In May 2017, my husband and I went on an 11-night British Isles Cruise with Norwegian on the Norwegian Jade. We’ve cruised before, but this was our first time cruising on Norwegian and our first time visiting the UK and Ireland. Here’s what we thought!
The ship was recently “refurbished” with updates to cabins, décor throughout, new carpets and some of the main areas redesigned. We noticed that some areas were still very dated and due for an update including the theatre and seating, and areas like the buffet and dining area looked very new in contrast. We liked that they outfitted the cabins with usb charging ports, and found this very handy to charge all of our tech gadgets each night.
Here is a high-level video tour of the ship – not including any of the specialty restaurants (we only ate at one and forgot to record it!)
We were in an interior room for the first night, however after major noise disruptions and a sleepless night were moved to a balcony room (the only other room available). Had we not had any issues with noise in our interior room, we would have been perfectly comfortable and happy to stay there – it had everything we needed but was a very basic room. The balcony room was amazing. We have never stayed in a balcony cabin before, and now that we have we cannot imagine going balcony or windowless!
You can view my Norwegian Jade Inside Cabin Tour and Norwegian Jade Balcony Cabin Tour to see the differences. Stay tuned for a detailed review comparing the two cabin types along with the pros and cons!
We opted to decline a drink package, as we didn’t think it would be worth it. At the end of the cruise we were given our on-ship expenses, which mainly included our drink purchases and a few excursion expenses. We were pleasantly surprised that it only cost us about $320 (USD) for drinks for the week. I’ll be sharing a post soon about drink packages and why they aren’t worth it to us, but for now you can check out my video Norwegian Jade Cruise Drink Prices 2017 for more information.
In comparison to our previous cruises with Princess and Royal Caribbean we thought the food was ok, but nothing special. We alternated eating in the buffet, one of the main dining rooms and O’Sheehan’s Pub. On our last night, we ate at the Brazilian Restaurant Moderno. It was a nice treat, but wasn’t anything special aside from the “entertainment factor” of having meat served off of skewers. Our service was great at all of the restaurants.
We booked excursions through the ship for 7/9 ports, which I have listed below. We chose to explore on our own in Dublin, Ireland and Edinburgh, Scotland. This ship was NOT prepared properly in the ports they had to tender to and from the ship. On the day in Edinburgh, tender tickets were given out beginning at 7am. I went at 7:30am and we were tender #13 – estimated to tender at 9:30am. They didn’t call #13 until close to noon (from what we hear – we managed to get on with a group at 10am, otherwise we wouldn’t have made it into the port at all) and a number of people we spoke to either argued their way onto a tender, or didn’t get off the ship at all. Here are the ports with corresponding excursions, and I’ll be doing highlights of these excursions in the near future:
- Guernsey, Channel Islands, United Kingdom – A Scenic Drive of Guernsey
- Portland, England – English Countryside and Corfe Castle
- Cork, Ireland – The Best of Ireland
- Belfast, Northern Ireland – The Best of Northern Ireland
- Kirkwall, Orkney Isles, Scotland – Ancient Treasures of Orkney
- Inverness, Scotland – Leisurely Scottish Highlights
- Southampton, England – Salisbury and Stonehenge with Central London drop-off
We enjoyed seeing the beautiful sights and exploring the historic ports on this itinerary, but we weren’t thrilled with the onboard experience. We did like the “Freestyle” options – wearing what you want, dining where you want when you want, and the fact that there were no formal nights. I won’t say we will never cruise with Norwegian again – but it will have to be a deal that’s too good to pass up!