It seems that, on the newer Norwegian vessels, the concept of a “Main Dining Room” has been done away with completely, in favour of a wide variety of “specialist” restaurants - some included in the cruise ticket, some with a cover charge and some with a la carte pricing. As an older ship, Jade is something of a halfway house - there is still a large Main Dining Room (split into the Grand Pacific and Alizar), but there is also a wider selection of alternative restaurants than might be found on other ships of a similar size and vintage. In addition to the standard dining room, buffet and coffee shops, Jade offers:
As this was a short trip we didn’t have time to sample all the offerings, but did eat at Cagney’s and La Cucina, as well as The Grand Pacific dining room and the buffet. Overall, the food wasn’t much to write home about, although the standard in The Grand Pacific seemed higher than in the restaurants we paid extra for.
The Grand Pacific and The Buffet
Breakfast in the buffet was the stuff of nightmares - packed with rude people fighting for access to poor quality food and insufficient tables. In The Grand Pacific, things were at least civilised, but the bacon and French toast were both poor, although the grapefruit was at least fresh, rather than tinned (take note, P&O).
Beware that the buffet hours seemed rather limited, although, considering the offering, this may be a blessing.
Lunch in The Grand Pacific (see above) was more successful. The calamari appetiser wasn’t great, and arrived tepid, but nachos were better - as good as nachos are going to get. The fish and chips were surprisingly good - at least the fish was, the chips were mediocre. There was a peanut butter cup cheesecake offered for dessert; there’s not much I can say about a slice of frozen cheesecake.
Another mixed bag - good service and lovely wine (which is not available many places on this ship), but the food only sporadically good. A shrimp cocktail appetiser was small and tasteless, while an iceberg wedge with blue cheese was excellent. The steaks (rib-eye) were fine, but not fantastic; a little tough. On the other hand, the sides were wonderful (mac ‘n’ cheese, potato gratin, broccoli).
Dessert was another slice of frozen cheesecake (Oreo this time).
For some reason, the night we ate here the restaurant was almost empty, so the atmosphere was odd. Almost as odd as some of the food.
The bruschetta appetiser was terrible - small and tasteless with wilted basil. The pasta course rang from the OK (carbonara) to a bizarre interpretation of a pasta with Italian sausage, featuring an entire sausage. There was then a rather insipid prawn dish and an acceptable osso bucco.
In summary - a wide variety of mediocre foods.