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Oakman58

NCL Jade - 1/16/16 to 1/23/16 Nature's Wrath

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Before I start this report I’ll give you a little information about us. My wife and I are both retired and I’m 70 years old while my wife is…younger. Keep this in mind if I post an opinion that you don’t like or agree with. Just chalk it up to me being a grumpy old man.

 

This was our third NCL cruise but our 6th cruise overall. We were in a balcony cabin on deck 9 on the port side of the ship. We were cruising with my sister and her husband who are slightly younger than us. I believe this was their 6th cruise overall too. A few days before our cruise they scored an inexpensive upgrade to a suite at the front of the ship on deck 9.

 

PRE-CRUISE

We flew into Hobby Airport the day before our scheduled departure date. My brother-in-law had gotten a good price online for rooms at the Double Tree by Hilton very close to the airport. The hotel offers free transportation from the airport to the hotel. The ride to the hotel was very short and I didn’t realize how close we were to the airport until I got out of the van and looked across the street.

 

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Our hotel for the night before our cruise.

 

 

 

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The view from the hotel's parking lot.

 

 

 

Apparently there was some type of children’s beauty queen competition going on because the hotel was overrun with little girls in heavy makeup, hair extensions, earrings, and dresses that made them look like high-priced mini-models. Mini-model is the acceptable term I use for this forum.

 

Our room at the Double Tree was very clean and more than adequate for an overnight stay. The hotel offered typical amenities but I didn’t find a safe in our room…until the next morning when we were leaving. It was in the top drawer of a chest of drawers. Obviously I didn’t look for the safe very hard.

 

 

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Our room was clean and comfortable.

 

 

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I can't recall seeing a room safe in a drawer before.

 

Up next, embarkation - day 1

Edited by Oakman58

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Why do people post exterior snaps of the place they stayed at before their cruise?

 

So we can see what it looks like! I am glad to see pictures, and in case it is a place that I am considering staying it is an especially good help.

 

There are pitifully few reviews of the Jade in it's current port and about the current itinerary. I'm thrilled to read any and all information that can be provided by a recent cruiser.

 

Keep it coming, oakman!

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Can't wait to read the rest of your review! I'm on the Jade in a few days and would love to hear your take. You've already peaked my interest.

 

And keep the pictures coming!

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EMBARKATION DAY – DAY 1

My sister had arranged for a taxi van to pick us up at the hotel at 10:30 and take us to the cruise terminal. We arrived at the terminal at 11:00 and the cost was fifty one dollars and some change not including the tip.

 

We dropped our bags off with the porters, entered the building, and passed through security quickly. As we entered the room for registration we were given a boarding number and a health questionnaire to fill out. The room was already a mass of humanity and the signage wasn’t easy to find among all the people standing around. My sister and her husband left us to find the “special” place where “suite” people register.

 

As experienced cruisers we had no problem finding the line for latitudes members. After registering and getting our sea cards we sat down to wait for our boarding number (12) to be called. That’s when my wife noticed some folks didn’t understand the process. Many inexperienced cruisers took their boarding number and health form and just sat down in the waiting area. My wife took it upon herself to inform anyone she saw sitting in the waiting area with a health form that they needed to get into the line to register. Whoever was handing out the boarding numbers didn’t do a good job of communicating the rest of the registration process.

 

166hpjp.jpg

The Jade could be seen through the terminal windows adding to the anticipation of our cruise.

 

 

NCL started boarding passengers just after 11:30 and we were onboard ship by 12:15. Although the rooms weren’t ready, we were allowed to drop off our carryon luggage in our cabin.

 

2zpmgbk.jpg

 

Our first good look at the Jade as we walked through the terminal for boarding.

 

We headed to the buffet for lunch but that place was a madhouse of humanity and there was almost nowhere to sit. We headed to the Blue Lagoon and discovered we had the place to ourselves except for one other couple. Apparently most folks don’t know the Blue Lagoon is open for lunch. Lunch was peaceful and good but since I’m an old man, I don’t remember what I ordered.

 

250lbpd.jpg

The Blue Lagoon Restaurant was empty for lunch service.

