June 11th, 2018 by Jordan Bailey
When you think of Norwegian Cruise Line, you probably picture their gigantic new modern ships such as Norwegian Epic, Norwegian Getaway, or Norwegian Escape, packed with adventurous activities such as rope courses and waterslides. So why would you want to cruise on a much smaller, older vessel such as Norwegian Jade which doesn’t have these features?
Well, it still feels like a ship and it’s small enough to get into some of the smaller ports of call in Europe. For seasoned cruisers, or Norwegian loyalists, you probably picture Norwegian Jade as a garish, floral and colourful vessel better suited to the 80s than modern times, even though the ship only launched in 2006 as the then named Pride of Hawaii (that name should explain the reason behind the former orange and pink floral décor). Thanks to the multi-million pound fleet-wide makeover programme called Norwegian Edge, Norwegian Cruise Line is working hard and investing an impressive amount of money to modernise its older ships and dispel those garish colour schemes from memory.
Norwegian Jade was recently refurbished back in 2017 just in time for her first season operating from the UK and she’s never looked so good – she’s like a new ship! At 94,000 tons and carrying 2,400 passengers, she is the perfect size for those who prefer sailing on a smaller vessel. But despite Norwegian Jade’s smaller size, she still packs in a lot of things to see and do.
Norwegian Cruise Line is largely considered a family cruise line, and that’s certainly the case on many itineraries in the Caribbean and Mediterranean, but you may be surprised to learn that for the most part on Norwegian Jade, the clientele are the opposite. The average age onboard is around 55, and on sailings from Southampton, guests are predominantly Americans and Asians with around 40% being British. On some sailings, such as to Iceland or the Baltic, there may be less than 60 children on the whole ship, so it’s certainly a cruise line to still consider if you are looking for a more mature cruise holiday.
A few years ago, Norwegian Cruise Line became a Premium All-Inclusive experience for the UK market. You may have seen an NCL cruise while searching for you next holiday and been put off by the price when comparing it to other similar itineraries with other cruise lines, but it’s important to remember what is now included with Norwegian Cruise Line. You’ll enjoy premium all-inclusive drinks, the most impressive choice of complimentary and speciality dining options at sea, award-winning entertainment, your gratuities included and 60 minutes of free Wi-Fi for each guest. On top of all of that, you get even more when you book a suite, such as an additional 250 minutes of free Wi-Fi, $50 onboard spend per person, and speciality dining included. It’s an added value experience that is worth more than £1200 per stateroom in total. Now when you next look at Norwegian’s pricing, you’ll see just how great value they really are!
The Haven complex is an exclusive area on Deck 14 on the ship. Home to just 13 spacious and luxuriously appointed suites, these come with butler service, private access to an exclusive sun deck and a courtyard featuring a pool with retractable roof perfect for enjoying in any weather, and the exclusive use of Cagney’s Steakhouse for breakfast and lunch. These impressive suites are ideal for those who usually sail with Norwegian’s sister brands Oceania Cruises or Regent Seven Seas Cruises and are perhaps looking to take their family away together, or for those who want excellent quality and luxury, but a more relaxed, casual and fun atmosphere onboard. The most impressive suites on Norwegian Jade are the two Garden Villas which have a gigantic two-storey balcony with a full size hot tub, as well as a piano, lobby area, dining table, and separate bedrooms for up to 8 people. With suites, the first two people will pay the standard price, but then anyone else will pay a reduced price, so it’s certainly an option to consider looking at if you are planning to travel in a large family group.
Norwegian Jade has a good proportion of Inside, Outside and Balcony accommodations, as well as several mini-suites. Which are slightly larger versions of the Balcony staterooms, but include a bathtub, as well as a few small additions. Staterooms are average-sized with a small sofa area and vanity table. Staterooms that can also sleep 3 or 4 people will feel very compact, with the balcony not accessible when the sofa is made into a bed and the pullman bed is lowered from the ceiling at night. There is a mixture of glass-fronted balconies and partially enclosed balconies, as well as variants of outside staterooms with various-sized windows and differing layouts. Those mid-aft on Deck 8 have a different configuration and seemed to offer slightly more space.
