Sail Date: August 2018
Trying to get 3 families together was a challenge and this cruise fit the timeframe as well as being a great destination. The ship was smaller that what we were used to which was a nice treat but we missed some of the activities of the ... Read More
Trying to get 3 families together was a challenge and this cruise fit the timeframe as well as being a great destination. The ship was smaller that what we were used to which was a nice treat but we missed some of the activities of the larger ships. The ports in Norway were amazing so the limited activities was not a big deal but would not want this ship on a transatlantic cruise or itinerary with a large amount of sea days. The staff in the restaurants and bars were fabulous. If you are on this ship make time to do the teppanaki and request "Velmond" (I think I got that right), he was the outstanding member on this cruise. He wa such an entertainer as well as cooking a great meal. The other highlight was the Elements show. If you only see one show on this ship, then this is the one. I had read many good reviews on this show and it did not disappoint. I loved not having to sign a receipt asking for another tip every time I got a drink (they do not make you sign for every beverage when you have the beverage package). As the tips are charged with the beverage package, no one was asking for another tip, although there were a few that provided exceptional service and we were happy to give them something extra at the end. The service from the bar staff was prompt and friendly. The Java cafe staff was always entertaining and made you feel so welcome. Our stateroom attendant was good, being friendly and always checking in. I loved the fitness center and did a workout every day of the 9 day cruise. There were lots of machines. The ladies welcoming you into the spa thermal suite were helpful and the thermal suite was amazing. That was definitely worth the cost. Unfortunately we had an issue with our travel agent (United cruises) and they did not load some offers that should have been on my account. NCL did everything they could to help and I appreciate the time they spent. We unfortunately had an issue with out stateroom bathroom and noticed it the minute we got into the cabin. There was a leak which had to be sewage behind the wall. It was not fixed until the second day and we could not use the room until the third day without feeling nautious. We could not "air it out" as the smell overtook the cabin. Fortunately I had purchased the thermal suite and could use their bathrooms and shower (they were one floor up from ours). The weather was fabulous so we could leave the balcony door open which helped. The ship was sailing full so they said there was nothing they could do and may have actually done something if it had lasted longer. These things do happen and I appreciate the repair crew and my stateroom attendant for getting a special cleanser to try and mask the smell and continually cleaning the area to try and help. I do feel that they should have refunded my thermal suite fee or at least comped our dinner one night. Overall, the smaller ship worked great for a port heavy cruise (7 port days and 2 sea days). The servers (buffet and bars) were some of the best we have had. Yes, everything you have read about the smoke from the casino is true..and it does make its way into neighboring bars, wish they would improve the ventilation. We were able to plan routes without going through the the casino. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
I chose this cruise to see the fjords, the people of Norway and their way of life and to ride the famous Flam train. The cabin was great and I want to especially commend our cabin service person, Liping. She was absolutely PERFECT. ... Read More
I chose this cruise to see the fjords, the people of Norway and their way of life and to ride the famous Flam train. The cabin was great and I want to especially commend our cabin service person, Liping. She was absolutely PERFECT. Please let her know. The rest of the staff were all excellent and you could not ask for better service and attention. Entertainment was very good. I did not get to all the shows but did go to Elements which was done excellently. (Did not like the smoke machine that went with the show since my throat was sensitive to it.) Richard Matic was outstanding. I really enjoyed the question and answer time with the Captain and two crew members. Felt that the Captain was a take charge person and could handle any situation. Although sometimes during the night we did speed up a bit much. Only had to take one Dramamine when I went to Deck 13 once. The Flam was Terrific as well as the venicular ride on the other stop. That raspberry jam on the Flam ride was out of this world and I bought a jar. As I said the overall service was OUTSTANDING. You could just Look puzzled and the staff read your mind and helped out. I did have the buffet pictured a little different in my mind. I thought since we were in Norway there would be fresh shellfish on ice, along with crab. There was none of this. But, myself and my three friends I traveled with all missed enjoying the "lobster dinner" and when we asked why it was missing in action we were told that lobster were depleted in spite of the fact that the ship indicates they purchased 1000 pounds. So it went somewhere...not sure where because we did Not have lobster dinner which normally is accompanied with baked Alaska for desert. So we would have really enjoyed that if it had happened, but it Did Not. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
First of all this was our third cruise this year we had sailed on the Symphony of the seas in May from Barcelona and Ventura in July from Southampton so what you should expect in the way of general service on a cruise ship was still fairly ... Read More
First of all this was our third cruise this year we had sailed on the Symphony of the seas in May from Barcelona and Ventura in July from Southampton so what you should expect in the way of general service on a cruise ship was still fairly fresh in our minds. We are Latitudes Gold so we have sailed with them a few times prior to this cruise. Because of the previous cruises this year and cost we decided to have an inside cabin and ended up in stateroom 4557 on deck 4 and NCL informed us that we,d had a complimenary upgrade but heaven knows where from maybe the crews quarters. The cabin was tiny but functional apart from a lack of wardrobe space which is a struggle for a weeks cruise nevermind two weeks ,anyway we looked at our latitues gold card and we should have had a complimenary bottle of wine in the cabin but we could,nt find that just loads of 1 litre bottles of water to last us both for the nine day trip which we never got through. At this point I noticed that there was no card in the cabin, sorry stateroom with our cabin stewards name on it and no cabin stewards to be seen anywhere in the corridors. That evening after life boat drill we went up a deck for the sailaway and decided to have a cocktail but with no waiters to be seen anywhere went to the Garden Cafe outdoors bar and asked for two Pina Colada,s and just got a totally blank expression from the bar server Pina Colada he said , he obviously did,nt know what a Pina Colada was until he we told by another bar waiter. Then we decided to go down to the Grand Pacific restaurant for our evening meal, being quite early there was no queue but we were still asked if we would like to share so we shared the table with two lovely American couples ,it took an hour for our starter to arrive and even then two orders came wrong the total dining experience in Grand Pacific took two and a half hours, the waiter said were we going to the show I said no but we have a trip booked for Monday. Unfortunely we had several experiences like that , O Sheehans being really bad one lunch time and we nearly walked out in disgust because of a total lack of service. We did,nt get to see our cabin steward till the evening on day three and that was just by chance and by this stage we were not getting our Freestyle daily in our cabin and the room was,nt getting made up till late afternoon so l compained at reception. At this point we did get better service in the restaurants but the cabin steward was still a but painfully slow and we had to continually ask for things to be done so the Jade was definitely way down on service compaired to the Symphony and Ventura . Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
We have never sailed the Norwegian Cruise Line before, so this was our first time. Our previous ocean cruises were with the Royal Carribean. The embarkation went smoothly although we did not like the idea of printing our own luggage ... Read More
We have never sailed the Norwegian Cruise Line before, so this was our first time. Our previous ocean cruises were with the Royal Carribean. The embarkation went smoothly although we did not like the idea of printing our own luggage tags. The cabin was very small, which we expected. What is disappointing is that all the nice places to relax on ship are the places where drinks are served. What is so obvious is that everything on board was to make more money, even for plain water. It would really be nice if there are places on board where you can really sit and relax out of the wind and rain. The room attendants were friendly but not so much their supervisors. One gentleman at the desk was really friendly when I asked for some information but one of the ladies was quite annoyed when she could not get the iConcierge app working on my iPhone, not too friendly. But over all the services was pretty good sometimes too exaggerated. On cruises we usually eat at the buffet because we are small eaters and like to pick and choose. We are sorry to say that this was the most disappointing thing on this cruise. Even if there are not too much of a variety, breakfast was probably the best if compared to lunch and dinner. Some dishes are sometimes so salty it was hard to eat and also some were really dry. There were a couple of days where the food was good, but unfortunately not too often. Juice machines quite often do not work. The Ports and Shore excursions are too overpriced, at least double the regular price. We book these excursions from local operators online, but quite often they were sold out. The entertainments and activities on board we think are good, although we really did not attend lots of them. Disembarkation was great. We are sorry to say that we most likely won't use the Norwegian Cruise Line any more unless there are changes. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
We chose this 9 day cruise because we wanted to sail the Norwegian Fjords. We loved spending each day in a different port and then getting back on the ship at dinner time, sailing at night and getting into a new port early the next ... Read More
We chose this 9 day cruise because we wanted to sail the Norwegian Fjords. We loved spending each day in a different port and then getting back on the ship at dinner time, sailing at night and getting into a new port early the next morning. Hotels and restaurants in Norway are really expensive and so it was great to come back to the Jade every evening and know that we didn’t have a hotel or food bill! The Norwegian Jade is a smaller boat and that was what we wanted. The staff was extremely service oriented and friendly. They all seemed to love thier job! The ship was immaculate! The only negative about the cruise was the food. We chose to upgrade 8 of our meals in the specialty restaurants. Moderno was horrible, Teppanyaki and La Cucina were fair. Cagneys and Le Bistro were hit or miss depending on the day and the meal ordered. Grand Pacific dining room is beautiful and the food was ok. The breakfast buffet was reasonable (you can’t really screw up breakfast and there was a good selection) but the main buffet for lunch and dinner was a dissapointment and most days the food was exactly the same. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
We planned our cruise on NCL Jade nearly a year before sailing. As the cruise was planned to celebrate a special 60th birthday, I was asked to plan the cruise due to my experience in cruising. We were a party of 11 adults (family and ... Read More
We planned our cruise on NCL Jade nearly a year before sailing. As the cruise was planned to celebrate a special 60th birthday, I was asked to plan the cruise due to my experience in cruising. We were a party of 11 adults (family and friends) travelling together. 9 of the 11 individuals had never sailed before and hence I had to choose a ship and itinerary that would suit all. We settled on NCL Jade 9 day cruise as it offered an interesting itinerary covering 5 Norwegian stops (Haugesund, Hellesyt-Geiranger, Flam, Alesund and Bergen) and 1 Scottish (Kirkwall in Orkney) stop. Also it offered 2 days on sea. Moreover 3 birthdays, including the special 60th, would be celebrated on the cruise. As I had sailed Jade before, I knew it would suit everyone. Jade is a very elegant ship and not too big. Easy to manoeuvre around and from my previous experience, I was aware of the good food and entertainment offered on board. Also the premium all inclusive experience which had all beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) of up to $15 in value included in addition to pre-paid gratuities which was an added bonus as we wouldn't need to worry about these extra onboard charges at the end of the cruise. Although we had booked 11 months in advance, it seemed the time for the cruise arrived very quickly. On the day of departure, it was a wonderful sunny day and we drove to Southampton in 3 cars. Due to the bank holiday weekend, traffic was a bit heavy but we got to the car parking area in 2 hours. We were shuttled to the ship within half an hour or so as there were 4 ships sailing that day and lot of us arrived at the same time. However once we got to the cruise terminal, we dropped off our baggage and headed inside to check in. Check in was very swift and there were no queues whatsoever. Once checked in, we had a short wait to board. However we were inside the ship by 1.30pm or so. Unlike my previous experience on NCL and many other cruise lines, there was no one to welcome or guide us as we entered the ship. Hence we made our own way to our cabins to drop off our hand luggage before heading to the Garden cafe for a buffet lunch. This was a large area on the starboard side of the ship which extended from the aft to the pool side in the centre. Hence, despite it being busy, we all found seats easily. Food was good with a vegetarian Indian section too. There were various other food serving areas like salad station, pizza and pasta counters, burger bar, breads section, desserts area etc. So all of us found something or other to eat here most days during lunch time. I noticed that the ship had a refurbishment from the last time we were on Jade which was more than 3 years ago. The garden cafe looked great and the cabins had new carpets and lighting which looked good. However the pool area looked very bare after getting rid of the water slides and colourful side columns. Couldn't wait to explore rest of the ship and see what other changes were made. We walked along the upper deck area which had a jogging track and basketball/football sports court. 2 pools and 4 hot tubs were located in the centre of the ship. As we made our way to the lower decks, we noticed that the atrium had a different look. It used to be very colourful with flowers on the ceiling. However this had changed to white elegant lights which changed colour in the evenings. The moderno churascarria speciality restaurant on deck 8 had changed to Irish pub O'Sheehans complimentary restaurant which was open all day and night. The photo gallery had a makeover and so did one of the lounges called Bliss lounge which looked completely different. Most of the ship had new carpets too! The theatre, casino and main dining rooms didn't seem to have had much change apart from new carpets and wall displays. Plenty of bars through the ship and it seemed there was new furniture added to make the ship look very fresh and vibrant. On the whole, the 2 of us who had sailed on the Jade before, were quite happy about the overall refurbishment except for the pool area. Soon after we explored the ship, it was time for the emergency drill. Unlike other cruise lines, you do not need to take your life jackets to the drill and the muster stations are located in one of the ship's inside areas like theatre, dining room etc. Ours was in the bliss lounge. The drill was very boring and lasted around 15mins. Once this was done, we headed to the sail off party on the pool deck. This was quite good with peppy music and