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NCL Jade - March 2012

NCL Jade - March 2012

Postby Tiggy » 31 Mar 2012 16:34

This was to be our first cruise on a big ship as we have previously been with Fred Olsen and Azamara. This was also the first time we had booked only the cruise with the travel agent and arranged our own travel. The cruise was from Barcelona and we could get excellent flights with easyjet and have a day in Barcelona before the start and at the end of the cruise.

We were asked to arrive at the cruise terminal at 12 noon which we did and our luggage was taken by porters, the check-in formalities and obligatory photographs were taken and we boarded the ship and were able to access our cabin straight away. This whole process took about 20 minutes – very efficient and professional. Our luggage arrived about an hour later.

We had a mini suite midship on deck 11 which was very nice with plenty of drawers and hanging space. We have had normal cabins bigger than this on other ships but I understand this cabin was larger than the normal balcony cabin on Jade, hence the “mini suite” title. There was a good –size balcony, a sitting area, coffee filter machine, TV (old fashioned as it had no facility for ordering wine, booking tables for dinner, checking statements etc) and an excellent hairdryer! The bed was very comfortable and the bathroom was large with a shower over a bath which had a sliding door rather than a curtain. The cabin was well looked after and felt fresh and clean. Oh, and there were bath robes as well.

There are two complimentary restaurants – the Grand Pacific, which I thought was very big and dark, and a bit noisy, and there was the Alizar, which I preferred. It seemed to be a bit smaller and was brighter and had a contemporary feel to it. Food in both places was very good. We also enjoyed the Blue Lagoon, which was a kind of café with a smaller menu for breakfast and soup, panninis and burgers and such like for lunch. We didn’t try the evening meals there. We tried Cagneys ($25 pp) where we had the best chips I have ever tasted along with lovely steaks and puddings to die for. We also tried the Teppanyaki Restaurant ($25 pp) which was good fun as the food is cooked on Japanese-style griddles and you sit round these watching as the chefs prepare your meal. The Garden Café buffet was a bit of a nightmare. Our first meal on board Jade was in the Garden Café and we panicked as we wondered what we had let ourselves in for. It is a huge, noisy, busy canteen of a place with muzak playing loudly. It was difficult to get a seat, and the water was served in plastic cups and it just was not an enjoyable experience but it was always busy so it must have been popular. We were just so glad to find that the whole ship wasn’t like this.

Twice we tried to get into the evening shows but the Stardust theatre was full. It is the biggest theatre I have ever seen on a ship but it was always busy.

There were 4 sea days but there was not much on during the day – most talks were linked to sales e.g. the Art Auctions or the Emerald Sales. I didn’t mind as I wanted to read and the library was pretty extensive. The 4 ports we visited were Arecife, Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Funchal and Malaga. We have been to all of them before and knew what we wanted to do in each. We didn’t book any of the ship’s excursions.

We got a good price for this cruise and we knew that $12 pp per day would be added to our bill for gratuities as would 15% for drinks, speciality dining, etc + 8% tax when in Spanish waters. A bottle of wine was approximately $30 and a Cosmopolitan was $9. A pint of draught beer was $6 although they ran out of draught about half way through the cruise and OH had to make do with cans or bottles (approx $5). You have to add 15% or 23% to these prices.

The crew were great, but some were little bit “in your face” but they were all polite if a bit too cheery, but that is just me. On saying that, the steward who looked after our cabin didn’t introduce himself to us but did leave a couple of little towelling animals on the bed for us to admire, as well as keep our cabin immaculate.

Disembarkation was also very slick and before we knew it we were off the ship. As our flight home was not until the evening we arranged for a company who are based at the cruise terminal to look after our luggage and deliver it to us at the airport that evening. The cost for that was 9 euros per piece of luggage. That allowed us to spend the day in Barcelona and was well worth it.

I enjoyed NCL Jade a lot more than I thought I would and was very impressed by the high standard of customer service. I would certainly travel with them again.
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Re: NCL Jade - March 2012

Postby sevenseascoaster » 31 Mar 2012 16:51

Very interesting review Tiggy, glad to hear you had a good time even though your first impression in the Garden Cafe weren't so good. I like the idea of the Japanese resaurant where you can watch the food being prepared and $25 seems reasonable for a speciality restaurant.

If the Theatre was filled every time, the shows must have been good?

Any dressing up? or is it all relaxed style?

What a good idea to store your luggage before the flight home, did you find this facility on line before you went?

Any pictures to come?

Welcome back :) .
Wen

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NCL Jade - March 2012

Postby dopeyngrumpy » 31 Mar 2012 16:52

Great review, we like the Jade and NCL and enjoyed our October trip similarly, interestingly I came in here to post that I have seen a great offer on inside and ocean view on 12th April sailing , starts at just over £250, plus flights of course, for a 9 or 10 nighter

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Re: NCL Jade - March 2012

Postby Tiggy » 31 Mar 2012 17:09

sevenseascoaster wrote:Very interesting review Tiggy, glad to hear you had a good time even though your first impression in the Garden Cafe weren't so good. I like the idea of the Japanese resaurant where you can watch the food being prepared and $25 seems reasonable for a speciality restaurant.

If the Theatre was filled every time, the shows must have been good?

Any dressing up? or is it all relaxed style?

What a good idea to store your luggage before the flight home, did you find this facility on line before you went?

Any pictures to come?

Welcome back :) .

Hi Wen
There were mixed reviews about the shows. There was an "Il Divo" type group of four men who were fantastic and that was one of the nights we couldn't get in. The other one we tried was a trapeze type act and it was full. However there wasn't the same level of good reviews for them.
I took a few long dresses that are more summery than formal and OH wore open necked shirts - no jacket. We only saw one person in a dinner suit the whole cruise.
I had read that there was a facility whereby you could have your luggage delivered to the airport but didn't know the name of the company. But they were easy to find when we got off the ship and the queue for this was very long. Their website is http://www.deliverywarehouse.es.
As for photographs - I have downloaded them from my camera to my pc but getting them on here is another matter. I will have to look up the instructions again. Watch this space. ;)
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Re: NCL Jade - March 2012

Postby sevenseascoaster » 31 Mar 2012 17:17

Thanks for your answers Tiggy, I shall bear in mind the airport luggage facility for future reference.

We have friends that regularly cruise on NCL and love the informalness of it, just not sure its for me, but could be persuaded for the right price and itinery?!! :)
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Re: NCL Jade - March 2012

Postby Tiggy » 31 Mar 2012 17:21

dopeyngrumpy wrote:Great review, we like the Jade and NCL and enjoyed our October trip similarly, interestingly I came in here to post that I have seen a great offer on inside and ocean view on 12th April sailing , starts at just over £250, plus flights of course, for a 9 or 10 nighter

David

Hi David
If people know how much to add on for gratuities, service charge etc and it is still a good price then they should go for it as the food is excellent and the cabins are clean, comfortable and well looked after.
I am glad you enjoyed the ship as well. :D
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Re: NCL Jade - March 2012

Postby JollyJill » 31 Mar 2012 17:44

Thanks for the review Tig, it sounds as though you had a great time. :)
We haven't tried NCL yet but if the itinerary appeals and we can fit it in, then maybe we will.
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Re: NCL Jade - March 2012

Postby jsb » 31 Mar 2012 18:07

Good review. I would like to try NCL but hubby isn't keen.
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Re: NCL Jade - March 2012

Postby Jimmy the One » 31 Mar 2012 18:23

Thanks for the review Tiggy always good to hear about different cruise lines
Jim
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Re: NCL Jade - March 2012

Postby jocap » 31 Mar 2012 19:01

I'm glad you enjoyed your NCL cruise, Tiggy......we'd like to sail with her again, and are looking at Easyjet, as the NCL flight arrangements to B/C were a nightmare! The crew can overdo it, but I've noticed that on American ships; then UK managed ones with crew trained to be quieter, get it in the neck for not being friendly....:(
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