1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Norwegian Jade
This was my first time sailing with Norwegian after three previous cruises on Royal Caribbean. Several friends wanted to go on a cruise, and someone picked this one, so we decided to give it a shot. We traveled with 5 other couples, and our Norwegian group person was very gung ho on up-selling and also lied and changed his story a few times to our friends on certain things. One of our friends called to book and he told them there were no more sail away rates left when they were still clearly listed on the website. I had the foresight to book the sail away rate online and then attach it to the group, I knew that if I called they would try to talk me into a higher rate with “free” options. At any rate, the embarkation process went smoothly despite several emails and text messages telling us to wait no until between noon and three to check in. I thought that was strange. 4 of us got there a little after 11 and there was no line. Some of out group came later and had to wait a bit. Our luggage came about 5pm so it was good that it made it before dinner. We reserved a table for our group of twelve each night in the main dining room. I would recommend reserving ahead of time, I know they have "freestyle" dining, but we saw a lot of people waiting for tables and heard that some people weren't able to get reservations once on the ship. I had a special dietary request for vegan and gluten free. They have a dedicated dietary needs person, Nashiya Ross and she was very knowledgeable and helpful. Except for some reason she thought that vegans don't eat seaweed, which is not true. Other than that, she was great. I was able to pre-order meals in the main dining room. They could work on their vegan menu a bit, but I made do. For example, their black beans contain dairy, which makes no sense at all. One night I thought I was getting a vegetarian burrito with black beans, but when it came, there were no black beans. I was told they have dairy so I couldn't have them. So I had no main protein for that meal. I had the option of ordering sauteed veggies and a baked sweet potato, which I did several nights. Also, once I got the hang of ordering, I was able to add chickpeas and tofu to meals. Overall, I was impressed with their attention to special dietary needs. One night we went to Jasmine, the included Asian restaurant and it was good. I ordered veggie sushi and it was good. Service in the dining rooms was pretty good, no complaints there. They did a good job of accommodating our large group. One of my big complaints were the smoky stairwells and the Bliss lounge was smoky. I believe the smoke came in the doors where all of the smokers hovered outside the doors and then it would come in when the doors opened. Yuck. The layout of the ship was odd. We only ate in the Garden Cafe a couple of times, it had a terrible layout. There were hardly any tables close to the buffet. We always ended up sitting way at the end by the Great Outdoors (which also had a small buffet, but not nearly as much stuff as the main buffet). I did like that they had the option of outdoor seating. If you are a tea drinker, I recommend bringing your own tea bags. They only have Lipton teas, which are not very good in my opinion. If you want better tea, you can pay $2 a cup at the Java Cafe where they have Tea Forte brand teas. The pools were very hard to find a chair near on sea days. Both days we ended up sitting two decks away on the top deck. It was ridiculous. I've seen people say that smaller ships are less crowded, but that certainly didn't seem to be the case on the Jade. Our room steward was fine. He wasn't very talkative, but did a good job attending to our room. He also made some fun towel animals. We had fun going to game shows in the Spinnaker lounge. That was probably my favorite entertainment. The shows in the Stardust Theater were pretty good. My favorite was the family night comedian. He was pretty funny. The adult night wasn't too terrible, but I really prefer more clean comedy. The illusionist and the acrobat people we're pretty good. The shows weren't on the scale of the ones on the bigger ships though. We went to Karaoke in the Bliss lounge a couple of nights and that was fun. Our first port stop was Harvest Caye, Belize. We decided to eat a late brunch and spend the afternoon in Harvest Caye since I read that the food and drinks aren’t included there. I thought about taking a ferry to Placencia, but then we decided to just go to the beach and pool. The beach was interesting, I think I read a lot of it is man made. The sand was more like crushed shells. It wasn’t crowded and we had a nice spot under an umbrella. It was a decent beach. We later went to the pool, which was pretty awesome compared to the tiny cramped pools and decks on the ship. It is a huge pool with two sides and a bridge going across. Very nice. The only drawback was that no food or drinks are included so that was a bummer. I paid $7 for a bottle of water. I should have brought one off of the ship. I would rather go to a private island where everything is included. Our stop in Costa Maya was fun, we just walked around the port, stopped in some shops and watched the local entertainment. They had some various people doing crazy things for tips. We also saw some dolphins on the way out which was neat. Grand Stirrup Caye was probably my favorite stop out of the four. We went later in the morning and didn’t have any issues getting a tender over the the island. I don’t really like having to take a tender and it would be nice to just have a pier, but it wasn’t too much hassle. It was nice that food and drinks were included. We enjoyed the buffet, I was happy to see several salads and some vegan options. I wanted to go to the taco stand, but discovered it was on the other end of where we were sitting. The beach was nice and we found a shady spot. We brought our snorkel gear and had fun snorkeling around. They have a “snorkel garden” with a few things sunk under the water to see. We saw some neat fish etc. Key West was quite the debacle, they started out with doing immigration inspections early in the morning. Some friends of ours who had excursions said they were in line for over an hour before it even moved. We waited and went later and the lines were still crazy long. The set up was terrible, the lines were outside in the sun too. We decided to wait even later to avoid the lines. When we finally got in line, we waited a while still. After getting through that mess, we then had to wait in line to get off of the boat. Since we were docked at a Navy pier, we had to take trolleys into Key West. We had to wait in line and then get a trolley. Half the day was gone by the time we actually made it to Key West. We enjoyed walking around and seeing some of the historic sites. We discovered a great gelato place. Debarkation was smooth. We carried off our own luggage so we could leave any time. We had a leisurely breakfast in the main dining room, then left around 9:30 am. The upside to the immigration inspection in Key West was that we didn’t have to go through customs in Miami. I was surprised at that, but it sure made for an easy debarkation. Overall decent cruise. I don’t know if I would sail Norwegian again, I might for the right deal. I certainly wouldn’t do a small ship again.

