NCL in the Med...good or bad?

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#1
Citrus Springs, Fl.
4,367 Posts
Joined Jul 2002
Has anyone sailed on NCL in the Med, particularly on the Jade?
Keeping in mind any Med cruise is port intensive, any opinions on how they do in those waters? Ship board standards, excursions, overall quality for the price?
I have no idea what percentage of Europeans book NCL, or whether its mainly North Americans. If heavily European, does the NC product change at all?
I am not the biggest fan of NCL, but might consider a Rome to Rome cruise on the Jade next summer.
Any thoughts on a Med cruise with NCL.....or thoughts on the Jade?
Thanks
#2
Houston, TX
5,103 Posts
Joined Apr 2003
Unlike you we are big fans (both figuratively and pysically) of Norwegian and have been pleased with the value recieved on our two Med cruises.

We were on Jade in April/May on the Rome to Venice run. Previously, we sailed on Jade in 2005 on an Athens to Istanbul with an overnight in Alexandria). I am sure the CD stated as some point what the nationality breakdown was but since we arent big show folks, I never heard. I suspect that about 50% of the passengers on both cruises were English speaking but that is purely a quess. I noticed no disernable difference this last trip in shipboard standards from our Gem cruise NYC roundtrip Quebec last September. I do believe that service had improved since 2005. We had a couple of issues (food was terribly salty, difficulty exchanging a bon voyage wine for something a little better) that the wait staff/restaurant manager had difficultly dealing with but once the Food and Beverage Manager happened by our table, suddenly we were golden. So going to the M&G and meeting the officers usually pays off!

I can't speak to the value or quality of excursions since we set up private tours (typically with others from our rollcall) in most places and in two cities just went on our own.

Jade is basically the same as the other Jewel class ships except for the Hawaii inspired decor. The decor is a bit strange in the Med but not enough to bother me.
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#3
Citrus Springs, Fl.
4,367 Posts
Joined Jul 2002
I read some of the reviews on the Jade...comments on her décor echoed yours.
I started my cruise history with NCL...the old Southward.
After that it was the Seaward, Dreamward, Leeward, Norway, NCL Sky, Epic and then the Pride of America.
10 years elapsed after the Sky (I swore never again), but you are not suppose to say never. So in 2010 I sailed Epic........disliked her immensely. One month later sailed the Pride on a RSVP cruise in Hawaii. Well after reading so many negatives about the Pride I was actually pleased. She was no glamour girl, but did her job nicely and the crew were great. I understand she has been refitted, so I may do her a second time.
I am a Princess cruiser so I find comfort in their "style" of relaxed cruising.
I guess the biggest issue with NCL is that the majority of dinning venues are free style and as a single cruiser it just does not seem to work. On the Epic each night they would seat me alone even though I asked to be seated with others.......they said they could not do that. In the Manhattan dinning room I was rushed to free up the table for the next group of diners. So a more traditional dinning set up works better for me.
Having said that, a port intensive cruise in the Med would probably overshadow dinning.. and I could hit the steak restaurant each evening.
I will have to consider the Jade as a possibility for next year (Sept. out of Roma).
Thanks
#4
Pittsburgh, PA
1,444 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
I sailed the Gem in the Med a few years ago and have sailed NCL in other locations several times. I find their "product" to be pretty much the same in all regions. I don't recall any noticeable difference between my NCL cruises, to be honest. Pretty much the same look and feel (which I like, by the way). As mentioned above, I also would estimate the passenger mix was around 50% English speaking and the rest a mix of other European languages. My cruise started in Barcelona, and I would estimate probably 30% were Spaniards. We loved the mix.
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14. Feb 2017 - Royal Caribbean - Harmony of the Seas - Western Caribbean
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1. Oct 2004 - Royal Caribbean - Brilliance of the Seas - Mediterranean (Barcelona)
#5
San Francisco, CA
1,734 Posts
Joined Jan 2005
We've done the Jade in the Med (Barcelona - Barcelona roundtrip). We don't care for the product - it's VERY mass market - but we tend to cruise for the itinerary and would possibly book again if they had an amazing itinerary. As others have posted, it's the same as the other Jewel-class ships, but with Hawaiian decor. We have done 3 NCL cruises and didn't find any difference between the product in Europe or the other places we have cruised with them (Mexico and Alaska). I can only recommend NCL if you book a suite - that's the only way we can do. They have an incredible suite product and it keeps you well-insulated from the rest of the riff-raff. The only big negative we found doing a Med cruise with them was the large percentage of Spaniards and the huge issue they created by chair hogging at the pool.





