Firstly, we chose this cruise mainly for rest and "landed" in the UK without the dreaded jetlag! We stayed in the Westin, very close to the port pre-cruise and had a complimentary van transfer which took less than 5 minutes...$20 ... Read More
Firstly, we chose this cruise mainly for rest and "landed" in the UK without the dreaded jetlag! We stayed in the Westin, very close to the port pre-cruise and had a complimentary van transfer which took less than 5 minutes...$20 tip shared between hotel bell-boy and driver for this excellent courtesy.
The embarkation experience was fabulous...we left the Westin hotel at 10.50am and stepped onto the ship at precisely 11.30am. Check-in was quick and smooth, and we were card number 2 for Platinum boarders. Suite guests were called at 11.15, and Platinum at 11.20....smoothest, quickest check-in ever on 39 cruises so well done Tampa and NCL.
When we boarded, we were advised cabins would be ready by 1.30pm however I wandered off to our cabin and it was ready so we dropped our roll-on luggage and headed for lunch, our first of many fabulous meals. We found the Garden Cafe buffet met our expectations for breakfast and lunch...it is a buffet, very busy, so do bear that in mind! We found the Alizar MDR provided better service than the Grand Pacific, to be fair we only had 2 evening meals in Alizar, and 1 in Grand Pacific. We had 2 free Speciality Restaurant meals (Platinum perk), and purchased a further 8 as UDP. We had 3 Cagneys (superb), 3 Le Bistro (excellent), 2 Moderno (very good, but a "meatfest"), 1 Teppanyaki (OK, but experienced previously) and 1 La Cucina (poor). On the final evening, we went to the Garden Cafe to work around our packing and were very satisfied.
Having sailed the Jade 3 times previously, we found the refurbishment had provided tasteful decor in the Atrium, and general public areas....nothing Wow factor, but well appointed. The cabins are also more tastefully decorated...my wife expressed this as more warm colours overall, and some lovely grey tones also. The pool area is also much better, having removed the slide and also the Hawaiin themes, so more area around the pool. To be honest, whilst all of these changes are very good, the refurb did not quite meet our expectations with some areas not refurbed at all e.g. the Magnum/Le Bistro area on deck 6. That said, we were told that the furniture for these areas was coming from Italy, and would be changed either at Southampton or Hamburg during the first couple of sailings in Northern Europe! That will make for some minor disruption, I guess.
Entertainment overall was very good, we particularly enjoyed the evening music around the ship at Atrium and also Magnums area and also the young Argentinian couple around the pool during our sea days...they were fabulous. They commenced their contract this cruise, for 3 months, and my forecast is they will also be utilised for evening music in Northern Europe. The Main Theatre shows were good overall, especially Elements, but the "comedy juggler" and "illusions" stuff is old hat for us now so we didn't do them.
Given this was a Transatlantic Repositioning cruse, the ports were excellent with Key West and Miami, then Ponta Delgada in the Atlantic, followed by Cobh in Ireland and Falmouth in Cornwall England. Very satisfied with them overall.
NCL try to offer a fairly priced "basic" experience with upsells for those who wish them. I read many complaints on CC about nickel & dimeing, but none of those are necessary if you want only the basic experience. In our experience, as we do, most passengers go for something in between i.e. do some of the upsell stuff, but by no means all of it. Most of the cabin flyers we receive, end up in the trash bin! Read Less