March 2016 - 7 Night Western Caribbean (Houston Roundtrip) Cruise on Norwegian Jade
My sister and I were taking our annual year-long cruise, and decided to sail out of Houston on the Norwegian Jade.
Beautiful ship. Well-appointed with great amenities. Lots of choices of where to eat, though not a huge variation in the menu unless you pay to go to the speciality restaurants.
Lots of nitpicky charges for everything--the drink package was outlandish--would have been around $500 for the week if I'd bought it. I was unfortunate to have missed the free package because I booked two days too late (though it was still being advertised on every website on my date of booking). Every individual drink purchased was charged an 18% gratuity, and they had the nerve to leave another line on the signature receipt in case you wanted to leave an ADDITIONAL tip. So, a glass of wine could start out at $11 (when you could purchase the bottle for that much at the grocery store). Wifi packages were really high for not a lot of internet time. Pictures taken by ship photographers were $15+ for 1 print. $15 corking fee per bottle of wine brought on the ship. Room service is $7.95 plus 18% gratuity (when it's free elsewhere). I found myself indignantly refusing to purchase certain things just due to the fact that the prices were outlandish. Ironically, I spent less money onboard on this cruise than I have on any other cruise I've taken. Probably would have spent more money had I not felt nickeled and dimed to death.
Crew was very accommodating, though not as "fun" as I've experienced with cruiselines like Carnival.
The only show I attended on board was "Elements," which was the best show I've ever seen on a cruise ship. It has dance, illusion, aerials, and acrobatics. There's something for everyone in that show.
One thing that I didn't care for was the abundance of college students, which I don't guess could have been helped. There was a group of around 100+ students from Baylor and TCU that, to our chagrin, had the same week for Spring Break. I don't begrudge their good time, but hated that they had to have it at the expense of others. When dancing at the Spinnaker Lounge, the music had to be stopped several times because one of them brought liquor on the dance floor. Inevitably, someone spilled their drink, and everything had to stop so that the drink could be cleaned up. While dancing, I was nearly knocked down every couple of minutes by one of the heavily intoxicated college students on the overcrowded floor (probably populated 10-1: college students to everyone else).