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My husband and I took my mom on this cruise for her retirement present from us and wanted to splurge a bit with a Haven suite. What a great decision! My mom was overwhelmed by the crowds (on ship and off) and it was terrific to have a sanctuary away from everyone. We found the courtyard room to be a great value for the comfort it offered. A note about us: This was our third cruise on a similar NCL ship, but we don't really cruise for the cruise itself. Our reasons for cruising are for the convenience of traveling with family members and for the ports. Ports Venice: We'd been to Venice on a previous vacation and only spent one night in the city this time. Due to the crowds, I recommend a late evening and/or an early morning to see the city. The morning of embarkation, we got up at 6:00 and walked down to San Marco to get photos and then grabbed seats on the #1 boat. It was a much more enjoyable experience than waiting a few hours for the rest of the tourists to wake up! Embarkation: We used the People Mover to bring us to the ship. (However, due to the long lines upon our return, we walked the long way around -- either way takes some time and you'll need to be able to manage all of you luggage for a long distance.) Once arriving at the terminal, there was quite a line to drop off luggage, but it moved relatively quickly. Once in the terminal, there were no signs for priority check-in. I'm glad we asked someone where to go. (It was at the far end of the terminal.) The process was, again, relatively quick and soon we were being escorted to Cagney's. Lunch was fine, but the service felt slow and less than smooth, and we hightailed it out when the place filled with smoke (something about the kitchen exhaust being turned off). Our luggage was delivered quickly. (Room review added below.) Dubrovnik: We loved, loved, loved Dubrovnik! We walked off the ship and hired a taxi to go to the old town (13 Euros), but the driver offered to take us on a tour of the area for 60 Euros. (I'd read positive reviews from other travelers and was half-expecting the offer.) We liked the driver and took him up on his offer. He took us around the area and stopped at a number of scenic points for us to take photos. One of the stopping points was the top of the cable car. Seeing how high it climbs and considering the winds, I'm glad we drove there. The taxi driver dropped us off at Pile Gate and we immediately bought tickets to walk the lower part of the wall (since we already had some wonderful higher views). I'm glad we purchased the tickets before we looked up at the set of stairs needed to get up to the wall! My mom, who had been in physical therapy for knee problems, was a real trooper and walked straight up. It was definitely the hardest climb of the trip -- and that includes both the walk up to the Acropolis and probably even the climb up to the cupola of St. Peter's Basilica! The views from the lower half of the wall were breathtaking. We are still marveling at our photos and are trying to figure out how to return to Croatia. We left the wall on the other side of the old town and walked around town. While strolling the Stradum, we noticed a sign for D'Vino, a wine bar mentioned in Rick Steves' book. The wines were good, but the cheeses and sausages were amazing. We all agreed that it was the best food of the trip. After all of the climbing and walking, we were ready to head back to the ship about two hours before the all on board time. We had no problem getting a taxi at that time. Sea Day: We barely left the Haven area. We had breakfast there (the attendant will bring you your hot food order) and lounged around. It was really relaxing. Athens: Athens was our least favorite port of this cruise. We arranged for a taxi in advance to meet us at the exit and bring us to the Acropolis. The price was 20 Euros and well worth the price. He dropped us off around 8:00 at the entrance and we bought tickets and started climbing. My mom had been worried about the climb, but is wasn't bad and at that time of the morning, the crowds were light and there were plenty of opportunities to stop, rest, and take photos. We didn't take any tours during the cruise because we didn't know if my mom would be able to make the climbs or stand for long periods. We undoubtedly could have gotten more out of the area with a guide, but we'd done our homework in advance and felt good about wandering around with the guide book. After walking back down, we made our way (via the paved walkway) to the Acropolis Museum. We needed a break, so we hightailed it to the cafe. Wow! Between the view of the Parthenon and the food, it was a highlight of the city. We ordered too much food and enjoyed every bite. (The doughnuts drizzled with honey were little bites of heaven.) After exploring the museum, we strolled around the Plaka area, did a little shopping, and eventually stopped at a placed my husband had researched for lunch. We took a taxi back to the terminal for $25 Euros. We had no problem getting a taxi to bring us back to the ship. Kusadasi: This was the port we were most concerned about. Most forum posts recommended hiring a guide for Ephesus, but for the reasons stated above, we didn't want to be tied to a group of people. Not being big shoppers, we didn't want to be brought to a leather shop or rug factory. I hope this information is helpful to others. We found a driver online who promised to drive us to Ephesus, wait for a couple of hours, and drive us back to the ship -- no carpet tour required! (http://taxikusadasitaxi.com) It was perfect. "Eddie" met us at the terminal, dropped us off at the higher entrance and met us two hours later at the lower entrance. We paid 50E when we arrived back to the port. We enjoyed Ephesus, but were admittedly a little burned out by that point. (On top of everything else, we'd been in Rome for a few days prior to the cruise.) Again, we'd done some research in advance and watched the Rick Steves' show on Ephesus and felt good about strolling through the site on our own. It was a good choice for us. We also explored the Terrace Houses. They were amazing. We asked our driver to drop us off along the waterfront in Kusadasi and we strolled back to the ship and dropped my mom off (she wasn't feeling well) and then ventured back to have lunch at one of the restaurants on the water. Generally speaking, we found that part of Turkey to be beautiful. Split: We disembarked and followed other people from the terminal into town (maybe a 10 minute walk?). We didn't have any grand plans for Split, so we wandered and drank beer in outdoor bars and had a pretty good lunch. It was a nice and relaxing day. I hope this information is helpful to others researching Athens and Ephesus. We were a little nervous about not taking organized/ship tours for these two locations and read a lot of reviews saying that tours were necessary. However, I'm glad we'd reserved the taxis in advance and would recommend the same to others who are looking to do it on their own.

