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10 Norwegian (NCL) Middle East Cruise Reviews

Itinerary Rome-Naples-Messina-Katakolon-Athens-Limassol-Haifa-Aqaba-Safaga-Salalah-Muscat-Dubai 30October 2016 Norwegian Star. CHECKIN at Civitavecchia and bag delivery score a 10 for ease, promptness and friendliness. There is no ... Read More
Itinerary Rome-Naples-Messina-Katakolon-Athens-Limassol-Haifa-Aqaba-Safaga-Salalah-Muscat-Dubai 30October 2016 Norwegian Star. CHECKIN at Civitavecchia and bag delivery score a 10 for ease, promptness and friendliness. There is no welcoming committee as you board the ship, just the unfriendly dour faces of security. Norwegian have an inconsistent policy of removing all beverages at every port, regardless if you have purchased a bottle of water on the ship and then tried to bring it back onboard with you. This makes Norwegian the Masters of Nickel and Dime. Norwegian takes the phrase to new heights. THE CABIN Not all cabins are created equal. Apart from the bed, it contained a rather large bathroom, a shower for two!!, a separate basin and toilet. The usual TV and writing desk along with a vanity area. A very small closet space largely due to the mini bar. The cabin also has a sofa used as another bed. There are always remnants from previous guests, the usual fingerprints around doors, splash marks on the mirrors and art work. Coffee stains etc. Although the ship is regularly washed on the outside, no attempt is ever made to clean the balcony and the salt buildup. ENTERTAINMENT The production shows are always performed with great energy and vigor no matter how long they have been around for. The comedians still make fun of the buffet, people arriving late and leaving early. Same old Mary jokes from the cruise directors. I would like to see a full 45minute act which does not involve audience participation. DINING The ship has several complimentary dining areas. The Market Café for all meals – I have experienced more choice and ambience in a Westfield Food Hall. O’Sheehans bar and grill, always open, good service, simple tucker. Versailles main dining. A rather spectacular dining room that rivals any on the high seas. Its let down by patchy service. One does not serve across the table but usually from the right, or give a guest a knife and fork to eat ice cream to be replaced by a teaspoon. Also complimentary are the Aqua and Ginza catering to the very large number of Asians on board. What is considered normal fare on some cruise lines Norwegian charges a supplement. There are six specialty restaurants where a cover charge applies. DECK All decks tend to flow very well with deck 7 being an all around walking deck. Three huge water slides occupy a large amount of deck space which I assume would be busy during school holidays. There is a large kids/teen space. Apart from the library there is no nooks and crannies to hide and read. SHORE EXCURSIONS As seasoned cruisers, you know where to look for shore excursions. FITNESS One of the best well equipped gyms on the high seas, but wait inline behind the crew . CREW FRIENDLINESS Cabin stewards and dining staff are friendly. The team is let down by those that should no longer be there. There is a lot of passenger side stepping to let crew pass. DISEMBARKATION Could not have been simpler and there is committee of crew to wave you goodbye. First impressions always count and last longer. CONCLUSION There are lot of factors to consider when choosing a cruise. Cost, season, itinerary, ship. Norwegian reminds me of a low cost airline, you pay extra for everything. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
The itinerary was truly spectacular. A "bucket list" for us and our traveling companions. For us, every port from Cyprus to Dubai was a new adventure, and even several ports in Italy and Greece offered new experiences. [The ... Read More
The itinerary was truly spectacular. A "bucket list" for us and our traveling companions. For us, every port from Cyprus to Dubai was a new adventure, and even several ports in Italy and Greece offered new experiences. [The ports were Rome, Naples, Messina, Piraeus, Kakolon (Greece) Cyprus, Haifa (Israel) Aqaba (Jordan) Safaga (Egypt), passing through the Suez Canal, Salalah and Muscat (Oman) and Dubai. 