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I have sailed over 25 cruises and this was my third with NCL. I was reluctant to go on NCL since my first two cruises were very disappointing. I chose this cruise because of its very nice itinerary. First the good, the ship was better than anticipated. The Jade is 13 years old and my experience with refurbished ships are they are like a pair of jeans that is washed. They are clean but clearly used. However, this ship looked fresh. The ship was confusing in that they had cabins both odd and even numbers on both the port and stern sides and there was minimal marking for where you were situated Aft versus Mid Ship etc. Dining- Mixed review here. The food in the cafe I would give a B+. The variety was good and the food was for the most part very good. The main dining room I would give a C-. The food was for the most part tasty but the menu selections were sub-standard. 17 day cruise and there was not a single shrimp in any dish, no escargot, no escargot, no lobster. The beef entry on one evening was a "Texas Hamburger" For desert, no Cherry Jubilee, Baked Alaska, or even cheese cake. It obvious that NCL's strategy is not to make its specialty dining exquisite, it is to make its regular dining room ordinary. The service in the main dining room was for the most part very slow with the average dinner taking 1 3/4 hours and twice over two. Service on the remainder of the ship was comparable with other cruises. The onboard entertainment gets a C+ with 4 groups. One excellent, one above average and two substandard. The evening shows get a C. The ships orchestra and singers and dancers were comparable to other ships but used sparingly. Each guest entertainer had shows on two nights. One illusionist who you could easily figure out his magic a German entertainer playing the xylophone, and the Pan flute and a juggler who could not keep his juggling rings in the air. Hardly comparable with other cruises. In summary, though this was my best experience with NCL they will continue to be a last choice for me. It is clear that of the major lines, Celebrity is still the top rung, Royal Caribbean, Princess, and the Carnival lines a second tier and NCL the Walmart of the major lines. Satisfactory but not exemplary.

NCL Better But Still A Three Star Cruise Line

Norwegian Jade Cruise Review by Longwood50

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2019
  • Destination: Asia
  • Cabin Type: Obstructed Oceanview
I have sailed over 25 cruises and this was my third with NCL. I was reluctant to go on NCL since my first two cruises were very disappointing. I chose this cruise because of its very nice itinerary. First the good, the ship was better than anticipated. The Jade is 13 years old and my experience with refurbished ships are they are like a pair of jeans that is washed. They are clean but clearly used. However, this ship looked fresh. The ship was confusing in that they had cabins both odd and even numbers on both the port and stern sides and there was minimal marking for where you were situated Aft versus Mid Ship etc. Dining- Mixed review here. The food in the cafe I would give a B+. The variety was good and the food was for the most part very good. The main dining room I would give a C-. The food was for the most part tasty but the menu selections were sub-standard. 17 day cruise and there was not a single shrimp in any dish, no escargot, no escargot, no lobster. The beef entry on one evening was a "Texas Hamburger" For desert, no Cherry Jubilee, Baked Alaska, or even cheese cake. It obvious that NCL's strategy is not to make its specialty dining exquisite, it is to make its regular dining room ordinary. The service in the main dining room was for the most part very slow with the average dinner taking 1 3/4 hours and twice over two. Service on the remainder of the ship was comparable with other cruises. The onboard entertainment gets a C+ with 4 groups. One excellent, one above average and two substandard. The evening shows get a C. The ships orchestra and singers and dancers were comparable to other ships but used sparingly. Each guest entertainer had shows on two nights. One illusionist who you could easily figure out his magic a German entertainer playing the xylophone, and the Pan flute and a juggler who could not keep his juggling rings in the air. Hardly comparable with other cruises. In summary, though this was my best experience with NCL they will continue to be a last choice for me. It is clear that of the major lines, Celebrity is still the top rung, Royal Caribbean, Princess, and the Carnival lines a second tier and NCL the Walmart of the major lines. Satisfactory but not exemplary.
Longwood50’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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Cabin Review

