2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2018
My partner and I have been on four cruises, all previously on Royal Caribbean. We've loved every one of them. But we've long wanted to sail the Norwegian fjords, we realized with five weeks notice that we had the time and NCL had the space ... Read More
My partner and I have been on four cruises, all previously on Royal Caribbean. We've loved every one of them. But we've long wanted to sail the Norwegian fjords, we realized with five weeks notice that we had the time and NCL had the space ... so we bit the bullet and booked this cruise. Every minute of it, every dollar spent, was worth it. We spent five days in Hamburg before the cruise, renting an Airbnb and exploring the city (as well as taking day trips to Lubeck and Berlin). Hamburg is very much worth a few days of visiting before or after the cruise. For our one more night in Hamburg (where I am now), we've booked a hotel near the airport for an early flight. Taxi is certainly the best way to reach the Steinwerder cruise center. From the town center, it cost us 37 euros. (To the airport area afterward, our taxi cost 57 euros.) Embarkation and disembarkation were very smooth. Long lines (especially since we had no status on NCL), but handled efficiently. All very friendly and pleasant. The Norwegian Jade is a beautiful ship. As you can see from other reviews and online videos, the 2017 renovation really has paid off. We never lacked for a variety of spaces for fun and entertainment, or a quiet place to read. On a cruise like this with a lot of scenery as we left the ports, we really valued all the space on the pool and sun decks and in the Spinnaker lounge (deck 13 at the front of the ship with windows all around). Only inside cabins were left when we booked, so this space was especially valuable to us. Dining & Beverages So this was one of the biggest differences we experienced from Royal Caribbean. We've always been traditional diners, enjoying sitting at a large table with strangers and getting to know new people from around the world, having the same server each night, and eating generally great food in the main dining room. None of these were true of our main dining room experience on NCL. I'm sure most people prefer freestyle dining, but we actually missed getting to know others, and getting to know our servers. The main dining room food ranged from just fine to nearly inedible. The service was hit or miss. When we were shuffled down one evening from the Grand Pacific to the Alizar, the service and atmosphere were even worse. Jasmine, the complimentary Chinese dinner option, was fine (although neither authentically Chinese nor even the American version of Chinese you'll be expecting). I'd give this part 2 stars, but... The specialty restaurants were AMAZING. We made a last-minute decision to add the dining package (for 4 nights) to our cruise and it was the best decision we made for the whole trip. Moderno, the Brazilian chiaroscurra place, was excellent and fun. Teppanyaki was predictably fun and the food was very good. Le Bistro was really, really good French food with impeccable service. And Cagney's was the best meal of our trip, with one of the best filet mignons I've ever had, delicious sides, and a great open-kitchen atmosphere. Five stars for the specialty dining. Factor the price ($100 per person all-in got us four dinners) into your cruise planning. Totally worth it. I should mention here that another big part of the enjoyment of this cruise was having the ultimate beverage package, which was included with our fare (and seemed to be with a lot of people's fares). We've never had this before -- but we'll never go on a cruise again without it. The added sense of luxury of not worrying about paying for another drink -- and the freedom to enjoy a variety and try new things, not to mention accompany the delicious specialty dinners for no additional charge -- was worth every penny. And the Jade has perhaps a dozen different bars, with different specialties, different bartenders you get to know, and enough different atmospheres that you'll want to take advantage of the variety. Entertainment We were pleasantly surprised with the quality of almost every show. The production cast of singers and dancers were consistently excellent, and the shows were just long enough to display their talents (and no longer). The aerialists on our ship were genuinely excellent. Only the magician was, well, lame. We also had two featured performers: Becky O'Brien (whose tribute show to Judy Garland was truly fantastic, even if its excellence was lost on some of this very international crowd) and flamenco guitarist Adam Westcott (whose talents were incomparable but whose art may not quite command the stage sufficiently in a setting like this). Onboard activities were -- well -- stereotypical of cruises. Bingo, couple competitions, trivia, poolside dance parties, towel-folding demonstrations. The cruise director, Richard, was very earnest, but not a very interesting personality. We don't really go on cruises for this stuff, but if we did, the activities lineup would not have provided anything extra special. Service Overall, service was excellent. We met fun bartenders who remembered our drinks and engaged in conversation. Our room steward, Zen, was incredibly kind and hard-working and pleasant day and night. The servers in the specialty restaurants were very, very good at what they did. (In the main dining room, perhaps less so--although they may just have been overworked.) Ports of Call/Shore Excursions The real star of this cruise is Norway itself. Never have we encountered such beauty, and each day seemed to be a little more beautiful than the last. (We also had extraordinarily warm and dry weather for every stop except Flam.) Bergen: Just walking around the city made for a beautiful day. Walking off the ship you come to the old-town of Bryggen. We took the funicular to the top of Mount Troyen and hiked down (highly recommend), and just enjoyed the beautiful, flower-filled, friendly downtown. Olden: A charming little town where most people go for the outdoorsy excursions. We booked a bus ride up to Birksdaal Glacier, which is in a national park and accessible by a hike of a couple miles up. (You can do this on your own without the ship, but be advised the line for buying tickets, or for picking up pre-booked online tickets will be very long, so it's worth getting off the ship earlier rather than later). TOTALLY WORTH THE HIKE past waterfalls and fields of wildflowers if you're up to it physically. Trondheim: The Nidaros Cathedral is the thing you must do. Take one of the tours. Climb the tower. Tour the adjacent Archibishop's Palace (which has an extensive museum). Glorious. Geiranger: On our own, we pre-booked the little electric cars from an outfit called eMobility. Although the pickup was a bit hectic, these are a fantastic day of fun. We did the 3-hour rental that guides you all the way up to the top of Dalsnibba. Whether you drive yourself there in one of these cars or take a bus, you don't want to miss this on the visit to Geiranger. Alesund: A beautiful and charming town. We took a city bus out to the Sonnmore open-air museum showing buildings from the region built over the last seven centuries. It was fascinating but a bit do-it-yourself as tours go. A nice change. Flam: Our only bad-weather day, we ended up just taking the train up to Myrdal and back again (cancelling our reservations to bike back down). It was beautiful and totally worth doing. We booked our tickets with the Norwegian rail system online. Highly recommend. We loved this cruise, and would certainly recommend it. We would also cruise with NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
Out of 17 cruises, 7 with NCL, this was my best experience. The Ports of Call along with overall great weather is what led to this conclusion. Weather can make or break your trip. Oh my gosh, we were 300 miles north of the Arctic ... Read More
Out of 17 cruises, 7 with NCL, this was my best experience. The Ports of Call along with overall great weather is what led to this conclusion. Weather can make or break your trip. Oh my gosh, we were 300 miles north of the Arctic Circle in Honnisvag Norway and it was sunny and 68 degrees. The tours off the ship were excellent with very knowledgeable English speaking guides. Bergen was probably our best stop and be sure and take the funicular if a nice day to the top of Mt. Floyen. Over the top breathtaking view down to the city and harbor. Never had a bad experience with service in all departments or dining all over the ship. Only three complaints come to mind. Smoking in the Casino is still permissible. We had to leave an adjoining lounge to the casino because of the smell of smoke. In addition,one afternoon as we are cruising down a long fjord to the Svartisen glacier relaxing in the Spinnaker Lounge (Level 13 with panoramic view) with about 60 other people and a future cruise presentation commences. Wouldn't have been so bad, but they lowered the shades to the windows. Idiots. Then when the presentation was over 45 minutes later no one knew how to raise the shades back up. Took an additional 25 minutes to finally find someone to correct the problem. The windows in the Grand Pacific dining room need to be replaced. They were so scratched up you couldn't see out very well. I highly recommend this 12 day cruise out of Hamburg and hoping you have good weather. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
The itinerary was fabulous scenery. The weather sunny and warm at each stop with a small rain at one port. The food service was excellent and room housekeeping and restaurant employees were always smiling and friendly. The ship decor ... Read More
