1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Norwegian Jade
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. It was a spur of the moment decision due to the Super Bowl Ad offering all the freebies. Mistake, I usually do a ton of research, but not this time, My major take-aways: freebies aren’t worth it unless you drink a lot. Basically, the amount we paid in service charges would have paid for our drinks anyway. Free airfare meant a horrible itinerary, causing an overnight in a hotel that wasn’t free, baggage fees and seat selection costs. Excursion credits we only used twice because NCL excursions are so overpriced that even with the credit they were more expensive than a local guide. The specialty restaurant freebie was probably worthwhile, just to have some variety, though we would have been happy to just do three nights instead of five. And the WiFi package was a joke, since the WiFi didn’t work most of the time. The good: I was afraid 4 days at sea was too many and that we’d be bored, but the games and activities kept us busy. The musical entertainment was very good. I did like the itinerary and the ports of call. The not so good: 1. Seating comfort. Our mini suite cabin had a couch/convertible bed that was so hard it was uncomfortable to sit on. Plus, if you leaned back, it would start to slide forward to create a bed...basically making it impossible to use to watch tv or just relax. The seating in the theatre was horrendous. I stood during one show because I couldn’t take it anymore. The couches in the Spinnaker Lounge also were uncomfortable, canting forward so that you slide off of them. What is wrong NCL? 2. Communication. NCL did absolutely NOTHING in terms of education about the Panama Canal. Wasn’t that the purpose of the trip? The library had no display. There was no lecturer, no channel on tv with the history. Nothing. In fact, no announcement as to when exactly we were going through the canal and suggestions on when to get up or where to view. It was pathetic. Besides the canal, they did a very poor job about all the ports—the only maps we got were incomplete shopping maps. The excursion info was incomplete as well. There is no excuse for people to wonder about the timeline of the excursions, it should be up front. People on the Panama Canal ferry had no idea they would be taking a bus for an hour and a half each way. A bus with no restroom, by the way. There were plenty of people who didn’t know we were tendering at Roatan. NCL had two signs ( with conflicting info regarding timetable) in the entire ship. Why? Why don’t they use the elevator monitors for something useful rather than just listing the floor number? That might be a good place for daily announcements. And why make people run around to the dining rooms to see the menus? Just post them on the app, or on the monitors. Have more monitors around the ship...make them touch screen! It’s 2019 for crying out loud! All NCL seems to care about is selling you something. 3. I guess we drew the short straw with regards to our cabin steward, we never got an introduction to the room. The little sign with his name and extension showed up partway through the cruise. We had no room-service sheet. He always forgot a washcloth, or other towel, etc. we did complain and the towel animals started showing up, but unfortunately he grossed me out because he replaced the paper doily on the glassware, even though the glass was used. He did this 3 times. Made me wonder about the cleanliness and standards. 4. $19 for 4 ounces of robitussin. Lots of people developed coughs, and they take advantage of it. That’s just mean. 5. Food was generally ok. The beef and lamb were particularly good. I thought the Asian food was good. The bread was awful...no good crust, not good texture, the soft serve ice cream was not worth the calories. Our best meal was at La Cucina...excellent pasta, and ask for gelato. I felt much of the food was under salted, leaving it flavorless. The accompanying sauces were little dots on the plate. The mixed drinks were generally very good. The service in the dining room and bars was good. 6. I don’t know how embarkation is supposed to work, but it was hideous. The terminal did not have enough seats. The announcements were difficult to hear ( again, why not use monitors?) and it took way too long. Embarkation at Cartagena was a mess. Disembarkation was rather disorganized as well...lots of people crowding the stairwells with nary a crew member organizing it, Overall, I’m glad we went, as we wanted to go through the Panama Canal, but NCL didn’t convince us to become regular cruisers. ( last time we cruised was 20 years ago with Princess to Alaska. That was wonderful.)

Didn’t convince me to go on more cruises

Norwegian Jade Cruise Review by Carlafrank

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. It was a spur of the moment decision due to the Super Bowl Ad offering all the freebies. Mistake, I usually do a ton of research, but not this time, My major take-aways: freebies aren’t worth it unless you drink a lot. Basically, the amount we paid in service charges would have paid for our drinks anyway. Free airfare meant a horrible itinerary, causing an overnight in a hotel that wasn’t free, baggage fees and seat selection costs. Excursion credits we only used twice because NCL excursions are so overpriced that even with the credit they were more expensive than a local guide. The specialty restaurant freebie was probably worthwhile, just to have some variety, though we would have been happy to just do three nights instead of five. And the WiFi package was a joke, since the WiFi didn’t work most of the time.

The good: I was afraid 4 days at sea was too many and that we’d be bored, but the games and activities kept us busy. The musical entertainment was very good. I did like the itinerary and the ports of call.

The not so good: 1. Seating comfort. Our mini suite cabin had a couch/convertible bed that was so hard it was uncomfortable to sit on. Plus, if you leaned back, it would start to slide forward to create a bed...basically making it impossible to use to watch tv or just relax. The seating in the theatre was horrendous. I stood during one show because I couldn’t take it anymore. The couches in the Spinnaker Lounge also were uncomfortable, canting forward so that you slide off of them. What is wrong NCL?

2. Communication. NCL did absolutely NOTHING in terms of education about the Panama Canal. Wasn’t that the purpose of the trip? The library had no display. There was no lecturer, no channel on tv with the history. Nothing. In fact, no announcement as to when exactly we were going through the canal and suggestions on when to get up or where to view. It was pathetic. Besides the canal, they did a very poor job about all the ports—the only maps we got were incomplete shopping maps. The excursion info was incomplete as well. There is no excuse for people to wonder about the timeline of the excursions, it should be up front. People on the Panama Canal ferry had no idea they would be taking a bus for an hour and a half each way. A bus with no restroom, by the way. There were plenty of people who didn’t know we were tendering at Roatan. NCL had two signs ( with conflicting info regarding timetable) in the entire ship. Why? Why don’t they use the elevator monitors for something useful rather than just listing the floor number? That might be a good place for daily announcements. And why make people run around to the dining rooms to see the menus? Just post them on the app, or on the monitors. Have more monitors around the ship...make them touch screen! It’s 2019 for crying out loud! All NCL seems to care about is selling you something.

3. I guess we drew the short straw with regards to our cabin steward, we never got an introduction to the room. The little sign with his name and extension showed up partway through the cruise. We had no room-service sheet. He always forgot a washcloth, or other towel, etc. we did complain and the towel animals started showing up, but unfortunately he grossed me out because he replaced the paper doily on the glassware, even though the glass was used. He did this 3 times. Made me wonder about the cleanliness and standards.

4. $19 for 4 ounces of robitussin. Lots of people developed coughs, and they take advantage of it. That’s just mean.

5. Food was generally ok. The beef and lamb were particularly good. I thought the Asian food was good. The bread was awful...no good crust, not good texture, the soft serve ice cream was not worth the calories. Our best meal was at La Cucina...excellent pasta, and ask for gelato. I felt much of the food was under salted, leaving it flavorless. The accompanying sauces were little dots on the plate. The mixed drinks were generally very good. The service in the dining room and bars was good.

6. I don’t know how embarkation is supposed to work, but it was hideous. The terminal did not have enough seats. The announcements were difficult to hear ( again, why not use monitors?) and it took way too long. Embarkation at Cartagena was a mess. Disembarkation was rather disorganized as well...lots of people crowding the stairwells with nary a crew member organizing it,

Overall, I’m glad we went, as we wanted to go through the Panama Canal, but NCL didn’t convince us to become regular cruisers. ( last time we cruised was 20 years ago with Princess to Alaska. That was wonderful.)
Carlafrank’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Norwegian Jade price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email