Obstructed Oceanview
Cabin OK
The cabin was fine. A touch smaller that similar cabins on other ships. Probably the only thing that was annoying was that there were lights that remained lit throughout the night on the outside deck which did shed some light inside the cabin.
Deck 8 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • City Tour
    Tour included the city plus the Grand Mosque. The only major item missing was the presidential palace which should have been included on the tour. Major site
    View All 14 City Tour Reviews
  • Grand Mosque
    The tour included the city plus the Grand Mosque. Certainly worth seeing.
    View All 13 Grand Mosque Reviews
  • Colombo
    The ship advertised this as Panoramic Colombo. In truth it was just a city tour showing you landmarks, buildings, hotels etc. I could have missed this one and not felt shorted.
    View All 37 Colombo Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Colombo Cruise Port Review
  • Batu Caves
    The tour was fine but got off to a rough start. The tour operator did not show up. Several calls and text messages went unanswered We encountered another couple who similarly were waiting for a pick up 1 hour before us and again they messaged and no answer. Finally a guide showed up but he had to idea who he was looking for. We decided to join together and went as a group instead of a private tour. The tour was fine and the Batu Caves were definitely something to see. The National Museum and Petronis towers wer just ok.
    View All 18 Batu Caves Reviews
  • Kuala Lumpur Tower
    The tour was fine but got off to a rough start. The tour operator did not show up. Several calls and text messages went unanswered We encountered another couple who similarly were waiting for a pick up 1 hour before us and again they messaged and no answer. Finally a guide showed up but he had to idea who he was looking for. We decided to join together and went as a group instead of a private tour. The tour was fine and the Batu Caves were definitely something to see. The National Museum and Petronis towers wer just ok.
    View All 5 Kuala Lumpur Tower Reviews
  • National Museum
    The tour was fine but got off to a rough start. The tour operator did not show up. Several calls and text messages went unanswered We encountered another couple who similarly were waiting for a pick up 1 hour before us and again they messaged and no answer. Finally a guide showed up but he had to idea who he was looking for. We decided to join together and went as a group instead of a private tour. The tour was fine and the Batu Caves were definitely something to see. The National Museum and Petronis towers wer just ok.
    View All 2 National Museum Reviews
  • Petronas Twin Towers
    The tour was fine but got off to a rough start. The tour operator did not show up. Several calls and text messages went unanswered We encountered another couple who similarly were waiting for a pick up 1 hour before us and again they messaged and no answer. Finally a guide showed up but he had to idea who he was looking for. We decided to join together and went as a group instead of a private tour. The tour was fine and the Batu Caves were definitely something to see. The National Museum and Petronis towers wer just ok.
    View All 20 Petronas Twin Towers Reviews
  • Khasab
    Independent tour on boat to the Fjords. Definitely worth the experience. The Fjords are very spectacular and the water filled with dolphins who play along the ship. You can even swim off the ship if you so desire.
    View All 24 Khasab Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Khasab Cruise Port Review
  • Mormugao (Goa)
    First you have to get a visa to get into India and the process is lengthy and can be expensive. The major "sites" are a visit to a temple and a spice factory. If I had it to do over, I would have not got the visa and stayed on the ship. Two hour ride to the major metro area and Goa was just an impoverished port with little to see.
    View All 15 Mormugao (Goa) Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Mormugao (Goa) Cruise Port Review
  • Taste of Penang
    City Tour w/ Penang Hill & Kek Lok Si Temple and funicular. Very nice tour
    View All 8 Taste of Penang Reviews
  • Temple of Ten Thousand Buddhas
    City Tour w/ Penang Hill & Kek Lok Si Temple and funicular. Very nice tour
    View All 9 Temple of Ten Thousand Buddhas Reviews
  • Phuket
    Did two tours in Phuket. The first day taking a long boat to James Bond island. The travel to the boats was lengthy about 1 3/4 hours but the trip was worth it. You get to kayak through the narrow crevices in the island. Stopped at Koh Paynee a floating muslim village for lunch. Both interesting and excellent.
    View All 121 Phuket Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Phuket Cruise Port Review