55 Houston Senior Cruise Reviews

We took this cruise with the expectation of going thru the Panama canal locks. Found out that the ship was too long. Having cruised on NCL,RCCL and Celebrity, we were disappointed in the overall lower quality compared to competitors. ... Read More
We took this cruise with the expectation of going thru the Panama canal locks. Found out that the ship was too long. Having cruised on NCL,RCCL and Celebrity, we were disappointed in the overall lower quality compared to competitors. #1. Balcony cabin size is not worth the additional cost. #2. This ship has too much vibration in the stern area. #3. Several areas had foul odors (sewage), and reports of poor functioning of cabin and public restrooms. #4. The buffet restaurants food was usually cold especially fried eggs and various meats. #5. The meals at the dining rooms were average, with rushed service. #6. The entertainment theater was insufficient in size -- poor ships scheduling. With the system of pre-paid gratuities, one can expect less attention from cabin and dining room personnel. Overall, this was our least enjoyable cruise, having been on more than ten, in the past twenty years. 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
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
This was my 5th cruise, but my first cruise with Princess. I have sailed with Disney and with Carnival for my other cruises. I absolutely love cruising and being out on the ocean, and try to look at the brighter side of things when things ... Read More
This was my 5th cruise, but my first cruise with Princess. I have sailed with Disney and with Carnival for my other cruises. I absolutely love cruising and being out on the ocean, and try to look at the brighter side of things when things happen because I believe it's what you make it. This cruise tested me and my attitude, that's for sure. I took my niece for this cruise, this is her 3rd cruise, and it was quite the adventure we will never forget. She was turning 14 at the end of the cruise, so it was a celebration while on board, but I'll cover that in a bit. We drove to Houston on Saturday, March 5th, and stayed at the Marriott by Courtyard at NASA. It was a nice hotel, and we enjoyed it. No complaints other than there was no "free" breakfast, but we knew that before we booked, and planned on eating lunch on the ship, so it wasn't a concern. Driving into the hotel was beautiful, there were structures of astronauts and planets and lovely palm trees. We stayed in an accessible room apparently, as we had a doorbell and none of our surrounding rooms did, but being a child of someone who requires accessible rooms, I wasn't impressed at anything else in that area, as the doorbell and light was the only thing I noticed that was really different than any other room. The room was clean and very spacious. There was a desk with a chair and also a sitting chair. There also was an iPod dock (something we read about in the advertisement when we booked the room), but it was for older apple devices, as the charging port was the larger style instead of the smaller newer ones. No biggie since we brought our own chargers for the cruise. We got up and drove to the port, it was an easy drive, about 10 minutes away. We prepaid for parking and saved $5. We dropped off luggage with a porter first, then we had to drive all the way back around and check in with the ticket booth. We were directed where to park and the shuttle was right behind the car waiting to pick us up to take us back to the building. We had to stop at a table and fill out a health questionnaire and then proceeded into line and was quickly checked in. We were handed two ship maps/deck plans with our cabin number on it. We both traveled with our birth certificates, and nothing was ever said about her not being with another adult or not being my child, but I had a notarized statement ready just in case, as well as my marriage certificate, as we have been asked to provide both on previous cruises (but not every time). Back to back boarded first, and then we were able to board. We went straight to our cabin, R407. It was an inside cabin that was sideways. Pictures I had previously found online led me to believe the cabin was much larger than it actually was. We have stayed in sideways cabins before (on DCL) and it was our favorite, but I was shocked at the size (or lack of) of this cabin. Our cabin steward came and introduced himself. We checked out the bathroom, and I'm still trying to get over how incredibly small the shower was. This was the smallest room, the smallest bathroom and the smallest safe I have ever had. I have a hipster Vera Bradley purse, and it wouldn't fit in the safe. So I tried putting my folder of documents in there, and it wouldn't fit either (it's a regular size folder). I also noticed there was no drain in the bathroom floor (other than the actual shower drain), like I'm used to on Carnival, and I did flood the bathroom several times (even the water didn't have enough room in that shower! Ha!) We pre-ordered the Sodas and More package, and was expecting the cups to be in our stateroom, but they weren't. Once we unpacked (our luggage arrived while we were unpacking our carry on luggage), we decided to go explore and have lunch. I stopped at a table they had set up for the beverage packages and asked about the cups, and he stated if you pre-order the package, you no longer receive the cups. I stated that that was disappointing and ridiculous. We did receive the cups in our cabin on the 3rd night with a note saying we pre-ordered that, and that we prepaid our gratuities. I also requested on the last night a cake be delivered for my niece's birthday, they also informed me the door would have some decorations. I brought some just in case, because I noticed every time I spoke with someone on the phone about anything, it was different every time, so I wanted to be prepared. Of course, there were not any decorations, so I hung my own, and the next night, we had the ship decorations added. We went to lunch at one of the sit-down restaurants and met some really nice people. We had to share the table with 3 other couples. Lunch was good, service was quick, especially the drinks (Carnival I feel fails in this area). After lunch I stopped by Guest Services to see if there is a limit I could put on my niece's card, and they informed me that isn't how it worked, but I could block some spending from bars, shops and casinos. I just left it alone, as I felt she was responsible enough and we had agreed on an amount. Turns out, there wasn't really anything either of us was interested in buying in the whole 7 days, so she didn't spend a single penny. We were both pretty disappointed with that. The night before we left, we found out we weren't going to be visiting Princess Cays (VERY disappointing), so we went to the excursion desk to try to find something for Nassau (they replaced PC with Nassau), so we booked the Discover Atlantis tour. Then it was time to go to the Muster Drill. We had to take our life jackets (you don't on CCL and DCL), but at least the drill was indoors. We also had to try on our life jackets which scared my niece because she already knew about the generator, and being that in depth of a drill, she wasn't used to, so she was nervous. After that, we went to the "Sail Away Party", but left early because it wasn't much of a party at all, at least not to our standards. We made our last phone calls before putting our phones on airplane mode and got connected to the Princess @ Sea app. You have to find your account number to add people to your list, and you don't get notified of any new messages, so the only thing we wound up using the app for was checking our stateroom balance. She was pre-registered for the youth club (the teen one, Remix). There were 70 total kids onboard. 70. Out of 3,000 + people, only 70 of them were children. It was spring break in Texas. I had heard that Princess is labeled as "Heaven's waiting room", and after this cruise, we believe it! There were scooters, canes & walkers EVERYWHERE. I have NOTHING against that, like I stated before, one of my parents is disabled, and uses a scooter, and a cane, and I am fully aware of the need for those things, and have respect and courtesy for those people, but I can't figure out how we didn't have power failure at night when all of those things had to recharge! I had never in my life seen so many. We finally made an ongoing joke the whole cruise to see how many groups we could find - knitters, readers, card players, and bar hoppers. (Every single time we went by this one bar, the same couple was there, and in the same seats.. seriously - every. single.time.) This cruise / cruise line / ship is not for young families or children. They seemed to have one CD that they played on repeat the entire 7 days in all of the public spaces, and about the "newest" pop song on it was "Shake It Off" by Taylor Swift. We went to dinner in the Island Dining Room (we had anytime dining) around 5:15 and had no wait. The service was good, the food was alright. We went to the 7:00 "Welcome Aboard" show. It was okay. The theater was small to have a ship occupancy of 3,000 + people. It wasn't like Carnival, but more like Disney. Arms on each seat instead of couches, and in one side of the arm, there is a table you can pull out- but if you have any size stomach at all, don't count on using that. Around 10 we went to the room, basically for a lack of anything else to do. We figured maybe tomorrow would be better since it's a day at sea, usually there are lots of activities happening on those, so we were looking forward to it. Turns out, every single day was a bore. I am one of those people who cringe when I hear someone say they are bored. I was raised not to say that, and that there is always something to do, but I was actually bored on this cruise. They had a holiday sale, and the shirts were $10 each. We got excited and ran to the shirt table, to find that the shirts said Western Caribbean, Cozumel, Belize and Roatan. (NOTE - our ports were Eastern Caribbean, Key West, Freeport and Nassau)..... I still can't figure that out. Another day, they had a "special" sale - 2 shirts for $20. IT WAS THE SAME EXACT SHIRTS. And, it's the same exact price!! We are still laughing about that one. On the "Fun Day At Sea", there were events like golf chipping in the pool, some movies, the shopping spotlight show (which we think should be renamed "The Diamonds International Show" - as that was 95% of what was discussed..... for nearly 2 hours.) The free gifts were some bamboo lei's, a Del-Sol tote bag, 1 shirt, 1 frisbee and a "diamond" necklace. This night was formal night, and people do go formal pretty well on this ship (comparing to