June 2015 - Norwegian Jade to Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
I love NCL and have always been devoted to strictly cruising their ships and no others for my cruise needs. However, this trip has made me rethink that plan and consider other cruise lines in the future. This is not a reflection of any issues with Norwegian overall, but rather the experience of this particular cruise, including the people and the activities offered on the ship. I do not have kids, but traveled with my mother and younger sister. During this cruise, all of us were at our wit's end with the kids on board because so many of them were so badly behaved. This was likely due to the fact they were tired and/or bored, given the destination of the cruise. It appeared that many parents were interested in the destinations, but their children were not factored into the decision, leaving us and other cruise goers at the mercy of their children. This, of course, is out of NCL's hands. However, this could have been counteracted by offering more adult activities or providing more restrictions regarding children for activities. For example, the evening events at the Spinnaker Lounge, such as with DJ Freddie should have been limited to adults. For shows in the Stardust Theater, rather than just the farewell show, children should not have been allowed in the first few rows. On one night, a family with a small child was seated in the first row and the small child was often in the way during the show and had to be told by staff to be seated.
I would have like to have seen the cruise director's staff more involved in the night events in the Spinnaker Lounge, since often people were too shy to get out on the dance floor or did not like the music. DJ Freddie did not vary his music and often failed to notice when his poor music choices resulted in many people leaving the dance floor. If the cruise director's staff could have pointed DJ Freddie toward better music and engaged the people in the lounge more, the experience would have been greatly improved. Since this was essentially the only night activity, we were at the mercy of DJ Freddie if we wanted to attend anything at night.
I would have liked there to have been slightly better options available in the afternoon for food. On our days at sea, we slept in and many places would be closed in the afternoon when we went to get lunch. We avoided the buffets to diminish the chance of getting sick, leaving almost no other options. Blue Lagoon and Moderno had mostly terrible food and few food choices. Even something as simple as chicken fingers were not very good. Room service was also an option, but with the $7.95 fee each time room service was ordered, it did not make sense to order room service. I wish there had been better food options available to not make you feel penalized for wanting to sleep in. At a minimum, more food options should have been available on the days we were at sea, when people are most likely to sleep in.
A new offering, or at least something offered since my last cruise several years ago is a tour of the ship from the inside. It gives you a chance to see the inner workings of the ship. I was curious how it all comes together and interested in taking this tour. However, NCL overcharges for this tour. It charged people $79.95 per person for this tour! A tour that has no overhead at all since whomever is doing the tour is already paid by the cruise line and no additional costs are incurred to show people around. While this is unlikely to be specific to the Jade, it just also tainted the experience.
Overall, I loved the ports and liked the cruise generally, but there was definitely room for improvement in several areas.