For a ship the size of Norwegian Jade, she features an impressive 15 dining outlets, 8 of which are complimentary. The Grand Pacific and Alizar are the two main dining rooms on the ship. The Grand Pacific is the larger of the two and has a stunning backdrop of the wake from the floor-to-ceiling windows. Norwegian Cruise Line operates a freestyle dining policy, where you have no set dining time, or seat assignment. You are free to dine at a time that suits you, which gives you more flexibility to try any of the dining options onboard. There is also no enforced dress code, so you can dress up or stay casual, depending on your preference. Both main dining rooms serve the same menu, with several dishes that remain the same on the menu each night, as well as a wide choice of dishes that change daily. One of the restaurants will also be open for a waiter-service breakfast or lunch – a much more pleasant and quieter experience to enjoy, especially on embarkation day. The Garden Café is the main buffet and situated on the starboard side of Deck 12. From a traditional carvery to sandwiches, salad, noodles and sweet desserts, there’s something tempting for everyone. At the back on Deck 12 is The Great Outdoors, a perfect place to enjoy an alfresco meal on a sunny day, with a bar and even a dedicated buffet serving area outside. O’Sheehan’s Neighbourhood Bar & Grill occupies the second level of the main atrium and is a sports pub open 24 hours a day for beers, chicken wings, and burgers free of charge.
On the pool deck is The Pit Stop and Topsiders Bar & Grill, the ideal place for a poolside snack. Jasmine Garden Asian Restaurant is a complimentary venue serving authentic Asian cuisine. When it comes to speciality restaurants, Norwegian Jade has a diverse selection. Le Bistro is a traditional French brasserie featuring traditional French cuisine, such as escargot, scallops, mussels, and onion soup. The restaurant is beautifully decorated in golden colours and deep red fabrics. Veuve Clicquot is the featured champagne served. Le Bistro is a la carte and items are priced individually. Appetizers are around $5, soups and salads average at $4, main dishes are priced around $20 and desserts are approximately $4. Cagney’s Steakhouse serves juicy steaks up to 20oz that are cooked to perfection and again is priced a la carte. La Cucina is a traditional family Italian style restaurant serving antipasto, pizzas, pastas and seafood, priced a la carte. Moderno Churrascaria has a set cover charge of $24.95, which will allow you to enjoy the traditional Brazilian style of churrascaria service known as rodizio. Servers will come round the restaurant frequently and continue to carve you meat cut from a skewer until you turn over a little disk indicating that you have had enough. It’s a bit like an all you can eat buffet, except the food comes to you! It means you can try different cuts of meat such as beef tenderloin, sirloin, ribs, chorizo and chicken. Before your meal why not sit and relax in the stylish Sugarcane Mojito Bar and enjoy an authentic Brazilian cocktail?
For sushi lovers, you’ll be amazed at the choice on offer at the Sushi Bar & Teppanyaki restaurant. Named after the Japanese style of cooking you’ll experience, watch as the chefs prepare delicious meat, poultry, seafood and vegetables on an iron griddle known as Teppan, while expertly showing off with flare as they dice, slice and juggle ingredients! The Sushi Bar is a la carte with most items costing around $6. Teppanyaki has a cover charge of $29.95. The Atrium Café with The Bake Shop Treats is a speciality coffee shop with amazing cakes and macarons, and because it’s located in the heart of the atrium, it’s the perfect meet up point.
There are 11 bars and lounges onboard, all with a unique vibe. The Spinnaker Lounge comes alive in the evening with alternative entertainment to the main Stardust Theatre, such as game shows, trivia and musical performances and Norwegian’s signature White Hot Party (so don’t forget to pack a white outfit – you’ll be in for a treat!). In the day, this is an observation area and a quiet place to come sit and relax with panoramic views of the sea. The Bliss Ultra Lounge is a sparkling and swanky disco with several seating enclaves surrounded by a metallic mesh curtain. In terms of décor, you couldn’t get much further away from the tropical theming of the former Medusa Lounge that was once located here. It’s now completely unrecognisable and another testament to the amount of money spent of transforming Norwegian Jade.
