I recently went on a Holland America cruise which was fantastic, and I expected a similar quality on the NCL Jade. Unfortunately, my expectations were severely crushed. The service on the Jade was horrendous. Truly awful. Bartenders and servers did the bare minimum to get by without interacting with customers. No "hi, how are you?" or "how was your day?" or even a smile! My husband and I started playing a drinking game to see how many NCL staff members we could get to smile. Needless to say, it wasn't many. The bartenders also did not know how to make a drink. Or pour a beer correctly. And the dining room staff refused (multiple times) to get me a cocktail... apparently because they don't have a full bar in the main dining room. And they also refused to get my husband a beer that was offered in a lounge not too far from the main dining room. So basically be prepared to only drink wine when eating! The quality of the food was subpar when comparing it to Holland America. Now, think of the quality of the cheapest restaurant you can eat at. That's pretty much what the Garden Cafe is. The main dining room is better, but the food is still hit or miss. I would order the same dessert almost every day. Sometimes it would turn out fine, others not so much. Absolutely no consistency. We scheduled all of our shore excursions through NCL. On the first shore excursion I was told, "all of the guides in Norway are originally from a country other than Norway, so don't expect much." If they are not confident in the quality of their guides, maybe they shouldn't hire them???? Or perhaps not charge so much???? The first guide we had in Alesund was bad--- she was very nice, but her English was poor and she basically read all of her information off of a piece of paper that was printed off. Yes, basically like being driven around while reading Wikipedia. The guide we had in Geiranger was surprisingly good! He was from Germany, but was well read, able to speak English, and knew a lot about the country. We were very pleased. Then we went to Flam, and it all went downhill from there. The guides were in over their head. I don't know if they were college kids who were trying to make some quick cash and didn't know what they were doing. But we had four buses show up to lunch, and the lunch place was only expecting one. Huge commotion that lasted way longer than it should have. Basically wasted a half hour of time. When collecting us for the train, the guides had a very poor plan, and basically left someone behind. And they didn't care. They still had no idea what they were doing. And the tour ended... but no one told us. It was pathetic. Surprisingly, the next day in Bergen was worse. The guide told us about 5 times that she was too tired to remember names, dates, or information. So unprofessional. The tour was supposed to last 3- 3.5 hours, but only lasted half of that. She took us to the top of Mount Floyen, and it was cloudy, so she said we would leave in 15 minutes. Thinking we were leaving right away, we didn't wander off and explore. After about 15 minutes came and went, she said that we would be up there another 20 minutes. 20 minutes came and went, and she said we would have to wait for another train. So another 20 minutes. All of this time we could have spent walking around and exploring, but we didn't want to go too far and be left there. She didn't tell us that there were goats on top! Or walking paths. She just said, "there's a troll over there." Maybe give us SOME information. It was the worst tour I've ever been on. I was embarrassed for her. I finally decided to complain to NCL's shore excursion team and was dismissed. They told me that she was probably just making jokes (about being tired? and not knowing names, dates, or information?) and that I was wrong because the tour guide had been living in Bergen for 14 years. They gave me 10% off in the end, which I thought was poor service. If someone is giving me half a tour, shouldn't I get half off? It ruined my entire day in Bergen. I think the way the shore excursion team handled it was the nail in the coffin... definitely no more NCL cruises. Ever. Also, the cruise entertainment staff compared Michelle Obama to an ape. And then laughed hysterically about it. I was appalled.
There are a couple good things to say about the Jade. The cabin was nice, although a mini suite is comparable to a regular room on Holland America. Also, the nightly show was of decent quality. Not a Vegas show, but that's not what people should expect on a cruise line.