NCL Jade – Day 5 – Palma
Our final full day of the cruise was a visit to Palma, Majorca. We love the city and have been here many times as my mum lives on the island so we fly in and out of the capital’s nearby airport quite regularly.
We had breakfast at the Blue Lagoon where the service is much swifter than the main dining room but with the same great al a carte service. The ship docked at 9am but we waited until 10am to disembark to avoid the queues. NCL were offering a shuttle bus service at 15 for adults and 10 for kids for a return trip to the city centre. We took a taxi to the cathedral which cost 11 one way but as the maximum number of passengers is four and there were five of us, my parents took a separate taxi which still worked out cheaper than the shuttle bus. You can walk from the cruise terminal into town via the promenade that skirts the marina in about 30 – 40 minutes however that feels a lot longer if you have a grumbling seven year old so taxis were our preferred option!
The cathedral is a spectacular sight which dominates the city’s skyline. We took photos in the gardens but didn’t go inside opting instead to stroll into the town for a bit of retail therapy.
Palma is a gorgeous city filled with tree lined avenues and numerous squares with pavement cafés. It’s like a less crowded Barcelona with some great shopping opportunities and we visited Benetton and Camper Shoes two of our favourite European brands. We stocked up on winter essentials for Finn and stopped at a branch of Cappuccino, a lovely cafe bar chain which has branches in Mallorca, Ibiza and mainland Spain. The cafe at the top of the main shopping street has a lovely courtyard garden with a fountain at the rear and we enjoyed a glass or two of red in the warm Autumn sunshine.
We walked through winding alleyways of stylish shops and restaurants before taking a cab back to the ship for lunch at the Blue Lagoon. Once again the food was lovely but the service was frustratingly slow. After lunch we returned to the cabin to pack while Finn watched Ant Man on a channel showing recently released English language films and there are separate channels for movies dubbed into French and Italian too. There are 8 films a day shown at specific times so you need to time it right if you want to watch something in particular. We only had two cases so it didn’t take long to pack and as we’d chosen to self assist off the ship we could keep our cases till the morning. There was also the usual option to request luggage labels and a preferred departure time and leave cases outside your room the night prior to be collected from the terminal if you preferred not to take your own cases off.
We watched a gorgeous sunset from our balcony as the ship sailed out of Palma and along the coast of Majorca before taking a table at Grand Pacific for our final dinner on board, another excellent meal with a few glasses of red to make the most of our drinks package. It’s been an incredibly smooth sailing but it got a little choppy at dinner however the seas soon calmed as we headed out towards Barcelona our final destination.
Once again we had a nightcap in the Medusa bar watching the duo Twice as Nice. The theatre show was an Il Divo style opera thing which is not really us so we opted for an early night.
The following morning I checked our final bill which was very small thanks to the free drinks package! It was literally just service charges and one photo. NCL charge a service charge of $13.50 per person per day but we chose to tip our cabin steward Paul in addition as he’d done a fabulous job of keeping our cabin spotless and delighting Finn with nightly towel animals. Worth noting: I loved the do not disturb / make up my room sign which is part of the door signage, you just turn the wheel to show either a red do not disturb, a green make up my room or a blue request for the turn down service. A really simple idea but useful to save your cabin steward knocking on the door or you being regularly disturbed – If only all cruise lines did this.
Disembarkation was very smooth and if you self assist (ie take your own luggage) you can keep your room till 9am and exit any time between 8am and 9.45am. This gave us plenty of time for a final al a carte breakfast then we grabbed our suitcases from the room and left the ship at deck 7. Within 5 minutes we were in a taxi and on our way to the airport leaving the parents to enjoy a few days in Barcelona. Sadly this wasn’t not an option for us as we have work and school to return to but we’ve been lucky enough to visit Barcelona a few times before so I wasn’t too jealous leaving them behind.
All in all it was a great cruise, fantastic food, quality entertainment, a great cabin and lovely weather. I really like NCL’s freestyle concept with its wide choice of dining options and very relaxed feel, perfect for family cruising. We enjoyed our first NCL a few years ago and I’d definitely cruise NCL again however the next one booked is P&O Britannia for Christmas and New Year in just over 6 weeks time, I have high hopes and expectations for that one!