Norwegian Cruise Line Norwegian Jade Review
Our cruise on Norwegian Jade was a mixed success, but definitely not without its upsides.
With our ship cruising through the sunny Mediterranean, the bulk of the bar action was found on the upper decks during the day. Around the main pools, afternoons were crowded (though service was fine)—it was usually more relaxed on Deck 12 aft, where the Great Outdoors had a full bar.
In the evening the action moved downstairs, though the bars were never as hopping as we expected them to be. At midship on Deck 6 was an area nicknamed Bar City, home to three adjoining bars: Tankards Beer & Whiskey, Mixers Martini and Cocktail and Magnum’s Champagne and Wine. Just upstairs the Medusa Lounge served as the ship’s disco and offered a trio of private rooms that could be reserved for up to a dozen guests, with a minimum drink order of $20 per hour.
There were various drink offers availed throughout our cruise, announced in the Freestyle Daily newsletter, but sometimes the “bar manager’s specials” turned out to be the same as the standard price.
Beer & Wine
Domestic beers included Miller, Coors, and Blue Moon. Imported beers ranged from Corona to Heineken and Newcastle Brown Ale, at $4.95 each. Amstel Light and Stella Artois was available on tap at Tankards. The Asian beers Kirin Ichiban, Tsingtao and Sapporo were available at Jasmine Garden for $5.95.
Wines available at the bars by the glass ranged from $7-$9.75. An expanded wine list was available at most restaurants. Sake was available at Jasmine Garden, by the glass or bottle.
While a few cocktail prices were priced a fairly reasonable $5.75, most were much higher. Signature cocktails were sprinkled between each of the theme restaurants.
Packages of 1-liter bottles of water were available—prices ranged from $2.91 each for a package of 24 to $3.66 each for 6 (regular price was $4.50). Unlimited soda refills were $6.25 per day for adults, $4 for children age 12 and under; unlimited juice could be added for an additional $3 per day.
Throughout the cruise buckets of beer were 6 bottles for the price of 5. There were also wine packages that promised savings of up to 25 percent off three or more bottles of wine; these packages were discounted an additional 20 percent off on embarkation day.
Sodas were $2.10. Gatorade (assorted flavors) and iced tea were $3. Red Bull was $4.50. Frozen fruit drinks were available at Bali Hai and the Great Outdoors for $4.95.
Bali Hai Bar & Grill
Perched above the pool area on Deck 13 and in the guise of a rustic beach bar, Bali Hai was an al fresco drinkery with a grill offering a small selection of food items.
The limited food menu included burgers, hot dogs (Bavarian sausage on request) chicken breast sandwiches with sides of coleslaw.
The full bar menu was available at Bali Hai, including the daily drink specials for $6.95 (Dark & Stormy, Blue Lagoon, etc.)
Magnums Champagne and Wine Bar
The first of three bars that made up “Bar City,” Magnums had a small selection of bubbly available by the glass. We didn’t see a lot of attention paid to this bar, except when the piano man was tickling the ivories nearby.
Among the sparklers available by the bottle we found were Beringer sparkling white zinfandel ($29), Villa Sandi prosecco brut ($36), Shramsberg brut rosé ($59), Veuve Clicquot brut yellow label ($88) and Möet & Chandon Dom Perignon ($198).
Tankards Beer and Whiskey Bar
Another setup within the “Bar City” lounge area, Tankards had an unremarkable selection of beer, including Amstel Light and Stella Artois on tap, but a few more interesting whiskeys.
Domestic beers were Miller, Miller Lite, Coors Lite (in 16-ounce bottles) for $5.50, and Blue Moon was $5.95. Imported beers ranged from Corona, Dos Equis, Amstel Light, Heineken and Newcastle Brown Ale, at $4.95 each. The Asian beers Kirin Ichiban, Tsingtao and Sapporo were available at Jasmine Garden for $5.95. We were not exactly jumping up and down with excitement.
Among the bourbons and whiskeys on offer were A.H. Hirsch Reserve, Van Winkle, Buffalo Track, Elijah Craig, Old Potrero, Dalwhinnie, Springbank, Royal Lochnagar, and The Macallan.
Mixers Martini and Cocktail Bar
The third leg of “Bar City,” Mixers shook out martinis with an expended selection of gin and vodka on pour.
We loved the goofy undersea theme, with jellyfish, corals and starfish-like chairs, but the dance floor didn’t see much action. The venue was also used for assorted seminars (Intro to Acupuncture) games (Pictionary), and it also served as the ship’s screening room.
The Medusa Lounge also had a trio of private “Whatever” rooms, which could be used for karaoke or, well… whatever. Curtains sealed guests off from view of the bar and the rooms accommodated up to about a dozen people. The lilac, orange and turquoise hued rooms could be reserved, with a minimum drink order of $20 per hour.
Several movies were played here on our cruise, at 3 p.m., but the monitor in use was smaller than what many people have at home these days and sound quality wasn’t good.
The forward perch on Deck 13, this lounge wraps around a wood dance floor topped by a mirror ball, natch. The venue hosts a number of activities on the ship such as bingo, art auctions, a Latin fitness class, line dancing lessons, trivia games, etc. There’s a small stage at the front, and behind the seats was a pool table, dartboard and automated roulette and black jack games. The latter had live-size dealers on a video screen that play endless loops beckoning us to play—“feeling lucky?” asked one. We were creeped out.
This was also Jade’s de facto disco, and a DJ spun starting at 9 or 10 p.m. nightly.
This comfortable space was not utilized much during our cruise. We did find a Friends of Dorothy meeting here nightly, but otherwise few cruisers seemed to stumble across this spot. It was our pick for a pre-prandial cocktails against the setting sun.
Confusingly, this was also referred to as the Aloha Bar and the Java Café.
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