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I chose this 14 night, 10 port cruise for my husband's 50th birthday present.  Wanting his birthday to be unforgettable, and being veteran cruisers who have been on most lines, I chose a one bedroom Courtyard Villa.  Our villa was located at the end of the hallway nearest the front of the ship.  As there are only 10 Courtyard Villas and two Garden Villas and one additional suite, it is extremely private and quiet.  The additional suite used to be the Concierge Lounge, but when the ship was reconfigured, it was turned into a suite and the food and drink was moved down to the courtyard.The villa is similar to what is pictured on the NCL website, however, the carpet is green and  the floorplan is incorrect.  The floorplan is more similar to the AB Penthouse floorplan, minus the extra bedroom, bathroom and hallway.  At some point NCL replaced the rattan sofa in the living room with a normal purple velvet covered sofa, which I'm sure is much more comfortable than the rattan one was.  The rattan chairs remain and all other furnishings are as shown and in excellent condition.  The bathroom was spotlessly clean and had a phone in the toilet room and a TV over the bathtub.  The shower had a rain showerhead in the ceiling, 6 jets and a hand held wand which could be used separately or simultaneously.  There are two sinks and plenty of cabinet space and drawers as well as a makeup area with lighted mirror.  The closet contained wooden hangers, but did not contain enough hangers for the amount of clothes needed for 2 people for a 14 day trip, however, my travel clothes are wrinkle proof, so I simply stacked them on a shelf, leaving the majority of the closet for my husband's clothes.The mini bar includes a cappucino machine which kept my husband out of the ships coffee shop as he could use this at will and the coffee was very good.  There is also a mini bar in the room which has extra room in it.  In Barcelona, we visited a grocery store and bought water and diet Cokes and brought these onboard and put them in the refrigerator.There is a flatscreen TV and DVD player in the bedroom (change to channel 19 to watch DVD's)  There is a second flatscreen TV and DVD player in the living room.  The Jade has a library of DVD's to borrow.  I also stopped by Blockbuster before we left home and picked up a few DVD's to watch on my movie pass.  The balcony was surprisingly, the same size as most ship balconey's and it contained two faux wicker chairs and a small table.  We enjoyed viewing the ports from the balconey every day.  In addition to this outdoor space, there is the Courtyard which has a hot tub at one end, a small pool, and a setup for snacks, coffee, tea and juice at the far end.  In the morning, there were croissants and danish with coffee, tea and juice and in the afternoon, there was always cookies, Gummi Bears and M&M's with coffee, tea, or juice.  What used to be the concierge lounge has been converted into another suite.There is a small exercise room with high quality equipment.  Upstairs from the courtyard is a private sundeck.  This is a very large space with many padded chaises and was always empty whenever we went up there.  It was a great place to take photos of the port we were visiting that day.  NCL passengers who have a Penthouse or above accommodation get preferential treatment in all things.  This includes being able to make reservations for any restaurant you want at any time you want.  I never called more than an hour or so in advance of when I wanted a reservation and the concierge ALWAYS was able to accomodate us.  In addition, passengers in these accomodations get to eat breakfast and lunch at Cagneys.  At breakfast, they have a buffet with many, many items and then, they also have a menu that you can order from.  If you are in a hurry, fruit, cereal, smoked salmon and capers, breakfast breads and juice were quickly available.  If you have time, you can have all of that and order off the menu as well.  Options included eggs benedict, pancakes, crabcakes and more standard breakfast foods.  The advantage of eating at Cagneys is that you get to know the other passengers in similar accomodations and we wound up on the same tours with many of them, which was fun!  On only one day, we had a tour so early that we had to eat before Cagney's opened for breakfast, so we went to the buffet. on deck 12.  It was so full that we had to walk all the way to the back of the ship to find a place to sit.  We both agreed that we were glad we didn't have to try to deal with the buffet on a routine basis.  Other signs of preferential treatment included fresh flowers provided to our room, invitations to two cocktail parties specifically for Penthouse and above guests and even on returning to the ship, I noticed that we got a much warmer greeting than other guests.Each afternoon, the butler brings by a plate of snacks which could be anything from handmade chocolates to hors d'ouerves.  The butler also takes and brings any room service requests and picks up dishes.  We are pretty low maintenance, so the butler had an easy job with us.  