21 days from October 30 to November 20, 2016.] [I praised several officers and wait staffers as well as our cabin steward] We enjoyed having a mini-suite, especially the relatively commodious bathroom, but closet space was at a premium and open shelving around the room should be replaced by drawers. The cruise trend is toward smaller balconies and our cabin fell right in line with a postage-sized balcony. The offering of bridge instruction and duplicate bridge play was a terrific plus. Steve and Donna did a great job and they attracted a large, enthusiastic group of both beginners and intermediate players. We purchased a four speciality restaurant dining package. Cagney's Steakhouse was wonderful, dining there twice. We also dined at Moderno, a thoroughly enjoyable and different dining experience, and at Le Bistro. We had differing opinions of Le Bistro. Having lived in New York most of our lives (and having taken a number of trips to Paris), we are especially conversant with "gourmet" French food. Le Bistro does not offer a "gourmet" experience and this was particularly disappointing. I won't spend the time critiquing each dish (ranging from quite good to awful). That said, service in each of these restaurants was very, very good. Also on the positive list was O'Sheehans and the Ginza restaurants, for the food and availability, not necessarily for the quality of service. What's a cruise ship without the dining experience comprised of food, service and ambiance? The quality of food was more than adequate, if somewhat repetitious and lacking in sophistication of preparation. Meat dishes were good and frequently offered, but fish dishes were inadequate both as to paucity of variety and frequency of offering. Food was often overly salted and occasionally greasy. We ate the majority of our meals in Versailles having dined once in Aqua which we likened to a high school cafeteria. The less said about the buffet the better (your huddled masses yearning to eat free), although neither better nor worse than any other cruise line. The decor in Versailles is not to my liking (it looks old and tired), and unfortunately the noise during dinner approaches a level that makes simple conversation at a table for four quite difficult. The real problem on the ship is the dining room service. Service is haphazard and appears to lack coordination between the servers and their assistants. This often leads to long waits between courses, or even a long wait before receiving the initial course, and food arriving not exactly as ordered for want of better communication. Better training would help alleviate this problem! Lastly, the uniforms worn by the servers are very unimpressive and often look sloppy -- more akin to dress for a Caribbean cruise. Why would a ship place its more expensive cabins (mini-suites) under the public areas where noise from these areas emanates day and night? We often heard noise from above throughout the night with some negative effect on our sleep. Our traveling companions with a mini-suite on the other side of the ship had similar complaints. Onboard entertainment is a very mixed bag ranging from the bizarre to the wonderful - the ridiculous to the sublime. On some occasions we would leave the theatre scratching our proverbial heads and muttering "Where did they find that?" On other occasions we would remain in the theatre giving an enthusiastic standing ovation to the marvelous singers, dancers and show band following a terrific production show. One minor quibble -- the sound level for the singers was often too loud and perhaps over modulated. Tintinnabulations: Why encourage passengers to purchase stock of NCL and then tell them after purchase that the on board credit is nonrefundable? Why is NCL the only cruise line, I think, that charges for room service? Why does NCL "nickel and dime" you (more like $5.00 and $10.00) with regard to bringing wine and/or water aboard. Other lines permit several bottles of wine and water to be brought aboard without charge. If you have an announced dress code policy in only two restaurants (Versailles and Le Bistro) at least enforce the policy. Shorts and flip-flops are not appropriate evenings attire. Lastly, you may wonder whether we enjoyed the cruise? Did the positives outweigh the negatives, the huzzahs top the disappointments? The answer is a resounding YES. The fabulous itinerary trumped all. m&pops P.S. We only took private tours which ranged from average to excellent. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
These comments are provided from the perspective of a mid-60’s retired couple who have ocean cruised on 10 previous occasions mainly on Princess and Celebrity. The primary objective was to sail through the Suez Channel and have the ... Read More
These comments are provided from the perspective of a mid-60’s retired couple who have ocean cruised on 10 previous occasions mainly on Princess and Celebrity. The primary objective was to sail through the Suez Channel and have the opportunity to experience the Middle East countries. We chose NCL because of itinerary and price. I found the website easy to use; as we like to pre-register, confirm ship/cabin layout, pre-book our dining, wine and excursions. Having the “shopping cart” time out after 15 minutes was annoying and allowed limited review of the various excursions offered. Why are the “wine packages” not available on the internet? Locating the ship at the Civitavecchia (i.e. near Rome) was a challenge as the signage was sparse. Once in the appropriate area there were ample shuttles to the ship. Unfortunately, these shuttles changed pickup and drop off locations without the knowledge of the passengers. Embarkation went smoothly with a tolerable wait time of approximately 45 minutes. The ship staff appeared genuinely friendly and helpful. Several of the Guest Services staff went to great lengths to expedite our delayed luggage arrival. We also found the tour desk staff very helpful and accommodating. The ship common areas were generally very clean and well maintained. The hull colors are attractive. The décor of the atrium and Versailles dining room impressed us. The washrooms near the dining area often required servicing during mealtimes. This line may wish to consider a full time attendant, during mealtimes. This resolute walker enjoyed the full length (a rarity) cork floor promenade deck. The fish orientation on the hallway carpets and the dissimilar colored stairway carpets made orientation easier. Major ship features were easy to find. There was an ample supply of sun deck loungers. Access to the hot tubs and pools was also readily available. Early in the cruise, the gangway location was poorly signed or not an each floor. Most of our breakfasts and lunches were eaten at the buffet. The buffet area was Spartan with worn furnishings and awkward chairs – didn’t appear to have been refurnished at the time the remainder of this ship was updated. This area lacked sufficient seating; although, the adjacent pool side seating was used as an appendage. Service in this area was also hampered by a drink dispenser that was inoperable for the entire voyage and closing one of the two serving lines during demanding times. The food was tasty, good quality and ample variety. On three occasions, we lunched at O’Sheehan’s. Twice the food and service were great. On the other occasion, the staff was overwhelmed by the client numbers - a ¾ hour wait for a lukewarm hotdog! The majority of our suppers (18, I think) were acquired in the Versailles dining room. Generally the food and service was good to great. I particularly enjoyed a number of fish dishes, the tiramisu and the chocolate volcano dessert. Our one marginal waiter was more than outshined by Nilish, Krissy and Phil. We did not use the specialty restaurants. We took four ship organized tours and did the remainder on our own, using the Hop On Hop Off Bus or Big Bus service. We found the ship tours generally well organized, interesting, at a great pace and only once late. We enjoyed our tour to Olympia. This hearing disabled person appreciated the voice box and the great guide. The tour to Petra (near Aquaba), one of the wonders of the world, was a disappointment. A huge amount of walking (~ 25 kms. I won’t recommend the available rides!) to see things we didn’t understand as presented by a disinterested guide and detracted from by commercialization. A long (12.5 hours) but enjoyable trip to Luxor along the Nile delta with a super guide, Cherry. Bought a cartouche from her! A great tour, but long (13 hours), to Jerusalem and Bethlehem with a wonderful guide. Also enjoyed our tour to Job’s Tomb near Salalah. The scenery was wonderful and the camels friendly! We took in almost all the evening entertainment and found it to be very enjoyable and unique: a comedian juggler, humorous classical music performers, humorous ventriloquist and a comedian acrobat. This hearing impaired person found the volume levels in the theatre to be much.. much too loud; even with the aids turned off. We did not patronize the Casino or Spa. We appreciated the less aggressive marketing tactics for photos and liquor sales on this line. Now for what some will believe to be bigoted remarks! Our enjoyment of this cruise was diminished by the offensive mannerisms of the Asian (I believe Chinese and possibly half the total) passengers. While the cruise staff cannot be held responsible for this group’s crude table manners, the staff can be admonished for allowing this group to disregard queuing lines, impeding traffic in pedestrian areas (holding group activates in walkways, simply blocking walkways to gain an advantage for tours,reversing the travel direction on the promenade) and generally being uncooperative to fellow passengers. This behavior is so directly opposite to that I experienced while I worked in China in the early 90’s. The NCL announcement of additional catering to this ethic group will make us re-evaluate any future travel on this line. In summary, we were pleased with what we received for the price we paid. Read Less
Sail Date October 2016
This was my first time on NCL and it will be my last. The money grubbing was ridiculous. They had very uninteresting menus in the restaurant to force people to pay for their specialty restaurants. It seemed like they always were charging ... Read More
This was my first time on NCL and it will be my last. The money grubbing was ridiculous. They had very uninteresting menus in the restaurant to force people to pay for their specialty restaurants. It seemed like they always were charging for something. The casino staff (except for the cashiers) were incredibly rude. The embarkation was terrible with all the wheelchair people squeezed into a tight area with no seats and long waits. It would have been better to go through the regular check in. The fellow who worked at the excursions desk could have been a poster child for a drugged up hippie from the 60s (he was totally without emotion and seemed almost comatose). The people at guest services were awful -- none of them seemed to know what they were doing. Our room steward was a delight and the wait staff were outstanding. The thing that upset me the most was the "bait and switch" around wifi. The kept saying free access to wifi, but you have to pay to use it --- it was totally bogus. Finally, they changed the itinerary in Israel a few weeks before sailing and I was never informed. I WILL NEVER GO NCL AGAIN! Read Less
Sail Date February 2013
This was our 13th cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line and our fourth time sailing on the Jade. We keep returning to NCL for two reasons: their free-style concept and the excellent service given by each and every member of crew and staff on ... Read More
This was our 13th cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line and our fourth time sailing on the Jade. We keep returning to NCL for two reasons: their free-style concept and the excellent service given by each and every member of crew and staff on board their ships. This cruise took us to Turkey (Antalya rather than Alanya since the sea swell and winds were too high to go there), Cyprus (Limassol), Israel (overnight in Haifa as Ashdod cancelled), Iraklion (Crete, Greece) and Naples (Italy). The main purpose of taking this cruise was to visit Israel. Israel was most impressive. We had chosen tours that took us to Nazareth, Jerusalem and Bethlehem. We were able to visit each of these cities, and many more along the way. Each city brought its own special aspects to light. It was interesting to hear about the religious historical importance that each place held and still holds to this day. Having been to Turkey on a cruise once before, we decided to see this port on our own. We simply walked around and enjoyed the sites. It is an ideal spot for purchasing all manner of leather goods, but bargains must be hunted for, if you are so inclined. Of course, you must sample -- and perhaps later purchase -- Turkish Delight which is more or less a form of candy that is available in several flavours, all of which are natural products. In Cyprus and Iraklion, we took tours which informed us about history and archaeology. We visited a few museums of history in Cyprus to learn about its past and its development. We also heard about the Turkish Invasion of 1974 and how it divided the island. In Iraklion, we had a tour which focused on the ruins of a great castle/fortress at Knossos. It was interesting to learn how such a structure could have been planned and built, and about how it was used and how many people lived there. An interest in history and archaeology is absolutely essential and would not go amiss for such tours. We had been to Naples three times before this cruise took us there. We spent our time there just walking around and taking in the sites, particularly places we'd never taken the chance to see before. It was pleasant to sit at a sidewalk cafe, watching people and traffic go by while we enjoyed an espresso and pastry. Having been on the Jade for 3 previous cruises, there is not much to add about the ship. It started its career as the Pride of Hawai'i (2006) and was re-furbished to become the Jade in 2008. Although it has been re-furbished, it still carries much of its original decor which includes artificial Hawai'an and Polynesian flowers at the elevator banks and similarly themed artworks both inside and outside of the ship. The Aloha Bar in the Atrium and the Bali Hai bar, among others, remind us of its origins. At first, this seems quite out of place on a Mediterranean and Holy Land cruise, but then you get used to it. After all you are on a cruise to see different lands, so the decor of the ship becomes something of least important. We had good service from our stateroom attendant who kept our cabin clean. The restaurant staff couldn't do enough to make sure we had fantastic dining experiences, offering to bring more of the foods we'd ordered. Everyone on board went out of his/her way to ensure that we had a wonderful cruise. Every request was honoured, every question answered, and all with a smile. Many of the staff and crew took time from their very busy schedules to help us and to speak with us. It was like seeing good friends and family again. We already have 2 cruises planned for 2013, both which we are looking forward to doing. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Dining: D- We have been on 54 cruises, 7 with NCL, and we found the dining room experience on the Jade one of our worst. Although I enjoy eating in the alternative pay dining rooms, it felt like to us we had to to have an enjoyable and ... Read More
