Sail Date: December 2017
We had a Carnival Holiday cruise booked for Christmas time but we found that NCL was offering a longer cruise (10 days) for about the same price as the 7 day Carnival Cruise, so that was one of the decision factors. The other one was that ... Read More
We had a Carnival Holiday cruise booked for Christmas time but we found that NCL was offering a longer cruise (10 days) for about the same price as the 7 day Carnival Cruise, so that was one of the decision factors. The other one was that we thought Freestyle cruising was fun. Unfortunately, we were wrong on both counts. First off, Free style dining is no fun. There was always a wait time (something like 20 minutes), and then when you are in the dining room you don't feel a personal connection with the staff that serve you. When you have a fixed time and table dining, you bond with the staff that serve you and we like that. We tried both the dining rooms and had similar experiences. The food choice was not the best and we didn't really enjoy the food. The desserts were much better. Talking about food, it's quite boring when you get similar food at most of the restaurants, except for the ones where you have to register, even though it's free. The main buffet, the Garden Cafe, served a lot of different foods but quite a few were repeated every day. You can get burgers at the Garden Cafe and you can get them at the Great Outdoors, Top Siders, The Pit Stop and also at O'Sheehans. On the Carnival ships, they have specialized places for different types of foods. They have a pizza place, a burgers place and also a mexican place. That makes it iteresting. The entertainment was average. We didn't like that the Hypnotist and the Magician used their show to advertise their paid sessions and/or DVDs. There was even a singing duo who also tried to sell their CDs. We were on board for entertainment and it should have been pure entertainment. Of course, kudos to the Production Cast, who's shows were great, but few. If I were to compare the entertainment with that of the Carnival Liberty, I would they NCL is about average. We did not take part in sports activities, but the others like Music Trivia, etc. were not exciting. For the Music Trivia, the DJ was not a crowd pleaser. He would just play a snippet of the music and we had to write down the name of the song. After that he would tell the asnwers and give some points on a card. Oh yes, the pool side was deserted once it turned dark. No fun at all. Most of the crew were very nice and friendly. They served with a smile, except one in the Grand Pacific dining room. :(. Overall, we made the most of the curise to keep our selves entertained, but it was nothing to call home about. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We had not sailed on the Jade before but was our 12th on NCL due to their being a solid value line. First the itinerary change due to Irma took us to the ABC islands of Aruba, BonAire and Curacao, a winning combination, as well as ... Read More
We had not sailed on the Jade before but was our 12th on NCL due to their being a solid value line. First the itinerary change due to Irma took us to the ABC islands of Aruba, BonAire and Curacao, a winning combination, as well as Jamaica and Grand Cayman. Aruba was clearly the touristyist of the lot, if you want to shop. The Jade itself had just had a major overall done a few months earlier that showed. Public space venues were chic, bright and clean. Cabins appeared to be an afterthought, though. On the 10th floor were we were located, our cabin had a drawer face that fell off upon our first pull on arrival. it was obvious upon inspection that multiple stripped out holes had indicated many previous repairs. The light above my bed flickered for the entire 10 day cruise and unceremoniously went completely dim on the last night of the cruise as I was attempting to pack up. NCL did repair the drawer face on the second day of the cruise without having to be asked (kudos) but it was sad that the repair guy did not address the light problem right away as well, since it was rather obvious. NCL staff was exceptionally polite and friendly which has been the tradition in our years of experience sailing with them. One gnawing oddity has been NCL's change in drink prices which have gone up considerably. Beverages are apparently being relied upon more heavily as a profit center. Unlimited drink packages were heavily sold on this cruise which will set you back about $90 per day plus gratuity. About half the passengers were reported to have taken advantage of those packages. Knowing what I know about snow belt escapees seeking out cruises to warm locales, NCL may be taking a bath on this strategy, as we snowbirds are known to be epic drinkers! Entertainment on board was stellar, especially at the big shows in the Stardust Theater. Something noteworthy is that sound and light system in the Stardust. It was clearly updated as well, to phenomenal great effect. You will not be disappointed, hearing protection is recommended for young travelers, though. Overall,It was a highly recommended cruise and a successful reboot to Jade v2.0 Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