I did bring back some pastries from Portugal, and knowing how life is on a ship for the crew - who get to eat the same food over and over and over and over, I gave two of them to the butler so he could have some non-ship food for a change.  He had never had them before, but had heard of the famous pastry shop.  It was obvious that he appreciated them very much and he said next time he was in Portugal and had the chance to get off the ship he was going back to the pastry shop.  We did find that the duvet in the bedroom was too hot.  In addition to the duvet cover, they put a sheet on either side of the duvet, then put it in the cover, which makes it very heavy.  I asked our cabin steward for a lighter blanket and he was able to provide it to us.  I met many other people on this cruise through the Cruise Critic Roll Call.  We had a cabin crawl and their cabins were lovely as well.  I was especially impresssed with the bathrooms in the regular rooms that have glass doors separating the shower, toilet and sink so that up to 3 people could use the bathroom simultaneously for getting ready.  One of the ladies at the crawl asked me if we ever came out of our room.  Honestly, the villa floor and our villa was such a pleasant experience that many nights when we could have gone to a bar or a show, we chose to stay in our cabin and watch a movie.  The thing about this is you are on the same cruise, but it's like being on a completely different cruise than everyone else on the ship.  The experience is just very different.  I think one of the things is that the hallway only contains 5 cabins - so you aren't entering your cabin from a long hallway with so many doors on each side. You are completely away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the ship, so there is more of a feeling of privacy and serenity. The butler and cabin stewards are not as rushed, so they are more personable and take the time to get to know you.  Anything I requested, they rushed to do.  They always said hello when they saw us in the halls.  I think that staying in a villa is more similar to cruising on a small yacht, except that you have all of the restaurant options.The food on the cruise was as expected from a mass catering environment.  In general, I preferred the food at Le Bistro where we ate several times - they usually had a 2 for 1 special before 7, so I would get a 6:45 reservation.  I had excellent lamb there one night, but I met others who had tough lamb there.  I guess I was lucky.  The cassolet was excellent as was the fillet.  The lobster was too salty.  We ate at Alizar a couple of nights and then started eating at the Grand Pacific for the rest of the nights.  Alizar is very contemporary with low ceilings.  The Grand Pacific is a huge high ceiling dining room and it serves the exact same food as Alizar.  I had chicken stuffed with feta cheese from their Cooking Light menu, and Tandoor Chicken on another night, served with basmati rice.  Both of these were good.  Other than these two meals, there is nothing that particularily stands out.  The food was good and typical cruise ship fare.  We never bothered with the Asian restaurants - they seemed a bit out of place in the Meditterranean.  One night we ate in Papa's Italian Kitchen and I thought the food was simply not very good, nor was it authentically Italian.  One afternoon, after returning from a tour, I went down to the buffet to see what kind of snacks they had and found that they had some very nice cheese and french bread available.  There was some brie, a nice blue cheese and some smoked gouda - definitely a better selection than most cruise lines put on their buffet.  Our ports were:Barcelona where we stayed at the Duquesa de Cardona hotel.  This hotel is close to Las Ramblas and overlooks the water.  Yes, there was some street noise - as expected in any city hotel - bring earplugs if this bothers you.  The rooms are freshly decorated and the bathroom's recently remodeled with granite and marble - very nice.  The front desk was very helpful.  We walked over to Las Ramblas, found a small grocery store and bought water and diet Coke for the ship and ate a dinner of tapas and paella and Spanish wine on the waterfront. We toured Barcelona, saw La Segrada Familia and walked Las Ramblas, taking  many photos at the beautiful market.   At the pier the next day, we were met by our butler who escorrted us to our room.  Luggage was delivered almost immediately.  Cannes: We took the Monaco and view from Eze tour.  It turns out that Eze requires a long, long hike uphill and not enough time to shop at the charming little shops in Eze.  In Monaco, we saw the cathedral where Princess Grace is entombed with Prince Ranier - also the site of their marriage.  I had to wonder what Grace Kelly was thinking when she walked down the aisle there on her wedding day.  Monaco is such a little place.  I wonder if she felt a chill knowing she would live her life out there and be entombed in that church.  Then it was off to Monte Carlo where they were setting up for the Grand Prix.  Florence/Pisa:  We went to Pisa and Tuscany.  Pisa was fantastic - I highly recommend going there.  Then on the bus to drive to Tuscany.  What a beautiful scenic area.  Our bus driver took his own route and got lost.  We went through a tiny medieval village - all the people who lived there came out to see the big bus going through the tiny street.  