Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
Iluvcruising2

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

Recommended Posts

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.

Edited by Iluvcruising2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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).

 

Enjoy -

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking forward to the rest of your review. We also enjoyed the Jade and your itinerary sounds awesome!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Your review sums up nicely why we keep returning to the Jade (roll on next Tuesday!:D)

 

Have a great cruise! Spending Christmas on the ship, I see. That will be very fun.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Looking forward to the rest of your review. We also enjoyed the Jade and your itinerary sounds awesome!

 

Thanks for your comment. I'm working on the review and getting vacation withdrawal symptoms. Time to book another cruise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some pictures to share. For this cruise, I realised I took many more videos and I don't have a good set of still pictures on my camera.

 

This was taken outside Hotel Traghetto, Rome Civitavecchia, where we stayed one night pre-cruise.

ndwj10.jpg

 

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

qz2c6o.jpg

 

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.

r1lxfc.jpg

 

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

335h0yx.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We had a late dinner at the pizza place next door called Mastro Titta Pizza. Some pictures. The menu.

33b39eg.jpg

 

Freshly baked pizza. We ordered too much for the six of us.

aljign.jpg

 

More pizza.

14wqckj.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

2la4fmg.jpg

 

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.

zu3uky.jpg

 

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

301dfsl.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

4iexqb.jpg

 

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.

2mrxqf5.jpg

 

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.

4g0jrc.jpg

 

Check out this video of me trying out the coffee machine.

 

Here is the link to the video I made again, walking you through the suite. Enjoy!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for posting your review. I am so excited to read it because we will be on the Jade in Feb. It will be our first time on NCL, usually RCCL and Princess. Keep the great review and pictures coming!:D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thank you for posting your review. I am so excited to read it because we will be on the Jade in Feb. It will be our first time on NCL, usually RCCL and Princess. Keep the great review and pictures coming!:D

 

Thanks for leaving a comment . I will continue to post my thoughts. As I said in the RCI forum, I think Royal still offers a good product. But NCL certainly has her strengths too!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Let me talk about Cagney's. This speciality restaurant was located on Deck 13, central section, just above the Garden Cafe. We had our first experience with Cagney's on embarkation day, lunch . It was really pleasant to be able to head over to Cagney's to have a proper sit-down lunch, after all the hustle and bustle of checking in. What a way to start the cruise!

 

Cagney's lunch was available every day, from 12pm to 2pm. Over the course of our cruise, we ate at Cagney's for lunch 3-4 times. During port days, we would be in port, so we wouldn't be back in time for Cagney's.

 

The dining experience was very pleasant. It was never crowded. Service staff was very attentive. It was the same staff every day and we got to know some of them well. It made for a great experience, even as NCL is known for Freestyle dining.

 

The favourite entree for my kids was the Grilled Beef burger. They loved this.

2j2x536.jpg

 

My favourite entree was the New York Striploin steak, with truffle fries. The fries were doused with some truffle oil. They were really addictive!

n6qlid.jpg

 

There were four desserts to choose from. The most popular for us was the Warm Espresso Chocolate Brownie.

25t7qqr.jpg

 

For the starters, the grilled asparagus starter and the shrimp cocktail were really good. Be warned though, we had issues with the House Smoke Salmon. Either the salmon had some problem or our stomachs couldn't take it. Both of us (i.e. myself and my wife) vomitted it out a while after lunch. I told the Cagney's staff the next day but they shrugged it off, saying that nobody else had complained.

 

Oh well, I wouldn't eat the Salmon starter at Cagney's again but everything else we had was really good. Here is the video link which contains the full menu for your easy reference -

Edited by Iluvcruising2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Garden Cafe Buffet Lunch on embarkation day. The Garden Cafe (Buffet) is located mid-ship, Deck 12. The buffet and seating area stretches from mid-ship all the way to the aft.

 

This is the aft seating area of the cafe. During our cruise, the weather wasn't too cold on some days, so passengers could still enjoy the great outdoors.

2r2t5oi.jpg

 

On embarkation day, we didn't eat here as we had our lunch at Cagney's. However, I wanted to see how crowded the place would be. So I decided to check out the food and make a video. The food selection looked reasonable, as you will see in the video -

 

What struck me the most was that the Garden Cafe buffet area did not seem crowded at all. There was ample seating, not just in the inside area, but also the outside.

 

Furthermore, they used the La Cucina restaurant as expanded seating area for the lunch buffet, therefore creating even more space. See this video for a glimpse of how La Cucina was used during lunch -

 

I vividly recall that embarkation day lunches and sea days on Royal ships were very challenging, due to the huge crowds. You often heard announcements asking passengers to vacate once they are done. I remember it was especially bad on the Legend of the Seas (we have cruised twice). We had to get food from the Windjammer and physically bring our plates into the Diamond Lounge to find a seat. Thankfully for us, there were very few Diamonds when we sail out of Singapore, at least back in 2012.

 

Alright, here is the link to the embarkation day lunch again -

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Embarkation Day, exploring the ship some more. The mandatory life boat drill was held at 4pm and for my muster station, it was conducted in the main theatre called the Stardust theatre. We could sit down in comfort. That was nice.

 

Later, they had a sail away party on deck. The party mood was certainly setting in. The pool side BBQs looked gorgeous and was very popular with the passengers. sgo379.jpg

 

In this video, I take some short clips of the sail away party to give you a flavour of the fun-like atmosphere. It was a great way to start our holiday!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you! We're considering this itinerary for our next med cruise. We stayed in the 2BR suite on the Dawn last year and it was a wonderful space!

 

I love the music in your videos--than you for taking all the time to take these videos on vacation and also to post them here. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Norwegian does not allow you to bring any bottles of wine onboard even for personal consumption, unlike say Royal (which allows 2 bottles per cabin). Every bottle has to pay a corkage charge upfront at the time of boarding, which I think is US$15. (not entirely sure, since we didn't bring any wine on board).

 

In this video, I go through the wine list. I hope this is a useful reference for all those who plan to cruise Norwegian. I noticed they had a house wine called North and South. We ordered one bottle of North and South Merlot by Norwegian, US$30 before gratuities. It turned out to be pretty good! I would drink that again.

1zf66v5.jpg

 

Here is the link to the video showing you the wines available on board.

Edited by Iluvcruising2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thank you! We're considering this itinerary for our next med cruise. We stayed in the 2BR suite on the Dawn last year and it was a wonderful space!

 

I love the music in your videos--than you for taking all the time to take these videos on vacation and also to post them here. :)

 

Thanks for your comment. Glad you like the review and videos!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is the bottle of North & South by Norwegian Merlot that we drank.

 

We couldn't finish in one sitting, so we had the wine over 2 consecutive dinners in the main dining room.

 

The staff would keep the unfinished bottle for you and you can call for it at any restaurant. They will give you a ticket to keep for the wine storage. Keep this ticket properly as you need to give the ticket back at your next meal so that they can find the wine for you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Day 1 evening, after the ship has set sail. This evening, we decided to try Jasmine Garden, the Asian themed speciality restaurant. Two of us had the Shabu Shabu, at the same restaurant.

 

We went early, around 6pm. The restaurant was very quiet, only one or two other tables.

 

The verdict? Just ok. Not great. The food was not cooked to our liking. The Shabu Shabu was not too bad. The best part of the meal was the desserts.

 

Overall, we wouldn't recommend this place unless you are desperate for Asian food while you are cruising. In that scenario, the Asian food selection in the Garden Cafe (Buffet) isn't bad. In fact, I thought some of the food available at the Buffet tasted better than we had in Jasmine Garden.

 

The plan was to try the different speciality restaurants in order to use our OBC. It turned out that we were so impressed after our dinner the next evening in the main dining that we stuck to main dining throughout!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi great review ,what form of ID do you need to get on and off the ship in port ,I know in italy you are supposed to keep you passport on you , do you need another form of ID in other countries not keen to carry 4 passports everywhere,or is your cruise card enough ID . Thank you

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hi great review ,what form of ID do you need to get on and off the ship in port ,I know in italy you are supposed to keep you passport on you , do you need another form of ID in other countries not keen to carry 4 passports everywhere,or is your cruise card enough ID . Thank you

 

Thanks for your comment!

 

No, we did not bring our passports down with us, not even in Naples. The cruise planner daily printed that we should bring with us a photo ID, e.g. photocopy of passport, together with your seapass card.

 

What I did was to take photos of our passports on my smartphone. These can serve as coloured copies to show the security. We were never asked to show any ID other than our sea pass cards.

 

I kept our passports onboard, in the cabin's safe.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • SAIL-AWAY GIVEAWAY - Enter Now for a Chance to Win a 7-day Cruise for Two
      • Q&A with InsureMyTrip
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...