Norwegian Jade July 2017 Review

Norwegian Jade in Bergen Norway. Photo Credit Dave Jones.

This was our third cruise on the Norwegian Jade, but the first since the estimated $40 million refurbishment; needless to say I was looking forward to see how much of the original Pride of Hawaii was left.

In the main Atrium the roof used to have very large plastic flowers, and have now been replaced with a curving lighting display which changes colours to create a bold lighting display, which takes some time to get used to. The surrounding orange roof tiles have been replaced by a plain white tile, which reflects the new colours from the lights. The red furniture and wooden floor have also gone, and have been replaced with light blue and gray seating with marble tiled flooring. The Java Coffee and cake bar has been replaced by the Atrium Cafe and Bar, still offering cookies and handmade chocolates at $1.50 per one. At centre stage is still the grand piano where musicians play; we had onboard a talented Guitarist called Jumari, who could play a wide range of music from Rock to the Blues. Jumari also had a night on the Stardust Theatre with a Neil Diamond tribute; He filled the theatre as he fills the Atrium. The bar staff in the Atrium are as ever attentive and soon learn your tipple of choice and your name.


Norwegian Jade’s New Atrium, Photo Credit Dave Jones

Surrounding the Atrium (deck 8) is now the O’Sheehans Neighbourhood Bar and Grill; replacing the Blue Lagoon, offering a good selection from the bar and a simple menu, and some extra seating for the musicians playing in the Atrium. Around the base of the Atrium you still have the Guest Services, Onboard Credit Desk, Restaurant Reservations, Shore Excursions Desk, and the CruiseNext Desk; all have had a subtle make over’s. Overall a nice relaxing area, offering some great entertainment and a area to meet and chat.

The Main Pool area has had a major refurbishment. Gone are those plastic palm tree lights, and the large slide, it still contains two large pools and 4 Jacuzzi’s. The whole decking area has been renewed with decking replacing the green lino, and the pool tiling is now a vivid blue, compared to the pale green before. Topsiders Bar and Grill is still there offer the usual hotdogs and burgers, and cocktails. Above the pool area on deck 13 is the Pit Stop themed bar offering cool beer and iced cocktails, a great place to cool off. Overall the area looks a lot larger, and cleaner; it is a great improvement.

Norwegian Jade New Pool Deck Space, Photo Credit Dave Jones.

Complimentary Dining or NCL’s branded ‘Freestyle Dining’ hasn’t changed that much, except for the addition of O’Sheehans. The Grand Pacific main restaurant has had its bright and load carpet changed and the large Hawaiian Statue disappeared. The menu hasn’t changed, and you still need a minimum of an hour to enjoy your meal. Jasmine and Alizar restaurants are the same as they were, with the possibility of having a lick of paint. The menu is the same as in the Grand Pacific, and still gets very busy. The Garden Cafe has had a major change, the tables and chairs are now brown or green, and the carpet has been toned down, gone have the large bright coloured floral flooring and replaced by two toned gray square lines. This has made the whole area look clean and very modern.

Speciality Dining or dining that has an extra charge, offers unique individual experience. There are six restaurants offering a 5 star service, and a high quality of food; enough to satisfy all tastes.

Norwegian Jades Cagney’s SteakHouse Photo Credit Dave Jones.

  • ·         Cagney’s is Norwegians signature steakhouse offering a large range of steaks, chicken and fish.
  • ·         La Cucina is Jades Italian offing and I can vouch for the pasta dishes they send out.
  • ·         Le Bistro is set in a typical French setting, with a French Polynesian decor; little tip for enjoying your meal, don’t eat for 5 hours before your reservation, as the portions are huge.
  • ·         The Sushi bar offers exactly what it says; raw fish in rice, as you can tell I’m not a fan.
  • ·         Teppanyaki is a sort of a diner show, where the chef cooks your choice of food in front of you. The food tastes amazing, but after you’ve been there a few times, you just want your food served. Teppanyaki is worth a visit for good food and a bit of fun.
  • ·         Churrascara Modderno is a Brazilian meat feast from all cuts of steak, Lamb, Chicken, Pork, sausages and even Pineapple. Modderno is my personal favourite, and the meat just keeps coming for as long as you want.

The Norwegians Jade has one main theatre over two decks called ‘StarDust Theatre’. I first went on the Jade in 2011 and the show have not changed that much, it holds a cheesy first night show, an illusionist, a Russian acrobatic display, and a juggler who was very good and funny. A Beatles tribute band played two shows and were good, shame John Lennon came from Glasgow not Liverpool. There was also a unique string quartet that played, danced and had a Python sense of humour. For once bingo tickets or lottery tickets weren’t push down our necks. We watched the shows from the private Haven balcony, I don’t think we had the best views, and saw the Magician hidden secretes, and anything that was going on in the wings.

Norwegian Jade’s Stardust Theater Photo Credit Dave Jones

We stayed in room 14010 a two bed Haven Villa, we chose Haven because it was only a few hundred pounds more than booking two balcony cabins, to accommodate or family and is spread over two decks 14 and 15; both of which you need a keycard to gain entrance. So what do you get, priority boarding, and tendering. A butler (which we don’t know what to do with), a room stewardess to keep the rooms clean, and a Concierge who can book excursions and Speciality dining bookings, and is the main first contact to deal with any complaints. Our room had two bedrooms, one a sofa bed, but both had an personal bathroom; the main bedroom had his and her basins, large shower, separate WC, and a bath with a picture window. In both room there are plenty of wardrobe space, and a flat screen TV and DVD player. The living area has a sofa bed, coffee table, dinner table with four chairs, and patio doors leading out to a large balcony with table and chairs. There are five air conditioning units spread around, offing personal comfort in all areas.

Norwegian Jade’s Haven Suite Master Bed. Photo Credit Dave Jones.

We had a few problems with a large vibration below the room which was sorted out, and the water from the shower and taps being having no cold water, and hot enough to boil lobsters; which a engineer came and sorted it out within three minutes, after a very large rant. The room was more than large enough for us, and the complementary snacks at 3pm were a bonus. The Haven also has a smallish pool, large Jacuzzi and sun beds all under a retractable roof. Above the pool area on deck 15 is a large sun deck with sun lounges and four large, four poster sun beds.

Norwegian Jade’s Haven Court Yard with Pool and Jacuzzi. Photo Credit Dave Jones.

Norwegian Jade’s Haven Court Yard with Pool and Jacuzzi. Photo Credit Dave Jones.

On the pool deck there is an area for having meals delivered from Cagney’s, and a waiter for getting you your favourite drink from the bar. There is also a table with a coffee and tea station with various cookies and confectionary to help yourself with. In my point of view the Haven was worth the extra money paid, but all options should be weighed before choosing. If you travel with a large family it is worth looking into, as it might save you a few pounds.

Norwegian Jade has 15 bars and lounges, all offer different entertainment options, from Musicians, comedians, bingo, quizzes to party nights and Mr and Mrs Shows. We enjoyed the Musicians in the Atrium and spent a bit of time in the ‘Mixers Martini & Cocktail bar’ and ‘The Bliss Lounge’. There are other options from the ‘Spinnaker Bar’ to a ‘Cigar Lounge’ to explore. A lot of the bars and lounges have been refurbished to a tastefully finish, the waiters and waitress are constantly hovering around to keep your drinks topped up.

The last topic is shopping, there is no Norwegian logo shops; so don’t expect to pick up any Jade souvenirs’. There are plenty of watches, and jewellery display cases, and quite a few designer clothing racks. You can also pick up your duty free goods like Cigarettes, Cigars, Booze and perfumes. I do have my doubts about the cost of the jewellery, and will be investigating a real example about a diamond ring, with various prices; so keep an eye on my blog for the results.

Norwegian Jade’s Gift Shop. Photo Credit Dave Jones.

There is a Spa and Fitness centre offering the usual treadmills, bicycles, weights and stretching mats. The thermal suite offers a Thalasso pool, various steam rooms and saunas. A strange thing was the Jacuzzi’s are situated in the Male and Female and are not a mixed Jacuzzi, as are the steam rooms! Our son who has a grade 0 haircut all over, went to the spa to find out how much it was to get his grade one cut before he goes back to work, he was told it would cost $95, for basically 5 minutes max of a hair dressers time, work that one out.

Norwegian Jades Fitness Center. Photo Credit Dave Jones.

Over all the Norwegian Jade offers a great cruise option, with some great value itineraries; her refurbishment has given Jade a fresh new look, I still think there are a few touch ups still going on, but overall she is looking good. Jade is only 38 meters wide (Beam) and 294 meters long, so can be classed as a small but very friendly ship, able to enter the smaller ports, and the need to tender is a lot less than say the Breakaway class. Jade has a passenger to crew ratio of 3 passengers to 1.3 crew, which is a good ratio, and means the crew will remember your name and favourite tipple. The crew offer excellent professionalism, with a friendliness that can’t be matched. Will I book another cruise on the Norwegian Jade, with no hesitation, we have met a wide range of new friends from all over the world who helped make the cruise a very memorable one.

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Norwegian Epic back in service with new attractions and spaces

Norwegian Epic.
The Norwegian Epic set sail this week with new venues and attractions after a three-week renovation.

The ship now features the Cavern Club, an entertainment venue that pays tribute to the Cavern Club in Liverpool, England, where the Beatles performed in their early years.

The Epic has a new Broadway-style revue, “Priscilla Queen of the Desert — The Musical,” a show that celebrates gay pride and is based on the 1994 Australian film. Well-known pop songs from yesteryear are part of the score, including “It’s Raining Men,” “I Will Survive,” and “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.”

A scene from “Priscilla Queen of the Desert — The Musical.”

The Aqua Park now has SplashGolf, a game that combines water features with minigolf.

Norwegian Epic also was outfitted with a new photo gallery, library and card room.

Several restaurants received new decor, carpeting and furnishings, including Moderno Churrascaria, Cagney’s, La Cucina, Le Bistro, Garden Cafe, Manhattan Room and Taste.

Other venues that were spruced up: the Mandara spa, Bliss Ultra Lounge, Marketplace buffet, Epic Theater, casino and Haven suite complex.

The Norwegian Epic entered service in 2010. The ship will sail Mediterranean cruises this winter and next spring and summer before returning to the U.S. and its new home in Port Canaveral, Fla., in fall 2016.

Norwegian’s specialty restaurants to go a la carte

Norwegian Cruise Line said most of its alternate dining venues will move to a la carte pricing rather than cover charges starting next year.

The line is introducing a la carte pricing on the Norwegian Escape, due in November, for three of its specialty restaurants that now have cover charges. In addition, it will also introduce a new dining concept.

The restaurants are La Cucina, Le Bistro, Cagney’s Steakhouse and the new Bayamo by chef Jose Garces. At the same time, diners will be able to choose how many courses to order.

At Cagney’s Steakhouse, starters on the new a la carte menu range from $4.99 to $7.95 and main courses from $17.99 to $29.99. Main courses at Le Bistro start at $15.99 and $12.99 at La Cucina.

Moderno Churrascaria and Teppanyaki will remain at a cover charge of $19.95 and $29.95 respectively, and entertainment dining will also stick with a single fee.

The new a la carte pricing will apply to Ocean Blue restaurants on the Norwegian Getaway and Breakaway starting Oct. 3. The plan will then go fleetwide in January.

Norwegian said anyone buying a specialty dining package will have access to all menu items at La Cucina, Le Bistro and Cagney’s Steakhouse at no additional charge, while dining in Bayamo by Jose Garces will cost an extra $15.