I'm sure they thought the bus driver was crazy.  Attempting to make the hairpin turns in the hillsides, our bus would have to make 5 or 6 point turns.  Of course, the bus was a standard, so the clutch made a rather intense smell.  One of the women on the tour had a panic attack and demanded to be let off the bus.  I have no idea how she thought she would get back to the ship - there are no taxis in Tuscany and her actions delayed all of us for over 45 minutes.  It turned out that the bus could not make the final turn to take us to the winery for lunch, so the winery sent a school bus with student driver to bring us there.  I think the student driver believed he was in the Monte Carlo Grand Prix because what should have been a 10 minute drive took only 2 minutes with him literally flooring it around hairpin turns.  We arrived at a beautiful winery and sat with a lovely couple from Canada and had a fantastic rustic and authentic Italian lunch, two bottles of wine capped off with 60-proof dessert wine.  As bizarre as the situation with the lady with the panic attack was, the rest of the afternoon went smoothly and we had an awesome time.  We returned to the ship about 30 minutes prior to All Aboard - unconcerned since this was a ship tour - if the bus had been late, the tour company would have let the ship know and they would have taken care of the situation and waited for us.Rome:  With another Cruise Critic member, we booked a private walking  tour with Through Eternity Cultural Association. We saw the Spanish Steps, Fountain of Four Rivers, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, the Forum and the Colleseum and had an authentic Italian lunch in a restaurant off the beaten path.  Very nice day and one of the highlights of our trip.Naples:  Went to Capri, Sorrento and Pompei - another great day.Sardinia:  Our ship tour was cancelled - thank goodness!  We were very, very tired.  We stayed in our suite and relaxed.Seville:  Went to the Magnificent Alhambra - absolutely a magical place.  Gorgeous buildings and gardens.  Took many, many pictures.  Lunch was a buffet at a hotel.  We were lucky that our bus arrived first because the buffet soon turned into a disaster as 6 other buses arrived creating a long, long line and the food was completely depleted and not replenished leaving some guests hungry and angry.Portugal:  They are completely into monuments.  There are monuments everywhere.  We took the tour to the Pena Palace and enjoyed that tremendously.  It is up a mountain and the area is one of the most beautiful in the world.  The Palace was interesting and beautiful.  Vigo:  We had intended to go to Santiago, but it was raining most of the morning and the pictures we wanted to take would have been impossible, so in the afternoon, when it stopped raining we walked into town, replenished our water supply and relaxed onboard the ship.Le Havre:  We took the tour to Giveryny and Rouen.  Saw the "unusual" and ugly cathedral built at the site where Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake and then it was on lunch at a French farmhouse where we were served typical French country food - a bitter salad with a sweet balsamic vinaigrette, stewed turkey and an apple tart tatin - all very good and finally on to Monet's garden. It had been raining and droplets of water clung to the flowers and greenery and the gardens were awash in the blue light that follows the rain. Some of the ladies on this tour expressed disappointment that this was not a museum or a tour where they were told what everything was.  Instead, we walked through the gardens on our own looking at his water lily ponds and the magnificent plantings and contemplated the view and took photos.  Perhaps, if they understood more about Monet's life it would have meant more to them.   The gardens were his passion and inspiration and they have been meticulously restored to the way they were when Monet lived there.  We also went in Monet's house where there are a few of his paintings and his obsession with Japan became apparent and was most interesting.  Outside we went to the small shop next to the teashop, then had wine until the bus was ready to leave.Belgium:  We took the Romantic Brugge tour.  There was lots of walking on thankfully flat streets.  We saw 2 of the Cathedrals and took the boat tour - which was the highlight of the day!  Finally given some shopping time, we bought Belgian chocolates at many different chocolate shops.  They were fantastic!Rotterdam:  Our cruise terminated in Rotterdam and we disembarked with our luggage and took a taxi that was pre-arranged for us with two other Cruise Critic couples to Hotel Okura in Amsterdam - fabulous room - everything electronic that you can imagine from the lights to the drapes!  That afternoon we had a tour to the Keukenhof - which although many of the flowers were dead headed, was still beautiful and then ate dinner at the famous Yamazato restaurant - which was absolutely fantastic.  The perfect ending to a wonderful trip.Was the courtyard villa worth the extra cost?  Yes, indeed it was!  I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a very different and upscale experience on a cruise ship. 

