Go Back   Cruise Critic Message Board Forums > Cruise Lines "A - O" > Norwegian Cruise Line
 
Register here!
Forgot Your Password?


Notices

Norwegian Cruise Line
Read thousands of Norwegian Cruise Reviews from real cruisers and compare the best Norwegian Cruise Deals

How to Set Up a Meet & Mingle on Your NCL Cruise

NEW! Find Your NORWEGIAN Roll Call


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old April 1st, 2010, 03:25 PM
AuntieBarb's Avatar
AuntieBarb AuntieBarb is offline
Blue Ribbon Cruiser
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,901
Default Review of our 12 Day E. Mediterranean Cruise aboard the NCL Jade 3/7/2010

Review of our 12 Day E. Mediterranean Cruise aboard the NCL Jade 3/7/2010

Please be patient....I'll be posting our report in sections! Also time is short for me, so I'm afraid this is the "unedited" version.

About us: Loyal “Norweenies”, 40 & 50 something, cruising on the NCL Jade for the very 1st time.

Disclaimer: A review is for all intents and purposes a perspective of OUR overall experience.

Our Adventure: 1 day pre-cruise in Barcelona; Eastern Mediterranean cruise, round trip from Barcelona, Spain -> Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy -> Messina, Italy (Sicily) -> Izmir, Turkey -> Alexandria, Egypt -> Valletta, Malta -> Barcelona, Spain; 1 day post-cruise in Barcelona – 5 full sea days included. (Love my sea days!)

Note: Sicily was a substitute port in place of Athens, Greece, which was canceled due to a ground transportation strike. Sad not to get to the Acropolis, but we had a blast in Sicily!

Barcelona Pre-Cruise:

Flight arrangements were booked independently with American Airlines. Prior to our flight there was news of a potential strike after our departure, which thankfully never came to pass!

We departed JFK on 3/5/2010 @ 7PM prepared with $500 euros in advance, arriving at BCN 3/6/2010 @ 9AM on schedule. Thanks to the red-eye flight and some off & on rest, we were ready for some touring Saturday until we could check-in at our hotel. All of our arrangements went off without a hitch, except for our time at the BCN airport. For whatever reason, passengers from our incoming flight waited 1-1/2 hours for our luggage! Ridiculous!

Thankfully Barcelona City Tours waited for us and quickly whisked us off for a 4 hour tour of key sites in Barcelona. Due to the number of roll call members booked, the fee was only 39 euros/pp. We were transported in small vans, making it comfortable for everyone in our group. (Thanks for arranging everything, Pam!) At the end of the tour, we were all delivered to our individual hotels, including our luggage safely stored in the back of the van.

http://www.hotels.com/ho192596/hotel...rcelona-spain/

We booked Hotel Onix Liceo through Hotels.com.for 1 night pre and post cruise @ US $157/night. It is located on Carrer Nou de La Rambla, just 2 blocks from port & the Christopher Columbus Monument and directly adjacent to all the action on La Ramblas. Room type was requested, but not guaranteed. For our night pre-cruise, we received a balcony room facing Nou de La Rambla, which was greatly appreciated by me since I smoke. It was a bit noisy into the wee hours of the morning, but nothing bad enough to hamper our sleep. (Thankfully I had remembered to pack my international hairdryer and adapters, so we were all set for the European outlets.)

We had heard and read all about the threat of pick pockets in Barcelona, and were well prepared with money belts, a Pac-Safe purse for myself, etc. But honestly, even though we heard a few horror stories, we never felt threatened once during our 2 days there. Just like any city, it takes common sense, being alert, not wandering into secluded areas and avoiding tight congestion with pedestrians.

Although there are tons of options for dining on La Ramblas, the front desk suggested we stray just 1 block beyond for better food and prices. We did just that, found many to choose from and were not disappointed! After dinner, it was off to bed for us, to recuperate from jet lag and get ready for our cruise!

The "unfinished" La Sagrada Familia Cathedral by Gaudi


Opposite side of The "unfinished" La Sagrada Familia Cathedral by Gaudi


Park Guell by Antoni Gaudi


Palace at Plaza de España, Barcelona


The port area of Barcelona


The Louis Majesty (Former NCL Majesty) docked after the rogue wave incident
__________________
NCL Freestyle for Me!

Past Cruises:
NCL Dawn 01-2004 11-Day Southern Exotic; NCL Dawn 09-2004 7 Day Florida/Bahamas; NCL Dawn 11-2005 10 Day Eastern Caribbean
NCL Dawn 06-2006 7 Day Bermuda/Bahamas; NCL Dawn 12-2006 11 Day Western Caribbean; NCL Spirit 11-2007 15 Day Caribbean Repo

NCL Dawn 06-2008 7 Day Bermuda;
NCL Spirit 09-2008 6 Day Canda/New England; CCL Fantasy 11-2008 5 Day Progresso/Cozumel
NCL Dawn 11-2009 14 Day Repo; NCL Jade 03-2010 12 Day Eastern Mediterranean; NCL Jewel 10-2011 7 Day Canada/Portland Cruise;
NCL Gem 10-2013 7 Day Canada/New England;

119 days at sea and still counting......

Reply With Quote

  #2  
Old April 1st, 2010, 03:31 PM
AuntieBarb's Avatar
AuntieBarb AuntieBarb is offline
Blue Ribbon Cruiser
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,901
Default

Embarkation:

It just so happened that there was a marathon in town this morning, which involved La Ramblas down and around the Christopher Columbus Monument, blocking direct access to get to port from our side of the city. Top it off, Hotel Onix Liceo is on a one way street, which just by luck goes towards La Ramblas! *sigh*. When we asked the front desk clerk to call a taxi for getting to port, he just chuckled and said there was no way that could happen until the marathon was finished. So off we go on foot, with luggage in tow, towards the port area.

