Norwegian Jade cruise review
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ABOVE: Valletta, Malta, was one of eight ports of call
during our 14-day cruise on Norwegian Jade.
For most of its European cruise season, Norwegian Jade
alternates between two roundtrip itineraries from Venice: a seven-night Adriatic
cruise with port calls in Croatia, Greece, and Turkey; and a seven-night Greek
Isles itinerary with visits to Corfu, Santorini, Mykonos, and Katakolon. (These
itineraries can be booked back-to-back as a two-week cruise.)
Our cruise was a deviation from Norwegian Jade's
usual schedule: a 14-night "Ultimate
Mediterranean" cruise that began and ended in Venice, with eight ports of call
and five sea days:
Embarkation and departure from terminal 123 of
Marittima cruise basin. The ship left around 5 p.m. and spent an hour
cruising slowly up the Giudecca Canal, through St. Mark's Basin, and
past the Lido di Venezia on its way to the Adriatic Sea.
|Day 2: A sea
day, with Norwegian Jade sailing south through the Adriatic
along the Italian coast. During our cruise, day 2 included an unscheduled
pause near Bari, Italy for a medical evacuation by the Italian Coast
3: Another sea day as Norwegian Jade continued through the
Eastern Mediterranean to Greece. The day was packed with free activities, but
many passengers just sunned themselves or splashed in the pools.
|Day 4: A port call in
Santorini, Greece. The ship anchored
offshore, beneath the cliffs of Santorini, and local tenders took passengers
ashore. To reach the top of the cliffs, passengers could ride a cable car, hire
donkeys, or walk a steep staircase.
A port call in
Kuşadasi, Turkey, where many passengers took
shore excursions to the ancient ruins of Ephesus and the House of the Virgin
Mary, a Catholic pilgrimage site. (We stayed in Kuşadasi, which has a pleasant
waterfront and a lively bazaar.)
|Day 6: A port call in
Piraeus, Greece--the port for Athens, and a
city with plenty of monuments and museums of its own. One of our own favorite
features of Piraeus is the canine-friendly cruise terminal, where
several dogs are permanent residents.
|Day 7: A sea day as Norwegian Jade
sailed from Greek waters to the Tyrrhenian Sea and the western coast of Italy.
During the afternoon, we passed north through the Strait of Messina, a
narrow strip of water between Sicily and mainland Italy.
|Day 8: A port call in
Civitavecchia, Italy, which has been the
deepwater port for Rome since the 2nd Century AD. Civitavecchia is also a
pleasant resort town, and the
Etruscan tombs of Tarquinia and Cerveteri are nearby.
A port call in
Livorno, the port for Tuscany and the
jumping-off point for day trips to Pisa and Florence. We skipped the shore
excursions and spent our day in Livorno, where marinas and canals
co-exist with ruined fortresses.
|Day 10: A port call in
Cannes, France, where Norwegian Jade
was anchored offshore while tenders shuttled back and forth between the ship and
a pier next to the French resort's old town. From there, it was a short walk
to the the central waterfront, the shopping district, and La Croisette
with its luxury hotels and beach clubs.
Day 11: A sea day as Norwegian Jade sailed
south toward the small island nation of Malta. A highlight of the afternoon (at
least for sports fans) was a pool volleyball match between officers and
|Day 12: A port call in
historic capital of Malta. Norwegian Jade was moored on
Valletta's waterfront, directly beneath the cliffs and walls of the old
city. (The traditional "Noon Salute" was fired from a cannon on a
fortified terrace overlooking the ship.)
A port call in Messina, Sicily,
where some passengers took shore excursions to the hillside resort of
Taormina, Mount Etna (Europe's largest active volcano), and other
attractions. At 6 p.m., Norwegian Jade left port and headed
south through the busy Strait of Messina.
|Day 14: A sea day as Norwegian Jade
sailed around the boot of Italy and up the Adriatic. For us, the day's highlight
was a public Q&A session in the Spinnaker Lounge with the ship's senior
officers (including Captain Mikael Hilden of Finland, who has been at
sea for more than 35 years).
Venice and disembarkation. Durant
woke early and took photos from our balcony during the hour that it took
to reach the pier at Marittima from the Adriatic Sea.
Disembarkation was easy and painless. We weren't even required to leave
our cabin at a specific hour--we had breakfast, then returned to the
cabin at our leisure to collect our carry-ons.
Cabins and suites