out of Houston. We were able to get on the ship by 12, found our room quickly and dropped any carry on's we had and headed to the Grand Pacific for lunch. We steered clear of the buffet based on cruise critic reviews, and were about the 10th people in the main dining room. Had a fantastic lunch and headed back to the room to find all the luggage delivered and got to work putting stuff away prior to the safety drill. After the mandatory fun we went to the pool deck to watch sail away. I felt that the deck was pretty crowded (especially once the weather turned nicer) but never had an issue getting a drink at the bar! We had the UBP promo, the bar staff was very friendly, never had to wait more than 2 minutes and also found the wait staff to be wonderful as well. Dining - We stuck to the buffet for breakfast which had wonderful choices, seating could be overwhelming, but you just had to look around. Ate one night in Alazar, thought that was just fine, good service and food was good. Ate twice in Blue Lagoon, the first night, service was great, fast and good food. Second time, service was pretty poor, took about 10 minutes to get a waiter to acknowledge us, food took forever to come out, we never went back. Ate at Jasmine Garden once, husband and I liked the food, kids weren't impressed. Entertainment - Saw David Naster (took the kids to the bullying show) thought he was very good. The Elements show was fantastic, Cripton was entertaining, and the Who show was good I thought. Children's Clubs - Our kids loved the Splash Academy. Based off reviews we made them go the first night (even though they were not overly thrilled) and they were so mad when we "made them leave" they couldn't wait until 10 am to head back the next day. We were pretty apprehensive prior to cruising just leaving our kids with "strangers" but the staff was excellent and I highly recommend NCL's children programming. Service - our cabin steward (Rodrigo) was AMAZING!!!!! He was very attentive, knew our names on day one and always asked how the kids were. It was my son's 7th birthday on board and he made sure to say happy birthday and give him a cupcake. All the staff on board the Jade was friendly and very hard working. We didn't come across anyone without a smile on their face and asking how you were doing. Excursions - we booked all of our excursions on our own. We did Dolphin Discovery in Cozumel. This was ok, winds and water were very very rough, so I think it would have been much more enjoyable if we weren't getting beat against the cages. In Belize we booked cavetubing/ziplining through cavetubing.bz (Valintino Rayes (sp?)) This was a great experience. I would highly recommend this company. In Roatan we went to Little French Key, we did the basic package ($55/USD) and would probably upgrade to the one including food and drinks when we go back. This location is beautiful and we hated to leave. We will definitely return to LFK if we visit Honduras again. We are hooked on cruising, our kids say they prefer it to our annual Disney World trips. We had such a fun time, we already booked our next cruise!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
It started off by having cloudy and windy weather the first 2 1/2 days so that spoiled the pool area time...it was also very chilly when we left Houston. We had the Specialty Dining for four nights...Great Food...we ate in the Le Bistro ... Read More
It started off by having cloudy and windy weather the first 2 1/2 days so that spoiled the pool area time...it was also very chilly when we left Houston. We had the Specialty Dining for four nights...Great Food...we ate in the Le Bistro twice which was our favorite, the Moderno and at Cagney's. Thought they were all slow getting plates picked up and your next entree served to you, food could have been warmer sometimes. Anything shrimp was great...steaks were great. Had a Flounder in the Alazar...choose something better. Almost forgot the Blue Lagoon...Has great WINGS for a good quick snack or lunch, the Chicken Tenders are not that great, the Mac and Cheese is fair and they also have a Fruit/Danish Bar and more--the Breakfast here is made to order so it is good..just order extra ham if ordering an omelet...they don't put much meat into the omelet. I think the food is much better on the NCL versus Royal Caribbean even in the buffet. The snrokeling and swimming at Tabyana Beach was fun especially for beginners..they had all the necessary equipment including a life vest for all swimmers. Went to A Tun to see the maya ruins...that was fun. Our guides..Paula on the bus and Evon at the ruins were very knowledgeable host. Paula was great for the city like tour on the way to the beach. We had three people in a room with a picture window and a fold down bed. We were good on space. On entertainment the Elements were very good. The one comedian--David(?) Naster was very good but he was into promoting his book and his formula for grieving, on the last night we had a guy who called himself Mr Groucho...he was GREAT!! They should have booked him more for his humor and add lib...put on an excellent show..thought I would die laughing. If you carry on and carry off your luggage it is much quicker and not much of a hassel. Pretty quick. When getting off the ship get in line by 7 or 7:15 if you can. Overall, had a very good time. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We traveled in a group of 15 with the youngest being 10 and the oldest 70. We had balcony rooms and had an amazing time. My only complaint is that the common areas were too small in places such as the Medusa or the Atrium. The theater ... Read More
We traveled in a group of 15 with the youngest being 10 and the oldest 70. We had balcony rooms and had an amazing time. My only complaint is that the common areas were too small in places such as the Medusa or the Atrium. The theater is gorgeous and the shows were spectacular. Elements is NOT to be missed. We've seen a lot of Broadway shows and halfway through Elements, we were all looking at each other saying, "I can't believe we are seeing this on a cruise ship!" Also, comedian David Naster is top notch if you are lucky enough to have a sailing that includes him. We did not eat in any specialty restaurants although some in our party chose to do so. They enjoyed it. The rest of us opted for the Grand Pacific nearly every evening and it was wonderful. We enjoyed our Ultimate Beverage Packages for the adults and soda packages for the kids. Pepsi products were a bit of a bummer as the kids really missed Dr. Pepper. They aren't allowed sodas at home and had been looking forward to unlimited DP on the ship. Spinnakers was a great place to hang out when it was too windy to be by the pool. Our cruise staff had a ton of fun games to play while we were at sea. I do wish there was more for the teenagers and was disappointed in no teen dance club as I've seen on other ships. Family karaoke ended at 8:30 so if you wanted to go to a 7:30 show after dinner, there was never an opportunity for the kids to sing. My sixteen year old wanted more dance classes offered. The Rat Pack show in Spinnakers was awesome. Overall, this was an amazing trip. We highly recommend the following excursions: Dune Buggy Beach and Snorkel in Cozumel (I've done this multiple times and it's different every time) Gumbalimba Preserve in Roatan because the kids love holding the monkeys Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
My husband and I LOVE Norwegian. We have sailed on the Norwegian Dawn and the Norwegian Getaway before. We've always had a wonderful experience and impeccable service. The Jade just didn't have it together on this cruise. Our ... Read More
My husband and I LOVE Norwegian. We have sailed on the Norwegian Dawn and the Norwegian Getaway before. We've always had a wonderful experience and impeccable service. The Jade just didn't have it together on this cruise. Our cabin steward dropped the ball completely. There was no Latitudes Reward service from her at all. A second cabin steward was assigned two days into our cruise, probably because someone else complained, I'm guessing. On every Norwegaian cruise, we've had exceptional wait staff at the pool and in the dining rooms. Our waitstaff normally knows us by name and anticipates our needs and choices, not so on the Jade. I had good service from Baby, yes that was her real name, in Alizar. The bartender from Romania is great in the whiskey bar near Le Bistro. The guy in the garden cafe who was in charge of "washy washy " duties was upbeat and wonderful. Otherwise, the service was very sub-par. If this had been my first experience with Norwegian, I probably would not have sailed the cruise line again. There were not enough tenders in Belize, and there was a LONG delay for passengers to get off the ship. Many people were worried about making it to their excursions. In Roatan, we had to tender, yet again. ( In three previous trips to Roatan, we've always docked at the pier. The Dawn was in port, and they had precedence over our ship. This little ship looks tired, and its staff does not seem to know that they are in the service industry. We are great tippers, and we always more than compensate with each drink and meal. At the end of the cruise, we always give extra to the staff that takes care of us. We had three staff that truly deserved this extra compensation. My advice, pick another ship. You will have so much better of a time. There are very few entertainment options on this ship compared to the others. The service will be better. Your fellow cruisers will be better. (Strangely concentrated percentage of cruisers from a couple of states.) I will not sail the Jade again. I will sail Norwegain again, however. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We had been planning this cruise for about a year for my son's HS graduation present. Over the past several months I have been reading some pretty harsh reviews about the Jade and the staff so I was a little worried about how this ... Read More
