We are back on the NCL Jade for the second time. A lot has changed since our last cruise on this ship after its refurbishment but it still remains one of our favourite ships. Not too big (though not too small) and with plenty of public areas and a nice proper crows nest lounge.
This pic from our Venice trip -click here for details- gives you a good idea of what has changed, the plastic palm trees have been removed and the pool area re designed. The feeling now is a much cleaner and more spacious area.
We leave Southampton on a warm calm evening after a nice lunch on the aft deck.
We have a sea day before we reach our first destination - the port of Lerwick on the Shetland Isles.
We booked this cruise rather late as a last minute direct with NCL and could only get a large window outside - but we were both pleasantly surprised by the size of the room (though the room works infinitely better as a twin otherwise the pullman bed is in the way. If the price is right we wouldn't hesitate to use one again
Quick drink before we head into Le Bistro for dinner
We had prebooked several dining upgrades and as usual tried to fit these in whenever there was a sea day.Le Bistro was excellent as usual though the menu hasn't really changed since the last time.
We will have to tender in Lerwick - despite the new pier that's been completed just out of town the Jade is still a little too large to use it. So its all aboard the lifeboats. Fortunately our latitude points mean we can use any tender at any time.
Rather like a transformer the Jade creates its own platforms for boarding the lifeboats/tenders
Help I'm in a lifeboat
The NCL jade sits stationary in its deep water spot - its computers maintaining its position by GPS
Now this is of course is DI Jimmy Perez's (Douglas Henshall) house from the BBC detective series "Shetland"
This charming little beach (Bains Beach) is next door to the Perez house which is one of a few surviving Lodberries (piers that run into the sea - historically developed into warehouses then houses)
We had arranged a trip ourselves with Halcrows "Shetland Explorer Tours"
Lunch was included on this tour and was taken in another "Shetland" TV location Series 5 is now showing on the BBC iplayer here
No trip to Shetland is of course possible without ahhhing over Shetland Ponies (cute)
Finally we spent the last moments in Lerwick shopping for the ultimate Shetland Wool Jumper (we used Ninians store on the high street)
Time to get those lifeboats back on board
Our wonderful captain informs us he's going to keep the Shetlands and Faeroes between us and the storms in the Atlantic as we depart for Iceland rather than the normal route shown in red.
Dinner tonight is in the Main Dining Room where we have a table right over the Aft.
Suitably kilted - though to be fair the Shetlands reminded us more of Norway than mainland Scotland. The must buy here is a real Shetland Jumper (ticked).