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1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
This is a review of the NCL Jade 5 night cruise out of Miami. This cruise was a Christmas gift for my wife - our first cruise without the children. When booking, I envisioned a short relaxing vacation to get away from the cold of the ... Read More
This is a review of the NCL Jade 5 night cruise out of Miami. This cruise was a Christmas gift for my wife - our first cruise without the children. When booking, I envisioned a short relaxing vacation to get away from the cold of the Northwest. To that extent, the cruise was a success. As we had previously sailed on Disney and RCCL, I was looking forward to trying out another line. What got me to choose NCL was a good price and a lot of reviews touting the quality of the food (which is highly important to me). We flew into Ft Lauderdale the day before departure and took an Uber to Miami (Southwest doesn't fly into Miami International). The Uber cost ~$40 and was super simple. Just grabbed the bags, walked out to the ride share curb, and ordered up a ride. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency Miami which is about 2 miles to the Port of Miami. Downtown Miami was what you'd expect from a major city - lots of concrete and tall buildings. The most memorable thing about Miami was the traffic. I've never in my life heard so many horns being honked. It's like they have their own language/communication system consisting of just the horn (and a few hand gestures) :) We ordered another Uber in the morning to get over to the port (~$6) and arrived at around 10:15. The check in process was extremely quick which I'm guessing is from the early arrival time. Security was quick - metal detectors & routine stuff. We waited in line for maybe five minutes to get to the counter. Showed the agent our boarding docs, got our freestyle cards, and was assigned boarding group 2. Then up to the terminal to wait for boarding. I checked the time when we completed the process and it was 10:29 (yup, from curb to terminal waiting area was a whopping 14 minutes). We expected to be waiting until 12:00 to board, but the ship was ready early and we were onboard at 11:30. I couldn't be happier about the process. Once on board we headed to O'Sheehan's on deck 8. We were seated promptly and the service was good. We tried the fish-n-chips and the Shephard's Pie. The Shephard's Pie was tasty. The fish was greasy/soggy - While the taste wasn't too bad, it was very much standard school cafeteria fare, not even as good as a chain restaurant. After lunch we wandered around the ship a bit. Overall it was very nice. Everything was easily accessible and laid out well for a smaller ship. What did stand out was the lack of recreation options. There's a multi-purpose basketball/tennis court on Deck 13, but that's it other than the pool area. On that note, I'm glad my kids weren't with us, because this ship is not made with active teens/tweens in mind. Not a huge factor in this review, because I didn't select this cruise for that (just a heads up if you were thinking about bringing the kids). The staterooms opened up around 1:00 and we headed to ours. We were in cabin 11604 which is a mini-suite. To me, this "mini-suite" was comparable to the standard balcony cabins on Disney/RCCL. The room was nice enough - 2 double beds pushed together, a sleeper sofa, flat screen tv, coffee maker, and refrigerator/mini-bar. (Note: I left a note for the room attendant to empty the mini-bar so I could use the refrigerator. Instead of removing the items from the cabin, he just moved them to other shelves and under the desk area -- I guess I'll need to be more specific in the future, ie please remove from the room). Bathroom was nice with a full tub/shower and separate toilet area. I did find it weird to have a separate toilet area with a see through glass door? Kinda defeats the purpose in my mind. Overall the room was very quiet. The deck plan shows an open area on deck 12 above this room which I believe is a galley area. One night I think I heard a heavy cart being rolled somewhere - lasted all of 2 minutes and then silence again. Here's a huge thing to note - this ship is small and as I mentioned, there's not a lot of outdoor space. Finding a lounge chair near the pool or upper deck was dang near impossible unless you wanted to wake up a 0-dark thirty and reserve one all day! But - the balcony was a God-send and we spent a lot of time on it. I mention this because on the bigger ships I've been on, while I might not get prime seating near the pool, I've never been unable to find somewhere to sit outside - which was often the case on this ship -especially on the sea days! You've been warned! Food: We tried the Atrium, Grand Pacific, O'Sheehan's, the Garden Cafe (buffet) and the Outdoor cafe - we didn't eat at any of the specialty restaurants. The Atrium and the Grand Pacific share the same menu each night. The Atrium is the casual restaurant and the Grand Pacific is more dress up. To be honest though, the dress code at the Grand Pacific is a low bar to overcome - if you have long pants, you're in (and they do enforce that). You're supposed to have a collared shirt as well, but I saw many a t-shirt as well as numerous flip flops so shoes don't seem to be required. Overall, I liked the Grand Pacific better for the atmosphere. Food was good in the main dining rooms with a decent selection. Nothing over the top - no seafood nights, or anything special, just okay food. The buffet on the other hand was disappointing. Breakfast was blah and so was lunch and dinner. I found most of what I ate at lunch/dinner to be overcooked and under flavored. I was also underwhelmed by the variety. Ports: Harvest Caye - was a fun beach day. I would have liked to see some ocean inflatables to play on, but not having them was fine. Plenty of loungers and umbrellas - no reason to rent a cabana. People were enjoying the zip lines and there was an area to rent paddle boards etc. The pool was nice and had a swim up bar. Just an all around relaxing beach day. Costa Maya - We booked a tour to the Chochaben ruins through Native Choice travel for $110. Note: The EXACT same tour through NCL was $99 each - save your money! That was a great tour and very educational. Our host, Fabiola, was very knowledgeable about the history of the area and quite fluent in English. The trip was about 4hrs with a 45 minute drive to and from. Our group had 12 people which allowed us to ask questions and was very relaxed. When the cruise tours of 30 plus people showed up, I was even happier that I booked this on my own. After the tour, we walked around the port area. It's your typical Caribbean port - if you've seen one, you've seen them all. There was a taco stand near the Port entrance that's authentic and worth the visit. $3 for a beef or chicken taco - yummy. Entertainment: Prior to booking, I checked to see what the entertainment on board would be. I was super excited about the Blazin Boots country music show. Alas, it was replaced by an on-board production show... :( The local talent was okay and they put on a decent show, but it was not professional tier in my opinion. The comedy show was decent. The aerial rope show was quasi erotica and probably not a good choice for kids. They were exceptional athletes though - so I would recommend it just for that. The Cruise Director, Jackie Tran (nope, I didn't make that up), was a little hokey. Overall, the entertainment was subpar when compared to Disney and RCCL. Service: The crew lacked energy and excitement. I'm used to happy faces and engaging staff, but that is not the norm on the Jade. Most just seemed to "be there". Not happy, not sad, just there. Obviously, there were exceptions - Maria and Maria in the Grand Pacific were fun to talk to and joke with, and a bartender at the coffee shop was upbeat, but other than those three, I couldn't name a single person. I never met our room steward - he was a ghost. Overall: Overall I'd rate the entire experience at three stars. It wasn't bad, it was a good value, and I got what I paid for. It just wasn't memorable. As I cruise more, this particular vacation will not stand out in any way. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
This was our first Norwegian cruise. So many complaints! 1. Terrible customer service: upon boarding we discovered no drink or specialty dining packages were associated with our reservation, even though we had paid for them. We had ... Read More
This was our first Norwegian cruise. So many complaints! 1. Terrible customer service: upon boarding we discovered no drink or specialty dining packages were associated with our reservation, even though we had paid for them. We had booked through a travel agent (USAA Travel Services) and the ship customer service desk refused to help us because we had not booked directly through NCL. Very rudely told us to fix our own problem. After someone from the travel agency called the ship directly and provided proof of the purchase, they still would not fix the problem, told us it would take 2 days (of a 5 day cruise!) to update. 2. So many passengers falling down drunk most of the cruise. Could not take my kids to the family pool because of this. Ship employees did nothing about this and continued serving obviously intoxicated people. 3. Dining room staff indifferent and slow. Food quality uneven and often cold when served. Took at least 2 hours to eat a 3 course meal. 4. Very poor wine list. Mixed drinks were good if you could get served. If you didn’t have a bikini on the bartenders would ignore you completely. 4. Had a mini-suit on deck 11. Woken every morning before 5 due to noise from the buffet above. Very poor housekeeping in our suits. Never once met our steward. 5. The kids club had the weirdest hours. Made it very difficult to utilize. Staff was very rude. 6. The spa staff was forever trying to sell you their products. After a very relaxing massage the spa employee would not let me leave until I listened to her pitch, and then was extremely rude when I told her I wouldn’t buy anything. We will NEVER sail with NCL again!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
The itinerary was excellent. Embarkation was very smooth as was the disembarkation. The cabin was clean but used glasses and coffee cups were not always replaced with clean ones. Washroom and shower functioned well. Pool towels were ... Read More
The itinerary was excellent. Embarkation was very smooth as was the disembarkation. The cabin was clean but used glasses and coffee cups were not always replaced with clean ones. Washroom and shower functioned well. Pool towels were always available. Entertainment was varied and generally of a good quality. Spa services were excellent. The eating areas were all extremely loud either with the noise of passengers talking or music that was turned up so you couldn't hear anyone talking. Tables were not always wiped clean. Wait staff ranged from friendly and accommodating to surely and lethargic. Quality of food was inconsistent. Beef Kabobs so tough that they couldn't be eaten to prime rib that melted in your mouth. Both obtained in the Venetian dining room. Trying to get into the main dining rooms during the first 4 nights was near impossible with waits of up to an hour. When we requested reservations the staff was curt and said that we should just line up...eventually she gave us 7:30 reservations. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We chose this cruise for its amazing 9 port itinerary in the southern Caribbean. We loved San Juan as a embarkation port. It took us south a lot faster! It was an easy port to manage. We enjoyed the ship even though it was older but ... Read More
We chose this cruise for its amazing 9 port itinerary in the southern Caribbean. We loved San Juan as a embarkation port. It took us south a lot faster! It was an easy port to manage. We enjoyed the ship even though it was older but PLEASE read the cabin review! O'Shehan's Irish pub was near our room and we enjoyed the atmosphere and food there better than the lido deck. We ate most of our breakfasts there. Our favorite crew member was a server there, Ari. We had a small cooler with us that we took to the beach daily and the staff was willing to fill our water bottles with ice water and also fill a small baggie with ice for us. We had 8 nights of specialty dining. Totally recommend that you upgrade with food not alcohol! Our food was amazing! We ate in the main dining room one night and could not even hear ourselves think. TOO LOUD and took way too long to get through a meal that was mediocre. Bamboo was a great option that is also complimentary. Food in the pool area was the only option for swimmers but it was good burgers, hotdogs, chicken wings, etc. Unfortunately it was the same each day and closed early at 4;45 pm. I personally loved the itinerary for this cruise with 9 days of ports. It was a bit too much for our 24 year old and my husband. I could have spent more time snorkeling but they petered out for me. We noticed that the last port folks looked a lot like zombies coming off the ship that they did a t the first 3 ports. lol Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
Itinerary. This was a 12 day cruise, sailing out of San Juan and going to Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, Grenada, Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Maarten, and Tortola. A terrific set of ports! We took advantage of 3 or 4 of the specialty ... Read More
Itinerary. This was a 12 day cruise, sailing out of San Juan and going to Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, Grenada, Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Maarten, and Tortola. A terrific set of ports! We took advantage of 3 or 4 of the specialty restaurants. All were good. We particularly liked Cagney's. The food was great! We weren't as fond of the Brazilian restaurant. The food wasn't to our liking and it took forever to get dessert (they apparently have to go to a different deck to get the desserts). This almost caused us to miss one of the theatre shows. Shows. The shows were good, however not as good as we've experienced on other ships. We were happy that there was a show every night - and all but one of the shows was help at both 7 pm and 9 pm. This provided great options. We had a different cruise where they skipped a couple of nights - and that was disappointing. The one show that we did not care for was the "Juggler". He didn't do much and seemed to want to be a comedian. It wasn't up to our expectations. Bartenders. For the first time cruising, we had a drink package. We certainly enjoyed this and found great refuge in the Bimini bar, one deck up, overlooking the pool area. We met lots of great people there - and it became our regular spot to assemble. One bartender in particular - Jeff, looked after us very well! I must say that all bartenders were good, and genuinely looked like the enjoyed their jobs and were interested in making our journey enjoyable. Excursions. We found the selection of ship sponsored excursions limited and expensive. While there were lots to choose from, we found that many were all the same, and could be done cheaper on your own. We were sailing to generally safe islands, so were ventured out on our own many times. Overall, a terrific trip! Congrats NCL for putting together a great itinerary. We loved it! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2019
We sailed the Dawn 9 years ago and enjoyed the ship We also loved the southern Caribbean itinerary. Dawn was recently refurbished and looks great for a 17 year old ship. We heard before the trip about some plumbing problems and did meet ... Read More
We sailed the Dawn 9 years ago and enjoyed the ship We also loved the southern Caribbean itinerary. Dawn was recently refurbished and looks great for a 17 year old ship. We heard before the trip about some plumbing problems and did meet some people on board that experienced those issues. This is troubling that NCL sells these cabins and does not seem to do much for those affected. We saw a similar problem last year on Caribbean princess. Fortunately, we did not have any issues either sailing, but it does give you pause that both lines sell cabins with a history of plumbing problems and offer no recourse to passengers affected. We had beverage package and four meal dining package. So along with our platinum perk of two other restaurants we had six dinners in those restaurants. They were all excellent..we used Le Bistro, Cagneys and Moderno twice each and we can’t say enough about the food and service...fabulous!! The remaining dinners were all at Bamboo the free Asian restaurant. We were familiar with this restaurant from sailing the Star two years ago. It is an excellent venue with great food and service. It is very popular, so make all your reservations early. Breakfast was either on main dining room or buffet depending on how much time we had in the morning. Both we fine. One suggestion in the buffet is to have the muslelex available dry. It was soaked in milk. I use almond milk which they would get for me, but only twice was dry muslelex available to which I could add my fruit nuts etc..small point, but other lines do a better job with this. Staff was great entire voyage, happy helpful and courteous throughout the ship. Richard was the cruise director who we had previously on the Star. We had a midship balcony which was great. Entertainment was fine, Jose and Patti returned for second half of cruise,and while we enjoy them, they get stifled by the same requested songs over and over. Comedians were great. Three Knights...singers were good. Did not go to other shows. Itinerary was great along with the weather. Basically took cabs to beaches. Do your research and chose the ones you like. Will give a shout out to the Boatyard in Barbados. Great spot, best deal in Caribbean. It is a five dollar shuttle to Boatyard. Admission is 25 dollars which includes two loungers,and umbrella and two drinks. You also get free snorkeling too. They go to two spots close by, some underwater wrecks and a spot to see the turtles. Snorkeling was pretty good and I did see a large greenback close up. Register for the snorkeling when you pay the admission, it can get backed up if you wait. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
I am platinum latitude member and it was my 9th cruise. And it was the worse cruise I have ever had. I will try to tell you why…. The embarkation was total chaos. They postponed it for 3 hours. It started only at 1 pm. It looked like ... Read More
I am platinum latitude member and it was my 9th cruise. And it was the worse cruise I have ever had. I will try to tell you why…. The embarkation was total chaos. They postponed it for 3 hours. It started only at 1 pm. It looked like 4,000 passengers were trapped in a single terminal room without water and poor air. There were a lot of old people and a couple of them fainted. Having so many people in one room could have been deadly in an emergency. It was very different just to walk into the ship: Quite and cold, unwelcome, none of the staff cheering, laughing, and no washi-washi songs. They were clearly exhausted from the previous cruise. People were moving slowly in complete silence. When they finally admitted us to the ship, cabins were not ready. Beds were upside down, dirty cabins, showers with hair on the floor. It was not only our cabin --it was all over the ship. The crew were washing every wall, elevator, railings, and buttons, everywhere. The walls were dripping with sanitizer water. You could not touch anything. Every surface was dripping. Lines to customer service were very long; even at midnight people were complaining that they did not have their cabins cleaned and their bed were still upside down. They did not vacuum our cabins or any floors until the last day of the cruise. We had to wipe the dust, hair, and filth off our feet before climbing into bed each night. In the cafe: we were not allowed to touch anything. They handed us plates and silverware, cups, etc. We had to be served all food and drinks. This caused long lines everywhere and a lot of anger. The salt and pepper shakers ketchup, mustard disappeared from the tables. To get it you had to stay on line again. To get tea, juice, or water – stay on line. To use the same plate or cup was not allowed. All cushions were removed from the seats. In the lounges, people were sitting or lying on bare foam for the first week of the cruise. Seat covers did not begin to be replaced until the second week. Some were never replaced. People were not allowed to get to the cafe without washing hands before entering the café (which is a good safety measure at any