Norwegian Jade Cruise Review by Rheajeena
- Sail Date: September 2017
- Destination: Transatlantic
- Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Balcony
Despite being told the ship had been recently revamped the restructure of the cabins are disastrous! We booked a balcony room and you could hardly move around. Previous cabins had a small night stand on each side of the bed but this room had it on only one side. An incredibly small corner counter was all that was there for a makeup area. The bathroom was so small and the toilet area was incredibly cramped. But on the positive side the cabin was very clean and the bed was comfortable.
In regard to safety we were very concerned with how the evacuation drill we had prior to sailing was conducted. Passengers were told to leave their life jackets in the cabin and meet in their designated lounge/restaurant area, which for us was 3 floors from where we would actually disembark in an emergency. When we got to the designated meeting place people were chatting and milling about, coming in very late, and not really paying attention. It was not being presented professionally and therefore not taken seriously. Having sailed on the Costa Concordia just shy of the disaster that befell that ship we take these drills very seriously. On other cruises, including a previous NCL, passengers were told when the alarm sounded to put on their life jackets and meet on deck where their life boat in case of an emergency would be located. The staff was positioned in the halls and on the stairs directing us to our “muster” stations. For those having trouble getting into their life jackets a staff member showed them how to get it on and then even had them take it off and put it back on until they were comfortable getting into it. We were shown where and how to line up and how we would be taken off the ship if need be. On this cruise, as a safety professional, I was worried how disastrous an emergency evacuation would actually be.
Moving on to the ports and disembarking. I take pride in reading all the information provided in preparation for my cruise. NCL provides a “be prepared for your cruise” and a “what to expect” section when you do your online check in. Nowhere in that information was it explained a tender would be used for disembarkation in the Shetland Islands. We were all informed the day before about the necessity to obtain a tender ticket just prior to porting. It was not possible to obtain one the night before. My husband and I had booked a private excursion for the day and knowing how long it can take to get off the ship normally I planned on an hour. We were told the tender, depending upon your ticket, could take up to 3 hours to get off the ship and priority would be given to those passengers with NCL booked excursions. If we had been told of this in advance passengers could plan accordingly. There was again a lengthy and mismanaged disembarkation in Portland due to NCL organizing the immigration process. USA citizens were told to process in one area and several decks up, all non USA citizens, even if you were married, were told to meet. Customs agents were stating couples and families should have remained together and it just delayed the process all the more and added to the confusion for families to meet back up.
The food in the restaurants was always served cool to cold and the menu continued to repeat itself with too much frequency for an 11 day cruise. On more than one occasion we waited 40 minutes just to place our order and the restaurant wasn’t even at 20% capacity. The poor quality of the food and the service made you feel pressured to go to their “specialty” restaurants. These restaurants had cover charges ranging from $24-$29 per person, plus 18% gratuity per person, and the menu items were at upscale restaurant prices.
Onboard activities were truly sad. There wasn’t any variation and was limited to trivia and bingo, not a lot of thought given to that. Every day there were talks by an acupuncturist and “anti- aging” clinicians, etc. etc. looking to sell spa services. The evening lounges always had the same mediocre musicians.
But at least there were a few perks. The shows were entertaining and the ship’s cast were awesome in their performances. The ports of call were a bit short in time but very interesting places to visit.
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