On a completely different cruise

Norwegian Jade Cruise Review by Princess Rose

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Trip Details
I chose this 14 night, 10 port cruise for my husband's 50th birthday present.  Wanting his birthday to be unforgettable, and being veteran cruisers who have been on most lines, I chose a one bedroom Courtyard Villa.  Our villa was located at the end of the hallway nearest the front of the ship.  As there are only 10 Courtyard Villas and two Garden Villas and one additional suite, it is extremely private and quiet.  The additional suite used to be the Concierge Lounge, but when the ship was reconfigured, it was turned into a suite and the food and drink was moved down to the courtyard.The villa is similar to what is pictured on the NCL website, however, the carpet is green and  the floorplan is incorrect.  The floorplan is more similar to the AB Penthouse floorplan, minus the extra bedroom, bathroom and hallway.  At some point NCL replaced the rattan sofa in the living room with a normal purple velvet covered sofa, which I'm sure is much more comfortable than the rattan one was.  The rattan chairs remain and all other furnishings are as shown and in excellent condition.  The bathroom was spotlessly clean and had a phone in the toilet room and a TV over the bathtub.  The shower had a rain showerhead in the ceiling, 6 jets and a hand held wand which could be used separately or simultaneously.  There are two sinks and plenty of cabinet space and drawers as well as a makeup area with lighted mirror.  The closet contained wooden hangers, but did not contain enough hangers for the amount of clothes needed for 2 people for a 14 day trip, however, my travel clothes are wrinkle proof, so I simply stacked them on a shelf, leaving the majority of the closet for my husband's clothes.The mini bar includes a cappucino machine which kept my husband out of the ships coffee shop as he could use this at will and the coffee was very good.  There is also a mini bar in the room which has extra room in it.  In Barcelona, we visited a grocery store and bought water and diet Cokes and brought these onboard and put them in the refrigerator.There is a flatscreen TV and DVD player in the bedroom (change to channel 19 to watch DVD's)  There is a second flatscreen TV and DVD player in the living room.  The Jade has a library of DVD's to borrow.  I also stopped by Blockbuster before we left home and picked up a few DVD's to watch on my movie pass.  The balcony was surprisingly, the same size as most ship balconey's and it contained two faux wicker chairs and a small table.  We enjoyed viewing the ports from the balconey every day.  In addition to this outdoor space, there is the Courtyard which has a hot tub at one end, a small pool, and a setup for snacks, coffee, tea and juice at the far end.  In the morning, there were croissants and danish with coffee, tea and juice and in the afternoon, there was always cookies, Gummi Bears and M&M's with coffee, tea, or juice.  What used to be the concierge lounge has been converted into another suite.There is a small exercise room with high quality equipment.  Upstairs from the courtyard is a private sundeck.  This is a very large space with many padded chaises and was always empty whenever we went up there.  It was a great place to take photos of the port we were visiting that day.  NCL passengers who have a Penthouse or above accommodation get preferential treatment in all things.  This includes being able to make reservations for any restaurant you want at any time you want.  I never called more than an hour or so in advance of when I wanted a reservation and the concierge ALWAYS was able to accomodate us.  In addition, passengers in these accomodations get to eat breakfast and lunch at Cagneys.  At breakfast, they have a buffet with many, many items and then, they also have a menu that you can order from.  If you are in a hurry, fruit, cereal, smoked salmon and capers, breakfast breads and juice were quickly available.  If you have time, you can have all of that and order off the menu as well.  Options included eggs benedict, pancakes, crabcakes and more standard breakfast foods.  The advantage of eating at Cagneys is that you get to know the other passengers in similar accomodations and we wound up on the same tours with many of them, which was fun!  On only one day, we had a tour so early that we had to eat before Cagney's opened for breakfast, so we went to the buffet. on deck 12.  