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Norwegian Jade Review

4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating
1970 reviews
4 Awards

Great Itinerary!

Review for Norwegian Jade to the British Isles & Western Europe
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lamchops
10+ Cruises • Age 60s

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Additional details

Sail Date: Sep 2018
Cabin: Inside

We choose our cruises based on itinerary and price. We have focused on seeing Europe the past few years and have always wanted to do a British Isles cruise but the cost was substantially more than the Mediterranean cruises. The opportunity to grab a “sail-away inside’ cabin at a bargain rate was all that was needed to convince us. As a DIY cruiser the idea of cruising an English-speaking area also appealed to us. The fact that this was our first cruise as “platinum” latitudes members also weighed into our decision. The opportunity to have flights to Glasgow and a return from London without additional costs also factored into our decision.

I will complete this review using the CC recommended categories as well as providing information on the ports of call.

Dining : We traditionally eat all our breakfasts and lunches at the buffet. We eat all our dinners in the MDRs with maybe 1 in the buffet and the occasional Cagney’s as a treat. I feel “dining” was the only area that did not meet our expectations and our expectations are not that high. The fact that we only ate in the MDRs 3 times on a 12-night cruise speak volumes to the selections available. We had no memorable meals in the MDR and had issues with 3 dishes on 3 different occasions. Upon speaking with the food and beverage officer, it was communicated to us that the Jade is currently serving a menu that would be rolled out fleetwide in the upcoming months. That’s not good news for MDR diners as we feel the divide between Specialty and MDR has never been greater. The buffet was the usual fare with a memorable meal the first night of prime rib. I asked for a ¾” cut and it was excellent and tender. The best dishes in the buffet tended to be dishes that were stewed or braised. The fact that the “carvery” offered 3 nights of roasted chicken and 3 nights of a lesser cut of roast beef was not appealing to us. Being “platinum” allowed us to eat at Le Bistro and Moderno. We couldn’t book a decent time at Cagney’s so chose Moderno and it was way better than we remembered on the POA. The filet mignon and the lambchops were outstanding though they didn’t come through the dining room as often as the chicken. I didn’t see any prawns or seafood offered. We ate at O’Sheehan twice and probably should have eaten there more. I loved their Thai chili wings. The new MDR menus will not deter me from cruising NCL but I will factor a Specialty meal plan into my costs.

Cabin Review

Inside

Cabin IC

Typical NCL inside cabin!

Port Reviews

St. Peter Port (Guernsey)

Guernsey, Channel Islands: I planned a walk using “google maps” to the German signal HQ, Victor Hugo’s house, high street, and Castle Cornet. We docked outside St. Peter’s and tendered into Albert’s pier. Locals were surprised that we made it in due to winds in the morning. We started the morning late and landed on shore around 11:00 am. We were advised by shore volunteers that Victor Hugo house was closed so we had plenty of time to wander. We took the 25-minute hike to the German signal HQ ($4gbp) only to find that it didn’t open till noon. We had passed the Victoria Tower on our way and double back to spend some time admiring the monument to Queen Victoria and the WW2 cannons in the area. The German HQ was quite interesting because of Guernsey’s location and the breaking of their codes (Imitation Games). DW had also read “The Guernsey Literary & Potato Pie Society” book which shed some light on what it was like in Guernsey. We then walked to Castle Cornet ($11.5gbp) via “high street” browsing and spent the rest of the time there before heading back to the tender pier.

Southampton

Southampton, UK: We disembarked at 10:00 and walked into town to drop our luggage off at Ocean’s Gift shop. They charged $5gbp to store each suitcase for the day. DW and I did some shopping before our 1:30 Southampton $6gbp walking tour which lasted 90 minutes. After a quick meal, we had a 5:00 bus to catch to Gatwick.

Cobh (Cork)

Cobh, Ireland: our original plan was to take the train to Cork and then transfer on a train to Blarney Castle. It was raining hard on and off so we decided to explore Cobh and maybe go to Cork afterwards time permitting. The ship docks in front of the train station and the heritage center. We decided to do the Titanic experience ($9.5eur) thinking it was a museum but was pleasantly surprised. We received a boarding pass of an actual passenger and visited the pier in which they were tendered to the Titanic. We then heard stories and accounts of some of its passengers from the guide as well as interactive displays. At the end of the tour, we learned the fate of the person listed on our boarding pass. As the rains came down, we took an opportunity to use the free WIFI at a local fast food joint and wait it out. After the rain subsided, we stopped off at the Lusitania Memorial and headed for St. Coleman’s Cathedral up the hill. From the cathedral we took a hike to the Titanic Memorial Garden and had a good sightline of where the Titanic would have been anchored. We didn’t end up going to Cork and spent late afternoon back onboard.

Dublin

Dublin, Ireland: As the ship docks a way from town, we decided to take the NCL ($15usd) shuttle instead of trying to find our way by public transit. I had “googled map” a walk to the Molly Malone statue, the Spire, St. Margaret’s cathedral, Trinity College/Book of Kells, Temple Bar area, and Dublin Castle ($8eur). The Dublin Castle tour was excellent as we went underground to see the original walls as well as visiting the chapel/church. The chapel is no longer in use but the condition, styling was different and spectacular. We didn’t have time to see the Book of Kells as the lines were long and we didn’t pre-book. It was cultural night so the museums were open and free in the evening. We ended our visit at the National Gallery. Needless to say, we will return to Dublin as there’s so much more to see and the vibe of the city is exciting.

Kirkwall

Kirkwall, Scotland: I was so looking forward to this port as there was a possible opportunity to see the northern lights entering or leaving Kirkwall. I had tracked the possibility on the Shetland Aurora site and stayed up till 11:30 in hopes of a glimpse but gave up because of all the cloud cover. It was mentioned by the captain that shortly after Kirkwall some passengers had mentioned a sighting. We docked at Hatson Pier in Kirkwall and a free port shuttle bus dropped us off at the town information and bus center. From there you could walk into town or catch the bus. There were 2 buses that provided a 3.5-hour tour of the area that people called a HOHO but it is not a true HOHO. It allowed you to stop at a site for a limited time and if you missed the cut-off, you were on your own getting back as it does only 1 loop. With limited availability, we didn’t plan for the bus trip. We had pre-booked a $10gbp tasting and tour at the Highland Park Distillery for noon. As we arrived into town early, we visited St Magnus Cathedral before catching the bus for $.75gbp to the distillery. We were lucky to have pre-booked the tour on-line for $10gbp as many from the ship were turned away. It seems NCL has many of the bookings combined with an island tour. The small group of 15 tour was informative and outstanding value. We received a tasting of their 10 yr. old and 12 yr. old scotch along with a commemorative glass each. The tour also gave you a $2gbp savings on any bottle purchased. I chose to purchase a 10 yr. old 700ml bottle commemorating Inspector John Rebus for $29gbp that available only at the distillery. I don’t drink scotch but SIL does. Surprisingly, I brought it back onboard without it having being taken away. We had planned to walk back to town but didn’t see anything on the way up so we took the bus back. Back in town, we visited the Bishop and Earl’s Palaces for $4gbp.

Invergordon (Inverness)

Invergordon, UK: We had planned to go into Inverness but there wasn’t anything that DW wanted to see so we stayed in Invergordon. It was bitterly cold and windy but we managed to buy a couple of pairs of leather thinsulate gloves at the dollar store for $7gbp each. The winds were 20+ kms a hour so we headed back to the ship after visiting the cathedral and seeing the town murals. This is a stop that I would consider a tour or head into Inverness.

Edinburgh (South Queensferry)

Newhaven, Scotland: Edinburgh was cancelled due to wind and rough seas. A big disappointment for many as there was no way of doing a 30 minute tender and not have ½ the tender get sick. I was so happy to have visited 3 days pre-cruise but had planned to visit the Royal Yacht Britannia close to port.

Edinburgh, Scotland: A wonderful 3 days spent in the city and plan to be back. Our first afternoon was spent visiting the monuments at Calton Hill, Waverly Station, and the hotel area. Day 2 was spent at Holyrood Palace for a tour in the morning and a “gilding” craft class in the afternoon. DW found the workshop on their website and insisted that we experience it. It was a highlight of her trip. Day 3 was spent with a Royal Mile walk and visit to Edinburgh Castle. It is highly recommended that you pre-book entrance to both the Palace and Castle or you may risk a long wait and possibly a missed opportunity if it’s a port day visit.

Newcastle (England)

Tyne, UK: Many took tours to Newcastle but we decided to stay in Tyne. We decided to take the free port shuttle into town and look around. We headed towards the Tynmouth priory and Castle for a look see. Just when you think you’ve had your fill of castles and cathedrals we stumble upon the remains of a castle, priory, and cemetery at such a spectacular setting. Paid $6gbp and spent a few hours on the site. The views were spectacular. We wandered through town and headed back to the shuttle pickup spot. On the way back to the ship, we got dropped off at an outlet mall 10 minutes from the ship. DW did some shopping while I got caught up with the free WIFI available.

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