Dining: D- We have been on 54 cruises, 7 with NCL, and we found the dining room experience on the Jade one of our worst. Although I enjoy eating in the alternative pay dining rooms, it felt like to us we had to to have an enjoyable and tasteful dinner. The service was hit and mostly miss in the Grand Pacific and the dreary designed Alizar. The shrimp in the appetizer were so small you could barely see them, the soups were mostly bland and the desserts were very scarce for one who avoids sugar and uneventful for one who like to indulge. It was not until the 10th day of the cruise that we had a great experience in the main dining room thanks to the great service of Amos. Most of the servers seem like they are just going through the motions and do not go out of their way to make the passengers happy. We ate twice in Le Bistro and found the food great, service average and ambiance outstanding. We were on the sister ship The Gem two years ago and found the food and service both excellent. I realize this is a subjective topic but one that is important to most avid cruisers. Cabin service: D Our cabin steward never introduced himself to us. Our toilet stopped working every day until the 9th day a tech person replaced it. We reported the problem to our room steward to no avail, then the the pursers desk three times,after an insulting letter was left on the toilet telling us what to and not to flush my wife went to the pursers desk and explained that we have plenty of experience with ships toilets and we were tired of having to leave our room to find a working toilet. I realize things break down but this was poorly dealt with. The cabin steward often would come after we were back from dinner and the early show to disturb us. We are early diners and cabin steward on other ships always clean the room according to our schedule not theirs. Unlike most cruises we had no desire to take cabin steward home with us. Medical service: A We had an medical outbreak of the Nausea virus and I was one of many to call the medical center. A doctor and nurse promptly came to our room and gave me a shot and medicine. This was handled very well and I appreciate the help I received during this unfortunate situation. Entertainment: A We have always enjoyed the shows on NCL. The main theater shows were all first rate. The magicians Tim and Tom were great illusionist. The singers and live band were all talented and enjoyable. The comedians were funny and appealing to most nationalities. The solo entertainers were also great in the smaller venues. Conclusion: We sailed on the Pride of Aloha and the Pride of America with an all American crew and found they had better food and service than the Jade. Maybe NCL should have left this ship in Hawaii. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
My husband and I - who are seasoned cruisers -sailed on the NCL Jade departing October 21, 2009 from Athens, Greece for 12 nights with stops in 5 Greek Islands, Alexandira/Cairo, (Egypt), Izmir and disembarking in Istanbul, Turkey. I have ... Read More
My husband and I - who are seasoned cruisers -sailed on the NCL Jade departing October 21, 2009 from Athens, Greece for 12 nights with stops in 5 Greek Islands, Alexandira/Cairo, (Egypt), Izmir and disembarking in Istanbul, Turkey. I have taken my time in submitting a review as I wanted to be sure that I submit a clear and accurate one because we had chosen this ship for its itinerary only and not for the ship itself as we were very aware of the cruise line category. This ship is not for passengers expecting higher-end service at all. Embarkation in Athens (Pireaus) was surprisingly fast and easy - I could easily say it was a breeze! Our passports were "confiscated" upon check in order for the ship to obtain visas to Egpyt and Turkey. These were given back to us prior to disembarking in each of these ports. The ship does charge a $15.00pp surcharge in addition to the $20USD pp Visa fee for Turkey. The convenience is worth it. Because we only booked this ship for the ports, we decided on an inside cabin #10051 which was small as most inside cabins without a sofa. The bathroom was very roomy and the shower was quite large and comfortable with clear doors. This is where the good part ends. Although everyone is aware that liquor bottles are not to be brought onboard cruise ships, we always carry one on with us for our room on other higher-end cruiselines with no problem. Our usual "bar tab" - including bottled wine - on cruise ships reaches $900 so one bottle does not affect the ship's revenues and apparently other cruiselines recognize that. Our bottle was confiscated. Luggage is scrutinized and x rayed - not for weapons or other threatening objects - but strictly for liquor. The Jade has a designated room and permanent sign that directs passengers where to go if your luggage has been "halted" for liquor inspection. The sign reads that NCL has a Zero Tolerance for alcohol. Amazing! We were treated like criminals but that was ok. We did not spend one dime on liquor on this ship on purpose. We purchased drinks at each port daily and would bring in some in water bottles in my purse from each port. Although we were booked as "Mr. & Mrs." and requested our beds to be placed together prior to embarking, they were not. When we finally found our room steward - Joseph - we asked him to correct this. He replied if we could wait until tomorrow because he had no assistance for the evening. We frowned and let it go since we knew what to expect from NCL. However, the steward returned a few hours later and told us that he would put the beds together for us that same evening after all because he didn't want us to start on bad terms. So he found assistance and corrected the bed arrangement. His service during the remaining 11 nights was very poor. Our tissue box, amenities, toilet paper, glasses, ice and such were never replaced when emptied - days would go by and we would have to remind him. Our room did not have the usual binder with the room service menu, morning breakfast tags and other ship offerings so we called to request one on the third day. The front desk insisted we had one and ignored our request. Hours later we called our room steward and the front desk again regarding the binder with no results. A 1:00am - interrupting our sleep- the front desk called to advise us that someone will be sent to our cabin in a few minutes with the binder. This was unacceptable. Things like this continued during our cruise but we were more interested in the amazing itinerary than dealing with incompetent staff. Keep in mind that gratituities are automatically charged to your shipboard account and you have the option to adjust them at the end of the cuise. The food in the regular dining rooms was of very poor quality. I think they do this on purpose so you have to dine at their specialty restaurants - 11 of them - and spend more money. We refused to return to the main Alizar Dining room so we mostly ordered room service and ate at the Blue Lagoon. I recommend the Blue Lagoon for a quiet and cozy meal. Service there is excellent and is opened 24 hours. The Garden Cafe (buffet)was good but again the staff needs training in servicing their passengers. We dined in the Japanese Steakhouse ($25USDpp)one time which was very good. We also tried the Italian Restaurant ($15pp)once and the French Bistro twice($25pp). The food at the Italian was not good at all as it had no Italian taste. We let the server and manger know our concerns. We ordered the Chicken Parmigiana. The French Bistro is better but make sure you know "their" steak temperatures when ordering. We went twice and twice they got the temp wrong. The Jade has internet service available in each room via ethernet cable. If you forget yours they loan you one but remember to return it otherwise you will be charged $100USD. Internet packages are the usual 250Min for $100USD. The Jade's decor is mostly Hawaiian as it was originally Pride of Hawaii. The psychedelic decor throughout the ship may drive you crazy. The lounges have chairs shaped like man-eating flowers. The main corridors have gigantic multicolor acrylic flowers overhead. Very poor decor overall. Sanitizing is mandatory and you are required to use hand sanitizers whenever it is offered to you especially upon returning from a port or entering a dining area. They take good prevention against viruses. We attended only three shows - 2 of which we left before the end - cheesey productions on board. Only saw the illusionist show. The pool area is very bare and decorated in circus flag themes. Quite a sight! The ports were the best thing on this cruise. Our stops were Nafplion, Katakolon/Olympia, Crete, overnight in Cairo, Mykonos, Santorini, Izmir and overnight in beautiful Istanbul! (We stayed 4 more days in Istanbul after the cruise.) This itinerary had a minimum of 9 hours at each port- most were 10-12 with Cairo 48hours! This gave enough time to explore each port vigorously. Went on only two ship excursions, Izmir and the first day in Istanbul. The ship staff is well organized for this and those went well. For all other ports, we either went on our own or booked private tours which I highly recommend - especially in Cairo. The ship has a slogan that you can disembark on the final day whenever you please so you can sleep in, excercise, watch a movie, etc. - well the last disembark hour is 9:00am as most other ships. That doesn't give much time to participate in the suggested activities. Would I recommend NCL or the Jade?? - only if your interest is in the ports it will visit and you are willing to adhere to poor quality and service, otherwise, definitely another cruiseline. Read Less
Sail Date October 2009
My wife and I have cruised many times over the years with varied Cruise Lines but I have to say up until now this cruise on the Norwegian Jade must be the best cruise we have ever experienced, just wonderful! Once I grasped that most of ... Read More
My wife and I have cruised many times over the years with varied Cruise Lines but I have to say up until now this cruise on the Norwegian Jade must be the best cruise we have ever experienced, just wonderful! Once I grasped that most of the crew were Filipino I was more than glad. Our experiences with these natives of the Philippines has always been fond with their smiling faces and subservient demeanor contributing to make the cruise noteworthy. Embarkation was very smooth and speedy, no more than 10 minutes which was so different from our last cruise which took an outrageous 4 hours to embark [MSC]We were escorted to our suite by our Butler the wonderful Teresa [Mamma T] This was the first time that we have taken advantage of an owners suite and we found the accommodation  everything that we had expected, pretty amazing! with all the room you need to spread out and kick your shoes off, the Queen sized bed, floor to ceiling views from your window and spacious toilets! I have heard it say many times that the cabins are only for sleeping in but once experiencing an owners suite, for us this was the ultimate in cruising comfort! Those of us who have tried to bend down to pick up the soap in the shower in a standard cabin will appreciate what I am talking about!!!!! This was our very first cruise with NCL with the concept of total free style dining, the rules scrapped with no formal evenings seated at a fixed first or second sitting. We have had experience of freestyle dining when cruising with Princess Cruises in the past but they do offer the option of a fixed table, which we had much preferred. But I have to say we have no problem with this style of cruising. Choosing from up to 13 restaurants and dining rooms you do not have to pre-book your table but, because the speciality restaurants are so very special with quite superb food, therefore It is a good idea to reserve your preferred time at your restaurant of choice, just as you would do at home. Even waltzing in any time we never had to wait any longer than two minutes to be seated. There is an acceptable varied cover charge at the majority of the restaurants with the exception of 4 which still offer International cuisine. Our favourite was the Gourmet French Signature Restaurant Le Bistro. The theatre entertainment on board was the usual mixture of Showtime revues, comedy and magic. I was pleased that there was an orchestra on board as a good orchestra can heighten the enjoyment of the show and this one certainly did. The Showtime dancers were all gifted with great voices and performed wonderful shows but, the females were quite different and out of the ordinary.Let us just say that they were never that far away from dining room!!!! The resident comedian was very funny when the audience were participating and was more of a story teller which was a big part of his act, but I have to say his joke material was quite weak! The magician was excellent, although no big props my jaw dropped a few times with his neat dexterous and skillful presentation. We never had the pleasure of experiencing other entertainment lounges on board so I feel I can not comment. There were the usual mixture of on board activities on the cruising days which I am sure were of interest to the other passengers but we only attended the quiz sessions along with companions we met on board who also enjoyed he excellent brain numbing questions!!! The itinerary was the Canaries & Morocco route with a good selection of excursions at all ports of call. We purchased the Casablanca Highlights as well as the Agadir Highlights, both were well organized,interesting and reasonably priced. We did our own thing at Las Palmas, Madeira and Malaga with free shuttle buses made available which was a plus as this is not always the case with other cruise lines! This cruise was so special because of the wonderful fellow passengers we met, the brilliant crew members who all contributed towards our dream cruise but I feel I have to mention one in particular; The Concierge Ruth Hagger who was just sparkling at her job and was certainly influential in making our cruise on Norwegian Jade exciting and memorable. Read Less
Sail Date January 2008
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