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We decided to book a cruise on a whim and take our kids (11,7) somewhere amazing for spring break. We reserved a mini suite with the hopes that having a spacious room would ensure a better experience. We drove to Houston and found the port easy to find, quick to part and embarkation experience was efficient, shame this was on of the last cruises out of Houston. We were able to get on the ship by 12, found our room quickly and dropped any carry on's we had and headed to the Grand Pacific for lunch. We steered clear of the buffet based on cruise critic reviews, and were about the 10th people in the main dining room. Had a fantastic lunch and headed back to the room to find all the luggage delivered and got to work putting stuff away prior to the safety drill. After the mandatory fun we went to the pool deck to watch sail away. I felt that the deck was pretty crowded (especially once the weather turned nicer) but never had an issue getting a drink at the bar! We had the UBP promo, the bar staff was very friendly, never had to wait more than 2 minutes and also found the wait staff to be wonderful as well. Dining - We stuck to the buffet for breakfast which had wonderful choices, seating could be overwhelming, but you just had to look around. Ate one night in Alazar, thought that was just fine, good service and food was good. Ate twice in Blue Lagoon, the first night, service was great, fast and good food. Second time, service was pretty poor, took about 10 minutes to get a waiter to acknowledge us, food took forever to come out, we never went back. Ate at Jasmine Garden once, husband and I liked the food, kids weren't impressed. Entertainment - Saw David Naster (took the kids to the bullying show) thought he was very good. The Elements show was fantastic, Cripton was entertaining, and the Who show was good I thought. Children's Clubs - Our kids loved the Splash Academy. Based off reviews we made them go the first night (even though they were not overly thrilled) and they were so mad when we "made them leave" they couldn't wait until 10 am to head back the next day. We were pretty apprehensive prior to cruising just leaving our kids with "strangers" but the staff was excellent and I highly recommend NCL's children programming. Service - our cabin steward (Rodrigo) was AMAZING!!!!! He was very attentive, knew our names on day one and always asked how the kids were. It was my son's 7th birthday on board and he made sure to say happy birthday and give him a cupcake. All the staff on board the Jade was friendly and very hard working. We didn't come across anyone without a smile on their face and asking how you were doing. Excursions - we booked all of our excursions on our own. We did Dolphin Discovery in Cozumel. This was ok, winds and water were very very rough, so I think it would have been much more enjoyable if we weren't getting beat against the cages. In Belize we booked cavetubing/ziplining through cavetubing.bz (Valintino Rayes (sp?)) This was a great experience. I would highly recommend this company. In Roatan we went to Little French Key, we did the basic package ($55/USD) and would probably upgrade to the one including food and drinks when we go back. This location is beautiful and we hated to leave. We will definitely return to LFK if we visit Honduras again. We are hooked on cruising, our kids say they prefer it to our annual Disney World trips. We had such a fun time, we already booked our next cruise!!!

First time cruise; hooked on NCL.

Norwegian Jade Cruise Review by jjfanoele

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: March 2016
  • Destination: Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Mini-Suite with Balcony
We decided to book a cruise on a whim and take our kids (11,7) somewhere amazing for spring break. We reserved a mini suite with the hopes that having a spacious room would ensure a better experience.

We drove to Houston and found the port easy to find, quick to part and embarkation experience was efficient, shame this was on of the last cruises out of Houston. We were able to get on the ship by 12, found our room quickly and dropped any carry on's we had and headed to the Grand Pacific for lunch. We steered clear of the buffet based on cruise critic reviews, and were about the 10th people in the main dining room. Had a fantastic lunch and headed back to the room to find all the luggage delivered and got to work putting stuff away prior to the safety drill. After the mandatory fun we went to the pool deck to watch sail away. I felt that the deck was pretty crowded (especially once the weather turned nicer) but never had an issue getting a drink at the bar! We had the UBP promo, the bar staff was very friendly, never had to wait more than 2 minutes and also found the wait staff to be wonderful as well.