Cabin Review

Aft-Facing Mini-Suite with Balcony
Cabin M1 11156
Small for a mini suite. Had to be careful at night trying to navigate the narrow pathway to the bathroom. Couch miserably uncomfortable. Balcony does not have a chaise, just chairs and a table, good room darkening curtains. Surprisingly quiet for a room with a connecting door. Only a usb outlet at bedside as part of the lighting fixture, no regular outlet.
Deck 11 Inside Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Cartagena (Colombia)
    We did this because they cancelled the catamaran excursion and we basically just wanted to get to Old Town. Dont do this, just take a taxi. The walking tour that was included was 30 minutes and was poor. They didnt even provide a map. The walk to get to the bus stop to return to the pier was very far. We should have just taken a taxi. Old town is beautiful. Its worth it to walk the walls a bit and to visit the dungeons.
    View All 12,636 Cartagena (Colombia) Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Cartagena (Colombia) Cruise Port Review
  • Panama Canal Tour
    This was the one via ferry. I gave it a very good, because of what you do— but NOT how it is organized. It is an hour an a half bus ride to the ferry and the same amount of time back to port. The bus has no bathroom, so go before getting on the bus, although they do stop at a gas station with good facilities. The tour guides were very evasive with regard to the schedule for the day. I dont understand why. We just wanted to know how long, generally, it takes to get through the canal. They could have given a range, like 2-4 hours. But they just wouldnt. There were 5 buses, so about 250 people. The guide talked a bit in the way to the canal, providing some info, but no map or handouts. They insisted wed have something in our stateroom when we got back, but of course we didnt. NCL provided no info on the Panama Canal. When we got to the ferry, we were unsure where to go for best viewing. Let me tell you, snag a covered seat. I suggest the top deck because you wont get fumes from the ship. Covered is good for sun, but also for rain! And it poured on us. There is a guide on the ferry who also provides info. There is a souvenir shop and beer and mixed drinks to purchase, on the top deck.there are bathrooms on the bottom deck. For some stupid reason, they decided to serve lunch right when we were entering the locks. I also dont know why it needed to be a warm lunch...it would have been easier and quicker with sandwiches. The food was ok, but serving over 200 people took a while. You go through three sets of locks, but you have to wait for other ships to join you because they wont go through the process just for a ferry. So, at each lock we had to wait for this big tanker to catch up with us. I really enjoyed seeing the water level change, and touching the wall of the canal. Yes, it got a bit monotonous, and it took a long time; but thats what we came to see, so it was worth it to us.
    View All 95 Panama Canal Tour Reviews
  • Costa Maya
    We took a tour of the Chacchoben Ruins and then had lunch at a Mayan house with Native Choice tours. We had a small group of seven, which was nice. But at the ruins, we teamed up with another Native Choice group for the tour. I felt that our tour guides did not give us as much information as I saw/heard other guides give, I know we only had two hours there, but that should have been sufficient to give us a lot of info. The facilities at the ruins are nice & the restrooms, souvenirs, and walkways to the temples. The highlight of the trip was going into the village, seeing the houses and having a delicious and colorful lunch. The garden was gorgeous, and our guide did a good job explaining all the plants. The Mayan women showed us how to form tortillas, and then cooked them. Then we had a marvelous lunch. It exceeded my expectations, we had chicken, rice and beans, veggies, empanadas and tamales. Plus an amazing hibiscus iced tea and flan. They ladies also had some souvenirs that looked to be homemade. Although the experience might be a bit sanitized for tourism, it was memorable and very enjoyable.
    View All 12,636 Costa Maya Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Costa Maya Cruise Port Review
  • Harvest Caye
    It’s like going to a Disneyland island resort. Clean, expansive and kinda fake. Gorgeous pool. The water was kinda murky, rather a let down after the crystal clear water of Roatan.
    We parasailed, which was very enjoyable, The crew members were reassuring and safety conscious. We were up there for 5-10 minutes, and loved it. We noticed that a lot of people ziplining got stuck partway and had to be “rescued,” so keep that in mind if you are considering that. Our ship was small, so there was no problem getting loungers under umbrellas. The food was good, though it’s kind of a rip off that you have to pay for food and drinks on an NCL island. We didn’t bother shopping. We took the shuttle back and forth because it was a long walk and it was hot.
    View All 1,103 Harvest Caye Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Harvest Caye Cruise Port Review
  • Puerto Limon
    I wanted to do zip lining as well as the canal tour, and NCL did not offer that combination, so we booked locally with Rupert of Relax Day Tour. It was wonderful! Rupert was very knowledgeable about all the plants and animals, and went out of his way to find monkeys, sloths, and all kinds of creatures and flora for us. We learned so much, and he was so personable. On the way to the zip lining, we stopped at a banana plantation, a produce stand and a guys backyard with a sloth, plus numerous stops to spot monkeys. We ziplined ( fun and scary) and then went to the canal, which was not quite what I expected. But with Rupert and the captain, we had a great time. We saw birds, a crocodile, more sloths, a snake, and a Jesus lizard. And it was just the two of us! Talk about personalized!
    View All 12,636 Puerto Limon Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Puerto Limon Cruise Port Review
  • Roatan
    Again, NCL did not offer a combination that we wanted, so we booked a local tour,
    Ronys Tour. It basically was just a driver, I have to say Ron did not provide a lot of details about the island. However we loved Manawakie Eco Nature
    Park. Our guide was William, who was passionate and personable. He gave a history of the island and talked about the plants and their use as healing remedies. Then we entered the monkey cage and had a blast while the monkeys jumped all over us. It was scary at first, but then you got used to it. Then we entered the sloth area, where we held a sloth for a while, and petted her. Hope was so beautiful. It was an experience I will always remember, one of the sloth guides climbed a tree to get a photo of a newborn sloth for us! Then we wanted to go snorkeling off of a beach, and we ended up at Infinity Bay beach resort, which was beautiful, but probably not worth the money because we didnt have enough time to really enjoy the amenities. We had a very delicious lunch and then rented snorkel equipment for $10. I was hoping to have a guide take us out, but there didnt seem to be any. Nevertheless, the water was crystal clear, and the fish were abundant...swimming right up to you, no snorkel equipment needed! If I were to do it again. I would try to book a boat trip to snorkel.
    View All 12,636 Roatan Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Roatan Cruise Port Review