It was so full that we had to walk all the way to the back of the ship to find a place to sit.  We both agreed that we were glad we didn't have to try to deal with the buffet on a routine basis.  Other signs of preferential treatment included fresh flowers provided to our room, invitations to two cocktail parties specifically for Penthouse and above guests and even on returning to the ship, I noticed that we got a much warmer greeting than other guests.Each afternoon, the butler brings by a plate of snacks which could be anything from handmade chocolates to hors d'ouerves.  The butler also takes and brings any room service requests and picks up dishes.  We are pretty low maintenance, so the butler had an easy job with us.  I did bring back some pastries from Portugal, and knowing how life is on a ship for the crew - who get to eat the same food over and over and over and over, I gave two of them to the butler so he could have some non-ship food for a change.  He had never had them before, but had heard of the famous pastry shop.  It was obvious that he appreciated them very much and he said next time he was in Portugal and had the chance to get off the ship he was going back to the pastry shop.  We did find that the duvet in the bedroom was too hot.  In addition to the duvet cover, they put a sheet on either side of the duvet, then put it in the cover, which makes it very heavy.  I asked our cabin steward for a lighter blanket and he was able to provide it to us.  I met many other people on this cruise through the Cruise Critic Roll Call.  We had a cabin crawl and their cabins were lovely as well.  I was especially impresssed with the bathrooms in the regular rooms that have glass doors separating the shower, toilet and sink so that up to 3 people could use the bathroom simultaneously for getting ready.  One of the ladies at the crawl asked me if we ever came out of our room.  Honestly, the villa floor and our villa was such a pleasant experience that many nights when we could have gone to a bar or a show, we chose to stay in our cabin and watch a movie.  The thing about this is you are on the same cruise, but it's like being on a completely different cruise than everyone else on the ship.  The experience is just very different.  I think one of the things is that the hallway only contains 5 cabins - so you aren't entering your cabin from a long hallway with so many doors on each side. You are completely away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the ship, so there is more of a feeling of privacy and serenity. The butler and cabin stewards are not as rushed, so they are more personable and take the time to get to know you.  Anything I requested, they rushed to do.  They always said hello when they saw us in the halls.  I think that staying in a villa is more similar to cruising on a small yacht, except that you have all of the restaurant options.The food on the cruise was as expected from a mass catering environment.  In general, I preferred the food at Le Bistro where we ate several times - they usually had a 2 for 1 special before 7, so I would get a 6:45 reservation.  I had excellent lamb there one night, but I met others who had tough lamb there.  I guess I was lucky.  The cassolet was excellent as was the fillet.  The lobster was too salty.  We ate at Alizar a couple of nights and then started eating at the Grand Pacific for the rest of the nights.  Alizar is very contemporary with low ceilings.  The Grand Pacific is a huge high ceiling dining room and it serves the exact same food as Alizar.  I had chicken stuffed with feta cheese from their Cooking Light menu, and Tandoor Chicken on another night, served with basmati rice.  Both of these were good.  Other than these two meals, there is nothing that particularily stands out.  The food was good and typical cruise ship fare.  We never bothered with the Asian restaurants - they seemed a bit out of place in the Meditterranean.  One night we ate in Papa's Italian Kitchen and I thought the food was simply not very good, nor was it authentically Italian.  One afternoon, after returning from a tour, I went down to the buffet to see what kind of snacks they had and found that they had some very nice cheese and french bread available.  There was some brie, a nice blue cheese and some smoked gouda - definitely a better selection than most cruise lines put on their buffet.  Our ports were:Barcelona where we stayed at the Duquesa de Cardona hotel.  This hotel is close to Las Ramblas and overlooks the water.  Yes, there was some street noise - as expected in any city hotel - bring earplugs if this bothers you.  The rooms are freshly decorated and the bathroom's recently remodeled with granite and marble - very nice.  The front desk was very helpful.  We walked over to Las Ramblas, found a small grocery store and bought water and diet Coke for the ship and ate a dinner of tapas and paella and Spanish wine on the waterfront. We toured Barcelona, saw La Segrada Familia and walked Las Ramblas, taking  many photos at the beautiful market.   At the pier the next day, we were met by our butler who escorrted us to our room.  Luggage was delivered almost immediately.  Cannes: We took the Monaco and view from Eze tour.  It turns out that Eze requires a long, long hike uphill and not enough time to shop at the charming little shops in Eze.  In Monaco, we saw the cathedral where Princess Grace is entombed with Prince Ranier - also the site of their marriage.  I had to wonder what Grace Kelly was thinking when she walked down the aisle there on her wedding day.  Monaco is such a little place.  I wonder if she felt a chill knowing she would live her life out there and be entombed in that church.  Then it was off to Monte Carlo where they were setting up for the Grand Prix.  Florence/Pisa:  We went to Pisa and Tuscany.  Pisa was fantastic - I highly recommend going there.  Then on the bus to drive to Tuscany.  What a beautiful scenic area.  Our bus driver took his own route and got lost.  We went through a tiny medieval village - all the people who lived there came out to see the big bus going through the tiny street.  I'm sure they thought the bus driver was crazy.  Attempting to make the hairpin turns in the hillsides, our bus would have to make 5 or 6 point turns.  Of course, the bus was a standard, so the clutch made a rather intense smell.  One of the women on the tour had a panic attack and demanded to be let off the bus.  I have no idea how she thought she would get back to the ship - there are no taxis in Tuscany and her actions delayed all of us for over 45 minutes.  It turned out that the bus could not make the final turn to take us to the winery for lunch, so the winery sent a school bus with student driver to bring us there.  I think the student driver believed he was in the Monte Carlo Grand Prix because what should have been a 10 minute drive took only 2 minutes with him literally flooring it around hairpin turns.  We arrived at a beautiful winery and sat with a lovely couple from Canada and had a fantastic rustic and authentic Italian lunch, two bottles of wine capped off with 60-proof dessert wine.  As bizarre as the situation with the lady with the panic attack was, the rest of the afternoon went smoothly and we had an awesome time.  We returned to the ship about 30 minutes prior to All Aboard - unconcerned since this was a ship tour - if the bus had been late, the tour company would have let the ship know and they would have taken care of the situation and waited for us.Rome:  With another Cruise Critic member, we booked a private walking  tour with Through Eternity Cultural Association. We saw the Spanish Steps, Fountain of Four Rivers, Trevi Fountain, the Pantheon, the Forum and the Colleseum and had an authentic Italian lunch in a restaurant off the beaten path.  Very nice day and one of the highlights of our trip.Naples:  Went to Capri, Sorrento and Pompei - another great day.Sardinia:  Our ship tour was cancelled - thank goodness!  We were very, very tired.  We stayed in our suite and relaxed.Seville:  Went to the Magnificent Alhambra - absolutely a magical place.  Gorgeous buildings and gardens.  Took many, many pictures.  Lunch was a buffet at a hotel.  We were lucky that our bus arrived first because the buffet soon turned into a disaster as 6 other buses arrived creating a long, long line and the food was completely depleted and not replenished leaving some guests hungry and angry.Portugal:  They are completely into monuments.  There are monuments everywhere.  We took the tour to the Pena Palace and enjoyed that tremendously.  It is up a mountain and the area is one of the most beautiful in the world.  The Palace was interesting and beautiful.  Vigo:  We had intended to go to Santiago, but it was raining most of the morning and the pictures we wanted to take would have been impossible, so in the afternoon, when it stopped raining we walked into town, replenished our water supply and relaxed onboard the ship.Le Havre:  We took the tour to Giveryny and Rouen.  