dancing by the professional dancers followed by rest joining in to dance. Some of our group had good fun starting off the cruise in such an energetic way. Once we set sail, we headed to our cabins to get ready before planning to meet up for drinks later. All our cabins were balcony cabins on 3 levels. One was an accessible cabin which had plenty of room to move around the cabin, large roll in shower area and one could access the balcony in a wheelchair. The rest of our cabins were of good size too with a seperate shower and toilet area with sink in the middle. There was a small sofa next to the beds with a flat screen tv which had various channels including a latest english movie channel too. The balcony was quite huge (compared to some newer ships)with 2 chairs. There was plenty of storage and power points. Also every cabin had a safe and a mini fridge. Unfortunately the alcohol in the fridge was not part of our drinks package so we asked for it to be removed so we could store out complimentary bottles of water in there. As part of the premium inclusive package, we each received 1l bottle of water per day. However they gave us 18 bottles of water per cabin together on the 1st day and hence cluttered the dressing area.It would be better if they could provide bottles of water daily as per our need rather than all together. We didn't use up all our bottles of water by end of the cruise and had to leave them behind. I would definitely recommend getting a balcony cabin for this cruise as it's the best way to make the most of the beautiful surroundings of Norway. However to be honest, personally I wouldn't go on a cruise with a cabin without a balcony as it's nice to have some personal outside space which you don't have to share with others. Our room attendant was not very good as he didn't come to introduce himself, wouldn't answer phone calls and didn't heed to all our requests. However cabin was left nice and tidy on most days. I think he was new and was being coached by someone. Most of the other group members said they had very good room stewards who left them towel animals on most evenings. We weren't left with a single animal in the whole cruise. May be our room steward just wasn't trained how to make them. Also missed chocolates on the pillows every night which NCL should bring back. We met for drinks at the beer/whisky tankards bar and this along with the adjacent champagne bar became our usual meeting area for pre-dinner drinks each evening. Drinks were great with excellent cocktails on offer. Mojitos bar on deck 13 did some excellent mojitos but we only managed to get there 3 times. Also the bar guy in the tankards bar was excellent and always was very patient with all our requests. It was easy to get to the Alizar main dining room where we dined most nights. We usually got 2 tables nearby and were seated generally within 15 minutes of getting a buzzer. Service was generally good and the food was very good too. Vegetarian options were limited however plenty of fish and meat options. Red wine was excellent and we had a different kind each night eg. Merlot/Shiraz/Cabernet etc. However unlike other cruise lines where a wine steward would come and take your order promptly, we sometimes had to tell them we wanted to order wine before they took our drinks order. On the contrary, someone always came to offer us chargeable bottled water which we declined and went for normal water. On the second night of the cruise, we dined at the Grand Pacific which is much more grander but we preferred the more intimate Alizar. We managed to get a table of 11 at the grand Pacific which was great and at a prebooked time that suited us. Service was generally good that day too however none of the soups on the menu said vegetarian and as half of our party were vegetarians, we thought we would make a request to see if they could make us soups with vegetable stock or prepare other vegetarian items not in the main menu. The maitre'D came and declined that we could only order from the menu and no changes could be made as per recommendations from their head office in Miami. This was very disheartening as in our previous cruises on NCL we could always make simple requests like vegetable stock soups or another vegetarian item not on the menu. We asked if there was a vegetarian menu and he declined again. Hence we had to ask him to call his boss. Initially he said she was off duty but later managed to call her to come. She wouldn't come to our table and asked one of us to go and speak to her which we declined. Anyway, later she came and was not at all apologetic about why they couldn't accept our dietary needs request. However she said there was a vegetarian menu which came as a big surprise to us as the maitre'D had denied they had one. It took them a long time to get the menu but once they did, we could see there were several options we could have from there if the vegetarian options on the main menu were not suitable. NCL should train their maitre'Ds well so that they can understand every customers dietary needs. If he had given us the menu initially we wouldn't have needed to call his boss. Anyway, we didn't want this hitch to affect our cruise and tried to forget about it. We returned to this dining room a few days later and had excellent service. Also the next days menu and the vegetarian menu was presented to us every evening so we could make our selection if required. We thoroughly enjoyed rest of our meals in the main dining rooms in the evening. Those who tried garden cafe for a meal one evening, also said they would not go back there for evening meals as