After leaving the Norwegian Spirit in Venice at around 10:30 AM, we walked about a quarter of a mile to where the Jade was docked, and dropped off our luggage before proceeding to explore more of the beautiful city, the Queen of the Adriatic. Arriving back at port at around 2:30 PM, the wait to check in was none. The facilities were clean and modern, despite the warehouse-look of the terminal from the outside.
We did encounter a 20 minute delay, however, as there was major confusion in locating the key card for our four year-old son. Unlike for the Spirit, our USA passports were not collected at this point, but a little later on before boarding the ship.
Norwegian Jade Interior Stateroom Review
We had an cabin for this cruise with the room number of 8519. When you first enter you see on the right side that there was plenty of built-in storage and closet space. The mini-fridge is located above a large niche next to the closets. The carpet was adorned with wave patterns and prints of seashells/fish, matching what the NCL nautical theme.
The stateroom had a practical layout with two small desk on either side. A 27" flat screen sat above one of the tables, and it was nice to have an extra tier of storage area directly above it.
The bed was a little firm, but still quite comfortable. The pillows were a tad flat, but they provided 4, so you can easily stack two underneath, and you could always ask your room steward for more.
The bathroom was neat and offered many glass shelves for your toiletries. Word of advice, however- since your stateroom attendant probably sprays down the mirror and the counter-top daily, it may be wise to cover your toothbrushes and other items that you do not want to be accidentally misted by cleaning agents.
The shower had a sliding door, and is large enough actually to fit two people, unlike some of the other cruise ships around. It was also nice to be able to remove the shower head, which is especially useful for washing small children. The temperature does vary during a shower a little more than what we would have liked, however. As you can see in the photo below, NCL provides shower gel and shampoo via a stainless steel dispenser.
An excellent attribute of this cabin was that it was fairly quiet. Unlike the noisy forward cabin we had aboard the Spirit, this stateroom allowed for better and more restful sleep.
Impression of the Public Areas
The cruise ship was originally the Pride of Hawaii, but was renamed Jade in 2008. The hull art did change from a string of brightly colored flowers into a more subdued, turquoise wave/ribbon pattern. Inside, however, there was plentiful of vibrant tropical floral decor throughout the vessel. In addition, all the funky sculptures and light fixtures that depict jellyfish and other underwater creatures created a cool vibe.
The atrium area has a red/bright orange theme, and though is expansive, did not have a soaring ceiling as it only spanned decks 7 and 8.
The pool deck comprised of an adults-only pool that had a water fall feeding into it from deck 13. There was also a larger pool and several hot tubs, along with a twisting yellow waterslide and a bandstand.
The Stardust Theater was appropriately named glittery ceiling lights above. The stadium-style seating is appreciated.
Norwegian Jade Entertainment
The Welcome Aboard Show was a bit disappointing. At best, the theater was only half full for the 7:30 show, as if people knew about its lack of good entertainment value ahead of time. The production cast came out and did an "Italiano" number, and that was pretty nice. Cruise Director Pedro, however, was a bit lacking in excitement Interestingly, the Assistant Cruise Director seemed to have better energy and drew more laughs earlier from the safety drill. To cap off the show, the Magician came out with a pair of sword-in-body tricks.
Pedro was fine the rest of the cruise, however, and did go out and greet guests returning from Split, Croatia- dressed up as a clown . We did wish that he had provided more info about the upcoming port after the main shows in the theater.
"Shout" was a song and dance show that included some humorous bits, though certainly did not have enough of a story to be a true musical.
The acrobatic duo of Roberto and Dorota were put on quite a the display of flexibility, strength, and grace in their Cirque du Soleil-esque show.
The magic show put on by Cripton & Renata was pretty cool, though quite similar to the act put on by the duo of Sander and Alison aboard the Norwegian Spirit, and thus was not as impressive as if one were see the acts for the first time.
On the other hand, the tenor quartet of Bel Canto from Ukraine wowed the crowd with their amazing voices. They also highlighted the farewell show on the last night with a couple of new songs mixed with old.
The ship's signature show, "Elements", was the same as the one we saw a week earlier aboard the Spirit, with a few differences. The woman acrobat on the Spirit was better at the "ocean wave" effect, and the magician from the Jade was not as flashy. His sexy female sidekick, however, was slightly more showy. The cute "bouncy" girls on trampoline line swings on the Jade were suspended about 10 rows deep from the stage, whereas on the Spirit they were right atop of it. Overall, the show was till very impressive and entertaining, though the one from the Spirit was slightly better.
Other than shows, the guest-participation Dancing with the Norwegian Jade Stars "show" was fairly entertaining. Brave guests were paired off with members of the ship's entertainment staff, and vie the top prize.
Dining was a positive experience overall aboard the ship. The buffet restaurant, the Garden Cafe, was vastly superior than the one on the Norwegian Spirit. The selection was very good. Some of the highlights included Prime Rib:
Cooked to order Lobster Pasta:
and freshly made crepes:
We did find hair in food a couple times there, but it was not a big deal.
The two main dining rooms were Versailles (at the back of deck 6 with large windows at the aft of the ship), and Alizar (a more modern looking restaurant but with lower ceilings). Some of the dishes we enjoyed the most during the cruise were
Shrimp & Mushroom Cream Pasta:
Gnocchi & Short Rib Ragu:
Calamari Fritti appetizer:
and the decadent Snickerdoodle Pound Cake a la Mode with Vanilla Ice Cream:
The Brazilian specialty restaurant on the ship, the Moderno Churrascaria, was a treat. The meats were grilled and seasoned well, and the salad bar was high-end with items such as Feta Cheese Salad & Walnut Pear Salad.
We also tried the Hot Pot Noodle Bar at the Asian Restaurant. The experience was similar to the one we had many years ago with Shabu Shabu aboard the Norwegian Pearl. First there was a seaweed salad with edamame which was enjoyable. Next, a pot of ginger chicken broth was brought out. Fresh vegetables such as Napa cabbage & bok choy, along with raw chicken breast strips, 2 types of dumplings (pork & shrimp), tofu, and several different type of noodles (udon, flat & thin glass ones). After the broth started boiling, we added and cooked the ingredients. Dipping sauces were peanut-miso & soy. You can ask for chili oil to make the soup really spicy. It was an enjoyable experience and we'd recommend it for those who like Asian hot pots.
Blue Lagoon was a 24-hour comfort food eatery on the ship. If you like chicken wings, burgers, fish and chips, or panini at 3 AM, that is not a problem there. Here is a tip- eat breakfast at Blue Lagoon for a less hectic experience vs the Garden Cafe. You can order omelet made to order there as well.
One thing we did miss was the Chocoholics Buffet which did not happen on this cruise for some reason.
Service Level on the Ship
In general we had a good service on the Jade, typical of most cruises we have been on. We did have some issues with our room steward, however. He did not replace a drinking that was broken early in the cruise, and instead gave us one fewer glass the rest of the way. Also despite the fact that there were 3 of us in the cabin, he would only place two sets of bath towels despite our reminders. What was especially odd and disturbing was my wife's bra that was in the room went mysteriously missing.
Norwegian Jade Rating & Overall Thoughts
We enjoyed our time aboard the Norwegian Jade. The cabin was comfortable, quiet, and well laid-out. The public areas were well-kept, clean, with some uniquely decorated locations. The food, whether it be from the buffet, the main dining rooms, or the specialty restaurants, were tasty for the most part. The entertainment was fine- though perhaps could have been enhanced with a comic or two. Our specific itinerary was highlighted by the Game of Thrones city of Dubrovnik in Croatia. Overall, it was another excellent cruise, and despite the issues we had with our stateroom attendant, heartily recommend the Norwegian Jade and give it a 4/5 stars rating.
NCL Jade Pros
Sailaway Party was festive, though no production singers or dancers participated
Solid food quality at Garden Cafe
Kid's area at Garden Cafe buffet convenient for families with small children
Seafood Buffet highlighted by large wild shrimp (with head & shell on) + lobster pasta
faster than average Internet access speed
Hot Pot Noodle Bar was enjoyable
Good food and relatively quick service in Alizar
NCL Jade Cons
long delay in getting room key card for child before boarding
lackluster Welcome Aboard Show
lack of seating at Garden Cafe at times
soft-serve "ice cream" instead of ice cream serving station
found hair in food at Garden Cafe twice
shower temperature fluctuates
No port info given by cruise director after shows
No map given in stateroom for port (must go to service desk to ask)
Nice review. This is my journal of sorts for this trip. I will start with day 2. We let our 4 year old son slept in to catch up on his sleep then for brunch at 11am at the Garden Cafe Buffet which was already closed for breakfast but they still had a small section of breakfast food outside the buffet.
I ate a yogurt and hubby ate a bit, and buddy ate a bit of sausage. We then went to the main dinning at the Grand Pacific, deck 7 Aft. At 11:30 and were there for bit over and hour (it took long time to get the food and our server was extra slow). We then returned to our cabin to get ready for to go off the ship to explore Dubrovnik, Croatia. Half an hour later, the front desk call us and let us know that they had my purse which I had forgotten. When hubby brought back my purse to the cabin, we couldn't find my cabin key thus I had to get a new one - they had to get us all three new cabin keys.
I then went to buy the shuttle tickets to the old town area since they told us that it would take us half an hour walking to area. The shuttle service was $14.99 per person. I told the guest service lady that I would have our son to sit on my lap and thus it would be no charge for him. She was skeptical about my idea but I told her that we always do that when we took the Norwegian shuttles to the airports. She let me just buy two tickets instead of three but she made clear that I needed to have him on my laps which I did. We got off the ship around 2:30am and got in a long line for the shuttle for about 20 minutes and the ride was for 15 minutes. I am glad we didn't walk since the streets seemed tricky and the long walk which wouldn't work with our little one.
We went into the walled city of Dubrovnik which had some amazingly old and beautiful buildings. The old town is completely pedestrianized with one wide street on the Main Street of the town and the other streets are very narrow. We walked around the Main Street area to take pictures. There are many shopping shops and tons of restaurants. We then bought the tickets ($16 each) to go on the double-lined stone walls which goes all around the town (The Walls of Dubrovnik). It was about a bit over a mile of walking around the town on the amazing and tall fortifications. The views from there were spectacular but scary at the same time even though it was safe to walk high up there. It took us about 2 hours to go around on top of the walls. Though we had our 4 year old with us and we stopped endless of times to take millions of pictures.
You don't have to go the entire length walls, as there were some areas where you could get down to the ground level. After we got down from the walls, we walked around the town a bit and went on the very narrow, ancient streets. We only went through the small streets for a bit since it was getting dark but we did get to inside an old church and it was very beautiful inside. There was a mass going thus we didn't get to take many pictures - actually, we were not supposed to take pictures because I saw a sign said 'no photo'.
At 6pm, we were walking our way out to the main gate and on our way there, we saw a large group of actors/extras from the Game of Thrones! It was almost like a parade and many people were taking pictures of them. After the spectacle ended, we continued walking toward the main gate to go get on the shuttle bus to return to the ship. The shops on the Main Street were closing down but it was still beautiful at night to walk with bright lighting, and I loved how there no cars and scooters which was nice and safe (unlike many other place/countries we had been to). It was dark by the time we got to the shuttle and we were able to just get on one right away.
After returning we went to eat at the Garden Cafe buffet and it was very busy and once again, many people with no kids setting at the kids area and even took the food from the kids' cafe area. Though I have to say that there was lack of seating and there is only one main food area which means that people have to go far to get their food from their tables in most cases.
Tonight was prime rib night at the buffet and it was really good. So far, the food on the Jade is much better than the that of the Spirit. We got off the Norwegian Spirit and continued our vacation on the Jade, and we just went straight over by foot since they docked at the same port and same day. The Norwegian Jade is a newer and larger cruise ship.
After we finished dinner, we dropped off the little dude at Splash Academy and went to the Stardust theater to watch the 9:30 pm show "Shout" with four female performing different songs from different eras between 50s-80s. The show was not bad.
We then went to pick up our son and the dude was still not a fan of this Splash Academy.....maybe the place is too loud for him with bigger kids playing games at the reception area. Later we went to the Garden Cafe to eat some fruits and then retired to the cabin for some well-needed snoozing.
06/04/2015 - 12:25 PM CST
Day 2: We didn't woke up until 10ish and we didn't get to leave our cabin until around noon. We went for lunch at the Garden Caf, then went for a walk outside on deck 7. At 3pm we took the little one straight to the Cupcake decoration event (Family event with kids 3-17 years old). They said it was a cupcake decoration competition but they didn't announce the 'winner' and then give out small prizes to the kids like on the Norwegian Spirit. It didn't seem as fun and special - they should have just said cupcake decorating time for family and kids. But no biggie, our little guy had fun with decorating his cupcake that he called it the Leaning Tower of Pisa!
Hubby came up to join us shortly after, and we then went to the Blue Lagoon for bit of snacks. We went back to our cabin afterward and chilled out for a bit before getting ready for dinner at the Moderno specialty restaurant at 5:30pm. We have eaten at Moderno on different ships before thus we are familiar with the place. Their salad bar with many choices of greens, cheese and Spanish sausages to choose from, and they also had two types of soups. Their BBQ meats were all very good, though the file mignon was well done and it would have been better if it was more of medium or medium rare. We tried all of their deserts and none were all that great. We didn't finish until almost 2 hours later - the restaurant got very busy and there was only one waiter to take care of 5 tables.
We rushed to drop off the little one to the kids area and then left to watch the 7:30pm Acrobat show by a Polish couple whom we saw a few times at the Garden Cafe with their daughter dining at the kids cafe area. The show was great and they were very talented! We went to pick up our son afterwards and then headed to the buffet for some fruits, and then back to the cabin. Hubby tucked him to bed and I went to walk off those calories we ingested for dinner!
06/05/2015 - 03:48 PM CST
Day 4: We woke up at 10ish and went for "brunch" at the Blue Lagoon. We got off the ship at 12 for Piraeus and the Jade had a shuttle bus to drive us the port entrance since the ship docked far away.We didn't go to Athens since hubby and I went there to see most of the amazing sites last time we were there with the Norwegian Spirit. So we decided to check out city the port city of Piraeus. We were trying to look for some interesting places but there weren't much to find and see. We walked around the some of the areas for 3 hours and thought it was not worth your time and energy since the city really doesn't have much to see and explore.
On our way back to the ship, however, we did see this giant farmers market which we went through part of it and ate some Greek style meat skewers which were petty good. The farmers market was actually very close to the port. We returned to the ship at 2:40pm and went for lunch at the Garden Cafe at 3pm. We all were tired from the walking and went back to our cabin after lunch to chill out.
We went for dinner at the Alizar at 6pm which was a good time to dine there since it had not gotten busy yet. We got very fast and good service and finished our main courses right before it got really busy and thus we waited for a bit to get our desserts and we didn't leave the restaurant until 7:20pm. We rushed to drop the little guy at Splash Academy before we went to watch the Illusions Magic Show with Cripton and Renata. It wasn't bad but not amazing as many of the tricks we had seen already. After the show, we went to pick up The little dude and then headed for the Garden Cafe to eat some fruits. We got back to our cabin to have the little one ready for bed. I then left to watch the Dance with the Norwegian Stars event at the Galaxy of the Stars Lounge. It was quit entertaining but it didn't seemed as funny as many other ones I had seen....these guys weren't as crazy as others I had seen in the past.
06/09/2015 - 01:30 PM CST
Day 5: We woke up at 10 and went to the Blue Lagoon to have breakfast since they serve it there- nice and quick too. Too bad their selection is limited but enough for us, wish they have oat meal and yogurt. We got off the ship around 12ish. We have been to Kusadasi Turkey before and visited the famous Ephesus. So this time we checked out their Grand Bazaar and we didn't find it nearly as interesting as the spice market in Istanbul. We got some pomegranate juice that was only 1 EU.
We were looking for their city wall but could find it so we just walked along the coast. On our way back to the ship, we ate at a restaurant near the port. We ordered a grilled sea bass (small) for 20 Turkish Liras (~ $9 USD); 6 grilled prawns (medium sized) for 25 Turkish Lira (~$14), and a small bowl of fish soup for 12 TL ($5). The food was pretty good and both the grilled fish and prawns were fresh and good but the fish soup was ok. I thought the fish was a bit tough though it had a nice creamy broth from the rice in the soup and the tomatoes was good in the soup. I personally think it was too pricy, maybe you can get the same stuff and quality of food for cheaper if you dined some other places away from the immediate port area. Same goes for the shopping, I noticed that the same stuff they selling at the shops at the port were more expensive then they sold at the Grand Bazaar - you definitely get more choices with better prices for the exact same stuff at the bazaar a few minutes of walk away.
We returned to the ship at 2:30ish and we hung out in the cabin for a bit and went up the Garden Cafe to get some ice cream for the little dude as a surprise reward for being so good walking with us around the city. We left for dinner at 6pm and today we came just 15 minutes later than yesterday and we noticed that the service was as fast as yesterday. By the time we left the restaurant at 7pm, it was packed - we skipped the desert since we knew it would take too long and we wouldn't be able to make tonight show at 7:30pm. The Jade always have their daily shows at 7:30pm & 9:30pm, and the 7:30pm worked best for us due to our little one.
Tonight show was great with Tenors Bel' Canto, a vocal quartet from the Ukraine. There were four gentlemen sang with their powerful opera voices. We noticed that on this ship, the first show seemed to have fewer people and things get more crowded for the second performance at 9:30pm.
Later we went to picked up our son and headed over to the Garden Cafe which was just next door to the Splash Academy, and we got some fruits and Darwin got a slide of pizza - their pizza was good, they made their own pizza dough (unlike Norwegian Spirit where they had the unpleasant pre-made pizza bread). We then headed back to our cabin and I read for our little one, and had the dude ready for bed. Nothing interesting for me tonight to check out since they have the popular White Hot Party going on tonight. Tomorrow should be a nice relaxing sea day!
06/12/2015 - 09:30 PM CST
Day 6: We started this glorious sea day with a nice breakfast @ the Blue Lagoon. Later we got our passports back that were collected- due traveling to Turkey, the crew had taken our passports when we checked in during embarkation. There was a long line to pick the passports in the Moderno restaurant but luckily we sat at the Blue Lagoon noticed what was happening, so we just waited until fewer people in the line as we finished up breakfast.
Hubby went to get our passports when it was almost no one there which saved us time. We went for a walk afterward and then went to the Garden Cafe buffet and got something light for lunch. And once again, we went for an another walk on deck 7 and it was such a nice day for the month of October in the Mediterranean. It was akin to California weather- I loved it! We then had to go back to the buffet since the little dude didn't eat lunch when we ate as he had a big breakfast. Now he was of course hungry during the the middle of our walk. By the time he was done with his lunch at 3:20ish, and we then walked for some more and then we took him to Splash Academy at 3:50pm so he could watch the puppet show at 4.
He was looking forward to watch the show but when we got to the kids area, we discovered that it was kids-only and no parents were allowed. So the little guy hesitated to go and it took me 15 minutes to convince him with bribery and threat to watch the puppet show.
I have to say that it had been a boring but relaxing day at the sea. Hubby and I walked for some more since it was so nice outside and nothing much going on. We then went to pick up our son at 5 and went back to the cabin to chill out for a bit. We got ready to go for dinner at the Jasmine Garden Specialty restaurant at 5:30pm. We were about 10 minutes late and we didn't leave the restaurant until 7:20pm. We were there for almost two hours which I thought was too long. It took a while to get our food but the service was good and the food was great. We ordered the Shabu Shabu 'Noodles Bar' which was a hot pot that came with ginger flavored chicken broth, chicken, vegetables, and three types of noodles ('udon', rice noodles and glass noodles). It also came with peanut sauce that I wasn't a fan of, and soy sauce. The chicken broth was flavorful and it smelled good. I enjoyed our dinner but again wished that it didn't take so long to have the food out.
Hubby dropped off the little guy @ Splash Academy and he seemed to be ok with it (he had been resist about going there), and we then went to watch tonight show 'Elements' which was pretty much the same show we saw on the Norwegian Spirit. Even though the show was the same, some parts were better than the Spirit and others was not quite good. We went to pick our son after the show and he seemed to be more comfortable in there and was happier, and he even asked to go back there the day after. He was finally being happy about going to the Splash Academy, but then it was toward the end of the vacation......that dude!
06/14/2015 - 05:24 PM CST
Day 7: Today the ship would visit Split, Croatia. We went to the Stardust Theater to meet up for our NCL tour group at 11:15 (meeting time was 11:30). The ship didn't dock until at 11 am. We didn't leave the port with our bus tour until noon which I thought was late. We were on the bus for 30 minutes driving to Salona and then Trogir. Salona was not interesting as Trogir but those two neither were one of the best places we had visited. We didn't get back to the ship until 4:40ish because some people were late to meet back both places we were at which was pretty annoying- it ruined our plans to check out Split since all aboard time was 5:30. We wanted to explore the city, or at least visit the Diocletian's Palace.
We got back to cabin and chilled out for few minutes and we left for the Pacific restaurant at 5:30pm and the place was not busy yet. We had some good main courses but not so great appetizers tough the little guy was very pleased with his prime rib. He finished most of the ~10 oz portion, which was surprising for a 4 year old. Also tonight we had one of the best (if not the best) tiramisu dessert ever with a nice and strong rum flavor in the cake...so good, I was so close to ordering another one.
We went to dropped the little guy off at Splash Academy and then went to watch the tonight's performance at Stardust Theater which was a Variety Show. It was pretty good but they did not have the acrobat couple to perform for us, nor did it have the magician on it either but I was ok with it. After the show , we went to check on our son and decided to let he play some more.
We then visited the Garden Buffet to eat some salads and fruits. Tonight they have some good grilled food meat and veggies there. We picked up our son half an hour later and went back to our cabin to finish packing up, as it was the last day of the cruise. After packing I left to watch the karaoke superstar show 10:30pm before calling it a night (and another nice cruise!)