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Published: January 17th 2011
The Norwegian Jade
Well a few of you have asked what life is like for 21 days on the high seas, so that's what this post is about. Lots of videos in this post as they best show life on the ship.
The boat we were on is the Norwegian Jade, which is owned and operated by NCL (Norwegian Cruise Lines) -the 3rd largest cruise line in the world. They are recognized for inventing “Freestyle Cruising”... which means eat when you want, where you want, with whom you want... you also do what you want, when you want to do it... they do have some schedules but it's up to you how engaged you want to be with their organized activities. There was always something going on somewhere on the boat... we loved this model!!! Since NCL is an American based company everything on the ship was in US dollars (making it easy for us to know how much we were spending). The staff on the ship was amazing! There were about 1000 staff on board, and about 2500 guests.
So enough with all the technical mumbo jumbo... what was life on the ship like? Days were made up of Port Days
and Sea Days. On a Port day, we'd usually (not always) arrive into port early in the day (8AM or 9AM). We'd get up early, have a quick breakfast and then go off ship to enjoy the days destination (you've read those blogs). We'd be due back on the boat in the late afternoon or early in the evening (usually 5:30PM or 6:30PM) and if we weren't there by then we could wave good bye from the dock (so it was important to be back on time). When we returned in the evening we'd have dinner and might do any of the things mentioned for the “Sea Days” below.
Sea days were nice and relaxing. Everyday NCL released a document called the “Freestyle Daily” which was always provided to you in your room. The “Freestyle Daily” would list all the organized events taking place throughout the ship. Many of them were free: dance lessons, Wii tournaments, bridge tournaments, nutrition classes, language lessons, trivia tournaments, theatre shows, music performances, karaoke, bingo, ½ price drink specials or tastings, poker tournaments, and the list goes on and on... We'd sometimes take advantage of some of the scheduled events, we'd sometimes just wander
the ship, sometimes we'd go to the gym, sometimes we'd work on the blog, sometimes we'd jump in the hot tub, or we might catch a movie on the TV in our room, or maybe we'd take a nap... it was very laid back and relaxing. We loved sea days!!!! The “Freestyle Daily” would also let you know which restaurants were open when... (there was always someplace you could get food 24/7). There were about 12 restaurants on the ship and about 6 of them were included in your cruise purchase allowing you to eat as much as you wanted from those restaurants anytime you wanted to visit (some “speciality” restaurants had additional fees); at the “free” restaurants you had to pay for beverages other than water, tea or coffee (although juices were free at breakfast). We were never hungry or thirsty... and we did splurge on a few beers and martinis from time to time.
You definitely knew you were on boat. Some days you could feel the rocking of the ship but neither of us were negatively effected by this. Their was always a nightly performance in the main theatre (which could probably hold about 800 to
1000 guests), and the performances were usually quite good. The best show we saw had some Cirque de Soleil performers and it was very well produced (not cheesy at all). We often enjoyed a drink in the main atrium area (centre of the ship) and listened to the piano player, guitarist or a musical quartet (there was always something going on in the Atrium).
Overall we are converted cruisers with an asterisk and this is the asterisk... Cruises aren't as cheap as an all-inclusive in the Caribbean. So if we were looking to go down south and enjoy weather, get a tan and drink some mai tai's in the sun, we'd likely go for an all-inclusive over a cruise (since you're alcoholic beverages are included in that purchase). But cruising is an amazing experience and one we'll definitely do again... for us it's about the destinations (our current front runner is the Shetland Islands but we've heard a lot of good things about the Panama Canal experience!). Feel free to join us on the next one!!!!
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