Jump to content

MITSUGIRLY'S birthday cruise on the JADE review/pictorial


Recommended Posts

Hello. It's me again and time for another review. SURPRISE! :D It was an unplanned trip for my 50th birthday and only booked a week prior to cruising.


Now everyone knows what a planner I am. I research for months and months before picking the perfect place to go in port. A lot of time an effort goes into it. Whoops! Not this time. However, thank goodness for it being ports we have been to many times because you already know I have researched the heck out of these ports previously. Therefore, poof...just pick a place we haven't went to before that might have been #2 on the list the last time. :D


So here's "About Me" section that most of you probably already know if you follow my reviews. But for those that don't....


A little about me and the family. We "try" to cruise often (2-3x a year...which is often to us) and my little family consist of me, the hubby and our now 7 year old daughter, Sakari. (Pronounced just as it's spelled SA-KAR-I)


I have 4 "kids" (LOL) ages 29, 27, 21 and 7. All the adult children have children of their own. Most of the time my oldest daughter (27 year old) and her family cruises with us, which makes for an interesting cruise, but not this time. Too "spur of the moment" for her to go. Oops. :p My youngest son (21 year old) tries to go at least once a year and my oldest son (29 year old) went for the first time with us last year. This time, we would be alone...just the 3 of us.





As you can tell from my signature line, we mainly cruise with NCL and my goal has been to do the entire fleet....I'm almost there with the Gem left to go of the older ships and the Escape for the newer ships. (Other than the POA, which I have a tendency to forget it's in the fleet all the way over there in Hawaii).


I have adventured out and tried Carnival twice now and absolutely loved the ships we have been on with them so far. Our next cruise coming up in 20 days from now is another Carnival...Breeze and I'm super excited!!! We did a Royal Caribbean back in the 90's and also NCL Seaward back in the 80's.




I do my reviews as honest as I can and I know everyone has a different expectation during a cruise and will have a different experience, even when on the same cruise.


We are a fun loving and goofy family that loves to have a good time. We make the best of everything even if it's a bad situation. Anyone who follows my reviews knows the "crap" I've dealt with on cruises from breaking my hand in St Maarten, breaking my toe on the Getaway, missing our flight due to my "dear daughter" :rolleyes: Kendra...who is the most non-punctual person you will ever meet, to anything else that is thrown at us. We make light of the situation and we roll with it!


We crack a lot of jokes (and I have a quirky sense of humor...my kids do as well) and love adventure and trying new things. My youngest (Sakari) is an animal lover and if there's anything involving animals, we have to do it. We have done swims with the stingrays, dolphins, manatees, sharks and held so many things in the sea (yes, even those we didn't know better and paid the price for it). She LOVES to draw. She's actually really good at it too. Sakari would rather sit around drawing (mostly animals) than playing with toys. I include many of her "masterpieces" in my reviews because that's what she does in her "off" time on the ship. Sakari has been cruising since she was 3 years old (this will make her 12th cruise...you're welcome daughter for us making you Platinum before you're 18) and she just thinks it's a way of life. She is a DAREDEVIL!!! She will do anything we do and doesn't think twice about it. She zip lined in the jungle, by herself at the age of 3, cavetubing, held tarantulas, jumped off 2 story decks into the ocean, went on the biggest waterslides on the ships (and yes, even the ones that you stand in and the floor drops out from under you)...the list goes on. There's nothing she won't do. She's like having an extra adult with us...other than the fact that her age and height sometimes restricts her from certain things...otherwise she would do it. We LOVE LOVE LOVE the beach. So if I can find a beach or snorkeling...that's where we'll be. If you ask me some "touristy tour seeing the history" type of thing, forgetaboutit...because that's not me.


