With her summer deployment to the port of Hamburg, Norwegian Jade has returned this year to Northern Europe offering seven to twelve days cruises to Norway, Iceland and the British Isles. After an extensive dry dock in early 2017, the ship aims to bring the contemporary Norwegian Cruise Line style to the 2006 built vessel. Reason enough to take a look at what has changed since I had last cruised on her a few years ago and a great place to reunite with my great friends Steve and David during a short hop from Southampton to Hamburg.
Originally constructed as Pride of Hawaii in 2006, she holds 2,400 passengers and 1,100 crew members at an overall length of 294 meters. With the inauguration of the custom-built Pride of America in 2008, the Pride of Hawaii was pulled off the region and was integrated as Norwegian Jade into the mainline Norwegian fleet.
I first sailed her back in 2014 on a 11 nights Eastern Mediterranean cruise out of Civitavecchia with an overnight in Istanbul. Having back then been fitted with the screaming color design scheme that was once the distinctive Norwegian mark, it was interesting to find out what changes have been made to the interiors.
If you have every sailed on the line´s newest vessels Norwegian Breakaway, Getaway, Escape or Joy, you surely have noted a quantum leap in terms of elegant and modern interiors with that typical Norwegian interpretation.
After she completes her season in the North Sea she will be deployed to New York for several Indian Summer itineraries up the Saint Lawrence River before eventually spending the winter at her home port Miami. But before I go on on how things used to be, here is a look on what to expect onboard when you sail Norwegian Jade on any future cruises from Summer 2017 on.
The enormous Stardust Theatre spreads over three decks and is located in the front of the ship, covering decks 5 to 8. The style has remained untouched.
Right adjacent on Deck 6 forward, the Jade Club Casino. Even though nothing has changed here either, I personally really like these Chinoiserie inspired touches with the glowing red lanterns mounted to the ceiling and the 360 degrees bar as the central meeting point.
Probably the most distinctive design element of this class of ship is the two deck atrium located midships on decks 6 and 7. It is a popular socializing spot throughout the day and in the evening. While this has pretty much been kept in the original style, the railing of the gallery has been exchanged.
Unchanged also remains the line´s French speciality restaurant Le Bistro which entry is located inside this small atrium on Deck 6.
Busy throughout the day are Jade´s three main bars Magnum´s Champagne & Wine Bar, Mixers Martini & Cocktail Bar as well as Tankards Beer and Whiskey Bar. All of these are integrated into the small atrium. Live piano music and comfortable seating adds to a cozy atmosphere.
Mixers Martini & Cocktail Bar
Tankards Beer & Whiskey Bar has received minor upgrades such as new sofa upholstery and new lighting.
Alizar, the smaller of the two main dining rooms, is still kept in the same decor as I remembered it.
The same applies to the eccentric Grand Pacific dining room at the stern of Deck 6. I really like the art deco elements in this elegant venue though. My favorite tables lie, who would have thought, at the windows offering a great view over the wash during an à la carte breakfast or lunch.
Norwegian´s electric Miami style lounge Bliss has replaced the previous Medusa Lounge which connects between Stardust Theatre and the Asian speciality restaurants on Deck 7. Loved the karaoke events during the evenings here!
If you enjoy Asian cuisine, Jasmine, Teppanyaki and the Sake/Sushi Bar are your place to go on Deck 7. While the layout of this area has pretty much been kept the same, all restaurants have received major refurbishment including new carpets, new wall coverings and the addition of the all-time popular Teppanyaki.
I personally love the outdoor promenade on Deck 7 which allows you to completely walk around the ship. The walls used to be painted with motifs and the floor was green or blue if I recall right. It was nice to see that it is now kept in a more calm color scheme. I would not mind some comfortable lounging chairs though, wouldn´t you?
The most visible changes have been made to the main atrium midships spreading over decks 7 and 8 though. New carpets, a new LED chandelier with color-changing mode (which is a little bit too much in my opinion) and a completely redone guest services desk area are a real retreat to the preceding design.
The photo gallery presents itself now in a bright and elegant design. Everything has been digitalized, so entertaining strolls past the onboard photographs are unfortunately things of the past.
The same design lets the art gallery shine in a brand new light.
On Norwegian Jade, the shops and boutiques called Tradewinds are integrated in one large space at the stern of Deck 7. I actually like this approach to offer one single tax & duty-free shop instead of designated brand shops.
Something brand new is the introduction of O´Sheehan´s Neighborhood Bar & Grill on both sides on the gallery of Deck 8 surrounding the main atrium. This popular dining spot offers classics such as Fish & Chips, burgers or hot dogs. And, of course, a wide selection of international beers and stouts.
Wellness for the eye are the newly decorated staircases.
Another great example of how things were previously aboard Norwegian Jade are the corridors. Particularly the yellow doors are very reminiscent of ancient days as Pride of Hawaii. By the way, the direction of the fish on the carpet always indicate where the front of the ship is.
Regular Staterooms have received small yet distinctive upgrades during the refit. This is interior cabin 9549 on Deck 9 forward. No more bright colors but an elegant and contemporary jade scheme. I particularly like the new silver rear wall above the bed with a semi-covered mirror and two night lights including USB outlets. While the bathroom (I love the spacious shower with glass sliding door) and the built-in closets are still made of the same tasteless wood, a newly added cupboard offers a large flat screen TV, USB and two regular 110V power outlets as well as additional stowage space.
A neat detail on all ships of the Jewel class (Jade, Jewel, Gem and Pearl) is the so-called Bridge Viewing Room on Deck 11.
To be honest, I was a little bit disappointed that the Mandara Spa has not seen any changes in terms of design or refit. Taking advantage on most cruises of a spa pass, I would definitely not do this on the Jade. Even though the wellness area offers a wide range of saunas and thermal pools, the ambiance is rather that of a medical institution and far away from wellness refuge. No money from my side and both thumbs down!
Pulse Fitness Center has been updated with the latest TechnoGym equipment. It can get a little tight during busy hours though, particularly at the free weights area.
Also unchanged, the United States library on Deck 12. I would have loved to take that model ship with me though.
Norwegian Cruise Line is highly popular among Chinese passengers. Particularly the Card Room is a popular meeting spot.
Major changes to the pool deck! No more palm tree lanterns and bright colors. It looks much more cleared up and the floor covering adds a little bit more elegance to it.
Topsiders is a casual eating venue serving salads, hamburgers and hot dogs. Come as you like.
Amazing changes to the buffet restaurant Garden Café. In my eyes definitely the most successful re-decoration. This space turned from a horrifying color explosion to an elegant and contemporary retreat to enjoy a casual breakfast, lunch or dinner while enjoying the beautiful views through the panoramic windows. Together with the outdoor area The Great Outdoors one of my favorite spots onboard.
Like mentioned before (you have seen the picture), Spinnaker Lounge on top of the navigational bridge has been transformed into a tasteful maritime lounge for ballroom dancing, live music or bingo games.
The small chapel on Deck 13.
The Pit Stop, a race car themed outdoor bar and probably the busiest bar on the ship, is one of the new additions to Jade. The port side is dedicated to smokers and at every time of day overcrowded.
Deck chairs on the sun deck on Deck 13.
Sugarcane Mojito Bar was added to Deck 13 midships with the relocated Moderno. While the drinks at this bar are absolutely recommendable, I would have liked a better separation to the restaurant and more seating.
We enjoyed the Churrascaria styled dinner on one evening at Moderno.
Norwegian´s Cagney´s is the line´s prime steak restaurant and has seen major enhancements. Primarily, since it serves as complimentary lunch venue for the The Haven suite passengers.
New canopies have been added to the sides of the open decks on Deck 13 on both sides. This is particularly helpful for passengers who prefer to lie in the shadows and at the same time serves as a privacy protection for the suite balconies above.
A large jogging track circles around the rear part of Deck 13.
Passengers can practice their golfing skills at this putting green simulator.
Get busy on the ship´s multi-functional Sports Court with basketball, soccer, etc. or simply watch from the tribune.
For those preferring to sun bathe in a more secluded area, visit Deck 14 forward.
This is a view into the updated private courtyard for The Haven. Norwegian was the first cruise line to offer a ship-in-ship all suite complex.
And that was already it. While in general I really enjoyed the newly added state-of-the-art touches, I very much hope that the remaining areas like the theatre, the spa or some of the speciality restaurants will receive a makeover sometimes in the near future.
Apart from that, I absolutely enjoy the size of these older Norwegian ships. While the interior design of the newest vessels is by far more impressive, they are just a little bit too big for me. I am already excited what Norwegian Star will look like when we will be cruising the Southern Caribbean on her in November 2017.
For more information about Norwegian Jade and cruises on here, click here.