I put a deposit on a mediterranean cruise on the Norwegian Jade with us and our 3 year old. We wanted a cruise with great destinations and childcare. He's not fully potty trained yet so I thought that a cruise line that requires kids to be potty trained to join their kids club might not be a good idea (I know they don't change diapers on NCL, but still let the kids join the club). I've read mixed reviews about the kids club and facilities on NCL so I thought I'd ask this specific question. I wanted a cruise that we would enjoy but that he would enjoy as well. So here are my questions:
1 - Are the kids programs and couselors good on the Norwegian Jade?
2 - Are the kids facilities good? I read that there's a kids pool and slide but all I see in the pictures is something about the size of a blowup wading pool - is that the kids pool and slide?!
3 - The only cruise we've done is Disney which was fabulous (but our kid is too old for the nursery and I'm worried he'll have an accident and then not be let back into the kids club). Disney had fabulous service. Will we dissapointed in NCL after experiencing Disney?
Generally speaking the kid's club facilities are pretty good on NCL. Most of the staff are pretty good. I have met a few though whose performance I might categorize as lackluster at best. The Kid's pool areas are nice. You have time to work on the potty traing aspect, so I wouldn't stress over that, and actually I found that with my kids it was a great motivator and an incentive for them to do a good job on the potty. I explained that we were going on a cruise, with all sorts of fun stuff for little kids, but it is important they try real hard to get to the potty every time they have to go, because they don't change diapers at the kid's club. As for comparing NCL and Disney, well it is definitely apples and oranges. Disney is going to be a lot more expensive and I am sure caters to their guests a bit more, but NCL is a nice departure from the usual cruising experience. The best way to enjoy in my opinion is to spring for a nice mini- suite if possible ( if you can get a better category, that would be fine, but the mini's are nice with a tub and is larger than a regular balcony) In a mini suite you'll also have a fold out sofa for the little one to sleep on rather than an upper bunk. I would also make a point to take your little one to the kid's corner area of the buffet at night, let her have whatever her little heart desires, then since she'll be begging you to drop her off as soon as the kid's club opens, so you can drop her off at 7:00 and go enjoy a wonderful meal in a different speciality restaurant every night. I highly recommend the Teppenyaki (book this early as it fills quickly), Asian Fusion, Cagneys and Italian.I feel it is worth the extra money and that is part of the NCL experience that sets it apart from other cruise lines. Oh one more thing, if you intend to use the kids club for port play or late night sitting or dinner nights with the kid's club, if it is not posted, ask if you need to sign up for their services in advance or not, I heard this had changed with Freestyle 2.0, but not sure. Used to be some staff would not tell you that sign up was required 24 hours in advance and when you showed up, the doors would be locked and no one was there, that was one way the staff would be sure to get port days off. That was the one aspect of the kid's club that really was shabby when comparing them to their competitors like Carnival and RCCL. Hopefully it has changed.