My husband and I - who are seasoned cruisers -sailed on the NCL Jade departing October 21, 2009 from Athens, Greece for 12 nights with stops in 5 Greek Islands, Alexandira/Cairo, (Egypt), Izmir and disembarking in Istanbul, Turkey. I have taken my time in submitting a review as I wanted to be sure that I submit a clear and accurate one because we had chosen this ship for its itinerary only and not for the ship itself as we were very aware of the cruise line category. This ship is not for passengers expecting higher-end service at all.
Embarkation in Athens (Pireaus) was surprisingly fast and easy - I could easily say it was a breeze! Our passports were "confiscated" upon check in order for the ship to obtain visas to Egpyt and Turkey. These were given back to us prior to disembarking in each of these ports. The ship does charge a $15.00pp surcharge in addition to the $20USD pp Visa fee for Turkey. The convenience is worth it.
Because we only booked this ship for the ports, we decided on an inside cabin #10051 which was small as most inside cabins without a sofa. The bathroom was very roomy and the shower was quite large and comfortable with clear doors. This is where the good part ends. Although everyone is aware that liquor bottles are not to be brought onboard cruise ships, we always carry one on with us for our room on other higher-end cruiselines with no problem. Our usual "bar tab" - including bottled wine - on cruise ships reaches $900 so one bottle does not affect the ship's revenues and apparently other cruiselines recognize that. Our bottle was confiscated. Luggage is scrutinized and x rayed - not for weapons or other threatening objects - but strictly for liquor. The Jade has a designated room and permanent sign that directs passengers where to go if your luggage has been "halted" for liquor inspection. The sign reads that NCL has a Zero Tolerance for alcohol. Amazing! We were treated like criminals but that was ok. We did not spend one dime on liquor on this ship on purpose. We purchased drinks at each port daily and would bring in some in water bottles in my purse from each port.