In hindsight, we should have waited to hail a taxi until there was sufficient break in the marathon action that police would let us cross over to the port side. Unfortunately our sights were set on getting to the terminal a.s.a.p., so we hailed the first taxi we could. The taxi driver (who didn’t speak an ounce of English) tried to forewarn us by motioning that it would involve all kinds of lefts & rights. Even a kind gentleman passing by, who translated for us, conveyed the same message. Nonetheless, we got in the taxi. You have no idea how far out of our way we had to go to get there – to the tune of 50 euro including tip! Lesson learned….LOL!








We reached the terminal by about 1PM and by then bus loads of passengers were arriving and there was already a long line formed outside just to get into the terminal. Despite that, everything moved along relatively quickly. We were assigned to Group 1 for check-in and promptly off to the Grand Pacific for lunch afterward. We got there with just 5 minutes to spare. Whew! :-D

Note: As we were previously informed, passports are collected at NCL Check-in, for advance preparation of Quick Trip stamps for Egypt and would be returned before reaching Egypt.

Staterooms were available at 3PM. Sailaway was at 7PM.

Meet & Greet:

As usual, NCL provided a place for our Meet & Greet, scheduled at 11AM in Le Bistro the morning of our 1st sea day. Attendance was great and the room was bustling with chatter as many had arranged private tours together. Light refreshments of juice, coffee, tea and pastries were served. Some officers also stopped by to say hello and address the group.












__________________
NCL Freestyle for Me!

Past Cruises:
NCL Dawn 01-2004 11-Day Southern Exotic; NCL Dawn 09-2004 7 Day Florida/Bahamas; NCL Dawn 11-2005 10 Day Eastern Caribbean
NCL Dawn 06-2006 7 Day Bermuda/Bahamas; NCL Dawn 12-2006 11 Day Western Caribbean; NCL Spirit 11-2007 15 Day Caribbean Repo

NCL Dawn 06-2008 7 Day Bermuda;
NCL Spirit 09-2008 6 Day Canda/New England; CCL Fantasy 11-2008 5 Day Progresso/Cozumel
NCL Dawn 11-2009 14 Day Repo; NCL Jade 03-2010 12 Day Eastern Mediterranean; NCL Jewel 10-2011 7 Day Canada/Portland Cruise;
NCL Gem 10-2013 7 Day Canada/New England;

119 days at sea and still counting......

Reply With Quote

  #3  
Old April 1st, 2010, 03:35 PM
AuntieBarb's Avatar
AuntieBarb AuntieBarb is offline
Blue Ribbon Cruiser
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,901
Default

NCL Jade:




Our 1st night and the following sea day involved rough seas, rain or heavy overcast, with temps in the 50’s. (We left Barcelona just in time, because they got about 3-4 inches of snow!). Otherwise, smooth sailing the rest of the cruise, with slight seas at worst and temps progressively getting better the closer we got to Egypt.

Although there are a few differences in layout, we found the Jade to greatly resemble the Dawn; just on a smaller scale.

> Oddly, the “Blue Lagoon” was on deck 8 overlooking the atrium and occupying ½ of what we consider Salsa’s on the Dawn. Having it there took away from the feel of a 24 hour diner and eliminated some self-serve items during the late hours of the night, like coffee, tea, milk, etc. Much to our surprise, the Photo Gallery was located where the Blue Lagoon should be!

> The atrium is nowhere near as “grand” as the Dawn’s, because it lacks the openness exposing the top level skylights and beautiful elevators, etc. Regardless, it served its purpose.

The MDR “Grand Pacific” is in the same location as the “Venetian; Alizars is in the same location as “Aqua”; the Medusa Lounge is in the same location as Dazzle’s; so on and so forth. We knew our way around in no time flat!

The décor of the ship definitely tells tale that she once was in Hawaii. However, none of it affected our enjoyment of the ship to any degree.

We found our stateroom to be well kept, short of places sometimes overlooked, like the very top shelf over the TV and part of the table under a shelf which needed to be dusted. We met our steward, Ronald, at embarkation and found him to be accessible and accommodating throughout the cruise. Once in a while wash cloths seemed to be in short supply, but they were soon replenished.

We booked an aft BA balcony; stateroom 10668. Thanks to tips here at Cruise Critic, we have long awaited to book one of these, with the extended balcony. So roomy! Plus, on the Jade they already come with chaise lounges & chairs. The only downside was that the weather wasn’t nice enough to sleep with the door open at night. *sigh*










We’ve grown to consider Hugo & his staff on the Dawn as the best there can be! But we must give credit where credit is due. Armando De Silva is a wonderfully hospitable HD as well and his staff did not disappoint.

We found the food to be comparable to what we are used to and enjoyed it very much. Finding out that Messiah was Exec. Chef just sealed the deal !!! We enjoyed the MDR for lunch and many dinners, but also ate at Papa’s Italian Kitchen twice (excellent), the Jasmine Garden (Asian) restaurant (very good), Cagney’s (very good) and Le Bistro 3 times (excellent) including 1 privately with Armando DeSilva as our host.

We are not buffet people, if we can help it. But we did have a quick breakfast there twice and were amply satisfied. I must say I like the layout on the Jade far better, with separate serving areas for the various food stations; opposed to the Dawn’s.

