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On a beautiful sunny Sunday, our colleagues had the chance to visit the Norwegian Jade as she was docked in Hamburg, Germany. Built in 2006 by Norwegian Cruise Line, the ship underwent a major refurbishment in 2017. Now, she doesn’t even look like the same ship anymore. New restaurants, redesigned staterooms and public spaces, and all the conveniences modern cruise passengers have come to expect are just some of the changes waiting for you onboard. Learn more about our impressions of the Norwegian Jade!
In 2015, Norwegian Cruise Line launched a major modernisation project known as “Norwegian Edge.” With it, Norwegian’s eight oldest ships underwent massive renovations to bring them up to par with even the newest ships in its fleet. Between 2015 and 2018, the cruise line spent 400 million U.S. dollars in the renovation of its fleet. The philosophy behind the investment? That every cruise passenger should be able to enjoy a modern and comfortable cruise experience on every ship, regardless of the year it was built.
After navigating the embarkation procedure – shoes off, pockets empty, and through the metal detector – we stepped onto the Norwegian Jade for the first time. First impression: This doesn’t look like a 12-year-old ship – it looks like it was built last year! This stylish ship wasn’t showing her age at all.
Culinary diversity onboard the Norwegian Jade
After beginning our tour in the stylish Bliss Ultra Lounge on Deck 7, our friendly guide directed us towards the Asian restaurants. The whole area received a serious facelift during the renovation. Gone were the clashing colours – vibrant violets competing with orangey-reds. Now, the space invites passengers to come and relax with warm earth tones and a sophisticated style. The restaurant Jasmine Garden gives all passengers a chance to try out traditional Asian specialties, with most dishes incurring no extra cost. Right next door, the nearby Sushi Bar tempts passengers with small Japanese dishes that are well worth the price. Guests looking for a more intimate experience would do well to book a night in the Teppanyaki Restaurant, where an experienced chef prepares Asian specialties right before your eyes.
Fans of French cuisine won’t want to miss Le Bistro, a French restaurant with an elegant and cozy atmosphere. We recommend a glass of Veuve Cliquot to go with your meal – after all, you’re on vacation, so why not drink champagne?
If you’re looking for a more casual dining option, or if you just can’t make up your mind, the Garden Café leaves no wish unfulfilled. Here you can fill up your plate in a casual, well-lit atmosphere, with lighter tones and a restrained colour palette creating a refreshing ambience.
We had the opportunity to enjoy lunch at the restaurant Grand Pacific, where the quality of the food as well as the friendliness of the service staff made a good impression on us. The waitstaff greeted us with a smile and made sure our glasses were always full. Even special requests, such as to accommodate the vegans and vegetarians among us, were fulfilled in a professional and flexible manner.
We continued our tour of the ship’s restaurants onto Cagney’s Steakhouse, newly expanded following the renovation; La Moderna Churracaria, a Brazilian restaurant on Deck 13, and the Italian restaurant La Cucina, known for its fine pizzas – popular with the kids.
Where to enjoy your favourite drink onboard?
A bar for every taste: On the Norwegian Jade, there’s so many bars, you’re sure to find one that suits your fancy.
Located next to the atrium and designed in Art Deco style, Magnum’s Champagne & Wine Bar is a must for anyone with a taste for its namesake beverages. Nearby, you’ll find Malting’s Beer & Whiskey Bar, designed to feel like a cozy brewery. Get a taste of classic cocktails as well as original creations at Mixer’s Martini & Cocktail Bar. And new to the Jade following the renovation, Sugarcane Mojito Bar on Deck 13 specialises in the classic Cuban cocktail.
One of our favourite places onboard was O’Sheenan’s, a traditional Irish pub serving casual comfort food and British brews. Here, passengers can enjoy pub standards from a cushy green booth overlooking the ship’s atrium.
Specialising in sodas and shakes, Pit Stop is modeled after a traditional 1950’s American-style diner. With its red leather chairs and checkered floor, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time.
There’s never a dull moment on the Norwegian Jade!
With dozens of entertainment venues to choose from, you’ll never spend an evening wondering what to do. At the heart of it all is the Bliss Ultra Lounge, where live bands and DJs provide the soundtrack for the evening and karaoke nights are hosted on a regular basis. With its sleek dance floor, glittering disco ball, and club-like atmosphere, it’s the perfect place for singing, dancing, and for fun.
