Freestyle 2.0 covers a myriad of lifestyle and hardware enhancements.
NCL’s ex-Pride of Hawaii shines up nicely as Norwegian Jade
By Peter Knego
In February, after two years cruising the Hawaiian Islands, NCL
America’s U.S.-registered Pride of Hawaii was reflagged to Bahamian registry and staffed with a foreign crew to become parent
company Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Jade. The 93,502-
ton ship, built in 2006, is the first NCL vessel to be based year-round in Europe. It will sail a wide range of itineraries in the
Mediterranean, Black and Baltic seas; the Atlantic; the British
Isles; and Norway’s coast through 2009.
The ship was given a two-week, multi-million-dollar dry docking in Barcelona
that saw the addition of a casino, acres of
fresh soft fittings and the implementation
of NCL’s latest Freestyle 2.0 enhancements.
During an Eastern Mediterranean cruise
from Istanbul to Piraeus, Greece, via the Aloha, Aegean!
Greek Islands and Egypt in April, F2.0 on Underneath the glistening new, million-the Jade was still in its early testing stages dollar, jade-inspired hull art, the 2,402-pas-
F2.0 is the stepping stone to the next
phase, F3, which promises unprecedented
innovations with a pair of 150,000-ton
ships due in 2010 from St. Nazaire’s Aker
(the upgrades were installed fleetwide June
15) but showed great promise overall.
At the cutting edge
F2.0 covers myriad lifestyle and hardware
enhancements, from small but thoughtful
touches such as a welcome glass of champagne on arrival and cookies on stateroom
pillows on final nights to gala theme parties
and shows, upgraded bedding, improved
menus in all restaurants and state-of-the-art teen and children’s facilities.
senger Norwegian Jade is still very much
the Pride of Hawaii.
A great deal of expense and effort was
invested in the original Hawaiian-themed
decoration, which remains intact. So for
now, there are totems in the Garden Cafe
(originally the Aloha Cafe), floral patterns
in the rubberized decking, lava floes in the
carpeting, fissures in the coffee bar, evocative Matson Line menu art panels in the
main dining room and Hawaiian steam-ship-line poster art in the stair towers.
PHO TOS B Y PE TER KNEGO
Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Jade, the line’s first ship to be based year-round in Europe, has been retrofitted with
Freestyle 2.0 amenities.
However incongruous, watching Greek
isles or the minarets of Istanbul pass by
from under a colorful canopy of glass hibiscus blossoms from Hawaii actually adds a
kind of kitschy cachet to cruising.
F2.0’s evolving lifestyle
The only major structural alteration to Norwegian Jade was the addition of the 367-ca-
pacity Jade Club Casino, which replaced 44
cabins on forward Deck 6. In addition to
boasting almost as many brightly colored
Chinese lanterns as it does slots and gaming tables, the casino is home, once each
cruise, to the Monaco Nights F2.0 theme
party, where revelers are encouraged to don
specially made, black tuxedo T-shirts as
the music pulsates, showgirls gyrate and a
champagne fountain flows.
The other F2.0 theme party, White Hot
Nights, takes place way up on forward Deck
13, in the Spinnaker observation lounge. At
that party, crowds decked out in specially
designed, white T-shirts are gleefully subjected to blitzes of confetti and fog.
Other, more sedate F2.0 lifestyle enhancements include a restyled, 24-hour
library where coffee, tea and pastries are offered on a regular basis. Judging from the
sea-day crowds gathered in the Jade’s handsome SS United States Library, with memorabilia and decor inspired by the circa-1952
ocean liner, it’s a positive step.
In the ship’s expansive lido area on Deck
12, NCL has dispensed with 1970s-style
pool games, although barbecues and intermittent live music have been retained.
Ethereal world music and New Age tunes
are now piped in to provide soothing,
adult-friendly sonics. And deck chairs have
been fitted with convenient flags that can be
raised to request drink service while a team
of “Evian misters” circulates, zapping sun-worshippers with a free, refreshing spritz
Fussy sleepers can delight in improved
F2.0 stateroom hardware that includes
extremely comfortable Bliss collection
memory-foam mattress toppers, upgraded
pillows and linens; suites and villas feature
at the new TravelWeekly.com
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