quality, presentation and service was far better in the main dining rooms. None of us got a chance to go to any speciality restaurants like teppanyaki, steak restaurant etc. so can't comment on them. On sea days, there were several activities around the ship like port talks, game shows like deal or no deal, bingo, cake making demonstration, towel folding class etc. There was something for everyone to keep one occupied. However they need to have movies in the theatre on sea days for those like myself who enjoy that. We tried O'Sheehans, the Irish pub, for lunch on first sea day but food and service was below par and never went back except for a coffee one day. However some of our party went there for fish and chips and really enjoyed them. There is another complimentary asian restaurant called Jasmine in the evening but we never got a chance to try that. Most of the shows we saw were outstanding especially the production show, 'Elements' which was excellent. Although, we have seen this on other NCL ships, we always enjoy this one. The welcome aboard show was good and gave us a glimpse on things to come on the cruise. We loved the British opera singer (sorry can't remember his name) and the British 3 men band called 'the Knights' both of whom got standing ovations. The magician and his partner were good too. We missed the acrobatic show but saw them in the 'Elements' and they were excellent. We missed one of the production shows called 'Blazing boots' but did manage to see the 1st production show (can't remember the name of that one) which was average. On the whole, the quality of shows on NCL is far superior than those we have seen on other cruise lines. We were lucky with weather at most ports. The 1st sea day was dull and there was some rain in the afternoon however most of us were occupied with activities inside the ship. The first port stop was Haugesund which was cloudy and windy in the morning. 2 of us did an NCL excursion to beautiful Skudenshavn which is a pretty little town with white buildings and a museum. Rest of us hired a taxi or went by bus to some waterfalls which were hour and half away. They enjoyed their excursion too. In the afternoon it started raining whilst we were shopping in Haugesund so returned to ship slightly earlier. The next day we sailed into Hellesyt where we dropped off some passengers for a land tour to Geiranger. Once they got off, we sailed into Geiranger. The sail in was excellent and it was worth being on upper decks or your balcony. However being on upper decks is better as there is beautiful scenery on both sides of the ship. It was partly cloudy and quite chilly that morning. Once we reached Geiranger (which was most of ours favourite port), we got off the ship via the floatable walkway (a marvellous engineering feat) and made our way to meet our driver who was going to take us on a private excursion. As we were slightly early, we did some shopping in the beautiful small town area. He collected us on time and took us on our 3 hour trip which had 3 stops. This was one of our best private excursions as the scenery was awesome and we had great weather all day. We also went to Mount Dalsnibba which had an excellent view of the glaciers and ship below. Some of our best personal photos were from this trip. At the end of the tour, the driver dropped some of us off near a waterfall whereby we could walk down into town along the walkway adjacent to the waterfalls. This was a lovely walk downhill and therefater we went to more shops and then headed back to the ship. The day after we reached Flam which was another pretty port. However our ship had to tender due to another ship being in port. This meant that one of our group members who was in a wheel chair couldn't get off the ship. In the morning it was partly cloudy with some sun and we enjoyed looking around the Flam shops and did a 45min toy train ride which was fun. Then 2 of us headed back to ship whilst rest stayed in town. After lunch and a bit of rest came back to town and we went on the famous 'Flam train journey'. The train journey was good but despite the scenery being great and stopping at some beautiful water falls whereby there was a lady dancing to some Celtic music, we somehow felt this trip fell short of our high expectations. The short stop where we had waffles and coffee was a damp squib as the waffles had gone cold by the time we got there and it had started raining. Some of us did a short hike nearby there to see some waterfalls and a lake but that wasn't very interesting either. The train ride back was the same way. Ideally I would have done a land journey by coach and took train ride back or vice versa. We got back to ship quite late that evening which was when we celebrated my brother in law's 60th birthday bash. We had pre dinner celebration prosecco at our favourite whisky bar followed by a lovely meal at grand Pacific dining room. This culminated with a special eggless cake which was preordered and staff singing away 'Happy birthday'. We ended the evening by dancing away to some great tunes in the spinnakers lounge in deck 13. Certainly a birthday to remember! The next day we were in mesmerising Alesund! Most of the group did the hop on hop off tour which they enjoyed with great views from Aksla viewpoint. The weather was sunny most of the day. 2 of us did full day 'land of trolls' NCL tour which was one of the best tours we have ever done in terms of the scenery we encountered on this trip. However our lunch stop didn't have much for vegetarians except for salads despite telling the ship and tour guide in advance. Our last stop in Norway