CCL). The lines were SO long for dinner, we decided to go back, get "normal", and head to the buffet. We didn't want to miss the show (that's about the only thing exciting we had been waiting for all day). The buffet was good, and actually, due to menus in the dining room, we ate the buffet nearly every night. One night they had fried chicken on the menu, so we went, and sat next to a lady who informed us fried chicken was one of the worst things you could put in your body, and we had to hear a health speech during the whole dinner. The fried chicken was gross, and we couldn't eat it. We hit the buffet after the show. Note - I normally NEVER miss dining in dining rooms for dinner. In fact, out of 5 cruises, this was the first time I had ever eaten in the dining room, so eating in there nearly every night really says something!! I normally love dressing up and going to the MDR and enjoying the atmosphere, but not here. Not this time. We went to the comedian's show in the Explorer's Lounge. A lot of shows and games were hosted in this lounge, and if you want to go, get there AT LEAST 30 mins. early to get a good seat (We usually shot for an hour). The comedian was hilarious and the best part of the cruise! We were sad he didn't win Entertainer of the Year (that was happening during this sailing). We hit the Captain's Welcome Aboard "Party", and saw the "champagne waterfall", and the line of people to take a picture of themselves supposedly pouring some champagne, but the captain actually did the pouring, and it really wasn't a waterfall. It took 12 bottles, so you can imagine how long that took, with people stepping up a small ladder, smiling, pour a few dashes, and then the next person came. We went to a few game shows they had onboard, Majority Rules, Marriage Game Show, Liar's Club, Yes/No Game Show (our favorite), etc. You don't want to miss the Yes/No Game Show, it's pretty funny watching people try to avoid saying yes and no for 3 minutes, and most people can't make it. The evening show in the theater was Born to Be Wild or something like that. We sat in the middle of the 2nd row. The rows are close together in that once your in, you don't leave until it's over if you are in the middle. We never sat in the middle again. This show was supposed to be about a road trip and had songs such as "Life is A Highway", "I've Been Everywhere", etc. I'm still trying to figure out why the female dancers dressed as night walkers (thong leotards, SUPER mini skirts, bras, etc.), and danced as if the only thing missing was a pole. My niece turned and looked at me when the thong lady came out during "Life is a Highway", and our jaws were both dropped. Now, the old man in front of us was clapping and cheering, and we thought he may have a heart attack he was so excited. I would have been REALLY upset if my child was younger. I just don't understand the need for that with those kinds of songs, and for a "family" friendly show. After the show, we walked around the upper decks to see if anything was happening (we usually don't go to bed until around 3 am on CCL and DCL), and usually by 10:30 this ship was pretty well shut down other than the casino and the piano bar. The next day was supposed to be Key West, but as we sailed right by it, it was decided that it was going to be cancelled. The captain came on the intercom system and said due to the wind we were not able to dock. Trust me, the ship's atmosphere REALLY sank after that!! We ran to the shore excursions desk to find something to do in Freeport now, as we were just going to "wing it" since we knew we would be having lots of fun in Key West and in Nassau, but now, I was determined the rest of this trip was not going to be ruined. Of course, like everyone else, the whole reason we picked this week was for KW and PC, and now that both were cancelled, I was rather irritated that I didn't just wait a week (the next week is my spring break and I was off). I do understand the weather is out of people's control, but I don't understand about Princess Cays. Supposedly the generator was not working correctly and we were informed we wouldn't be able to travel at full speeds, but we did. There was a lot of discussion about that among passengers. Before the 1:00 port time, there wasn't much going on, Knitters & Knatters, Back Pain Relief, Jewelry sales, Art sales, etc. They announced they would be putting out a new Princess Patters that would start at 1:00 with new activities. Not much was offered different from before, with the exception of a few games (pictionary, etc.) Pretty disappointing day. I had been looking forward to the Stargazing that they have been advertising a lot, and I love stars, but it was too windy, so they cancelled that also. The employee stated they would try it again on our last night at sea, so I was hopeful (NOTE - the last night at sea was gorgeous, and I have never seen the moon shine on the sea quite like it did that night - and NO, they did not reschedule stargazing!!) For Freeport, the Shore Excursion employee recommended we do the All-Inclusive Beach, and we did. There wasn't an option to not do all-inclusive, and most of the choices were garden tours, history tours, etc., so we jumped on this opportunity even though we don't drink. We met off the ship in the pier, and had an A/C bus ride to the beach (about 20 mins away), and it was only us cruise passengers. It was a BEAUTIFUL beach. They did serve alcohol to an underage kiddo - more than once actually - because he and my niece became friendly (I told her after watching him partake of the drinking games 3 times and downing shots like it was nothing - she is to no longer hang out with him!). His parents were busy doing their own thing - like they did the whole entire cruise. It was apparent this kid has his own room with his little brother and mom and dad didn't have any control or care what happened, as he even talked about the bar staff on board giving him drinks one night when we all had dinner together. (This was before the beach, and I thought he was just trying to be a big shot in front of my niece, I now realize he was probably serious, and he probably drank it!) We tried to make it to the magic show for 2 of the shows, but couldn't find a seat for the one did in the Explorer's Lounge. Each contestant for Entertainer of the Year performed 2 shows - one in Explorer's Lounge (the place you need to get to 30-1 hr ahead of time), and one in the main theater. Each show was supposed to be different. My niece stood the whole time for this magic show in the back, but I went and sat in the Piazza area and people watched. The night before the last night, at 4 something in the morning, we awoke to our drawers flying open, hangers banging, and some strange noises. Come to find out, we were in the middle of a pretty bad storm. Most all of us and our neighbors were out of the cabins (pj's and wild hair and all!) and several of us went to the top deck to see what was happening, and then down to deck 7. I have some video of the waves from deck 7, and it was really something! It was a LONG night that night, because by this time, we were so done with this cruise, and now the storm, and we were just ready to go home. I also wanted to note, there were no towel animals in our cabin. To some, that's probably not a big deal at all, but it's pretty sad for us when it's something you look forward to. The service on this ship was great and overall speedy. I really enjoyed having the Sodas & More package, we enjoyed a total of 73 mocktails over 7 nights, so it was worth the price for us ($8.05 per person, per day). We went to one of the "Fun Deck Parties" one night, and it was literally just me and my niece, and one person walking by.. which I also have on video, because I knew my friends and family back home would find it hilarious, comparing to what we've done before. Overall, if you are 70+, you will probably enjoy this ship. And I don't mean that to be rude, not by any means!!! If you are looking for nothing to do, you will enjoy this ship. But don't go expecting to have fun in the same sense you would on a CCL or DCL ship (Again - I don't drink alcohol, I'm not some party animal, and I don't go to night clubs... but I do enjoy people watching, getting something to eat, trivia's, games, comedy shows, and so on... not just knitting and origami....) Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
You've read the mixed reviews good and bad so here's mine. Whatever issues the Jade had, yes they were admittedly real according to the staff, those issues are long gone. This is a great cruise, well done by a hard working ... Read More
You've read the mixed reviews good and bad so here's mine. Whatever issues the Jade had, yes they were admittedly real according to the staff, those issues are long gone. This is a great cruise, well done by a hard working crew. Do yourself a great vacation, enjoy an outstanding ship, a quality experience, and just be informed ahead about how some things work as much as you can. Embarkation in Houston around noon was a breeze, fast, efficient, short lines, and we made it through quickly. The Ship was reported full. We were able to drop our carry-on stuff in the room and went to get a bite to eat. The required Muster drill was fast and painless. We were off to a great start. Garden cafe - is typical cruise ship fare, our choice for breakfast, quick, after excursion meals and snacks. We ate dinners in three "pay extra restaurants" as well as the Grand Pacific, Alizar, and Jasmine garden which are complimentary. More on those later. Cagneys Steak house - appetizers ordered were shrimp cocktail, lump crab salad with arugula, arugula salad with pears, onions, red peppers, raspberry vinaigrette, Mexican Caesar salad, whole cold water lobster, and filet mignon. Great service, quality food and presentation. The bill totaled $80 which was part our 3 meal dining package. Saturday and Sunday at sea we just relaxed, tried to orient ourselves to the ship, fore, aft, and the different ship levels and what's where. The Garden cafe is on deck 12, which we would frequent for coffee, breakfast, and occasionally at other times. Several of f the bars, music, the theater are on decks six and seven along with the front desk. Spinnaker is on 12. Pools are on 12. Take your time it's a nice sized ship with lots of venues. Cozumel - we had priority status for getting off and were one of the first 15 people off the ship. It's a fair walk down, across the pier, and you have to walk through the entire shopping area to get downstairs to a taxi. We found a taxi, agreed to the fare ($12 for all 3), and made our way quickly to PalMar SMALL Snorkel beach club. We were welcomed, found a spot on the small beach area, and settled in for the day. We had reserved