Launched in 2006, Norwegian Jade isn't Norwegian Cruise Line's newest vessel, but via the Norwegian Edge project, the cruise line has made it look and feel new throughout. Cabins have been refurbished; carpeting and furniture have been replaced; some existing restaurants have been moved (Moderno Churrascaria) or expanded (Cagney's), while new ones were added (O'Sheehan's); and the formerly garish orange, purple and pink color palette has largely been replaced with more subdued tones.
What first greets you at embarkation is the vessel's revamped atrium area on Deck 7. It sports modern furniture in subdued hues of black, tan and cream. The neutrality of it all is nicely offset by a funky custom chandelier, which hangs overhead and features color-changing lights.
Although Norwegian has a reputation for nickel-and-diming its customers, we found the number and cost of for-fee offerings comparable to those of other lines. There were also plenty of free options, the quality and variety of which were above average. To boot, service was some of the best we've had at sea, with crew seeming to genuinely enjoy their jobs.
Entertainment on Norwegian Jade is in a category all its own. Shows included a comedian, a magician, a country music medley and an absolutely phenomenal Cirque du Soleil-type performance that included acrobats, aerialists, dancing and magic.
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Above all, despite its age, Norwegian Jade holds its own among some of the newer, larger, more flashy ships in the fleet.
The majority of passengers on Norwegian Jade's Europe-based itineraries are from the U.K. The rest are a mixture of people from Australia, France, Spain, North America, Mexico, Japan and Korea. The average age hovers around 55, with the largest number of passengers in the 55 to 70 range. During summer months, expect a sizable influx in families. Caribbean itineraries draw a younger, more American passenger base, including families.
Daytime: Norwegian Jade's dress code is relaxed, with many people adopting a casual style -- bathing suits, T-shirts, shorts and jeans -- during the day.
Evening: At night, passengers tend to dress smartly but comfortably, with most opting for slacks and blouses or collared shirts. Norwegian ships don't have formal nights, but each sailing offers at least one "Dress Up or Not Night," on which passengers can dress up if they want to. Few on our Caribbean sailing chose to do so; Europe voyages tend to be a bit dressier.
Not permitted: The only prohibitions are tank tops for men, flip-flops, baseball caps, visors, overly ripped-up jeans and swimwear. These are permitted in the Garden Cafe, though cover-ups or shirts and shorts must be worn over swimsuits and bare feet are not allowed.
For more information, visit Cruise Line Dress Codes: Norwegian Cruise Line.
Jade to Greece. Very intense itinerary. Port every day.