 

After lunch my wife and I set off to explore the ship. The day had started off cold with a temperature of 35 and it didn’t warm up very much and in the afternoon it started raining so most of our exploring was inside. I loved the location of the Spinnaker Lounge at the front of the ship on deck 13. With all the widows, the lounge seemed bright and inviting.

 

14njnf4.jpg

The Spinnaker was a fairly quiet place when activities weren't scheduled.

 

There are some pay to play games in the Spinnaker, shuffleboard, pool, darts, and my favorite, a blackjack machine. You could bet as little as one dollar to play blackjack on that machine, that’s my kind of game.

 

ilhy6x.jpg

I would visit this machine more than once on this cruise.

 

Continued in next post.

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DAY 1 (Cont.)

 

At 2:45 we headed to our muster station for the mandatory life boat drill. Our station was H1 which was down in the Grand Pacific dining room at the rear of the ship on deck 6. Since the easiest access to the dining room is from deck 7 where the life boats are, I wonder if I would really pass up the life boats to go one deck lower in a real emergency. I think Maritime Law states, women and children first, grumpy old men next. Thank goodness there weren’t many children on this cruise.

 

2rc094y.jpg

Our muster station for the lifeboat drill.

Due to the weather the sail away party was held in the Spinnaker lounge. The party wasn’t heavily attended but it was a lot of fun. My sister and her husband (hereafter referred to as J & M) joined us in the Spinnaker for the party and a few pre-dinner drinks.

 

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There were plenty of seats available for the sail away party.

 

 

 

The first evening on a cruise ship everyone is always excited to be on board.

 

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I should say, almost everyone was excited to be on the ship.

 

The four of us went to dinner around 7:00 PM at the Alizar Dining Room. I ordered the Striploin Steak that came with Fingerling Potatoes and Onion Rings. I prefer my steaks to be cooked medium and that is exactly the way it was served to me. I don’t know what spices were used in the coating for the onion rings but they were delicious. Without question, the best onion rings I’ve ever been served. Keep in mind that taste is a very subjective. The four of us were all impressed with the dinner we were served and thought it was a step above the food we had on the Star and the Dawn.

 

k9c41l.jpg

This steak was on the classic menu every night.

 

 

It was my intention to go to the 9:30 PM Welcome Aboard Show but being an old man I was ready to go back to our cabin at 9:00. As we walked back to our cabin to unwind for the evening we noticed seasick bags had been placed on the trash containers by all the elevators, uh oh, that’s not a good sign.

 

2m665wi.jpg

Nope, those aren't doggie bags.

 

 

Up next will be day 2, a full day at sea.

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Thanks for the review. We are sailing on the Jade in just four days -- Jan. 30. Hope the seas are smoother.

 

By the way, I always find the dealer on the blackjack machine in Spinnaker slightly creepy -- his eyes are always following me. ;)

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YAY!!! I'm so excited to read this review. I love picture reviews and it helps me learn so much. We are traveling Jade in March so its been killing me to not have much to read of her current voyages! So thank you Thank You THANK YOU!

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I've stayed at the same hotel in Houston. I liked watching the planes, of course it doesn't make sleeping that great :)

 

I can't wait to read the rest, I love the grumpy old man comments they are making me laught

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I was on the Jade in November, it will be interesting to read your review and see if they worked out the kinks we experienced on ours.

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Why do people post exterior snaps of the place they stayed at before their cruise?

 

 

Why do you care? Just scroll on by....geesh.

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Why do people post exterior snaps of the place they stayed at before their cruise?

 

 

I personally enjoy reading them and find them helpful as I always spend time in the embarking city pre cruise. As a previous poster suggested, just scroll the parts you don't want to see and read. I am enjoying this review so far.

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DAY 2 – A FULL DAY AT SEA

BATTEN DOWN THE HATCHES MATEY.

 

Before we went to bed last night I set my watch ahead one hour as suggested by the time change notice our cabin steward placed in our room.

 

In the middle of the night I was somewhat aware that my body was rolling from side to side in the bed. I wasn’t awake enough to know if I was dreaming this, or if I had suddenly been afflicted by a heretofore unknown disease of the aged that caused the body to roly-poly in bed. I had to use the bathroom anyway, so I got out of bed hoping this movement would go away. Nope, now it seemed to affect my legs and feet and for every three steps forward, I would take three steps backwards. Apparently this disease, which obviously was a neurological disorder, was causing me to be directionally challenged too.

 

The fog finally lifted from my brain and I realized there was nothing wrong with me; it was the ship that was rolling from port to starboard (left to right). With this new knowledge I forged my way to the bathroom, took care of business, and got back into bed. The rocking of the ship put me back to sleep like a baby in a cradle.

 

I woke up before my wife in the morning so I made a pot of coffee, poured myself and cup, and headed out to our balcony. What the heck? The wind was fierce and it was still cold. I thought for sure after sailing south overnight it would be warm by the morning. Disappointed, I went back inside to drink my coffee.

 

Once my wife woke up I put on the ship’s TV channel and discovered we were in rough seas and had near gale force winds blowing directly broadside to us. That would explain the side to side rolling we were experiencing.

 

2vlutk4.jpg

 

 

We ate breakfast at the buffet in the Garden Café. There were plenty of places to sit so I think some folks might have been experiencing a bit of a queasy stomach and passed on breakfast. That or we just eat earlier than other cruisers or perhaps the time change threw people off.

29fcqz6.jpg

My wife standing by one of the sculptures in the Garden Cafe.

 

 

After eating we decided to check out the Great Outdoors at the rear of deck 12. I really liked the Great Outdoors and looked forward to having weather good enough to have a meal there. The place was almost deserted that morning.

 

2wh45cp.jpg

The Great Outdoors is a great place to eat in nice weather.

 

 

Because of the chilly air and rough seas my wife went back to the cabin to read for a bit while I explored more of the ship. I headed off to the Bridge Viewing Room on deck 11 expecting to see the Captain and crew furiously working to keep the ship on course but no, they were just sitting in their Star Trek chairs having a conversation. I was somewhat disappointed.

 

30j7dwg.jpg

I thought for sure there would be frenzied activity on the bridge.

 

 

At 10:30 the nets were still over the pools and the deck chairs were pretty much still empty. There was a man and a couple of kids in one of the hot tubs and not much else going on. Two of the four hot tubs are labeled adults only. You can tell by the white water in the pool the ship was still rocking and rolling pretty good.

 

xkzj37.jpg

Too chilly for most passengers.

 

 

 

Day 2 continued in my next post.

Edited by Oakman58

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I am enjoying your review and all of the pictures. Since my DH fits into the Grumpy Old Men age group I am glad you decided on women and children first and Grumpy Old Men second. :D In just a few weeks we will be waving from a Southwest Jet. Wow that is really close to the airport.

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EMBARKATION DAY – DAY 1

My sister had arranged for a taxi van to pick us up at the hotel at 10:30 and take us to the cruise terminal. We arrived at the terminal at 11:00 and the cost was fifty one dollars and some change not including the tip.

 

We dropped our bags off with the porters, entered the building, and passed through security quickly. As we entered the room for registration we were given a boarding number and a health questionnaire to fill out. The room was already a mass of humanity and the signage wasn’t easy to find among all the people standing around. My sister and her husband left us to find the “special” place where “suite” people register.

 

As experienced cruisers we had no problem finding the line for latitudes members. After registering and getting our sea cards we sat down to wait for our boarding number (12) to be called. That’s when my wife noticed some folks didn’t understand the process. Many inexperienced cruisers took their boarding number and health form and just sat down in the waiting area. My wife took it upon herself to inform anyone she saw sitting in the waiting area with a health form that they needed to get into the line to register. Whoever was handing out the boarding numbers didn’t do a good job of communicating the rest of the registration process.

 

166hpjp.jpg

The Jade could be seen through the terminal windows adding to the anticipation of our cruise.

 

 

NCL started boarding passengers just after 11:30 and we were onboard ship by 12:15. Although the rooms weren’t ready, we were allowed to drop off our carryon luggage in our cabin.

 

2zpmgbk.jpg

 

Our first good look at the Jade as we walked through the terminal for boarding.

 

We headed to the buffet for lunch but that place was a madhouse of humanity and there was almost nowhere to sit. We headed to the Blue Lagoon and discovered we had the place to ourselves except for one other couple. Apparently most folks don’t know the Blue Lagoon is open for lunch. Lunch was peaceful and good but since I’m an old man, I don’t remember what I ordered.

 

250lbpd.jpg

The Blue Lagoon Restaurant was empty for lunch service.

 

After lunch my wife and I set off to explore the ship. The day had started off cold with a temperature of 35 and it didn’t warm up very much and in the afternoon it started raining so most of our exploring was inside. I loved the location of the Spinnaker Lounge at the front of the ship on deck 13. With all the widows, the lounge seemed bright and inviting.

 

14njnf4.jpg

The Spinnaker was a fairly quiet place when activities weren't scheduled.

 

There are some pay to play games in the Spinnaker, shuffleboard, pool, darts, and my favorite, a blackjack machine. You could bet as little as one dollar to play blackjack on that machine, that’s my kind of game.

 

ilhy6x.jpg

I would visit this machine more than once on this cruise.

 

Continued in next post.

 

 

My favorite line above "with all the widows, tags lounge seemed bright and inviting". The best!

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Day 2 Sea Day (cont.)

 

When I returned to our cabin we called J & M to remind them of the Latitudes Party and to demand an invite to see their suite. They had a forward facing suite and wow, what a great balcony. During our visit my sister told us that during the night their closet doors kept opening and closing with the roll of the ship. Also a picture that was hanging on a starboard wall wasn’t attached at the bottom so it was banging the wall during the night too. She told us she became panicky in the middle of the night and was ready to put her life vest on while waiting for an announcement to abandon ship. It goes without saying her husband didn’t get any sleep either.

 

2hckzde.jpg

The door looks like it belongs on a bank vault.

 

 

After the tour of their suite we headed up to the Spinnaker Lounge for the Latitudes Party. The Captain and a couple of the other ship’s officers were introduced to us at the party. Everyone was offered free drinks and hors d’oeuvres and a few lucky folks won attendance prizes. No prize for us.

 

o7oexg.jpg

The Latitudes Party.

 

After the party we headed for lunch. The sea finally calmed but the wind was still chilly, even so we found a table out of the wind at the Great Outdoors for the lunch buffet.

 

After lunch we went our separate ways but set up a time to meet at Magnums Champagne and Wine Bar. My wife and I headed back to our cabin to relax for a bit.

 

At 5 PM, J & M met us at Magnums to participate in “Name that Tune: Michael Jackson.” There didn’t seem to be anyone taking drink orders at the tables so we went up to the bar to get our drinks. More often than not, going to the bar was the easiest way to get an adult beverage. My wife ordered a drink called Rum Cake and it sounded so good I ordered one too.

 

2z7pzbb.jpg

Rum Cake cocktail...YUM!

 

 

At 5:15 PM one of the cruise staff began the Name that Tune game. It quickly became obvious to us the songs were some of Jackson’s obscure recordings and we finally gave up after six tunes were played.

 

b5rua9.jpg

I think most everyone was befuddled by the tunes.

 

 

 

We ate dinner at the Alizar again tonight. The salmon dinner I had was delicious and I love the fact that they serve the salmon without the skin.

 

After dinner the four of us went to the casino to donate some money to NCL. At 9 PM we said goodnight to J & M and went to the theater for the show Soul Rockin’ Nights. This show was put on by the Jade’s production staff and band. It was 45 minutes of high energy singing and dancing by some incredibly talented entertainers. This show is worth seeing.

 

After the show we headed back to our cabin where we found our towel animal, and a letter informing us maintenance would re-varnish our balcony while were we away on our shore excursion tomorrow. That was fine with me and I went to bed. Grumpy old men need plenty of beauty rest.

2cr25i9.jpg

Edited by Oakman58

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Thank you sooo much for this awesome review. Like others have said, the Jade out of Houston doesn't have many reviews.

Also, I am an onion ring-aholic. Those onion rings look wonderful!! Do you think I will be able to get them as a side dish without ordering the steak at some of the other restaurants?

Thanks again for your review.

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