Following our experience on a Norwegian Jade cruise to South Africa and Namibia in January 2023, we can’t recommend NCL. Food was mediocre, apart from the speciality restaurants. There were few enrichment or other on-board activities and there seemed an expectation that sunning ourselves, listening to the over-amplified entertainers, taking dips in the rather small swimming pools or availing ourselves of the plentiful free booze (no dark or British beer though, on a ship with many British guests!) would be enough to keep us happy on the sea days, of which there were rather a lot, particularly after the never-satisfactorily (or even clearly) explained cancellation of the much-anticipated Durban stop (no refund offered for this). Whilst most, though by no means all, of the staff were pleasant – with special compliments for our steward and for staff in the coffee bar and photo studios - the medical staff were disappointing and it’s our experience of them that forms the crux of our deeper dissatisfaction.
Half-way through the cruise, one of us became seriously unwell with what the medical staff diagnosed as gastro-enteritis, though we suspect it was basically food poisoning following a particularly disappointing meal at the ship’s oriental restaurant. The medical staff were inconsistent, firstly in their attitude, which varied from charming to unsympathetic, the latter probably due to the fact that there seemed to be quite a lot of people sick with ‘gastro-enteritis’ on board, in fact a lot more than the ship were admitting. This impression was strengthened by further inconsistency, with the ship moving to ‘red alert’ and medical staff abruptly telling us (five minutes after discharging us from lockdown - yes, true!) that we both now had to remain ‘locked down’ in our cabin for 48 rather than the original 24 hours after the last symptom of illness.
Though I at no point had any symptoms whatsoever (again possibly strengthening the impression that this was food poisoning), I was locked down along with my partner until a sudden, unexplained reversal of policy allowed me ashore for the final hour or so at Luderitz. When we were finally both allowed out of our cabin, having been unable to go ashore or move around the ship for a third of the cruise, we noted how much more conscientiously the ship was implementing hygiene protocols regarding cleaning and food than in the early part of the cruise. The medical staff wouldn’t tell us how many guests were sick and/or locked down. The cancellation (again never satisfactorily explained) of the climactic gala entertainment show strongly suggests that some of the entertainers on board had also become sick.
Good size and plenty of storage space. Pleasant balcony, for which we were very grateful when locked down in quarantine (see main review). Brilliant steward, whose care and concern for us was well beyond the call of duty.
wonderful (though expensive) trip with a local guide who showed us the best and worst of the city and talked with honesty and insight about the issues facing his city and country. Inspirational.
We didn't fancy any of NCL's over-priced excursions here. The only alternative way to get on shore was a (free) shuttle to the local shopping mall. Fascinating in its way, but hardly, we felt, a representative view of the city or area.