was in Bergen where we had a clear sunny day with warm temperatures. We all did hop on hop off tour. We got off at Mount Floyen funicular but there was a long queue to go up via the funicular. So, 8 of us decided to hike up thinking it wouldn't be that difficult as we saw several people making their way up. It was a difficult hike especially the 2nd half when it got quite steep. However all of us made it to the top and celebrated our hike by taking photos against beautiful backdrop of Bergen and our ship. We took the funicular down as there was not much queue and walked to fish market. Went to nearby restaurant whereby some of us had fish and chips and beer. Apparently those who ate fish said it was really good. We walked around beautiful Bergen and then took hop on hop off bus back to the ship. Our last stop was in Kirkwall, Orkney islands in Scotland. The weather was overcast but dry. 2 of us took a South Island tour which was panoramic and had a stop at a small church which was interesting. Also the tour guide was excellent and told us lot of world war stories which occurred in the area. Then we headed to Kirkwall to see the downtown area which was lovely with great shops and a cathedral whereby a wedding was going on. 2 of us walked to highland distillery to sample and buy whisky but we were not allowed to as tours were full and they wouldn't let us try the whisky without a tour which is a bit silly. Anyway went back to town to do some souvenir shopping before heading back to ship. Our final day at sea was sunny but windy. However there was a lot going on to keep us occupied. Also, lot of us bought photos from the photo gallery which were not cheap but as a lot of professional shots were very good, we were tempted to buy some. We also did some shopping on the onboard shops. I went to captains Q&A session which was ok as most of the questions that were asked were not very interesting. That evening we had to leave our bags outside the door before retiring to bed as is norm with most cruise lines. The disembarkation next day was very smooth and we were off the ship by 9am when our luggage tag colour was called. On the whole we all had an excellent cruise despite the small hiccup we had on the 2nd evening of our cruise. Most of the staff who come from over 40 countries in the world were always smiling and helpful. Have to mention the wishy washy ladies/men here who did an excellent job ensuring everyone's hands were sprayed with antibacterial before entering buffet area or entering the ship. Also towels and refreshments were offered as we embarked at the end of each day in port. The captain was visible a few times and ensured his team did a good job. Must mention Richard, the cruise director, who was always visible and did an excellent job. He and his entertainment team were just brilliant and made everyone happy. Missed the crew show on this cruise but Richard said he will try and get one going soon again. Highly recommend this cruise to anyone who wants to sail through the majestic Norwegian fjords. Great for groups of family/friends and for me, the best way to experience the fjords of Norway! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
Our first cruise on this ship and cruise line having normally gone with Cunard or P&O cruise. The ship compares well with other cruise lines, lots of places to eat and drink and good choice of food. The Garden Café on deck 12 ... Read More
Our first cruise on this ship and cruise line having normally gone with Cunard or P&O cruise. The ship compares well with other cruise lines, lots of places to eat and drink and good choice of food. The Garden Café on deck 12 has a good selection of food although tends to suit the American market more than the UK. Can get a bit packed quickly in mornings and some of the food is a bit on the cold side. The Grand Pacific restaurant is a beautiful restaurant. Theatre and quality of the shows was fab. No self service launderette and you have to pay per bag to have your washing done. Coffee tastes awful. The cruise itinerary was lovely. The cruise down to Geiranger is stunning, something to see. The town is quiet small but well worth walking around There is also a walk way which follows a water fall which can give some really good views down into the town and Fjord below. Alesund and Bergen, again, fab places to visit. Slight disappointment that we arrived in Kirkwell as we arrived late morning when another ship left Bergen after us but arrived and had a tender service in operation before we even saw to dock. The town is quiet small and can be packed if more than one cruise ship in port at the same time. Lots of history and things to see so would recommend a tours here Would definitely recommend this cruise ship and the Itinerary Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2018
Hi all. We have just returned from a delightful Norwegian Fjords cruise aboard the NCL Jade. I will post a detailed review of this cruise soon. We did a similar cruise on the Eclipse two years ago. Until this cruise all of our cruises ... Read More
Hi all. We have just returned from a delightful Norwegian Fjords cruise aboard the NCL Jade. I will post a detailed review of this cruise soon. We did a similar cruise on the Eclipse two years ago. Until this cruise all of our cruises have been with Celebrity (the Eclipse) and I was quite nervous as to what the differences might be between the two lines. I found that it was not easy to find a comparison – and so here is mine. I stress that these are our experiences only, and of course your experiences might well be different. I have grouped this review into a variety of categories. Apologies for a long post! Embarkation, muster and debarkation Leaving from Southampton we found no real differences between the embarkation processes for Celebrity or NCL. We are Select with Celebrity and newbies on NCL, but didn't miss priority boarding. We were checked in quickly. With Celebrity it is then straight on to the ship where you get a welcome drink. For NCL we then had to wait about 20 mins in the terminal before boarding, and no welcome drink. We didn’t miss the welcome drink (we had a drinks package). Muster was similar on both lines – no videos to watch on NCL, so muster seemed quicker. Debarkation was smooth on both lines. Verdict: No meaningful difference. Staterooms We have had standard balcony and concierge staterooms on Celebrity. We had a Guaranteed balcony stateroom on Deck 9 on the NCL Jade. The stateroom was a little smaller on the Jade (more like the standard balcony on Celebrity Infinity). That said, the bed was larger on NCL, making for a better night’s sleep. There was plenty of storage space for our clothes and stuff on both lines, and cases went under the bed on both. Celebrity give chocs on the pillows (we never eat them) but no towel animals. NCL gave us towel animals each night (and we like those) but no chocs on pillows. On both lines our staterooms were well appointed, in good repair, clean and had pleasing décor. NCL had more plug sockets (including some USB charging sockets around the stateroom and in the bedside lights). Verdict: It is a close call but for us, NCL win this one for the towel animals, bigger bed and more sockets/USB charge points. Public areas (general) Although the Eclipse is a larger ship than the Jade, neither feel crowded. Both ships are well maintained and clean and tidy. Both are pleasant. But the décor of the Eclipse is more plush, perhaps more refined, and for us, more pleasing to the eye. Just somehow “a bit nicer”. Verdict: Celebrity wins this category easily. Complementary dining Before we cruised with NCL we had seen a fair few very negative reviews about their food and service. We were pleased to find that they did not generally reflect our experience. On Celebrity Eclipse we had Select (i.e. anytime) dining and your choices are the Oceanview Café (buffet), Mast grill (poolside), Aqua Spa Café (in the Solarium) and the main dining room. And the food is good, but we have found that the food in the buffet is generally luke warm at best, never hot. NCL have freestyle dining (again, anytime) and offers more choice, with two main dining rooms (Grand Pacific and Alizar), Jasmine (Asian), Garden Café (buffet), The great outdoors (a mini-version of the buffet at the back of the ship), Topsiders (poolside grill), Pitstop grill (not always open) and O’Sheehans (open 24 hours a day). We never actually made it to the main dining rooms on NCL, enjoying either O’Sheehans, the Garden Café, Jasmine or the Specialty dining rooms. However, we found the service to be prompt and the food to be good. Food quality and service quality was as good on both lines. NCL have screens that let you see how busy the various restaurants are. Verdict: NCL win this one purely because they offer more choice. Specialty Dining On the Eclipse there is Murano (a favourite though we have seen a decline, sadly, over 5 years), Tuscan grill, QSine (our least favourite) and Sushi on Five. Suite guests can dine in Luminae (and we have eaten there – but not hugely impressed that had to send a steak back 5 times to get it cooked correctly!). Aqua class can dine in Blu (which we have not tried). On NCL we had the choice of Cagneys Steakhouse, Teppanyaki, Moderno Churasscuria, Le Bistro, Sushi and an Italian restaurant we didn’t try and cannot remember the name of. Thus, a little more choice again on NCL than Celebrity. Food quality was comparable on both ships. We like Murano and Sushi on Five on the Eclipse. On NCL Jade we had excellent steak in Cagney’s, Moderno was an experience, and Le Bistro was good (without being quite so over the top as Murano). Verdict: Too close to call. Bars (and drinks package) A tricky one this, because Celebrity has fewer bars but does have the Martini Bar (which we love) and the World Class Bar (which we quite like). NCL doesn't have those but does have more bars and has Sugarcane (a mojito bar). While not ice-topped, it is the NCL equivalent, I guess, of the Martini bar. Whilst NCL has more bars, several of these are effectively the same (so all the bars in Bar Central on Deck 6 of the NCL Jade are VERY similar). Verdict: The Martini bar has to win, so Celebrity wins here. Regarding drinks packages, with Celebrity we have had a Classic drinks package included in the cruise fare, which we always upgrade to the Premium package. On NCL we were “premium all inclusive”. Both include drinks up to $15 but the NCL package excludes premium coffees and bottled water (you did get a litre a day per person in your stateroom). Also worth noting that the NCL drinks do not include a New Zealand Sauv Blanc in the premium all inclusive/ultimate beverage package range. On both lines, you pay the difference for drinks more expensive than the package. We found the selection of drinks perfectly acceptable on both lines. Whilst there was more choice on Celebrity, the cost of buying coffees/water was less than the cost of upgrading from Classic to Premium (and considerably so). Before we sailed I wanted to know if NCL had Clamato. They do. They also do a good Long Island Ice Tea! Ultimately, therefore, this one is a tie. However, if you love specialty coffees with