In the middle of the expansive casino, where smoking is allowed, is the Jade Club Casino Bar. This 360 degree bar has a beautiful feel to it with traditional Chinese red hanging lanterns. On deck 6 are three separate specialty bars, as well as a cigar lounge. Whisky connoisseurs and ale fans will enjoy a tipple in the Tankards Beer & Whisky Bar, shake it up in Mixers Martini & Cocktail Bar, while the adjacent Magnum’s Bar is a refined place to sit and enjoy a glass of wine or champagne that opens up into a stunning two-deck-high atrium with beautiful stained glass panels on the ceiling and a grand staircase leading up to the Sake Bar which serves both Teppanyaki and the Jade Garden restaurants. Outside enjoy a poolside refreshment at the Topsiders Bar, or watch the world go by while taking in the sea air at The Great Outdoors Bar.
When it comes to entertainment, Norwegian Jade delivers. In addition to the many lounges where entertainment and live music takes place throughout the day, you’ll be able to enjoy a spectacular evening watching a magician, a comedian, or a colourful performance from the resident singers and dancers in the huge Stardust Theatre. For a little R&R, the Mandara Spa is a haven of tranquillity. Or for those looking to stay active after all of the dining options available, head to the large Fitness Centre or giant Sports Court on top deck.
Kids will have a blast in the dedicated children’s clubs. Splash Academy is for those aged 3-12 and hosts craft sessions, discos, movie screenings, and fun games. Entourage is the teen hangout zone for those aged 13-17. They’ll enjoy listening to their favourite songs on the jukebox and playing on one of the games consoles or perhaps a game of air hockey and table football. It’s a place they can chill, hang out and make new friends.
Norwegian Jade is based out of Southampton in summer 2018 offering Northern Europe itineraries to Iceland, the Norwegian Fjords, Baltic and the British Isles. The ship will then head to the Mediterranean later in the year. In 2019, the smaller Norwegian Spirit will be based in the UK, offering similar itineraries. Call 0800 368 9059 to find out more about booking a Norwegian Cruise Line holiday, or find inspiration by searching below for the latest sailings and availability.
December 29th, 2017 by Jordan Bailey
With the new year, comes new cruise ships. Here are the top new ships set to launch in 2018, and what an amazing line up it is!
Carnival Horizon (March 2018)
After the successful launch of Carnival Vista in 2016, Carnival’s latest ship Carnival Horizon will bring all the fun to Europe and the Caribbean sailing from Barcelona and New York. From the SkyRide – a suspended cycling track with the best views out to sea – to making a splash at the Dr Suess Water Park, all ages will have a blast on this brand new ship.
Symphony of the Seas (March 2018)
Symphony of the Seas is the fourth in Royal Caribbean International’s ever-popular Oasis class. It will become the new largest cruise ship when it launches in March out of Barcelona, taking the title from its older sister, Harmony of the Seas which launched in 2016. From a ten-storey slide for the ultimate adrenaline rush, to robotic bartenders, a vintage carousel, and a park with hundreds of plants and trees, Symphony of the Seas will be the ultimate cruise ship.
Norwegian Bliss (April 2018)
Following an inaugural cruise from Southampton and a transit of the Panama Canal in April and May, Norwegian Bliss is set to debut in Alaska from June. With improved energy efficiency to meet Alaska’s environmental regulations, a giant panoramic lounge, and a go kart track and water park on top deck, Norwegian Bliss is sure to be the hottest ship sailing in Alaska.
MSC Seaview (June 2018)
MSC Seaview is the second of two identical next generation cruise ships for MSC Cruises. Featuring racing zip lines, a Miami Beach condo inspired aft pool area, and spacious outdoor space and interiors, MSC Seaview is set to change the way of cruise ship design.
