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NCL Jade 7-Day Greek Isles- Oct 12-19, 2013 - Review and Pictorial


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NCL Jade 7-Day Greek Isles- Oct 12-19, 2013 - Review and Pictorial




We have sailed several times with Norwegian in Europe and have always enjoyed the experience. The Greek Isles were a destination that we had never done before, so we anxiously awaited this trip for more than a year. The Jade was an old friend and we looked forward to a chance to sail on her again. The middle sister of the Jewel class ships, the Jade is very similar to the Jewel, Pearl and Gem in design. The Hawaiian influence when she sailed in that area as the Pride of Hawaii still exists; she was "exiled" to Europe in 2008 and will continue to sail there year round.


This trip was extra special... we invited my sister-in-law to join us. She had recently recovered from a bout with illness and surgery and this trip was our recovery gift.

She had never been to Europe...and had never cruised before. This would be great! She invited her childhood friend and we planned the trip as a foursome...with the intention of showing her the good life on Norwegian.


Originally booking a 2 bedroom Penthouse, which would have been just fine, we had the opportunity to switch to the Garden Villa, and didn't look back.

How cool would this first sailing be for her?


(I have posted another thread with a Photo Tour of the Garden Villa...)





The plan was to arrive two days before the cruise, and sightsee in Venice. We planned one day for a trip up North of Venice to visit relatives, again, something my sister-in-law never dreamed of doing. Then, to board the ship and visit Corfu, Santorini, Mykonos and Katakolon (Olympia)... four new ports for me!


We all were excited for the various reasons... this would be one of the best we've done.


I like to make a review that gives you the sense of our experiences and a timeline of our travels...so, we'll do it day by day.

I hope the port information I discuss will help some of you that are planning a similar trip.


This may take a few days to get all of the trip posted; being back in real life has it's demands.

...but I promise it will be an entertaining read.

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Day Minus 2 - We do Venice.


We arrived at JFK with plenty of time to spare, taking the overnight flight to Venice. Our plan was to arrive in the a.m., drop the bags at the hotel... and tour Venice for the day as tourists...fighting any jet lag. The best way is to try and sleep on the flight...and just keep going. A nap when you arrive will kill you.


We met Roll Call buddies Steven and David at the gate at JFK.




Arriving mid-morning in Venice, we took the bus from the airport to the Piazzele Roma terminal. This is a piece of cake, with ticket vending machines right at the luggage carousel, and a ticket booth as you leave the terminal. The buses run regularly, every 20 minutes or so, and take you right to P. Roma; plenty of luggage space in the motor coaches.


We chose the Hotel Olimpia (a Best Western affiliate) for its location...and easy walk over one small bridge from P. Roma.

The hotel was perfect! ...clean, friendly, spacious rooms, wi-fi and a great breakfast. I would highly recommend this hotel.


Just one small foot bridge and we are there! ..important when you are dragging luggage.




Our hotel is just on the left of this lovely "side street" of a canal.




Clean, large rooms... we were very pleased.




Breakfast room for early starts was included.



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Heading out for the day of sightseeing. We have been to Venice many times, but it was a first for my sister-in-law and her friend.

So our plan was to do the town like a tourist and see the high points as best as we could, having one day to do it in.




The vaporetto is the "city bus line," we purchased the ticket plan that would let us ride for the day, knowing we had several trips to take.

Some stops they never check your tickets :-)... others are electronically time stamped. It is best to not try your luck without a ticket. Here we go, heading out from P.Roma and passing the train station.




We got off at the Ponte Rialto, a place that is a timeless beauty, and one of out favorite sections of Venice.




The Grand Canal was busy, as the day was a work day







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After taking in the shops and boutiques, we stopped for lunch at one of our favorite restaurants near the Ponte Rialto. It is down an alley and a bit hard to find, but you will always find it busy with local business folks there for lunch and dinner.




It was good to be back. We remembered him, he did not remember us. :p





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Being the true tourist this trip...This time, we went for a gondola ride. The fares are controlled by the city, like cabs in NYC. 80 Euros gets you about a 45 minute trip during the day. We asked to spend most of the journey in the side "streets" and then a finish on the Grand Canal.









I don't often come out from behind the viewfinder, but I will give you a chance to see Il Padrone ...just this once.



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Hiking back over the Ponte Rialto to the vaporetto stop, and it was on to St. Mark's Square. Either side of the bridge is laden with small shops and touristy gift items.




Back on the vaporetto, heading around the horn to St. mark's Square.






St Mark's Square, the bell tower and the Doges Palace on the right.




Walking to the square, we breathed a bit of a sigh of relief that there was no evidence of flooding.

This area recently has been plagued with "acqua alta" ...water and flooding at high tide.



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This is how the cruise ships leave Venice: from the Marine Terminal, down the south part of the Grand Canal and out to sea. Here is the sailaway of the P & O Azura.






We watch the Gondoliers ... they watch the tourists.




One more vaporetto trip, this time back to the Santa Croce area and our hotel.




So pretty at dusk.




Nice to sit out at night and reflect on the fun day we had.




Tomorrow, a very personal day as we drive North from Venice to visit relatives... then, time to pack up and get ready to cruise!

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Day Minus 1 - A Family Visit.


This was a very personal day, filled with much joy and emotion. I'll post just a few images of the day and not bore you with a family slide show. :cool:


My wife's father was born in Conegliano, about an hour north of Venice. He lived most of his life here in America, but the roots never leave you. Sadly, his generation had all but passed on, but we knew that many cousins were still living there. Through a friend in Rome making the calls, I has arranged a visit for the day, and the hopes that we could see parts of my wife's family's life that we had not shared in decades. You see, no one was on e-mail and really, no one spoke English. ...a challenge to say the least. It had been almost 30 years since we visited them last.


We began the day with breakfast at the hotel, my wife, Angela, on the right...and her sister Corinna.




I rented a car from Avis; easily done. Their office is right at the P. Roma. If you return late, you can just drop the car off at the rooftop garage and leave the keys in the slot of their office. We packed up and headed north.



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This is amazing already - as usual. I can't believe it's just couple of months since we did the same (even the same hotel), with your pictures I can totally get back there by reading this thread. Kudos. :)

Edited by Demonyte
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We then all drove out to an even more rural area, and visited the house where my father-in-law was born.




...and the church he was baptized in.






We talked the whole while back to hotel..about how simply amazing it was to see all these relatives.

We relaxed canal-side at the hotel to review the day and make some wine disappear.




Tomorrow...the big day! We board the ship and begin the cruise to the Greek Isles. A Sailaway...and then a Sea Day...what a great way to shift gears from land to sea.


-more tomorrow-

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Ron, I always enjoy your reviews and your photos......this one is no exception!! Bringing back such great memories of our own Jade trip just this past August :) Thank you so much for sharing, especially the day you spent with relatives.....so personal and lovely! Oh and how nice to be able to put a face to the author of some of my most favourite reviews! Once again, thanks and look forward to the next instalment! :)

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Day One - We board the Jade!


The cruise begins. ...up bright and early




Just an easy walk over the small bridge to the P. Roma...and a cab to the cruise terminal.




There are several ways to get from P. Roma to the Marine terminal. In the past, we had found a free shuttle bus, but today, it wasn't running.

I planned for the bus, so a quick change of plans was required... a short walk to the cab line across the bus lot and we snagged a ride over.

The People Mover is another option, but my three lady companions had enough luggage to look like Rose arriving at the Titanic. All that was missing was hat boxes.


We barely fit everything into the cab, but it worked. The city regulates the cab fare from P. Roma to the terminal. I think it was about 20-25 Euros... and well worth it, even though it is a short ride. We were dropped right at the carpet for baggage drop.


Are we early? Are we anxious?




As in most all Norwegian ports, a lounge is reserved for suite guests, with an array of snacks and refreshments.



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Once onboard, it was straight to Lunch at Cagney's..."cruise-grins" are starting to be permanent. :cool:




The early boarding gave us a chance to see some of the outdoor areas and the Spa, before the ship started filling up with guests.


The two pools on Deck 12






Favorite nighttime hangout, the Bali Hai, with sports on the TVs





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Great pictures. I'm really enjoying this but couldn't help but chuckle at going to meet cousins you had never met before because last night I watched European Vacation and it reminded me of the Griswalds. :D


That IS funny... gladly, it was better than what Chevy Chase experienced. :cool:

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