I’ve just returned from the first Cruise With Cross holiday on board the stunning Norwegian Jade to the beautiful Norwegian Fjords.
It’s the first time Norwegian Cruise Line have based a ship sailing from Southampton for a number of years so its proving popular for passengers who prefer not to fly. Norwegian Cruise Line are now premium all inclusive, so that means they all your drinks, up to the value of $15 per glass and all your service charges and tips are included (and yes I made full use of this!) – You can literally step on board without a penny in your pocket!
There is a great choice of activities for all to do on board Norwegian Jade. The majority of public facilities can be found on deck 7, deck 12 and deck 13. The heartbeat of the ship is the atrium; this is where you will find Guest Services, Restaurant Reservations, Shore Excursions and Cruise Next – the future cruise sales desk. The staff are incredibly helpful and are always on hand to assist with any queries my fellow travellers and I had on board. The Atrium Bar & Café will keep you refreshed with a morning coffee and chocolates or a place for a pre-dinner drink. There is a piano in the atrium with live music every evening, it was rocking! Just along the atrium you will find the art gallery with original works of art by well-known artists which are available to buy. The photo gallery is interactive and by scanning your cruise card you can view all your holiday snaps! If shopping is your thing, you are in for a treat. There is on board shop with duty free items, jewellery, alcohol, branded merchandise plus the essentials if you have forgot them!
In the evening there is something happening all over the ship, on deck 13 you will find Spinnaker Lounge with its live music and disco in the evening and in the day a great venue to sit back and enjoy the views and also play bingo! It’s really where the action happens at night, where you can throw plenty of moves on the dancefloor into the early hours! On deck 7 is the Bliss Lounge, a venue that offers daily live entertainment plus karaoke! Of course the main event takes place in the Stardust theatre with its twice nightly show included in the price of your holiday, I enjoyed a magic show, singing and dancing plus the impressive Elements show which is well known on board Norwegian Cruise Line ships. If you want to have a little flutter in the Casino you will find this on deck 6 which is open through the day when at sea or sailing from the ports, and just next to the casino is the Champagne, Whiskey and Martini Bars with its live music offering.
When it comes to dining, Norwegian Cruise Line, really offer something for everyone. Its freestyle cruising which means you can eat when you want, where you want and with who you want. There is no need to pack the cocktail dress or bow tie – there are no formal nights on board a Norwegian Cruise Line holiday so you can be relaxed at dinner. There are two main restaurants: Alizar and Grand Pacific which are waiter service and serve an impressive menu. There is no set times you just turn up when you want and get seated right away. If it’s a light bite you are after the Garden Café is the buffet option with its serving stations and live cooking demonstrations. I will always remember the friendly staff at the entrance who greet you with ‘washy washy’ before entering the buffet! O’Sheehan’s is your neighbourhood bar – open 24 hours a day it is totally complimentary with waiter service starting with a full breakfast, traditional daily specials and then the late night chicken wings – yes you can eat chicken wings at 4am, I did! The Topsiders Grill is located next to the pool and weather permitting offers a light bite for lunch – burgers by the pool is a great way to chill out! The Jasmine Garden Asian restaurant is another complimentary dining venue with freshly prepared noodles, soups and wok fried dishes. If you want to enjoy some speciality dining there is a further choice of venues such as Moderno (the Brazilian steakhouse), Teppanyaki (live show cooking), Cagney’s Steakhouse (American premium cuts), La Cucina (Italian restaurant), Le Bistro (French restaurant) and the Sushi Bar. Booking is recommended at the speciality restaurants and great if you are celebrating an anniversary or birthday whilst on board. If you are looking to book, you will find interactive boards around the ship which shows which dining venues have availability – it’s a really good way of finding the ideal time slot.
After all the eating, you can burn off the calories in the fitness centre on deck 12 – its open from 6am – 11pm and there are on board instructors on hand to assist with any questions or to help you. I visited the gym on a number of occasions and used the bike, clocking up some miles! At the rear of the ship on deck 13 is the sports court with its nets, ideal for tennis, basketball or football! The Mandara Spa & Salon is the place to head if you want to chill out or enjoy a relaxing massage or facial – look out for the daily special offers.
Norwegian Jade offers accommodation for all budgets. Each stateroom has been refurbished during the upgrade with accommodation starting at insides, oceanview, balcony, suite and Haven suites. It all depends what you want from your holiday but all include ensuite accommodation and amenities. The bathroom was one of the largest I had experienced before at sea with a power shower, plenty of shelves and space for all your toiletries, in addition to the toiletries provided complimentary from Norwegian Cruise Line.
One of the things people say to me is that they will get bored on a cruise ship – trust me you won’t! I had three sea days on my cruise and there was always something going on around the ship. You will find the activities detailed inside the freestyle daily newspaper which is posted inside your cabin every evening and lets you plan the next day.
If you are planning to travel with the family, like many did on this itinerary. There are the well organised and supervised children’s clubs on board – it looked like great fun when they went for a tour of the ship with their faces painted! They even have their own pool area out on deck just for kids!
Our cruise took us to the stunning Norwegian Fjords via Hamburg. Hamburg is a great city to walk around and enjoy the architecture, it was a maiden call for Norwegian Jade so they quayside was lined with thousands of people for our departure. Our ports in the Norwegian Fjords were Skjolden, Olden, Alesund and Bergen. These villages and cities offer everything from walking tours to excursions to glaciers, I would recommend pre-booking the excursions to get the most out of your holiday. And when you leave the ports there is often hours of sailing inbetween the fjords, head out to the sundeck with your camera and watch the moving picture postcards of the scenery.
It was great to be cruising with so many Vision Cruise customers on board Norwegian Jade, we had a number of first time cruisers and a number of passengers who were new to Norwegian Cruise Line and said they would be returning and I can see why. This won’t be my last cruise with Norwegian, nor it won’t be my last Cruise With Cross – keep an eye out for details of the next cruise!
Have a look through my holiday photos & video - it was great fun!
I'm really looking forward to taking my first trip on board Norwegian Jade to the Norwegian Fjords, I have hundreds of guests booked already! It's your chance to join me on a cruise holiday, it would be great to have you on board!. I’ll be having a special cocktail party, there will be the chance to join me for dinner and enjoy excursions with me.!
This cruise is great for a first-timer. if you have never been on a cruise holiday you are missing out on so much! Firstly, this cruise is sailing out of the UK, which means there are no restrictions when it comes to luggage, so you can take as much as you want! Sailing out of a UK port is so easy, you haven’t got the queues and stress of an airport, you can arrive at the port and be on board in less than 30 minutes and then your holiday begins! And what a great destination the Norwegian Fjords are, with breathtaking views and so many photo opportunities. Plus I will have some great giveaways on board too!
The Norwegian Jade has plenty of facilities for all! Let’s start with the dining; it's relaxed and casual, plus there are no set times in any of the restaurants for dining and there are no formal nights! There are 16 different dining options on board including the best buffet at sea! You will also find a choice of bars, lounges, an impressive theatre, and an expansive spa plus lots more! No matter who is cruising, everyone will have a great time! On board we have included the ultimate drinks package, which includes any drink at any time of the day up to the value of $15 per drink, so that’s practically everything except the high end champagne! This drinks package is worth over $700 dollars per person if you were to buy it on board, and we have included it in your cruise price! Plus we have included some holiday spends for you, an exclusive $25 per stateroom on board credit which you can use this for souvenirs, shopping or pampering treatments. This on board credit is exclusive to Vision Cruise and is not available anywhere else.
I really do love the Norwegian Fjords itinerary and if you haven’t been before I can highly recommend it. We sail out of Southampton so no luggage restrictions and enjoy a fun day at sea. Our first port is Hamburg nestled along the beautiful Elbe River, the second largest city in Germany. Try a visit to the Fish Auction Hall and Market, an open-air market that’s been hawking local wares since 1703. We enjoy a further day at sea for you to explore what Norwegian Jade has to offer. Our second port is beautiful Skjolden, situated at the inner end of the world’s longest fjord. The Sognefjord truly is spectacular with waterfalls and fjords that we cruise close to. Our third port takes us to pretty Olden, a small remote village with access to the impressive Briksdal Glacier. Our fourth port is the fishing town of Alesund with its little shops and cafes and our final port is lovely Bergen with its famous fish market and its funicular railway taking you up Mount Floyen for great views. We then enjoy a final day at sea before cruising back into Southampton.