cake, then Café Al Bacio on Celebrity would carry this in their favour. Verdict: Too close to call. Smoking areas A controversial one, this. We vape, rather than smoking but the rules for both are the same. On Celebrity you can smoke on one side of the promenade deck (where there are comfy seats), by the pool in a designated area, and at the back on the top of the ship in a designated area. No indoor smoking on Celebrity and no smoking in the casino. On the NCL Jade you can smoke on the promenade deck (deck 7) portside, but there was no seating (apparently they only put it out on warm weather cruises!), on Deck 13 port side by the Pitstop bar, in the Casino (if you are playing), and they have a cigar room where you can smoke/vape. These were our social hubs. Whilst the cigar room is pleasantly decorated, for a vape-er rather than a smoker the smell of cigarette smoke on clothes after time in there was unpleasant. Can appreciate lots of people would not like others smoking in the casino. No smoking on NCL jade where there is food. Controversially therefore, for comfort and consideration, Celebrity just win this one. Verdict: More comfortable for all concerned, I suspect, on Celebrity. Casino Didn’t spend much time in the Casino on last few cruises. Did note on the roulette table (my game) that on Celebrity chips are worth $1 and on NCL they are worth $2 – so more expensive to play. Similarly minimum bet for blackjack was higher ($10) on NCL rather than Celebrity ($6). Both have well equipped casinos. Rather like the Chinese theme in the Jade Casino. (Also like the Egyptian theme in the Celebrity Infinity). Verdict: Too close to call. Website and IT Without doubt, NCL win this one. We found their website easy to navigate, responsive and, hey, it worked. Alas Celebrity has a lot of work to do in this area. On the Eclipse there are smart TVs in your stateroom where you can see your on board account, and you can watch the free movies one by one by your choice. On the NCL Jade, you cant see your account through the TV, and the movie channel rolls through them (so you end up catching snippets – but they had some good movies!). However, NCL have their own App that works on board and on that you can see your account, book excursions, find info re ports etc. Verdict: NCL easily win this one. Tendering Have seen this issue crop up in reviews for NCL. We have had tender ports with both Celebrity and NCL and on both had no issues at all. Verdict: No meaningful difference. Overall we have had good cruises with both lines. We were pleased to find that NCL was an enjoyable (and more relaxed) alternative to Celebrity. We met great people on both lines and had a wonderful time. We no longer feel constrained to one cruise line! There are positives and negatives to both. Ultimately different does not necessarily mean better or worse. We would cruise with either line again. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
Wanted to see the fjords and always liked ncl. Jade was recently refurbished and looks great. Ports were small but really enjoyed them. Seems they have cutback on the latitudes party. No more prizes and it is now early in the day when you ... Read More
Wanted to see the fjords and always liked ncl. Jade was recently refurbished and looks great. Ports were small but really enjoyed them. Seems they have cutback on the latitudes party. No more prizes and it is now early in the day when you are less likely to drink. Appetizers were cubes of cheese only. Very poor way to treat best customers. Show us you really care and make our experience special. As I remember we use to have two parties and one the captain was there. This party was a waste of time. Cruise critic party was pretty much over before it began. Officers introduced themselves then left did not stick around to talk. We noticed little things that were special are disappearing. No more crew show and other shows cut out. We still like the freestyle dining. Speciality restaurants were all excellent main dining room good. Shows were excellent except the magician very amateurish almost embarrassing. We would like to continue to sail ncl but make platinum members special and don’t cut back. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2018
let me begin with the embarkation, it was fast and easy and everyone is very helpful. Only draw back, when I embarked, my bedroom is not yet ready, but it was fine, I had a mani-pedi while waiting for my room and she was really nice, I ... Read More
let me begin with the embarkation, it was fast and easy and everyone is very helpful. Only draw back, when I embarked, my bedroom is not yet ready, but it was fine, I had a mani-pedi while waiting for my room and she was really nice, I think her name is Latoya. The bedroom assigned to me was bigger than I expected. It was very comfortable and very clean. I have everything I need for my trip. The food is excellent, especially the variety. I love the Filipino crew, they are so friendly and very generous of their time and talent. They serve me (us) with a smile on their face. The entertainment was also really good, on the first night it was such a great musical, and on the second night it was a nice magic show. Or maybe I’m confused, maybe it’s the other way around. But nevertheless I enjoyed both shows. Read Less
Norwegian Jade Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 5.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.8
Family 4.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.3
Service 5.0 4.1
Value For Money 4.0 3.9
Rates 4.0 3.9

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