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Norwegian Jade 10N Katakolon Athens Kusadasi Istanbul Naples Rome (Greece and Turkey)

Norwegian Jade 10N Katakolon Athens Kusadasi Istanbul Naples Rome (Greece and Turkey)

Postby iluvcruising2 » 16 Jan 2015 11:49

We returned to Singapore earlier this week from Rome, after a very good cruise on the Norwegian Jade out of Rome. Our itinerary was:

Rome
Sea Day
Katakolon, Greece (for Olympia)
Piraeus, Greece (for Athens)
Kusadasi, Turkey (for Ephesus)
Istanbul (overnight)
Sea Day
Sea Day
Naples
Rome

Short video clip of the itinerary



This is our very first cruise on Norwegian Cruise lines, after many cruises on Royal and one on Celebrity. We chose this cruise because of its itinerary and also because we got a very good price for a 2 bedroom penthouse suite. Further, we decided to try to squeeze 6 people into this suite, in order to take advantage of the very low 5th and 6th pax prices. It worked out alright, as I will show you later in the review.

Before that, I would say that we did not really know what to expect on this cruise. Being Diamonds on Royal, we had come to appreciate all the loyalty perks (including enjoying reciprocal Elite perks on Celebrity last year). But since we manage to snag this cabin at this price, and also because of the itinerary, it was good to give NCL a shot.

And we certainly did not regret it.

Before I jump into the review, let me go through the key areas that stood out for us.

The Ship
Nothing fanciful or 'wow' about the ship. Royal builds nicer ships. But I found the ship clean, well maintained, and easy to get around. The greatest difference I discovered was that there were hardly any crowds on the Jade. For some reason, the crowds are well dispersed. The only time it felt crowded was during some sale on the last sea day when they converted the Jasmine restaurant into a discount store.

We could get into elevators very easily, though we often walked up and down the steps.

Garden Cafe (aka Windjammer equivalent)
Compared to the Windjammer, the crowds were very much less. The seating was much more spacious, with much better space between tables. We could always find a seat. During lunch, they even opened up Cucina speciality restaurant and you could always head there for comfortable uncrowded seating.

I recall many times the bad crowds in the Windjammer.

Freestyle Dining
Now that we have tried it, we are converts. We enjoy freestyle dining much more than the formal 1st or 2nd dinner seating. We never had any problem getting seats, perhaps because we tended to eat early, at 6pm. However, on the days we ate later, say 7pm or 7:30pm, there was no problems getting seats at the complimentary restaurants either.

Quality of Food
I think the quality of complimentary dining food on the NCL Jade was superior to all the food I have had on my recent Royal cruises. The dinner menu was extensive, as I will show you later in my review through pictures and videos.

Suite and Suite Perks
To be fair, we haven't sailed on a Royal suite in a long while. The last was on the Legend of the Seas Owners' Suite, before the ship was refurbished. We were blown away with the 2 bedroom penthouse suite. It was a beautiful cabin. The in-suite coffee machine was a great plus indeed.

The Cagney's Perk for breakfast and lunch was absolutely fantastic. We ate there every day for breakfast and many days for lunch too. Even though the menu did not change, we really liked the food!

Deck 7 Walking
We could walk around the ship on Deck 7. We loved that. We walked a lot on this ship. This was our form of exercise. Usually, we do not like to walk on Deck 13, because of the strong winds.

Friendly Crew
Gratuities are paid upfront on NCL. We found the crew to be generally very friendly and upbeat. It certainly added to the party atmosphere and made for a very good vacation.

Entertainment
It was fantastic, far better than the Royal ships that I have been on. The production cast was awesome. The finale show, called Elements, was mind-blowing. We thoroughly enjoyed the entertainment, as well as most guest performers.

The only major blemish to this cruise was the fact that two of my party got hit with serious gastro issues on the second last day of the cruise. This was after 2 sea days. It spoilt the last port call for them (Naples) as they had to rest. We were not sure where they got the illness from because all of us were eating the same food on the ship and we observed good hand-washing hygiene. However, we suspect both of them caught the bug from the fruit section in the Garden Cafe on the night of the last sea day.
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Norwegian Jade 10N Katakolon Athens Kusadasi Istanbul Naples Rome (Greece and Turkey)

Postby iluvcruising2 » 16 Jan 2015 11:50

Pre cruise, we stayed one night at Hotel Traghetto in Rome Civitavecchia. We also ate at the pizza place next door. I made two videos to show you the experience.

Hotel Traghetto - a good clean hotel that I would recommend. Complimentary Wi-Fi. Continental style breakfast with very good coffee. The biggest plus point is that the hotel is very, very near the cruise port shuttle pick up. This video will show you more.




Mastro Titta Pizza
We arrived quite late at the hotel and we did not wish to venture too far. The reception told us that there was a good pizza place just next door to the hotel so we decided to eat there. It was not bad. Rather charming place but watch that scary flight of stairs!


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Norwegian Jade 10N Katakolon Athens Kusadasi Istanbul Naples Rome (Greece and Turkey)

Postby iluvcruising2 » 16 Jan 2015 11:50

Embarkation day. After breakfast, we got some bottled water from the nearby small local supermarket and hand-carried the water with us. We wheeled all our luggage from the hotel to the shuttle pick up. Got on the shuttle easily and that brought us right to the ship.'

Embarkation was very quick for us because we were suite passengers and there was a priority line. We were handed our sea pass cards and a member of staff escorted us onto the ship. This was part of the suite perk, cool.

When we got to the ship, the lift area was quite crowded. Instead of taking the normal passenger lift, the staff led us to the crew area and we took a crew lift up to the 13th storey and appeared in the Star Bar, which they used as the Concierge Lounge. The Concierge, Bruno, was there to greet us. There was coffee, tea, some small selection of cake in the lounge. Our rooms would not be ready till 1pm and we had lunch at Cagney's. I will do an entire video on Cagneys and share that later.

When we finally got to our suite, we were blown away. Absolutely lovely. This is a rather long video I made of Cabin 11018, the Sapphire suite, 2 bedroom Penthouse Suite on the Norwegian Jade (non Haven).


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Norwegian Jade 10N Katakolon Athens Kusadasi Istanbul Naples Rome (Greece and Turkey)

Postby Dave » 16 Jan 2015 12:04

Wow, what a brilliant way to introduce yourself to the forum. Welcome to Cruising Mates! :wave:

After your first post I was going to ask if you had photos or a video of your cabin. And one appeared. :D
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Booked walking holidays: Auvergne, Cotswolds, Kintyre & Islay
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Norwegian Jade 10N Katakolon Athens Kusadasi Istanbul Naples Rome (Greece and Turkey)

Postby JollyJill » 16 Jan 2015 13:04

A warm welcome from me too. I hope you enjoy participating in Cruising Mates. You certainly have made a great start. :)
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Norwegian Jade 10N Katakolon Athens Kusadasi Istanbul Naples Rome (Greece and Turkey)

Postby iluvcruising2 » 16 Jan 2015 13:54

Dave wrote:Wow, what a brilliant way to introduce yourself to the forum. Welcome to Cruising Mates! :wave:

After your first post I was going to ask if you had photos or a video of your cabin. And one appeared. :D


Thanks for the welcome!
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Norwegian Jade 10N Katakolon Athens Kusadasi Istanbul Naples Rome (Greece and Turkey)

Postby iluvcruising2 » 16 Jan 2015 13:55

JollyJill wrote:A warm welcome from me too. I hope you enjoy participating in Cruising Mates. You certainly have made a great start. :)


Thanks for the welcome. Look forward to participating in this forum too.
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Norwegian Jade 10N Katakolon Athens Kusadasi Istanbul Naples Rome (Greece and Turkey)

Postby iluvcruising2 » 16 Jan 2015 13:55

Some pictures to share before we continue. This was taken outside Hotel Traghetto, Rome Civitavecchia, where we stayed one night pre-cruise.
Image

This was the only lift (elevator) in the hotel. It is not big, but works.
Image

Our family room, costing 120 Euros per night. Not sure if the rate goes up during Summer. We were here in winter and I think the hotel was largely empty.
Image

View from the small balcony of the room. We were on the first floor and you could see the junction very clearly.
Image

We had a late dinner at the pizza place next door called Mastro Titta Pizza. Some pictures. The menu.
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Freshly baked pizza. We ordered too much for the six of us.
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More pizza.
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Norwegian Jade 10N Katakolon Athens Kusadasi Istanbul Naples Rome (Greece and Turkey)

Postby iluvcruising2 » 16 Jan 2015 13:57

Embarkation day, we took the complimentary port shuttle from near the Hotel to the cruise port. Here was the tent for check-in.
Image

Since we were suite passengers, we could join the priority line and our check in was very quick as we did not have to wait. Thereafter there was this priority lounge, where we were given our sea pass cards and we waited shortly for a staff to escort us on board.
Image

The staff brought us up to the Star Bar which was being used as a Concierge Lounge. There was coffee, tea and some cake.
Image

The cabins were not available till about 1pm on embarkation day. The crew would have worked very hard the entire morning to turn around the ship. Here are some pictures of the 2 bedroom penthouse suite, cabin 11018, our lovely cabin for 10 Nights.

The door sign.
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The master bedroom toilet. Fabulous. You get your own bathtub and shower by the sea. Very fun. The shower had water jets too. Watch the video below for a demonstration.
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Your very own coffee machine! Loved this feature. I believe suites on Royal Caribbean do not have this, correct me if I'm wrong here.
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Check out this video of me trying out the coffee machine.

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Norwegian Jade 10N Katakolon Athens Kusadasi Istanbul Naples Rome (Greece and Turkey)

Postby iluvcruising2 » 16 Jan 2015 14:30

On embarkation day, we would have lunch at Cagney's. Having breakfast and lunch at Cagney's was a wonderful suite perk. More of that later.

This video shows us walking around to explore the ship a bit. First is the pool area. There was a water slide. Also some hot tubs, I think there were three in total, or maybe four. I noticed that there was no indoor pool or covered pool. I guess this ship was built for warm weather.

Here is the video.

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