2 Norwegian Jade Cruise Reviews for Cruises for the Disabled Cruises to Europe - British Isles & Western

Travelling: Two disabled seniors and their adult daughter; from Montreal, Canada. All experienced cruisers, primarily loyal to the Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Azamara group. Itinerary: Norwegian Cruise Lines' Jade 14 night ... Read More
Travelling: Two disabled seniors and their adult daughter; from Montreal, Canada. All experienced cruisers, primarily loyal to the Royal Caribbean, Celebrity and Azamara group. Itinerary: Norwegian Cruise Lines' Jade 14 night Northern Europe. Southampton, U.K. At Sea Bergen, Norway Ålesund, Norway Lerwick, Shetland Islands (Scotland), U.K. At Sea Reykjavik, Iceland Reykjavik, Iceland Akureyri, Iceland At Sea Kirkwall, Orkney Islands (Scotland), U.K. Invergordon, (Scotland), U.K. Edinburgh, (Scotland), U.K. At Sea Southampton, U.K. Embarkation / Disembarkation: City Cruise Terminal, Southampton The greeters were extremely professional, welcoming and helpful. They provided assistance for my disabled mother and assigned us a "special-assistance" minder to guide us through the check-in process. Porters were readily available for our luggage and were really pleasant. I have to say that I was very impressed with the friendliness and enthusiasm of all of the Terminal and NCL staff who provided service. Problems occurring often give the opportunity to demonstrate excellent customer service and three particular issues were evidence of NCL's quality. There was a slight bug with the computer system during check-in, there were profuse apologies and every effort was made to get the problem resolved quickly. Secondly, there was a mechanical issue with my mother's rented mobility scooter during embarkation and we had to transfer her back to her wheelchair. The land-based staff provided assistance to bring the scooter on board for us. Thirdly, one bag had lost its identification tag and was stored in the pursers office. All I had to do was identify it and it was swiftly delivered to our stateroom. Disembarkation was also very smooth and organised with many porters on hand to help. Signage, Daily Activity Guide, PA announcements communication and Muster Drill Navigation on the Jade was extremely easy. The use of the "forward facing" window fish stickers and on the carpet pattern along with the clear diagrams near the stairwells and elevator areas were really genius. The Freestyle Daily newsletter was clear and well-designed. My suggestion about it would be to provide the advertising inserts separately and in only one kit per stateroom. There was a bit too much paper wasted on the coupons and sales materials as these were distributed per person. During the cruise, I found the frequency of announcements to be reasonable and only emergency information was piped directly into the private areas. The volume of announcements to the adjacent stateroom hallways was muted enough to be heard in the cabin but was in no way disruptive. One type of announcement was not made which I think would be an improvement: At some of the ports of call, there was entertainment by locals. If there had been some mention of this to go on deck and see the little kids doing their folk-dancing and sending us off, I wouldn't have missed it! The announcements could also be heard on the "View from the bridge" television channel which was useful for announcements concerning tendering. There was a secondary informative channel with our current navigational position, time of day, current and forecast weather. I have the suggestion to add this time and temperature information in a crawl on the "View from the bridge" channel. In an inside cabin, we use this channel to know how warmly to dress for the conditions outside. Additionally, we can make sure that our watches are correctly set when we wake up in a new time-zone. The muster drill instructions were clear and we observed several crew-drills while we were berthed in port. This made us feel very safe. Accommodation: Accessible Family Inside cabin 10153. This room provided ample storage space for the belongings of three passengers, a collapsible wheelchair and a mobility scooter. The closet was accessible for a person seated in a wheelchair and the rack could move up or down as needed. As the third person in the cabin, I opted not to actually pull out the convertible queen-sized sofa-bed in order to conserve floor-space. I was very comfortable and simply put sheets and a silk sleeping bag on the couch and used the pillows and blankets provided. The room's flat-screen TV was mounted on an adjustable arm so that it could be angled in such a way that the occupants could see it from bed and the person on the couch could see its reflection in the mirror on the wall. Clever design! The bathroom's size was typical for an accessible cabin and had some of the extra features such as an adjustable mirror and safety handles. The zero-entry shower drains did a terrific job keeping the floor dry which was initially a great concern. One additional improvement could be extra hooks for towels and clothing. The room-steward tended to forget that the handles were for the purpose of supporting the weight of a disabled person. We would always find towels hanging on these which made them unstable for my mom to support herself. It was hard to find a place to hang up our used face-cloths and towels for re-use because though there appeared to be many towel racks, these were not good places to put wet towels. My mom commented that the door was not wide enough to easily make the turn into the cabin from the hallway using her scooter and that because there was no automatic door opener, she needed help to get in by herself. Luckily, there was always a friendly room-steward to assist. I found that the lighting in the room was very dim and maybe my mom was particularly demanding but it seemed that every time I got comfortable, she would need me to turn on or turn off a light that she could not