My girlfriend and I sailed 12/26 - 01/02 on the Norwegian Jade. Our other experience with Caribbean style vacations have been in Cancun at all-inclusive resorts. My review will consist of our ratings of the ship, service, food, ... Read More
My girlfriend and I sailed 12/26 - 01/02 on the Norwegian Jade. Our other experience with Caribbean style vacations have been in Cancun at all-inclusive resorts. My review will consist of our ratings of the ship, service, food, activities, and excursions.
We decided to take almost all of the advice contained in our check in paperwork from NCL. We flew the day before embarkation, and stayed at a hotel within 25 miles of port. On embarkation day, our paperwork advised us to show up between 1:30 and 2:00. It stated not to arrive outside this window, as you would be asked to wait until your time, or may be late. We arrived at 1:35 and got in line. Line took about :30. The young lady checked our passports and documents, but was unable to answer any other questions we had about the cruise. We headed for the gangway and boarded. We researched very well, and knew exactly how to get to our stateroom. We stayed obstructed ocean view, port, mid. The room was decent, but the bed was very uncomfortable. The A/C remained on the coolest setting all week, and still did not get comfortable. There was plenty of room for our 3 suitcases, toiletries, etc. The view was not ideal, but we were able to see to one side of a lifeboat whether we were near land or not.
Our steward: at first impression he was adequate, offering extra towels and information about the safety drill. Sleeping was a challenge due to temperature, and lack of comfort of the bed. Due to the A/C issue, we sweated a bit, and we requested all of the sheets be changed every other night. The comforter and towels were changed, but never the fitted sheet. We also found our "fresh" pillowcases with stains. We had communication issues all week, and we still don't believe he understands english. This contributed to many issues including overcharges on laundry, and others.
We had a few drinks while still in port, and were skeptical when the bartender told us despite the fact that our tabs were around $16, we would only end up paying the tax on each tab until we reached international waters; that was true.
After spending $3000 on the cruise, we decided not to spend any more on the "premium" dining options onboard. We tried all of the restaurants included in our cruise price. First was Grand Pacific. We waited about 10 minutes to be seated, and about 15 minutes to see our waitress after being seated. It was as if the cruise staff was not expecting the amount of cruisers on the ship. Our waitress took our orders for drinks, apps, and entrees all at once. She returned to our table 2 times total, once for drinks and apps, and once for entrees. Our food was bland, and barely warm.
We began exploring the ship. The bartenders were friendly and upbeat everywhere we went. Unfortunately they were the only staff on the ship, with the exception of a few, that were professional and seemed to care.
Sunday morning we attempted to have breakfast at the buffet. The food was poor quality, and not hot. This continued to be the case throughout the week.
We attempted to participate in several activities, and several times, we arrived to empty rooms or areas, where the activities never happened.
Monday we arrived in Cozumel. We did not prepay for any excursions, due to the high costs, and I'm glad we didn't. At each port, we found that you can easily fulfill any of the excursions sold by NCL for much cheaper than their prices. You can also barter prices and times with the tour operators,taxis, etc. We observed hundreds of fellow NCL guests waiting in the hot sun for later tours, when they could have saved money, and gone on the "sold out" earlier tour if they chose to haggle once in port. We got off the boat(free) and did some shopping at the mall. The quality and prices of typical tourist souvenirs are similar at all 3 ports.
Tuesday we arrived near Belize. The waves were rough, and we decided not to leave the ship.
Wednesday we arrived at Roatan, and boarded the tender for the island. We grabbed some seats at Monkey Lala's and waited for the lines to dissipate before haggling with a cabbie for a round trip to the west end for $50. They even threw in a translator (who tried to sell us all kinds of things). The west end beach was gorgeous, and americanized enough for us to enjoy a fantastic pizza, and a few drinks at the Thirty Turtle. We may plan a return visit here via airplane. Last tender back to the ship was supposed to be at 5:00, but at 5:15, we found more seats at Monkey Lala to wait for the enormous line to dissipate.
The meals continued to be bland, cold, and flavorless, except for Jasmine Garden. This was our only solace in a world of terrible cuisine. I recommend you request Lady as your waitress. She, along with bartenders Aan (pool deck and martini bar) and Garfield (Great Outdoors) were the only 3 members of the NCL team that understood how to provide excellent service, and go out of their ways to make sure we felt appreciated as NCL guests.
We could not wait to disembark Saturday morning. We chose the "freestyle" plan, and were anxiously awaiting clearance to get off the nightmare that was the Jade. Read Less