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It was my 3rd cruise, my friend's 1st - both 1st time on NCL. We barely made the ship due to winter storm flight delays up north but we did make it. No other passengers were in the embarkation terminal in Miami so we sailed through that process. We bid on an upgrade to an ocean view cabin and they accepted our offer a few weeks prior to the cruise. It had a sliding door to the balcony which had a table and 2 chairs. It saved us during the cruise when we'd had enough of the public areas/antics. The room was good-sized as was the bathroom. The ship was clean, decorated well, and easy to get around. We chose this 5-day cruise as my friend's introduction to the experience. Unfortunately that meant a day and a half at sea in both directions and only 2 ports of call - The NCL caya in Belize and Costa Maya, Mexico. Both were ridiculously priced and touristy. In Belize, after a day and a half at sea, we got off and went to the beach where we were immediately informed by a lifeguard we couldn't open the umbrella over the beach chairs as it was too windy. I'm sorry, but for what NCL made on the cruise, if an umbrella ripped, they could afford to replace the dang thing. We chose a spot under palm trees. Waitresses were seen lurking in the background talking to one another our entire time there but they only serviced those by the pool. We walked to a bar to get our drinks several times. Next day's port was Costa Maya, Mexico. After walking through an alleged Mexican village which was nothing more than overpriced bars and tourist trinkets we found a cheap shuttle that took us the 10-minute drive into town (but not back to the port). The town has lots of beach access and restaurants across the street that serve you all day. We found a taxi to take us back to the "village" and our ship. Sadly, I observed fenced in dolphins being subjected to giving rides to adults and children there. That attraction needs to be shut down and the dolphins released. After that port of call it was another day and half at sea before arriving back at Miami. We learned early on in the cruise the antics of American millennials on the pool deck getting steadily drunker as the day goes on loses its entertainment value quickly. It was nearly impossible to find an available beach chair on the two pool decks. The majority of the unoccupied ones had towels and beach bags on them "saving" them for people who didn't show up for 4 to 6 hours. This was entirely unpoliced for the entire cruise. The pot-bellied "lifeguard" spent his day chatting up the women crew members while ignoring unsupervised children in the hot tubs. No matter where you were on the two-level pool deck, you were subjected to cigarette smoke. No NCL staff member approached us poolside the entire 5 days to offer to get us a drink, we had to go stand in line at the bars. No cruise staff or ship staff spoke to us the entire 5 days except for our cabin steward and the garden cafe hostess. Drinks are ridiculously expensive and automatic 18% gratuity for someone pulling a beer out of a cooler was ludicrous. Both outside bars were severely understaffed and overwhelmed at all times. There were several good on-board bands that played afternoons poolside but most of the entertainment there was juvenile body rating competitions for men and women. Thankfully we had our balcony to retreat to although looking at water go by for 5 days also loses its entertainment value after awhile. Onboard activities consisted of trivia contests and similar things. Since we started drinking at 7 a.m. we were done by 8 p.m. and in bed and didn't attend any of the shows. People we talked to said they were o.k. We ate all our meals either at the poolside buffet or the garden buffet at the stern. It had a nice selection for all 3 meals, everything was well-prepared and tasty, and was a highlight of the trip. People we talked to said the main dining room was just o.k. and that the food at O'Sheehan's was inedible. The casino was a complete ripoff. My friend was urged to not use cash but to swipe his room card to increase his chances of winning. He did win $900 on one machine and was given the cash but then a $900 casino charge was on our final bill so he really just broke even and had the cash to pay the credit card bill when it came. The casino manager insisted it had been done correctly. What a joke. Overall the itinerary and activities were pretty boring, the ports were nice but expensive, and the ship was understaffed and those staff who were onboard were overwhelmed and unfriendly. We won't travel on an NCL ship again, and if we ever cruise again, we will carefully choose an itinerary with more ports and less time at sea on ship.

Boring expensive itinerary, understaffed unfriendly crew, last time on NCL.