our spot, paid half in advance, and took care of the rest, in cash, when we arrived. They don't take cards, only cash. It's $14 per person which includes 2 beverages per person. Not bad for $14. If you are not interested in crowds, multiple activities, and want a quiet place to sun and Snorkel this was our ideal day. After my son and I were getting out of the water, here came the Snorkel tour boats one after another to drop off snorkelers right where we had just been. We watched, enjoyed one of our two beverages, and relaxed. I went out snorkeling one more time. We ordered quesadillas, $8 and ceviche $12, both were freshly prepared and delicious along with our 2nd beverage. The green habenero sauce was hot but excellent. It was our ideal day, quiet, beautiful water, and a cold beverage. You did need solid shoes to navigate the rocky shore to get in the water but the best snorkeling is off rocky beaches not sandy ones. The owner came out and explained they had gotten permission to create an "entry/exit" point on the rocks which is needed. But we got in, saw lots of different reef fish and enjoyed it very much. We easily got a taxi back to the pier and were back on the ship in plenty of time. I tried to negotiate for some Cuban Cigars in town near the dock but they were too rich for my budget. An enjoyable day in Cozumel for sure. We had dinner at the Jasmine Garden. We ordered pot stickers, egg drop and corn soup, fried calamari, Wakame salad (seaweed and cabbage with a sweet vinaigrette), orange beef, sweet and sour pork, Mahi Mahi, udon noodles with seafood. The Green tea ice cream was very good. Service was good and the food good as well. It was busy every time we walked by. My son and I shared a spicy tuna roll from the sushi place, an extra $7, but it was really good 8 piece sushi roll. Our son returned to eat more sushi on Thursday so I know it was really good. We stayed on the ship instead of tendering into Belize. Spent a relaxing day in the spa, took a nap, got some sun and avoided the tenders and the crowds. The music in the bars is really good. The Masquerade duo played to the Sr crowd quite well. They played a Beatles set one night, the Eagles the next. There was a single guy Carlos, from Columbia in a nearby bar who is outstanding. He's an excellent guitarist and singer and thoroughly enjoys what he does. We heard him three times in three days. Cripton The magician was as good as advertised. Not a long show but worth the time for sure. His wife disappears from all kinds of boxes and then reappears. He does an impressive floating table too. Roatan - We arranged for a private transport from the Pier. Tendering is certainly will one of the Jades issues. It takes time. Get your tickets early if you want an early tender. We took a bit of a tour of island, including West Bay, then made our way to Infinity Bay Beach Resort for a day of snorkeling. We had wristbands reserved ahead by our driver and walked right to the beach, found loungers and went snorkeling, saw lots of fish and the coral and reef is definitely worth seeing. The beach was eventually packed with 4 ships in port. Yes, local folks are walking by trying to sell you everything. Met the Donut man and enjoyed his pineapple donuts, (3 for $5). The, hawkers are plentiful up and down the beach but they won't pester you if you say no. We left at 2 and arrived back at the pier about 2:30 as the last tender was at 3. It was a long line. There must have been 500 people waiting. It took some time moving up as filling the tenders is kind of slow. If impatient there's a bar on the dock for a drink or snack as you wait. Meet your shipmates, share your days experience and relax. Tendering wasn't completely done until around 4. All in all a really enjoyable day. I overheard a lady the next morning saying it took her party an hour and a half to get back on the ship. It didn't take us that long but it was at least 45 minutes or a bit more. As long as you are in line to tender you will be fine, it just takes awhile. Alizar - Our menu selections included appetizers of Calamari, prosciutto with melon and arugula salad, burger sliders, main dishes of prawns with linguini, gnocchi with braised short ribs and snow peas, strip loin Steak with onion strings, and for desserts, strawberries napoleon with mixed berry sauce. Snickerdoodle pound cake with ice cream, chocolate volcano, service outstanding, food was excellent all around, served in a timely fashion, efficient, a very good meal and dining experience. Went to hear comedian David Naster last night in the Stardust theater. He is hilarious. He does real life that's funny. He's a seasoned comedian and kid friendly. We'll be going to hear him again on the trip back to Houston as well. Our preferred breakfast spot is the Garden buffet. I love the eggs cooked to order, all you can eat bacon, and biscuits and gravy. It's not my own homemade sausage gravy but very good nonetheless. There's any kind of breakfast you can ask for from continental, waffles, cereal, fruit and more. Moderno restaurant is a Brazilian churrascaria. It's another word for "meat fest." There's a serve yourself salad bar which was really good and fresh. Offered were two kinds of soup, a Brazilian bean soup and another, chorizo, salami, olives, a cold shrimp pasta, a cold bean and corn salad, a pear and walnut salad, and much more. After the salad they bring you a "meat plate," The gauchos come by and offer you all different meats, sirloin, filet mignon, garlic Beef, chorizo, two kinds of chicken, grilled lamb cops, shrimp and fish. All the meat we tried was outstanding favorites were the sirloin, filet and lamb. The bill was $25 per person but it was one of our three dinners I added as part of the dining package. It was a really enjoyable meal. The desserts weren't our favorite, (no chocolate), flan, rice pudding, and a mango cream cold sort of ice cream offering. We went to the 9:30 pm variety show which includes all the evening shows stars, magic, acrobatics, dancers, and singers concluding with the Norwegian song by all the staff coming out and joining in. It's surely worth the time. We then heard the Jade staff band do a few oldies in their Glenn Miller tribute, then we made our way down and listened to Carlos again. We enjoyed all the musicians on board but he was by far our favorite. I read a review a couple of cruises back from someone that recommended you bring your own coffee cup and I've done that since. It makes it really convenient if you like fixing more than the one cup. I'm sure same could be said for tea, water or juice. We also brought our Yeti coozies to keep the other beverages cold. We booked early enough to have the beverage package included, a nice bonus especially if you drink, order drinks anywhere and let them swipe your card. The only added charge is tax while in Texas waters, i.e. on the way out and possibly the last night in if the ship is early. It's a tax you can't avoid. La Cucina restaurant is the Italian specialty restaurant. It was excellent. We ordered minestrone Soup, fresh tomatoes and mozzarella, osobucco, lobster linguine and desserts I can't recall now but we enjoyed the specialty dining and will likely do it again next time. All said, we loved the Jade, her hard working, friendly crew, and pretty much everything about it. For the value it provides, the convenience of sailing from Texas and for a quality cruise, sail the Jade, enjoy the ride, it's your vacation!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2016
My husband and I booked this cruise because we had never been to Houston and wanted to see if it would be a good place for future cruises. We have cruised on most of the major cruise lines except Holland America and Disney. We are ... Read More
My husband and I booked this cruise because we had never been to Houston and wanted to see if it would be a good place for future cruises. We have cruised on most of the major cruise lines except Holland America and Disney. We are Platinum Latitudes passengers. We did not have a good beginning to our trip since our flight from Halifax at 5:30 AM on Air Canada was delayed (and then cancelled) which meant we would miss our connection in Toronto. I won’t bother with details but we will not be flying with Air Canada again unless they are the only airline left. Instead of getting into Houston at noon we got to our hotel at midnight! Anyway, we booked a RideWe car to take us from our hotel (Ramada:Airport) to the cruise terminal. The drive is over 45 minutes and not cheap. We arrived at the port around 10:30 and we were in group four to board. That all went smoothly and we were on the ship by noon. We had a mini-suite #11632 on deck eleven and everything was fine in the cabin. There was a lot of storage space and we had a bathtub in the cabin. The balcony was the normal size and the chairs did not recline. We had ordered an egg crate pad for the bed because I didn’t expect a 10 year old ship to have soft beds. I would not recommend this cabin however because it was quite noisy after 10 PM. The deck above had a restaurant so I don’t know what the noise was but it sounded like people wrestling and falling on the floor. The muster drill was in one of the dining rooms and it is always tedious. You are better off to watch the safety information on the television. We discovered that is it not very warm in Houston in February and we were both wearing shorts and t-shirts. In the morning it was only about 50 F and didn’t go much above 60F in the afternoon. So the first two days of the cruise were not warm enough to swim. Only one of the pools (two total) was heated and it was not the adults only pool. There were only four hot tubs and most of them were filled with children. FOOD – The food was quite good although we did not use the buffet as much as usual because we had a dining package. The MDR was very good and breakfast was excellent in the buffet. I was very surprised at the size of the buffet restaurant. It is very small compared to any other ship I have been on. It only takes up half of the back of the ship so it was nearly impossible to get a table at the window and always crowded. We ate at Moderno and the cheese rolls were awesome but we were not too fussy about the rest of the meal. We ate at Cagneys twice and both were very good. One meal was at Le Bistro and that was a big disappointment. The baby potatoes were raw and inedible and the string beans had all the stems still on them. However my husband did enjoy the lobster tail. ENTERTAINMENT- We only went to two shows since we were busy with other things most of the time. The dance show was very good. However, the Tenors of Rock were terrible. The four men have incredible voices so I have no idea why they had to sing screaming rock/roll songs. They pretty much ruined every song and the first one was so loud that people actually got up and left the theater. We both wear ear plugs to the shows and even with them in the music hurt my ears. We would have left but we were sitting in the middle seats and didn’t want to bother other people. We also thought that this ship had mini-golf and discovered that it doesn’t. There are only two shuffleboard courts and that was all the sports you had unless you played basketball or tennis. CASINO - Typical ship casino which didn’t seem as smoky as most of them. Staff were friendly and they had a lot of penny slot machines. EXCURSIONS – We did all our own excursions. In Cozumel we went to an all-inclusive for the day which was excellent. We tendered in both Roatan and Belize and that is always a headache. We went to another all-inclusive in Roatan but I will not be doing it again. Roatan is just too small a place to handle large cruise ships and we had three of them in port when we arrived. There is only one road in and out of the port and it is a narrow, two-lane road. It is total chaos and we will never bother again. In Belize we just went in to look around the shops. Another big problem was finding a lounger on the pool deck. We always try to get loungers in the shade and as far from the music as possible. We picked two that were at the back and next to the towel exchange room. Then the SMELL hit us! It was like a sewer! Disgusting! We moved up a row and about 10 loungers away and the smell was still there. We left. SHOPPING - Not very good at all. This ship did not have separate shops but instead had one very large room with everything in it. A very limited selection of clothing and no fancy lanyards at all We wanted to buy some Aloe Vera gel after getting some sunburn in Roatan but discovered that they had sold out of it the day before. I would think that they should have enough previous experience with the itinerary to know how much of this they should have in stock. I normally bring my own but this time I didn’t bother thinking that I could buy it on the ship if I needed it. DISEMBARKATION - This was a big disappointment. We had yellow luggage tags which were the first ones off the ship after the Haven passengers. We had an early flight and knew that our drive to the airport would be at least 45 minutes. The ship docked at 7 AM and they were allowing passengers to “walk off” at 7:15 so we expected our luggage to get down to the pick-up area by 8 or 8:15 AM. We went down and were herded into an area beside our luggage and had to wait, and wait and WAIT until hundreds of other passengers disembarked and picked up their luggage. We could see our luggage but we were not allowed to go and pick it up. We did not get out of the terminal until after 9 AM. The other problem was our room steward. He was very friendly but apparently either very overworked or slow. We did not get our mattress pad installed until 8:30 at night and although we told him when we were dining every night (and put our sign out to have our room turned down) it was never done when we returned. Instead he would be starting it and we would leave or he would show up and we would go out on our balcony. In the mornings our room was never made up until around 11:30 AM. I enjoy NCL ships but we will be sticking with the newer, larger ones and leaving from Florida in the future. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
21-28 February 2016 Caribbean Princess We have cruised many times and had experiences ranging from outstanding to deplorable. On occasion we find ourselves blessed with all possible favorable outcomes on one trip. Such was the case ... Read More
21-28 February 2016 Caribbean Princess We have cruised many times and had experiences ranging from outstanding to deplorable. On occasion we find ourselves blessed with all possible favorable outcomes on one trip. Such was the case on our recent Key West and Bahamas voyage with Princess Cruise Lines on the Caribbean Princess. We have just been aboard the Caribbean Princess in late November 2015. That voyage was not especially remarkable. In fact we considered it to be, on balance, slightly below par for Princess. Thus, our expectations may have been set lower on this trip. We arrived slightly early for prescribed our check in and boarding time but breezed through check in and went directly onboard and to our stateroom in about ten minutes time. The cabin was immaculate. We were greeted cheerfully by the attendant who, throughout the course of the journey, did an excellent job. Virtually everyone we encountered was helpful and polite. No issues. Our dinner attendants were among the best we have had on any cruise line. Polite, helpful and engaging. I am generally critical of cruise ship meals, but on this voyage it was obvious that Princess had taken the quality of their cuisine up a notch. Certainly one could pick a nit or two if one wanted, but quality, selection, assortment, preparation, presentation and variety were all at a good standard. The onboard entertainment was quite good. On this trip Princess had a “Voice of the Ocean” competition which we thought might be hokey but turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip. We loved it. As far as the ports are concerned Key West is basically a box that we wanted to check off. Crowded, expensive, dirty and unappealing. The history is fascinating however, as is the Mel Fisher Museum which although pricey is a must. This was our first visit to Freeport and we were not impressed. Due to a diesel generator malfunction and choppy weather we diverted from Princess Key to Nassau. We had not been to that port in thirty years and found it to be crowded, unappealing and dirty. The brightly colored building we remembered were sporting the same coat of paint they had on thirty years earlier. We walked around the town for miles, down the crumbling roads and sidewalks and past derelict buildings. Surprisingly, however, everyone we met was pleasant, helpful and cheery. Our trek to the Bahamas National Art Museum was worth the walk. The docents were informative, pleasant and helpful. We highly recommend this stop. The return voyage was uneventful as was our disembarkation experience. We did the “walk off,” and when our elevator doors opened on deck 7 we simply merged with the line of passengers already exiting and proceeded to customs. The entire experience, including our walk to the car, took about fifteen minutes. Special acknowledgement is deserved by our Cruise Director, Lee Childress. Although a quick “Google” search might reveal some undeserved bashing of Lee, we feel he was a special gift. Choose ten people and one will get ten different opinions of a topic. We loved Lee. Thanks in part to Lee, Princess made time available each day for an interdenominational bible study hour. He also arranged, and led, a nondenominational worship service. Princess has a daily LGBT get together hour for those so inclined. They also have a Dr. Bob & Bill W. session every day. For those of us who are Christians it was a true blessing to have these few minutes set aside for worship. Good job Princess! Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
We booked this cruise about 8 weeks before sailing to get away from the rainy Pacific Northwest and once again Princess delivered a great holiday. We got lucky and did not have to deal with fog or high winds in the Houston port area so ... Read More
We booked this cruise about 8 weeks before sailing to get away from the rainy Pacific Northwest and once again Princess delivered a great holiday. We got lucky and did not have to deal with fog or high winds in the Houston port area so our embarkation and disembarkation went like clockwork. Princess gets high grades for overall service from the friendly crew, excellent dining, and superb entertainment. The single person acts from comedians Carl Strong and Steve Moris were lots of fun and left us wanting to see them again. The "Piano Man" and "Do You Wanna Dance" production shows are old Princess staples but with new voices, dancers, and costuming they continue to be fresh and very enjoyable. The new production show "Bravo" was absolutely brilliant and I hope we get to see it again. The voices of the 4 primary singers were showcased in several genres of music and the show was thrilling. Activities run by the Cruise Director's staff were excellent with a particular nod to the game shows and trivia contests. The adagio dancers and the violin duo did a fine job with their acts in the piazza. All of our dinners were presented well and the quantity and quality of food served left nothing to be desired. It's nice to see some new menu items. Arman and Francisco were a great wait staff team in the Coral Dining Room. They usually brought us a small sample of the evening pasta to go with our entree's and that was a nice touch. We enjoyed the International Café offerings for breakfast and lunch which we took up to our balcony and enjoyed the view while eating. Our cabin on the Caribe Deck amidships was wonderful and Henry our cabin steward was mighty nice and good at what he does. Port calls occurred in Roatan, Honduras, Belize City, and Cozumel. We walked to Mahogany Bay in Roatan strolling past the tourist trap gift shops and decided we should have gone snorkeling instead. We took a cave-tubing excursion in Belize that was wonderful and a great value. Eight ships (and about 30,000 passengers and crew) were in Cozumel on the day of our port visit so we pretty much steered clear of the town that day. The only sad part of the cruise was the post-cruise shore excursion to the Johnson Space Center. Advertised as a 2 hour 15 minute tour we had about 1 hour 20 minutes of time to tour JSC and the guide's direction to take a tram tour to the Orion Deep Space Mission Control Center and the astronaut training facility was a dud. We waited 20 minutes for the tram to depart and we got perhaps 15 minutes of content In an hour long period that was meaningful. Our guide was sub-standard and we were told we had to be back on the bus that would take us to the airport at noon. None of the 45+ people on our bus had a flight that departed before 3:30pm and we got to the airport in time to wait 90 minutes for the check-in counter to open. The Princess Shore Excursion office responded to my letter describing the poor excursion which they had contracted from a Houston vendor in a VERY satisfactory manner, well beyond what I expected them to do. Their conciliatory tone and desire to do what was right is commendable. JSC has great potential as a good excursion but you need to have a good guide and you need at least 2+hours to see the exhibits (forego the trams!). We are not very keen with the new structure of the boutiques. Now that EFFY has a stranglehold on jewelry we don't see the variety we used to like. There did not seem to be much in the way of reasonably priced clothing items and accessories and we did not see too many people in the shops which suggests Princess has a bit of a problem in this area. We thought the ship was in good shape and the ongoing maintenance effort continues to be a strength. Read Less
Sail Date February 2016
just got off CB. It is excellent value for a cruise and it is a shame it is not going to be based in Houston after April. Activities were numerous-at times you could not do everything you wanted. Service was excellent-a throwback to days ... Read More
just got off CB. It is excellent value for a cruise and it is a shame it is not going to be based in Houston after April. Activities were numerous-at times you could not do everything you wanted. Service was excellent-a throwback to days before now when more cabins per worker and more tables mean a decrease in service. We did Cozumel, which has a nice new shopping pier there, Roatan, and Belize with their Maya ruins, beaches and many attractions. Our balcony cabin was clean and well kept with no evidence of wear. Dining was excellent-never ran out of things to eat. Entertainment was the star-the 3 dance floors were the best we have seen, and the main theater shows were very good-talented and entertaining. Embarkation took 1 1/2 hours, but disembarkation only 30 minutes. In all-it was a very good ship especially for the rate we got. Would go again. We are diamond on Royal, but Princess has a better product-at least on this our first Princess ship. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
We are sophisticated, educated world travelers, accustomed to 5 star accommodations, yet keep coming back to Princess because of its overall excellence, traditions and summer camp spirit, comfort, excursion choices, good food and wine. ... Read More
We are sophisticated, educated world travelers, accustomed to 5 star accommodations, yet keep coming back to Princess because of its overall excellence, traditions and summer camp spirit, comfort, excursion choices, good food and wine. What a VALUE ! Truly a bargain. This was our 7 th Princess cruise. Sailed once on Celebrity and were disappointed. And are put off by upscale, pretentious, absurdly expensive lines like Regent, Seabourne, Silver Sea etc. There were many dire, negative reviews about this cruise, which generated much pre-cruise anxiety, but none of them materialized for us. Embarkation was slow for regular passengers, but speedy for Elite ones ( Platinum ( us), Suites etc). But overall highly organized. Princess consistently excels at moving large groups of people efficiently. Port of Houston ugly and strange, set amongst refineries, and a boring, unscenic 35 min cab ride from our Four Seasons hotel downtown. But, that said, Houston a relatively short easy flight from California, so we're sorry to hear Princess abandoning this port for good We sailed away 7 hours late due to major underwater repairs ( didn't inspire confidence), but our schedule and itinerary were not affected. The Caribbean Princess decor looks rather dated and tired, but ship was immaculate, spotless. And still a very pretty Italian- built ship. Great care was taken to avoid Norovirus around the ship, in bathrooms and buffet. Our mini-suite was immaculate ( I'm a stickler) and very comfortable, and whoever designed that space initially, a genius. Love the full bath, large closet, generous storage ( more than we heavy packers with 2 50 lb bags could even fill!) 2 flatscreen TV's, down pillows, comfortable, large bed. Comfy waffle weave robes. Terrible stiff towels. But serviceable. Our steward Robert, could not have been more friendly, attentive, responsive, and hardworking. Food choices were varied and good to great ( in Crown Grill and Sabatini's--well worth the extra cover charge). I've been a gourmet cook for decades. My husband is an oenophile and found the wine list excellent and well-chosen. Enjoyed the International Cafe in the Atrium--lovely for a quick bite of pastry, gourmet salads and sandwiches. Service was attentive and professional. Waitstaff mostly well-trained and friendly. Especially ( this applies to all crew) if you make the effort to engage them, inquire about their home country, etc. Only downside, terrible un drinkable poorly mixed cocktails. Entertainment was, well mostly, entertaining. Princess Theatre comfortable and attractive venue. Professional Princess Orchestra/band outstanding. Dancers & singers attractive and talented. Loved their youthful energy. Glitzy, hokey but fast- paced musical shows. Outstanding comic/musician Steve Moris. Standing O. Ship activities: the usual variety. Mostly low-brow and hokey, like bingo. Terrible art auction of unmitigated shlock art. Princess should upgrade with some lectures/ cultural/ nature activities.for the college-educated. But overall, what you'd expect. If you have mediocre expectations, you'll be fine. I do love that something fun and silly is always going on in the pretty Atrium. And enjoy the live music there. Crew was mostly young, friendly, international, trained to please. It's fun to engage them and ask about their home countries. Then many bloom. The rude, impatient Internet Cafe manager was a disgrace. And the Internet pricey and slow. Wonderful, varied, and adventurous excursion choices. Roatan snorkel and catamaran sail delightful. Roatan was a charming stop. Unspoiled island. We had cool weather in Belize. Highly recommend the Lamanai Ruins excursion. But not for the faint of heart--jungle " cruise" is actually wild 50 mile long speedboat ride. Risky but exhilarating. Ship anchored quite far out from Belize City and long tender ride to shore an adventure in itself. More cool weather in Cozumel and our snorkel/ sail was sadly cancelled. But fine to explore Cozumel all day. I should add how impressed we are by the thoroughness and efficiency of the first afternoon's Muster Drill. Princess takes safety very seriously and crew appears well prepared. We experienced a shockingly chaotic one on Celebrity. Now to the tricky part. The demographic that sails with Princess isn't our social/ educational demographic. Some are truly boorish, clueless schlubs and shleppers. The quintessential Ugly Americans. That said, most are solid, friendly, well-behaved middle Americans who are enthusiastic and open to trying something new. They go all-out on formal night. Good for them. But we'd love to make some new like-minded friends on these cruises. Guess the solution is to bring a group of friends. Overall, an enjoyable, well-managed cruise---and tremendous value. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
First time cruising with Norwegian; leery of all the negative reviews. After a few months the crew and staff seem to have found their routine. Found it to be in between Holland America and Carnival in terms of clientele, food, and ... Read More
First time cruising with Norwegian; leery of all the negative reviews. After a few months the crew and staff seem to have found their routine. Found it to be in between Holland America and Carnival in terms of clientele, food, and service. Best part the chance to dress much more casually. The ship was originally named the Pride of Hawaii, and the decor still reflected the Hawaiian theme. Some called it gaudy, but no more than on any other ship we have been on. Enjoyed the bright colors, Hawaiian prints, and shell collections. Admittedly we have been spoiled with the food and service on HAL. But this wasn't bad. Best explained by breakfast choices. HAL provides citrus that has been supremed, where as NCL gives you quartered chunks including the skin. NCL servers did not ask how we wanted our eggs cooked, the standard was a very runny, whites included sunny side up. Best choice the omelets. Quantities were certainly sufficient. Found we couldn't eat our standard, soup, salad, entree and dessert. Our best choices were three apps in the Alizar main dining room. Also enjoyed it more as it was more intimate than the large open room in the Grand Pacific. Garden Cafe our choice for lunch and snacks. Despite what other reviewers have stated, we had no problem with the servers, bartenders or room stewards. Service levels, as in any environment reflected how you treated the staff - that human nature. The most frustrating thing to me about the cruise was how rude some of my fellow travelers were to the staff. Yes, sometimes they are hard to understand. As with any other person, if you treat them with respect, get to know them and learn about their history they will respond in kind. But how would you feel miles away from home, family and loved ones, earning minimal wages, and having to speak a foreign language. If you paid attention to them as a person, talked to them, learned their history, they responded in-kind. NCL does have their "vacation hero" program which allows you to personalize your nomination for special recognition of the crew member. In terms of entertainment, many music choices including karaoke. The nightly stage shows were more production style, not the singers and dancers on other lines. But the award winning entertainers were very good. We didn't participate in any excursions, many have restrictions regarding neck and back problems, recent surgeries or age - all which applied to us. But there's plenty to do on board the ship, and it is much quieter when every one else is out and about. Read Less
Sail Date January 2016
Our family of eight sailed on Norwegian Jade Nov 28 - Dec 5. My mom gave up a total kitchen renovation to get us all together and we were in the haven suite room 14500. This is a huge expensive area with three bedrooms, large living room ... Read More
Our family of eight sailed on Norwegian Jade Nov 28 - Dec 5. My mom gave up a total kitchen renovation to get us all together and we were in the haven suite room 14500. This is a huge expensive area with three bedrooms, large living room with player piano (which we could not use as the volume could not be lowered, it was too loud), dining area, bar and outside has a Jacuzzi, steam room, outdoor eating area, upper and lower decks. It was supper nice. The room steward was so very nice & cheerful. Everything was very clean. This should have been a dream vacation. When making our reservation we were promised that we would be treated like royalty. I prearranged three wheelchairs for embarkation and debarkation. We waited a very long time, being told that 3 were not available all at one time and we would have to wait. My dad got very upset and said he & my mom would walk, letting my sister-in-law have the only wheelchair available. Two more wheelchairs showed up before we reached the ship thank goodness. Then when they were scanning our cards somehow my dads picture was on my brothers card. We were waiting in the cold while they tried to fix this. Finally one assistant noticed my mom & sister-in-law shivering and moved us to the inside of the ship. The cards never really were correct. The beverage and dinner package my dad had was now somehow on my brothers card. We never made it an issue, deciding to handle any charges between ourselves. However couple days into the cruise none of our cards were working so all had to be redone again. Months prior to sailing we filled out medical question forms as we needed a sharps box for insulin needles, we needed distilled h2o for CPAP machines, we needed a seat in the shower for my parents. All these things were suppose to be in place BUT none of it was and we kept having to ask for this stuff as we realized it was not there. Frustrating. I had been emailed asking about the pillow menu among other things...put our order in but again not in place and never did get all that we requested. The ship has mostly European outlets so there was a scramble that took a couple of days to find adapters so we could use our CPAP machines. So be aware to bring adapters if you have any special needs. We had brought extension cords but those were no help. During reservation I was told our 2 birthday people would get cake, decorations with balloons & streamers. They got cake that might feed 4. Later in cruise I told Bruno our concierge about this and he had a belated sugar free cake and decorations done for us. Bruno was the best. I wish I had known from the beginning he was the go to person to make our trip good. Anytime I let him know a problem he worked swiftly to make things correct...for example, We scheduled to eat at the Jasmine, we were there at 5:30 and were among the 1st seated. At 6:30 only 3 of us had had our appetizer. We were due at the theater at 7:00 as Bruno was saving 3 easy access seats for our 3 who can not do stairs. I called Bruno to let him know that we were going to miss the show again due to the very poor service. Immediately he showed up and suddenly we had excellent service and all food served and done by 7:00. I love Bruno. Our Butler was overall pretty good. We opted for room service several times and he delivered and served all still warm. I had a little upset at one point but that was mainly a bit of miscommunication and we managed to iron it out. I delegated my brother as the person to contact for our needs and that worked better. I thought the in room bar liquor was to be in place, I had been told during reservation that we would be greeted with champagne. Liquor had to wait till after out of port, probably at 10 pm...it was not till late the next day that we received it. Reservation people & others need to be told not to set up expectations that can not be met. Expectations I had based on prior cruise with Norwegian which was 15 years ago was that the food and service would be the best. Well boy has things changed. The food was not special and my dad said some of what he had was no better than Golden Corral! What a let down. Also a bust was on our cruise they elected not to do the chocolate buffet which we were all looking forward to. We felt that since it had been advertised that it should have been done. Don't advertise it then remove it if you want. The service in the eating areas was mostly poor. The few who did a good job did not make up for the many that did not. Another thing is that we prepaid gratuity. This being stated would be split to pay the food servers and room stewards. So then why when you go to the specialty restaurants are you charged gratuity? It feels like you are being charged twice. My brother complained about the internet access. He was very upset. There was a crisis at work he could not adequately handle due to the long delays. He said you get charged by the time not the amount of data and that his business partner takes cruises (not Norwegian) and has never had such bad connection. I do want to give high marks to the dolphin encounter excursion in Roatan. I took my 85 year old dad who is blind. Very stressful for me due to getting on and off the tender and then another boat ride. I was terrified he would loose his balance. However once we were there the employees realized he had special needs and two of them helped him out in the water and one stayed with him the whole time and assisted my dad with interaction with a dolphin named Polly. This allowed me to relax and enjoy myself. Thank you so much for your help. My dad had the best day that day and that helped me so much too. That helped to make up for the couple of times I was in tears on this trip. See I wanted this to be the best trip for my parents. They were paying so much and I so wanted them to feel special as they are really wonderful people. I feel Norwegian overall let us down and I am so sad about that. Everything could have been so much better. Oh, then there is the issue with the bill. Everyone in our group got all lumped onto one bill. Each one of us had set up our own account to pay for extras so Bruno helped us get that ironed out. However debarkation day and final bill showed I owed 10.00 that had not gotten on the preliminary bill. Long lines of people and seemed all had issues. All I wanted to do is pay and get the heck out. Several others were stating the same. We thought they should designate a line for people not disputing anything. I hope Norwegian reads the reviews and makes positive changes. They were really good 15 years ago. I just feel so heartsick for my parents who wanted that dream come true vacation for us all and did not get it. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Extremely poor service!! Very unorganized , service was terrible in dining room.You could ask for tea or something else and you may or may not get it. We had a party of 12 and could never eat together and it took way too long too get fed. ... Read More
Extremely poor service!! Very unorganized , service was terrible in dining room.You could ask for tea or something else and you may or may not get it. We had a party of 12 and could never eat together and it took way too long too get fed. We had reservations and on Thursday night since this was FREESTYLE!! we waited over an hour to get seated and that was after we asked 4 times. They let people cut in line and seated them without Reservations. The tea was terrible it was way too strong I guess they didn't know how to mix it they ran out of Tea before the cruise was over. The card room was small and a large group of kids without any parents took up half the room and were so loud you couldn't hear. They opened about 20 games and let them scattered all over. On our last port we were there first but they let other cruise line dock and we had to tender. We were suppose to get off at 8:00 am it was 10:00 before we got off. We had a fishing trip planned but didn't get there until 10:30 by that time the best fishing was over so we lost $400 on that trip. We went on a cruise in February on Princess Cruise that was 100% better. I will never use Norwegian again and no one else in our group will and a lot of other people on board said the same thing. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Yes, our ship The Caribbean Princess actually stopped, came about, and rescued a raft containing a dozen Cuban refugees who had been drifting in the Gulf of Mexico for almost a month! It was a heartening experience and one we will never ... Read More
Yes, our ship The Caribbean Princess actually stopped, came about, and rescued a raft containing a dozen Cuban refugees who had been drifting in the Gulf of Mexico for almost a month! It was a heartening experience and one we will never forget. The captain and crew did an excellent job of providing medical attention, food and water to the refuges. Our vessel contacted the Mexican Coastguard who responded promptly and plucked the poor folks from their derelict craft and took them to safety. Just to add a bit of added drama to the already touching scene a rainbow appeared over the refugees craft as they were being taken onboard the Mexican vessel. Amazing! That was a tough act to follow. The remainder of the cruise was an interesting experience for us. A voyage of discovery. In total this was the 5th time we have taken the same cruise to Honduras, Belize and Cozumel…once on Carnival, three times on Royal Caribbean and once on Princess. After taking the Carnival trip five years ago we concluded that Carnival caters to a much younger crowd of heavy drinkers and partiers. After three trips on Royal Caribbean it seemed that they were picking up the overflow of ne’re-do-wells from Carnival. Much to our shock and disappointment we learned that there are apparently too many idle, self indulgent merrymakers sailing this route fro Carnival and Royal Caribbean to handle. A well represented overflow seemed to have turned up on our Caribbean Princess voyage. That was a shock. On all previous Princess cruises we were pleasantly surprised by the civility, politeness and maturity of the passengers. Typically an older crowd, but we are older ourselves. This particular sailing seemed to be about 50/50 so far as being a mix of partiers and “seniors.” Also, there were a lot of children for a Princess cruise. Not a happy surprise. The ship was in excellent condition and our stateroom appeared to be in “like new” condition. Our stateroom attendant was the best we have ever had. Our cabin as well as the passageway on deck 12 and other areas of the ship had a strong odor of sewage. We reported this twice and it was never fixed. We also had an issue with intermittent AC performance that, after reporting it three times, was never really fixed. The food was remarkably average, with not one single meal that we can point to that was noteworthy. On the other hand none were really awful either. The selection seemed limited based on our experience. Our dining room service was intolerably slow and at a low standard in general, but I think we drew the “black bean” so to speak. It appeared as though others were well served and satisfied. Entertainment was OK, not great. The general level of service throughout the ship was slightly short of typical Princess standard, driven mostly by the heavy contingent of Eastern European crew who always seem to be so sullen, morose, unhappy, and depressed. When they wait on you they make you feel as though you have inconvenienced they greatly, and that they have only done so in great pain and under duress. Embarkation was a dream. Sorry to hear that the Houston terminal will be shutting down in April 2016. Cruise customers are not well served by that decision and we pray it will be reversed. Disembarkation was a nightmare. The ship was over an hour late in arriving, but that was not the problem. The crew did a poor job of communicating and managing the situation. The “Walk Off” passengers’ area was a mob scene. Passengers with mobility issues were overlooked. It was the worst example of a disembarkation I have seen on Princess. Not their finest hour. One can draw two conclusions from our experience(s). First, it seems that “all” cruises to the western Caribbean from Texas must draw an ample representation of more “common” clientele, regardless of the cruise line. Second, the western Caribbean cruises on Princess are not typical of their normal level of service, quality and professionalism. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Just got back from a 7 day cruise on the Norweigan Jade which was it's first time out of Houston, Texas. I went with 9 other travelers and we all rate the service on this cruise as "POOR." This was my third cruise on ... Read More
Just got back from a 7 day cruise on the Norweigan Jade which was it's first time out of Houston, Texas. I went with 9 other travelers and we all rate the service on this cruise as "POOR." This was my third cruise on Norweigan and while the other two were very good, this didn't measure up when it comes to service. All the service was poor...beverage, food and daily room service. Beverage service averaged 10 - 15 minute waits at the bars; more than that if you wanted deck/beverage taker service. Food service took almost as long to get waited on. While the complaints were passed to upper management...most just said, "we know we have a problem...not enough waiters/staff...didn't plan on the number of drinks ordered...etc. Nothing changed from day 1 to day 7. I will state that most food was good to excellent when it finally came...it just didn't make up for the poor service. In addition, as a Latitude member, I only saw/heard the Ship Captain at the "frequent travelers reception. He never spoke to us over the ships intercom system...first cruise of my 8 prior cruises that this has happened. Also, the wait time for in-processing touch more than 2 hours...something they said was due to a "system" problem. One positive comment is the Port of Houston is an excellent port to use; convenient parking, professional staff, and excellent and fast debarkation. If this had been my first cruise...it would probably have been my last cruise. I am not sure if I will cruise Norweigan again. I sincerely hope Norweigan fixes their Jade issues. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
Staff is outstanding in trying to make sure you have a great vacation. All of them smiling, asking what they can do for you, very well trained. Boat is okay, have seen fancier ones but this was still nice. The casino is small with few ... Read More
Staff is outstanding in trying to make sure you have a great vacation. All of them smiling, asking what they can do for you, very well trained. Boat is okay, have seen fancier ones but this was still nice. The casino is small with few table games available. The food was really good. Only one meal that we did not like, the rest were memorable. The entertainment was for all different age groups and demographics. Plenty of planned events to keep your interest. Enjoyed many things we never did before. Wanted to play bridge but their games people did not do that so we were on our own to find other couples for bridge. They did supply materials for many games. Overall this was a very enjoyable short 4 day cruise and we would do it again to just get away for a few days on an inexpensive cruise. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
We were originally booked in an obstructed view and when they had a price drop after our final payment, they would not give me the new lower price, but did offer a free upgrade to a balcony on Lido deck. We had L226 which is Balcony ... Read More
We were originally booked in an obstructed view and when they had a price drop after our final payment, they would not give me the new lower price, but did offer a free upgrade to a balcony on Lido deck. We had L226 which is Balcony Forward on the Port side. I was concerned about noise since its on the same deck as pools, bars, and Horizon Court Buffet. We could not hear a sound from the parties or other activities. We were right below the Lotus Spa so no noise above either. I was also concerned about ship movement since you can feel more movement the higher you go. Since I've never experienced ANY rough seas on any of our Caribbean cruises (4), I thought we were safe......WRONG! First 3 days were perfect, but during dinner Saturday night we all noticed the ship leaning quite a bit toward the port side. This lasted throughout our 2 hour dinner. It wasn't until we left dinner we could see that the port side looked like a hurricane blowing and starboard was dry. We had met up with a cold front out of Texas and it was howling wind and rain and they had us leaning into the wind on Port side. We did start to notice movement of the ship as we headed up to deck 15 to our cabin. By the time we got up there, you could not stand up straight, and had to hold on to the walls, furniture, what ever was handy. We went up, down, and sideways all at the same time. My daughter who's cabin was on 11 was concerned about us, and came up and said it was way worse on our deck than hers. So needless to say, IF you suffer from sea sickness, don't book these rooms. Of course I understand that this was not typical so we just drew the short straw. You could hear the wind howling through the balcony door during the storm, like an old horror movie. Water did seep in and our carpet was soggy the next morning. The crew and staff did do their best to see to the passengers needs during this time. Friends our ours on 8 (ocean view) said the waves actually complete covered their windows and they were under water, which I could understand since we could see tops of the waves all the way up to our balcony. The next morning was beautiful, calm, and cool. Our balcony had tons of trash from who knows where. Cabin was typical, but carpet needed cleaning as did the chair, showing stains. There were some paint flaking in bath room, and grout needed good cleaning. Room steward NEVER refilled body wash or shampoo the entire trip (it wasn't full when we boarded either). I think our steward must of been on the end of his tour, seemed grumpy and not friendly at all. He never responded to my calls for towels or robe. Never gave us the usual pool towel or towel for excursion, we had to go to pool ourselves and get one. He even fussed at me when we placed our dirty plate outside room (we don't like our room smelling like food). I think this ship is scheduled for dry dock in April, and its time. We could smell sewer ordors right outside princess theatre on 6 and 7 and as you walked toward middle of ship. My daughters room on 11 inside cabin had same sewer smell. Read Less
Sail Date November 2015
The Carnival Magic had very poor entertainment. One person was the MC and he was boring. Jokes were bad and you couldn't understand what he was saying half the time! The food was fair and the portions were so small that you would ... Read More
The Carnival Magic had very poor entertainment. One person was the MC and he was boring. Jokes were bad and you couldn't understand what he was saying half the time! The food was fair and the portions were so small that you would have to order multiple dishes just to get a few spoons full! The Ahi Tuna appetizer was a joke! It was1 inch x 1/2 inch in the middle of a plate! They only offer you coffee or lemonade for meals at the buffet. I got acid reflux and it went into my lungs and caused a very bad infection and bronchitus. We didn't do any trips because I was sick all the time. All we did was go ashore and come back. All I saw were the ports! I had to go to the doctor and have breathing treatments every day. When I got home I was sick for 6 weeks. The insurance they sell is a joke. You have to get your other insurances at home to write a letter saying that you aren't covered for the drugs and medical care. Only problem medicare doesn't write notes and neither does Silverscript a medicare insurance. So how do you get the money back? The lines getting to the ship were not organized. Many of the staff would not put up the flag for the next in line until they felt like it. I have been on other cruises more organized. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This was our first cruise. We never really considered cruising before--it seemed so focused on food, and impossible to connect with local culture. While those might be legitimate criticisms, we nonetheless found it an ideal vacation! ... Read More
This was our first cruise. We never really considered cruising before--it seemed so focused on food, and impossible to connect with local culture. While those might be legitimate criticisms, we nonetheless found it an ideal vacation! The Jewel is a bit older, and seems geared to an older crowd. We chose a cruise that was after school spring breaks and of a length that most working adults could not get away: hence, it was nearly all retired people. While we are younger, that pace was ideal for us. We don't drink or gamble or need spectacular shows to keep us entertained: spending the day reading, talking together, meeting a few interesting people and having a menu of possible but not pressing events was just ideal. Maybe I'm easily entertained, but having a cabin steward make up our cabin every morning and return to tidy it before bed was heavenly! We had cute towel animals whenever we got out of the cabin for turn down. Some people have complained about the food on Jewel, and I will admit that one of the meals we had at Chin Chin during lunch time was cold: the tea was cold, the entree's were cold, it was like some piece of equipment had failed. However, everything--even the too cold food--was prepared artfully, creatively with fresh and appropriate ingredients, inventive recipes with influence from multiple cultural traditions. While I will grant that there were repeat dishes on the menus and buffet, there were many choices and specials to keep it interesting. It was also easy to eat a delicious and healthy diet--many fresh fruits and vegetables, sugar free desserts, multiple protein choices. While there were tempting desserts and breads, if you wanted to avoid them, there is no need to feel deprived. A few days into the cruise, we discovered that the Italian Restaurant next to the Garden Cafe is open for overflow seating during breakfast and lunch! So we took our buffet plates in there, where the tables are charming wood, the walls real brick arches, and the viewing of the ocean is ideal. We