control easily from her bed. In an eventual technology upgrade, voice-controlled smart lights or perhaps a hand-held remote with dimmable bulbs would be my suggestion. Dining We were blown away! Your chefs, food selection and service wildly exceeded our expectations and this in the main dining rooms Alizar and Grand Pacific. The hostesses and Maîtres d'hôtel (Especially Maria and Dušan) were very accommodating to my mom's needs as she always preferred a table near the entrance so that she didn't accidentally mow anyone down with her scooter. Dušan had the special talent of maintaining a perfect poker-face while being extremely funny and sarcastic. This really made it fun for me who was sometimes frustrated by my demanding mom. To anyone watching, he appeared perfectly professional but he was quietly acknowledging his awareness that my mom was being unreasonable. I really hope that any management reading this will understand how grateful I was! For myself, I was particularly impressed with the international menu options featuring things that were spicier, more exotic and less well-known to North-American palates. Breakfast options were varied every day and servers were always happy to do their best getting special requests like "bacon extra-crispy" or substitutions right. Server Yuli slipped me some Sambal Olek from her personal stash because the only hot sauce condiment was Tabasco. That was some terrific customer service! The buffet was not my favourite place to dine as I prefer the quiet of restaurant-style meals but when ship was in port or during off-peak hours, I really enjoyed the vegetarian and Asian selections which featured lots of delicious Indian, Chinese and Indonesian offerings. During our cruise we tried Jasmine Chinese restaurant one time. My parents liked it but honestly, the presentation and texture of the food seemed dull to me. The cubed chicken was so uniformly cut up that it looked factory pre-processed and tasted of freezer-burn. Emelinda, our server was excellent as was all of the staff. She even showed us some pictures of her country and how beautiful it was. She was very nice to speak with so overall, I enjoyed the experience at that restaurant. We also went to Cagney's steakhouse for one steak dinner. Yes, the grade of meat used was discernibly superior to that used in the main dining and buffet and the price was a good value for comparable specialty restaurants on other ships but to me, the service and presentation at all the restaurants was so high quality that there was no real difference dining at Cagney's vs. dining in a main dining room. I also thought that the dark lighting and thinly-shear-curtained view of the jogging track was comical. Just put some blackout curtains and spare us the spandex bottoms careening past, please. Full points for the concept of O'Sheehan's Pub! This was the place where I always felt comfortable. Waking up jet-lagged in the middle of the night, I could go there to get a snack. Passing by gorgeous scenery on a cold and windy day, I could take my binoculars to look out the huge windows without mussing my hair or getting a runny nose. Again, the quality of the service and the food choices were excellent. I also liked being able to hear the entertainment in the main atrium without being right in the middle of the crowd. I liked the location on deck 8 being accessible from both the mid-ship and aft elevators. This made it really accessible for my mom too. Getting down to the wheelchair-friendly deck 6 Grand Pacific entrance was always a tiny inconvenience because only one elevator car among 4 stopped at that level. Ports of Call The itinerary was well balanced between at-sea and port days. Having the overnight at Reykjavik really gave excellent opportunity to visit many of the far-flung attractions that Iceland has to offer. It's always difficult to anticipate the requirements of differently-abled travelers especially when dealing with ports of call in countries with varying sensitivity to the needs of those with mobility issues. I think that the "Special Needs at Sea" team still has a way to go with analysing the difficulties that people might have. We received communications that disembarkation assistance would be possible but we had trouble getting assistance, we often had trouble making our way out without using stairs and using the gangways. Taxi stands described as "a short walk away" in Invergordon were too far for my dad to push my mom in a wheelchair. Wouldn't it be possible to have a taxi dispatcher with a walkie-talkie call for a cab to come to the bus-loading area for those in need? This is in no way a critical comment to the way that NCL handled the majority of special needs issues, just an idea. I really feel that the NCL staff were always helpful and sympathetic in this regard and as cruisers with limitations, we should understand that not all ports of call will be easy to access. As a matter of fact, I really would like to commend the "Special Needs at Sea" team for helping us with the scooter problems that were in no way their fault but they stepped up so that my mom could fully enjoy her cruise. Onboard Activities, Services and Entertainment Personally, I rarely attend the organised activities on board. I am usually travelling solo and don't care much for loud music, flashy stage-shows or napkin-folding lessons. However, for completeness in this review, I'll make mention of what I can. Trivia sessions were held daily mornings and afternoons. It was mandatory that I attend as part of the arrangement I made with my parents in exchange for my passage fare! These were fun and I have to say that my mom really connected with Sheree who had only just recently joined the Jade and I would like to make a special mention of "Nacho"'s talent making for a hilarious half-hour every time he hosted. I enjoyed the set-up of the fitness studio but only participated in one class. I probably would have used it more had I been alone. The changing area only had one