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Review: Jade 11 Day Eastern Med - Feb 23-Mar 7

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Introduction

 

Having gleaned so much information from these boards over the past few months, I felt I should post a review of our recent Jade cruise. I have found that the Jade is a very under-reviewed ship on the Norwegian boards, so I hope this can help others make some decisions about cruising on her.

 

First, a bit about your reviewer. We are a late 30’s/early 40’s couple with a very active and happy 17 month old son. My wife and I got a very late start on a family, but that was our decision. Travel and careers were priorities for us. Of course, that has all changed.

 

We have cruised twice previously. About 10 years ago, we did a segment on Cunard’s QE 2 – world cruise. The itinerary was Singapore-Malaysia-Sri Lanka-Mumbai-Dubai. I can’t really compare it to anything related to Norwegian or modern ships today – it was a unique experience.

 

Deciding to get our feet wet again (so to speak) on the travel front, post-baby, we thought we would give cruising another try. We did the Pearl in December, utilizing the 2-bedroom family suite (not haven). It was really on a whim; the price was very reasonable and we only booked it about two weeks before departure. We loved how much our son loved it. He started smiling as soon as we boarded, and that smile never left his face the whole week.

 

Suffering from post-Christmas blahs, and finding us both having to use large amounts of 2012 vacation days before the end of March, I started looking for other itineraries where we could use the same cabin style. The Jade’s 11 day Eastern Mediterranean itinerary may seem a bit ambitious while toting a 17 month old, but the price and timing were both perfect, and it allowed some more ‘collecting’ of places we haven’t been to.

 

The Big Commute, YYZ-FCO

 

We both left work at about 1pm, picked up LM (little monster) from daycare, and headed home to pack. Yes, I know that leaving packing until the day of departure is a bit irresponsible, but we have a travel routine, and this is part of it. Unfortunately LM did not nap after getting home so we scrambled to keep him occupied, get all our stuff together, and drive out to the airport.

 

My budgeted departure time was 5:30pm (flight departs for Zurich at 8:30pm). We were out of the driveway at 6:15, so not off to a good start. I dropped wife, LM, and luggage off at the terminal and headed over to long term parking. Dumped the car, and took the train back to the terminal. As I walked from the train to the terminal, something in the back of my mind was saying… where are those passports? Oh yeah! They are in my backpack, which is still in the trunk of the car. AAAAAhhhhh…. Ran back to the train, back to long term parking, back to the car, and back to the terminal.

 

This has eaten up a serious amount of time. It is now 7:10 pm and we haven’t checked in or dropped off our luggage yet! We queued with our boarding passes, and eventually were pulled out of line as we were in danger of missing our flight. But – it was all good. We got to the gate just as boarding was called, and settled in for the 8 hours to Zurich.

 

LM still has not napped (!).

 

The flight had a very low load – only 89 passengers on a 767. So – we had our choice of seats – but stayed with the three seats in the middle (2-3-2 configuration). I was often up with LM, and sat in a window seat to let him watch take off and landing, and some views of the ground. He cannot say ‘airplane’, but does say ‘boat’. So everything larger than a city bus is a ‘boat’. Our plane is a ‘boat’. Other planes.. ‘Boat! Boat!’. He picked this up on our Pearl cruise. We were anchored at Grand Cayman and there were three or four other ships also at anchor. He was mesmerized by them, standing on the balcony and shouting excitedly..

 

i-pF7wHMR-L.jpg

 

 

 

Finally just south of Iceland, he fell asleep for two hours, waking as the lights came on for breakfast service. But – he was still in a great mood, so we were as well. It was very cold and snowy at Zurich, and we made our transfer quite easily to the Swiss flight to FCO. Unfortunately it was completely full, but we were happy sitting in a window seat and watching the other boats take off and land. He finally started napping again, just as we touched down at FCO. We stayed on the plane as long as possible to let him keep sleeping, but finally deplaned – so he probably managed about 30 minutes.

 

For those of you with children, do the math. He was up at 7am Toronto time. It is now 9am Toronto time, 26 hours later. He has slept less than 3 hours during that time. He is showing no signs of slowing down. I thought I got excited about traveling…

 

Back to FCO.

 

The country that gave us pizza, Venice, the Roman Empire, and bunga-bunga parties, also gave us FCO. I have been to 140 airports in my life (yes, I keep a list). The arrivals area at Walvis Bay, Namibia has more class and style than the arrivals level at FCO. This airport always depresses and infuriates me. It could be so much better.

 

We had gate-checked our stroller in ZRH, assuming we would pick it up at the door of the plane in FCO. No. That is not how they work. They return it to you at the luggage claim. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose?? When you travel with a baby, you are carrying twice as much stuff as you normally would. The stroller carries a chunk of that. So – we hiked it down to luggage claim, letting him walk most of the way himself to burn off some of that nervous energy.

 

We claimed our luggage, finally found the stroller, and had a nice 20 minute walk over to the Rome airport Hilton. (No need for us to go into Rome this time. Been there, done that, got the fridge magnet.)

 

I had booked a junior suite utilizing a great Hilton sale a couple of weeks after booking the cruise and flights. Something like 200e – which included breakfast and club access. We checked in, and LM was in a state of euphoria, running around the rooms and checking out the various things that could kill him if he was left unattended.

 

(Still no nap).

 

We cleaned up, showered, bathed, and decided to have dinner at the hotel restaurant. Two pizzas and a bottle of red wine – 56e. Yes, that is expensive, but it’s our vacation, and it’s an airport hotel restaurant. LM wolfed back some pizza, offered up several enthusiastic ‘Cheers!’ with his milk to our wine, and we were back in the room around 8pm.

 

It is now that he is finally showing signs of wanting to sleep. By signs, I mean, he’s closing his eyes while standing up, and losing his balance. Ok. I’m not a bad parent, I can read the subtleties here. Into his pj’s and into the crib he goes. A tiny bit of complaining, but more for show than anything else. And… he’s asleep, at 8:46pm.

 

So… 2:46pm Toronto time. He was up for almost 32 hours, on only 3 hours sleep. Not bad. As I sit writing this at 3am (because of course I CAN’T SLEEP), he is still fast asleep.

 

Tomorrow…. Rome In Limo is picking us up at 10:30 for our transfer to Civi..

 

 

(Still weeding through some photos and the dailies, so this will take a few days to get finished)

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Love it! Can't wait to read the rest of your review. I appreciate your sense of humor. Come on Little Monster...

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I'm hooked already!!! :)

 

Two reasons......we sail the Jade this summer........and I work with Little Monsters!! ;)

Our own LM is 18 now, but we took her to Disney, Florida when she was just 13 months old! :eek: That was a 9-hour flight for us Brits, so I feel your pain!! ;)

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Love the start. My youngest failed to fall asleep on a flight once to Sydney. Of course she passed out the second the plane was unloading and we had to lug her around to our connecting flight which required a change in terminal. Memories. I look forward to reading your review as we are taking our two children on the Jade in a few short months.

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LM should definitely be added to the list of Cruise Critic acronyms.

 

Great read so far - looking forward to the next installment.

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Looking forward to your review since in a few short months I too will be undergoing a similar European Jade experience from NY with a newly 3 year old LM of my own.

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Looking forward to hearing more... We have cruised Cunard, the Queen Victoria, going on the Jade in April.... we are seasoned travellers... so look forward to hearing your view point.

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We are booked on a B2B next February on the Jade. You are right there isn't much information on the boards about her. Would love to hear what the weather was like and the type of clothes you packed. We are used to Caribbean during Feb/Mar, so the type of clothes we pack will definitely be different for the Med.

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Day 2 – FCO – Civitavecchia – Norwegian Jade

 

We awoke at 7:30 to a dreary, rainy Rome day. The Hilton breakfast spread was quite impressive – all three of us had our fill, and LM is in a fine mood, after a luxurious 11 hour slumber.

 

Rome in Limo was right on time and called up to our room a few minutes early to let us know they were waiting. Check out took a while, and there were quite a few other cruisers waiting and milling about. I booked R.I.L. primarily because of the glowing reviews, but also because they would guarantee a child car seat for the ride. We were quickly on our way, in the rain, and in Civitavecchia by about 11:30, which was perfect timing.