We chose the Jade because we had sailed on it five years ago and also because the current itinerary appealed to us. We contacted a specific booking agent who works for Norwegian; our friends had booked with him previously and felt he was ... Read More
We chose the Jade because we had sailed on it five years ago and also because the current itinerary appealed to us. We contacted a specific booking agent who works for Norwegian; our friends had booked with him previously and felt he was very efficient and helpful. Due to budget considerations we chose to go with the program where the cruise chooses your room. We informed the booking agent that we were two couples who were traveling together and hoped we would be able to be in rooms that were near to each other. When we booked, he informed us that we booked the last two rooms at that price. This was untrue, because our friends booked a few days later and were also able to get this fare. He also told us that while he could not guarantee rooms adjacent, he could assure us that our rooms would be in close proximity. We ended up on 5 forward, while our friends ended up on 4 aft. We informed him of this and nothing was done to remedy the situation. I called Norwegian's corporate offices to voice our concerns, and was told that as a "compensation" we would be given a plate of chocolate covered strawberries. I informed the individual that while this was very sweet, it did not really alleviate any concerns, and in addition, my husband does not eat strawberries. The plate was delivered with 6 strawberries. As for the cruise: everything was "adequate." The cruise staff appeared to be comprised of many individuals who did not speak English very well. In addition, a good number of the staff was new. The food was not at all stellar. Our room steward was sweet, but there were two nights when he only left one large towel (we were two people) and another night where he did not leave a floor mat. The shore excursions were good, but we felt very uncomfortable about the overt "requests" for tips; when you spend so much extra for these excursions, the tips should not be strongly recommended. The entertainment staff was good and the shows were enjoyable. The only show that was not good was the last night. The singer was a Whitney Houston "wannabe" and was very loud, bordering on screaming. Overall, I would say that Norwegian's quality has gone down. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
This ship was recently refurbished and it shows! The ship's been modernized, which is lovely. It was a cruise over Christmas and the ship was EXTREMELY festive which was such a great touch. As expected with any NCL ship, it was clean and ... Read More
This ship was recently refurbished and it shows! The ship's been modernized, which is lovely. It was a cruise over Christmas and the ship was EXTREMELY festive which was such a great touch. As expected with any NCL ship, it was clean and well taken care of. I only had a few issues while sailing: -ship's layout. I know this can't change lol but I hated the layout. I felt like I had to walk back and forth to get anywhere on the ship! It wasn't even that big of a ship either! I don't know how to explain it, I've just never felt like I've had to walk the length of a ship so much. -O'Sheehan's. I ate there a lot(bc of its 24/7 hours and convenience) and it was just "meh....ok" every time. The Nachos were a joke. One meal gave me extreme illness(all the Pepto Bismal symptoms) and forced me to spend half a sea day in my room. Servers there were often less than hospitable. -Cagney's. I ate there twice. Christmas dinner there was PERFECTION! Cagney's is my fav specialty dining place so I expected it to be phenomenal. My 2nd meal there was less than satisfactory, but my server was so busy that by the time I could tell him, it was too late--I had to be at the 9:30pm show(that was a long walk away lol) in 20 minutes. -Fitness Center was good expect for one thing: IT WAS SO RIDICULOUSLY HOT IN THERE OMG! the Air Con must've been on low or something. And there weren't any ceiling fans! -ship's movements. This was hands-down the rockiest cruise I've been on. I can NEVER feel the ship but on this ship, I felt it moving, rocking, rolling and crashing over waves ALL THE TIME. It was no bueno. Thank goodness I don't get sea sick! I couldn't believe how much it rocked.... one night a steward must've forgotten to tie something down because it literally sounded like a keg was rolling back and forth between 2 walls for half the night... -Entertainment. I usually love the singing, dancing, and comedy on cruises. This ship has FANTASTIC DANCERS & SINGERS!!! I want to make that very clear: the SINGERS AND DANCERS WERE TALENTED AND BEAUTIFUL!! And Elyse Branch's covers of Whitney Houston brought me to tears! PHENOMENAL! The poolside band, The C Notes Trio, always kept folks dancing! But sadly, everything else was sub-par. The "illusionist/magician" was NOT good, sorry. On a 10 night cruise I only went to 4 or 5 because most weren't that good or interesting to me. Ok, so those were the few low points. But EVERYTHING ELSE WAS GOOD!! :) :) :) As usual, it was the PEOPLE on the ship who made it fantastic for me. I love making new friends from around the world! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