Scenic Eclipse (August 2018)
Leaders in river cruising and land tours, Scenic Eclipse – the first luxury discovery yacht – is Scenic’s foray into the ocean cruise sector. This six star ship includes return flights, butler service for every guest, spacious all-verandah accommodation, complimentary beverages, a focus on wellness, expert local guides, and zodiac excursions, this is truly the ultimate all inclusive luxury package.
Nieuw Statendam (December 2018)
Holland America Line’s newest Pinnacle-class ship, Nieuw Statendam will combine classic style with contemporary appointments, engaging new experiences, and carefully crafted itineraries. Cruise the Caribbean, relax in elegant comfort, and delve deeper onboard and ashore.
Celebrity Edge (December 2018)
Celebrity Edge will change everything when she launches in December. From the incredible multi-purpose Magic Carpet that moves from the top deck down to sea level, the Infinite Veranda staterooms that bring the outdoors inside, to the 3-deck-tall Eden lounge with giant panoramic windows, this revolutionary new ship will sail the Caribbean and Europe.
November 30th, 2017 by Jordan Bailey
A cruise is the perfect type of holiday to choose for all the family to enjoy. On cruise there is something for everyone, from children clubs and play parks for the little ones, to rock climbing walls and unlimited ice cream for the teens, to adult-only retreats, spas, and fantastic entertainment. Choosing not just the right cruise line for your family needs, but also the right ships is important. Here are 5 top cruise ships we recommend for that dream family holiday…
Symphony of the Seas
The largest cruise ship in the world launches in 2018. Symphony of the Seas is filled with fun activities and amazing experiences. Sailing in the Mediterranean from Barcelona during summer 2018, the ship will then reposition to Miami for the winter months. There’s everything you could ever think of on this behemoth. From ice skating and rock climbing, to a zip line, traditional wooden carousel, Hairspray The Musical, and a robotic bartender. This truly is the ultimate cruise ship for families.
Top things for Children: Adventure Ocean youth club, Splashaway Bay water park, traditional carousel, mini golf, AquaTheatre
Top things for Teens: Starbucks,The Living Room teen lounge, basketball, Ultimate Abyss slide, Flowrider surf simulator
Top things for Adults: Solarium, Central Park, Rising Tide Bar, Bionic Bar, Vitality at Sea Spa
Also why not try: Allure of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas
Norwegian Escape is one of Norwegian Cruise Line’s largest ships. There are plenty of things to do onboard.
Top things for Children: Splash Academy youth club, video arcade, family slide, mini golf, aqua park
Top things for Teens: Aqua Racer, ropes course, Entourage teen lounge, Dolce Gelato, hot tub
Top things for Adults: Headliners Comedy Club, Spice H20, 5 O’Clock Somewhere Bar, Food Republic, The Supper Club
Also why not try: Norwegian Bliss, Norwegian Breakaway, Norwegian Getaway
Independence of the Seas
Independence of the Seas is one of the most popular cruise ships sailing from the UK. Set sail for fun from Southampton and enjoy all the wonderful activities onboard. In early 2018, Independence of the Seas will receive an extensive makeover, which will add many new features, such as waterslides, laser tag, and a trampoline park.
Top things for Children: Trampoline park, Splashaway Bay, Adventure Ocean youth club, Sugar Beach Candy & Ice Cream Store, waterslides
Top things for Teens: Laser tag, Studio B ice rink, Fish & Ships, Escape Room, rock climbing wall
Top things for Adults: Solarium, Vitality at Sea Spa, Chops Grille, Casino Royale, cantilevered whirlpool
Also why not try: Freedom of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas
P&O Cruises flagship Britannia is a family friendly ship based out of Southampton. P&O is the most popular cruise line in the UK, and Britannia – the largest cruise ship built specifically for the UK – caters to all ages.
Top things for Children: The Reef youth club, children’s play area, deck games
Top things for Teens: Pizzeria, The Studio cinema, Lido Pool, Arena sports court, ice cream parlour
Top things for Adults: The Retreat, The Cookery Club, Oasis Spa, The Glass House, Limelight Club
Also why not try: Azura, Ventura
The newest ship in the MSC Cruises fleet has just launched. MSC Seaside is a revolutionary new cruise ship which will offer Caribbean cruises from Miami. The ship has been designed to maximise deck space, and with a wide promenade deck, plenty of sun lounging space, and a Miami beach condo inspired aft pool area, this is the perfect ship for relaxing in the sunny climates of the Caribbean.
Top things for Children: Arcade games, bowling, Doremiland, Forest Aquaventure Park, Club Logo
Top things for Teens: F1 simulator, zip line, poolside movie screen, XD cinema, Infinity Bridge
Top things for Adults: MSC Aurea Spa, South Beach Pool, Champagne Bar, Sports Bar, Waterfront Boardwalk
Also why not try: MSC Seaview
As you can see, there’s something for everyone to enjoy on a cruise. These are just five family cruise ships to enjoy, but there are plenty more ships and amazing activities we haven’t mentioned. Speak to one of our friendly sales team today on 0800 368 9059 to book your next family cruise!
August 16th, 2017 by Jordan Bailey
Guest Post by Emma Leteace
Cruise blogger Emma of Cruising Isn’t Just For Old People is a huge Norwegian Cruise Line fan and she’s here to tell you six reasons why she thinks you’ll love an NCL cruise!
Norwegian Cruise Line have some of the most innovative cruise ships in the industry. For thrill seekers, their ships have rope courses, rock climbing walls, go kart tracks, and more. Large theatres and atriums are common on NCL, with many bars restaurants and quirky places to explore. Despite the amount of things packed onboard NCL’s ships, there are still many places where you are able to escape the crowds and enjoy a quiet drink while watching the world go by. Many of the newer Norwegian Cruise Line ships, like Norwegian Getaway and Norwegian Escape, feature a ‘waterfront’ which is a promenade of restaurants and bars which open out onto the deck – this is my personal favourite place to grab a drink and find a comfy seat.
Norwegian Cruise Line is famous for freestyle dining. Freestyle dining means that you don’t have to be at a set table at a set time, avoiding the need to plan your evening around dinner. You are free to come and go as you please, similar to a land based restaurant. There is a huge variety of food available onboard NCL ships with many speciality restaurants offering something extra special. In addition to the main restaurants most NCL ships also have a pub which serves burgers and hot dogs in a less formal setting and of course a well stocked buffet. I often find myself heading there for a snack between meals.
The lack of formal dining and dress codes means that the atmosphere onboard NCL ships is extremely relaxed. Not needing formal clothing also means that you don’t have to pack as much, which I always appreciate. There are no formal nights on NCL ships, but guests that decide to dress up for dinner won’t look out of place, there are still plenty of people who do dress up and photographers are more than willing to take your photo.
NCL’s entertainment is some of the best that I have ever seen, at sea or on land. My favourite being “Priscilla Queen of the Desert” which I saw onboard Norwegian Epic. I went back the next night to watch it again because I enjoyed it so much! The Broadway shows are always incredible and there are a variety of other acts which perform in the theatre. Usually dancers, singers and musicians. NCL has a lower average age of cruiser than many other cruise lines which is reflected in the entertainment choices. It is worth noting that on the newer ships you do have to prebook the shows. This can be done online before your cruise, or once on the ship. The shows do fill up quickly and are not to be missed.
The daily itinerary
There is always a lot going on with Norwegian Cruise Line. Demonstrations, classes, quizzes, game shows and more happen around the ship every single day. On a Norwegian cruise, I feel able to go for a wander if I have a spare minute and be quite confident that I will stumble upon an event of some kind. The daily itinerary run starts way before I get up and continues long after I go to bed.
NCL cruises are priced competitively against similar cruise lines, such as Royal Caribbean International and Disney Cruise Line. They often run promotions with a variety of perks, like onboard credit, or savings. With Norwegian Cruise Line, drinks and gratuities are included, so once onboard there’s very little to pay! The number of young passengers and families which choose to cruise with NCL just go to show how affordable cruises with Norwegian Cruise Line can be.
Time to Book?
Has this got you interested in trying an NCL cruise? It’s the perfect time to book with Ocean World Travel! Secure your booking between 25-31 August 2017 for just a £50 deposit and save up to £400 on selected five-day or longer winter sun cruises! Call 0800 368 9059 today to discuss booking an NCL cruise.
August 14th, 2017 by Jordan Bailey
Norwegian Cruise Line’s latest mega-ship, Norwegian Bliss, will feature a two-deck-high go-kart track, Starbucks Coffee store, and new dining options.
Norwegian Bliss will debut a new Texas smokehouse restaurant called Q that will host live pop country music, and serve BBQ ribs, and chicken. A modern Mexican restaurant called Los Lobos, which first debuted on Norwegian Dawn in 2016, will replace the space occupied by a Brazilian restaurant on sister vessels. The A-list Bar, named after Norwegian’s President and CEO Andy Stewart, will serve handcrafted cocktails, wines, and premium spirits.
Another new venue for Norwegian Bliss will be Coco’s – a chocoholic’s paradise – serving crepes, truffles, and handmade pralines. Norwegian Bliss will feature a full-sized Starbucks Coffee store, as well as popular favourites like Cagney’s Steakhouse, Tepanyaki, and La Cucina. The 4,000-passenger vessel will also have an open-air laser tag course, an Aqua Park, and waterslides.
Norwegian Bliss will launch in April 2018, offering cruises to Alaska from Seattle featuring calls in Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway, and Victoria, before heading to the Caribbean later in the year, offering week-long cruises from Miami that visit St. Thomas, Tortola, and Nassau.
July 4th, 2017 by Matthew Bayford
Carrie recently went aboard NCL's Norwegian Jade and this is what she thought...
I was invited on board NCL's Norwegian Jade along with other agents to have a tour of the ship and lunch whilst on board.
There was a slight communication error at the beginning which held up the signing in process, however this was sorted and we were allowed on board. We were then greeted by a member of NCL staff whilst having a cup of tea in one of the meeting rooms.
First we were shown the Haven Suite, WOW how impressive! A 3 bedroom suite with its own private deck area with hot tub, a separate dining and sitting area all with an amazing view of the deck space.
The Haven area is a private area for the Haven Suites - absolutely stunning!!
Moving on, we visited most of the dining venues on board. There were quite a few to choose from, including Cagney’s – An a la carte steakhouse restaurant
Moderno – An a la carte Brazilian steakhouse
Jasmine – An Asian fusion restaurant
Grand Pacific – Main Dining Room
The outside areas have a lot of space and have a separate adults only pool. The Topside Grill serves all the tasty food you would expect whilst enjoying the lovely weather.
The Mandara Spa offers all of the treatments any spa at home would offer along with a lovely relaxation area with hot beds and a great view.
On the opposite side of the deck is the Pulse fitness centre, enjoying a work out to work off all the tasty food you can consume whilst on board.
Stardust Theatre – A fantastic venue to see the wonderful shows the NCL staff put on. Two shows are put on every night to ensure everyone can see it before or after dinner.
The Atrium – A really lovely area to share a quiet moment in
We were shown back to the restaurant for a 4 course dinner. The menu got me very excited to what was to come, however I felt that the food didn't quite deliver. The starter was melon and parma ham which was very nice, but felt it could be a bit more exciting. There was a slight mix up with the soup as I was meant to get baked potato soup however I was given a fish soup. This was very tasty, it was just a shame it wasn't what I ordered. The main course was a roasted beef, cooked very well but a little dry, although adding some extra Jus made it perfect. I had to refrain from have a dessert course as I couldn't fit in anymore food!
After lunch we disembarked and let the Norwegian Jade continue on to it's next port, Hamburg.