Knowing this was a hectic itinerary as far as excursions were concerned, we can’t comment much on the entertainment. Our sea days for the most part were to recoup, kick back and reflect! We teamed up with another couple and played some “tribond” trivia (and won). Messiah (Exec Chef), Jill (CD) and Armando (HD) put on a baking show in the Atrium one sea day. (Quite comical to say the least!) We took in a few shows in Stardust Theater; flamenco dancers, the comedian, and crew show. I played bingo once, came out a loser and didn’t win the free cruise (boo hiss hiss boo). We made our donations at the casino (machines were tight). Paid our visits to some of the bars. (Lowest bar tab yet!) Went to see “What’s My Line” at Spinnaker’s Lounge (and helped the panel cheat a bit! LOL) Joined another couple to play “Quest” on the last night (and won). Otherwise, we enjoyed our aft balcony and as much nice weather as we could!
__________________
NCL Freestyle for Me!

Past Cruises:
NCL Dawn 01-2004 11-Day Southern Exotic; NCL Dawn 09-2004 7 Day Florida/Bahamas; NCL Dawn 11-2005 10 Day Eastern Caribbean
NCL Dawn 06-2006 7 Day Bermuda/Bahamas; NCL Dawn 12-2006 11 Day Western Caribbean; NCL Spirit 11-2007 15 Day Caribbean Repo

NCL Dawn 06-2008 7 Day Bermuda;
NCL Spirit 09-2008 6 Day Canda/New England; CCL Fantasy 11-2008 5 Day Progresso/Cozumel
NCL Dawn 11-2009 14 Day Repo; NCL Jade 03-2010 12 Day Eastern Mediterranean; NCL Jewel 10-2011 7 Day Canada/Portland Cruise;
NCL Gem 10-2013 7 Day Canada/New England;

119 days at sea and still counting......

Reply With Quote

  #4  
Old April 1st, 2010, 03:43 PM
AuntieBarb's Avatar
AuntieBarb AuntieBarb is offline
Blue Ribbon Cruiser
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,901
Default

Port Excursions: Some of you may recall my concerns about not having our passports while at port, due to advance preparation for Egypt. So in short, the countries/locations we were visiting, the potential for transportation/traffic issues and/or not having our passports played a large role in deciding to book all of our excursions solely through NCL.

Yes some are pricey, but my peace of mind was worth every penny. We’ve been on excursions that have returned to port late for all aboard. Thankfully we’ve never missed the ship, but the risk is not one I like to mess with.

Kudos to those who booked privately without issue. We’ve done so in many Caribbean ports, but the Med was new to us. So it is what it is.

Rome: “Exclusive Rome & the Vatican

Our excursion was transported by a large van and limited to a small group, which greatly helped us stay together and proceed to each stop on a timely basis. Unfortunately the weather was horrible; rain was expected, but it was cold as well. So outdoor sites proved to be uncomfortable for most of us. I had packed a trench coat in anticipation of rain, but ended up having to buy a souvenir umbrella for 5 euros.

After traveling for roughly 1-1/2 hours from Civitavecchia to Rome, the bus was parked for a walking tour. First we saw the Arch of Constantine, then we headed to the Roman Colosseum and Roman Forums. Needless to say our walking tour was cut short voluntarily, since we were getting wet and cold. It was so windy that our umbrellas were constantly turning inside out!








Next, we went to a restaurant called Eduardo’s for a wonderful 4 course lunch.

Then off to the main event; The Vatican, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica!!! Thankfully all indoors! In short, we were awestruck from start to finish. Also, it wasn’t very crowded in the afternoon and we were all able to stay together with ease even with some random roaming at times. Two hours there was not sufficient to take in all there was to see, but more than adequate for our first time visit.

We visited a gift shop at the top of St. Peter’s Square, before boarding our van to head back to Civitavecchia.












__________________
NCL Freestyle for Me!

Past Cruises:
NCL Dawn 01-2004 11-Day Southern Exotic; NCL Dawn 09-2004 7 Day Florida/Bahamas; NCL Dawn 11-2005 10 Day Eastern Caribbean
NCL Dawn 06-2006 7 Day Bermuda/Bahamas; NCL Dawn 12-2006 11 Day Western Caribbean; NCL Spirit 11-2007 15 Day Caribbean Repo

NCL Dawn 06-2008 7 Day Bermuda;
NCL Spirit 09-2008 6 Day Canda/New England; CCL Fantasy 11-2008 5 Day Progresso/Cozumel
NCL Dawn 11-2009 14 Day Repo; NCL Jade 03-2010 12 Day Eastern Mediterranean; NCL Jewel 10-2011 7 Day Canada/Portland Cruise;
NCL Gem 10-2013 7 Day Canada/New England;

119 days at sea and still counting......

Reply With Quote

  #5  
Old April 1st, 2010, 04:12 PM
Eurocruiser2010 Eurocruiser2010 is offline
Cool Cruiser
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 35
Default

Great review so far! Your balcony looks amazing! You mentioned that you had a BA balcony ... are all balconies as big as that?
Reply With Quote

Ad Sponsored By
  #6  
Old April 1st, 2010, 04:24 PM
AuntieBarb's Avatar
AuntieBarb AuntieBarb is offline
Blue Ribbon Cruiser
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,901
Default

Sicily: “Taormina & GreekRomanTheater Walking Tour”

Under short notice, NCL managed to offer several excursions, which were announced via stateroom mail. Without any time to research, we must say we really enjoyed the one we chose!

The ride from Messina to Taormina was picturesque in itself, but walking through Taormina was absolutely beautiful! This was my first time to Europe and as was suggested by my husband, I fell in love with all the old architecture; much of Taormina’s dating back to the 16th century.


Taormina is situated on top of a large hill. Our bus had to part down below, from which we rode an elevator up to the top. Immediately we were enjoying a very scenic view and could even see part of Mt. Etna in the distance. Most of the walking tour entailed navigating one main, narrow street, lined with shops, restaurants, lovely chapels, fortress walls and the like, until we reached the Greek Roman Theater. Simply beautiful!















