3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
Let me start by saying that I love NCL and the Gem is my favorite ship and we did still have a nice time this cruise. We met some amazing people. I booked this cruise over a year ago after a fantastic experience in the Haven in 2016. ... Read More
Let me start by saying that I love NCL and the Gem is my favorite ship and we did still have a nice time this cruise. We met some amazing people. I booked this cruise over a year ago after a fantastic experience in the Haven in 2016. for this trip I paid full price for my 2 bedroom courtyard villa. With that being said, I noticed some significant changes in the service on the Gem. I am not one to complain about service since I come from a customer service industry and I know how hard the staff works.. However, you can noticeably see the cut backs that NCL has made in the staff. In the past when we have gone to specialty restaurants the service has been exceptional. That was the case in La Cucina, but not the case in Cagney's for dinner. Dinner service in Cagney's was extremely slow, slow to the point where we were going to leave without eating. There were very few servers and wait staff. There were also more exceptions to the specialty dining program. You were informed before you order; one soup or starter, one entree and one dessert. and some entrees had an up-charge that were not listed on the menu when I used my platinum certificate in Le Bistro.. Which by the way was not a good meal. Not to be rude, and I did not complain to the server, but I went to the buffet after the meal ended. the escargot was good and so was the dessert.. my entree was not good... This cruise made me re-think booking my next trip on NCL even though I bought cruise next certificates. I spent a significant amount of money on this cruise, paying it off little by little. Having done the Haven once before we were so excited to live the Haven experience again with the same expectation of service.. Last trip our courtyard valet was extremely visible.. as soon as you put your empty drink down, you had a refill whether you were in the courtyard itself or on the sundeck on 15. While our courtyard valet this trip was very friendly, but he wasn't nearly as attentive. There were a few families that went and got their own drinks from Bali Hai and there were some that used their phones to call to get drinks. If you were on 15 floor sundeck the chances of getting anything were significantly less. I might have been better off in the main pool, but that would have defeated the entire purpose of booking the Haven. Our butler Teo was absolutely fantastic. But, our concierge was a ghost. I saw him when we got our key cards and that was it. Then midway thru our trip a different concierge appears. That was odd, but I had pre-booked the majority of my dinners online before I left and went to dining reservations on 7 to change a reservation and used the on-board app for the rest. I was my own concierge. Pre-dinner music and drinks has always been one of my favorite thing to do every time that I have been on the Gem. I love going to Shakers/Magnums to listen to the music and have a glass of wine.. It is always busy around that time and this trip it wasn't any different.. the difference was there were only 3 servers for the two bars with a huge crowd. The first night i went to the bar to get my own drinks. The second I waited to be served. It took almost a half hour for a server to get to us. Yes, I could have gone to get my own drink, again, but honestly I am on vacation. I shouldn't have to chase a server. Once we were served, I of course tipped my server... I'm not sure if that was what made him more attentive to our table, but I'm pretty sure it helped. I noticed that many people did not tip the bar tenders and wait staff this trip.. Maybe because they feel that it is included in their fare or it could be it's just a Brooklyn thing and I tip everyone... While my experience may differ from someone else, I'm not sure that I am willing to spend my hard earned money for the Haven on the Gem again. I do have another cruise already booked and paid for on the Escape in August, but after considering the cost and price checking other lines I opted to try another line for my cruise after. This has nothing to do with the staff, everyone was extremely friendly and hard working as always, but there was just less staff to handle the number of guests on board and service suffered because of that. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
My friend Mary booked for her husband and 2 boys and then her husband couldn't go and since I had never been on a cruise before and she was hoping to make some money back, she asked me. All went well. I am going again with my mom ... Read More
My friend Mary booked for her husband and 2 boys and then her husband couldn't go and since I had never been on a cruise before and she was hoping to make some money back, she asked me. All went well. I am going again with my mom and two sisters May 1 on the Norwegian Dawn, embarking from Miami. I will bring my own kids someday when they are older and more independent. I am NOT a winter person so leaving from New York City in winter was not ideal for me. I like the water, seeing it all around was peaceful and my only source of privacy, however, I would not do a cruise again that took 3 days of sailing to get to first and last ports. Food was EXCELLENT compared to my experiences at numerous all inclusives, however, top decks of ship were too crowded in warm/hot weather for my taste as no space to move chairs around as packed in like sardines. TONNES to do, a la carte restaurants were terrific (we ate at the French restaurant twice, Italian and Steakhouse each once). Evening shows were amazing as well. I was not impressed by the Antiguan Experience excursion at all for various reasons which I would be happy to outline for Norwegian/Tour Company to try to improve but LOVED my excursion to Marantha Gardens and the volcano on St. Lucia. My other excusions were good too. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2019
We picked this cruise as we wanted to spend time in New York prior to cruising the Caribbean. The food in the restaurants wasn’t to the same standard as Pand O cruises. An error had been made when we were being charged for drinks when we ... Read More
We picked this cruise as we wanted to spend time in New York prior to cruising the Caribbean. The food in the restaurants wasn’t to the same standard as Pand O cruises. An error had been made when we were being charged for drinks when we had premium drinks package, staff at shops reception were very unhelpful and most had trouble understanding English, we had to phone from the ship to eventually get it sorted out by ourselves which was very stressful. The ships entertainment team was dire and activities were very childish and bizarre. The embarkation was horrific we had booked 12.00 and stood in a queue in New York for 3 hours before we got on ship disembarkation was chaotic with people queuing in corridors and sitting on the ground people were arguing and pushing at others with no ncl staff to be found to try to keep order. I would have waited in my room or on a deck until the chaos had calmed down but we weren’t allowed to do this. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
embarkation/disembarkation took a long time. disembarkation took almost 3 hours. had to wait around in a bar sitting on the floor with nothing for the kids to do. we have a special needs child so this was really hard. the kids' ... Read More
