Norwegian Jade, 2nd June 2017
NORWEGIAN JADE 2nd June 2017
Goodness, here I am again off to sea for two nights. I took a train along the South Coast of England to Southampton Central station and then shared a taxi to the latest Ocean Terminal building. I remember using the 1950-built old Ocean Terminal, when I was at sea with Union-Castle Line, with its wonderful Art Deco styling and the Boat Trains from London arriving alongside. Passengers sailing to the United States would use the terminal to embark on their liners to the USA. I know that I arrived at the same quayside on the CAPETOWN CASTLE, when she was unexpectedly pressed into service again in 1966 for voyages to Cape Town in South Africa (see "Union-Castle Line Purserette"). The terminal was closed in 1980, due to travellers using jet aircraft to get quickly to the States and cruise ships starting to become so much bigger. After that moment of nostalgia, I met my travelling companion and we checked in for our weekend re-positioning voyage from here in Southampton to Hamburg in Germany. We were soon on board and I headed for my inside port side forward cabin 8519, on deck 8.
This Norwegian Cruise Line ship is fresh out of dry dock and this is a great opportunity to sail on her and sample her Freestyle Cruising. She was built in 2006 by Meyer Werft in Pappenburg as the PRIDE OF HAWAII for NCL's America division, and is 93,558 gross tons. Needs changed and she became JADE, then NORWEGIAN JADE with appropriately-coloured hull art. The ship can carry 2,402 guests in double occupancy, with a crew of 1037. There are 16 dining options and 15 bars and lounges plus many other facilities to be enjoyed on board, so I'm looking forward to more fun time at sea.
We decided to go for lunch in the Grand Pacific main dining room and were delighted to be placed at a window table. The artwork and furnishings really appealed to me and I'm told they are reminiscent of the Matson Line's luxury liners MARIPOSA, MONTEREY, and LURLINE built between 1930 and 1932. I enjoy knowing that during the early 1970s Union-Castle Travel in the UK held the General Sales Agency with Pacific Far East Line Inc., United States Line and Matson Lines. Just to add to life's coincidences, at present I'm reading about the last cruise on board Matson's MARIPOSA ("Nothing can go Wrong" by John D. MacDonald & Captain John H. Kilpack) in 1977 and it is fascinating to be able to imagine events happening in locations similar to this Grand Pacific Main Dining Room here on NORWEGIAN JADE. Many events mentioned in the book will probably not feature on our two-night trip to Hamburg!
We later found a glass builder's plate on display showing her PRIDE OF HAWAII details from 2006.
We could see several other cruise ships at the other Southampton passenger terminals including NAVIGATOR OF THE SEAS, SILVER WHISPER, SILVER EXPLORER, AURORA, and MARINA, and also the newly-painted Hythe Ferry HYTHE SCENE, previously GREAT EXPECTATIONS, with her blue hull, plus tugs, ferries and fast craft to the Isle of Wight, and the venerable tug CALSHOT berthed nearby. Those of us who have taken the little ferry to Hythe, just across the water, will have happy memories of disembarking from her and then taking the ancient train which still runs safely along the pier into the village. The afternoon spent in the spacious Spinnaker Bar was a very enjoyable time.
We attended the mandatory Lifeboat Drill held in the theatre, then went for afternoon tea in the Great Outdoors Bar, enjoying the sunshine and watching ship movements out on the water.
Late afternoon meant it was time to change for dinner and the evening's entertainment; we went for the first half of the Show because we wanted to be on deck for the 8 o'clock departure from Southampton. A glass of something deliciously sparkling appeared as if by magic in front of me, and then it was time to head to the Grand Pacific Dining Room for dinner. The surroundings really were lovely, but there were so many venues all over the ship to choose for dinner. This evening we were placed at the small window table again and as well as a delicious meal, I do remember that I enjoyed Cherries Jubilee for dessert.
Then it was time to head back to the Spinnaker Bar and enjoy the music and dancing as we sailed out into the English Channel. This evening the clocks will go forward, and then tomorrow we have a sea day, before we arrive in Hamburg on Sunday morning. There are lots more lovely things to see and do here on NORWEGIAN JADE.
Ships seen: Norwegian Jade, Navigator of the Seas, Silver Whisper, Silver Explorer, Aurora, Ocean Scene, Hythe Scene (the Hythe ferry), Marina, Red Jet 4, tugs ZP Boxer and Smit Tiger, Red Jet 3, Red Jet 5, Red Osprey, Red Falcon, Red Eagle Calshot, Orion Highway, Wightlink ferries St. Clare and Wight Sun or Sky
To be continued...