__________________
NCL Freestyle for Me!

Past Cruises:
NCL Dawn 01-2004 11-Day Southern Exotic; NCL Dawn 09-2004 7 Day Florida/Bahamas; NCL Dawn 11-2005 10 Day Eastern Caribbean
NCL Dawn 06-2006 7 Day Bermuda/Bahamas; NCL Dawn 12-2006 11 Day Western Caribbean; NCL Spirit 11-2007 15 Day Caribbean Repo

NCL Dawn 06-2008 7 Day Bermuda;
NCL Spirit 09-2008 6 Day Canda/New England; CCL Fantasy 11-2008 5 Day Progresso/Cozumel
NCL Dawn 11-2009 14 Day Repo; NCL Jade 03-2010 12 Day Eastern Mediterranean; NCL Jewel 10-2011 7 Day Canada/Portland Cruise;
NCL Gem 10-2013 7 Day Canada/New England;

119 days at sea and still counting......

Reply With Quote

  #7  
Old April 1st, 2010, 04:26 PM
AuntieBarb's Avatar
AuntieBarb AuntieBarb is offline
Blue Ribbon Cruiser
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,901
Default

Sicily continued........









After the theater, we all had leisurely time to adventure on our own as well. Uncle Paulie and I chose to buy some souvenirs and locate a sidewalk café for some pizza – which was successful !!! The pizza was great, as were the beer and shots of limoncello!





Despite booking this cruise for all the wonders of the world we would see, we come away saying this was one of our most enjoyable ports!
__________________
NCL Freestyle for Me!

Past Cruises:
NCL Dawn 01-2004 11-Day Southern Exotic; NCL Dawn 09-2004 7 Day Florida/Bahamas; NCL Dawn 11-2005 10 Day Eastern Caribbean
NCL Dawn 06-2006 7 Day Bermuda/Bahamas; NCL Dawn 12-2006 11 Day Western Caribbean; NCL Spirit 11-2007 15 Day Caribbean Repo

NCL Dawn 06-2008 7 Day Bermuda;
NCL Spirit 09-2008 6 Day Canda/New England; CCL Fantasy 11-2008 5 Day Progresso/Cozumel
NCL Dawn 11-2009 14 Day Repo; NCL Jade 03-2010 12 Day Eastern Mediterranean; NCL Jewel 10-2011 7 Day Canada/Portland Cruise;
NCL Gem 10-2013 7 Day Canada/New England;

119 days at sea and still counting......

Reply With Quote

  #8  
Old April 1st, 2010, 06:03 PM
negn negn is offline
Cool Cruiser
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 612
Default

Looking into similar trip next year Also was going to use NCL for tours Am comfortable in the Carribean on my own but ""chicken "" when overseas. They are pricey but peace of mind and security is "'priceless""
Reply With Quote

  #9  
Old April 1st, 2010, 06:18 PM
CaniacRN CaniacRN is offline
Cool Cruiser
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: NC
Posts: 30
Default

We're embarking on the Jade in 3 weeks, so a different itenerary, but out of BCN as well. We're also staying in 10668, so thank you for the balcony pictures! Very glad that the chaises are already on the balcony. I was planning on having to do some convincing to get them!
__________________
Celebrity Century Western Caribbean March 2005
NCL Sun Western Caribbean March 2006
NCL Majesty Bahamas March 2009
NCL Jade Western Mediterranean April 2010
Disney Magic Bahamas May 2012
Reply With Quote

  #10  
Old April 1st, 2010, 06:29 PM
AuntieBarb's Avatar
AuntieBarb AuntieBarb is offline
Blue Ribbon Cruiser
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,901
Default

Turkey: “Ultimate Ephesus

In route to Ephesus, our bus stopped briefly at a rest area. Much to my delight, there was a small storefront with some really nice Turkish woven crafts for sale. One in particular could have served for a bed coverlet or table cloth, beautifully adorned with camels and ornate decoration. I asked the price and the gentleman told me $35 US. It was beautiful, but I had no practical use for it and told him so. He must have thought I felt it was too expensive and he started to offer it at a lower price, which I told him was not the case and that his price was perfectly acceptable; it was just too big for my needs. What does he do? He goes into his store and finds a comparable design as a dresser scarf….for $10. I bought it! I also purchased a woven wallet for $1 (which NCL ended up selling on board for $4.99.)

Our guide was great; very knowledgeable and informative. Ephesus was amazing, as were the Terrace Houses! We even marveled at the fact that the theater is still in use today, with recent concerts by Elton John, Sting and U2. Amazing!

Our walking tour through Ephesus


Terrace Houses





Ephesus Library of Celsus


We have to get in these pictures once in a while! LOL


Great Theater of Ephesus
__________________
NCL Freestyle for Me!

Past Cruises:
NCL Dawn 01-2004 11-Day Southern Exotic; NCL Dawn 09-2004 7 Day Florida/Bahamas; NCL Dawn 11-2005 10 Day Eastern Caribbean
NCL Dawn 06-2006 7 Day Bermuda/Bahamas; NCL Dawn 12-2006 11 Day Western Caribbean; NCL Spirit 11-2007 15 Day Caribbean Repo

NCL Dawn 06-2008 7 Day Bermuda;
NCL Spirit 09-2008 6 Day Canda/New England; CCL Fantasy 11-2008 5 Day Progresso/Cozumel
NCL Dawn 11-2009 14 Day Repo; NCL Jade 03-2010 12 Day Eastern Mediterranean; NCL Jewel 10-2011 7 Day Canada/Portland Cruise;
NCL Gem 10-2013 7 Day Canada/New England;

119 days at sea and still counting......

Reply With Quote

  #11  
Old April 1st, 2010, 06:35 PM
Turtles06's Avatar
Turtles06 Turtles06 is offline
5,000+ Club
 
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 5,325
Default

Auntie Barb, I'm enjoying your review and pics, as we did this same cruise about six weeks before you (the Jan. 24 sailing, one of the ones really hit by Norovirus; I'm glad you guys were okay). So it's sort of like reliving our wonderful cruise, except, of course, that we didn't dock in Sicily. Happy to read your report about how things turned out so well there, as you made lemonade out of lemons.

In the small world dept., we were right next door, in 10666. Ronald was also our steward, and we found him extremely attentive. A really nice guy and a very hard worker.

Looking forward to reading the rest of your review....

PS: According to our Ekol guide, the theater in Ephesus is no longer allowed to be used for live performances, as the sound damages the ruins. The Sting concert was very damaging, apparently; a whole section started to crumble. :-(
__________________
Italian Line Leonardo da Vinci-- Eastern and Southern Caribbean (R/T NY) (Dec. 1968)
USNS Bartlett -- Transpacific (San Diego to Jakarta) (summer 1971)
USNS Wilkes -- Caribbean (summer 1972)
USNS Kane -- Spain and Canary Islands (summer 1973)
USNS Wilkes -- Spain and British Isles (summer 1974)
Dolphin Cruise Lines Dolphin IV -- Florida and Bahamas (July 1992 (?), with Olivia)
NCL Dynasty -- Alaska (Seward to Vancouver) (Aug. 1998, with Olivia)
NCL Majesty -- Florida and Western Caribbean (R/T Charleston) (Feb. 2008)
NCL Jade -- Eastern and Western Med (R/T Barcelona) (Jan./Feb. 2010)
NCL Jewel -- Bahamas and Florida (R/T NY) (Oct. 2010)
Viking River Cruises Emerald -- China (May 2011)
NCL Gem -- Bermuda (R/T NY) (Oct. 2011)
Celebrity Eclipse -- EB Transatlantic (Miami to Southampton) (April/May 2012, with Pied Piper)
National Geographic/Lindblad Explorer -- Antarctica (Jan./Feb. 2013) photo journal here
Celebrity Infinity -- WB Transatlantic (Harwich to Miami) (Oct./Nov. 2013, with Pied Piper)

Scheduled
Celebrity Silhouette -- WB Transatlantic (Rome to Ft. Lauderdale) (Nov. 2014)

NCL Gem -- Eastern Caribbean (R/T NY) (Feb. 2015)

NCL Gem -- Canada and Maine (R/T NY) (June 2015)

Celebrity Eclipse - WB Transatlantic (Southampton to Miami) (Nov. 2015)

Last edited by Turtles06; April 1st, 2010 at 06:39 PM. Reason: To add the PS
Reply With Quote

  #12  
Old April 1st, 2010, 06:43 PM
AuntieBarb's Avatar
AuntieBarb AuntieBarb is offline
Blue Ribbon Cruiser
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,901
Default

Turkey continued.....

There were some Roman actors and entertainers at the end of our tour of Ephesus; a bit on the hokey side. Supposedly we were to feast on goat cheese & wine, but never did I see that being offered.

Before boarding the bus, we had some free time to shop at the various vendors beside Ephesus. We did some shopping, but also planned to shop more once back at port. Now I wish I had shopped more extensively, as the variety of items for sale was extensive, surprisingly prices were good, and we never did get to really shop back in Izmir (late returning).





Afterwards, we had a splendid lunch at Hotel Kismet, which awarded us with some very scenic harbor views.













__________________
NCL Freestyle for Me!

Past Cruises:
NCL Dawn 01-2004 11-Day Southern Exotic; NCL Dawn 09-2004 7 Day Florida/Bahamas; NCL Dawn 11-2005 10 Day Eastern Caribbean
NCL Dawn 06-2006 7 Day Bermuda/Bahamas; NCL Dawn 12-2006 11 Day Western Caribbean; NCL Spirit 11-2007 15 Day Caribbean Repo

NCL Dawn 06-2008 7 Day Bermuda;
NCL Spirit 09-2008 6 Day Canda/New England; CCL Fantasy 11-2008 5 Day Progresso/Cozumel
NCL Dawn 11-2009 14 Day Repo; NCL Jade 03-2010 12 Day Eastern Mediterranean; NCL Jewel 10-2011 7 Day Canada/Portland Cruise;
NCL Gem 10-2013 7 Day Canada/New England;

119 days at sea and still counting......

Reply With Quote

  #13  
Old April 1st, 2010, 06:45 PM
AuntieBarb's Avatar
AuntieBarb AuntieBarb is offline
Blue Ribbon Cruiser
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,901
Default

Turkey continued.....

Our last stop was to see Turkish rugs being woven, along with a demonstration of how they wind silk from cocoons. Then we were offered refreshments while being shown some of the beautiful carpets in their warehouse. Although we saw some we’d enjoy having, the whole ordeal turned into high pressure sales. Salesman were off to the side monitoring every “Oooh and Awww” we made and ready to pounce at the end of the exhibition. Some fellow passengers bought some small enough to carry-on the ship & take home, but I wasn’t aware of any purchasing any for shipment. (We managed to get away without purchasing, but would be very interested in hearing from anyone who did buy some carpets and whether they receive them without issue!) Supposedly we were to receive discounts and our guide seemed disappointed that many didn’t buy (as I suspect she gets a commission).









