NCL Jade Black Sea Cruise
|Reviewed By: Hargreaves, Cheshire on 25th Oct 2009|
|Cruise Line: NCL Cruises||Times cruised before: 10+|
|Cruise Ship: Norwegian Jade||Sailed: September, 2009|
|Destination: Mediterranean||Age: 56-65|
|Cabin: Balcony||Occasion: Getting to a destination|
This was a one-off cruise by NCL, they haven’t been to the Black Sea before (as the Captain kept jokingly informing us whenever we were docking somewhere new) and as far as I know it is not in their plans for next year.
The ship was better than we remembered from our previous cruise on it, which was, admittedly, only a 2-night ‘party’ cruise last year. The standards of cleanliness are very high and we were very impressed with the amount of handwash dispensers – and the fact that most people seemed to use them – dotted around the ship.
The food in the MDR was very good. NCL have upgraded the menus and it showed. We never had one bad meal. We also dined in Le Bistro and Teppanyaki, which were both also excellent. The longest wait we had for the MDR was only about 20 minutes, and then only on one occasion. If we were just the two of us we always asked to share a table and never had to wait – we also met some great people that way. The selection in the buffet was very wide-ranging and, again, of very good quality but it was often rather crowded, although we always managed to find seats.
We had room service breakfasts a couple of times on early excursion mornings and they were very prompt, although the menu is fairly limited. The Blue Lagoon fish and chips are still a big favourite, but we didn’t try the Mexican or Italian. We are disappointed with the supplementary charges as when we first started cruising with NCL they were all free.
We didn’t find that the drinks were terribly over-priced. No more so than any other line, even with the 15% service charge on top. Bottles of wine started around the $28 mark.
The bedding has also been upgraded and if I could I would have fitted the mattress in the suitcase. It was wonderful. The cabin was well serviced by a smiling young man who never once forgot our names and it was the same for most of the staff onboard, they always had a smile and a friendly greeting.
The ports of call were very interesting – it was great to be following in the footsteps of some of the world’s leaders (good or bad!). We particularly liked Odessa and Yalta in the Ukraine. Romania was a revelation, not at all what we had expected, although there wasn’t even so much as a postcard on sale, they were obviously not geared up for tourists which made it even more fascinating.
The entertainment wasn’t as good as we have been used to on NCL. We preferred it when the Jean Ann Ryan Co. was onboard as the shows were always spectacular. This time there were too many jugglers/comedians for our taste, we prefer a ‘proper’ show. The only one they performed, Smoky Joe’s Cafe, was brilliant.
The cruise director, Ian Bagshawe, is from Derbyshire, and he was excellent. As well as seeming to be everywhere on board he is also a magician and on the one sea day he did a really good close-up magic show in the Spinnaker lounge.
We have travelled with NCL quite a few times now and had been slightly worried because we had been reading negative comments about the Jade. In the event we needn’t have worried, it was much better than we would have dared to hope and we will happily sail on it again.
The final word must go to Ian Bagshawe. When he was telling us how many nationalities were on board (69 in total) he offered the opinion that if only the rest of the world could get on as well as people on board cruise ships then the world truly would be a happier place! Hear, hear.
|Quality of Food|
|Main Dining Room, Teppanyaki and Le Bistro. All very good.|
|Best was Smokey Joe's cafe.|
|Ronald, our cabin steward.|
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