enjoyed long brunch conversations while watching sea turtles, porpoise, and flying fish go by. I enjoyed dragging my husband to the dance lessons offered most days. There were several kinds of linedancing, swing dance, waltz, square dancing salsa and merangue. The one thing I did wish was that the instruction was more geared to just dancing with a partner to music rather than doing a routine. Those teaching are show dancers and seemed to relate more to teaching a dance to perform rather than teaching how to lead/follow and a vocabulary of moves. I had heard that there would be sales at the store just before the last day but that did not happen. Rather, there were specials on various items throughout the cruise and not everything went on sale at any given time. I was also surprised that the number of things like games offered at the store was limited. However, if you wanted any toiletry, candy, t-shirt, underwear, clothes, luggage, etc it is a good (if expensive) option. I liked shopping there. We booked ship excursions in all but one port, where we had a private guide. You do lose a little time when the ship first docks when you choose to do this--you have to wait until the tour operators are ready for you, and wait your turn to disembark. This means an extra two hours on board sometimes. In Cabo San Lucas, we were able to grab an early tender and meet up with our tour at the pier instead of waiting to be dismissed from the ship with our group. This allowed us to do some shopping that we would not have had time to do. I loved that you just don't hear "no" on board. No one tells you when to eat or sleep or where to be or what to do, it is completely relaxing. The staff is laid back and friendly and really good at making you feel welcome. They have also apparently toned down some of the selling that perhaps has happened on other ships or in other times, because we did not feel pressed to buy drinks or anything. Yes, you can definitely spend a lot of extra money: but no one is going to make you feel bad if you choose something else instead. We stayed at the Best Western Suites in Seabrook before we boarded. It has a free shuttle to the cruise port and is a terrific place to be the night before a cruise. I wish there had been more educational opportunities on board, lecture series or the like. Don't miss the Spinnaker Lounge, even if you don't drink! It has the best views and the most unusual furniture. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
As we live not far from the port of Houston, taking all our needs for 29 days worked fine in 4 large suitcases. Everything from swimsuits, shorts & tee's to heavy coats and earmuffs was packed along with needs for our whole ... Read More
As we live not far from the port of Houston, taking all our needs for 29 days worked fine in 4 large suitcases. Everything from swimsuits, shorts & tee's to heavy coats and earmuffs was packed along with needs for our whole cruise. Embarkation was fine, as we arrived just after noon, had lunch in the main dining room and found our cabin to be ready after lunch, with bags arriving within an hour or so - muster drill was a breeze, then on to Sail Away party by the pool. Great fun and we even won a free drink The whole crew was made to be high quality by the staff and crew - activities we attended were fun - sailing through Panama Canal interesting. We had a really great private tour in Costa Rica, going to see POAS volcano, oxcart factory and lunch at a local restaurant suggested by our guide. A great day for our group of 8. The cabin was small, with no room to walk on either side of bed, but bed was fine and there was enough storage areas in this inside cabin we used just to sleep and occasional nap. All directors attended our Meet & Mingle party on day 2 - they gave us their phone numbers and told us they aim to please, which they did. We saw directors everywhere, every day. The shows were good, just had some duplicated during the last 9 days. Dining was not over the top, but quite good on most days, with so many ways to fix chicken, it was amazing. Got cake on my birthday, chocolate covered strawberries and wine without asking, just because we were there. Mints on the pillow each night & towel animals continued throughout the cruise. Our private tours in Cabo, Victoria and Seattle went really good too, not missing a beat and even a nice private airport transfer. Great people made our longest cruise to date enjoyable for us - We should have signed up for another cruise, but waited until we got home to book with our discount broker for 2016 Grand Med Cruise - come along and join us on May 7, 2016 from Barcelona - NCL included the Ultimate Dining Package at no added cost expect the 18% gratuity added in advance. Not sure why they don't share the $12.95 per day that we will pay when cruising, but guess others have those funds earmarked - shame on you for not sharing. At least NCL does not claim to give all of the service charges to the crew, but I guess they can hash that out and hope to have other good crew members, even though the cruise line pays too little and many work around the clock to keep everyone satisfied. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
We had a wonderful time cruising to Cozumel, Belize City & Roatan last week. We experienced the perfect balance of eating, drinking, & entertainment on-board the NCL Jewel. We especially enjoyed "free-styling"! The ... Read More
We had a wonderful time cruising to Cozumel, Belize City & Roatan last week. We experienced the perfect balance of eating, drinking, & entertainment on-board the NCL Jewel. We especially enjoyed "free-styling"! The NCL staff was so friendly & helpful. We felt like we'd made new friends. We'd see them at the restaurants, shops, casino & even the hallways & they'd greet us with big smiles/hellos & some would even be singing! The entertainment was outstanding. We made it to several nightly events in the theatre & at the bars...some took us back in time to "our good ole days" of soul music & a tribute to The Beatles!!! We've been on numerous cruises & felt this one was definitely THE BEST!!! We hope to be back next year!!! Thank you for a wonderful "week at sea"! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
The embarcation was quick, efficient, and professional. We did not have our correct documents but with more effort on agents part that was not a problem. The inside cabin was sufficient for our needs. We were midship and felt no movement ... Read More
The embarcation was quick, efficient, and professional. We did not have our correct documents but with more effort on agents part that was not a problem. The inside cabin was sufficient for our needs. We were midship and felt no movement whatsoever when at sea. We were in cabin 10607 and our cabin steward, Mr. Adonis Canada, HP#4827, was absolutely the very best cabin steward we have ever had. He was efficient, professional and ever present for any of our request. The entertainment was also excellent. The music and dance themes were broadway quality. All the entertainers performed at one hundred and ten percent. The acrobats exhibited mesmerizing feats of strength and skill; and the comedians, we never stopped laughing. The food in all the restaurants was plentiful and of good quality and taste. All the employees were fresh and clean, polite and smiling. We were part of the gambling guest. The ony issue that could be imporved is to have two "Texas Hold Um", tables. Since the Jewel is not usually selected for gambling cruises It has only one table and the casino supervisor advised that has always been sufficient in the past. The GETAWAY has two tables and is sufficient to get on some time during the day. The disembarcation was a smooth as the embarcation. We were able to leave quickly. All said, it was one of the best cruises we have been on and we would reccomend Norwegian Cruise Lines to anyone, especially first time cruisers. Respectfully, Tom and Connie Young Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
A great time was hadn by all. Negatives were few, terrible tea and coffee. Entertainment was best ever. Shore tours were very entertaining and enjoyable. Internet access fees are a joke. Too many money makers (selling pull tabs) at every ... Read More
A great time was hadn by all. Negatives were few, terrible tea and coffee. Entertainment was best ever. Shore tours were very entertaining and enjoyable. Internet access fees are a joke. Too many money makers (selling pull tabs) at every occasion. Crew were not consistent in cashing these tickets. Cashier left a bad taste becauseofher rudeness. I have another cruise already booked and paid, but I refuse to purchase any more pull tabs. Overall the cruise was a big success. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
Good excellent service. Good. People Good. Food. Entertaining was good. Sleeping room good. Always kept nice and clean Clean linens.good excellent Service.I. felt like really good. Can't wait to go back ... Read More
Good excellent service. Good. People Good. Food. Entertaining was good. Sleeping room good. Always kept nice and clean Clean linens.good excellent Service.I. felt like really good. Can't wait to go back again.would have It any other way.all personnel Was always nice happy. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was our first cruise on Norwegian. The room was very small compared to other ships I've been on. This was not a luxury-appointed ship - very basic. The ship store was very, very small with very little in it. The entertainment ... Read More
This was our first cruise on Norwegian. The room was very small compared to other ships I've been on. This was not a luxury-appointed ship - very basic. The ship store was very, very small with very little in it. The entertainment was average, at best. This particular cruise had a Nickelodean theme and therefore I think it was more family-oriented. Food was average. There was more than the normal number of specialty dining restaurants, which led me to believe they were more interested in getting you into those restaurants to spend money than they were to making good food in the buffet and main dining room, although the main dining room was beautiful and never busy. The servers in the dining room were very attentive. Our steward was a very nice guy, but he seemed to be overloaded, like maybe they had cut back on stewards so he had too much to do. The hallways were always crowded with cleaning supplies. I would rate this ship on par with Carnival - nothing special. I was expecting more due to the rating of the ship. I don't think we'll sail on Norwegian in the future. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015

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