embarkation/disembarkation took a long time. disembarkation took almost 3 hours. had to wait around in a bar sitting on the floor with nothing for the kids to do. we have a special needs child so this was really hard. the kids' club (teenagers) had a really rude coordinator so my son stopped going after the first night. the other kids' club took a long time to sign kids in. had to wait 20 minutes or so just to sign the kids in. then, they ask you where you're going while the kids are in the club? why is that relevant? it's not like you can leave the ship! not special needs friendly. they sent us an email with names of a bunch of people who was supposed to look after our special needs child's needs and those people weren't on the ship. excursions were too expensive. didn't provide something to hang your key card around your neck with (carnival did). the "free" drinks were all variations of water (other than the coffee and tea). the piano player couldn't sing. although, i recently found out he might be a comedian. then, yeah he sounded funny. the sports facility was always busy and there was only a couple of hours alloted for tennis (8-10 am). the pools were tiny. they had an adults only pool but i've only seen one person in it. deck 5 (where we stayed) smells like sewage. st thomas visit was only 5 hours long. not enough time to really do anything. tv reception was poor. you had to sit through presentations in order to be in a draw or to get something for free (similar to timeshare). otherwise, food was really good. restaurants were clean. staff was generally friendly. hard to understand some of them though. very thick accents. advice: don't do the bingo. too expensive and the callers are really annoying. don't buy excursions as taxis are readily available at a fraction of the costs. and finally, go with another cruise line. i recommend carnival. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
The overall experience was very good, but Norwegian needs to make a few changes. First, I think the Internet goes to die on the Gem. Even when docked in NYC, you can’t get a website to boot up— including their own! I think we can all ... Read More
The overall experience was very good, but Norwegian needs to make a few changes. First, I think the Internet goes to die on the Gem. Even when docked in NYC, you can’t get a website to boot up— including their own! I think we can all agree that the ship isn’t moving or too far from cellular towers at that point. If you need to do any research, it’s not going to happen. My friends paid for unlimited Internet, but were unable to use it. Embarking wasn’t so bad, but people were hungry and waited until 9 pm for their luggage to arrive. St. Maarten is signicantly damaged by the hurricane. We were unable to book a beach excursion for this stop, and ended up at Orient Beach—- lots of beach grass in the water made this less than fun with 2 young children. St. Lucia was fantastic. We booked an excursion through a tour company that made our trip. Antigua is fine. We booked a beach excursion and everyone was nice and helpful. I honestly wanted more time in St. Thomas. We were scheduled for only 6 hours (7a-1p) which made NO sense bearing in mind that this location offered the most excursions. At this point, one of my children was ill and I really wanted to go to Walgreen’s as I had in San Juan earlier in the week. (That store was very well stocked, efficient and welcoming with prices consistent with those of the continental US.) Because I was traveling alone (my husband had the children), I was told by multiple cab drivers that they “couldn’t be bothered to drive that far for one person”. There is a poorly stocked Medicine Shop near the dock that did not offer what I needed for my daughter. I was hoping for more in a US country. The food was good. For a dining room, Magenta is outstanding. The staff is very conscientious and helpful, as opposed to the Grand Pacific which is disorganized at best. The Garden Cafe’s best meal is breakfast hands down. Disembarking was AWFUL. Again, you’re docked in NYC but forget about the Internet. The colors for the luggage tickets were not called in the order listed on the nightly blurb. After disembarking FINALLY started, they stopped it to refuel the boat... for another 30+ minutes. Then, when your luggage color was called, you get to stand in a line that wraps around the entire 7th floor while your cards are scanned— one at a time, not like when you leave the ship in a port which offers 2-3 lines to be scanned. THEN, you stand in line to go down 2 single file escalators. After you locate all your luggage, you stand in line at customs. There were only 2 agents checking ID. At this point, another 300-400 people who got off the boat AFTER you, and who magically have luggage carts available to them get to bypass you to a mystical third customs inspector who finally appears. We disembarked after 1 pm. Also, don’t think you can take your child to the library to work on homework. There’s no room and other passengers just don’t care. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
My wife&I have always talked about taking a cruise but it wasn't until my best friend&his wife put the fire under us2make it happen, it was certainly NO disappointment!!! From the moment we stepped on the ship until the ... Read More
My wife&I have always talked about taking a cruise but it wasn't until my best friend&his wife put the fire under us2make it happen, it was certainly NO disappointment!!! From the moment we stepped on the ship until the morning we disembarked - this vacation for us was one that we will NEVER forget&can hardly wait2do it again!! Our shore excursions - amazing, the activities on the ship - endless, the service - professional, our cabin - perfect (especially having a balcony) - the food, sensational - interaction with the crew and staff, incredible - the entertainment, Broadway worthy!! As you can see we were BEYOND happy with our trip!! Thank you Norwegian Gem&all involved - normally we would come away saying that "we need a vacation from our vacation," - not this time - the length, the relaxation, sun,& fun has left us wanting for more! Ken and Julie Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
We cruised the Gem a few years ago and it was not a good experience. We thought we'd try again and it wasn't much better. We normally cruise RCL and definitely will again but I'm not so sure about NCL. The biggest problem ... Read More
We cruised the Gem a few years ago and it was not a good experience. We thought we'd try again and it wasn't much better. We normally cruise RCL and definitely will again but I'm not so sure about NCL. The biggest problem was disembarking, it was awful. There was almost no communication regarding the process and there was a lot of confusion while trying to get off the ship. The food wasn't as good as RCL either. RCL has lobster night and usually has shrimp cocktail for every evening meal. The room was very nice and our room steward was the best. It was very quiet and comfortable. The dining room staff wasn't the friendliest . We prefer RCL where you have the same waiter every night. The Buffet was good, very typical of other cruises. The entertainment was pretty good, I did have trouble hearing some of the entertainers. Overall only an average cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
My husband and I area living in New York, then we decided to take this ship + Caribbean route. We are in mid-40-50 and most of the cruisers were much older, few youngers. Embarkation & Desembarkation (New York port): We have been ... Read More
My husband and I area living in New York, then we decided to take this ship + Caribbean route. We are in mid-40-50 and most of the cruisers were much older, few youngers. Embarkation & Desembarkation (New York port): We have been cruising with other cruise lines (Royal, Celebrity and Carnival. First with NCL and probable the last. The embarkation and disembarkation are very disorganized. DINING We had one night at ‘Moderno’ Restaurant (Brazilian steakhouse), that was very disappointing. First, we are Brazilians and the way they serve the food is not the same. Rice and beans are served together in Brazil. At Moderno, rice was on the buffet and beans are served as a side dish, later. The meat was very spicy and salty. The service was very slow also. It was my birthday dinner ... The waitresses sang a ‘Happy Birthday’ and gave me a very hard and old cake, as a gift. I tried to eat but I just couldn’t. We went twice to ‘Garden Café’, complementary, we felt very chaotic and the food was not good, not healthy at all. To get a table, we were having breakfast before 7:00am and lunch before noon. The rest of the days and nights we had dinner and lunch at the ‘Grand Pacific’, which the food was OK, nothing special, the lunch menu was the same every day, the dinner had a daily variation with few options. DAYS AT THE SEA We felt bored with few options of entertainment. Sales onboard were range for cheap stuff (in quality) to expensive jewelry/watches. Very few options to buy as a souvenir. EXCURSIONS: • Most of the NCL shore Excursions which include a beach do not mention the name of the beach. Pay attention!!! Puerto Rico: We docked at 4:00pm in San Juan and decided to walk around the Old San Juan, El Morro and churches. We had few time at El Morro before closing. The weather was very windy and started raining. Were Back to the ship at 6:00pm. Supposed to left at 10:00pm, but We left only at 11:00pm due to a late excursion. We book shore excursions for all the other Ports through NCL. Philipsburg, St Maarten, St Martin: We had a city tour on both sides of the island (Dutch and French) + 1 hour at the beach (Dutch side). The island still has a lot of destruction from previous hurricanes, If you don’t like to see it, go straight to the beach. This trip was booked on September/2018 for March sailing. St Kitts was scheduled for the second Port, but all the sudden NCL changed for St Maarten with no announcement. St Lucia, Castries – It was a lovely day with a city tour to the Pitons, Prayer Garden and volcano. Antigua, St John – We choose the ‘Hop on Hop Off’ catamaran com option to visit 2 beaches. (90 minutes per beach) Dickenson Bay beach (beer $10) and Runaway beach. Be careful on Runaway beach Restaurant, we ordered beers (we get it) + fish burger (which we never get it). We had only 1 hour at that beach and they had all excuses (a lot of orders, we are doing our best, etc. We had to take a taxi on order to be on time for ship time, the catamaran was overboard taking people from Dickenson beach and left us at Runway beach. Not only our group (8), but more than 50 people from other cruise ship/excursions. St Thomas, US Virgin Islands – we spend 2 hours at Maegan’s Beach. Lovely beach. Previouly, we are supposed to arrived at 8:00am and leave St Thomas only at 5:00pm. Again, NCL changed with no announcement and we left St Thomas at 1:00pm. Will I cruise again? Yes, but with other cruise Companies, NCL never again. After bad reviews about WIFI onboard, we decided not go for a 39.99 per day. We also had a big issue, that was resolved only after 5 days of disembarkation. We always book our cruises through a Travel Agent, always receive a credit onboard. NCL not only denied our credit during our trip but also my Travel Agent had to fight with them for many days and finally they admitted their mistake. I complained on board (NCL customer service) 3 times, even call my Agent. What a stress! Be careful! Another annoying part from NCL are the pre-payment that are placed few days before the end of the cruise on your credit card, that only disappear 4 days after the end of cruise. Not mention, the full invoice already charged on your credit card on the last day. Good point: the size of our balcony + bed was good + size of the bathroom shower. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
This was my first cruise, it was chosen by a friend. We had a great time. The food was amazing, the variety of entertainment was impressive and the staff was pleasant & eager to please. The only disappointment was the disorganized ... Read More
This was my first cruise, it was chosen by a friend. We had a great time. The food was amazing, the variety of entertainment was impressive and the staff was pleasant & eager to please. The only disappointment was the disorganized process of leaving the ship for excursions and at the end of the cruise. A few people missed their excursions at our first port due to the excessive lines of people winding down the stairs trying to get off the ship. I would definitely use Norwegian again. The value for our money was impressive and sailing from NYC is really convenient for us. We found a bus through Yankee Trails that brought us right to the port. We tried all of the complementary restaurants plus the hibachi restaurant and the Brazilian bbq restaurant and they were worth every penny. It was easy to get reservations. The food was amazing. Overall, a great trip! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
My family invited me on this cruise as a birthday celebration and it was a fantastic experience for the entire family. Lots of fun activities, great food and friendly staff. Our kids enjoyed the many amenities and we never had to worry ... Read More
My family invited me on this cruise as a birthday celebration and it was a fantastic experience for the entire family. Lots of fun activities, great food and friendly staff. Our kids enjoyed the many amenities and we never had to worry about them becoming bored. I usually do get seasick which was a concern for me, however I barely felt any movements. The on-board entertainment was excellent. The stateroom was comfortable and well laid for its size. The cleaning staff are very hard workers and respectful individuals. I recommend the drink package, with all that food you need to balance it out with something good to drink. The ship is so beautiful and clean you get the feeling that you are in a 5 star hotel. I ready for my next cruise with Norwegian and their fantastic crew, don’t change anything see you soon. Thank you for a vacation me and my family will never forget. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
We cruise the Gem every year. We like the size of the ship, where it sails, and is close to home. We were disappointed with our cruise this year as we left 1 day late due to weather and lost 2 ports. Now we understand the weather, ... Read More
We cruise the Gem every year. We like the size of the ship, where it sails, and is close to home. We were disappointed with our cruise this year as we left 1 day late due to weather and lost 2 ports. Now we understand the weather, however, there was no one from NCL at the terminal to assist when the Coast Guard would not let the ship into NYC. There was no direction. Terminal full of people, many not from the tri state area, no food, no help and no direction. We were left to fend for ourselves. After being told the terminal would close at 4pm, and we could not spend the night there, we were forced to find a hotel. Fortunately, a port authority woman called a friend who was a travel agent and he helped us find a hotel in Times Square. We then had to spend money to get there as it was way too cold and windy to walk, we were not dressed for walking since we are limo'd to the terminal. We then had to go out and pay for dinner. The hotel was great and many of the cruise passengers were there, also disappointed and had to put out money without help or direction. Then once on board we went to guest relations which was of no help with our situation. Was told to call NCL customer relations on return which I did and after holding for 50 minutes was told I had to voice my concerns thru the web site. Needless to say I was not happy. Also we were told 1 cruise day would be credited to our charge card accounts, which as of this date 3/20/19, nothing has posted. Food also was not as good this time around. We sail the Gem every year and have praised the delicious food but this year, it was lacking. The buffet was not exciting and the dinning room seemed to over do the menu. Quality of the steak was poor. Could not get a tossed salad, menu choices were in my opinion reaching for a different cruise passenger, Cagney's was excellent but cannot say the same about LaCucina. Did not enjoy that dinner at all. What I wrong with the typical Italian menu? After all of the confusion of embarkation, the stress, the running around NY in the wind and cold, I took ill for 2 days. It was some sort of bug and I spent 2 days sleeping. My friend had to go it alone. By then, all excursions were sold out. So needless to say, we were very disappointed with our trip. Some of the entertainment was new and exciting but the NCL Gem dancers need new shows. You have many repeat cruisers and it is disappointing when you have already seen the show from the previous year. What happened to bar service on the sun decks? 1 person per side to wait on drinks? Terrible, terrible. We had to get up and get our own drinks. Norwegian has certainly cut back on all the things that made it a desirable cruise. Bring back the great food, entertainment, crew as this will keep your loyal customers and add many new. Word of mouth is your best advertisement. It is our hopes that NCL will do good and compensate us for the inconvenience we experienced, the lack of help and to keep us loyal. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary - full traverse of the Panama Canal and lots of stops in countries other cruise lines don't stop in. We have travelled with other companies, Celebrity, RCI, Cunard, P&O and now NCL. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary - full traverse of the Panama Canal and lots of stops in countries other cruise lines don't stop in. We have travelled with other companies, Celebrity, RCI, Cunard, P&O and now NCL. The reason for the low score for NCL is that there were lots of little things which were not as good as other cruise companies and they added up to make a big difference. Firstly the good: The organisation of the Freedom dining is fantastic. We only had to wait (briefly) for a table on a couple of occasions - the rest of the time it worked like clockwork. This is down mainly to the ladies who work at the front desk. They do an exceptional job. The staff in the dining rooms were all fantastic. Hardworking and always cheerful. No mean feat! The chinese restaurant is included rather than the usual cover charge and we thought the food was superb. The presentation of the food in the main dining rooms was the best we have seen There were proper showers in all of the rooms (not just shower curtains) The bad: The menus in the Chinese and O'Sheehans never changes nor does it in Grand Pacific at lunch time. Not too bad if you are on a 7 day cruise but this was 19 days of the same choice. The drinks are very expensive The ship was late in to nearly every port. Sometimes just by 15-20 mins but it messed up our plans (and on two of the occassions this was when the ship was only travelling a short distance between ports) Disembarkation was a shambles with poor communication. They put on too few tenders when needed so that it took us until after 1pm to get off the ship when we had to be back on board by 4pm. We paid for an upgrade to an ocean view room and yet all we could see was a lifeboat. There was no warnings about it being a partial view. There was insufficient shade on the ship so there was always a battle to be up early enough to grab some. They have a great lounge at the front of the boat where you can sit in the shade and cool and look at the view but insisted on running bingo and other talks in there all through the day despite having other areas that would accomodate these things. They even had to draw the blinds in the room to make it dark enough to see the projector. The talks about the ports and countries we were visiting were awful. The entertainment in the bars was not to our taste and hardly varied. No gala type dinners so no lobster or other special food. Food was the worst we have had on a ship (not bad like other reviews have said - just not as good as other ships) The food in the buffet was not great and was very repetitive. All of the entertainment was geared towards Americans (even though they were in the minority on the ship). I understand that they are usually the majority so I guess it would be too much trouble to change things cruise by cruise. Guest Relations were terrible. They handled a minor complaint so badly that it ended up being a big issue. They have zero authority and a terrible attitude. One thing that isn't the ships problem but is worth mentioning is that we like to share our table with others in the evening. Clearly most people who choose NCL don't like to so it was rare that we managed to get a table with other people on it. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
We are not first time cruisers, but this was our first (and last) cruise with Norwegian. We chose this cruise because of its date and itinerary. We hadnt heard anything bad about Norwegian so we figured we'd give them a try. A ... Read More
We are not first time cruisers, but this was our first (and last) cruise with Norwegian. We chose this cruise because of its date and itinerary. We hadnt heard anything bad about Norwegian so we figured we'd give them a try. A series of unfortunate events turned our 11 day cruise into a 10 day cruise. We understood the weather is something no one can control so that is not Norwegians fault. However the day before our departure day and even departure sail we recieved about a dozen notifications that the ship would be departing 2 hours late. (Bad weather had delayed its return to New York) Because of the weather our plane was delayed. We were worried we'd miss the departure but fortunately we landed and met uo with our Norwegian tranfer rep. She got us on our shuttle reassuring us we'd made it in time. Got to the peir.... no ship! Now informed the ship was not able to safely dock. Its about 2pm. (This cruise leaves earlier in the day to travel as far as we were to go) With no help from Norwegian we are dropped off to find a place to stay overnight. We had never been to New York before so we took a bit of time to find a hotel that was a reasonable price and distance to the peir. This extra night in New York was not cheap. We had burgers for dinner at a chain restaurant with a pop each (just my husband and I) and that came to about $80. Plus the $300 for a hotel room, breakfast not included there so another meal about $50 more. The whole time we were trying to keep our spirits up. Also the rumour from the other guests was Norwegian would help with the costs. Finally at 4pm we got the first text message that the cruise would not be sailing this day. (Of course we already know a couple hours before) How can they send us so many notices for a 2 hour delay but then nothing on the sail date. They knew for at least 2 hours before sending any notices. We boarded the next day to only discover that our 11 day 6 port cruise would now be a 10 day 4 port cruise. No explanation from anyone as to why we had lost 1 day but 2 ports. Still kept spirits up. Disappointed of course. We found the service was just ok. As was the food. My husband and I both work in customer service and it drove us both crazy to see how it seemed like the staff didnt really care to be there. No one looked happy really. Smile while beside a guest, look unhappy away from guests. I dont expect people to be jolly all the time but they just looked like they were going through the paces. No one did anything extra for a guest. We saw a few times where someone was waiting for service or a table and the staff would see them too. No acknowledgment was made and even saw a table get up and leave. Towards the end of the cruise my husband and I went to ask about getting money back for our missed day and for any help for expenses. They told us that we would have to submit for expenses and to watch the website and our Visa for the days refund. A week after returning home we finally saw our days refund. We got a whopping $149. We were happy to see we did get our shuttle fare back, since we had to get our own transportation to the ship. (The second try!) A few days later we heard that Norwegian will not be helping in anyway towards expenses in new york. My husband had taken the number of days of the cruise and divded it by the cruise total. Came to $300, not $149. Theres never been anything on their website or any emails. Nothing in our Norwegian account. No communication. The deals they were offering to try to get cruises to return were fantastic but the lack of service and the no communication we've had with Norwegian has left us realizing we will never cruise Norwegian again. We are escalating our complaints with Norwegian. Hopefully we at least get a full day refunded. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
First time on Gem. And other than the Pride of America out of Honolulu, the first time on NCL. I’m a firm believer that all the main stream cruise lines are similar. Each has its own plusses and minuses. I’ll try to keep ... Read More
First time on Gem. And other than the Pride of America out of Honolulu, the first time on NCL. I’m a firm believer that all the main stream cruise lines are similar. Each has its own plusses and minuses. I’ll try to keep this objective. My wife and I travelled with two other couples for this cruise. One drove to NY with us from Delaware and one met us at the port, as they are from FL. We left the Sunday before and spent the night in Rahway, NJ so we’d have an easy drive in the next AM. When we arrived to pickup our friends, they asked if we’d recd the message that the ship was going to be late due to the weather. We recd nothing. They had been told it would leave at 6:00PM. So, we headed out and figured we’d just take our time the next morning. As, Murphy was present quite a bit this trip, he also made his presence known on Monday morning...there was hardly any traffic driving into the city and we arrived at the port by 10:30AM...go figure! No sweat, we checked our bags and we made ourselves comfy. Then came the announcement! The Gem would not be arriving until after 6:00PM if then, and the terminal staff recommended we leave the terminal and return between 7 and 10 PM! We just looked at each other dumbfounded. Where were we going to go, having parked the car at the terminal and in temps below freezing (considering 40+ mph winds). So, we chose to hang out longer. THEN, the next announcement...The Gem would not be in until Tuesday morning. Luckily, our friend found us hotel accommodations close by. We chose to let them keep our bags and we headed for the hotel. Can’t control Mother Nature! BUT.....the indecision among the terminal staff was unreal! Everyone you asked had a different answer or different directions. This can’t be the first time there was a delay! They really need to work on their contingency planning. The next day was really quite uneventful. The other two couple took their time heading for the term8nal. So, my wife and I told them we’d meet them on board. We were on board by approx 1130 and they joined us closer to 1:30. We then recd the announcement there would be a slight delay as there was a medical emergency that required passengers to debark. Again...stuff happens. We were also informed that, due to the late ship arrival, we would be reimbursed for a day of the cruise...but, the itinerary would be altered and San Juan and St Kitts eliminated. So, on a now 10 day cruise, 5 days would be sea days. That became monotonous on the Gem. The next bit of excitement came on our second sea day when there was a fire on Deck 13 in one of the heaters. Crew performed flawlessly and the situation was controlled quickly. But, that Murphy guy..... We found the ship layout did not flow easily and all of the public areas seemed to be overly noisy with some sort of activity or sales pitch going on at all times. Again, all lines have those ships that seemed to be hodge podged together to maximize room. It was the nois3 levels that bothered us most. With that many sea days so close together, it started to wear on us. Additionally, they had entertainment functions in the main Atrium area...it was just too congested for that. We found the Garden Buffet very chaotic! There was no orderly flow and people just went every which way. Add to that the people that were unaware of anyone but themselves....(again, those folks are on all cruises, I suppose). The food in the Buffet was mediocre. We ate our breakfasts in O’Sheehans Pub. That’s a great secret! Very few people took advantage of it. So, we had nice meals there each morning. Lunch, we braved the chaos in the buffet...needless to say, my least favorite meal. Dinners were in Magenta dining room, unless we had reservations at the specialty restaurants. Vladimir took great care of us and the environment again was not as chaotic. As as for the specialties....Carney’s and Le Bistro we our favorites. La Cucina and Modernos were flops for our whole crowd. None of us enjoyed our meals. Entertainment....we’ve been on quite a few cruises and the production cast on this ship were some of the best we’ve seen! Blazing Boots...Wow! Guys, if you have a weak heart, take a defibrillator! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
We arrived in NYC according to instructions. We were informed the ship would be late, and not leaving until midnight. Two hours later, they said the ship is not coming and "make other arrangements". Luckily, I was able to ... Read More
We arrived in NYC according to instructions. We were informed the ship would be late, and not leaving until midnight. Two hours later, they said the ship is not coming and "make other arrangements". Luckily, I was able to procure a hotel near by. The rest of the cruise was fine, but we missed two islands, and St Thomas was it's usual half a day. I can't imagine if anyone saw this as a cruise itinery that they would book it. High winds was the explanation for all the confusion. Have not heard a word about any sort of a refund as yet, BUT we had better get something, weather related or not we paid for an 11 day 6 island cruise and received 10 days, 4 islands. The crew was great, but the communication regarding the departure could have been better. I received countless calls, but all with old or incorrect information.. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
