Norwegian Jade Cruise Review by Big Chik
- Sail Date: September 2012
- Destination: Eastern Mediterranean
- Cabin Type: Inside
The excursions were all hugely expensive so we did our own thing - fortunately we only wanted to see the local ports so walking was fine. Dubrovnik was the only problem since its about a 25-30 minute walk to the old town from the port but its a pleasant enough stroll through some quiet streets with only gentle hills.
Food quality was adequate in the buffet with a good selection, reasonable in the main restaurants (which were very busy with 30-45 minute waiting times at peak periods) and quite good in the speciality places. We tried Le Bistro (French), the Papa's Kitchen(Italian) and the Brazilian meat feast in Moderno. The latter was particularly good and, since you good eat as much as you wanted, was very good value. One thing that surprised us was how early breakfast finished in the main dining room - we only made it on time once. The fact that the time changed on a daily basis didn't help either, one day it closed at 8:30am, on others it was 9 or 10.
The shows that we attended in the main theatre were good, especially the two Polish acrobats and the popular classic quartet. We only saw the magician as part of the final Elements show but he seemed very good too. Elements itself was the best cruise 'extravaganza' I've seen. Of the bar acts we enjoyed watching the ballroom dancers and listening to Guys n Doll. Also the guitarists and pianist were all very competent and their choice of music was pleasant but very much of its type (lounge muzak). The theatre got busy and arriving early was advisable.
We gave up trying to find a lounger on sea days and just used the spectator seating over the sports court - loads of space there albeit no reclining capability but for reading it was fine. On other days we got lounger seats with no problem away from the pool (which we preferred to avoid the noise). The library was the best I've seen on a ship, a huge selection of books.
The ship design was a bit odd, necessitating a lot of up/down movement to get from one end to the other. There were only a few decks where you could walk the full length of the ship. The colour scheme was garish to put it mildly.
I initially thought the drinks charges were too high but I kept forgetting to convert from dollars to euros/pounds so the final bill when I got it was much lower than usual because we hadn't bought as many drinks! that was good news for me, not for NCL... I found the habit of including a gratuity in the bill annoying and would rather they just stuck it on the overall cruise charge like other lines are doing nowadays.
Overall it wasn't my favourite cruise but I would consider NCL again and niggles aside I'd even choose the Jade. I'd just make sure I booked a high level deck for the cabin.
Overall design/layout was actually quite good although narrow, lots of US electrical sockets (5 in all?) and two European ones (including the shaver socket).
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
Athens (Piraeus)We had intended going into Athens to explore the town since we had visited the Acropolis on a previous cruise. Unfortunately we didn't get any sleep that night, due to noise in the cabin, until after the ship berthed so we wound up only having a few hours which meant we stayed in Piraeus. We strolled around town and, whilst it's not terrible, there really isn't much to commend it. We bought an ice cream which was the cheapest of the trip but that's about all I can recommend, sorry Piraeus.View All 1,107 Athens (Piraeus) Cruise Port Reviews
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DubrovnikWe walked from the port into Dubrovnik old town which took about 25 minutes. It wasn't too bad with only gentle hills and good shade from trees most of the way. Once in the old town we strolled down the main avenue then made our way onto the city walls which we circumnavigated. It's a good way to see the city although you don't get a feel for the narrow streets as much as at ground level. The overriding impression was of the number of new roofs there were. Hardly any of the old roofs survived the war in the 1990s and everything has been rebuilt - a sober reminder that the peace we saw was relatively fragile.View All 1,013 Dubrovnik Cruise Port Reviews
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IzmirIzmir was a pleasant surprise. We walked into town along the sea front amidst quite pleasant grassy beds, passing some monuments and viewing areas. The mainly residential buildings across the street had a slightly dilapidated Mediterranean feel to them with a lot of street cafes below. The main town was modern and quite busy but by walking up to the university area we enjoyed a quiet stroll amid numerous open air book shops serving the student market. We then made our way to Konak Square the main public gathering place and from there into the Bazaar which was a rabbit warren of stalls but much less aggressive than other markets I've been to in Turkey - just say 'no' firmly.View All 184 Izmir Cruise Port Reviews
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SplitThe port was quite close to the city centre and Diocletian's Palace. We enjoyed wondering round the side streets here just taking in the atmosphere and admiring the multitude of architectural styles. The people seemed very friendly and not at all pushy. There was a small market here too but nothing compared to Izmir's bazaar. It made a pleasant half day but if I ever returned I'd go for one of the excursions beyond the town.View All 313 Split Cruise Port Reviews
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VeniceVenice is magical, quite unlike any other city on Earth. I really want to go back to Venice for a multi day stay to explore properly. As it was we had a half day at each end of the cruise and walked around most of the main sights on the main island. For me the real charm was not in the big name places like St Marks square but in the warren of side streets and small canals with their little shops selling everything from butcher meat to fine art. It is a small city and walking from one end to the other only takes an hour at most. But navigation is tricky until you get used to the scale. Also what appears on the map as a large square may in fact only be a broadening of the street! But the colours and atmosphere are simply superb and the hustle and bustle of the canals coupled to the understated grandeur of the faded buildings is fabulous. Top tip: take one of the gondola ferries across the grand canal - it may not be a lush as the tourist ones but it only costs 2 euros and you can say you've been on a gondola!View All 1,233 Venice Cruise Port Reviews
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