November 2015 - 7 Night Western Caribbean (Houston Roundtrip) Cruise on Norwegian Jade
It wasnt a horrible vacation, but when everyone is cheering to be off, and the easy walk off option takes over an hour to get off the ship enough said. It just was not what we anticipated.
My background, we have only been on 1 Disney cruise. To compare, I thought the food on Disney was bad, but the service,staff, rooms, ship were awesome. I do get sea sickness.
The good: The food had many options, it didnt get old till maybe day 5. Variety and different veggie options for the rest of my family. The entertainment specifically the Magic shows were awesome. Umm, I think thats the highlights.
The Bad: We left the port delayed out of Houston, the Captain tried to make up time and that ship the Jade is either too small, or has issues in somewhat rough seas because even people that normally dont get sea sick were sick. They had the white cleanup stuff on the carpets all through out from accidental yacking. I had the patch this time, didnt help, so I tried the sea sickness band with Dramamine and forcing myself to eat and it really worked this time. Although first day adjustment was horrible - I was able to fight through it. We were in room 9110 and the room in any sort of seas when the waves where a bit rough 2-3ft+ waves would cause areas in our room to sound like someone is knocking every couple of minutes. Really ruined our sleep and kids so bad. I notified multiple people and it was never resolved. The room was ok otherwise. If you are used to grand ships like the Disney Dream, dont get on the Jade, the atrium and ship decor is kinda old and outdated and small. The service was horrible at the sit downs and buffets. We ordered drinks and majority of times only to recieve them after our meals were done, several times even though we ordered dessert we never got them so we just left. They ran out of chicken wings and while not a big deal it was funny because on the menu if you ordered chicken wings they gave you one marinated chicken leg, I didnt have my camera or would post the picture it was a laughing moment for many people in the restraunt. If you are looking to get off the ship, I would be wary. Belize and Roaton you had to tender, I didnt really understand the concept but here is a quick run down. Get your butt up super early get in line for the tenders which is basically saying you will take a boat to the port city. Belize we didnt get tenders and got off by 12:30 - which we didnt mind since we didnt do anything but get off get some stuff get back on. Roaton was a different story - we were the first ship there, excursions were sold out 2 days prior so we were like I'll wake up and get in line by 6:30 so we get off on one of the first ships. There was already a super long line, I was on tender boat #9 which using there life boats took forever and we didnt actually get off at the port till 12pm, there were people who didnt even go who had tender numbers in the 20's. Roaton is beautiful, the sad part was is everyone had to be on the ship by 3pm, so that left us basically 2 hours to find a company to take us to the local west beach (awesome) snorkel, then get back on. It was a fraction of the cost of NCL's excursion to do almost the same thing. It was just upsetting because we look forward to the ports to get off. Other ships werent leaving till 6-8pm. So we got back on the ship then the captain bascially went super slow and told us we will be there early. Which was fine, I just would have appreciated more time in Roaton. BTW - Cozumel we had a dock walked off, so nice, so much time. Disney everywhere we got off they had a dock. So keep that in mind on any cruise you book and if they have tenders, such a waste of time. Also, sometimes they tell you they take reservations, etc with out party of 10, we never were able to get reservations. Then on top of that most of the times they would split us into 2 seperate tables, while when other big families requested to move they moved them, we never had such luck. The managers at some of the restraunts, would stop by each table and ask how are you all doing. Even when we wanted to tell them whats going on they would just walk off. The buffets, only the washy washy guy was awesome, everyone else looked so update, so much confusion. We actually saw employees/cook staff argue multiple times. I still left the tips which I didnt think was worth it, to give you a perspective on Disney, I paid more then the suggested amounts because they earned it. Most staff on this cruise never seemed happy and all knew they would get regular pay which may or may not be good for them. They seemed way understaffed. You also cant hear the intercom in your rooms so have to run to hear that in the hallways. The pool was so so. Kids pool was about 5 feet deep though. Kids club was not good for us because one child was 5.5 other was 7 and 9. They would not let our 5 year old be with the 7/9 year old. They have freeplay which is an hour around 9-10 or 2-3 most days for only 1 hour. Otherwise you have to pay 6$ per hour and $4 addtional child for freeplay from 10:30 on. The casino was small with card games/craps. Drink people never came around, I had to leave the casino walk out to the bar outside in order to get a drink in a reasonable amount of time. We had the ultimate beverage package - the bar orders were just SLOW all around. Sometimes the waiters would take drink orders, othertimes they had a person to take all the drink orders - it was just a bad setup/system. If you do it, sit down in the restraunt (first wait), then go out and get your drinks from the nearest bar and then go back. Sorry, probably could right more. Maybe I'm snobby but I would rather pay $500+ more to be on a grander ship with better service. Oh wait forgot - The easy walk off option, I have never seen or heard of this, but seemed like everyone was ready to get off the ship. They had the line wrapped around deck 7, we went down to deck 7 around 7:20am keep in mind they start to let people off around 8 and it took forever to get off. Even the Houston port people were like werent expecting this. I guess its what your expectations are. If you want great service, great ship, great crew I would be careful picking the Jade. Just another FYI, My parents took the Jade internationaly, they warned us about the ship and were hesitant to go again with us. I doubted them, but never again ;) good luck hope this review helps someone.