NCL Jade in Haven Suite

Norwegian Jade Cruise Review by Bibliotecaria

Trip Details
My husband and I took my mom on this cruise for her retirement present from us and wanted to splurge a bit with a Haven suite. What a great decision! My mom was overwhelmed by the crowds (on ship and off) and it was terrific to have a sanctuary away from everyone. We found the courtyard room to be a great value for the comfort it offered.

A note about us: This was our third cruise on a similar NCL ship, but we don't really cruise for the cruise itself. Our reasons for cruising are for the convenience of traveling with family members and for the ports.

Ports

Venice: We'd been to Venice on a previous vacation and only spent one night in the city this time. Due to the crowds, I recommend a late evening and/or an early morning to see the city. The morning of embarkation, we got up at 6:00 and walked down to San Marco to get photos and then grabbed seats on the #1 boat. It was a much more enjoyable experience than waiting a few hours for the rest of the tourists to wake up!

Embarkation: We used the People Mover to bring us to the ship. (However, due to the long lines upon our return, we walked the long way around -- either way takes some time and you'll need to be able to manage all of you luggage for a long distance.) Once arriving at the terminal, there was quite a line to drop off luggage, but it moved relatively quickly. Once in the terminal, there were no signs for priority check-in. I'm glad we asked someone where to go. (It was at the far end of the terminal.) The process was, again, relatively quick and soon we were being escorted to Cagney's. Lunch was fine, but the service felt slow and less than smooth, and we hightailed it out when the place filled with smoke (something about the kitchen exhaust being turned off). Our luggage was delivered quickly. (Room review added below.)

Dubrovnik: We loved, loved, loved Dubrovnik! We walked off the ship and hired a taxi to go to the old town (13 Euros), but the driver offered to take us on a tour of the area for 60 Euros. (I'd read positive reviews from other travelers and was half-expecting the offer.) We liked the driver and took him up on his offer. He took us around the area and stopped at a number of scenic points for us to take photos. One of the stopping points was the top of the cable car. Seeing how high it climbs and considering the winds, I'm glad we drove there. The taxi driver dropped us off at Pile Gate and we immediately bought tickets to walk the lower part of the wall (since we already had some wonderful higher views). I'm glad we purchased the tickets before we looked up at the set of stairs needed to get up to the wall! My mom, who had been in physical therapy for knee problems, was a real trooper and walked straight up. It was definitely the hardest climb of the trip -- and that includes both the walk up to the Acropolis and probably even the climb up to the cupola of St. Peter's Basilica! The views from the lower half of the wall were breathtaking. We are still marveling at our photos and are trying to figure out how to return to Croatia. We left the wall on the other side of the old town and walked around town. While strolling the Stradum, we noticed a sign for D'Vino, a wine bar mentioned in Rick Steves' book. The wines were good, but the cheeses and sausages were amazing. We all agreed that it was the best food of the trip. After all of the climbing and walking, we were ready to head back to the ship about two hours before the all on board time. We had no problem getting a taxi at that time.

