Great but skint: Norwegian Jade Cruise Review by Andrew Price

Norwegian Jade 4
Andrew Price

Overall Member Rating

Great but skint

Sail Date: June 2010
Destination: Europe - Western Mediterranean
Embarkation: Barcelona
Just back from our second cruise but the first with NCL. Our first cruise was on Ocean Village which was our best ever holiday and has converted us to cruisers much to the amusement from friends who have never been.

Why have they stopped Ocean Village cruises?

I must firstly state that the Jade was a fantastic ship and we thoroughly enjoyed our week with a few exceptions, the cost of drinks, the hard sell from staff, the cost of onshore trips and the tipping policy.

I must state we are by no means big drinkers but like a few beers during the long hot Mediterranean days, wine with our meal and then out for a few drinks in one of the numerous bars afterwards. With a beer averaging approximately $7.00 and a glass of wine $10.00 and a bottle anywhere from $40.00 upwards or a bottle of water between $6.00-$7.00 you easily rack up a bill of $100+ a day without thinking. This was something I was not prepared for and wish this information was available More beforehand. If you were aware of this from the start you would not spend the first 2 days analysing every thing you buy.

On top of the published prices you then have the 15% gratuity and VAT added on top. Now being British, tipping is not in our nature. When you are already paying $12.00 per person per day for tips a further 15% on all beverages your tips that should get distributed among the staff were in the region of $350-$400. In pounds £300.00 this is a ridiculous amount of money to hand out, I have friends that pay this for a weeks holiday!

You also need to be aware that on your first few days the serving staff must be on a large amount of commission. You cannot walk further than 5 yards without someone trying to explain the benefits of drinks packages, water packages, picture packages and on and on. They want you to purchase there and then, the friendly smiles soon disappear when you don't want to listen.

On Shore excursions. If you are like me and want to get the most out of the places you visit, but prefer the option of using the cruise company for excursions, consider the fact you will need up to $1000 per person if you go on an excursion every day. Again, a staggering amount of money when you consider what is on offer. On our trip into Rome, using the frequent trains, Metro and the local guide at the Colosseum, we paid 70€ for 2 people. NCL were wanting £70.00 each for a bus trip only into Rome. This was a simple procedure and allowed us to visit the amazing Trevii Fountain, the Spanish Steps and still be back on board by 4.30pm. We also went on the Ferry to Capri, had lunch at the harbour, go on boat trip to the Blue Grotto for considerably less than the basic trip NCL have on offer.

Please do no let this put you off going on the Jade, she is a fantastic ship with great staff and wonderful facilities. Just be aware if you want to have a good time and visit some fantastic places this can cost you a serious amount of money. Please do your research before hand for each port (I didn't and we got by) before you go. Have a bit of an adventure and enjoy the savings you make spending it in these wonderful places. if the vast majority of passengers were to adopt this I am sure the prices would soon come down.

On the other hand it would be great if NCL stopped ripping us off which is essentially a captive audience.

Would we use NCL again? Yes. Less

Published 06/23/10

Cabin review: BA9086 Mid-Ship Balcony

Balcony perfect, living space adequate, bathroom on the small side, overall good

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Port and Shore Excursions

You don't get much time here as this is your embarkation port. Barcelona is an amazing city that needs 3-4 days to visit. You have this huge vibrant city has a fantastic Metro system allowing you to travel safely around the city. If you don't fancy that then you have a beautiful beach and fantastic marina's with superb food all on the warm Med sea. If you can tag a few days on to the end of your holiday, you will love it.

Read 1726 Barcelona Reviews

The perfect port. A 2 minute walk has you in the most amazing marina full of private ships that we all can only dream of owning. 5 minutes from there you are walking on the most famous street racing circuit in the world. 10 minutes later you can be in the amazing casino our outside the palace. Loads of place to eat and do some people watching. One of our favourite places to visit.

From Naples you can visit Pompeii. Sorrento, Capri and much more. On this occasion we went to Capri. Stunning! Lovely small harbour with cafes galore, reasonable prices and a small island that is easily viewable in one day. We chose to go on a boat trip to the Blue Grotto which is must do experience. Lunch with wine in the harbour with a spot of people watching, fantastic.

Read 1161 Naples Reviews

We have been to Palma on a number of occasions. A fantastic small city that is about a 45 minute walk from the ship. This is all the way along the marina which has thousands of boats and yachts of all sizes, makes a pleasant walk first thing in the morning. visit the Cathedral and the Palace or meander through the small winding street filled with shops and cafe's. Worth a visit.

The transfer into Rome is 2 hours on the bus or 90 minutes on the train. Use the free transfer at the port walk 5 minutes to the train station where you can purchase a 9 euro return ticket. Remember and validate your ticket in the yellow machine and sign your ticket. A trip on the Metro costs one euro and gets you around the city to visit all the sites. The only problem is you don't have enough time for them all but is great taster as to what Rome has to offer. We are definitely going back.

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Andrew Price
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