Dining - We stuck to the buffet for breakfast which had wonderful choices, seating could be overwhelming, but you just had to look around. Ate one night in Alazar, thought that was just fine, good service and food was good. Ate twice in Blue Lagoon, the first night, service was great, fast and good food. Second time, service was pretty poor, took about 10 minutes to get a waiter to acknowledge us, food took forever to come out, we never went back. Ate at Jasmine Garden once, husband and I liked the food, kids weren't impressed.

Entertainment - Saw David Naster (took the kids to the bullying show) thought he was very good. The Elements show was fantastic, Cripton was entertaining, and the Who show was good I thought.

Children's Clubs - Our kids loved the Splash Academy. Based off reviews we made them go the first night (even though they were not overly thrilled) and they were so mad when we "made them leave" they couldn't wait until 10 am to head back the next day. We were pretty apprehensive prior to cruising just leaving our kids with "strangers" but the staff was excellent and I highly recommend NCL's children programming.

Service - our cabin steward (Rodrigo) was AMAZING!!!!! He was very attentive, knew our names on day one and always asked how the kids were. It was my son's 7th birthday on board and he made sure to say happy birthday and give him a cupcake. All the staff on board the Jade was friendly and very hard working. We didn't come across anyone without a smile on their face and asking how you were doing.

Excursions - we booked all of our excursions on our own. We did Dolphin Discovery in Cozumel. This was ok, winds and water were very very rough, so I think it would have been much more enjoyable if we weren't getting beat against the cages.

In Belize we booked cavetubing/ziplining through cavetubing.bz (Valintino Rayes (sp?)) This was a great experience. I would highly recommend this company.

In Roatan we went to Little French Key, we did the basic package ($55/USD) and would probably upgrade to the one including food and drinks when we go back. This location is beautiful and we hated to leave. We will definitely return to LFK if we visit Honduras again.

We are hooked on cruising, our kids say they prefer it to our annual Disney World trips. We had such a fun time, we already booked our next cruise!!!
jjfanoele’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Mini-Suite with Balcony
Cabin MB 11504
Storage was ample for a family of 4. The room size and bathroom was much larger than I anticipated (first time cruise). The beds were comfortable and sofa pulled out to a queen sized bed for kids to share. Balcony was just fine, had plenty of room for 3 chairs and a small table. We didn't feel too much movement in the forward of the ship even though we had pretty rough seas and high winds.
Deck 11 Inside Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Cave-Tubing
    Did the zipling/cavetubing combo and had a wonderful time. We were put in groups based on our booking and headed to a decent toyota van. We had a group of 11 and had a comfortable (1hr) ride to the "office" to pay. We did the zipline portion first which was my kids favorite activity. The guides were great and gear was nice/reliable. Total of 5 lines through the jungle was very cool. From there, headed to the cavetubing and had a chance to change prior to walking the 1 mile to cave. This was a little challenging as we had 5 kids in our group, it was past lunch and we failed to bring snacks. Once we arrived at the drop in, everyone perked up and had a nice float. The caves were neat, but I think this is a once and done activity for my family.
    View All 338 Cave-Tubing Reviews
  • Dolphin Swim & Encounter
    We booked online prior to our cruise and got a great Black Friday deal. The weather in Cozumel really put a damper on this experience. We had 44 mph wind gusts and about 4 ft waves, so the water conditions were pretty bad. The trainers and dolphins were amazing, a truly once in a lifetime experience. With the water conditions we just got beat up against the fencing in the tanks and it should have been cancelled
    View All 415 Dolphin Swim & Encounter Reviews
  • Houston
    Houston port is easy to find and quick to process. No complaints.
    View All 127 Houston Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Houston Cruise Port Review
  • Little French Key
    LFK is a beautiful island. Finding the tour guides was a little challenging, you have to leave the pier and walk down pretty far on the road. Once we loaded the bus, it was a 25 minute ride to Frenchy's 44 where you pay for whatever package you want and get on the ferry over. The animals are well taken care of, the beaches are crystal blue water and swimming with fishes. The only negative for us was the short time we spent there. We will not hesitate to return on a future cruise
    View All 63 Little French Key Reviews