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The only reason I chose this cruise with NCL is because the itinerary included places I absolutely wanted to go - starting in Southampton, it had stops in Norway (Bergen, Alesund), Iceland (Reykjavik, Akureyri) and Scotland (Shetland Islands, Orkney Islands, Inverness and Edinburgh). We were so fortunate to have good weather at almost all of the ports. POSITIVES: The cruise ship was spacious and clean, the staff accommodating and pleasant. We were particularly happy with the dance classes taught by the cruise staff and loved our training in waltz, fox trot, salsa, cha cha and line dancing. We also really enjoyed the trivia games that immediately followed the dance lessons. Our favorite location on the ship was what they call the "Great Outdoors," the back of the Garden Cafe and an outdoor patio that allows you to look back over the wake. We loved having our meals here, making use of its bar, and taking pictures as we moved in and out of the ports. To accommodate the overflow in the Garden Cafe food area, another buffet line (smaller) was set up in the back, as well as a coffee/tea station. We utilized this area frequently and were grateful not to have to go back into the busy larger food area to replenish our plates. We had an interior cabin, which is always our choice as we spend so little time in it. The soundproofing was perfect, the bed very comfortable and the shower perfect for our preferences. Our cabin steward, Richard, was not only extremely efficient, but he made the most intricately detailed towel creatures we have seen on any cruise! We also enjoyed the Bow Cam channel as it gave us a window to the outside. The shore excursions were wonderful, eputable companies and engaging guides. All but one of our excursions were through the ship. We very much enjoyed all of them. Our favorite restaurant on the ship was Le Bistro (which fills quickly). The service was top quality and the food even better. Our waiter, Henrique, deserves "Best Waiter" awards. We wished we had booked more reservations here. Lovely in every way. NEGATIVES: My only negative comment has to do with their use of hand sanitizer. I am a retired health director so please forgive me being picky here - I just understand the seriousness of viral spread on the close quarters of a ship and want to share my concerns: Every time we entered the Garden Cafe, there was a staff member at each door with a spray bottle to provide guests with a "squirt" of hand sanitizer. This didn’t work for two reasons… the first reason is the amount provided was barely enough to cover your hands and not anywhere near the amount you could get by using one of the ball-shaped units stationed at each door - the second reason is that person was not always at the door waiting for you. Sometimes you’d see them talking to guests or another staff member and the area would have many guests just moving into the dining area without cleaning their hands. As important as hand washing is anywhere, and most especially on a cruise ship, the only instruction provided in this safety technique came on the Safety channel, one of the TV choices in the cabin. If you didn’t specifically watch this channel, you would miss important information about hand washing, life jackets and the ship’s alarms. This channel is not required viewing - I just happened upon it when I was flipping stations around - nor was hand washing covered during the life jacket muster where all the information we needed about the alarms and how to don the gear was covered thoroughly. I have been on many cruises and my favorite cruise company tries a different approach and seems to get very good results. During the muster, all guests are required to watch a brief video on how to wash their hands. In addition, this same video is played at strategic times when it can be viewed by many - for example, before the beginning of an entertainment show in the large theater, or in a bar on the video screen. By the end of the cruise, I had seen that video many times. This same company also had staff stationed at the doors to their buffet restaurant but, instead of administering the hand sanitizer themselves, they directed each passenger either to a hand washing sink area, or to the large ball-shaped unit, and required them to clean their hands using one of these methods before entering the food area. Guests learned quickly that this was part of the meal process so people engaged in one of these whether a staff member was there or not. The mistake that NCL makes is not training the guests to take responsibility for their own hand cleaning by doing it for them - and then in an insufficient manner. This results in the guests becoming dependent on employee availability. During the times the employee wasn't available, most guests walked directly into the dining area without cleaning their hands. NCL should revisit their hand sanitization practice - perhaps even doing a survey of sorts to see how frequently people clean their hands in the absence of one of the "squirters." When a virus can spread so quickly in such close surroundings, this should be one of the first concerns of any cruise line. Truly, this was a lovely cruise and I'd sail with NCL again - but I'd avoid the staff with spray bottles and stick with the bal-shapedl units so you know your hands are clean!

The itinerary was 5 stars!!

Norwegian Jade Cruise Review by marygvancott

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
The only reason I chose this cruise with NCL is because the itinerary included places I absolutely wanted to go - starting in Southampton, it had stops in Norway (Bergen, Alesund), Iceland (Reykjavik, Akureyri) and Scotland (Shetland Islands, Orkney Islands, Inverness and Edinburgh). We were so fortunate to have good weather at almost all of the ports.

POSITIVES:

The cruise ship was spacious and clean, the staff accommodating and pleasant. We were particularly happy with the dance classes taught by the cruise staff and loved our training in waltz, fox trot, salsa, cha cha and line dancing. We also really enjoyed the trivia games that immediately followed the dance lessons.

Our favorite location on the ship was what they call the "Great Outdoors," the back of the Garden Cafe and an outdoor patio that allows you to look back over the wake. We loved having our meals here, making use of its bar, and taking pictures as we moved in and out of the ports. To accommodate the overflow in the Garden Cafe food area, another buffet line (smaller) was set up in the back, as well as a coffee/tea station. We utilized this area frequently and were grateful not to have to go back into the busy larger food area to replenish our plates.

We had an interior cabin, which is always our choice as we spend so little time in it. The soundproofing was perfect, the bed very comfortable and the shower perfect for our preferences. Our cabin steward, Richard, was not only extremely efficient, but he made the most intricately detailed towel creatures we have seen on any cruise! We also enjoyed the Bow Cam channel as it gave us a window to the outside.

The shore excursions were wonderful, eputable companies and engaging guides. All but one of our excursions were through the ship. We very much enjoyed all of them.

Our favorite restaurant on the ship was Le Bistro (which fills quickly). The service was top quality and the food even better. Our waiter, Henrique, deserves "Best Waiter" awards. We wished we had booked more reservations here. Lovely in every way.

NEGATIVES:

My only negative comment has to do with their use of hand sanitizer. I am a retired health director so please forgive me being picky here - I just understand the seriousness of viral spread on the close quarters of a ship and want to share my concerns:

Every time we entered the Garden Cafe, there was a staff member at each door with a spray bottle to provide guests with a "squirt" of hand sanitizer. This didn’t work for two reasons… the first reason is the amount provided was barely enough to cover your hands and not anywhere near the amount you could get by using one of the ball-shaped units stationed at each door - the second reason is that person was not always at the door waiting for you. Sometimes you’d see them talking to guests or another staff member and the area would have many guests just moving into the dining area without cleaning their hands.

As important as hand washing is anywhere, and most especially on a cruise ship, the only instruction provided in this safety technique came on the Safety channel, one of the TV choices in the cabin. If you didn’t specifically watch this channel, you would miss important information about hand washing, life jackets and the ship’s alarms. This channel is not required viewing - I just happened upon it when I was flipping stations around - nor was hand washing covered during the life jacket muster where all the information we needed about the alarms and how to don the gear was covered thoroughly.

I have been on many cruises and my favorite cruise company tries a different approach and seems to get very good results. During the muster, all guests are required to watch a brief video on how to wash their hands. In addition, this same video is played at strategic times when it can be viewed by many - for example, before the beginning of an entertainment show in the large theater, or in a bar on the video screen. By the end of the cruise, I had seen that video many times.

This same company also had staff stationed at the doors to their buffet restaurant but, instead of administering the hand sanitizer themselves, they directed each passenger either to a hand washing sink area, or to the large ball-shaped unit, and required them to clean their hands using one of these methods before entering the food area. Guests learned quickly that this was part of the meal process so people engaged in one of these whether a staff member was there or not. The mistake that NCL makes is not training the guests to take responsibility for their own hand cleaning by doing it for them - and then in an insufficient manner. This results in the guests becoming dependent on employee availability. During the times the employee wasn't available, most guests walked directly into the dining area without cleaning their hands.

NCL should revisit their hand sanitization practice - perhaps even doing a survey of sorts to see how frequently people clean their hands in the absence of one of the "squirters." When a virus can spread so quickly in such close surroundings, this should be one of the first concerns of any cruise line.

Truly, this was a lovely cruise and I'd sail with NCL again - but I'd avoid the staff with spray bottles and stick with the bal-shapedl units so you know your hands are clean!
marygvancott’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Inside
Cabin ID 9045
We had a lovely cabin and would stay in it again. Richard, our cabin steward, maintained it twice a day, responded quickly to our requests, and did the best towel animals ever! Conveniently located mid-ship, it was relatively unaffected in rolling seas.
Deck 9 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Akureyri Highlights
    Loved Laifas and the waterfall - but we were not given enough time to get to the waterfall and back, shop in the store, use the toilet. We really had to run to get everything done in time and meet this bus - an extra 15 minutes would have helped tremendously.
    View All 20 Akureyri Highlights Reviews
  • Alesund
    We really enjoyed this trip, supplemented with a ride on the little train that took us to the top of the hill nearby. A lovely community and a very interesting ride. The best part of this excursion was the adequate time provided for the ship building site and the ability to see Norwegian homes and old Viking ships.
    View All 12,811 Alesund Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Fish Market (Fiske Torget)
    I have such mixed feelings about this one. It was a perfect storm of conditions that day - one of the warmest days on record in Bergen, 4 cruise ships in port, and a very slow funicular to take everyone to the top of the hill where the scenery was clear and beautiful that day. As a result, we had to wait in the sun for what seemed like a couple of hours, milling in a crowd that was getting more frustrated and angry by the minute. We were aware that we had only a few hours and here we were spending it in a line. Our poor tour guide did his best but it was like herding cats to get everyone up and then everyone back down. We had to cut short the rest of the tour - my husband and I wound up separating so we could go see at least some of Bergen before returning to the boat. I don't blame the tour company nor NCL - how could they have known the effects of a beautiful warm weather day on one of the best viewpoints around? I do think they should be more aware of the crowd factor when they know 4 ships are going to be descending on the city ...
    View All 13 Fish Market (Fiske Torget) Reviews
  • Edinburgh (South Queensferry)
    We were on our own but needed this tour to get us off the ship by tender. The bus dropped us off near Balmoral Hotel and identified that as the spot we would be picked up hours later. As my husband and I wanted to see as much as possible, we got the cell number of the guide and told her we would call if we decided to find our own way back to the ship. Off we went to Prince Park (wow) and Edinburgh Castle, which was a mob! We strolled the Royal Mile back toward Holyrood Castle, stopping at Pinnies & Poppyseeds to continue our quest for the perfect shortbread (Orkney Islands wins hands down). Toured Holyrood, then took a taxi to the HMS Britannia and toured that. Walked back to the port with time to spare so took advantage of the bar/restaurant (Brewer's Fayre) right at the tender pick-up spot and enjoyed a leisurely Guinness overlooking the water from their patio. Lovely day yet again!
    View All 12,811 Edinburgh (South Queensferry) Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Invergordon (Inverness)
    What a lovely way to see the countryside in beautiful Scotland. We began in Invergordon, the port where we docked, and drove to Loch Ness. We had plenty of time to see the castle and look for Nessie. Back through Inverness (would have been lovely to stop there for awhile but that wasn't included in this tour) to Invergordon. My husband and I walked around Invergordon after returning and so glad we did. We shopped for the perfect souvenirs and also had haggis (yum) at Crazy Joe's? Crazy Horse? a small cafe on the main street (High St, I believe). A lovely day.
    View All 12,811 Invergordon (Inverness) Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Kirkwall
    Our guide from Wildabout Orkney was top notch - Chris is an archaeologist who had wonderful things to share about Skara Brae and the Ring, Standing Stones, etc. Lovely tour - I'd take this one again.
    View All 179 Kirkwall Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Reykjavik
    We wanted to be away from the crowds of cruise people who had signed up for the Golden Circle so booked our own small independent tour in a smaller vehicle.
    View All 107 Reykjavik Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Salisbury Cathedral
    Lovely addition to our tour - we were invited to go into the little town of Salisbury but were so caught up in the cathedral that we opted to stay there longer instead of venturing out.
    View All 8 Salisbury Cathedral Reviews
  • Stonehenge
    We were picked up promptly from the ship, driven safely to these three sites and provided with adequate time to see everything. We were then dropped directly at our hotel and assisted with our luggage. Top quality service.
    View All 26 Stonehenge Reviews