Small ship, not much to do, but had fun with friends

Norwegian Jade Cruise Review by ww1319

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: February 2019
  • Destination: Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Family Oceanview Picture Window
This was my first time sailing with Norwegian after three previous cruises on Royal Caribbean. Several friends wanted to go on a cruise, and someone picked this one, so we decided to give it a shot. We traveled with 5 other couples, and our Norwegian group person was very gung ho on up-selling and also lied and changed his story a few times to our friends on certain things. One of our friends called to book and he told them there were no more sail away rates left when they were still clearly listed on the website. I had the foresight to book the sail away rate online and then attach it to the group, I knew that if I called they would try to talk me into a higher rate with “free” options.

At any rate, the embarkation process went smoothly despite several emails and text messages telling us to wait no until between noon and three to check in. I thought that was strange. 4 of us got there a little after 11 and there was no line. Some of out group came later and had to wait a bit. Our luggage came about 5pm so it was good that it made it before dinner.

We reserved a table for our group of twelve each night in the main dining room. I would recommend reserving ahead of time, I know they have "freestyle" dining, but we saw a lot of people waiting for tables and heard that some people weren't able to get reservations once on the ship. I had a special dietary request for vegan and gluten free. They have a dedicated dietary needs person, Nashiya Ross and she was very knowledgeable and helpful. Except for some reason she thought that vegans don't eat seaweed, which is not true. Other than that, she was great. I was able to pre-order meals in the main dining room. They could work on their vegan menu a bit, but I made do. For example, their black beans contain dairy, which makes no sense at all. One night I thought I was getting a vegetarian burrito with black beans, but when it came, there were no black beans. I was told they have dairy so I couldn't have them. So I had no main protein for that meal. I had the option of ordering sauteed veggies and a baked sweet potato, which I did several nights. Also, once I got the hang of ordering, I was able to add chickpeas and tofu to meals. Overall, I was impressed with their attention to special dietary needs. One night we went to Jasmine, the included Asian restaurant and it was good. I ordered veggie sushi and it was good.

Service in the dining rooms was pretty good, no complaints there. They did a good job of accommodating our large group.

One of my big complaints were the smoky stairwells and the Bliss lounge was smoky. I believe the smoke came in the doors where all of the smokers hovered outside the doors and then it would come in when the doors opened. Yuck.

The layout of the ship was odd. We only ate in the Garden Cafe a couple of times, it had a terrible layout. There were hardly any tables close to the buffet. We always ended up sitting way at the end by the Great Outdoors (which also had a small buffet, but not nearly as much stuff as the main buffet). I did like that they had the option of outdoor seating.

If you are a tea drinker, I recommend bringing your own tea bags. They only have Lipton teas, which are not very good in my opinion. If you want better tea, you can pay $2 a cup at the Java Cafe where they have Tea Forte brand teas.

The pools were very hard to find a chair near on sea days. Both days we ended up sitting two decks away on the top deck. It was ridiculous. I've seen people say that smaller ships are less crowded, but that certainly didn't seem to be the case on the Jade.

Our room steward was fine. He wasn't very talkative, but did a good job attending to our room. He also made some fun towel animals.

We had fun going to game shows in the Spinnaker lounge. That was probably my favorite entertainment. The shows in the Stardust Theater were pretty good. My favorite was the family night comedian. He was pretty funny. The adult night wasn't too terrible, but I really prefer more clean comedy. The illusionist and the acrobat people we're pretty good. The shows weren't on the scale of the ones on the bigger ships though. We went to Karaoke in the Bliss lounge a couple of nights and that was fun.

Our first port stop was Harvest Caye, Belize. We decided to eat a late brunch and spend the afternoon in Harvest Caye since I read that the food and drinks aren’t included there. I thought about taking a ferry to Placencia, but then we decided to just go to the beach and pool. The beach was interesting, I think I read a lot of it is man made. The sand was more like crushed shells. It wasn’t crowded and we had a nice spot under an umbrella. It was a decent beach. We later went to the pool, which was pretty awesome compared to the tiny cramped pools and decks on the ship. It is a huge pool with two sides and a bridge going across. Very nice. The only drawback was that no food or drinks are included so that was a bummer. I paid $7 for a bottle of water. I should have brought one off of the ship. I would rather go to a private island where everything is included.