 

I am glad we did not opt to stay in Civitavecchia pre-cruise. It looks dreary and depressing.

 

By this time, the rain was pouring, sheeting down with brutal wind gusts. Unloading (even though our driver pulled right into the tent terminal) was a soggy affair. We settled up, cleared security, and headed for the suite line-up. It was a sweet line up, because we were the only people in the line! Ha! We checked in, got our cards, and our escort muscled us through the line towards the ship. I did feel kind of bad about that, as she just pushed around people (and we were pushing a stroller). But – I guess we paid a bit extra for the privilege, so whatever.

 

It was then that things got really, really, wet. They gave us a rain cape to put overtop of the stroller, but the wind was so horrendous I think the only thing it accomplished was terrifying LM – because he ended up being as drenched as we were. They gave me an umbrella that immediately hyperextended. Completely useless – so I just made a run for it. The aggravating part was the people who stopped at the top of the gangway to dry off – thereby blocking anyone ON the gangway, causing them to get lashed by rain.

 

We were escorted to the Star Bar/concierge desk area, and then shown in to Cagney’s for lunch. We met the concierge, Karabi. Just as we sat down, they announced that staterooms were available. This was good, because LM was a ticking time bomb…… no nap, too much excitement and wet clothes do not a happy toddler make. We finished up lunch quickly (salad and soup for me, linguini for the other half, and various bits and pieces for LM.) and headed to our stateroom.

 

Butler Jeffrey and steward Joel dropped by to introduce themselves, we pointed out a deficiency or two with the room (mostly cleaning issues) but oh yeah – lack of child crib was pretty serious. These were quickly resolved and we settled in.

 

I really love the two bedroom family suites (not Haven). We had 11506, which was as far forward as possible on the port side – just down the hall from the bridge viewing room. They do have a feeling of opulence to them, with the two bathrooms, the sitting area, dining area, and the master “bedroom”. The balcony is also great, but in fact during the entire cruise we did not spend any time outside (except for me, setting up my camera). A few photos:

 

 

i-Wv8N62n-L.jpg

 

 

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i-PzHqppg-L.jpg

 

 

Grim view from the balcony:

i-9TLtwPd-L.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

LM went down for a nap, and we planned the rest of the day. Decided to sign up for various things (art, spa draws, etc.) but in the meantime I set up my camera to do a time lapse of our departure. Here it is:

 

 

Unfortunately I had to mount it in the bathroom, as it was too rainy to get a good solid suction mount on the balcony pillar. You can see the tug working very hard to pull us off the mooring – and the state of the waves … very rough. Also the clouds and lighting are quite amazing as well.

 

But finally, we were on our way! Departed about a half hour late, at 5:30pm.

 

We relaxed a while, and then headed up to the buffet for dinner. Buffets are not my thing. But – with a toddler who is still figuring out what to eat, they are very handy. Unlike the Pearl, the kids’ area is at the entrance to the buffet – and it would seem that children aren’t particularly ‘welcome’ further in. Whatever – we grabbed a high chair and got a table in the “adults” area.

 

After dinner, we explored the ship some more, then headed back to the room to hopefully go to bed. The sea is very, very rough, and the ship it pitching quite heavily. LM doesn’t really care, (though it is kind of fun watching him lose his balance) but we’re both feeling it. He got his bath – and I will make the observation that kneeling and leaning over a bathtub is NOT a comfortable thing to do if you’re feeling a bit queasy….

 

Regardless, we got him squared away and we were off to bed by midnight.

 

My first impressions of the Jade are very positive. Having been on the Pearl only 3 months ago, I could barely tell the difference between the ships. (Apart from the kitschy Hawaiian décor on the Jade). Our steward is very friendly, and the staff, as with the Pearl, are excellent.

 

 

..more to come...

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We are booked on a B2B next February on the Jade. You are right there isn't much information on the boards about her. Would love to hear what the weather was like and the type of clothes you packed. We are used to Caribbean during Feb/Mar, so the type of clothes we pack will definitely be different for the Med.

 

 

Well, the weather in Rome was bad. Dreary, overcast, raining. Turkey, Cyprus, Israel, and (almost the whole day) in Crete were nice and sunny. I wore shorts and a T-shirt in Haifa. The other places I wore jeans and a polo shirt, but brought a rain jacket along just in case. Some might find it too cool, but it was perfect for me.

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Looking forward to your review since in a few short months I too will be undergoing a similar European Jade experience from NY with a newly 3 year old LM of my own.

 

You are lucky, as yours will be able to participate fully in the child activities. The staff on the Jade were much, much better than those on the Pearl. But more on that later.

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Hi what a fantastic review you have done so far. I am sure we must have passed each other on the ship. It was a good cruise and we have pre paid a deposit to do another one.

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Enjoying your TR. We were on the Jade in November in cabin 11512 and

brother and his family in 11506, brought back a lot of fond memories. We also stayed at the Hilton Rome Airport on the lounge level.

Looking forward to the rest of your report.

 

Are you a Flyertalker? You sure sound like one.

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Are you a Flyertalker? You sure sound like one.

 

I am. In fact, I was one of the first 200 Flyertalkers. But - times change. It's been said before, but frequent flyer programs are dead... nobody has held the funeral. Since we redeemed most of our miles on four RTW F trips (Aeroplan) and then had a baby, I have been blissfully detached from status chasing and mileage runs. It's a good place to be.....

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I am. In fact, I was one of the first 200 Flyertalkers. But - times change. It's been said before, but frequent flyer programs are dead... nobody has held the funeral. Since we redeemed most of our miles on four RTW F trips (Aeroplan) and then had a baby, I have been blissfully detached from status chasing and mileage runs. It's a good place to be.....

 

Wow! (salute!) I am bad with names but your screen name sound familiar. Flyertalkers seem to have a special writing style, just love reading all the trip reports there.

We have only done 2 F flights on CX, amazing! Now we are just as happy flying J.

Looking forward to more of your report.

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I have a different handle on FT..

 

Have never tried CX, in any class. But who knows in the future. My favourite was TK F from IST-BKK on the wet leased Jet 777. The F suite had a door and a bed, not unlike Emirates. Anyway.. will return to my Jade review by posting the dailies.

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I interrupt this review to post the dailies. Note, I only scanned page 1 and page 3 for each day - the rest is just repetitive bumph.

 

i-Sctfgc9-X2.jpg

 

i-j6tpBVV-X2.jpg

 

i-7wmLd3z-X2.jpg

 

i-njjRMNb-X2.jpg

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Thank you for posting all of this. Do remember who the Chief Engineer was on your cruise?

 

Nope. Think we met him at the Captain's party though.

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Great review so far!

I'm interested in knowing your impressions of the new CD. Last time we had a great CD - Gary. Just wondering what to expect this time.

 

Thanks

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Thank you for posting the dailies! :)

 

Do you know what the charge was for the Jazz Brunch at Le Bistro please?

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Great review so far!

I'm interested in knowing your impressions of the new CD. Last time we had a great CD - Gary. Just wondering what to expect this time.

 

Thanks

 

Simone, the new cruise director. He was not my cup of tea, and gauging on other peoples' comments... I think that pretty much sums it up.

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Do you know what the charge was for the Jazz Brunch at Le Bistro please?

 

Sorry! No idea. Like the murder mystery lunch on the Pearl, I'm guessing $20 or so?

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Simone, the new cruise director. He was not my cup of tea, and gauging on other peoples' comments... I think that pretty much sums it up.

 

I'd ask for details but guess I'll find out for myself soon enough.

Is he Italian?

 

:(:(:(

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I'd ask for details but guess I'll find out for myself soon enough.

Is he Italian?

 

:(:(:(

 

Yeah he's Italian.

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No worries - will find out soon!

Looking forward to more of your review!

 

Sorry! No idea. Like the murder mystery lunch on the Pearl, I'm guessing $20 or so?

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What is the watever room for Adults only? It sounds very provocative!

 

Your review is great. Thanks so much.

 

Lynn

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Thank you for posting the dailies! :)

 

Do you know what the charge was for the Jazz Brunch at Le Bistro please?

 

$15 in December 2012 - well worth it.

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