This cruise was preselected by the senior center. The size of the ship was nice , not too big. Overall staff was courteous and well seasoned . Specialty dining very expensive. Other cruise lines have specialty dining at no extra charge. ... Read More
This cruise was preselected by the senior center. The size of the ship was nice , not too big. Overall staff was courteous and well seasoned . Specialty dining very expensive. Other cruise lines have specialty dining at no extra charge. Difficult making reservations for dining. Too much sales pitching to book additional cruises to the point almost pushy. WiFi not good and expensive. Staff not fully educated on WiFi when we asked for help signing in. Has to go to service desk 3 times before we hit on the right person to help . We had a balcony cabin. It was a bit small we could not move aroud comfortably. Bathroom very small. Food was very good. Wait staff excellent. Good points of the cruise. Drink package. Gratuity package included in the price of our trip. Entertainment was very good. A nice variety of entainers I would cruise again but would choose another cruise line Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
Overall it was good. Entertainment as always excellent! Room steward as always fantastic! The Grand Pacific and Magenta were excellent! We took advantage of the spa, very noisy, no respect for others who are reading or ... Read More
Overall it was good. Entertainment as always excellent! Room steward as always fantastic! The Grand Pacific and Magenta were excellent! We took advantage of the spa, very noisy, no respect for others who are reading or resting and not being courteous when using the heated tile chairs, there is a time limit of 30 minutes totally ignored. Specialty restaurants excellent but confusion over the dinning promotion billing, it appears a lack of training thus extra time and frustration to get the bill correct. Cruise staff terrible, we didn't see them very much and when we did no enthusiasm. Duty free shopping and gift shop overpriced vs shore prices (able to negotiate better for diamond and tanzanite and liquor, I know NJ liquor prices are competitive). My wife wanted perfume during the special promotion day and the product was in the showcase for 40% off, guess what " sorry but it was placed there in error". get the picture. We took advantage of the photography sessions but they were not very professional, shadows on my wife's face and reflection from glasses. The pool area was a mess and we "heard" about 2 alterations that turned physical, also rough seas that had people vomiting on or near the stairs/elevators, thank you all you can drink promotion! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We love the Gem and have been cruising on it annually for the past couple of years. We like the size of the ship, the amenities, especially the Great Outdoors the covered patio off of the back of deck 12 and the fact that it sails out of ... Read More
We love the Gem and have been cruising on it annually for the past couple of years. We like the size of the ship, the amenities, especially the Great Outdoors the covered patio off of the back of deck 12 and the fact that it sails out of NYC. However, this year, because Norwegian moved around all their cruises and introduced more January and February sailings of their larger ships we were unable to book until the end of February. Sadly, while we arrived in NYC for our cruise on the appointed date, the ship did not out. Because of high winds it was unable to dock safely on the Hudson, leaving the previous cruise stranded just past the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. This meant that our 11 day cruise, once the ship was able to dock the next day, became a 10 day cruise, with two ports, Puerto Rico and St.Kitts, missing from our itinerary. While this wasn't really much of an issue for us, we have been to both ports before how Norwegian handled the problem was less than stellar. They were unable to notify passengers about the problem on the day of departure, even though they sent out notifications about another problem a couple of days previously, and were not really that helpful about anyone having to make alternative arrangements. We were delighted however with one of their shows, which featured a Broadway soloist, who gave not only an incredible performance in her one woman show but also an added master class in voice that was much more enjoyable than the usual cheesy shows. Disembarking was also much more confusing than usual with multiple lines snaking around the ship and a crew that needs to be better trained on how to manage large crowds, minimizing frustration for everyone involved. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
I think what made our stay on-board the Gem so nice were some of the hardworking staff on the ship who were friendly and accommodating towards us. We had some nice conversations with them and enjoyed learning about their cultures. ... Read More
I think what made our stay on-board the Gem so nice were some of the hardworking staff on the ship who were friendly and accommodating towards us. We had some nice conversations with them and enjoyed learning about their cultures. According to the cruise director there are 65 different nationalities on-board the ship. Our cabin was great; we had the mini suite. We absolutely love our stateroom steward; she was very kind and hospitable towards us. DINING The best place to dine on the ship is the Magenta Dining Room (which is included in your ticket cost) because of the atmosphere and the attention to food taste and quality. It was very good. We had an amazing server in the Magenta Dining Room who really went out of his way to make us feel special. Originally we had the dining package, but after trying the "specialty restaurants" we realized it was all the same food, just entree names changed around a little, maybe a few different ingredient changes here and there. The Rock and Roll sushi was amazing in the Asian Restaurant. If you want to spend a little money on going out, this one is the one to go to. The desserts were really good at the Asian restaurant too. Le Bistro was really good, but not so good you'd want to spend $80 on it. You can get the same food / quality at the Magenta DR without paying extra. Use the extra money you'd spend at Le Bistro to leave a nice tip for your server and whomever is helping them. The tiramisu at La Cuchina is NOT good (if you know how to make tiramisu yourself). I would say avoid this "specialty restaurant," it's a big fail. I don't know how, but the Magenta Dining Room had a pesto gnocci that was way better than what came out of La Cuchina. We didn't like O'Sheehan's restaurant. Cranky servers and bad food. But the manager noted this and maybe he'll make some changes. AGE OF CRUISERS I found that this cruise had a lot of elderly people (much more than I expected). There were very few young people in their 20's or 30's on this cruise. I'd say the median age was 50's and up. There were a lot of older cruisers from Germany, Canada, France and A LOT from Long Island. BUFFET The buffet as another reviewer said was absolutely haphazard. They have two buffet areas on the same end of the ship and they were all congested and no one cared to run you over if you were in their way. This place is not for people with high anxiety. That said, the buffet was a good place to get a quick breakfast around 6:30 AM when they open and then get on with your day. Trust me, by 9:00 AM you'll be cursing about how rude everyone is. If you want to brave the buffet around 11:00 AM you might find a delicious indian curry hidden like a jewel among the rest of the mediocre food and you can seat yourself in La Cuchina's dining room away from the crowded mess. The outside buffet was good for getting some ice cream or a quick dessert, steamed vegetables and rice if you wanted to keep it healthier. COMMON AREAS My husband and I spent a lot of time in the card room on sea days playing monopoly and scrabble. It was fun listening to the french canadian folks playing bridge and some other cruisers brought in some Whitney Houston on their radio and we were singing along with them while we all went about our games. We also went to the fitness center and then the basketball court and enjoyed shooting some hoops. We enjoyed walking around Deck 7 on the promenade when the weather got nice and warm. We stayed away from the pool area for the most part because it got way too congested. We once tried to go on the water slide around noon and were denied from going on it because it "wasn't open yet." We didn't like that they were preventing people from going down the slide whenever they wanted to. We didn't think that was "freestyle cruising." It never felt like the rock wall was open. I never saw it open actually. We also never saw the tennis or volleyball courts in operation. SODA PACKAGE: We had the soda package, but we found it hard to actually get a soda when we wanted it. There were no drink stations where you could just grab one. You had to go to one of the bars and sometimes they didn't open soon enough so you could get a drink. The guy working in the bar in the morning at Spinnaker seemed to take delight in telling us that he was closed (even when he should have been opened). We got Lavazza coffee from the Atrium Bar in the morning and the woman from Indonesia (I didn't get her name), was really nice and remembered what we ordered the next time we came down for a coffee. EXCURSIONS: The catamaran excursions were the most fun. We did those in St. Lucia and St. Thomas. St. Thomas had the best snorkeling on the Dancing Dolphin catamaran (Champagne Catamaran Sail & Snorkel). They gave good instructions on how to snorkel properly and told us where the coral reefs were. The catamaran at St. Lucia took us to the Pitons and it was very picturesque. Loved that one, although there wasn't enough time to snorkel there. It seemed rushed. There were a few other boats in the same spot doing snorkeling too making it too congested there. Unless you're cool with just laying in a lounge chair with a bunch of other people around you, avoid the Barbados Beach Break; it was a congested mess. Too many people; the guys with the drinks were charging $3 for a bottle of coca cola. We did like the roti curry being made there though. That was the best part about the excursion actually. We ended up going on a boat and doing some snorkeling and seeing a shipwreck and sea turtles for $10 a piece. That was for about an hour. After the excursion, we got back on the ship for the rest of the day because Barbados was a bit too scary for my taste. In Antigua we did the photo tour and had decent fun. Although it was fun, I probably would have preferred to explore the beaches of Antigua and do more snorkeling. Long Bay beach is the place to go if you want to be at the beach for the day. This is what I really disliked about this cruise I don't like how they are trying to sell you something at every event on the ship. We went to a raffle for the Mandara Spa and they were trying to sell us another cruise and trying to get us to buy more stuff. They're constantly trying to sell something to you and it's REALLY annoying. I already paid a hefty price for the cruise and for gratuities. If I'm going to pay more for something it will be to those who gave me outstanding service. I joked with my husband at one point that the ship was like a giant tourist trap and there's someone around every corner trying to get you to give them your money. NCL needs to cool it! This is what I most enjoyed about the cruise: The antibacterial staff! WASHY WASHY HAPPY HAPPY! And WASHY WASHY, ALL THE TIME, MY FRIEND! Your hands had no bacteria when you wanted to go eat. And no one got norovirus or bronchitis even though one older woman thoughtlessly coughed directly into the breakfast buffet. I feel like I have at least two new family members (There are more than a few gems on the Norwegian Gem). And I'll never forget the cruise ports we visited and our snorkeling adventures. Will I cruise again? Probably not. I'm planning a flight to the Philippines instead. The beaches there are amazing and I want to stay on the beach and snorkel / dive longer than just an hour. Thanks to the great staff and their varied culture on the Norwegian Gem, I'm inspired to see a new country. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
While Gale Force winds did not allow us to board on the correct date, Norwegian's handling of the situation was horrible. People were not notified of the change in departure date until they were 10 minutes from the dock. Some were ... Read More
While Gale Force winds did not allow us to board on the correct date, Norwegian's handling of the situation was horrible. People were not notified of the change in departure date until they were 10 minutes from the dock. Some were dropped off by Uber in NYC with no ship and no hotel. We were the lucky ones. Our tour company found us a hotel in New Jersey. Upon embarking, we were handed a paper in a perfunctory way. It was the change in itinerary. They deleted two islands that we were supposed to visit!! No apology, nothing to make up for the disappointment. They told us we would be credited for a day, which turned out to be $47--an insult. As a result of the change, the ship did not stop for fresh fruit. We had black (not brown) bananas on the buffet in the midst of banana plantations!!! Five and a half days at sea was just too much.Pool was crowded all the time, Could not even get in the hot tub. All lounge chairs taken. Most disappointing was the attitude of Norwegian corporate individuals. The crew did the best they could to turn the ship around quickly and were excellent for the duration of the cruise. We had the upgraded dining package, so dinners were good. I would not recommend the buffet, as they had a difficult time keeping items hot. They ran out of basics like tea bags. It was difficult to find a seat. So, my friend and I went through the line separately while the other held the seat. So, by the time the second person got food the first was finished eating. Very cumbersome. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
It was best for my children winter break. The cruise was also perfect because it was from New York will did not have to fly to get to the boat. The ship was safe foe my teenagers and 8 years old. The ship was not too big but have ... Read More
It was best for my children winter break. The cruise was also perfect because it was from New York will did not have to fly to get to the boat. The ship was safe foe my teenagers and 8 years old. The ship was not too big but have everything we needed for to enjoy the cruise.Even when we have to stay extra day on the sea, we were made comfortable and felt at home. The dinning staff were very good and warm. The entertainment music should have more mixed of everything for more entertainment. ship was warm and comfortable. The embarkation and disembarkation was smooth and convenient. My children made many friends on the ship and they are looking forward to another vacation. They were excited to see all the highlands we visited. The overrate experience was Excellent and worth the money. It was a time of relation for me and my husband. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
I was escorting a group of 41. Our first day out was delayed 1 day due to wind. We made the best of it and got a hotel in Secaucus NJ (Red Roof Plus---EXCELLENT CLEAN HOTEL). Everyone disappointed we lost 2 port stops (SanJuan and ... Read More
I was escorting a group of 41. Our first day out was delayed 1 day due to wind. We made the best of it and got a hotel in Secaucus NJ (Red Roof Plus---EXCELLENT CLEAN HOTEL). Everyone disappointed we lost 2 port stops (SanJuan and StKitts) Embarkation went very smoothly tho I think that leaving a day late left the terminal just to our ship. Disembarkation is always a crapshow in NYC and we had 5 Carts of luggage and the first 4 went out ok...the 5th was delayed like 15 minutes....BECAUSE THE WORKERS WERE ALL ON BREAK. I have been on the Gem in 2010 and was very disappointed with almost everything.But In 2019 it has definitely improved a lot. Better food, better service (in general), and I like the size of the Gem compared to the Breakaway. All in all it was a good cruise, happy to get away to 85 degrees when at home it was 0 degrees and snow. There is room for improvement and I get the feeling that the best of the NCLs staff is sent to the bigger newer ships as there is a definite difference between the Gem and Breakaway as far as service as a whole. Again, many individuals went above and beyond but there are still some service issues similar to 2010. - Osheehans for service was hit or miss. and 1 day at 11am it was CLOSED---a 24/7 restaurant....closed when all other restaurants were closed. The food is good (except the apple pie). Actually pie in general on the ship---not good at all. - The cruise director was NON-EXISTENT. I didn't even really know her name until like day 2. I saw her 4 times on an 11 day cruise. I remember TamTam from 2017 on the Breakaway and this person (I think Lorena) was just not engaging or anywhere to be found. Aris the activity staff member SHOULD BE THE CRUISE DIRECTOR. - The Bali Hai bar had the best consistent service with the most pleasant servers. Will, Nikolai & Oliver know how to service a busy crowd always with a smile and pleasantry. The Grand Pacific staff was very good. On one day 1 of our 3 tables having very slow service (I think they lost our order ticket) and many things were wrong. - Alvin in Bliss lounge was awesome. So attentive and always smiling. We chose the Gem for its size and the itinerary. I can't say it was the best cruise I've been on but it was good. Good value in cost and of course the drink package. Not sure I'd choose the Gem again unless it had a great itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
My wife and I have been on several cruises before but this was our first and last cruise with Norwegian Cruise Lines. Their lack of communication and unwillingness to take any responsibility for anything is astounding. Our departure was ... Read More
My wife and I have been on several cruises before but this was our first and last cruise with Norwegian Cruise Lines. Their lack of communication and unwillingness to take any responsibility for anything is astounding. Our departure was delayed by one day because of bad weather which we understand. However, we do not understand why Norwegian did not communicate that to us. Instead our Norwegian shuttle picked us up at the airport and drove us to the pier where the dock hand informed us that our ship would not be arriving until the next day. Our shuttle driver unloaded our luggage and told us we would have to find ourselves a hotel for the night. There we were wondering the unfamiliar streets of New York City looking for a hotel that had room along with the other 2000 guests of the ship that were in the same predicament. The next morning at embarkation they handed us a sheet of paper telling us that because of the delay in departure they had cancelled 2 of our scheduled ports with no reason given and that they would be refunding us for 1 day of our cruise. It is now more than a month since the cruise ended and we are still fighting for our 1 day refund and they will not even reply to my emails. It was not the cruise itself that we have a problem with it is Norwegian's complete lack of customer service that we find unacceptable. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Chose this cruise because of 11 nites and the itinerary. Love cruising out of NYC especially since we live in New Jersey. We did have a delay in leaving NYC because of high winds the ship could not dock until the next day...but once ... Read More
Chose this cruise because of 11 nites and the itinerary. Love cruising out of NYC especially since we live in New Jersey. We did have a delay in leaving NYC because of high winds the ship could not dock until the next day...but once on the ship all that was forgotten. Better Safe than Sorry was the motto! The Gem is my favorite ship. The crew is outstanding and they cater to all your needs. It's nice to meet the same staff., like coming home. Food is excellent, bar choices are plentiful. The entertainment on this cruise was the best we have ever had. We enjoyed every show! The music in every bar was also the best. Spent many late nites in the Magnum Bar area for the musical groups. We ate in all the specialty restaurants and again Cagneys was our favorite. Teppanaki is always fun, and LaCucina has the best turimisu in the world! We will be back next year! Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
I chose this cruise due to the itinerary from NY. I loved St Kitts, Anguilla, and St. Thomas/St. Johns. I could have passed on St. Lucia and San Juan. I would have preferred 4 full days at port rather than 3 full days and 2 half-days. ... Read More
I chose this cruise due to the itinerary from NY. I loved St Kitts, Anguilla, and St. Thomas/St. Johns. I could have passed on St. Lucia and San Juan. I would have preferred 4 full days at port rather than 3 full days and 2 half-days. Sadly, we had to tender at St. Lucia which reduced a full day to a half-day..no fault of NCL. Cabin: Selected Obstructed view due to value. I do not recommend! I wanted to keep the curtain open, but lights on the boat outside my room were on all night. The room was bigger than an inside, but for the price I would have selected an inside. Dining: Food in the dining room was good. LeBistro was excellent. Cagneys and Moderno are worth the visit. Breakfast at the buffet was great. Plenty of seating at buffet. shore. Problems: We had problems with shore excursions, dining reservations, and cruisenext. The shore excursion was cut from 4.5 hours to 2.5 hours with 2 hour waiting time at dock. NCL refunded 40%. Acceptable. One of our dining reservations was on the NCL system, but not ship system. We were not able to be accommodated in the restaurant or time of choice, but happy with the result. Sadly, I felt like I was at a car lot when meeting with the cruisenext manager and did not book my next cruise while on board. Value: I did not use the "free at sea" benefits, but paid the service charges. If I had been able to book onboard, I would be sailing NCL again, but I am not sure when I will book NCL again. I cruise about 3 times every 2 years. Read Less
Norwegian Gem Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 5.0 3.9
Public Rooms 5.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.6
Enrichment 4.0 3.4
Service 4.0 4.1
Value For Money 5.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 3.8

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