Michael
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#6
230 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
Haven't been on the Jade but did the Jewel in the Mediterranean a few years back. I'm wth Txn here--we chose it based on the itinerary. I found it well below the Celebrity/HAL standard (my preferred lines).
#7
Boise, ID
540 Posts
Joined Dec 2010
Originally posted by Harry Cane
Haven't been on the Jade but did the Jewel in the Mediterranean a few years back. I'm wth Txn here--we chose it based on the itinerary. I found it well below the Celebrity/HAL standard (my preferred lines).
Can you explain what you mean by well below? I am just curious. We enjoy NCL and wondering if there is something about the Med cruises that might be different.

Thanks.
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#8
Canada
156 Posts
Joined Nov 2011
My partner and I did the NCL Spirit and enjoyed it greatly. There is a review in my signature. Crew was fantastic, itinerary interesting and busy, and just a beautiful ship. As our first cruise, it really got us hooked. When you are so busy on tours during the day, it was so nice to get back to the ship, eat when you want and not worry about formal nights. You will see by my signature list of sailings, that is important to us, and we are happy to sail on cruise lines that accommodate it.


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#9
texas
994 Posts
Joined Feb 2010
I have only cruised on RCI, Princess, and Celebrity. Celebrity seems to be held as a slight cut above the others, yet it was my least favorite of 6 cruises I have been on. I have found that even within lines, the ship, crew, passenger demographic, and just fate all play a part. I will eventually definitely try the other mainstream lines, including NCL, HAL, and Carnival, although I have future cruise deposits pending on RCI and Princess. My least favorite cruise was still enjoyable, just a different experience. I only draw the line at the luxury lines such as Seabourne, etc. just because it is much more money than I would feel comfortable paying. When people suggest that, I think, yeah, I could make flying less miserable booking business class, but it's just too much.
#10
230 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
Originally posted by beachmonkey
Can you explain what you mean by well below? I am just curious. We enjoy NCL and wondering if there is something about the Med cruises that might be different.

Thanks.
The ship itself was not as nicely appointed as Celebrity (particularly Solstice class). Everything from the design to the art (yes, yes, I know that sounds stereotypical). Also, the menu offerings and the food preparation in general was not up to Celebrity/HAL.
#11
Portland, OR
2,519 Posts
Joined May 2011
Originally posted by CanadaTraveller
My partner and I did the NCL Spirit and enjoyed it greatly. There is a review in my signature. Crew was fantastic, itinerary interesting and busy, and just a beautiful ship. As our first cruise, it really got us hooked. When you are so busy on tours during the day, it was so nice to get back to the ship, eat when you want and not worry about formal nights. You will see by my signature list of sailings, that is important to us, and we are happy to sail on cruise lines that accommodate it.
Thanks for the positive review of the Spirit. I'll be sailing on her in less than three months, and I'm super excited. I'm a Norwegian fan, so I'm sure I will feel at home on the Spirit, but I'm sure the port schedule will be a challenge. I will be taking full advantage of the few sea days to enjoy her.
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#12
Atlanta, Ga
3,712 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
I have been on the Jade twice in the Med (my only NCL cruises actually). I echo what everyone says about the passenger ratio. Our Greek Isles cruise seemed to have more "locals" doing a cruise for vacation rather then cruising for the ports. Our 12 day Eastern med seemed to have more of the port oriented crowd on it. I enjoyed the ship, but we liked all the different restaurants, etc. It is fine for what it is, but nothing really upscale at all. We had a suite on the 12 day cruise and that made a huge difference. The NCL Suite perks are awesome. I have a review of my Greek Isles cruise in my signature. Just click on the link.
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#13
Canada
156 Posts
Joined Nov 2011
Originally posted by Cruiser Bruiser
Thanks for the positive review of the Spirit. I'll be sailing on her in less than three months, and I'm super excited. I'm a Norwegian fan, so I'm sure I will feel at home on the Spirit, but I'm sure the port schedule will be a challenge. I will be taking full advantage of the few sea days to enjoy her.
You will have a great time. The ports are the focus, but still had a great time and connected with interesting people. We did Venice for a few days and Rome for a week after the cruise, and it was a bit of work after being taken care of so well on the ship. And do the Chef's table. Great food, and mix of people.


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#14
Cordelia, CA
651 Posts
Joined Oct 2009
We have also cruised in the Mediterranean aboard the Norwegian Jade, and both times were phenomenal. The staff even remembered us from the first time, and needless to say we made some new friends with both other passengers and crew members alike. It was quite a process listening to announcements in four different languages. There breakdown of passengers in order of largest to smallest that we encountered were: American, Canadian, German, Australian, Italian, Asian. Our itinerary took us to Egypt, and we elected to stay in Cairo overnight. We went over Thanksgiving both times and enjoyed the food, spent time in the Haven area as we were suite guests, and treated ourselves to French pressed coffee during suite breakfast at Cagneys. We think you will have an awesome cruise if you chose the Norwegian Jade for your Mediterranean cruise, just drop us a line if you ever have any specific questions.
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Nov 2011: Mediterranean - Norwegian Jade (NCL) - 10 days (Owner's Suite)
May 2011: Alaska - Norwegian Star (NCL) - 7 days (Family Suite)
Nov 2010: Mediterranean - Norwegian Jade (NCL) - 12 days (Forward Penthouse Suite)
April 2010: Pacific Coast - ms Amsterdam (HAL) - 4 days (Oceanview)
Nov 2009: South America - Norwegian Sun (NCL) - 19 days (Owner's Suite)
Dec 2008: Caribbean - ms Eurodam (HAL) - 7 days (Inside)
Aug 2008: Alaska - Norwegian Pearl (NCL) - 7 days (Inside)
Apr 2008: Hawaii - Pride of Aloha (NCL) - 11 days (Inside)
May 2007: Mexican Riviera - Golden Princess (Princess Cruises) - 10 days (Balcony)
Jun 2006: Alaska - Norwegian Sun (NCL) - 7 days (Balcony)
Dec 2005: Mexican Riviera - ms Ryndam (HAL) - 10 days (Oceanview)
Jan 2005: Ensenada - Carnival Paradise (Carnival) - 3 days (Oceanview)
May 1991: Mexican Riviera - ms Noordam (HAL) - 10 days (Inside)

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#15
SE England
25 Posts
Joined Apr 2008
We have now cruised with NCL 7 times with 4 of those on the Jade and we just keep returning. So much so that we have one booked for a weeks time and again in November. Our experience with them and in particular the Jade has been in overall terms very good with of course some exceptions. We have cruised in cabins ranging from inside to the Haven and have rarely had any complaints over the hard product or service. We can certainly attest to the success of the suite product and this is now our go to choice as it is quite a notch above some of the competition. We have on or last two cruises not partaken in the main dining room for dinner as we found the specialty restaurants great value and spot on for quality and as we are foodies its worth the extra $$. We have found the mix of nationalities can vary quite wildly but we have noticed quite a drop of our American friends on board but I suspect that is just because of the cost of hopping the pond. Hope this helps but can very much recommend NCL and in particular the suite product
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#16
Memphis
2,439 Posts
Joined Aug 2006
I sailed the Jade on a Med cruise Barcelona RT in 2011. I liked the ship, although the decor was not up-to-date. I agree with others that have had the suites. It is worth the price on NCL.
#17
Boone, NC & Munich, Bavaria
1,865 Posts
Joined Jan 2008
Never NCL again! You will hate it! You know how much I loved NCL, but they got too cheap and greedy! ****ty food and service, dirty! Im done with them! The only mass market is Celebrity and HAL! Go on Regent, Oceania, Seabourn or SeaDream!
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#18
Citrus Springs, Fl.
4,367 Posts
Joined Jul 2002
I think all the cruise lines are cutting back on operating costs resulting in lower standards and quality. The impression I get is that NCL is great if you are booked into a suite. MSC's yacht club is probably the same.
I just wish the cruise lines would stop building new ships requiring big profit funding and concentrate on current ships and quality.
You mention Regent...I use to love them but their prices have now exceeded Seabourn...as a solo cruiser they have become too expensive for me. May try Seabourn in the future......at the moment I am on the Princess groove. I hope I do not experience cheap cut backs on the new Royal Princes this November.
As for NCL....may try the Getaway next Sept for my birthday.....and put off a European cruise till after my Indonesia cruise in Jan 2015....Need to see Komodo Island and Bali before heading back to the Med. Per the above responses I still may try NCL in the Med as it is the itinerary that is priority.
#19
TAMPA FLA
250 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
We've not been on the "Jade", but we did an NCL Caribbean cruise this past Feb. Our first time since they went "freestyle". We are not big fans of NCL and would choose another line, first. Without getting into specific details of "why", the easiest analogy would be is if you were planning a wedding reception and the caterer asked you if you wanted the $50 per guest package or the $100 per guest package.........NCL would be the $50 per guest package while IMO HAL or Celebrity delivers the $100 per guest package. However, that being said, you are going to the Mediterranean. For us, the ports, itinerary and departure city (for a pre cruise stay) would trump the specific choice of cruise line.