We had been planning this cruise for about a year for my son's HS graduation present. Over the past several months I have been reading some pretty harsh reviews about the Jade and the staff so I was a little worried about how this cruise was going to turn out. Well it was great. The Jade is in excellent condition and we found the crew to be very friendly and helpful. Although the port of Houston is not attractive the embarkation was the smoothest of any of the 4 cruises we have been on and we were literally on the ship in 30 minutes. Once on board we had lunch in the Grand Pacific dining room which was not crowded at all most likely because most of the people were at the buffet on deck 12. In fact all week we avoided the buffet and had meals in the other venues which were not crowded. I did hear that people were happy with the buffet food quality and my son went there a couple of times. The food in the main dining rooms was good and best in the Grand Pacific. We ate dinner there twice and lunch and breakfast several times. We only ate dinner in Alizar once and were not happy with how loud and obnoxious some of the people were. There is no dress code in the Alizar and I think some people who wanted to be very casual ate there for the most part. The for fee specialty restaurants are worth the extra money. Le Bistro was so good we ate dinner there twice. The steak there was delicious. The Italian and Japanese restaurants were also very good. The only one we did not try was Cagneys but I suspect it was good too given how booked they were all week. We booked an inside cabin which was a first for our family and I really enjoyed it because it was nice and dark for sleeping. Our cabin steward was outstanding. The cabin was a little small but not overly so and there was plenty of storage. The ship did not feel crowded except in the pool areas but even there lounge chairs were available. It was relatively easy to find quiet spots on the ship. People were generally well behaved although there were some rowdy spring breakers on the ship. People of all ages were aboard and everyone seemed to have a good time. One area that really stood out was the entertainment. It was outstanding. The shows each night were very well done and the quality was above the other cruises we have been on. There were also plenty of activities each day to keep people busy especially on sea days. The cruise director staff was friendly and energetic. I think people generally liked the ports of call but our family is not really big beach people so we enjoyed the ports of call on our Alaska cruise better. One thing to note is that in Cozumel we did some shopping in Punta Langosta and I have read a lot of complaints about the pushy locals trying to sell you stuff. It really isn't that bad. We bought some things and bartered to get lower prices. We had lunch at Jimmy Buffetts and I would say the food was average. They do have good margaritas. It was a party atmosphere and the staff has fun. I liked it there because they were playing a lot of 80s music but my wife and son thought it was too loud. The one negative I would have about cruise is that your ship account can really add up quickly. Mixed drinks are 10-12 dollars and sodas 3 dollars. We did not drink enough for the beverage packages to be worthwhile so the dollars start adding up. Also the kids wanted to play bingo and deal or no deal. $39 bucks for a bingo card really? So although we payed less sticker price for this cruise by time we were finished it pretty much ended up a wash compared to the others we were on. Disembarkation was not nearly as smooth as getting on the ship the line was long and it took over an hour to clear customs. We purchased a ride to the airport through the cruise line and no one knew where the buses were located. We had to ask several people for directions. Despite a few glitches I have to say the ship was great, service was excellent, amenities were top notch, and we had a great time. I really liked the dining options with NCL compared to other cruise lines. We dressed as well or better than most people for dinner but it sure was nice not to have to pack a suit for this trip. I will definitely be looking at NCL in the future. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This was our 1st cruise to the Western Caribbean, our 1st time leaving out of Port of Houston, and our 2nd ever cruise on NCL (10 years ago). Cons The embarkation process was not a great start to the trip. We stood in line to ... Read More
