Norwegian Jade Review : Southern European Charm


Southern Europe and the Mediterranean are home to some of the most cultured cities and historic sites in all of the Western world, and no other vacation gives you the chance to experience so much as you can on a cruise. Why struggle with crowded train stations, expensive hotels and the like, when you can simply hop on board and set off on a whirlwind trip through Europe on a luxurious cruise liner with all the food, entertainment and activities you could want?

Based in the Mediterranean year round, Norwegian Jade is the pinnacle of Southern European cruise ships—although it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise considering Norwegian has consistently been named Europe’s leading cruise line.  Whether you want to see Greece, Italy, Turkey or Spain, Norwegian Jade can take you there without the hassle.


Where Can Norwegian Jade Take You?

All cruises aboard the Jade embark and disembark from either Venice or Rome, giving you plenty of time to explore one, possibly even both, of these amazing historical cities. Whether it’s taking a gondola ride through Venice’s famous canals or checking out ancient Roman landmarks like the Colosseum or Forum Romanum, you’re sure to fall in love with these fascinating Italian wonders.


Although all cruises leave from Italy, the similarities stop there, as you can choose to head to the Western Mediterranean to gamble in Monte Carlo, sip wine in Southern France, experience a bit of North Africa in Tunisia, explore Barcelona and more.


On the other hand, you may want to experience beautiful, calm waters of the Adriatic Sea, stopping at a few spectacular little Greek Islands like Corfu and Mykonos, plus the fascinating ancient city of Athens; or head further into the Eastern Mediterranean to visit Croatia and Turkey. Norwegian Jade can take you almost anywhere in Southern Europe that your heart desires.


Cruise Comfortably in Jade’s Stylish Staterooms

One area where the Jade really excels is in passenger comfort, and when it comes to a comfortable, thoroughly enjoyable cruise, the most important aspect is the stateroom. When booking a cruise aboard Jade, you have a wide range of staterooms to choose from, depending on your preferences (inside, outside, balcony, suite, penthouse) and, of course, your budget—the massive and supremely luxurious Garden Villas in the Haven will set you back at least $10,000 a week, while interior cabins can be had quite cheaply.


Still, no matter what type of cabin you choose, you’re guaranteed that it will be clean, comfortable and stylish, as all of Jade’s 1,080 cabins are maintained to highest standards and feature attentive stewards, and more than half of them have private balconies. The cabins themselves boast elegant cherry trim, refrigerators and in-cabin bathrooms. What’s more, Norwegian is conscious of the fact that many of their passengers are families, so they’ve made it so many different types of rooms are connecting, allowing you to create up to a five bedroom living space.


Experience the Freestyle Dining Difference

Probably the biggest difference between Norwegian and other cruise lines is NCL’s freestyle dining concept, which basically says eat what you want, whenever, wherever and however you want to eat it. With freestyle dining, there are no assigned dining times or dress codes and no reservations are required for any of the complimentary options as walk-ins are allowed. Nonetheless, you still can reserve for a specific time if you want to avoid possibly waiting in line.


Norwegian Jade features two large main dining rooms and a whole host of other complimentary options, including endless buffets, bar and grills, cafes, and even a 24-hour restaurant to satisfy those late night cravings—and let’s not forget about the non-stop room service. Still, there will probably be a few times during your cruise when you don’t feel like the standard fare and want something a bit more special.


There are seven different specialty restaurants on the ship, each offering a unique, upscale dining experience and each charging somewhere between $15-30 per adult and half that for children. From certified angus steaks at Cagney’s to authentic dishes from across Asia at Jasmine Garden, plus Italian, a French bistro, Brazilian steakhouse, sushi, and an entertaining Teppanyaki restaurant where the chefs give you a show while cooking right at your table—and if none of this strikes your fancy or somehow you’re still hungry, you can order a pizza to your room at any hour of the day.


While even the pickiest eaters are sure to find something they like and the hungriest will definitely get their fill, there’s no doubting the fact that some of the newer and/or larger Norwegian ships offer a bit more in terms of dining options—both complimentary and specialty restaurants. Still, most passengers find the food options to be more than satisfactory.


What to Do While You’re At Sea

The freestyle concept also applies to the entertainment options and activities, of which there are plenty to speak of, both for adults and children. Jade’s main entertainment center is the large Stardust Theater, which usually has a comedy variety show each night along with one other performance. The pick of the entertainment would probably have to be the Second City improv comedy show, although it must be said that Jade is somewhat lacking with the shows on offer.


While the shows may not be the best, there’s always the Jade Club Casino where you can play a variety of games including Texas Hold’em. Like any good cruise, Jade also features numerous bars and once a trip, the pool deck turns into a nightclub for the lively White Hot party.


For children, there’s both an excellent video arcade and the Wipe Out kids club with a huge variety of different games and activities. They’ll also love splashing around in either the regular or kid’s pool during the warm days.


You can also get a quick massage or a full on pampering session at the amazing Mandara spa or work out in the large, well-appointed fitness center, plus much more. All in all, Jade definitely has enough to ensure you’re never bored, no matter what time of the day.


The Final Verdict

After looking at all Norwegian Jade has to offer, it’s not hard to see why NCL is quickly a stronger foothold in the cruise industry. While not the largest, newest or most stylish ship around, Norwegian’s friendly staff, attention to detail and the whole freestyle cruising concept ensure your European cruise aboard the Jade will be one to remember.

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