Saw the "unusual" and ugly cathedral built at the site where Joan of Arc was burnt at the stake and then it was on lunch at a French farmhouse where we were served typical French country food - a bitter salad with a sweet balsamic vinaigrette, stewed turkey and an apple tart tatin - all very good and finally on to Monet's garden. It had been raining and droplets of water clung to the flowers and greenery and the gardens were awash in the blue light that follows the rain. Some of the ladies on this tour expressed disappointment that this was not a museum or a tour where they were told what everything was.  Instead, we walked through the gardens on our own looking at his water lily ponds and the magnificent plantings and contemplated the view and took photos.  Perhaps, if they understood more about Monet's life it would have meant more to them.   The gardens were his passion and inspiration and they have been meticulously restored to the way they were when Monet lived there.  We also went in Monet's house where there are a few of his paintings and his obsession with Japan became apparent and was most interesting.  Outside we went to the small shop next to the teashop, then had wine until the bus was ready to leave.Belgium:  We took the Romantic Brugge tour.  There was lots of walking on thankfully flat streets.  We saw 2 of the Cathedrals and took the boat tour - which was the highlight of the day!  Finally given some shopping time, we bought Belgian chocolates at many different chocolate shops.  They were fantastic!Rotterdam:  Our cruise terminated in Rotterdam and we disembarked with our luggage and took a taxi that was pre-arranged for us with two other Cruise Critic couples to Hotel Okura in Amsterdam - fabulous room - everything electronic that you can imagine from the lights to the drapes!  That afternoon we had a tour to the Keukenhof - which although many of the flowers were dead headed, was still beautiful and then ate dinner at the famous Yamazato restaurant - which was absolutely fantastic.  The perfect ending to a wonderful trip.Was the courtyard villa worth the extra cost?  Yes, indeed it was!  I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a very different and upscale experience on a cruise ship. 
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Cabin Review

Courtyard Penthouse with Balcony
Cabin H5 14014
14014 Courtyard Villa - 1 bedroom.  Only 5 rooms on this hallway - very nice and private with access to the floor requiring a card key (your cruise card.)Large room.Refrigerator had space for water and diet cokes we brought onboard and there was cabinet room for storing other food purchases/drink.Cappucino machine - absolutely great - used daily.Glasses, wine glasses, champagne glasses, coffee cups and cutlery available in dining area.TV and DVD player in the living room AND another TV and DVD player in the bedroom AND TV at end of bathtubGreat walk in shower with rain head, 6 jets and hand held shower head.Tub is soaking tub, not whirlpool tub.  Comes with bath salts.Elemis shampoo, conditioner, body wash and lotion provided by the ship.Double sinksCloset did not have enough wooden hangers for a 2 week trip  for 2 peopleRattan sofa pictured on NCL website has been replaced by a much more comfortable purple velvet sofa.  Rattan chairs remain.Carpet is green, not purple as shown in the photoA4 cabin diagram on NCL website is wrong - bathroom is like that of AB penthouse diagram.  Balcony same size as typical junior suite balcony but with nicer chairs:  faux wicker chairs and small table.Next to card key door from outside deck - this door is almost never used, so not an issue.  Very quiet room.Enjoyed the Courtyard and Courtyard sundeck, exercise room, Courtyard hot tub.Pocket door between bedroom/bath and living/dining room latches into place - important to know that because at sea, the door will roll back and forth if you don't latch it.Plenty of storage space for everything.We found the duvet too hot and cabin steward provided lighter blankets.Butler serviceConcierge serviceCabin stewardsSnacks provided in morning and afternoon in the courtyardButler provides additional snacks to cabin every afternoon.Access to this floor through the central elevator bank only.Fresh flower arangement provided by the ship.
Deck 14 Suite Cabins