We had a 10 day cruise on the NCL Jade, departing on the 18th Dec, sailing around the Southern Caribbean. We were away over Christmas which is really why we chose this cruise. I am a first time cruiser so I didn't know what to expect, but ... Read More
We had a 10 day cruise on the NCL Jade, departing on the 18th Dec, sailing around the Southern Caribbean. We were away over Christmas which is really why we chose this cruise. I am a first time cruiser so I didn't know what to expect, but my expectations were exceeded! NCL Jade is a mid size ship which old approximately 2,300 guests and just over 1000 crew Embarkation day: We arrived around noon and the queue was winding out the main doors of the terminal. This being said, the queue did move quickly. Once in, we quickly got through security and then we had another queue to stand in for about an hour and a half to finally check in. Non of this bothered me in the slightest! I was on holiday after all! I loved walking up the gang way and onto the ship - vacation had began! Once on the ship we headed straight to O'sheeans bar on deck 8 for a well deserved first drink. An hour later we were at our muster station for the muster briefing. (The briefing literally lasted 5 minutes) We were able to get into our cabins at about 4pm - our bags arrived at about 6pm. We had packed a change of clothing and essentials into our carry on Cabins: We had an inside state room, deck 5. The cabin did exceed my expectations, nice décor, good size, plenty of storage (cases can slide under the bed!) Good TV with some good movie channels! The bathroom was very spacious and the shower was excellent! One of the best showers I've had on a vacation. Above all it was very clean, our cabin steward was called Jason and he was beyond attentive, excellent service! Room cleaned/turned down twice a day. It was so quiet too! you literally could not hear anything from above, below, left or right. The bed was super comfy! I slept so well every night! Bars: There are plenty of bars on board! We had the ultimate drinks package. I found this value for money. You could select drinks up to a value of $15 (which includes most drinks) If you specifically want a premium brand, eg; Grey Goose, that may cost $17 - therefore you just pay the $2 extra. During the day You could easily find a quiet bar (if that was your preference) and there were also more "active bars" such as Pit stop (pool bar) We spent time at the "great outdoor bar" which is on deck 12 at the very back of the ship - relaxing, amazing views and weather (Renzo the bar manager was A*) We would also go to the Pit stop bar and O'sheeans. In the evening we would go to "Bliss" and then later on Spinnakers. The selection of drinks is Immense and I guarantee you will find somewhere you can sit and enjoy. Dining: The dining on the ship in my opinion is fantastic. The selection is brilliant. The garden café is the buffet where they literally cater for all tastes - it's a buffet so yes it will be busy but I found the service, quality and quantity of food fantastic! The complementary restaurants are all very good. We did go to Le Bistro one night and the food and service again were excellent! I cannot understand reviews where complaints are related to the food...you will 100% be catered for. Plus the service was fantastic, service with a smile and again the crew work incredibly hard keeping everything clean and today **O'Sheeans, deck 8 is 24 hours. I thoroughly enjoyed the food here! chicken wings are a must and it was nice to have breakfast here as this was cooked fresh and table service. Entertainment: I am not a fan of "shows" therefore we never went t them so I can't comment on the shows (sorry) During the Day there would also be some form of entertainment around the ship (more so on sea days) Live bands/singing on the sun deck, main atrium and spinnakers. At night there would always be entertainment in Bliss and Spinnakers, whether it was Live bands, Karaoke or "Mr and Mrs game" Entertainment at night was usually wrapped up at 10:30pm which then just left a disco in Spinnakers. On sea days they went to town on activities, you will always find something to take your interest - however, Bingo at the cost of $70 is a little expensive in my opinion Spa/Gym. We went to the gym most mornings and the gym itself was really well equipped. Plenty of cardio and weights - sanitising wipes and towels. They also did classes such as spinning. We never went to the Spa and I really wish we did. On embarkation day you can by a Spa pass for the duration on the cruise $110 reduced from $240 dollars - but with this you could access the Spa, anytime during opening hours for as long as you want for the duration of the cruise. The spa looked beautiful, plunge pool, heated recliners, steam, sauna.... plus the had a communal area then an area just for females and the same for males. Kids/Clubs. There were a good amount of Kids on the ship (we do not have children) I think with the Jade they may some what lack in Kids activities compared to other ships like the Escpae or Breakway. The only activities they had were a basketball/football