Our stop in Costa Maya was fun, we just walked around the port, stopped in some shops and watched the local entertainment. They had some various people doing crazy things for tips. We also saw some dolphins on the way out which was neat.

Grand Stirrup Caye was probably my favorite stop out of the four. We went later in the morning and didn’t have any issues getting a tender over the the island. I don’t really like having to take a tender and it would be nice to just have a pier, but it wasn’t too much hassle. It was nice that food and drinks were included. We enjoyed the buffet, I was happy to see several salads and some vegan options. I wanted to go to the taco stand, but discovered it was on the other end of where we were sitting. The beach was nice and we found a shady spot. We brought our snorkel gear and had fun snorkeling around. They have a “snorkel garden” with a few things sunk under the water to see. We saw some neat fish etc.

Key West was quite the debacle, they started out with doing immigration inspections early in the morning. Some friends of ours who had excursions said they were in line for over an hour before it even moved. We waited and went later and the lines were still crazy long. The set up was terrible, the lines were outside in the sun too. We decided to wait even later to avoid the lines. When we finally got in line, we waited a while still. After getting through that mess, we then had to wait in line to get off of the boat. Since we were docked at a Navy pier, we had to take trolleys into Key West. We had to wait in line and then get a trolley. Half the day was gone by the time we actually made it to Key West. We enjoyed walking around and seeing some of the historic sites. We discovered a great gelato place.

Debarkation was smooth. We carried off our own luggage so we could leave any time. We had a leisurely breakfast in the main dining room, then left around 9:30 am. The upside to the immigration inspection in Key West was that we didn’t have to go through customs in Miami. I was surprised at that, but it sure made for an easy debarkation.

Overall decent cruise. I don’t know if I would sail Norwegian again, I might for the right deal. I certainly wouldn’t do a small ship again.
ww1319’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Service
Onboard Experience
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Norwegian Jade price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email

Cabin Review

Family Oceanview Picture Window
Cabin O1 5568
We were pretty happy with our cabin, we were able to bid on an upgrade to the oceanview for a good price. There were only two of us, so even though it was small, it was fine for us. I can't imagine having more than two people in a cabin of this size though. The bathroom was decent (for a cabin) with a separate toilet and shower area that had a door.
Deck 5 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Costa Maya
    Our stop in Costa Maya was fun, we just walked around the port, stopped in some shops and watched the local entertainment. They had some various people doing crazy things for tips. We also saw some dolphins on the way out which was neat.
    View All 2,497 Costa Maya Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Costa Maya Cruise Port Review
  • Great Stirrup Cay
    Grand Stirrup Caye was probably my favorite stop out of the four. We went later in the morning and didn’t have any issues getting a tender over the the island. I don’t really like having to take a tender and it would be nice to just have a pier, but it wasn’t too much hassle. It was nice that food and drinks were included. We enjoyed the buffet, I was happy to see several salads and vegan options. I wanted to go to the taco stand, but discovered it was on the other end of where we were sitting. The beach was nice and we found a shady spot. We brought our snorkel gear and had fun snorkeling around. They have a “snorkel garden” with a few things sunk under the water to see. We saw some neat fish etc.
    View All 1,129 Great Stirrup Cay Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Great Stirrup Cay Cruise Port Review
  • Harvest Caye
    We decided to eat a late brunch and spend the afternoon in Harvest Caye since I read that the food and drinks aren’t included there. I thought about taking a ferry to Placencia, but then we decided to just go to the beach and pool. The beach was interesting, I think I read a lot of it is man made. The sand was more like crushed shells. It wasn’t crowded and we had a nice spot under an umbrella. It was a decent beach. We later went to the pool, which was pretty awesome compared to the tiny cramped pools and decks on the ship. It is a huge pool with two sides and a bridge going across. Very nice. The only drawback was that no food or drinks are included so that was a bummer. I paid $7 for a bottle of water. I should have brought one off of the ship. I would rather go to a private island where everything is included.
    View All 1,104 Harvest Caye Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Harvest Caye Cruise Port Review
  • Key West
    Key West was quite the debacle, they started out with doing immigration inspections early in the morning. Some friends of ours who had excursions said they were in line for over an hour before it even moved. We waited and went later and the lines were still crazy long. The set up was terrible, the lines were outside in the sun too. We decided to wait even later to avoid the lines. When we finally got in line, we waited a while still. After getting through that mess, we then had to wait in line to get off of the boat. Since we were docked at a Navy pier, we had to take trolleys into Key West. We had to wait in line and then get a trolley. Half the day was gone by the time we actually made it to Key West. We enjoyed walking around and seeing some of the historic sites. We discovered a great gelato place.
    View All 1,771 Key West Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Key West Cruise Port Review