Good First Cruise

Norwegian Jade Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western

Cruises: 1 cruise (first)
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 12

Overall rating:

4.2 out of 5
Norwegian Jade

7 Night Western Caribbean (Miami Roundtrip)

Sail date: February 17, 2019

Ship: Norwegian Jade

Cabin type: Inside

Cabin number: 8023

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 1 year ago

Review summary

Overall the cruise was good but not great. I think the little details took away from what could have been a great trip. For my first cruise I think the Jade was a good size ship to try it out, any larger and I think I would have been overwhelmed. But I could see how people who have been on larger ships with more amenities and activities may not be as impressed with the Jade.

Embarkation

5 out of 5
We were on the boat and having drinks in the sun in what seemed like no time at all. Security and port check in were both quick and easy, we waited about an hour before our group was called to board.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

4 out of 5
We only ate in the main dining rooms and buffet. Food in the main dining room was better than the buffet food, and I was impressed with wide selection of options at each meal to choose from. For me it was the little details that underwhelmed me. Everything tasted good, but sometimes the cook was off, or the presentation just looked bulky and less refined than what I was expecting, or items were overdressed or under dressed (there didn't seem to be any consistency). The drinks were good, a good selection of wines available through the drink package and what seemed like an endless trail of cocktails and specialty drinks to try.

Great Outdoors

4 out of 5

A little self serve buffet station for early morning or late night snacks. I found this food a little better compared to the food offered in the main buffet area (I guess its a little easier to keep things fresh when its open for shorter time periods). This was a great place to grab a snack before bed and enjoy the nighttime breeze while eating (just hang on to those chips on your plate!)

Mixers Martini Bar

4 out of 5

Staff were quick, entertaining and friendly. Drinks were good with lots of selection!

Grand Pacific Dining Room

4 out of 5

Fancier dining venue in the evening, men needed long pants. Service I found was better here than at Alizar, more attentive to your needs and I found it overall quicker. If you get in early enough there are also lots of window seats! Food was okay, little details like cook and presentation were inconsistent, which would have otherwise made it great.

Garden Cafe

3 out of 5

Peak hours at the buffet were bonkers. Too many people, not enough seats. I would prefer if Norwegian adapted a buffet style where guests are served by employees and not self-serving as the amount of weird and unhygienic actions witnessed at the buffet were astounding (hello man serving himself french fries with no plate, just used the tongs and then took the fries with his hands from the tongs).

Alizar Main Dining Room

4 out of 5

The casual of the two main dining rooms. Service was good, and with two people we found we didn't have to wait long, but it did get busy. Food was okay, not great. Little details like cook and presentation were lacking but everything tasted good and I enjoyed the variety available to pick from.

Onboard Activities

4 out of 5
Pool was small, but I didn't find it over-crowded, majority of the adult pool users sat around the edge of the pool as opposed to actually being in the pool. The pool deck, particularly during sea days was chaos though, never enough lounge chairs and an over abundance of lounge chair savers that never show up to claim their seats. Good amount of music/parties throughout the day.

Pool

3 out of 5

Pool was alright, I think the adult pool could have been labelled more clearly, there were kids in and out of it for the first two days. Deck area got extremely busy during sea days. A lot of chair saving with towels, some people didn't even bother showing up. By the fifth day I witnessed staff starting to remove towels that were left on loungers which was encouraging, as it isn't fair to reserve your seat if you are not in the immediate vicinity (i.e. in the pool, at the poolside bar, or the bathroom).

Entertainment

5 out of 5
Stage shows were well done, and filled up quickly. Musicians were extremely talented and I enjoyed the wide variety of live music available to listen to (acoustic sets, pianists, bands, etc).

Theater

4 out of 5

A decent sized venue, we sat on the upper level balconies for all shows as it was less crowded and still offered great views. Seats were definitely old and squishy, an upgrade in the seats would be a huge plus for the theater. Chairs themselves were on the smaller side, and were crammed in close to your seat neighbors. Minimal leg room unless you were at the end of a row.

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
All staff we interacted with were helpful and attentive to our needs.

Ship Quality

4 out of 5
Common areas were kept clean and tidy.

Cabin / Stateroom

3 out of 5
Definitely a small cabin, not much room in the room other than the bed. Bathroom was snug as well. For two people who didn't spend very much time in the room other than for getting ready and sleeping it met our needs just fine, although a little more square footage for additional table/counter space would have been appreciated. The room got cluttered quickly.

Ports of call

Miami, Florida Did not visit port

Coming from our of town, went straight to the ship and then straight to the airport after disembarkation.

Harvest Caye, Belize Did not visit port

Took the ferry over to Placencia and did a private snorkel tour of the Laughing Bird Caye National Marine Park. The snorkel trip was amazing, the coral reef was so vibrant and there were almost too many fish to look at. We walked around Harvest Caye after taking the ferry back but before boarding the cruise ship. It looked and felt resort-like and if you are looking to experience more of Belize I would recommend taking the ferry to Placencia.

Costa Maya (Mahahual), Mexico

5 out of 5
Port itself looked like a super touristy all inclusive-resort, but we didn't spend much time in it. We went out of port with a private tour company and visited the Chacchoben Mayan Ruins as well as a private beach lagoon resort for the afternoon. The ruins (and the drive to the ruins) were awesome! Such a great experience and lots of great photo opportunities!

Great Stirrup Cay (Cruise Line Private Island), Bahamas

3 out of 5
We had a beach day on this private island. Drinks and food were included here as the island is owned by NCL, and operated by staff. The beach was okay, not the best I had been to and not the worst. Good natural (treed) options for shade, and they had umbrellas/clamshells but you had to pay for them. We sat at the quieter end of the beach and enjoyed the sound of the waves. We brought our own snorkel gear and swam out along the rocks, not much coral or aquatic plants in the water but there were still lots of tropical fish to look at that were interesting.

Key West, Florida

5 out of 5
Did an eco-tour kayaking through the mangrove swamps in geiger key, but had some time before and after the tour to explore parts of downtown key west. The eco tour was amazing - highly recommended if you like nature (we booked through Key West Eco-Tours) and it was a 2 hour kayak through the different ecosystems in and around the mangrove swamps and we saw lots of cool creatures. Key West itself we will definitely be coming back to, so much history and so many museums, bars and food to try out it was almost overwhelming.

Disembarkation

3 out of 5
A little chaotic, self-assist was not announced over the speaker (and as a first time cruiser I didn't know we didn't have to wait to be called). After we got of the ship, the fire alarm went of in the port building, which led to an emergency evacuation of the building. So I can't say that my disembarkation was 'normal' or to plan.
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