court, table tennis, a pool and an arcade. They had a Kids club but I couldn't tell you what activities they provided. If you are looking for a ship with climbing walls, water slides, Flo - ridas, bowling ally, mini golf - this would not be the ship for you. Breakway, Epic and Escape would be! Disembarkation: Wow, they like to get you off quick!!! (I know that the next cruise passengers embark from 11am) The main buffet was Manic on disembarkation morning! It is the only place open for Breakfast and they reduce the opening times! We decided to "walk off" and we were the last group of passengers to leave the ship at 9.30am. Be prepared for disembarkation, pack everything the night before and get up early. The lifts are literally gridlocked! You disembark from deck 7 so if you are on deck 6 or 8 for example, use the stairs! Overall: I 100% thoroughly enjoyed this cruise and we are booking a cruise again for Christmas, Being on the ship over Christmas was brilliant. Christmas trees, decorations and music everywhere! Plus on Christmas eve there was a really good atmosphere, people dressed up as Santa, elves etc... On Christmas morning Father Christmas arrived at 8am in the atrium with gifts for all children who wanted to see him! Plus the main buffet was just a Christmas dinner feat!!! You are completely catered for, food, drink, service, variety and no washing up! Now that's a Christmas day I like! The crew are fantastic! They go above and beyond and they actually make the cruise. Nothing is too much trouble, they work long hours and they keep the ship spic and span. We had not "sickness" outbreak, no bad weather or crossings. I would 100% book with NCL again and I would also go the JADE again (like I said earlier, we are looking at which cruise to book this December 2018) Tips: Take a universal adaptor and magnets Do get a drinks package - it is value for money and also piece of mind You will be charged $13.99 per person per day for gratuities. You may be happy to pay this or you may wish to "pay as you go" gratuities. This is added to your bill at the end of the cruise. You can "opt out" of paying this - go to the concierge desk and ask to opt out - you just need to sign a form Book early for speciality restaurants Take your own bath robe - good to have if you're sunbathing, around the pool Thank you to all crew on the NCL Jade Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Travelled on the NCL Sun 2008 and was not impressed. Due to the price point(10 Christmas cruise), I decided to give NCL another try. I liked the size of the ship as it seemed more like a ship and less like a resort. It was the perfect size ... Read More
Travelled on the NCL Sun 2008 and was not impressed. Due to the price point(10 Christmas cruise), I decided to give NCL another try. I liked the size of the ship as it seemed more like a ship and less like a resort. It was the perfect size for us. Ship is older but has been recently refurbished and feels modern. I felt the ship was easy to navigate and rarely had problems with crowding. Cabin was on the small side but well thought out. Only complaint was the difficulty of getting to the balcony when the sofa bed was in use. The room was primarily used for sleep and was comfortable. Loved the bed! Our cruise director was pretty low key. He did announce daily activities and seemed to be visible. There was plenty of activities on board. I only wish their was more enrichment besides shore tour and shopping seminars. The food on board suited our family. We always found something suitable on the menu in the main diningroom. My daughter had a food coloring allergy and the staff were very accomodating. Many labels of ingredients had to be read to ensure her safety. They have a dedicated dietician(Joycelynn) who assists guests with dietary restrictions. In this area I found NCL exceptional and was not expecting this service. The buffets were fine. Desserts seemed to have a lot of gelatin in them. The self serve ice cream had chocolate and butterscotch sauce which was nice. The other thing that impressed me was I wasn't charged for Earl Grey tea. The pub has a limited menu but what we ordered was fine. We did not use upcharge restaurant as we were happy with the included venues. Shopping on board is limited but there many bars and lounges. Plenty of different music venues as well. The WHITE party was fun and went on to the early morning. Both my daughters were enrolled in the kids clubs. My 12 year old was with the 10-12 year olds and felt a bit out of place being the oldest. She did manage to have fun there and particularly liked an employee named MONKEY. I found the manager a bit abrupt but perhaps she was busy with some of the 500 kids under 21 years of age. My older daughter attended the Entourage teen club and had a blast. Embarkation was fast and easy. We boarded, had lunch, and went to our cabins. Disembarking was VERY fast. We chose a 9:45 disembarkation time and were through US Customs by 9:35. I must say that I was concerned about service with NCL but was very happy with how they have evolved in the past 10 years. Free style dining is almost on par with a set dining time. 10 years ago service was very hit and miss as staff didn't seem to care about guest satisfaction. I felt wanted and valued. Overall, we had a memorable cruise returning to Miami relaxed and happy. Only complaints were drink prices and optional fees. The prices were so high for drinks(+ 20% gratuity), I did not drink. The beverage plan would not work for our family as we one member could not drink soda and another didn't like soda. Seemed like a total waste of money to pay for something only one person would use and two would not. Maybe one day, NCL will revamp their plan to make it more user friendly. There seems to be a lot of optional charges but they are optional. Games like BINGO and "Deal or No Deal" were expensive and payouts small. The casino was okay but it did get smoky. We did not use room service as there was a fee. I think continental breakfast was free. We did not book any shore excursions as I could use a local for 1/2 the price. Never used the spa services or fitness classes. I would strongly suggest that you investigate all fees if you plan to use any of per fee services. Would I recommend NCL Jade? Yes! We had a great time and are planning another cruise with NCL. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
We, a group of 9, booked this cruise almost a year in advance. Being it was a holiday cruise, we wanted to be certain to get our reservations in early. With the impending $40 million refurbishment, it was an enticing choice. With a 65, 43, ... Read More
We, a group of 9, booked this cruise almost a year in advance. Being it was a holiday cruise, we wanted to be certain to get our reservations in early. With the impending $40 million refurbishment, it was an enticing choice. With a 65, 43, 42, 41, 40, 13, 10, 10 and 7 year-old, we spanned the generations. All latitudes members, this was our 3rd NCL cruise traveling as a group. It was the first time in Miami for my family, so we arrived a couple days early to explore the city. We stayed in a suite at the Kimpton Epic in the Port of Miami, FIVE STARS for this place. Even though the hotel was under construction, it was a perfect fit for us. The staff were friendly, the room was gorgeous and the pool was warm. Located right next door to a Whole Foods and a beautiful Bayfront walk (half mile, or so) to Bayfront park. It was a $15 Uber ride from the airport and a $12 Uber to the cruise terminal. The Miami Cruise Terminal had a long line out the front door when we arrived at noon. Even in the latitudes line, we waited 2 1/2 hours to get checked in. The terminal was hot and with small children, this was not fun. Splash Academy was a huge disappointment for my kids that have been on other cruises with much better facilities. Monkey was a familiar face, and she is wonderful. There were over 400 kids enrolled in Splash Academy this cruise (ages 3-12) with only a single room for all of them. They ended up splitting off the 10-12 year-olds to a conference room deck 6 forward and my younger daughter was on 12 aft. This made for 2 lines and a long walk through a smokey casino every night to drop them off individually. My kids still had fun and enjoyed the staff very much, although they do not ever want to go on the Jade again because there was really nothing special for kids on this ship. They removed the water slide in the refurbishment, so there is only a tiny kids pool for toddlers. There were no deck parties to really speak of. The sail-way party was more of just an introduction to the cruise director and staff. Jasper, the Cruise Director was vibrant, friendly and visible, but the activities were pretty boring and low key. We have been on other NCL cruises that have had a lot more going on, especially pool-side. There we no themed pool-side parties or buffets like every other cruise I have been on. The food on the pool-deck was the same burger bar every single day. The Garden Cafe was a pretty big let-down as well. The food was mediocre at best, I usually just had a bowl of fruit for lunch, as nothing else appealed to my culinary tastes. I prefer healthy, fresh organic foods to fried processed crap. Dinner in the Garden Pacific was usually good, not great. I am not a huge fan of Freestyle Dining. My complaint here is that with 6 nights of 5:30 reservations for 9, we never had the same wait staff twice and most did not speak very good English. Dinner usually exceeded the 7:30 showtime so we would have to leave before coffee or desert. Yes, for others with children, that is 2 hours to try and keep children engaged at the dinner table waiting for food. We ate at Cagney's one night for the $30 p.p. surcharge. I had filet minion, but there was no lobster on the menu anywhere. It was not worth the extra money. IMO for food you used to get for free. Le Bistro was OK, but again not worth the extra $, although they had the best French-pressed coffee on the ship. Modero was actually a culinary delight, the salad bar reminded me of what buffets used to be like with exceptional appetizers and higher end food choices. Teppanyaki was a bit us a disappointment as our local restaurant has better food with a lower price-point than the up-charge. The Complementary Asian Jasmine Restaurant was the highlight of our dining experiences. We were celebrating a birthday and the Maitre d' and Waiter made our dinner exceptional. The sushi was exceptional as well! The shows in the Stardust were all very good, especially the Hypnotist Nadeen Manual. She was both entertaining and insightful. Javi Cruz and Anahi, put on an exceptional show of illusion. Blazing Boots was a bit PG-13, but entertaining. I will give Dave Bennett, the comedic jugular a solid B. He was funny, but rehearsed and lacked spontaneity, this was a PG show even at 9:30. Elements is a must see and my kids loved it as well. The night life was pretty bland, there were themed nights in the Spinnaker after 10:30. I know people like to know what themes, so here is the list; 50 & 60s sock hop, 70's Disco, Latin Fiesta, 80's Dance Party, Freestyle Dance-off, and the White Hot Glow Party. I was not overly impressed, the cruise director staff got things started, but left before 11 and things fizzled out quickly. This was the most lack-luster night life of my past 10 cruises. I really miss having the pool deck parties that were family friendly. I'm not sure I like how the NCL free at sea "free" drink packages affect the cruise. I don't get them, because I tend to be a light drinker and the cost of the gratuity exceeds my drink costs for the entire cruise. This time, I brought a nice bottle of wine and paid the $15 corkage fee. Bartender Renzo Puyen seemed to really know his red wines and Bartender Lawrence Dimaano always kept a smile on his face despite being bombarded with drink requests. My biggest let down, there was no Quest game played and when I asked the assistant cruise-director, he said the they had been told 2 weeks before that Quest was no longer to be played on NCL ships. This had always been played in good taste and was so much fun on prior sailings. I had finally convinced the rest the my family to participate, and then found out they had banned it. The Ports of Call... Jamaica, no surprises here. Stick to a ship excursion and avoid eye contact if you don't want to get ripped off. By far, the highest asking prices of all the ports and the highest pressure sales. We did the best of Ochos Rios which was an hour bus ride from Falmouth. Dunns River Falls was OK, nice to see and an easy climb for the kids, but I wouldn't ever go back. Grand Cayman is pristine, We booked a Stingray City/Snorkel tour off the boat for $25/p.p. instead of paying $75/p.p. with the cruise ship. The tour was OK, but a crowded tourist trap with 5 cruise ships in port. I'm glad we didn't pay more. Seven-Mile Beach is a must for families. The white sand is beautiful and the waves are great for swimming. You can rent beach chairs and umbrellas and get to and from the cruise port for $3-$5 each way. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
We chose this particular cruise for the itinerary, but were delighted with everything, especially the service! EMBARKATION: We live in Miami and opted for the first available embarkation time. We have never arrived at the port that ... Read More
We chose this particular cruise for the itinerary, but were delighted with everything, especially the service! EMBARKATION: We live in Miami and opted for the first available embarkation time. We have never arrived at the port that early and while security and check in was a breeze, we did have to wait for quite some time before boarding the ship. It seemed to be an issue even for those arriving later, so I'm not sure what was happening there. ROOM: We opted for an inside cabin and were surprised at how spacious it was. After 10 days, we did start to feel a bit penned it, but there was plenty of storage and room to get ready FOOD: Excellent, excellent, excellent! I have found that on longer cruises or itineraries that cater to a more international group of passengers, the food is superior. We mostly ate in one of the two main dining rooms and the selection and quality was fantastic. The buffet had good variety and O'Sheehan's was also a highlight. One disappointment was that we were not able to book specialty dining but we left it to the last minute, so that was our fault BARS / NIGHTLIFE: Jasper, the cruise director, was full of energy and the mood filtered down to the passengers. The ship has plenty of spots for grabbing a drink, whether on the boisterous pool deck, or in a quieter area. The Spinnaker was lively nearly every night. ENTERTAINMENT: Impressive! The illusionists, hypnotist, aerialists, band and singers went all out each night. We tried not to miss a show, the quality was that high. In addition, the guitar player each day in the atrium was fantastic, as was the piano player near Magnums. SPA: One of the reasons we booked an inside room was because we also paid for the spa pass. Well worth it! The sauna and steam room got plenty hot and the main area never got crowded, even though there were only 6 loungers. The tubs did not get hot enough, but that's a small complaint. GYM: I used the gym only on sea days, and going mid-morning, there was never a crowd. I also used the jogging track which was OK. 5.5 laps to make a mile and there were some crowded spots, but it mostly did the trick. SERVICE: Incredible! Every single staff member was happy and friendly. Nearly every