3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2019
My significant other and I just returned from the Boston to Bermuda cruise (5/3-5/10). We were on a Royal Caribbean cruise in December which we enjoyed very much but unfortunately we were very disappointed in the cruise on the Gem for ... Read More
My significant other and I just returned from the Boston to Bermuda cruise (5/3-5/10). We were on a Royal Caribbean cruise in December which we enjoyed very much but unfortunately we were very disappointed in the cruise on the Gem for several reasons. I purposely took notes so that I could let the customer relations department know about my first Norwegian experience. I do not believe you can fix something if you are unaware the problem exists. • 5/4 during our first experience at the pool below the upper bar, it was a windy day and the trash from above was blowing down into the pool area (cigarette boxes, cups, wrappers). It would be one thing if someone was cleaning this up and on top of it but the trash sat there and accumulated the entire time we were at the pool. There were plenty of people standing at a table pushing spa products but nobody to pick up or sweep the area. • We had a couples pedicure scheduled for the morning at 9:00am that we scheduled during our tour of the spa. Not one person mentioned to us there is a time difference and that we should adjust our phones accordingly. Although it may have been written someplace it was the next morning and we had no idea. The spa called us three or four times and we answered the phone but nobody said anything. We learned 10 minutes later the cord on the phone was broken and unless you held it a certain way the person on the other end could not hear you speaking. They told us that they could fit us in if we hurried. • 5/5 mid-morning/afternoon we were at the Garden Café and there was a loud banging coming from what I thought was the other side of the bar area so I ran around to see what the loud noise was and the gentleman at the counter informed me they were working in the room behind the bar. Right after that there was loud grinding noise on top of the banging that continued for at least 20 minutes to a half hour or more. • 5/6 approximately 7am we were awoken by loud clanging noise that continued until 9am. When we complained they mentioned something about the life boats but this was still unacceptable at these hours or at all during the cruise. • 5/6 the main pool bar had approximately 20-25 people waiting with one bartender on. • Our friend fell getting off the boat to go to town, when she came back on the boat immediately after falling to get Band-Aids for her road rash knees they told her the doctor would not be available until 5pm. She went to get band aids at the front desk and they told her she could purchase them. • 5/8 it was a beautiful day and everyone was at the pool. Unfortunately both pools were drained and closed. There were men in white coveralls in the pool doing some sort of maintenance for most of the day. At some point they put on masks and were applying some sort of toxic chemical that they were wearing masks to put on. The concerning thing for every guest aside from the inconvenience of the pool being closed was now this incredibly strong chemical smell wafting up into the area where all the guest were sitting without masks. Not only is this a health hazard but just a mindless act that I am shocked Norwegian corporate signed off on. • There were parts of the boat that were roped off and being painted while the cruise hardly half way through. This was not due to the wind that was an entirely different thing and I completely understand the decks being closed off for high wind. • During Bingo the final day there was a 10 minutes hard sell for re-cruising if you book now you can get all of these discounts, which honestly in my opinion was too much considering there was construction on the boat the majority of the time we were cruising. • The final day we headed back to the garden café to get a drink and again there was a group of men in white coveralls painting the stairs white. In summary, I am truly disappointed with the lack of staffing, the lack of professionalism, the nickel and diming for everything. Since when does a premium drink package not include water, soda or coffee? I walked up to more than two bars where the bartenders were either arguing with each other or ignoring the customers. I think it was the first day we sat at O’Sheehans to eat and they said we could eat at the bar but we had to walk over to the hostess stand and get menus. I then pointed out there was a menu right behind the gentleman who said this. I don’t mind walking over to the hostess stand I understand that is the policy when you are trying to be seated in the dining area. This was day one and the lack of interest in the guests or to make us feel welcome should have been a red flag because it was consistent throughout the entire cruise. It is not for us to know that the waiters shouldn’t come behind the bar because the bartender kept yelling at them. I am have been in the hospitality industry my entire work life and know exactly what needs to be done to make someone feel welcome and appreciated. If this was the representation of Norwegian that this company has put forth to keep people cruising on their boats then I can say without a doubt we will be pursuing our next vacation with a different cruise line. The biggest disappointment for me is that I have heard so many great things about Norwegian and was really looking forward to a great vacation. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
The Gem is easier to get around than The Dawn, especially in the buffet area as there is a separate walkway for passing through so you are not walking into guests who are holding plates, etc. The food has gone downhill every year on the ... Read More
The Gem is easier to get around than The Dawn, especially in the buffet area as there is a separate walkway for passing through so you are not walking into guests who are holding plates, etc. The food has gone downhill every year on the Norwegian line. This year, 2019, the beef was fatty, tough and tasteless. Even the pay restaurants were just average. However, Norwegian has the best entertainment and shows. Forget their pasteries as they all taste the same: chocolate, vanilla, lime, you cannot tell the difference and not worth gaining weight over. Just wish our cruise terminal could get more cruises lines so there could be more of a choice for cruising. Service was great and staff very friendly and nice. Great embarkation and debarkation. Wish they would give you ice in the cabins, as I had to ask for it. Overall, for the price, you get what you pay for and it was a fun cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
This was my first time cruising and it was to celebrate friend's birthday. We had a really fun week. All staff were entertaining (washy! washy!) and attentive, any issues we had they were fixed promptly. We were very impressed with ... Read More
This was my first time cruising and it was to celebrate friend's birthday. We had a really fun week. All staff were entertaining (washy! washy!) and attentive, any issues we had they were fixed promptly. We were very impressed with our waiter in the magenta dining room from the very first night. He was attentive and could anticipate our needs. Let's just say, we requested him for the rest of the cruise. There were plenty and a variety of things to do on board is game shows, tastings, art shows, theater shows, shopping, bingo. There was something for everyone. For someone that doesn't typically like live bands they were very entertaining and not too loud in smaller venues on the ship. I recommend the Vybz Quartet! They have an island vibe to their music which makes want to get up and dance. We did the Gosling's sunset rum cruise excursion, which was well worth every penny. The tasting part was obviously great but it was also very informative about history and cocktail pairings. Overall, this was an amazing first cruise and I can not wait to plan my next one. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2019
Love Bermuda from Boston We live in Massachusetts so this cruise is very convenient. We have done this cruise a few times but we wanted to try a different ship. Great experience. The service, the dining, the entertainment were all ... Read More
Love Bermuda from Boston We live in Massachusetts so this cruise is very convenient. We have done this cruise a few times but we wanted to try a different ship. Great experience. The service, the dining, the entertainment were all excellent. Getting used to the Buffet area took some getting used to. The meal package was a very good offering. The French restaurant was extremely good. The main dining room was very nice, the service was excellent and the food quality was very good. Magenta the back up complimentary restaurant was also very good. Service here was also excellent. We are not big drinkers, so to get a value from the free beverage package (gratuities are charged to you) we would have to drink more than we were comfortable drinking. The people in the cruise directors staff were outstanding and extremely helpful. The cruise again staff were also extremely helpful and willing to explain any questions you may have. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
We chose the cruise because it was out of Boston, and we live nearby so we did not have to take an airplane to get to the ship. Our Boston embarkation and disembarkation experiences were excellent, quick and easy. After boarding the ship ... Read More
We chose the cruise because it was out of Boston, and we live nearby so we did not have to take an airplane to get to the ship. Our Boston embarkation and disembarkation experiences were excellent, quick and easy. After boarding the ship we learned that bottled water was not included in our drink package and any drinks on the package ordered while in the port of Boston were subject to a Massachusetts surcharge. The overall appearance of the ship was good. Our Penthouse cabin was forward and was dark, it had one one window and a solid steel waterproof door to the balcony which was supposed to be closed while we were at sea. The deck furniture was piled up and lashed down for safety while we sailed. The closets in the cabin had broken hinges and clasps and allowed the doors to bang when we were at sea. The cabin crew were excellent. The dining menus for the specialty and standard restaurants were static with basic selections. The food was all right. The room temperature in Le Bistro was excessive and we left before we were served. The ship's casino was excessively smokey without a non smoking section. The attitude of all of the crew members was excellent. We found the destination at the Dockyards in Bermuda to be a great base to see the island with easy on-off accessibility and transportation alternatives. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
My first experience with Norwegian Cruise Line was negative and I approached the Gem with low expectations. Happily, this cruise was miles better than the last and I'm looking at NCL in a new way. The Gem had some misses but overall ... Read More
My first experience with Norwegian Cruise Line was negative and I approached the Gem with low expectations. Happily, this cruise was miles better than the last and I'm looking at NCL in a new way. The Gem had some misses but overall we had a great cruise. The main reason was the crew - a friendly, hard-working group who seemed happy to help in any way. The Gem itself is a very comfortable ship. The layout is great - easy to negotiate and well laid out. Though our cruise sailed at close to full capacity, the ship almost never felt crowded. With the notable exception of disembarkation, we rarely stood in line for anything. The Gem has nice decor and well appointed public areas where we always found comfortable seating. As a ship it performed well, taking us through a small storm with minimal rocking. Though we have always liked having assigned dinner times and tables we decided to embrace the "free style" dining approach and ate in all but 2 of the Gem's restaurants. We found the Garden Buffet excellent - fresh food well prepared and plentiful. There were a few flubs (the pizza was often cold, even under heat lamps) but overall food was great - especially for a buffet. We had good meals at Orchid Garden, O'Sheehan's, and the Grand Pacific, three of the complimentary dining venues. The second main dining room, Magenta, gave us decent food with terrible service - our one really bad experience with the staff on board. Among the restaurants that charge an extra fee, we liked Le Bistro and loved Moderno (and I'm a vegetarian! Even not eating meat Moderno was terrific). La Cucina, the Italian restaurant, was a mix. I had a bad entree (overcooked pasta topped by under spiced shrimp) but the tiramisu at dessert was the best we had on the ship. Desserts were a weak spot overall. The desserts at the buffet were usually bad - marked by cheap tasting ingredients and a sense that they had been cooked with stability rather than taste as the prime goal. Desserts in the sit-down restaurants were better, though still below the level we've had on other cruise lines. And coffee not from the small coffee bar in the atruim was a loser too - always weak and often cold. Entertainment on the Gem was the real stand out. The two shows we saw done by the production cast were excellent. Not only was the quality of the signing and dancing high, the shows had been put together well and deserved the standing ovations they got. Bad weather caused a change in programming that gave us a cabaret night which was a treat - the four singers doing their favorite songs left the crowd every bit as happy as the scheduled show (which we saw later in the week). The three guest performers were uneven. We adored the juggler, were bemused by the acrobat/drummer brothers, and skipped the comedian after finding his preview set on the first night a yawn. We did hear others say he had been good in full performance so he may just have been off that night. We sampled the other music on the Gem also, liking the jazz band especially. We missed having classical music but are guessing we were in a very small minority with that preference. Activities on the Gem were not a good match for us and though we saw many in passing we participated in few. In part, NCL's preferred activities are not ours. Most of the passengers seemed to like the calls for raffles and bingo. There was certainly something going on all the time and many options. We missed having a real presentation about the port - the one advertised was only about shopping. We also missed getting a newspaper daily, something we have always liked on other ships. Our son used the teen Entourage lounge as a meeting place only, rarely trying the planned activities. That's not really a comment on the quality of the programming - teens are like that! The kids in the Splash Academy seemed very happy with their activities. We were happy to find the Gem has a real promenade deck with a full, outdoor circle. Unfortunately the crew were very - in our minds, overly - cautious about letting folks out and we were frequently prohibited from walking outside. The crew were almost uniformly good. Not only were they friendly towards the guests, they seemed genuinely happy to help each other and the approach to tasks ship-wide was one of teamwork. We were impressed at the wide variety of nationalities represented among the crew and lost track of how many different countries we'd seen people from. Bermuda is a lovely pace to visit and the port facilities were very good. The pier where we docked in under construction so we used a fairly ugly, temporary building but that wasn't a problem. We appreciated very much the free ferry provided to NCL passengers that travels between the Dockyard where the ship docks and St. Georges on the opposite end of thee islands. While we mostly chose to wander on our own, we took one excursion organized by NCL, an exploration of the Bermuda Railway Trail by bicycle that ended at a private beach. It was a great way to see some of the island. We sailed back to Boston feeling really good about NCL and thinking seriously about a future cruise. Then we disembarked. Honestly, it's hard to imagine the Gem could have done a worse good at getting passengers off the boat. Those of us who wanted to walk off with our luggage were told to simply do so - no tickets, no tally, no planning. Well, we ended up in line - on our feet - for well over an hour. It wasn't customs, they were very efficient. It was just poor planning. Not a good way to end what was in most ways a great cruise. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Go with Carnival if you want to have a fun time and great food. Specially if you have kids. Let’s start with embarkation on the Gem. We had to wait because the rooms weren’t ready. Why? I mean didn’t they expect us? My son and I ... Read More
Go with Carnival if you want to have a fun time and great food. Specially if you have kids. Let’s start with embarkation on the Gem. We had to wait because the rooms weren’t ready. Why? I mean didn’t they expect us? My son and I wanted to drop off our things and then explore and eat. We couldn’t. As soon as I walked in it was dead. Nothing exciting. I actually fell asleep for a little on the chair. No cruise director or staff to make you feel like you’re going to have a great time. When I went on my cruise with Carnival as soon as we walked in they greeted us with huge smiles and pictures then we went to our room. Afterwards on the deck there was a live DJ with some awesome music. Overall great atmosphere but not Norwegian. So after finally going to our rooms we got some food. The buffet was blah and the burgers were GROSS. I went with my 12 yr old and he wasn’t liking the food either. When it came time for lunch/dinner the staff was super nice but very busy. They are under staffed. I waited too many times. It’s not their fault though. On Carnival they were staffed well and way better service and way better food! The menu on the Norwegian dining rooms are repetitive. Everyday same thing! Every morning/evening same thing! Ugh The itinerary on the gem was sooooooooo boring. Nothing to do! Just bingo here and there and then some bootleg game shows. The cleaning staff did an awesome job with our room though so I can’t complain there. They were super friendly and always made our cabin up. Also, Everything on the ship is extra and expensive. Not going with this cruise line again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I chose to do a cruise out of Boston to Bermuda because we live in NH and it seemed easy - just Uber to Boston and Uber home. I don't typically love cruises, I've been on maybe 10 in my life but I have found as I have gotten ... Read More
I chose to do a cruise out of Boston to Bermuda because we live in NH and it seemed easy - just Uber to Boston and Uber home. I don't typically love cruises, I've been on maybe 10 in my life but I have found as I have gotten older I am pickier about my vacations and cruising just always seemed like a "cattle call" to me. However, I have a 14 year old and was traveling with just him, so this seemed like the best option. I should preface this by saying that, if you are happy with Carnival or 3 Star vacations then this cruise would be right up your alley. It's all about expectations, I suppose. But for the money, I found the food to be sub par and the service to be downright horrendous. Our Embarkation was relatively painless so I had high hopes. We went to eat lunch and when they made the announcement that the rooms were ready, we headed downstairs only to find that ours was, indeed, just being started. We had to wait an additional hour to get into our room. The luggage arrived about a half an hour later. We had made reservations for Cagney's that evening as a cruise rep I talked to on the phone said it was like a 5 Star Steak restaurant that would rival Ruth's Chris. This was not the case. The service was terrible, for starters. Our server was not friendly, seemed irritated she had to do her job, and rushed us through our very expensive dinner. The steak was tasteless and I had to keep asking our server for things that she had forgotten. Service continued much the same throughout the cruise. The bartenders tended not to make any eye contact so I was often not sure if they heard my order or not. No smiling, minimal interaction. The pool bar and the Spinnaker Lounge seemed to be the worst, but I did find two good bartenders at the Martini Bar on the 6th floor. Only personable bartenders I came across the whole seven days. The service at the pool is not good. If you wanted a server to come get your drink order, you essentially had to chase them down. They spent much of their time just standing there, looking unhappy and unapproachable. One time I ordered a Rum Swizzle, the national drink of Bermuda (where we were cruising to) and he came back and said the bartender had never heard of this and they couldn't make it. I got up myself and went to the bar and was happily sipping one within 5-10 minutes (service is also not fast). My worst experience was with the Excursion Manager. I had gone up to the desk to try and cancel my night fishing excursion because my son was seasick. I was two hours past the cancellation time and when I was told I couldn't cancel, I asked to speak to the Manager. He came barreling out of the back room, didn't greet me and had absolutely no customer service skills, and proceeded to tell me that if I had a problem I could take it up with the front desk and then turned on his heals and went back to his office. I was shocked, and did complain, but I didn't really get the impression that anyone was that concerned about my negative experience. One woman who helped me make dinner reservations for the week was rude and surly. I got one word answers to my questions and she kept looking around while i was talking to her. I finally gave up and walked away with only the two reservations I had made because she was so distracted and unfriendly. We ended up dining at Moderno, La Cucina, Magenta, and the sushi bar. Moderno was ok - very overpriced and the meat wasn't that tasty and was overcooked. La Cucina was, in my opinion, the best restaurant for the money and service onboard. We ate there twice, canceling our second pre-reserved night at Cagney's after our first experience. Burratta appetizer is good, pizza is good, Osso Bucco was above average. The sushi bar was terrible and I believe we were eating previously frozen tuna. Magenta, one of the two main dining rooms, was surprisingly ok for mass produced food. The only downside about La Cucina is that it's right under the basketball court (bad planning) and you can hear the game going on right above your head, so it's a bit distracting. The buffet was the "cattle call" I was expecting. Tons of people cluelessly milling around for the feeding. Burgers were overcooked, eggs terribly runny, etc...The french fries were ok, when they were available. They were constantly running out and the "chef" in charge of them didn't seem to notice or care. The cruise director and staff were very loud, verging on obnoxious. Any interaction I had, from bingo to pool entertainment, had me gritting my teeth because of incessant chatter and commentary. They weren't personally friendly on a one on one basis, but really put on a show that went overboard when they were in front of a crowd. I had a facial at the spa, and the very young woman who performed the service opened boxes and wrappers right in my ear while I was trying to relax and enjoy the $165 50 minute facial. It was distracting and showed lack of experience. I thought the spa services were terribly overpriced. The excursions, outside of my experience with the excursion desk, were ok. Our Kayak trip got canceled due to wind; and the night fishing was average. We did the Dolphin Quest excursion but didn't book through the boat. That was the highlight of the whole week and definitely worth the money. My son spent a lot of time in the Entourage, the teen room. The person who runs this is named "A OK" and she doesn't really seemed interested in her job. She looks bored and isn't very engaging. There were some good activities that my son enjoyed, but mostly the kids play video games and she reads the paper. I got the distinct impression from every interaction I had with the staff of this ship that 90% of them were miserable and annoyed. I could have lived with the sub par food had the service been friendly and engaging. I will NEVER take another Norwegian Cruise. This is my second (first was on the EPIC). My first experience was similar, although not quite as bad, and I thought I would give it another try. If a great vacation for you includes good food and a friendly service staff, you will want to steer clear of the Gem and even Norwegian as a whole. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
When we booked with norweign agent we requested twin bed with recliner and was told this would not be a problem. But when we arrived to our room it was a king size bed with no chair. Upon several calls and hours someone brought my ... Read More
When we booked with norweign agent we requested twin bed with recliner and was told this would not be a problem. But when we arrived to our room it was a king size bed with no chair. Upon several calls and hours someone brought my distilled water and a plastic pool low back for my husband. We had explained upon making reservations that he had a broken neck and needed a high back chair to sleep. We were accused of not making reservations with Norwegian agent because they wouldn't make that mistake. The embankment was ok but really needed a wheel chair for my husband. We did not received the distilled water and breakdown of bed and plastic chair until 10.30 PM. My husband had to sleep sitting on the bed and leaning back on the light with pillows he was unable to sleep more than 2 hours because of the pain. The excursion was terrible I fell asleep on the bus it was so boring the only good part was we stopped to shop but not enough time could only go into one store. The buffet was terrible but the specialty dining was fabulous. The service people were very helpful but everytime we ordered a wheel chair we needed a large and everytime we specified large but it didn't matter we received a small one. My husband was in so much pain from sleeping sitting up that he could not make the excursion. Our person who took care of our room was remarkable and all the dining and bars were wonderful. But with all the problems we had we should have been visited by upper management. On the last day we met the hotel director while he was smoking on the 13th deck. We spoke with him about our issues and he told us he would have a large wheel chair at our room at 8.30 am. No one ever came when our service person called to help us they refused to send someone so we had to make our way down to the 7th deck on our own. There we waited for a large wheelchair to disembark. The gentleman the helped us disembark was fabulous and very well mannered. Overall the cruise was terrible we spent a lot of time in our room because my husband was exhausted and in a lot of pain due to the sleeping conditions. We spoke to several families who had been on many cruises including the couples we were traveling with that this was the worse cruise they had been on and that the buffet was terrible. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
Food and service were excellent; however, NCL has a serious problem with design of its mini-suites and the staff's ability to determine reasonable fixes. NCL offered incentives to book mini-suites for two cruises that we booked, one ... Read More
Food and service were excellent; however, NCL has a serious problem with design of its mini-suites and the staff's ability to determine reasonable fixes. NCL offered incentives to book mini-suites for two cruises that we booked, one in April (7 days) and one in June (14 days). The April cruise we just completed became an issue about an hour after we gained access to our cabin. There are no electrical outlets next to the bed headboard. The fix was to string a residential extension cord across the cabin and duct tape it to the floor to allow use of a CPAP machine. We had an 11 year-old grandchild in the cabin; the dangling cord to the floor was a tripping hazard. The larger problem was the bath/shower combination in the mini-suite. The shower was over the bathtub, not a separate unit. This would have been fine if the design used a shower curtain; however, a 3-piece sliding glass door system was installed on top of the tub. It added four (4) inches to the access height. My spouse could not access the tub. Reception immediately send a 6-inch stool to the cabin to correct the problem. The response was so fast it must not be the first time it happened. My spouse attempted to use the stool; however, the fixed pane of the 3-piece glass door restricted access. So, for seven days, my wife had to take "bird baths" in a mini-suite. Our June cruise is on the Norwegian Pearl (same type ship). So, I attempted to obtain help to change our cabin for the upcoming cruise to one that has a usable bathroom. The staff on the Gem (Next Cruise) was rude, no help. The reception desk researched deck plans for the Gem and Pearl and gave helpful advice on which cabins would meet our needs. Caution: If you are 5'4" or less and have two knee replacements or any other medical restrictions, I recommend you avoid mini-suites on the Gem. We are trying to get NCL to revise our cabin assignment to one with only a shower or to one that has separate shower and bath facilities. Read Less
Norwegian Gem Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 5.0 0.0
Public Rooms 5.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 3.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 5.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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