So go on, what are you waiting for! For more details give us a call on 0800 655 6449 or visit the website www.visioncruise.co.uk and I look forward to meeting you on the Norwegian Jade in June!
Welcome to the biggest ever Norwegian Cruise Line ship, the Norwegian Escape. Launched in late October 2015, she offers 19 decks of fun, activity, tranquillity, entertainment, dining, enrichment or relaxation.
Carrying over 4,200 passengers she is the first of a series of new build ships for Norwegian Cruise Line as part of the Breakaway Plus class in the fleet. Some facts and figures – there are 27 dining venues, 21 bars and lounges, 24 hour room service, 50 different types of bottled beers and 24 draft beers plus 98 different cocktails to try!
One of the great innovations in the cruising industry was freestyle cruising, but what does that actually mean? Well for starters you can wear what you want as you won’t find formal nights on board Norwegian Escape, you are free to dress up in your formal attire if you wish and many people still do. Resort casual and shorts are allowed in all dining venues on board except Manhattan and Le Bistro after 5pm as you would expect shoes and shirts must be worn. But this means you can go for dinner in shorts in the majority of restaurants – how relaxed and freestyle is that! Freestyle dining is also a major part of Norwegian Cruise Lines ethos. In a nutshell there are numerous places to eat on board – Norwegian Escape has 27 different dining venues on board. Some of them do carry a small cover charge; the majority are included in the cruise price. And with Norwegian, you don’t turn up at a set restaurant, at a set time or sit with the same people. Norwegian Cruise Line want to give travellers the choice and you can literally eat your way around the world with the impressive selection at a time that suits you, and if you want to meet new people, you can sit with them for dinner, or if a private table for two is for you, that’s also fine.
There is also an Ice Cream Bar and Room Service available 24 hours a day. The other complimentary restaurants include Margaritaville on deck 17, Savor and Taste, on deck 6 and Manhattan Room. I sampled lunch in Taste, the service was quick, the menu was extensive with plenty of choice, I chose the Chicken Nachos followed by Fried Chicken which was superb! Some of the speciality restaurants include Bayamo, Cagney’s, Food Republic, La Cucina, Le Bistro, Moderno, Pincho, Teppanyaki, Dolce Gelato and The Bake Shop. Food Republic is where you can travel somewhere new with every delicious bite as you savour a fusion of foods and cultures from around the globe, jet away to Japan to try a new type of sushi roll or have a hearty helping of noodles from China. There are 27 venues you can visit, no matter how long you are on board, you can’t say there isn’t choice!
There is the photo gallery that you can go and spot your embarkation photos, shops with souvenirs, clothing, perfume – make sure you leave a couple of hours to get round them all! There is also a chance to buy some art at sea, head to ‘The Collection’ for a chance to see some great paintings on sale! On top deck, there are 12 pools and hot tubs to choose from. An impressive water park awaits with several slides, plus a special kids water park. There is mini golf plus a ropes course, where you can suspend over the ships edge with nothing beneath you, apart from the sea 19 decks below! If you fancy that, and the kids don’t, why not use the on board kids clubs? Guppies is for the little ones, Splash Academy is for the older ones and Entourage is for the cool teens!
Now the important bit, where will you be sleeping? Well Norwegian Cruise Line have a range of comfortable accommodation to pick from. If you are a solo traveller there are studio cabins, there are around 60 of these on board Norwegian Escape, with their own studio lounge to meet other solo travellers. If you are travelling as a couple or family there are inside, ocean view, balcony and mini suites available. Or you want the ultimate experience, go for the Haven suites, these have multiple rooms within your suite including the bedroom, en-suite bathroom and lounge.