This was our 1st cruise to the Western Caribbean, our 1st time leaving out of Port of Houston, and our 2nd ever cruise on NCL (10 years ago). Cons The embarkation process was not a great start to the trip. We stood in line to check in for over an hour. Of the other 10 or so cruises we have been on, we have never experienced a line like this, nor have ever waited in line for more than 15 minutes. The tender process for Belize and Roatan was a nightmare never experienced before. People began lining up almost an hour prior, just to receive tender tickets. Once tendering began, there were very few boats being used for the process, ticket numbers were being called very slowly. In Belize, we waited patiently for our tender number to be called, however the next day in Roatan, we said screw it and sneaked our way on a much earlier tender. *****Trick is to take the stairs to the tender deck 4, Not the elevator, you will come to the tender ticket check point at deck 5 staircase, hide your tender tickets, and say you are meeting family in their cabin on deck 4, they will let you pass to go to the next deck down, blend in with everyone else in line. This saved us about another hour and a half of waiting for our tender. Again, never experienced this much hassle to tender, a major turnoff. The food was very sub-par. We never ate in any of the specialty additional cost locations, many of the times we have in the past we were not impressed for the quality we got for the price we paid. We have always found the food in the regular dining rooms to be just as good if not better. We ate one night in Alizar, the food was very bland with no flavor. The same was for Jasmine. On 2 nights we ate at the Grand Pacific main dining room and the food here was much better than our other experiences on the ship. Buffet for breakfast was standard, however for dinner, it was not very good. Many buffet items were either under-cooked or over-cooked. The ship felt very over crowded, especially in the public rooms and by the pool. Many of the other lines we have been on did not feel this way. Ordering drinks was a hassle as well. We had the UBP however there are hardly any drink servers walking around the lounges and pool, you are forced to go to the bar and wait in a long line since there were only ever 1-2 bartenders working at a very slow pace. Staff was not as friendly and knowledgable as I have experienced on other ships. The casino dealers did not seem too familiar with some of the table games or payouts for wins. The positives The entertainment was great. We went to a few of the shows and thought they were fantastic. The comedian was great, and the production show Elements was incredible and worth the hype. On night 1 we discovered a guitar/singer in the Magnums bar named Carlos, he was the most amazing musician we have seen on a cruise. He was instantly a crowd favorite and the lounge was packed every night to hear him perform. I highly recommend the Magnums Lounge with Carlos performing nightly. The kids club for our daughter was fantastic. She had a lot of fun with the different theme night and the kids club staff was very energetic, outgoing and wonderful. Overall, we made the best of the trip, cruising is cruising so who can complain being at sea with sunshine and creating memories. Based upon this experience however, we will probably not repeat with Norwegian and stick mainly to Princess. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We just disembarked the Norwegian Jade. We enjoyed a 7 day cruise from Houston to Cozumel, Belize and Roatan. This is our second Norwegian Cruise. Our daughters, ages 10 & 14, were eager to participate in the Kids/Teen Club and engaged ... Read More
We just disembarked the Norwegian Jade. We enjoyed a 7 day cruise from Houston to Cozumel, Belize and Roatan. This is our second Norwegian Cruise. Our daughters, ages 10 & 14, were eager to participate in the Kids/Teen Club and engaged in as many Kids Club/Teen Club activities as they could fit into our schedule. When we sailed on the Norwegian Dawn two years ago, we stayed in a stateroom with a picture window. Our three daughters stayed in the stateroom across the hall from our room. Our oldest daughter was 19 and stayed with our younger daughters across the hall. Our picture window stateroom was very comfortable for the two of us and our girls were very comfortable in their inside stateroom with bunkbeds. This year, we stayed in a stateroom on the 11th floor with a Balcony. We comfortably fit 4 of us in the stateroom. Our cabin steward was very attentive and kept our room well stocked and tidy twice a day. He quickly learned all of our names and greeted us daily with a warm smile and conversation. We did not purchase the drinks package. We averaged about two cocktails each day, so the drinks package would not have been necessary for us. We ate at all of the main dining rooms on the Jade. We enjoyed each of the restaurants. On Day 2 of the cruise, our 14 year old was nauseated from the “rough seas.” She sat down with us, but did not want to eat. When I explained to our waiter that she was not feeling very good, he took it upon himself to bring her a cut up apple and gave her suggestions on what she could do to help alleviate her discomfort. The Norwegian Jade has a fabulous “Quiet Zone” tanning deck with plenty of available seating/lounge chairs at the front of the ship. The area is away from the pool, music and food, but it was perfect for quiet relaxation and provided a beautiful view of the Gulf of Mexico…just my style. Since we sailed during Spring Break in March, the ship was at full capacity. There were plenty of college students on board. We coexisted just fine…they were reasonably respectful and polite. The entire crew did a fantastic job meeting our needs and making a point of interacting with all of us…from our Cabin Steward, to the Excursion staff to the buffet servers and bussers to the bar tenders and wait staff. The shows were great and very entertaining. We especially enjoyed the Elements Show and the comedian. The magician was fabulous too. We had to tender off the ship in Belize and Roatan. There were several negative comments regarding the long lines waiting for tender boats so they could go on their scheduled excursions. We did not have an issue with the lines, however, we are early risers and made sure we arrived 15 minutes early to tender off the ship. We also tendered back to the ship earlier, so the lines did not affect us. We were able to participate in our excursions and see as much as we wanted to see in the short amount of time we were in each port. Our cruise from Boston to Bermuda on the Dawn (June 2014) was pretty amazing. We were in port for three days, which allowed us a lot more freedom to explore Bermuda at our own pace. We were able to dock right in Bermuda, so tendering was not necessary. Bermuda is a very friendly, safe island. We took full advantage of the bus passes, which included the water taxi service. We enjoyed the local restaurants in Bermuda and asked the locals for recommendations for quieter beaches, away from the crowds. We left the ship early in the morning and stayed in Bermuda as late as the last bus/water taxi ran to port. Norwegian Cruise Line does a fantastic job making memorable vacations. Our family highly recommends NCL for your family’s next cruise. If college age kids scare you, I would suggest you stay away from Spring Break time…but the crew of NCL will accommodate your freestyling cruising needs regardless of when you go. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
This was our sixth cruise and my parents first. We took our two children, ages 5 and 7 as well. We drove from the Dallas area and my parents drove from San Antonio. We all stayed at the Best Western Suites close to the port since ... Read More
This was our sixth cruise and my parents first. We took our two children, ages 5 and 7 as well. We drove from the Dallas area and my parents drove from San Antonio. We all stayed at the Best Western Suites close to the port since they offer free breakfast and parking. The hotel was ok, but I did see moldy spots in the bathroom, very poor construction/repair work done around the hotel that looked shabby. Beds were ok. Hotel staff were very courteous and responsive. The food was decent. They were fairly organized getting us to and from port. Overall, the hotel was fine. *********************************THE CABINS**************** We had two balcony rooms. My parent's room was on the Aloha and ours was on Baja. Their bed(s) were nicer than ours. (two twins) My husband is still recovering from back pain from the awful beds. The bed was worse than some Motel 6 beds. It was really, really worn down. We even bring a tempurpedic pad with us, that is an inch and a half thick and it still didn't help. On the third day, the nearly non-existent cabin steward brought us a egg crate pad as well. It helped some, but my husband is 6'1" and 200 pounds. A non supportive bed is really hard on him. :( The room size seemed fine for my parents, but it really became frustrating with 4 of us in this room. There was not ever enough room for us to 'unpack' fully and we never got organized enough to feel comfortable. We were always looking for stuff and having to pull out a million things to get to the items we needed. We have been on Carnival Magic, Sensation, Dream, Conquest, and Disney Magic in