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Waiting in line – let me count the ways 1. 2+ Hour embarkation Process – great way to start the cruise 2. We never tendered on this cruise so getting off and on the ship should have been streamlined – but it wasn’t. I should emphasize this cruise had a large population of seniors meaning many wheel chairs and walkers – that translates to slow movement. Typically there was only a single gangway for 2400+ guests and 1000+ crew; often with only one security officer to check in and out with. Typically it took 45 minutes to get off and sometimes almost 30 minutes to get on the ship. As we were waiting to depart there were constant announcements asking us to delay departure to let the line go down. Does it cost that much more to have more than one gangway at each port? 3. Freestyle Dining: means you don’t have preassigned time and table for dinner. That requires waiting in line every evening to be seated at a different table with a different waiter each night. 4. Disembarkation took over an hour even though we walked off with our luggage – but I am going to blame New York City Customs for that. 5. Elevators – As I mentioned there were many seniors on this cruise so the elevators were in constant demand. The main four elevators in mid-ship had one with a sign on it saying, “Temporarily out of order” – Translation: it won’t be working for the entire cruise. Often waiting five minutes or longer for an elevator. 6. An elderly guest who was travelling alone discovered she had locked herself out of her room upon returning from the hot tub. We immediately called housekeeping for her as she was stuck in the hallway wearing only a wet swimsuit and towel. We were told “room stewards have no way to let clients in their room when not cleaning” (Really?). We then called guest relations who didn’t answer their phone. We then went up to guest relations and waited in line on behalf of this passenger, until a staff person finally came down with us to let her in. All told it took 40 minutes get this sweet lady back into her room. Dining: 1. The food was good, and there was a lot of variety. On a scale of 1-10 we would give the food a solid 7. 2. The service in the main dining rooms was deplorable and that was due to staffing. On previous cruises with other cruise lines we were assigned a waiter, assistant waiter, a sommelier, and a bar steward. On the NCL Jade we had a single waiter that had to perform all of those tasks. To cut down on waiting time we established a standing reservation at 5:45pm (as suggested by members of Cruise Critics) for our party of nine in the Alizar dining room. The three dinners we ate there took over three hours to complete due to the limited staff and resulting poor service. This meant we either had to leave in the middle of dinner to make it to the show our group was planning, or find another alternative for dinner which is what we did for the other seven nights. It also meant the food was often cold, and we had to send dishes back on multiple occasions to be warmed up. I want to emphasize that this is not a “waiter” problem, but a staffing problem. I think NCL was trying to cut corners to save money. We ended up eating at the buffet much more often than we would have liked. 3. O’Sheehan’s Sports bar is the only 24/7 dining option on the ship. The menu is limited, but the food and service were good meaning we could get in and out of a meal in an hour. I should emphasize that a more accurate name would be “sport” bar. Even though there were many televisions, we were told there was only one sports station (and it wasn’t ESPN) so every screen had the same channel and it was usually soccer or hockey. 4. We secured the Unlimited Beverage package, and enjoyed the drink selection from many of the bars. It was a little frustrating that not all of the drinks were available at all of the bars. My wife enjoyed the Lavender Patch served in Mixers bar, but when she tried to order the same drink in the Spinnaker bar they said it wasn’t available, and only carried in Mixers. You should also be aware that the beverage package doesn’t include specialty coffees (about $5) or the Fresh fruit/vegetable juice bar in the buffet at Breakfast (also about $4-5). 5. You should also be aware that any drink ordered while the ship is in New York Harbor is subject to New York Sales tax that will be added to your bill. This isn’t NCL’s fault, but they should do a better job letting people know about it. Rooms: 1. The rooms are small, and the bed was positioned near the wall desk. This allowed 3-4 four inches between the bed and desk, and my wife hit her knee on multiple occasions (causing a visible bruise) while getting up to use the bathroom during the night. We talked with other people in our group and their solution was to dive onto the bed to avoid walking around it. We asked them if there was something they could do, and they moved the bed over increasing the space to 6 inches. 2. The beds were hard, so if you like a firm mattress you will love these. We had previous cruises on other ships with hard mattresses and when asked they provided us with an egg crate which helped tremendously. When we checked with our room steward they brought out a pad approximately ¾ inch deep that helped a little. 3. Our room steward was new (first cruise ever), and he did a GREAT job on the towel animals. The unfortunate thing was whoever was overseeing him neglected to insure he provided us with his name, and how to get in contact during the first few days of our cruise when we would have the most questions. The placard with that information was eventually placed in our room on day three of the cruise. Entertainment: We enjoyed really enjoyed all of the shows we went to. I think NCL did a great job securing the entertainment for our cruise. Shows were at 7:30pm and 9:30pm, and you should plan on arriving early as desired seating fills up fast. Communication: Poor. I’m not a big fan of sail away parties, but leaving from New York Harbor would be the exception. Passing by the new Freedom Tower, and Statue of Liberty is an amazing experience. Our cruise was scheduled to depart at 4pm. The deck was packed as many were looking forward to our departure, but 4pm came and went without any announcement from the Bridge. 4:30pm – still at the dock. 5pm, still in port, and many people were now leaving the deck to get ready for dinner. The shipped finally left at 5:30pm for a glorious cruise past those amazing icons, but unfortunately most of the people had left. Very anticlimactic. Around 6pm there was an announcement stating the departure was delayed due to having additional supplies being brought on board, and waiting for the departure of a Disney ship that left at 5:10pm before us. There was another time on this cruise when the boat was dead in the water. A number of people looked out the window and said, “the ships not moving”. There was never an announcement as to why, and we only found out by asking bar staff that “thought” there may have been an ill passenger that was airlifted off of the ship; even though we never heard a helicopter. Miscellaneous 1. Twice during our 10 day cruise NCL offered a Laundry option where you fill a good sized bag with as many clothes as you can fit in, and they would wash/dry/fold them for $20. GREAT OPTION 2. Hot Tub temperatures were “tepid” at best. We asked one of the staff if they would turn it up, which they said they did. After 20 minutes we noticed no difference. I understand their concern for safety, but this temperature didn’t provide a pleasant experience at all. 3. We have been on three previous NCL cruises, and have our Latitudes numbers from those cruises. But those cruises were more than 13 years ago, so they had us listed as new cruisers (none of the perks for having cruised with them in the past). Almost three weeks before our departure we had our travel agent get in touch with the Latitudes department, and they couldn’t find documentation of our previous cruises even though we had our Latitudes numbers. We then sent approximate dates and photos from each of our previous cruises proving we were on those sailings. The Latitudes department couldn’t straighten this issue out before we left, and now after one month we still have heard nothing. Very disappointing.

My Norwegian Cruise Line Vacation Or How I Spent My Vacation Waiting in Line

Norwegian Jade Cruise Review by BigDogBill

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: October 2017
  • Destination: Canada & New England
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Oceanview Picture Window
Waiting in line – let me count the ways

1. 2+ Hour embarkation Process – great way to start the cruise

2. We never tendered on this cruise so getting off and on the ship should have been streamlined – but it wasn’t. I should emphasize this cruise had a large population of seniors meaning many wheel chairs and walkers – that translates to slow movement. Typically there was only a single gangway for 2400+ guests and 1000+ crew; often with only one security officer to check in and out with. Typically it took 45 minutes to get off and sometimes almost 30 minutes to get on the ship. As we were waiting to depart there were constant announcements asking us to delay departure to let the line go down. Does it cost that much more to have more than one gangway at each port?

3. Freestyle Dining: means you don’t have preassigned time and table for dinner. That requires waiting in line every evening to be seated at a different table with a different waiter each night.

4. Disembarkation took over an hour even though we walked off with our luggage – but I am going to blame New York City Customs for that.

5. Elevators – As I mentioned there were many seniors on this cruise so the elevators were in constant demand. The main four elevators in mid-ship had one with a sign on it saying, “Temporarily out of order” – Translation: it won’t be working for the entire cruise. Often waiting five minutes or longer for an elevator.

6. An elderly guest who was travelling alone discovered she had locked herself out of her room upon returning from the hot tub. We immediately called housekeeping for her as she was stuck in the hallway wearing only a wet swimsuit and towel. We were told “room stewards have no way to let clients in their room when not cleaning” (Really?). We then called guest relations who didn’t answer their phone. We then went up to guest relations and waited in line on behalf of this passenger, until a staff person finally came down with us to let her in. All told it took 40 minutes get this sweet lady back into her room.

Dining:

1. The food was good, and there was a lot of variety. On a scale of 1-10 we would give the food a solid 7.

2. The service in the main dining rooms was deplorable and that was due to staffing. On previous cruises with other cruise lines we were assigned a waiter, assistant waiter, a sommelier, and a bar steward. On the NCL Jade we had a single waiter that had to perform all of those tasks. To cut down on waiting time we established a standing reservation at 5:45pm (as suggested by members of Cruise Critics) for our party of nine in the Alizar dining room. The three dinners we ate there took over three hours to complete due to the limited staff and resulting poor service. This meant we either had to leave in the middle of dinner to make it to the show our group was planning, or find another alternative for dinner which is what we did for the other seven nights. It also meant the food was often cold, and we had to send dishes back on multiple occasions to be warmed up. I want to emphasize that this is not a “waiter” problem, but a staffing problem. I think NCL was trying to cut corners to save money. We ended up eating at the buffet much more often than we would have liked.

3. O’Sheehan’s Sports bar is the only 24/7 dining option on the ship. The menu is limited, but the food and service were good meaning we could get in and out of a meal in an hour. I should emphasize that a more accurate name would be “sport” bar. Even though there were many televisions, we were told there was only one sports station (and it wasn’t ESPN) so every screen had the same channel and it was usually soccer or hockey.

4. We secured the Unlimited Beverage package, and enjoyed the drink selection from many of the bars. It was a little frustrating that not all of the drinks were available at all of the bars. My wife enjoyed the Lavender Patch served in Mixers bar, but when she tried to order the same drink in the Spinnaker bar they said it wasn’t available, and only carried in Mixers. You should also be aware that the beverage package doesn’t include specialty coffees (about $5) or the Fresh fruit/vegetable juice bar in the buffet at Breakfast (also about $4-5).

5. You should also be aware that any drink ordered while the ship is in New York Harbor is subject to New York Sales tax that will be added to your bill. This isn’t NCL’s fault, but they should do a better job letting people know about it.

Rooms:

1. The rooms are small, and the bed was positioned near the wall desk. This allowed 3-4 four inches between the bed and desk, and my wife hit her knee on multiple occasions (causing a visible bruise) while getting up to use the bathroom during the night. We talked with other people in our group and their solution was to dive onto the bed to avoid walking around it. We asked them if there was something they could do, and they moved the bed over increasing the space to 6 inches.

2. The beds were hard, so if you like a firm mattress you will love these. We had previous cruises on other ships with hard mattresses and when asked they provided us with an egg crate which helped tremendously. When we checked with our room steward they brought out a pad approximately ¾ inch deep that helped a little.

3. Our room steward was new (first cruise ever), and he did a GREAT job on the towel animals. The unfortunate thing was whoever was overseeing him neglected to insure he provided us with his name, and how to get in contact during the first few days of our cruise when we would have the most questions. The placard with that information was eventually placed in our room on day three of the cruise.

Entertainment:

We enjoyed really enjoyed all of the shows we went to. I think NCL did a great job securing the entertainment for our cruise. Shows were at 7:30pm and 9:30pm, and you should plan on arriving early as desired seating fills up fast.

Communication:

Poor.

I’m not a big fan of sail away parties, but leaving from New York Harbor would be the exception. Passing by the new Freedom Tower, and Statue of Liberty is an amazing experience. Our cruise was scheduled to depart at 4pm. The deck was packed as many were looking forward to our departure, but 4pm came and went without any announcement from the Bridge. 4:30pm – still at the dock. 5pm, still in port, and many people were now leaving the deck to get ready for dinner. The shipped finally left at 5:30pm for a glorious cruise past those amazing icons, but unfortunately most of the people had left.

Very anticlimactic.

Around 6pm there was an announcement stating the departure was delayed due to having additional supplies being brought on board, and waiting for the departure of a Disney ship that left at 5:10pm before us.

There was another time on this cruise when the boat was dead in the water. A number of people looked out the window and said, “the ships not moving”. There was never an announcement as to why, and we only found out by asking bar staff that “thought” there may have been an ill passenger that was airlifted off of the ship; even though we never heard a helicopter.

Miscellaneous

1. Twice during our 10 day cruise NCL offered a Laundry option where you fill a good sized bag with as many clothes as you can fit in, and they would wash/dry/fold them for $20. GREAT OPTION

2. Hot Tub temperatures were “tepid” at best. We asked one of the staff if they would turn it up, which they said they did. After 20 minutes we noticed no difference. I understand their concern for safety, but this temperature didn’t provide a pleasant experience at all.

3. We have been on three previous NCL cruises, and have our Latitudes numbers from those cruises. But those cruises were more than 13 years ago, so they had us listed as new cruisers (none of the perks for having cruised with them in the past). Almost three weeks before our departure we had our travel agent get in touch with the Latitudes department, and they couldn’t find documentation of our previous cruises even though we had our Latitudes numbers. We then sent approximate dates and photos from each of our previous cruises proving we were on those sailings. The Latitudes department couldn’t straighten this issue out before we left, and now after one month we still have heard nothing. Very disappointing.
BigDogBill’s Full Rating Summary
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Oceanview Picture Window
Cabin OB 5594
1. The rooms are small, and the bed was positioned near the wall desk. This allowed 3-4 four inches between the bed and desk, and my wife hit her knee on multiple occasions (causing a visible bruise) while getting up to use the bathroom during the night. We talked with other people in our group and their solution was to dive onto the bed to avoid walking around it. We asked them if there was something they could do, and they moved the bed over increasing the space to 6 inches.

2. The beds were hard, so if you like a firm mattress you will love these. We had previous cruises on other ships with hard mattresses and when asked they provided us with an egg crate which helped tremendously. When we checked with our room steward they brought out a pad approximately ¾ inch deep that helped a little.

3. Our room steward was new (first cruise ever), and he did a GREAT job on the towel animals. The unfortunate thing was whoever was overseeing him neglected to insure he provided us with his name, and how to get in contact during the first few days of our cruise when we would have the most questions. The placard with that information was eventually placed in our room on day three of the cruise.
Deck 5 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews