We're seriously considering a 7-night Western Med cruise on N. Jade for April 2010. Having not been on this ship previously, I have some questions about cabin selection. There are three of us (myself, DH, and 16-year-old son) and we're thinking of an AF mini-suite.
To preface, our status in the Latitudes program gives us VIP benefits such as early embarkation/disembarkation and priority restaurant reservation, so we don't need to book a cabin that offers these perks.
First, are there any advantages to the mini-suite as compared to a balcony cabin, other than the additional square footage?
Also, are there differences between cabins within this category? For example, I noticed from poking around the NCL site that most of the AFs are 331 square feet, while a couple are 318. Is that correct, or should this just be chalked up to another NCL typo? (I've run into these before on the site.) Do all have tubs? And, what is lost if a connecting cabin is booked? Are there any "secret" cabins that offer something a little different?
As far as location, I'll try to avoid those under the arcade... yet is there an area that's preferable for minimizing noise from above?
And, where in the heck do they put a dining room? (It's listed as a cabin amenity when looking at specific cabins.) I'm guessing this is marketing-speak for the coffee table in front of the sofa?
The AF mini-suite is the most common of mini-suites on the NCL ships. You will have 2 beds that convert into a queen size bed, while your son, will have a pull out sofa sleeper. The AF mini will have a bath tub/shower combo. The mini-suite is great for party of 2, but in my opinion "just a little" cramped for a party of 3. Once the sofa sleeper is pulled out, you may find it hard to enter the balcony. There is little space to get past the sofa sleeper bed and the wall cabinet that houses the TV, refrigerator and shelving for storage. But you can still get thru. The balcony has room for 2 chairs. So consider 2 at a time on the balcony, unless 1 person remains standing. There is a refrigerator tucked under the cabinet across from the sofa sleeper. You will find a small coffee type table in front of the sofa sleeper. They are nice rooms, with plenty of closet space and drawers for storing clothing. The under the bed storage for suitcases works well. Lighting is ample and has plenty of light switches. If your using electronics and need things like battery chargers for cameras and MP3 players recharged, be sure to bring a power strip to meet those needs. Electric outlets for 110 voltage is limited. If you or your husband use a CPAP machine for sleeping be sure to bring an extension cord. Otherwise, the AF mini is a nice stateroom. While I feel it might be "just a litle" cramped with space, Mary thinks it would be ok. There is NO dining table in the AF mini-suite. You usually won't find the dining table unless you move up to the AE Penthouse suit. We have used the coffee table for room service, and the delivery of fresh fruit plates. If you can go the extra $$$...consider the AE Penthouse suite. As a Penthouse passenger you will get additonal VIP perks like breakfast and lunch each day in Cagney's, fresh fruit plate, fresh cut flowers upon arrival, bottle of wine and daily delivery of "goodies" to your Penthouse suite. You will alos have conceirge and butler service. While you may be a Latitudes repeat passenger, you will find yourself in the same line for embarkation as many others, except first time cruisers. We are Platinum Latitudes and while it may be advertised as special VIP embarkation, we are always put into the main line. So there is much to say about the VIP embarkation unless you have a Owners Suite or Garden Villa. NCL does have the embarkation down to science and we have always been impressed how fast we get on the ship. Then you get a dining table and some more room. On the NCL Jade, you will most likely be out of the stateroom most of the time, and perhaps your son will make friends via the NCL teen program and he will be occupied and spending time with other teens on sea days.
The Jade is only 2 years old (formerly the Pride of Hawaii) and is a sister of the Jewel, Pearl, and Gem. It is one of the largest class ships that NCL offers. No matter what you choose, I am sure that you will enjoy the NCL Jade and the Freestyle cruising that only NCL offers.
Mini-Suite AF On Deck: 11
Two lower beds that convert to a queen-sized bed; floor-to-ceiling glass doors that open up to a private balcony; a sitting area; and a private bathroom with a luxury bath and shower. Each mini-suite also includes a refrigerator, bar counter, minisafe, television, direct-dial telephone, and a hairdryer.
Approximately 231-sq.-ft. suite with 54-sq.-ft. balcony.
Thank you both. We now have a mini-suite on hold and will make the deposit tomorrow. First, forgive my huge typos above in which I mangled the sizes of the cabins. As you both know, it should have read 218 and 231 square feet.
We ended up with one of the smaller ones, but it's in a great location that should have little noise from above. (The size difference is not that significant, about the same area as our living room sofa.) And, as Richard says, we probably won't be in the cabin much given the ambitious itinerary and all the activities offered onboard. I'm not concerned about the location of the cabin's sofabed - we've had it before on other lines, and I'm not one to go out on the balcony at night (fear of heights). I would love to have a Penthouse, but it's not in the budget unless we don't want to cruise again that year.
I think some ports do VIP embarkation better than others. Boston is one of the better ones. But, as long as I get on the ship, that's all that matters.
The cruise is still more than a year away, but we are still very excited. I didn't mention this in my initial post - it is to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary, that occurs that month. I know we'll be having some special meals onboard.