Dip into ocean cruising with Travelsphere

Date Posted: 30/04/2012

Norwegian Cruise Line's Norwegian Jade

A familiarisation trip enabled group travel organisers to experience the benefits of ocean cruising with Travelsphere and Norwegian Cruise Line. Rebekah Tailor joined the group on the Norwegian Jade.

Keen to encourage more groups to consider ocean cruising, Travelsphere recently organised a familiarisation trip in partnership with Norwegian Cruise Line; joining the Norwegian Jade on its final leg of a nine-day Canary Islands itinerary from Malaga to Barcelona.

Demonstrating how the tour operator works alongside its cruise partners to ensure a smooth sailing, a party of eight-strong group organisers sampled Norwegian Cruise Line’s Freestyle concept - designed to offer freedom, fun and flexibility, with a dedicated service for groups.

Featuring a relaxed dress code, plus no pre-assigned seating or fixed time for dining, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Freestyle philosophy is great for cruisers seeking a laid-back atmosphere, with plenty of entertainment options.

Booking your cruise

GTOs booking a cruise with Travelsphere can detail their requirements, which in turn will liaise with Norwegian Cruise Line. Any requests will then be conveyed to the ship’s group service coordinator - the primary contact for groups whilst onboard. This line of communication ensures that all group needs are met where possible.

Norwegian Jade’s group service coordinator, Elwynn Ocampo, describes herself as a ‘personal concierge for GTOs’ and is on-hand throughout the cruise to look after your group requirements. Attempting to accommodate all requests, her role includes pre-organising onboard activities and arranging group shore excursions.

Exploring the Jade

A ship orientation of the Norwegian Jade highlighted the fantastic range of onboard features.

Part of Norwegian Cruise Line’s 11-strong fleet (soon to be 13 with the addition of Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway in 2013/14) facilities onboard Norwegian Jade include 13 bars and lounges, two swimming pools, four hot tubs, spa and beauty salon, casino and Stardust Theatre.

Exploring the Haven Garden Villa onboard the Norwegian Jade

Having had the opportunity to sample one of the evening shows in the Stardust Theatre while on the familiarisation cruise, I can thoroughly recommend this as a must-do. Elements was a quality performance which wouldn’t be out of place on a West End stage, and what the production team and cast had been able to create with limited space backstage, was nothing short of incredible.

The Jade boasts a grand choice of 16 dining options, including a host of specialty restaurants which can be booked for an additional cover charge. These include Le Bistro French Restaurant, the Teppanyaki Room, and Cagney’s Steakhouse - where I enjoyed, incidentally, once of the best steak dinners I’ve ever had. The two main dining rooms, Alizar and Grand Pacific, offer a fantastic choice, while the all-day buffet at the Garden Cafe ensures you’ll never be peckish.  

The ship orientation allowed our group of organisers to inspect the various cabin categories available to suit different budgets, ranging from inside staterooms, to oceanview and balcony staterooms. There was also chance to preview the incredible three-bedroom Haven Garden Villa - a luxury option for groups looking to splash out. 

Behind-the-scenes tours for groups

One of the highlights of the familiarisation cruise was a behind-the-scenes tour. Available for groups of up to 20 people, this fascinating insight allowed the chance to explore areas of the ship not usually accessible to passengers, including the Bridge, backstage of the Stardust Theatre, the galley, and even the laundry room.

Meeting Norwegian Cruise Line’s friendly and ever-accommodating staff was one of the best elements of the tour, as well as learning a host of interesting facts about our floating hotel. For example, did you know that the laundry room takes charge of over 10,000 items of clothing per day; or that the Jade uses approximately 240,000 litres of fuel each day?

Useful contacts:

Norwegian Cruise Line:
0845-201 8908
www.ncl.co.uk


Travelsphere:
0845-758 5007
www.grouptravelchoice.co.uk

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