The itinerary was fabulous scenery. The weather sunny and warm at each stop with a small rain at one port. The food service was excellent and room housekeeping and restaurant employees were always smiling and friendly. The ship decor was comfortable and the top Spinnacker lounge was a wonderful getaway to see the wonders of Norway from up above comfort peacefully. The entertainment was excellent especially the Elements show with magicians and acrobats hanging from the ceiling and singing and dancing and snowflakes galore. The fish were on the carpet swimming forward so we did not get lost to our inside cozy room forward. The ship web cam on TV was our window to the world. The buffet area had a wonderful eating area in the back to see the sights and feel the breeze. The free style dining was easy and the free style clothing norm was comfortable to each persons style. I could have packed half the clothes I took along. It was a SUPER CRUISE. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose the Jade for the itinerary to Norway and the North Cape. We have cruised with NCL and other cruise lines many times. Cutbacks in the regular Dining Rooms was very evident. Food selection and service was poor. Thank goodness for ... Read More
We chose the Jade for the itinerary to Norway and the North Cape. We have cruised with NCL and other cruise lines many times. Cutbacks in the regular Dining Rooms was very evident. Food selection and service was poor. Thank goodness for Cagney's Steakhouse and the Italian specialty Restaurants. The Pub (O'Sheehan's) was an excellent lunch eatery with good service. Entertainment was good and had a nice variety. Casino was adequate in size and games. The Fitness Center was a good variety of equipment and trainer was well involved Shore Excursions was priced very high. The stores had a average selection and were over priced. NCL is even charging a $7.95 room service charge for each occasion used. Latitudes program benefits have been decreased as well. NCL built their reputation with us as a cost/value cruise line in the past. This is not evident today based on our last two cruises with you. NCL can do much better as experienced in the past. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
The pros: * You can enjoy a variety of included food options, plus you can roam freely, even throughout one evening. No fixed timing or location. That’s quite unique and great! * ship feels like new, nice cabins and (small) ... Read More
The pros: * You can enjoy a variety of included food options, plus you can roam freely, even throughout one evening. No fixed timing or location. That’s quite unique and great! * ship feels like new, nice cabins and (small) bathrooms * superfriendly and efficient staff. Doesn‘t go that much for the rarely visible officers nor the reception desk. The cons: * Bagage drop in Hamburg (terminal soley used by NCL that day) 1 hour wait * followed by checkin (no status line) 2,5 hours wait * waiting lines to get a tender ticket * always waiting lines when tendering ashore (groups are called way to early) * 1 hour wait tendering back in Geiranger, 20+ min waits on other tender and bus transfers (very last seat must be taken) * waiting lines at favorite included restaurants like Jasmine Garden as you can’t make reservations for these restaurants (advantages see above) * ok food at buffet restaurant Garden Cafe got really boring after one week (being rethemed, rearranged, regrouped but not really altered) * Internet connection (I’m aware of ship/satellite implications) really bad. Picked the $35/day (it’s 2018, guys!) unlimited streaming package. Worked fine next to the Internet help desk but not properly in my midship room or other public places (long blackouts, long waits when loading, error messages on YouTube, ...). Insanely unfair offering. Not sorted throughout the cruise. * NCL refused to honor our Cruise credit despite it being stated on their very own booking confirmation. Couldn’t be sorted. Got phone number in Southampton to discuss. * 45 min bus ride (no guide) to north cape for 2 adults and 2 kids (aged 15) comes at a total of $600 * booked, among others, the “Lavazza Coffee specialities package”. The only (!) decent coffee at java cafe comes at an hefty extra charge. Same goes for fresh juices. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
We liked the destinations as well as the fact that the ship was not super big. The early booking perks were also a plus - free drink package and $50 credit per shore excursion in each port. We had been on the ship before and were very ... Read More