one had a "vacation hero" pin above his or her name tag. The service really made this trip a standout. It was such a delight to interact with the staff, who went out of their way to ensure everyone's vacation was a good one. PORTS: As I said, we picked this cruise primarily for the itinerary. All of the ports, except Grand Cayman, were new to me. GRAND CAYMAN: Having to tender was a bit of a drag, but they were quite efficient and it was not a problem. There were a total of 5 ships in town so the port area was very crowded and busy. We booked a bike rental through Trip Advisor and enjoyed a leisurely bike ride in the West Bay area. Grand Cayman is not my favorite island, so after our bike ride, we got directly back on the ship FALMOUTH, JAMAICA: Falmouth is a very clean and neat area of Trelawny parish and the port does not feel gross, tacky, or overdone. We were the only ship in Falmouth and there were not ships in Ocho Rios either, which was very nice! We booked a tour on Trip Advisor and had no issues meeting our guide outside of the main gates. Falmouth is about an hour from Ocho Rios, so keep that in mind when planning tours. We did a river tube and enjoyed the Konoko Falls and botanical gardens, plus a stop for lunch at the Jerk Centre. ARUBA: Once again, we were the only ship in port! We booked a tour through Trip Advisor and were met outside the terminal by the guide. It was a short ride to Phillip's Animal Garden, where we enjoyed their flock of rescued animals before heading out on a UTV tour of the northern coast, finishing at the Natural Pool. I had always thought that Aruba was limited to the hotel area and was pleasantly surprised by its stunning natural beauty! CURACAO: Yet again, solo ship in port! The architecture is the standout here! We were concerned about being able to book a tour as it was Christmas Eve, so we booked the Hato Caves and Ostrich Farm tour through the ship. The only complaint was that the tour guide's accent was very difficult to understand. After our tour, we went across the floating bridge to the Punda area, where all of the colorful Dutch architecture is located. There were plenty of stores and restaurants open, and it would have been very easy to book a tour on our own, but we still enjoyed the ship's tour. BONAIRE: Bonaire felt very European and not part of the Caribbean at all! It was adorable and I would love to return! There was another ship in port - the Mein Schiff, a German ship. Some of the Europeans on the Jade grumbled about coming all this way just to holiday with Germans, but aside from their excessive smoking, I thought it added a nice European flavor to our port day. Once again, we were concerned about things being closed on Christmas, so we booked a tour through the ship; however, there were plenty of vendors offering reasonable tours, and the ferry to Klein Bonaire was running. We booked the Samur Siamese junk excursion through the ship and enjoyed it very much; however, the ship should have noted that the tender to the junk was a rubber Zodiac and required some dexterous climbing. Some folks with kids were having a bit of a time getting on and off the junk. We also went to Klein Bonaire for snorkeling and it was unparalleled. I could have spent all day there! In all, this cruise was a lovely way to spend the holiday and I would recommend the ship and the itinerary to anyone! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
We chose this cruise because it was two sail and two sail free and we have young kids with us. The time frame was over break and it was going to some very interesting ports of call. Even when the itinerary got changed because of ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was two sail and two sail free and we have young kids with us. The time frame was over break and it was going to some very interesting ports of call. Even when the itinerary got changed because of hurricanes, I was still happy with the new itinerary. Again, Norwegian's embarkation process takes forever and I'm not sure why. This is two different ports now and there is no excuse. Also, they made modifications to the boat from the last Christmas cruise we did last year and got rid of the kid friendly things that we liked about the last cruise. Our room had purple pills in it that were not ours and not cleaned from the last passenger, which was scary considering that we had a toddler. Also, the food was very forgettable and the service in the dining rooms was deplorable with a 6 year old falling asleep on the table while we were waiting for dinner one night. That being said, the bartenders and buffet staff were great, guest services understood when we said that we wanted to reduce our tips and tip the people who provided us good service individually. We've never done that before on a cruise, so while there was no norovirus, no deaths, no horrible swells, and all the things that have been problems lately on cruise ships, I don't think that I want to cruise again next year and I most definitely don't want to cruise Norwegian again. So, that's where this cruise left me and why I'm rating it poorly. 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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