Magic on NCL Jade: Embarkation

a group of people sitting in a large room
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Trip Index:

Getting there
Hotel Review: Hilton Rome Airport
Taking the long way to the port
Review: Jade Penthouse Suite 10166
Day in Olympia, Greece
Day in Piraeus, Athens Greece
Day in Kusadasi, Turkey
Day in Istanbul, Turkey
Hotel Review: Four Seasons Istanbul at Sultanahmet
Day in Naples/Pompeii, Italy
Hotel Review: Hotel Holiday Bolsena

I had printed our completed online check-in documents at the Hilton Rome Airport Hotel, and boarding time started at 11am. Arriving around 11:30am, the Hertz rental car drop off point was close enough to Civitavecchia port that we didn’t need a taxi.


After dropping off the car we walked for about 10 minutes until coming to the Terminal Shuttle bus area. From there, we just loaded our bags onto the bus and hopped on.


The ride took just a few minutes, and soon the bus pulled up to the canvas covered processing center tents.


The closest one was for luggage drop off. I provided the paper to attach to the luggage and I was then directed to the second tent.


Metal detectors were first, and then I found myself in a large café-gymatorium type room. I was given a laminated card with number (5) and told to take a seat. While waiting there were some light refreshments and a table set up to make specialty dining reservations (I had already made ours online).



It was barely a 5 minute wait until the number 2 called, and I watched as a group of people stood up and made their way to the desks. It didn’t seem that long before a lady walked by shouting, “Five. Number 5, get in line.†Yay, it was our turn!

Check-in was easy, and we produced the necessary paperwork, IDs and a credit card to use for onboard purchases. A picture was taken for the ship’s record so that when leaving the boat or coming back on it would match our key cards.

What I didn’t mention in the introduction to the cruise was that I hadn’t told my husband about the upgrade to a suite. My plan was to go onboard and when the room was ready just take him to it and open the door. Surprise! I couldn’t wait. At check-in I produced a pre-written paper to let the check-in agent know that the suite was meant to be a surprise. She smiled, didn’t say anything about the suite and the whole process took 15 minutes at the most. Soon, she led the way to the right side of the ropes where a priority lounge had been set up.


Orange juice, water, cookies and cakes were set up on a table nearby. Unfortunately, someone came over and asked what Suite we were in. I stayed quiet as my husband told them our room number. He didn’t think anything of it and I was relieved. Since I hadn’t been in a cruise suite before I didn’t yet realize that the embarkation for Suite guests is a little different than for regular room passengers.


Someone else came over and asked our Suite number, and again we provided it. By now, my husband was becoming more than a little curious. He wondered out loud why we were in the Priority Lounge, why they kept asking for our Suite number, and why our keycards had a special sticker. He’s a smart guy so I knew it wouldn’t be long before he figured it out on his own. I tried to remain noncommittal but gritted my teeth as a 3rd person came over with a smile to inquire ever so kindly, “What suite number are you?”

After a group of suite guests were all checked in, we were all led on to the ship together. As we walked we passed by boxes of holiday decorations that had been brought off.



Walking next to the ship it seemed huge, which was probably a sign of being a newer cruiser rather than an experienced old hand. The Norwegian Jade holds about 2,400 passengers and there are now ships like Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas that hold more than double that!


Once onboard the staff member guided us in to the elevator and up to the 13th floor where we would enjoy some lunch at Cagney’s Steakhouse while waiting for our rooms to be ready.

We took a seat in the lounge for a few minutes first, with the other suite guests.


A drink menu was passed around. My husband happily had forgotten all about the odd Priority lounge from earlier and instead we focused on choosing something from the menu that had drink names such as, “Lavender Patch†and “Rum Cakeâ€.



Then we were led over to Cagney’s, which would be our restaurant for breakfasts and lunches during the cruise.



We were seated at a comfortable table for two right next to the windows, which looked out over the jogging track outside and beyond to the port and ocean. I chose that moment to tell him about the Suite, and he was thrilled. Neither of us could wait to check out our digs, but first was lunch.


As a starter we ordered the shrimp cocktail which arrived quickly. The shrimp were large and tasty.


The menu looked delicious, and I couldn’t believe that we’d get to eat from it for free (well, included in our cruise price) every day for the next 10 days.


I ordered the swordfish sandwich and my husband had the NY strip steak. My husband had wanted the truffle fries from the menu but the waitress apologetically said that they were out of truffle oil but that they would get it loaded at the next port. In the meantime we tried the regular fries and they were nice and crispy. Both of the mains were cooked just right and the flavors were wonderful. I could tell it was going to be a trip with lots of great eats.



Just as we finished our meal around 1pm, our waitress informed us that our room was now ready. I couldn’t wait to see it!

Next up – Review of NCL Jade Suite 10166.

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