toilet and one shower which would be enough for the gym users but there was no changing area for the pool which I could not understand at all. On this itinerary, there were precious few folks using the pool so it was never a problem but it definitely have made a difference for my comfort on a Caribbean cruise. The card room and library looked nice but I never used them. I was a little annoyed when people took up space in the buffet playing cards so maybe the card room needs a bit more publicity to make people aware of it. The spa sales people and drink servers were not overly pushy. They would politely ask if I needed something but would not be aggressive after a "no, thank you." I actually enjoyed talking to them when they weren't busy and the exceptional scenery on the voyage often brought them on deck to see exactly what I was looking at so we had lots to talk about. I'm really not much of a drinker and I couldn't justify the expense of the alcohol on board. I might have ordered three drinks and a cup of ginger tea the whole trip and was pretty disappointed with my $13 Irish Coffee which was served in a tiny goblet rather than the tankard I expected. I attended one comedy show in the gorgeous Spinnaker Lounge. It was exactly the sort of cruise ship comedy that one would expect and that's all I need to say about that but everyone else seemed to like it so I'm the odd man out. None of the live music made my ears bleed and I actually enjoyed the piano music that was broadcast between entertainers. It was played at a volume that was never too intrusive. Around the pool, admittedly, the music was too loud at certain times of day and at those times, you would not find me there because of it. Due to my special interests in snorkelling and wildlife observation there were no NCL shore excursions that really fit my profile. I was very kindly helped by the shore excursion team to try to get on a whale-watching tour waiting list but ultimately, could not participate because it was complete. Pre-cruise, I did find that the shore excursions were a little too expensive for me so I didn't pre-book. I was able to find shore excursions directly from the providers in Norway, Scotland and Iceland that suited me and were in my price-range so I took the risk. It would have been interesting to have a naturalist on board to describe a little bit about the geological formations, sea-birds, midnight sun phenomenon or give other talks of a scientific or historic nature. However, that's just me...maybe most people really like bingo more. Places to hide Not many reviews feature this helpful information but for those of us less social cruisers, it's good stuff to know! Outside on Deck 13 starboard side, forward. This was a favourite hidey-hole for observation. There is a wind-screen that cuts off a good deal of wind, a sloping ramp that provides a bit of back support when sitting and slats in the plexiglass for photography or binoculars. There is not too much action here near the door leading to the Spinnaker lounge. The Chapel on the port side uses this space so there is no symmetry. This is the one and only spot of its kind on the Jade! Outside on Deck 14 forward. This area is labelled Quiet Zone which it is not because of the wind and proximity to the ship's horn but at least there weren't a lot of people there. Bridge Viewing are on Deck 11 port side. Wow! What a concept. A place to safely view the goings-on on the bridge and see what's up ahead. I loved this spot to look for whales without the noise and distraction of the Spinnaker Lounge activities. Middle section of O'Sheehan's Pub. The hostess would seat diners on the port and starboard sides at booths and tables. In the center section were cozy chairs and benches and stools overlooking the atrium. This was a nice area that didn't have tons of traffic. Conclusion The highlight of this trip was being treated so well by the experienced and enthusiastic staff and crew-members from embarkation to disembarkation. There were no mentions of cleanliness in my review because everything was so perfect and consistent that I forgot to even say so! As loyal Royal Caribbean-Celebrity-Azamara cruisers we didn't find any major differences and even preferred some of the new discoveries we made on NCL. Read Less
Sail Date May 2018
Great ports of call. Bottom line is we enjoyed the ports of call, the amenities aboard not so much. Service at times a bit lax. Disembarkation very disorganized twice when tenders were used. Dining in Garden Café was hat good and not ... Read More
Great ports of call. Bottom line is we enjoyed the ports of call, the amenities aboard not so much. Service at times a bit lax. Disembarkation very disorganized twice when tenders were used. Dining in Garden Café was hat good and not much varied day-to-day. It was actually quite boring. Although the food was excellent in the specialty restaurants. We do not drink alcohol and asked the gift bottle of champagne be replaced with sparkling water. That request was denied. However, sparkling water was delivered to our cabin and we were charged for it. Accommodations for handicapped inadequate. This a difficult ship for people with mobility handicaps to get off or on in ports of call. The crew were, on several occasions, rude to people with handicaps. We chose to book private tours on 3 occasions for the simple reason that we could see and visit what we wanted to rather than accept the NCL offerings. As it turned out, the private tours were more inclusive and less costly than the NCL offerings. Read Less
Sail Date May 2017
Norwegian Jade Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 3.5 4.2
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 5.0 3.8
Public Rooms 4.0 4.1
Fitness Recreation 3.0 3.8
Family 4.0 3.8
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.5
Enrichment 3.0 3.3
Service 5.0 4.0
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 3.9

Find a Norwegian Jade Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click