time). They also started a mandatory announcement from the CDC three times a day during the whole cruise, up until the last three days. It was very annoying, but also very instructional. We learned that the CDC requires this level of response for up to three days after the last case of disease. Since they made this announcement and kept up the strict hospital situation until three days before our return that means there were continual outbreaks of disease throughout OUR cruise, even though the announcement said there was a problem ONLY on the last cruise. Library and spa were closed almost all the cruise. Fridges in mostly of cabins were locked, no coffee machine in the room, no glasses for water, nothing. At every meal at the restaurant chairs and tables were moved to the side for disinfectant (my daughter took a video where people in hazmat suits rushed disinfect a contaminated table). Men with air masks all over the ship spraying something in the cabins. They pulled large fogging machines to fill rooms with mist disinfectant. This covered all our belongings. Many passengers claimed they could not stay in their rooms because of the smell. In every port, passengers were not allowed to get in and out of the ship without spraying sanitizer on their hands. The crew was overwhelmed, and we learned many staff were quarantined due to illness. The passengers were also overwhelmed and not happy… Disembarkation: they accumulated people in the restaurant area and halls and kept them there for 2 hours as well. This is typical, however. I think the New York terminal has more problems than any other. I am actually surprised that there is no information about how awful was this particular cruise…. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We arrived at the cruise port in New York City just after 10:30 AM, People were left standing for hours to check in and get on board. We finally got on board after 3:00 PM. We were told that our rooms were not ready yet and had to wait. ... Read More
We arrived at the cruise port in New York City just after 10:30 AM, People were left standing for hours to check in and get on board. We finally got on board after 3:00 PM. We were told that our rooms were not ready yet and had to wait. around 4:30 they finally said that the staterooms on our deck were ready. We went to our cabin to find that it still was not ready, we had to look for a room steward just to get toilet paper. Our luggage still did not arrive so we waited and waited. At 1:00 AM another passenger told us that we would have to look for our luggage somewhere on our deck. I found our luggage way down the hall, they just left our luggage where ever they could, we had to search for it ourselves. We found out that the cruise before us had a virus on board, so now we were subject to chemicales for the whole trip, they were spraying and wiping the walls, doors, door handles, elevators, rest rooms. What ever was sprayed or wiped was left driping wet. They had people in hazmat suites and masks mixing the chemicales in the halls, all passengers were subject to the chemicals. The staff on the ship were taken from their usual tasks to help with the spraying and wiping, so the passangers were short changed, there were days when our room was not made untill after 5:00 PM. The ship has to many people and was poorly managed, it was very loud and has no place outside of your cabin for peace and quiet. Dining was short changed with not enough help and a menu that had very little changes. The buffet was just ok nothing to write home about where it was often hard to find a seat and then you were sitting on top of one another. When we disembarked from the ship they called our color and had us wait in line outside in the cold untill we got into customs where there was another long line. Getting off the ship took over two hours. Standing in that long line you knew they just wanted every one off the ship for their convenience and without regard for the customers. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
I am a platinum member, but after this cruise I am not going with NCL anymore. They had gastrointestinal virus outbreak on cruise before us, we weren’t informed until we got to the port. 5000 people were standing and waiting for check in ... Read More
I am a platinum member, but after this cruise I am not going with NCL anymore. They had gastrointestinal virus outbreak on cruise before us, we weren’t informed until we got to the port. 5000 people were standing and waiting for check in to start until 3 pm, rooms were not ready for another hours. People were sitting on the floor and staircases. And it’s only beginning. All cruise was a disaster. NCL upper managers don’t care about their guests. They didn’t have enough crew members to serve guests. Absolutely total mismanagement. But I must say our Stuart did a great job. He was great. Service in specialty restaurants was good, but in complimentary restaurants below average. Entertainment below, below average, Nothing to do on the ship. Such a disappointment. Waist of money and vacation. First time we could not wait to get out of ship. Nothing more to say. Read Less
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