Norwegian Jade Cruise Review by cjtlz

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: February 2019
  • Destination: Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Oceanview Picture Window
It was my 3rd cruise, my friend's 1st - both 1st time on NCL. We barely made the ship due to winter storm flight delays up north but we did make it. No other passengers were in the embarkation terminal in Miami so we sailed through that process. We bid on an upgrade to an ocean view cabin and they accepted our offer a few weeks prior to the cruise. It had a sliding door to the balcony which had a table and 2 chairs. It saved us during the cruise when we'd had enough of the public areas/antics. The room was good-sized as was the bathroom. The ship was clean, decorated well, and easy to get around. We chose this 5-day cruise as my friend's introduction to the experience. Unfortunately that meant a day and a half at sea in both directions and only 2 ports of call - The NCL caya in Belize and Costa Maya, Mexico. Both were ridiculously priced and touristy.

In Belize, after a day and a half at sea, we got off and went to the beach where we were immediately informed by a lifeguard we couldn't open the umbrella over the beach chairs as it was too windy. I'm sorry, but for what NCL made on the cruise, if an umbrella ripped, they could afford to replace the dang thing. We chose a spot under palm trees. Waitresses were seen lurking in the background talking to one another our entire time there but they only serviced those by the pool. We walked to a bar to get our drinks several times.

Next day's port was Costa Maya, Mexico. After walking through an alleged Mexican village which was nothing more than overpriced bars and tourist trinkets we found a cheap shuttle that took us the 10-minute drive into town (but not back to the port). The town has lots of beach access and restaurants across the street that serve you all day. We found a taxi to take us back to the "village" and our ship. Sadly, I observed fenced in dolphins being subjected to giving rides to adults and children there. That attraction needs to be shut down and the dolphins released.

After that port of call it was another day and half at sea before arriving back at Miami.

We learned early on in the cruise the antics of American millennials on the pool deck getting steadily drunker as the day goes on loses its entertainment value quickly. It was nearly impossible to find an available beach chair on the two pool decks. The majority of the unoccupied ones had towels and beach bags on them "saving" them for people who didn't show up for 4 to 6 hours. This was entirely unpoliced for the entire cruise. The pot-bellied "lifeguard" spent his day chatting up the women crew members while ignoring unsupervised children in the hot tubs. No matter where you were on the two-level pool deck, you were subjected to cigarette smoke. No NCL staff member approached us poolside the entire 5 days to offer to get us a drink, we had to go stand in line at the bars. No cruise staff or ship staff spoke to us the entire 5 days except for our cabin steward and the garden cafe hostess. Drinks are ridiculously expensive and automatic 18% gratuity for someone pulling a beer out of a cooler was ludicrous. Both outside bars were severely understaffed and overwhelmed at all times. There were several good on-board bands that played afternoons poolside but most of the entertainment there was juvenile body rating competitions for men and women. Thankfully we had our balcony to retreat to although looking at water go by for 5 days also loses its entertainment value after awhile.

Onboard activities consisted of trivia contests and similar things. Since we started drinking at 7 a.m. we were done by 8 p.m. and in bed and didn't attend any of the shows. People we talked to said they were o.k. We ate all our meals either at the poolside buffet or the garden buffet at the stern. It had a nice selection for all 3 meals, everything was well-prepared and tasty, and was a highlight of the trip. People we talked to said the main dining room was just o.k. and that the food at O'Sheehan's was inedible. The casino was a complete ripoff. My friend was urged to not use cash but to swipe his room card to increase his chances of winning. He did win $900 on one machine and was given the cash but then a $900 casino charge was on our final bill so he really just broke even and had the cash to pay the credit card bill when it came. The casino manager insisted it had been done correctly. What a joke.

Overall the itinerary and activities were pretty boring, the ports were nice but expensive, and the ship was understaffed and those staff who were onboard were overwhelmed and unfriendly. We won't travel on an NCL ship again, and if we ever cruise again, we will carefully choose an itinerary with more ports and less time at sea on ship.
cjtlz’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Oceanview Picture Window
Cabin OC
We bid on an upgrade to an ocean view cabin and they accepted our offer a few weeks prior to the cruise. It had a sliding door to the balcony which had a table and 2 chairs. It saved us during the cruise when we'd had enough of the public areas/antics. The room was good-sized as was the bathroom. The ship was clean, decorated well, and easy to get around.
Deck 5 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins