My husband and I sailed on the Norwegian Jade, April 2nd through 9th, with two other couples. This was our 16th cruise and 3rd with NCL. Our ports were Cozumel, Belize City, Belize and Roatan, Honduras. We drove down from Kansas to Houston's Bayport Cruise terminal the day before and stayed at the Best Western Plus Seabrook Suites. The hotel is very nice, ideal to stay before your cruise as it's about 5 minutes from the cruise port. I was sure my husband had set the GPS incorrectly when we were dumped off in an industrial area, but the hotel is there off a main highway with nothing but industry around it. There is not a place to eat dinner on property, but they do serve a continental breakfast, so prepare to take the hotel shuttle, or a taxi if you don't have your own car. The free shuttle will take you to the cruise terminal. We chose to park right at the terminal.
We arrived at the terminal at about 10:30 AM which was the time we had chosen through NCL. There was no waiting as we made it swiftly through security, filled out our health forms and got right to the counter with our documents. About half an hour later boarding commenced. All of this is moot, as NCL would be through sailing out of Houston by mid-April. We've heard a variety of reasons for this, but for us it was love/hate. This is the easiest terminal to drive to and park, but what a nasty port; smelly, noisy and polluted. Also, the Texas tax on liquor was a mess for the ship to deal with and the passengers certainly weren't happy about it. Not too long after our arrival, it was announced that we were free to drop our bags off in our cabin—for our convenience—even if our cabins weren't quite ready. Nice touch, NCL.
We chose to enjoy our relaxing lunch in one of the main dining rooms, the Grand Pacific. We had it almost to ourselves, as we knew that the buffet area would be wildly busy as folks boarded. This dining room would be where we would eat dinner every night. Reviewers tend to prefer this dining room to the other, the Alizar, as the Grand Pacific is more open. We found the dining experience aboard the Jade surpassed any experience on any ship in all of our cruises. We did start out with a very rocky first night. Our food service was slow, servers inattentive, our food was cold, lack of bar service; we finally complained when our dessert arrived with the ice cream completely melted. We had a great discussion with staff and from that evening on, Gautam, our maitre d' and Romeo, who would be our waiter every night, took care of us completely. Courses were perfectly paced, as Romeo would always ask if we were going to the show. The food was beautifully presented and the quality was excellent. None of us can say we were dissatisfied with a single dish. On sea days we had lunch in the Grand Pacific every day. Again, so much nice than the hustle and bustle of the buffet.
Our cabin seemed a bit smaller that most ships we've cruise on. The bathroom is the worst design I have ever seen. Inside the bathroom, the sink is directly in front of you when you walk in with a glass partitioned-off area to one side which holds a nice-sized shower and on the opposite side the other glass partitioned area with a sliding glass door (why?) which is the toilet. This toilet area is very cramped. When I dropped the paper off of the holder I had to kick it out by the sink to pick it up. The sink area is very small and if you change in the bathroom, you will bang your elbows on the walls. The storage isn't very well thought-out in the bathroom either with 3 glass shelves on the wall and a shelf under the sink. The bathroom does have a dispenser for liquid soap at the sink and dispensers for shampoo and soap in the shower stall. Nice. The storage in the cabin wasn't too bad, but I wish there were more drawers. Our large suitcases fit nicely under the bed. We requested foam padding for our bed and our room steward brought 3 pretty dilapidated broken-down pads, but they served their purpose. I tried not to think of their history.
Our balcony had a sliding glass door which we kept open constantly as we enjoy the sound of the ocean. We had two nice chairs and a wooden table on our balcony. We always book our cabin mid-ship and low as I often have motion issues and this is a nice location for that. The decor was bright and cheery and the room kept clean. I did have to clean our balcony glass when we first embarked and about the 4th day I had our room steward clean the outside of the glass, although she said it was "hard to do". They do have a special tool for that. It was so salt encrusted we had a hard time seeing out if we were sitting down. Most cruises that is done when we get on, or shortly after.