But that’s not the only thing the Norwegian Jade has to offer. Sports fans and particularly active passengers will appreciate the fitness studio, the basketball court, and the jogging track onboard. Or if you’re looking to lay down and relax, the thermal suites in the Mandara Spa offer the perfect place to lie back and watch the waves go by. The pool deck is also great for lounging, albeit in a more social environment. The redesigned ship’s boutique offers plenty of opportunities for duty-free shopping, and in the evening, you won’t want to miss the shows at the Stardust Theater. And who could forget the ship’s casino? It’s the perfect place to try your luck at pokies, blackjack, or roulette.
During our visit, we were lucky enough to get a preview of the show “Blazing Boots,” exclusive to the Norwegian Jade. An original music and dance production, the show consisted of a troupe of performers singing and dancing to American country music hits. The singers worked the audience and got us to sing along to Gretchen Wilson’s “Redneck Woman” and clap with their raunchy rendition of Luke Bryan’s “Country Girls (Shake it for Me).” We’re sorry we didn’t get to see the entire show!
While the pool deck and the ship’s theatre may offer fun for the whole family, there’s special spaces just for kids and teens onboard the Norwegian Jade too: Splash Academy allows kids ages 3 to 12 to play with kids their age and watch children’s programming, under the watchful eye of the multilingual crew, and Entourage Teen Club gives teens a place to relax, socialise, and play video games. Entourage also features a small dance floor, which comes to life at night.
The Haven: Your private oasis onboard
At the top of the ship lies The Haven, an exclusive, members-only area for those who like the VIP treatment. The Haven features a private atrium with a pool, a whirlpool, and a private sun deck with comfy lounge chairs and four cabanas. The Haven is perhaps the area that transformed the most with the ship’s renovation. Gone are the palm trees, Tiki torches, and colourful floral arrangements. The Haven today is sleek, understated, and modern.
The staterooms also received a major facelift during the ship’s refurbishment. New furniture, flat-screen TVs, and USB ports in every room ensure every comfort and convenience. Standard staterooms, previously upholstered in clashing royal blue, gold, and magenta, have been reimagined with a more restrained colour scheme: Off-white or cream-coloured walls are set off by Navy blue or teak accents. And the Haven staterooms are unrecognisable, having been not just refurbished but completely redesigned with updated amenities to optimise space, comfort, and style.
The biggest surprise for us, though, was the Garden Villa. When we first entered the ship’s top suite, we didn’t immediately realise just how much it encompassed until our guide showed us around. The Garden Villa Suite consists of a three-bedroom apartment, a spacious living room with a sofa, dining room table, and a grand piano, and a private whirlpool and outdoor area. The entire suite sleeps eight.
The main part of the Garden Villa included a master bedroom with direct access to a spacious private balcony, a changing room, and an ensuite bathroom with a shower and bath. One wall of the enormous living room consisted of massive panoramic windows, offering an unparalleled view over the Pool Deck and to the ocean beyond. In addition to balcony access, the living room also lead to a private sun deck with an outdoor whirlpool. We didn’t want to leave!
There was one odd detail that caught our eye in the bathroom of one of the master suites: there was a telephone stationed right next to the toilet! We asked ourselves who would we need to talk to while seated on the toilet?
In addition to the impressive Garden Villa Suite, we also had the chance to visit a Haven Suite. Designed like an apartment, the Haven Suite included a master bedroom, a sitting area, a living room with a TV, and a bathroom with separate shower and bath, the latter of which stood next to a window giving its occupants an impressive ocean view. And of course, the Haven Suite included a private balcony, for guests to enjoy the sun without having to compete for a spot by the pool.
The Norwegian Jade at a glance
In short: Yeah, we’d say operation “Norwegian Edge” was a success! The Norwegian Jade at least looks absolutely marvelous. Over-the-top decorations have given way to restrained colours and modern design. The ship looks better than ever following its facelift. With an atmosphere that’s both elegant and welcoming, the ship invites passengers to enjoy a sophisticated, relaxing vacation.