We liked the destinations as well as the fact that the ship was not super big. The early booking perks were also a plus - free drink package and $50 credit per shore excursion in each port. We had been on the ship before and were very satisfied with our prior experience. We choose our cruises mainly for the ports of call and these did not disappoint. We normally do not travel in the summer due to the crowds, but our choice of itinerary necessitated a summer trip. We had no issues until we reached Scotland where there were thousands of tourists - no super crowd issues until our last stop. Our land excursions were booked through the cruise line and they were quite satisfactory. Our room was always immaculate and we had a wonderful room steward. Since the cruise was two weeks, we, by choice, requested the same servers in the restaurant - Dorejean and Lyndell - and were give excellent service. They quickly learned our drink preferences - wines, iced tea, decaf coffee. We looked forward to seeing them each evening. All in all, a great trip for two senior citizens! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
As many of my cruises have been with Norwegian's newer, larger ships, the Jade was a return to a smaller, more traditional vessel. That said, the ship has been recently refurbished and is comfortable and modern. It was the itinerary which ... Read More
As many of my cruises have been with Norwegian's newer, larger ships, the Jade was a return to a smaller, more traditional vessel. That said, the ship has been recently refurbished and is comfortable and modern. It was the itinerary which particularly interested me, as Iceland has been a country I have always wanted to visit, and this seemed a cost effective way of doing so. My party arrived by train in Hamburg and stayed overnight, before boarding the following day. The queues at check-in looked horrendous, however, we were able to embark quickly as I have Latitudes status and access to a fast-track desk. Once inside, we went to have a light lunch in Grand Pacific, until the announcement was made that the cabins were ready, and our luggage was delivered shortly afterwards. Most of our meals were eaten in Grand Pacific. Whilst the food was well cooked, and service generally good, at breakfast, it was difficult just to order eggs. These came with country potatoes, whether you wanted them or not, and the piles of abandoned potatoes on people's plates were a common sight. Why it seemed so difficult to order eggs and toast and receive just eggs and toast was a mystery. Several times, we went to Garden Cafe for a snack or late lunch and found it difficult to get a table. There were a number of people who had finished eating, but were not moving on, instead, talking or playing cards. O'Sheehans seemed to be less frantic, although the pub food might not be to everyone's taste. The entertainment was the usual mixture of music, shows and silly games organised by the cruise director and his team. It would have been nice to have some information about the places we were seeing, as Iceland might very well be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Of the ports: Alesund was a delightful town. I had booked a day trip with Norwegian Excursions, and Monica, our guide, provided a excellent guided tour of the sights, including some of the small islands nearby. We had no plans for Bergen, so simply took the Hop-On Hop-Off bus from the port gate. After a circuit, we stopped off at the Fish Market for prawns and ate them overlooking the harbour. The Hanseatic Museum at Bryggen is also worth visiting to find out more about the trade in salted cod and how this was important for the economy. Shetland. A tender port and another day with no specific excursions planned. After a smooth transfer, we walked through the town and went to the Shetland Museum and Archives. This is highly recommended as it explains the development and culture of the Shetland Islands, and is free entrance. The cafe is also excellent. Reykjavik. The Jade stayed overnight in port and we visited the Golden Circle with Reykjavik Excursions. Eric the guide was very engaging and my only complaint was that it was fraught getting off the ship as 2500+ passengers all wanted to board their tour busses at the same time and our bus had not arrived. Fortunately it was all solved, but a designated bus stop would have been helpful. The second day in Reykjavik was spent visiting the city and the Hallgrimskirkja. Akureyri. This town in the north of Iceland is quite different. We had an excursion with The Travelling Viking, and saw the Godafoss waterfall and the Christmas House as well as a state of the art farm where the cows are milked electronically. The Faroe Islands did not seem to be geared up for cruise ship tourism yet. There are things to see and do, but the impression we got was that the cruise ships are just things which pass by. Once passengers are on the quayside, a bus has to drive though stacks of shipping containers, as walking out of the port on foot is not allowed. Invergordon. Wow Scotland provided our excursion and were excellent, with plenty of background information about Culloden and the other sites we visited, and lots of funny anecdotes. Sadly, the Loch Ness monster was having a siesta on this occasion. Edinburgh. Another tender port and a city which needs to be explored in more detail. The centre is quite compact, so walking is very easy. I enjoyed looking at the tartans in the shops on the Royal Mile. Overall, it was a good cruise, and I would go again, but probably not with the exact same itinerary. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2018
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and had been satisfied with NCL twice before. Great itinerary but organized chaos on several occasions. The main buffet dining, the Garden Cafe, was always CROWDED!! People fought for tables far ... Read More
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and had been satisfied with NCL twice before. Great itinerary but organized chaos on several occasions. The main buffet dining, the Garden Cafe, was always CROWDED!! People fought for tables far away from the buffet at every meal dining early or late. As this was a North Sea cruise, it was cool outside so outdoor seating was not pleasant. The Spirit that we sailed last year never had this problem. It seems that they removed dining space to insert a teenager center with the recent remodel. They provided a reduced breakfast food service at the back of the ship but it was often closed when the Garden Cafe was open. Very frustrating! And they did not ask for any feedback. Maybe it’ll come later. They seemed to have eliminated feedback on dining service that we provided on the Spirit. When we arrived in the Shetland Islands, the immigration line stretched the length of the ship with minimal staff organization. The tender line to get back on board in Edinburg was an hour. The disembarkation process was smooth, but the taxi line was 90 minutes long!! The cabins were very nice and the food ranged from acceptable at the buffet to good in the sit down restaurants. Avoid the teppan dining. Staff professional but minimally friendly. Limited discussion of tours with no history lectures or other educational programs. Stage shows were not as high quality as we found on the NCL Spirit last year that were exceptional. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
For a too-short two-day cruise, I had cabin 11018, the Sapphire Penthouse. Amazing space. With a butler, champagne (not just sparkling wine) and a doorbell. Not to mention a window in the tub and a window in the shower. With special ... Read More
For a too-short two-day cruise, I had cabin 11018, the Sapphire Penthouse. Amazing space. With a butler, champagne (not just sparkling wine) and a doorbell. Not to mention a window in the tub and a window in the shower. With special breakfast settings in The Moderno and lunch in Cagney's, the cruise was special. This is the second time I have taken the Southampton-to-Hamburg cruise and embarkation is always organised. What I didn't realise was that I was supposed to be in the VIP check-in. My fault because, when the receptionist ask me my cabin, I simply responded that I was Latitudes Silver and she put me in the Latitudes queue. If I had shown the papers, I would have been moved to the correct place. Still, once in the right place, we were the first to board. And then it was straight to O'Sheaghans for wings. It has become a bit of a tradition. Both dining rooms are comparable, tho Alizar a bit smaller. Choose according to personal preference and style. Getting off the ship couldn't have been much easier. A small queue for immigration - but that was probably 8 minutes max Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
This is my second cruise on NCL and first on the Jade. I was looking forward to a smaller ship due to more personal service and personable crew. The ship's pools were a bit small for the sold-out two-day voyage I was on; restaurants ... Read More
This is my second cruise on NCL and first on the Jade. I was looking forward to a smaller ship due to more personal service and personable crew. The ship's pools were a bit small for the sold-out two-day voyage I was on; restaurants sometimes packed and entertainment was only okay (for a cruise ship). I had an inner cabin which was just fine and located upstairs aft which was convenient. The quality of the food was overall okay The food and beverage staff were all tremendously friendly. Guest services, however, was anything but. I only had a minor problem but being dismissed by each person I talked to in guest services, and being told there was no manager to talk to, really sealed the deal for me. Other guests on this cruise had similar experiences, to the point of multiple people complaining throughout the cruise, all falling on deaf ears. What a disappointing experience. 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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