I tell my story through my eyes and my take on things. Everyone may not agree or have the same opinion, and that's ok, but I'm honest with the way "I" see things. I'm a planner. I do EXTENSIVE research prior to any cruise. I read reviews, I look on the web, I take notes, copy maps, save websites, make spread sheets and everything has to be perfectly planned. That's just me. The family just "rolls with it". I crack up because I feel like a mother duckling and they follow...in a line and (seriously) if I turn one way, they do too, if I quickly turn back, they do too. Sometimes I start weaving back and forth in a "S" shape just to throw them off...then they'll catch on to what I'm doing and laugh. It's all a game and I have fun with it. (See what I mean? That's my quirkiness coming out). Don't worry, the hubby is the same and he pays me back. He's my personal GPS and he likes to throw me off too as a payback. ;)






Another thing I get asked a lot is "what type of camera do you use?" Well, I'll get that question answered right now before we begin. I have 2 cameras. They are both Olympus Tough point and shoot cameras. The models I have (which there are TONS of them out there and always being updated) are 620 & 830. I feel they take excellent pictures. I use to carry my DSLR with me, but I felt that it hindered my fun a little. There's just too much equipment to carry with me. It's heavy. It's bulky. I found a camera that does a good enough job for me and that's all I use now. I find that I can enjoy my cruise more. Are the pictures always perfect? Nope...I do a lot of walking and snapping...sometimes you win, sometimes you lose and get blurry. It is what it is. :p






With that being said, these reviews are meant to be helpful to others, show you around the ship, places we go and give you some ideas. I feel that a picture is worth 1,000 words, which is why you'll find my reviews very picture heavy. I'm a site person and I know it really helps me to put a picture to something someone is trying to explain. By no means do I ever try to influence you one way or the other to do the things we like to do, but merely give suggestions. I try to help out others on this board the way they have helped me so many times in the past and I am so grateful for that.


So now that we have all that out of the way....




Link to comment
Share on other sites

Looking forward to your review because I will be on the Jade for the first time in one week. If you have any of your cruise bulletins I would love to see what entertainment is available in the evenings!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We had been trying to find something "special" to do for my 50th birthday. I wanted to get out of town somewhere for maybe an extended weekend. We had searched places like going to Vegas, Orlando and Disney, to a beach in Florida, Cancun and even searched San Juan. Right when I was ready to book something, hubby told me not to...he discovered the Jade had unbeatable prices for the day of my birthday and the hubby said "DO IT!!" and therefore I did. We did not even tell Sakari until she figured it out on the way to the airport. :D


I never dreamed this would happen, especially with us getting ready to leave the following month on a cruise already booked. I was so excited!! But yet nervous. I'm in school again, getting another degree, and this cruise week would fall right in the middle of my second week for this class I just started and I was also in another class in the 7th week. :eek: I completely busted my "rump" and tried to get as much research done, downloaded onto a flash drive to take with me, and crossed my fingers and toes that I would be able to complete my multiple APA papers, discussion board post/responses and research...all while sailing the seas. :o It would be interesting to say the least.


So...here it is Friday, the day we leave to fly to Houston, Texas. I still have patients to see and Sakari still had school. I raced around trying to see all of my patients and get done early and was lucky enough to have a few cancellations that day. Woo hoo! On the way home, I stopped to pick up Sakari. "But why are you picking me up early?" I told her "I have things to do." She said, with a puzzled look on her face, "But you are allowed to do things without me." LOL Geesh child.


Now we have been packing for our March cruise for about a week prior and Sakari new the luggage was out for that. She really didn't think anything about it when daddy started carrying them downstairs. She went off to her living room and started watching a movie. Daddy snuck them out to the car and we told her "Let's go". She headed outside and....disappeared! We found her out back playing with the neighbor kids. :eek: Are you serious??? Let's go!! She said she really didn't want to go and could she stay home. Oh my gosh child...get in the car! She reluctantly comes to the car to get in. "Wait, why are their suitcases in the car??? Wait, you can't fool me. We are going on a cruise aren't we?" :eek: She said "You fooled me once and I know what you are doing and you won't fool me again." She caught us. She was excited and ready to go now.


We made it to the airport and parked the car then shuttled over to the terminal. Someone was excited!





But wait, I feel as if I'm missing something...oh gosh, my "eye" phone is still on the charger in my car! Geesh. So, we went ahead and checked in our luggage and headed back out to catch the shuttle back to the car to get my phone. Blooper #1.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

One good thing about owning a business (the hubby) is the awesome Southwest Business card we have. Everything gets charged from the business on there and we rack up the points so quickly that 1) He gets the companion pass and flies everywhere for free with me and 2) we have so many points that Sakari and I also get to fly for free using the points. Woo Hoo.


However, when you are a companion, your perks stop at the "flying for free" part. Sakari and I got to go in the "quick-don't-remove-your-shoes-or-anything-and-walk-on-in" line and they hubby had to wait in the "regular line". Oops. Oh well. We had to make a potty visit anyhow.


We started boarding at 4:30pm and Sakari and I had Business Select. We were the 4th & 5th ones on the plane and got prime real estate in the second row. The hubby didn't get to board until the "C" sections were called thanks to me thinking that since we all booked together that meant he gets to come with us and I didn't need to sign him in. Oops. I guess I'll know better next time.


Now some may think this is a bad thing, since you are actually not allowed to "save" seats on Southwest. HOWEVER, having a young child has it's advantages with that issue. I can guarantee that everyone looking for a seat on a booked full flight will pass up a mother with her young daughter sitting in a 3 row seat! Yep, I played that well. Hubby came along and his seat was still waiting for him.


Our plan was to take off at 5:00pm...but it was now 5:10pm and they made an announcement that they were waiting on 3 passengers that should be on the plane and haven't showed up???? Are you serious?? They never waited on us the time we missed our flight (due to Kendra, my daughter) and there were 8 of us that time!!!).


Anyhow...they waited and no one showed so we were off.


Sakari always insist on the window seat (but had an issue with us sitting up front because she likes the "wing" area). HA! Not when I (didn't) paid for business select seats. We're getting in the front!!




It was time for take off and she wanted to hold my hand. I have to admit, last month we did a Netflix marathon of watching some series of airplane crashes and what went wrong and she was really into the shows. Although this might have made her a little nervous, she didn't show it...other than wanting to hold my hand.





She said "Aww, mommy...make a heart with our hands for good luck".


We were up in the sky and on our way. The sun was out and the moon was too.





Link to comment
Share on other sites

Since this was a last minute vacation, that meant we were not able to snag a non-stop flight. We had to change planes in Georgia. According to our wifi connection on the plane, there was going to be a short 10 minute delay on our next flight. However...not the case. We got there and just made it to the next gate and they were boarding. I was coming out of the restroom and they were already boarding and business select had already been called. Grrrr!


Once on the plane, we were still able to get prime real estate in the third row anyhow. The hubby had a "B" ticket this time. Sakari and I would sit in the seat and I would tell her to stand up so that everyone passing by could see her and pass our row up until daddy arrived. LOL! (When she was sitting down, it looked like there were an extra 2 seats in my row and we couldn't have that).


Since our flights were late, it was getting dark out. We don't get to fly in the dark often, but when we do, I actually enjoy it. I love to see the lights down below.





I could tell we were getting close when the amount of lights increased.








Houston, we have arrived! (And that's exactly what I posted on my social media wall and immediately everyone knew...geesh my cruise friends know me so well I didn't even have to say anything).






Link to comment
Share on other sites

We booked our stay at the Drury and got a pretty decent price on it. We have stayed at the Drury many times before, in different locations, and always enjoy them. This time, we would get there too late for the free dinner snacks and would have to find a place to eat.


We called the hotel to let them know we had arrived and was waiting outside. The lady said she'd let the shuttle guy know and hung up the phone. UM....hello??? Where am I supposed to go to wait for him??? Hello??? Sigh.


We ask around and one of the airport workers told us the "area" that hotel shuttle pick-ups were located and off we went. The shuttle arrived within 15 minutes and off we went. He was super nice...and super old. He could not even lift our luggage into the van and my hubby did it. But a real nice guy that was loaded with information. He also stated this lady at the reception that answered the phone when we called (and hung up on me) was new and he would have a talk with her about letting guest know where to met for the shuttle before hanging up). This guy worked the 3rd shift until 7am and enjoyed his job. We ask him where to get food this late and said there was a taco place directly across the street from the hotel that he thought was pretty good. He said it was a Taco Bell on steroids type of place. Then were was a Mexican restaurant right next door as well. He said new management had taken over and although he hadn't been yet, he was told they played really loud music, the food was good, and they only spoke Spanish. Um ok...do we feel adventurous tonight? You bet we did!


We arrived at the hotel and checked in, got our key cards and headed to the room.




I'll show you around the hotel (note some pictures were taken the following day in the daylight obviously).













Glass elevators:



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Continuing with the hotel tour:





They did still have the free popcorn out. The hubby said he'd just take the entire thing because he was starved. However, I was looking for much more of a variety of food and I kinda wanted it to be hot.





Dining area




They do have free pop (or soda for you southerners or Coke for those in Texas).




We made it to our room. It was nice and comfortable. They said they had recently remodeled the hotel and rooms.




We had a room with 2 queen sized beds (although they really didn't feel like they were a queen, they assured me that they were). Of course the first thing I do is start checking for bugs.... all good!





Link to comment
Share on other sites

A tour of our room:





This appears to be a nice big dresser





I would not discover until much later that it was actually a hidden door to the refrigerator. LOL Those sneaky little devils.














Link to comment
Share on other sites






So our bellies were telling us we needed to head out for food before it got too late. As I said earlier, we decided to be adventurous and try the Mexican restaurant next door. It was time to get in the mood to visit Mexico and I LOVE Mexican food.





We walked in and was asked tres? Si. We were taken to our seats on the opposite side of the room. Along the "walk" we could see everyones eyes upon us. Who might these foreign people be in our local establishment?



Our waitress approached us with the menus. "que quieres beber?" Oh gosh, this is were I wished I would have taken Spanish more than 1 year back in High School. The only reply I could think of was "No hable Espanol" She pointed at the menu, did a hand to mouth sign and ahhhh, yea...what do we want to drink.


So, I ordered a diet coke, Sakari a Sprite and the hubby said "Mountain Dew"...which translated to them something totally different. LOL


Mount-an-dew = Mo-del-o "Ok, close enough" the hubby said.





I tried forever to try to ask the waitress about a "sampler platter" with a little of everything on it. Man-o-man did that provide to be a task. Everything...all of it? Most of it? Some of it? Um...todo? Ahhh, pictures are you best friend if you have them. I pointed, she pointed, I just agreed and hoped for the best. The hubby found a platter of chicken something or other and pointed.


My "platter of todo" came...WOW...there was a lot. I shared with Sakari and we were both EXTREMELY happy and fulfilled. Wow it was muy bien. (I remember that word).




Link to comment
Share on other sites

Daddy's plate, which Sakari also needed to share some of his chicken, was also good according to both of them.




His plate was loaded and only $6!!! He said "just what I like. Great Mexican food for dirt cheap!"


Sakari's second plate:




Our shuttle driver was right, limited English and very loud music, but we enjoyed it, even though we couldn't understand a word of it. It was great food and a good night. We walked out with our bellies full and pleased. So if you stay at the Drury, definitely try this place if you want Mexican food.







We headed back to our room and got ready for bed. There was a time change from home to here ♪"deep in the heart of Texas"♫ clap clap clap clap and we were tired. So, off to bed we went.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's now 1:30am and I'm off to bed as well. Since returning from this cruise, I have been so tired much earlier than I usually am and have been going to bed before midnight (which is so not me). These cruises always get me off schedule.


I'll return tomorrow with our next day and getting on the ship. Until then...goodnight. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm very happy to follow along a review as you are writing it :) I've read parts of some of your other reviews so I know you do a fantastic job.


I think most of your ports are the same as what we will visit on the Getaway in June. I've read all your reviews for those ports and I'm almost sure of what we will do but I have a feeling now I will be confused again after reading about your new adventures, lol


Can't wait for all that's to come, thank you for taking the time when you have so much else going on in your life :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hello there girl :). Nice to find your review to keep me busy until our Oasis cruise on the 17th.


Great start, can't wait for more.



Happy belated birthday! :D

Edited by gambee
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great start as always. :) Love reading your reviews. Takes a lot of time and even when you are busy you find the time to write them. Thank you for sharing. I am waiting patiently for you to continue. We have not yet been on the Jade so looking forward to your opinions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Welcome to Cruise Critic
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Cruise Critic News & Features
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • Canadian Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
  • Create New...