Before leaving the Turkish carpet warehouse, I did some “window shopping” at a jeweler there. Prices were outrageous, in comparison to Mexico. I will say it was remarkable how much the price suddenly was reduced on a necklace I had my eyes on, once I indicated I’d pay in cash. LOL By then it was too late for me; I was put off and my mind was made up. So I left there empty handed too.

Then we returned to port; unfortunately too late to do any extensive shopping, but we did manage to step in the Duty Free shop while waiting in line inside the terminal to board the ship.
__________________
NCL Freestyle for Me!

Past Cruises:
NCL Dawn 01-2004 11-Day Southern Exotic; NCL Dawn 09-2004 7 Day Florida/Bahamas; NCL Dawn 11-2005 10 Day Eastern Caribbean
NCL Dawn 06-2006 7 Day Bermuda/Bahamas; NCL Dawn 12-2006 11 Day Western Caribbean; NCL Spirit 11-2007 15 Day Caribbean Repo

NCL Dawn 06-2008 7 Day Bermuda;
NCL Spirit 09-2008 6 Day Canda/New England; CCL Fantasy 11-2008 5 Day Progresso/Cozumel
NCL Dawn 11-2009 14 Day Repo; NCL Jade 03-2010 12 Day Eastern Mediterranean; NCL Jewel 10-2011 7 Day Canada/Portland Cruise;
NCL Gem 10-2013 7 Day Canada/New England;

119 days at sea and still counting......

Reply With Quote

  #14  
Old April 1st, 2010, 07:03 PM
AuntieBarb's Avatar
AuntieBarb AuntieBarb is offline
Blue Ribbon Cruiser
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,901
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eurocruiser2010 View Post
Great review so far! Your balcony looks amazing! You mentioned that you had a BA balcony ... are all balconies as big as that?
The aft BA balconies on decks 9, 10 & 11 (I believe) are substantially larger than those on the side of the ship. The key reason is the structure of the ship in the stern and that they are dead center adjacent to honeymoon suites. They are simply wider and deeper than normal.
__________________
NCL Freestyle for Me!

Past Cruises:
NCL Dawn 01-2004 11-Day Southern Exotic; NCL Dawn 09-2004 7 Day Florida/Bahamas; NCL Dawn 11-2005 10 Day Eastern Caribbean
NCL Dawn 06-2006 7 Day Bermuda/Bahamas; NCL Dawn 12-2006 11 Day Western Caribbean; NCL Spirit 11-2007 15 Day Caribbean Repo

NCL Dawn 06-2008 7 Day Bermuda;
NCL Spirit 09-2008 6 Day Canda/New England; CCL Fantasy 11-2008 5 Day Progresso/Cozumel
NCL Dawn 11-2009 14 Day Repo; NCL Jade 03-2010 12 Day Eastern Mediterranean; NCL Jewel 10-2011 7 Day Canada/Portland Cruise;
NCL Gem 10-2013 7 Day Canada/New England;

119 days at sea and still counting......

Reply With Quote

  #15  
Old April 1st, 2010, 09:45 PM
DMH15's Avatar
DMH15 DMH15 is offline
5,000+ Club
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 6,673
Default

on my TA on the Jewel I did the Exclusive Rome and Vatican and loved it too. Thanks for reminding me! Hoping to be on the Jade next, same itinerary as you. I am enjoying your review!
__________________
Donna (Dallas, Texas)


Previous Cruises:
NCL Sun (aft PH again) - So. Caribbean - 03/13
Carnival Paradise - Baja Calif - 03/11
NCL Sun - So. America (& Antarctica) - 02/09
NCL Dawn - NYC to Nowhere -04/08
NCL Jewel - TransAtlantic to Greece - 04/07
RCI Monarch - Baja Calif - 03/05
Celebrity Summit - Alaska - 08/03
Carnival Ecstacy - Bahamas - 5/00
NCL Norway - Caribbean - 7/86

Finally I am NCL platinum - whoo hoo! Laundry perk!
Reply With Quote

  #16  
Old April 1st, 2010, 10:24 PM
AuntieBarb's Avatar
AuntieBarb AuntieBarb is offline
Blue Ribbon Cruiser
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,901
Default

Thanks for hanging in there with me folks!

Sea day before Egypt:

As promised, our passports were returned that day. A time was set for passengers to pick them up in Le Bistro at their leisure.

Anticipating the purchase of cartouche, we stopped in the ship’s store to see what Columbian Emeralds was offering. The representative went on to inform us to be leary of the cartouche offered on the excursions; that the hieroglyphic symbols were glued on (emphasizing how could they manage so many orders in so little time) and that gold content was questionable. The size and design we were interested in was being offered by Columbian Emeralds for $399 US. If on the B2B cruise, you would receive them at the end of the Western leg of the cruise. However, since we were only on the Eastern itinerary, they would be shipped home. They said they are crafted in Greece. Since we really wanted our cartouche to come from Egypt, we opted to see what was offered on the excursion instead.

Egypt: “Best of Cairo Overnight”

The port we’ve been anticipating for a long time; the highlight of our journey!!!

Up bright and early this morning; 6:45AM was our meeting time in Stardust Theater. We had an early risers breakfast at the buffet and off we go with a carry-on bag in tow.

From the moment our bus left, our guide Manal (female), was filling us with information, which greatly helped pass time over our 3 hour journey to Cairo from Alexandria. She was great and you could tell she really loves her work!

We did order our cartouche on the bus. In comparison, the ones we wanted cost $250 US and would be ready for pick-up later this evening.

Day 1: Our agenda for the balance of the morning was the Mosque of Muhammad Ali, aka Alabaster Mosque, The Egyptian Museum of Antiquities, lunch, check-in and some rest at the Conrad Hotel by Hilton.