balcony rooms. This is the smallest room we've ever had. We barely saw our room guy but at least our bed was made when we got to the room. My parents got a wonderful steward for their room. They were raving about him. The bunkbed my daughter was in was rattling ALL night long the first two nights. So, I got so frustrated that I moved the mattress to the floor and had her sleep there. It stopped the rattling! But, now we had to step over her to get to the bathroom in the night!!! ++++++++++++++++SHIP ACTIVITIES++++++++++++++++++ ++++++++++++++++KIDS CLUB We went on a ship tour as soon as we got there and were excited to check out the kids club. I was disappointed when I saw the pathetic facilities compared to some of the other ships we have been on. However, this is one of the nice surprises. The kids LOVED being in there. They had many, many activities planned and kept the kids engaged enough that they always wanted to go back! Very good job on that, Princess! +++++++++++++++++++NIGHT LIFE+++++++++++++++ We always try to go out late once or twice on a cruise, so we decided to go out one night until midnight. We walked through all the bars first, then headed to karoake. Karoake was a blast. People were being crazy. I was a little disturbed that some parents were letting their little kids hang out in there after 10... ours were in the kids club! We decided to wander up to the 'dance club', Skywalkers, around 11:30. When we got down there, it was full of cigarette smoke and they were playing a bunch of country music. (not our preference) Ugh. The smoke was the worst. So, we headed back to karoake. They were closing it down for the night when we got there and a bunch of people were leaving disappointed. :( When we walked into the other bar areas, those were shutting down as well??? There were LOTS of people still awake and walking around. I can't believe they would miss the opportunity to sell alcohol! Especially to those of us that don't smoke and didn't want to go into Skywalkers. Needless to say, we called it a night. ++++++++++Shows++++++++++++++ there were only two production shows that I saw on our agenda. Unfortunately, we missed both. But, usually there are shows every night on other ships, so I was disappointed with that. I was hoping my parents would get a full cruise experience. We were treating them for their 50th wedding anniversary. :( DINING +++++++++ROOM SERVICE+++++++++++++++++ Breakfast delivery was timely. The coffee was good. The pastries were almost always stale. :( My kids wouldn't even eat them. The cereal selection is for older people. Absolutely no cereal choices for kids. (like fruit loops, not even cheerios!) The same thing goes at the buffet as far as cereal! No smoked salmon on room service, either. :( We ordered sandwiches by room services late at night once. I requested plain, turkey sandwiches. I said "NO MAYO, NO TOMATO, NO LETTUCE.. PLAIN" three times to a guy that barely comprehended English. Sure enough, 30-40 minutes later, I get sandwiches with different combination of toppings. I try to call back and the phone rings and rings and rings. I ended up throwing away 4 sandwiches because someone couldn't understand what I said. ++++++++++++++MAIN DINING ROOM++++++++++++++++++ Me and my husband agree that the food was not great the first three nights. Dried salmon, over-cooked meats, etc. The food just wasn't what we were used to on a cruise. But, either they got a fresh shipment or a new cook, because the food seemed a lot better on day 4 on in the MDR. The lobster and prawn on formal night was fantastic. The desserts weren't as good as Carnival, though. ++++++++++BUFFET+++++++++++++++++++ There was a lot of food on the buffet that looked good, but tasted bad. We wasted a lot. :( I was happy to see smoked salmon on the buffet at least ONE morning. AND it was fabulous. On other mornings, they had other smoked fish. I wish I had tried them now. For breakfast, there was slightly disappointing corn beef hash, fried eggs on a tray to grab, egg omelets, sauteed mushrooms, etc. , and the elderly's finest selection of cereals and yogurts. Fruit was also available. The evening buffet was better than the MDR in a lot of cases, but still many dishes that need improvement. And, not to be snobby, but the presentation just didn't seem to be what we have become accustom to. I felt like I was eating at Golden Corral sometimes. One other thing about the ship that I saw in other posts--- sewer smell. Yes, I saw the reviews before and thought someone was just over-reacting. Nope. Sewer smell, especially on certain decks, and bathrooms. There are a lot of places that stink unfortunately. It wasn't in our room or in any of the areas we were staying in, so that was nice. :) We could avoid it. SHORE EXCURSIONS Playa MIA- The