Sea Day: We barely left the Haven area. We had breakfast there (the attendant will bring you your hot food order) and lounged around. It was really relaxing.

Athens: Athens was our least favorite port of this cruise. We arranged for a taxi in advance to meet us at the exit and bring us to the Acropolis. The price was 20 Euros and well worth the price. He dropped us off around 8:00 at the entrance and we bought tickets and started climbing. My mom had been worried about the climb, but is wasn't bad and at that time of the morning, the crowds were light and there were plenty of opportunities to stop, rest, and take photos. We didn't take any tours during the cruise because we didn't know if my mom would be able to make the climbs or stand for long periods. We undoubtedly could have gotten more out of the area with a guide, but we'd done our homework in advance and felt good about wandering around with the guide book. After walking back down, we made our way (via the paved walkway) to the Acropolis Museum. We needed a break, so we hightailed it to the cafe. Wow! Between the view of the Parthenon and the food, it was a highlight of the city. We ordered too much food and enjoyed every bite. (The doughnuts drizzled with honey were little bites of heaven.) After exploring the museum, we strolled around the Plaka area, did a little shopping, and eventually stopped at a placed my husband had researched for lunch. We took a taxi back to the terminal for $25 Euros. We had no problem getting a taxi to bring us back to the ship.

Kusadasi: This was the port we were most concerned about. Most forum posts recommended hiring a guide for Ephesus, but for the reasons stated above, we didn't want to be tied to a group of people. Not being big shoppers, we didn't want to be brought to a leather shop or rug factory. I hope this information is helpful to others. We found a driver online who promised to drive us to Ephesus, wait for a couple of hours, and drive us back to the ship -- no carpet tour required! (http://taxikusadasitaxi.com) It was perfect. "Eddie" met us at the terminal, dropped us off at the higher entrance and met us two hours later at the lower entrance. We paid 50E when we arrived back to the port. We enjoyed Ephesus, but were admittedly a little burned out by that point. (On top of everything else, we'd been in Rome for a few days prior to the cruise.) Again, we'd done some research in advance and watched the Rick Steves' show on Ephesus and felt good about strolling through the site on our own. It was a good choice for us. We also explored the Terrace Houses. They were amazing. We asked our driver to drop us off along the waterfront in Kusadasi and we strolled back to the ship and dropped my mom off (she wasn't feeling well) and then ventured back to have lunch at one of the restaurants on the water. Generally speaking, we found that part of Turkey to be beautiful.

Split: We disembarked and followed other people from the terminal into town (maybe a 10 minute walk?). We didn't have any grand plans for Split, so we wandered and drank beer in outdoor bars and had a pretty good lunch. It was a nice and relaxing day.

I hope this information is helpful to others researching Athens and Ephesus. We were a little nervous about not taking organized/ship tours for these two locations and read a lot of reviews saying that tours were necessary. However, I'm glad we'd reserved the taxis in advance and would recommend the same to others who are looking to do it on their own.
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Cabin Review

Courtyard Villa with Balcony
Cabin H4 14512
We had a two bedroom suite and it was the perfect size for three adults. Just a couple of comments about the room: My mom had the smaller room and, although small, it suited her needs well. The bed was made up with extra foam and, according to her, was pretty comfortable. The larger room felt like the bed was part of the bathroom. It would have been a little less awkward if the glass door to the toilet was opaque. There was plenty of closet space and the bed was comfortable. The deck was a little small and only had room for two upright chairs and a small table, but having access to the courtyard and the huge upstairs deck more than made up for it. For those of you new to the courtyard (like we were), we spent a good amount of time in the area -- probably more time than we expected to. Know that the Haven attendant will bring you breakfast and even lunch to the area. To be honest, we didn't have any real desire to leave the area. Highly recommended!
Deck 14 Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews