"Gargoyles & Graffiti"chronicles architectural elements that I find interesting or unique in my travels. Gargoyles are my passion, but today graffiti (which I hate but am learning to love as it is everywhere) is as much a part of architecture as the gargoyles and decorative railings that thrill me.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Norwegian Jade Review Part I

me at Alizar Restaurant
Those of you who read my blog already know I had a lot of misgivings about going on the Norwegian Jade. I was on the Norwegian Pride of America back in 2006 to Hawaii, and I didn't love it. Being that the Jade was originally built as the Pride of Hawaii, a sister ship to the Pride of America, I thought there was a good chance I wouldn't be thrilled. Honestly, I wasn't. Norwegian Cruise Line just is not for me. I love Holland America. I love the dressing up (not every night, but at least a few nights.) I love the older, more sophisticated crowd. I love the attention to detail with all the lovely architectural details of the ships and beautiful china and wonderful uniforms of the staff. I love how well-trained everyone is on Holland America. I love all the fresh flowers. 

Norwegian Jade hull design

But not all was bad on the Jade. The food was surprisingly good. I only had one meal I didn't love at the Alizar, and I told the waiter and he brought me something else. I did eat four nights in the specialty restaurants and really loved Le Bistro and Jade Garden. Cagney's was okay. The steak tasted kind of strange, almost like liver. I did not love Moderno, but it is just too much meat for me. I did eat dinner every night at 6pm. I was traveling alone and brought my Kindle. Some nights I chatted with other singles or groups sitting near me. Often, I read a book. The service is top-notch when they first open the restaurant. I ordered a sparkling water and tipped the waiter each night.

Jade Garden waiter

I had rack of lamb at Le Bistro and escargot that was divine. The green tea ice cream at Jade Garden was to die for, and the dish I had was excellent too. The wait staff in Jade Garden were a lot of fun as well. The Maitre'D asked if I wanted dessert and I asked him if I didn't like it, would they make me eat it like my father always did? The Wine Steward, Maitre'D and waiter all thought that was hugely funny and we joked about it.

Le Bistro Restaurant on Norwegian Jade

The worst part of the ship was the stateroom. To me, it was totally claustrophobic. There was way too much closet space and the bathroom was super cramped and laid out weird. There are two partitions in the tiny bathroom, which separates the toilet from the sink area and then the shower. I did not have a tub. The shower was large, but I missed not having a tub. I am a small person, 5'1" and 118 lbs, and I was knocking my elbow constantly in the toilet area. I cannot imagine how larger and taller people survive in this bathroom. The stateroom itself was also very small. The other really bad layout is the halls. I guess NCL doesn't want to have wide halls so they can have more area for public rooms. But the hallways are very narrow, making it difficult to navigate when people are coming from the other direction.

Also the walls are paper-thin between staterooms, so I got to listen to conversations from my drunken neighbors each night before they went to sleep. My stateroom was quite distant from the reception area, but I could often hear the piano player in my room. 

7th Floor Deck on Norwegian Jade

The other thing I really disliked was the amount of smokers on the 7th floor deck. That is the walking deck and each night when I tried to take my walk after dinner (I usually walked two miles), I was choked by cigarette smoke. In the end, I started walking the jogging track, which was not ideal but better than inhaling second hand smoke.

More to follow in Part II.

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