__________________
NCL Freestyle for Me!

Past Cruises:
NCL Dawn 01-2004 11-Day Southern Exotic; NCL Dawn 09-2004 7 Day Florida/Bahamas; NCL Dawn 11-2005 10 Day Eastern Caribbean
NCL Dawn 06-2006 7 Day Bermuda/Bahamas; NCL Dawn 12-2006 11 Day Western Caribbean; NCL Spirit 11-2007 15 Day Caribbean Repo

NCL Dawn 06-2008 7 Day Bermuda;
NCL Spirit 09-2008 6 Day Canda/New England; CCL Fantasy 11-2008 5 Day Progresso/Cozumel
NCL Dawn 11-2009 14 Day Repo; NCL Jade 03-2010 12 Day Eastern Mediterranean; NCL Jewel 10-2011 7 Day Canada/Portland Cruise;
NCL Gem 10-2013 7 Day Canada/New England;

119 days at sea and still counting......

Reply With Quote

  #17  
Old April 1st, 2010, 10:27 PM
AuntieBarb's Avatar
AuntieBarb AuntieBarb is offline
Blue Ribbon Cruiser
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,901
Default

Day 1 in Cairo continued......

After we were all refreshed, we set out for a Nile River cruise for dinner (complete with a “Whirling Dervish” & belly dancer for entertainment), the Papyrus Institute (where we picked up our cartouche at Luxor Jewelry), the Sound & Light Show by the Giza Plateau and a much needed night’s rest!
Some points about this day:

> We’ve seen some of King Tut’s treasures in Philadelphia, but that exhibit didn’t come anywhere close to the treasures held in Cairo! We were advised to leave our cameras on the bus, so not to take up precious time checking them inside the museum; no cameras permitted. Please note: they did NOT confiscate cell phones. LOL No further comment necessary. *ahem*

> Our hotel accommodations were outstanding! Our room as on the “Executive Floor”, requiring key card for access. The room was spacious, with plush bedding and a balcony overlooking the Nile with a great view of Cairo (if you could see past the smog). We were quite pleased, coming into this excursion with no clue where we’d be staying! Also, being a 5 star hotel, we were told not to worry about the food warnings and found the food to be quite good. However we did restrict ourselves to bottled water and that’s what was served at our tables.

> We were happy with our cartouche and it was obvious the symbols were soldered on! We had also ordered t-shirts for friends and family with their cartouche embroidered on the front. Nice souvenirs. Paul also bought a galabeya for himself.

> The sound and light show was a bit hokey, but provided a lot of historical information in preparation of Day 2.














__________________
NCL Freestyle for Me!

Past Cruises:
NCL Dawn 01-2004 11-Day Southern Exotic; NCL Dawn 09-2004 7 Day Florida/Bahamas; NCL Dawn 11-2005 10 Day Eastern Caribbean
NCL Dawn 06-2006 7 Day Bermuda/Bahamas; NCL Dawn 12-2006 11 Day Western Caribbean; NCL Spirit 11-2007 15 Day Caribbean Repo

NCL Dawn 06-2008 7 Day Bermuda;
NCL Spirit 09-2008 6 Day Canda/New England; CCL Fantasy 11-2008 5 Day Progresso/Cozumel
NCL Dawn 11-2009 14 Day Repo; NCL Jade 03-2010 12 Day Eastern Mediterranean; NCL Jewel 10-2011 7 Day Canada/Portland Cruise;
NCL Gem 10-2013 7 Day Canada/New England;

119 days at sea and still counting......

Reply With Quote

  #18  
Old April 1st, 2010, 10:43 PM
AuntieBarb's Avatar
AuntieBarb AuntieBarb is offline
Blue Ribbon Cruiser
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,901
Default

Egypt continued.......

Day 2: This morning’s agenda was the Step Pyramid Complex of Sakkara, where we also went inside a tomb; then Memphis, where the Limestone "Colossus of Ramses II" is on display.

Note: We never saw the "Colossus of Ramses II". We're parading all around the grounds at Memphis in search of it, but had no clue it was inside a building! Duh!







And then we were on our way to the Giza Plateau! But first we have a special stop in store for us!

My long time dream was to be riding a camel with the pyramids before me. Today was my day, as our guide had arranged rides at $10/pp for those interested. Let me tell you all about it! LOL





There were literally herds of them on top of this hill. Most everyone in our group - including Paul - were already on their camels and lining up for their ride. ... Now it's Barb's turn.

With my left foot in the stirrup, I attempt to swing my right leg over the camel. Well, I had my purse and camera around my neck, which immediately got stuck as I'm trying to mount him! LOL Then the guy assisting me, takes my leg and swings it around for me. (Embarrassing to say the least!)

Now the camel has to stand up. He tells me "Lean back". OMG! I immediately freaked out. You see, I had one stirrup that I could not reach once on this camel. All I had to balance was the peg in the front and back! I started screaming to get me off of him right now! Thankfully our guide was nearby and she made sure the guy got me down. I was shaking once I got off and told them "That's it. I'm done! You can keep my money!" ROFL

Our guide offered my money back, but they did find a camel with 2 stirrups and thankfully my feet could reach them both. So off I went to catch up with the group. (Yeah right!) Paul was laughing and taking pics of me. LOL

As this kid is leading my camel (he had control of two of us), someone else was having difficulty. So what does he do? He lets go of our camels to go and assist. I'm thinking, OMG if this camel takes off I'm going to kill somebody! LOL Thankfully my worries were for naught.

Then the kid (He must have been around 9 years old) looks up at me and asks if I'm American. After which he says to me "Go Obama!". I wasn't going to get into a pissing match with the kid in charge of my ride, so I just frowned. Then he says, "So you liked Bush?". This all from a young Egyptian! Argh!

As I pass Paul, who is now returning on the last leg of his ride, I asked the man beside me if he minded if we cut our ride short. LOL He says "I am so glad you said that! I didn't want to ruin your ride!" LOL With that, we told the kid it was time to turn around. Believe me, I couldn't wait to get down!


But I did get the photo depicting my long time dream! Oh and BTW....After Paul's ride was over, his camel went to bite him (tore his shirt) and knocked him to the ground!

__________________
NCL Freestyle for Me!

Past Cruises:
NCL Dawn 01-2004 11-Day Southern Exotic; NCL Dawn 09-2004 7 Day Florida/Bahamas; NCL Dawn 11-2005 10 Day Eastern Caribbean
NCL Dawn 06-2006 7 Day Bermuda/Bahamas; NCL Dawn 12-2006 11 Day Western Caribbean; NCL Spirit 11-2007 15 Day Caribbean Repo

NCL Dawn 06-2008 7 Day Bermuda;
NCL Spirit 09-2008 6 Day Canda/New England; CCL Fantasy 11-2008 5 Day Progresso/Cozumel
NCL Dawn 11-2009 14 Day Repo; NCL Jade 03-2010 12 Day Eastern Mediterranean; NCL Jewel 10-2011 7 Day Canada/Portland Cruise;
NCL Gem 10-2013 7 Day Canada/New England;

119 days at sea and still counting......


Last edited by AuntieBarb; April 1st, 2010 at 10:50 PM.
Reply With Quote

  #19  
Old April 1st, 2010, 10:48 PM
AuntieBarb's Avatar
AuntieBarb AuntieBarb is offline
Blue Ribbon Cruiser
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,901
Default

Egypt continued....

The balance of our day delivered the long awaited visit to the Giza Plateau to see the pyramids and the sphinx and lastly lunch at Mena House before heading back to Alexandria.













> We were given ample time to explore around the pyramids on our own and that we did capturing many popular poses on film, as well as getting scammed for money on a photo opportunity and solicited to buy this and that from vendors on foot. LOL Interesting day, but one I will never forget!

> Our stop at the Great Sphinx of Giza was brief, being issued tickets to enter the temple for a closer photo opportunity too.

> Lunch at the Mena House was very nice. I can also see why many try to book reservations there. Beautiful property situated in the shadows of the pyramids!

Aw but all good things come to an end. We were headed back to Alexandria and late for all aboard too. NCL reps were standing by the vendors, pointing us to the ship, saying there is no time for shopping. *sigh*

As we were already some distance from the bus, Paul and I realized we were missing something. We forgot to get our carry-on bag off the bus! LOL!
__________________
NCL Freestyle for Me!

Past Cruises:
NCL Dawn 01-2004 11-Day Southern Exotic; NCL Dawn 09-2004 7 Day Florida/Bahamas; NCL Dawn 11-2005 10 Day Eastern Caribbean
NCL Dawn 06-2006 7 Day Bermuda/Bahamas; NCL Dawn 12-2006 11 Day Western Caribbean; NCL Spirit 11-2007 15 Day Caribbean Repo

NCL Dawn 06-2008 7 Day Bermuda;
NCL Spirit 09-2008 6 Day Canda/New England; CCL Fantasy 11-2008 5 Day Progresso/Cozumel
NCL Dawn 11-2009 14 Day Repo; NCL Jade 03-2010 12 Day Eastern Mediterranean; NCL Jewel 10-2011 7 Day Canada/Portland Cruise;
NCL Gem 10-2013 7 Day Canada/New England;

119 days at sea and still counting......


Last edited by AuntieBarb; April 1st, 2010 at 10:50 PM.
Reply With Quote

  #20  
Old April 1st, 2010, 11:12 PM
AuntieBarb's Avatar
AuntieBarb AuntieBarb is offline
Blue Ribbon Cruiser
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 3,901
Default

Malta: “Malta’s Scenic Beauty”

We had heard that the port of Valletta was very scenic coming into port and it did not disappoint! We were out on the promenade deck taking tons of pictures upon arrival.

As such, we were disappointed to have booked the excursion. Although we did see a lot of great scenery, there were very few stops and we knew we would have had enjoyed it much more adventuring in Valletta on our own.

All the same, we enjoyed our visit and left with Maltese Cross charms to add to our collection of souvenirs.


Pictures at the Port of Valletta, Malta

















A well as a few select pictures from our tour and sailaway


__________________
NCL Freestyle for Me!

Past Cruises:
NCL Dawn 01-2004 11-Day Southern Exotic; NCL Dawn 09-2004 7 Day Florida/Bahamas; NCL Dawn 11-2005 10 Day Eastern Caribbean
NCL Dawn 06-2006 7 Day Bermuda/Bahamas; NCL Dawn 12-2006 11 Day Western Caribbean; NCL Spirit 11-2007 15 Day Caribbean Repo

NCL Dawn 06-2008 7 Day Bermuda;
NCL Spirit 09-2008 6 Day Canda/New England; CCL Fantasy 11-2008 5 Day Progresso/Cozumel
NCL Dawn 11-2009 14 Day Repo; NCL Jade 03-2010 12 Day Eastern Mediterranean; NCL Jewel 10-2011 7 Day Canada/Portland Cruise;
NCL Gem 10-2013 7 Day Canada/New England;

119 days at sea and still counting......

Reply With Quote

Reply

Bookmarks


Ad Sponsored By
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 08:19 AM.


© 1995 - 2014, The Independent Traveler, Inc. All rights reserved.
"A Community of People Who Love To Cruise"
All of the information contained within Cruise Critic is protected by copyright. You may, however, download a single copy only for your personal use.