food was ok. Guacomole is good. Everything else is just edible. Drinks were drinks. Had a lot of alcohol. The beach water was very dirty for Cozumel. We could barely see through it. I had a drunk person fall into my back when I was on the floating water trampoline thing. It didn't feel good. I was worried for my small children when we got out there. I got them out of there as soon as I saw how stupid some of the adults were being. It would have been fun otherwise. the waterpark was nice to play in when we were done at the beach. The kids loved it. Little French Key This was not through the cruise line, so we had to leave the cruise terminal and walk up the 'hill'. We have done this before when we went on Victor Bodden's tour. It looks safer than it used to be. There is a security guard at the top of the hill. It's hot waiting. Bring WATER! We loved our day at Little French Key!! It was so beautiful. Our favorite stop. Even the food was good! I want to go back already. Goff's Cay Beautiful, but primitive. I could see some people loving this, others hating it. I was somewhere in between. The boat ride could have been better. It was so rough. 30 minutes, too! My poor mom looked terrified. I was hoping she wouldn't have a heart attack! My dad said it hurt his back. There were only two restrooms on this island that they dump about 500 people on per day apparently. There were a lot of drunks because the alcohol is strong. Be forewarned though- the rum punch is the same color as the kids punch. Bring water for your kids! The beach is really nice for the kids- it goes forever without getting very deep. The food was ok, but the smoke from the wood! That smoke burned my eyes for two hours. It was horrible. I don't have allergies of any kind, but that just about crippled me when I walked through the path of that smoke! My mom said it bothered her too. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We are experienced cruisers, but this is the first time we have ever cruised with Princess. 29 members of our extended family joined us over Spring Break to help celebrate our parents' 60th wedding anniversary. The staff was very ... Read More
We are experienced cruisers, but this is the first time we have ever cruised with Princess. 29 members of our extended family joined us over Spring Break to help celebrate our parents' 60th wedding anniversary. The staff was very helpful in making the celebration -- and the entire week -- special. The food in the Palms dining room was very good -- in fact, the best lobster I've ever eaten. The prime rib was a bit disappointing, but the other beef dishes were very tasty. I was not terribly impressed with the quality of the fish dishes other than the lobster, but I am very particular about my fish. My daughter-in-law, granddaughters and I are all on a gluten-free, dairy-free diet and the staff was very diligent about ensuring that we had gluten-free bread, muffins, pasta and other gluten-free choices as well as special desserts prepared without dairy or gluten. The shows in the Princess Theater was outstanding -- especially Piano Man and Bravo! We enjoyed the Voice of the Seas competition on the final night, although the way they set it up, the singer who was clearly the crowd favorite was bumped out by the three judges. There were plenty of activities to keep us busy from movies under the stars to bingo to lounging by the pool -- and the spa offered some very nice options (and great massages). Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
We booked this cruise when we first found out about it arriving in Houston. The reviews when it first started sailing were not very good, and we were nervous about what to expect. From embarkation to disembarkation we were pleasantly ... Read More
We booked this cruise when we first found out about it arriving in Houston. The reviews when it first started sailing were not very good, and we were nervous about what to expect. From embarkation to disembarkation we were pleasantly surprised. We chose the arrival time of 10:30 am and were on board by 11:30 am. We were told that rooms would all by ready by 1 pm, but we only had to wait until noon for ours. We carried on all of our luggage so we could set up the room promptly. The safety briefing was at 3 pm and was not as stressful as other ones we have been through. Lunch was ready on Deck 12 and we only had to wait 5 minutes to get a drink at the bar. The cruise was sold out, but since it is a smaller ship we never had to wait more than a few minutes for anything (I.e. food, drinks, towels), except when we had to get tender tickets to the Belize and Roatan (send one person to get in line EARLY for those (Deck 12). The Welcome Aboard show was good and not as cheesy as other ones I've seen. The Soul show had a lot of great talent, but was inappropriate for young children so you probably want to take them to Splash Academy for that one. The illusion show was great, and Elements was definitely Vegas worthy. That brings up another topic- Splash Academy. Our daughter only went a few times, and it seemed like trun of the mill children's program, nothing negative and nothing fantastic. As far as dining goes, we ate at the Garden Cafe frequently since it was convenient and my daughter (6) loved the "washy washy man" named Prince who danced and sang as he sprayed everyone's hands with sanitizer. The reviews about the food being the same on the buffet every day are mostly true, but there is so much to offer that I didn't try half of the things the buffet offered. We had dinner several times at Alazar and had great servers. Grand Pacific is the main complementary dining hall and no shorts are allowed at dinner, so we ate there for lunch. We ate at Blue Lagoon once (24/7 comfort food) and I was not found of the menu and the servers were polite, but not very attentive. We were content with the food offerings and did not choose to eat at any specialty restaurants. In Cozumel we got off the ship easily and we chose to go to the Allegro resort through shoreexcursioneer.com. The resort was very nice and the grounds were well kept. It was extremely quiet and the bar tenders and other employees that we interacted with did not have much personality. The food was not great, but we loved the mojitos and ended up being happy with our excursion. In Belize City we also booked from that website and chose to do the Goff's Caye beach and snorkel tour. It was a bumpy 30 minute boat ride over to the island, but once we got there it was worth every minute. The water was crystal clear and the staff was amazing. They helped my daughter on her first snorkeling adventure and they seemed to have a true love for their jobs and their country. In Roatan we booked a day pass (from a website) to Little French Key. This was the best part of our trip. Words can't describe how much it felt like paradise. There are over 1,500 reviews on TripAdvisor along with pictures. They don't have the leopard anymore, but they still have the other animals. Both the food and drinks were spectacular. Disembarkation went pretty well compared to other cruise lines I've been on. It would be smart to pack the night before and plan on getting up early, because the ship arrives in port much earlier than the disembarkation time and they started calling for people an hour prior to the time on the paper they gave us. Again, we decided to tote our own luggage through customs. I thought it was going to be a long and grueling process because it was too windy to use the gangways, but it only ended up taking 40 minutes from the time we left our room until the time we cleared customs. Overall this trip exceeded our expectations based on the negative reviews we read. We would go on it again next year if it wasn't leaving Houston. The only reason I didn't rate it excellent is because it doesn't offer quite as many amenities and activities as other ships, but it is well worth the money. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
Cons: This cruise line does not compare to Carnival or Royal Caribbean. We will not sail with Norwegian in the future. First, the ship smells terrible; like a hospital cafeteria. The food is average at best and service is not what we ... Read More
Cons: This cruise line does not compare to Carnival or Royal Caribbean. We will not sail with Norwegian in the future. First, the ship smells terrible; like a hospital cafeteria. The food is average at best and service is not what we expected. Numerous times we called the service hotline and could not get anyone to answer. In order to get an iron, you must call then wait on other guest to return a checked out iron and board. By the time the iron arrives, you will be eating dinner in a wrinkled shirt. There are only 4 choices for dining unless you want to pay an up charge. Two of the four complementary dining options have the exact same menu. Guests must pay to play pool, eat lobster or sushi, or drink a coffee from the coffee bar. There is basically no dress code and the dining areas include women in formals, girls in t-shirts and exercise pants and everything in between. Elevators were not working on departure day...so hundreds of guests had to drag suitcases, small children and elderly family members down never-ending flights if stairs. Pros: The breakfast buffet has delicious sticky buns that are warm and freshly made each day. Entertainment in Spinnakers lounge was great (game shows and team challenges). Staff was generally friendly and poolside band was great. Read Less
Sail Date March 2016

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