This was our second time on any NCL ship. The first was in Hawaii, and let's face it, it could have been a dump and you would still be happy to be there! After many more experiences on other cruise lines, mainly DCL, we decided to try NCL again for their Canadian cruise. We chose a balcony cabin which was nice. It's hard not to sail without one now. All of the specialty restaurants were excellent, with the exception of Moderno, which was the Brazillian steakhouse. We really felt like that was "phoned in." The meat was dry and chewy and they did not have lobster bisque on the salad bar, which is pretty typical of a Brazillian steakhouse. It was seafood chowder instead. Not the same, IMO. We were very nervous about the kid's area. We have an 8 year old little girl and she loves the Oceaneers Club on the Disney Ships. I knew we were setting ourselves up for disappointment after experiencing the DCL kid's club so keep that in mind when I tell you about the NCL Splash Academy. When you first walk in, there seems to be nothing there but the floor. There's nothing to play with, climb on, or interact with besides a Wii, which can be found in the back room. The saving grace of the Splash Academy was the staff. They all have silly names like Rockstar and Kite. I guess it's fun and easy for the kids to remember. They all treated my daughter like they were super excited to see her each and every time. There were only 17 kids on the boat, so I think it was pretty easy to bond with them. I liked that, after the initial tour I asked for, they did not allow any other adults in the room besides those who worked there. The staff did a great job with facepainting several times throughout the cruise and interacting with the kids, teaching them circus tricks for the big act at the end of the cruise. Unfortunately, we got very sick at the end of the trip. I don't think the fact that they had her crawling on the floor on her belly in a Mission Impossible style game helped the situation. I have her a full shower after she got back to the room and she still caught what seemed like a small flu. (temp, congestion, worn out, etc). No vomiting or loose stool, thankfully.
The buffet has a variety of food, but most of it seemed fried. So I stuck to the fruit and soups, mostly. The boat itself is newly refurbished and beautiful. The entertainment was great and the staff was always friendly, no matter which part of the boat your were at. Although, there was one very tall man from Malaysia who seemed to take a creepy interest in my daughter. I got that Mama Bear instinct to keep her from interacting with him. He kept trying to give her candy and asked her name everytime he saw her (despite him clearly recognizing her each time). All in all, I would take this boat again, if I loved the itinerary, but I wouldn't take it again just to be on the boat, like I do DCL. We have a reservation scheduled for the new DCL Bliss next November. It seems to be a lot more child friendly than the Jade. Hopefully I'm right!
The cabin was average. I was not happy that the child safety lock did not work on the balcony door. Also, the light flickered on the right side of the bed so much that we eventually just turned it off when it happened. The bathroom is nice. The shower had lots of room. I wish the toilet space had more room to stand up in.