1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Norwegian Jade
This was our 8th cruise in 6 years all with NCL, most out of NYC, where we live. We had always wanted to make a transatlantic crossing and to visit Barcelona. We arrived a few days early to spend some time in the city, which exceeded our expectations. The cruise itinerary was Cartagena (Spain), Malaga (Spain), Funchal (Madeiras), Bermuda and Miami, ending in Tampa. This was our fist time on the Jade, and our fourth time on this class of ship (Jade/Jewel/Pearl/Gem). The passenger breakdown was almost entirely retirees with American,Canadians and British making up the large majority. The specific things that made this cruise special were, in order, the ports, the passengers, the ship and the entertainment. After having burned out on the Caribbean (we are not really beach people), we were looking for something more interesting. The three European ports delivered with each even better than the last. We did basic local excursions arranged through NCL. The highlight was the "Best of Funchal" tour. This was *really* surprising, giving a good sense of what the island is like with plenty of spectacular photo opportunities, perhaps the nicest cable car ride we've ever been on and the truly unique experience of riding a toboggan on city streets down from the heights. Then there was the wine tasting. It is not to be missed. The fellow cruisers were all exceptionally well-behaved, with absolutely no boorish behavior at all. We made a few new friends and availed ourselves of the opportunity to spend time together. As for the ship, some may find the Jade too small or a bit dated, but we loved it. There is a real problem with the new mega-ships from NCL: they manage to make a very large ship seem cramped and crowded, which was never a problem on the Jade. The Breakaway class lacks a promenade deck (I love walking it early in the morning), a major issue for me. The balconies are very shallow (half the size of those on the Jade), the 567 Ocean Place central hall is disconnected from the sea (no windows) and tends to create major traffic jams as one it concentrates passengers. Another issue is that, all too often, one is forced to walk through the casino. On the Jade, the various venues are more compartmentalized which tends to make them feel intimate rather than cramped. The Jade and her sisters also extend the marketplace buffet out onto the fantail, providing a nice space in which to eat breakfast or lunch in the open air, something sorely missed on the Breakaway. Of all the eight cruises we've done, none had the level of musicianship of that on this cruise. I'm an amateur musician and I tend to have high standards. From the solo performers in the bars and lounges to the show and dance bands, there wasn't a disappointing musician in the bunch. There was a standout Beatles Tribute band (The Beatles Invasion) and a very funny and talented comedy string quartet (Classical Grafitti). As for the shows, they were certainly entertaining. The perennial "Elements" show offers a nice variety of performances and there was the debut of a new country-themed show called "Blazing Boots" that we enjoyed. The shows tend to last about an hour which is all that one can take sitting in the theatre seats which have these strangely sloping seat bottoms, something that all of the NCL ships we've been on seem to share. The troupe singers were fine, but the dancers were outstanding. Food-wise, this cruise was up to the usual NCL standards which is mostly, quite good. If there were any issues, it was that after 14 days, the menus in the large dining rooms and at the buffet were getting a bit familiar. The desserts, in general, could be a bit better. We ate in four specialty restaurants with the standout being the Moderno Churrasciara. The cruise staff was engaging and kept things interesting. One nice thing was that the hard sell of the bingo and pull-tabs was toned down from our previous cruises. The hard sell from the art department remains as strong as ever. I'm no fan of the stuff they sell on the ship, to me it looks like product rather than actual art. We never made it to Bermuda as a strong storm kept us away. The crew did a good job of keeping us informed of the cruise status. In all we did seven straight days at sea. I loved it. The calendar and the clock melted away and it really felt like a proper vacation. Would we do it again? Yes, in fact we've already booked a Transatlantic from Southampton to NY via the Shetlands and Iceland. I realize that much of any cruise experience is a function of luck and circumstance. Prior to this we were getting a bit bored, this cruise changed our perspective. From now on, we will bite the bullet and fly to interesting places so that we can experience new and different things.

Our Best Cruise Yet

Norwegian Jade Cruise Review by Bunkie2100

8 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: October 2016
  • Destination: Transatlantic
  • Cabin Type: Mini-Suite with Balcony
This was our 8th cruise in 6 years all with NCL, most out of NYC, where we live.

We had always wanted to make a transatlantic crossing and to visit Barcelona. We arrived a few days early to spend some time in the city, which exceeded our expectations.

The cruise itinerary was Cartagena (Spain), Malaga (Spain), Funchal (Madeiras), Bermuda and Miami, ending in Tampa.

This was our fist time on the Jade, and our fourth time on this class of ship (Jade/Jewel/Pearl/Gem).

The passenger breakdown was almost entirely retirees with American,Canadians and British making up the large majority.

The specific things that made this cruise special were, in order, the ports, the passengers, the ship and the entertainment. After having burned out on the Caribbean (we are not really beach people), we were looking for something more interesting. The three European ports delivered with each even better than the last. We did basic local excursions arranged through NCL. The highlight was the "Best of Funchal" tour. This was *really* surprising, giving a good sense of what the island is like with plenty of spectacular photo opportunities, perhaps the nicest cable car ride we've ever been on and the truly unique experience of riding a toboggan on city streets down from the heights. Then there was the wine tasting. It is not to be missed.

The fellow cruisers were all exceptionally well-behaved, with absolutely no boorish behavior at all. We made a few new friends and availed ourselves of the opportunity to spend time together.

As for the ship, some may find the Jade too small or a bit dated, but we loved it. There is a real problem with the new mega-ships from NCL: they manage to make a very large ship seem cramped and crowded, which was never a problem on the Jade. The Breakaway class lacks a promenade deck (I love walking it early in the morning), a major issue for me. The balconies are very shallow (half the size of those on the Jade), the 567 Ocean Place central hall is disconnected from the sea (no windows) and tends to create major traffic jams as one it concentrates passengers. Another issue is that, all too often, one is forced to walk through the casino. On the Jade, the various venues are more compartmentalized which tends to make them feel intimate rather than cramped. The Jade and her sisters also extend the marketplace buffet out onto the fantail, providing a nice space in which to eat breakfast or lunch in the open air, something sorely missed on the Breakaway.

Of all the eight cruises we've done, none had the level of musicianship of that on this cruise. I'm an amateur musician and I tend to have high standards. From the solo performers in the bars and lounges to the show and dance bands, there wasn't a disappointing musician in the bunch. There was a standout Beatles Tribute band (The Beatles Invasion) and a very funny and talented comedy string quartet (Classical Grafitti).

As for the shows, they were certainly entertaining. The perennial "Elements" show offers a nice variety of performances and there was the debut of a new country-themed show called "Blazing Boots" that we enjoyed. The shows tend to last about an hour which is all that one can take sitting in the theatre seats which have these strangely sloping seat bottoms, something that all of the NCL ships we've been on seem to share. The troupe singers were fine, but the dancers were outstanding.

Food-wise, this cruise was up to the usual NCL standards which is mostly, quite good. If there were any issues, it was that after 14 days, the menus in the large dining rooms and at the buffet were getting a bit familiar. The desserts, in general, could be a bit better. We ate in four specialty restaurants with the standout being the Moderno Churrasciara.

The cruise staff was engaging and kept things interesting.

One nice thing was that the hard sell of the bingo and pull-tabs was toned down from our previous cruises. The hard sell from the art department remains as strong as ever. I'm no fan of the stuff they sell on the ship, to me it looks like product rather than actual art.

We never made it to Bermuda as a strong storm kept us away. The crew did a good job of keeping us informed of the cruise status. In all we did seven straight days at sea. I loved it. The calendar and the clock melted away and it really felt like a proper vacation.

Would we do it again? Yes, in fact we've already booked a Transatlantic from Southampton to NY via the Shetlands and Iceland.

I realize that much of any cruise experience is a function of luck and circumstance. Prior to this we were getting a bit bored, this cruise changed our perspective. From now on, we will bite the bullet and fly to interesting places so that we can experience new and different things.
Bunkie2100’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Norwegian Jade price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email

Cabin Review

Mini-Suite with Balcony
Cabin MX 11052
The bed was excellent, the cabin was comfortable there was *plenty* of drawer space, we had room left over despite having packed for a 17 day vacation. The curtains do an excellent job of blocking the light and the mid-room curtain allows one to read while the bed area is completely dark. Location was quite good being slightly forward of the center elevator stack. The balcony was very roomy and there were two chaise chairs and one regular chair as well as a small table. Temperature control was good and, in general, the cabin was very quiet with little bleed through from adjoining cabins.
Deck 11 Inside Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews