Sail Date: August 2015
My two kids (17 & 12) and I cruised with friends who had three kids (11, 9, & 4). We all had an amazing time!! I have cruised a couple of times before - once with Norwegian over 20 years ago, and once with Celebrity. I knew I ... Read More
My two kids (17 & 12) and I cruised with friends who had three kids (11, 9, & 4). We all had an amazing time!! I have cruised a couple of times before - once with Norwegian over 20 years ago, and once with Celebrity. I knew I would love it even after reading mixed reviews. I think people are more likely to write a review if they have something to complain about. I'll start with the cabin. We were in an inside stateroom and my daughter and I were pleasantly surprised at the size of the room. The last hotel we stayed in was in Paris, and those rooms are tiny! We had plenty of room to unpack all of our clothes and store our luggage. I brought along one of those plastic shoe hangers with pockets for more storage and hung it off the end of the bunk bed. Having this helped the three of us keep organized. I also brought a power strip to charge our multiple devices and an iron. (There is a hairdryer in every room). I also packed two cases (28 bottles) of water in with our luggage. My husband couldn't believe how heavy the luggage was, so I told him what I packed. We saw several people bringing cases of water not packed away. My girlfriend's case ripped open, and the water bottles came out. I was able to fit three water bottles in the mini bar without having to take anything out. Two cases were more than enough - I actually brought about ten bottles home - and I had even shared about ten bottles with our friends. There are complimentary drinks available at dispensers (flavored water, lemonade, iced tea, orange juice, apple juice)- there was a different combination of choices. I also brought along a duffle bag of snacks for the kids. Even though you can get food around the clock, there were times when they just wanted crackers or cookies. The service was wonderful! Everyone was happy to help and very friendly. The washy washy, happy happy, hand sanitizer people were among our favorite staff members. The entertainment was unbelievable!! We all loved the singers, dancers, and the magician. We didn't see the comedians. My girlfriend's parents loved the aerialists (we didn't think the boys would sit through this after we had just brought them to see the cabaret). I had read a review by someone who said she goes to Broadway all the time, so she wasn't impressed. She thought people who don't go to Broadway would love it. Well, as someone who also goes to Broadway all the time, I was extremely impressed!! The level of talent was off the charts!! Having the Nickelodeon characters there to take pictures and dance with was a highlight for the 4 year old in our group - and for me, too! I love SpongeBob and Patrick! Dora, Diego, Aang, and Sandy were there, too. The food was good! I read mixed reviews about this, too. Depending on what you ate, you could find things that were very tasty to others that were just ok. Finding a table or two for the 10 of us at the buffet was a bit challenging, but we always managed - and, we always seemed to go at peak times! We ate at Magenta & The Grand Pacific - both were beautiful, and the food there was also very good. And you could eat as much as you want - not a buffet, but the servers would bring you every entree and dessert if you wanted them to! We ate at two of the specialty restaurants - Teppanyaki (hibachi) & Moderno (Brazilian steakhouse). Both were excellent! We were going to try Cagneys, but we never got around to it. I loved the grilled pineapple they served poolside, and my son loved the ice cream bar at the buffet. The excursions: the reason for us booking this particular cruise was that it stopped at Port Canaveral and we could go to Universal Studios to see the newest Harry Potter park and ride The Hogwarts Express. It was cheaper to get the tickets through Universal. In order to ride the Hogwarts Express, I had to buy admission to both parks. Because we had such a short time there, I also got us the unlimited express pass (not good on ANY Harry Potter ride, which I knew when I bought them). This was unnecessary - I should have just gotten the regular express pass and saved some money. Oh well - maybe someone will read this and save some money!! I booked the transfer to the park through Norwegian for peace of mind. I was considering renting a car because the transfer for one adult was over $80 and my son was over $50. We got to Universal a little after 2:00. We started at Universal Studios.The first ride we did was The Men in Black - nice and cool inside, and we had the express pass. We were in awe of Diagon Alley and the attention to detail. We went on The Escape from Gringotts Ride - it was AWESOME!! We took a picture in front of The Knight Bus, shopped in Diagon Alley, had Butterbeer and rock cakes (my kids loved these and were sad I didn't get more!), and rode The Hogwarts Express to Islands of Adventure. It really was just like magic!! We went on The Hulk (express pass). While my kids went through the Shrek attraction, I ran back to Universal Studios to buy my daughter a Weasley Wizard Wheezes t-shirt in Diagon Alley. I caught the SpongeBob parade and saw Squidward! We ran to catch the bus at 7:45 from the Shrek building and made it to the bus by 7:54. The last bus was 8:00. My girlfriend took her family to Disney World and went to the Magic Kingdom. Their bus left the dock the same time we did. It took them slightly longer to get there. The fast pass for them wasn't very helpful because they were already unavailable. People had been booking fast passes for rides days in advance, and they couldn't do that because they were given their tickets on the bus. They were able to fast pass It's a Small world. They waited on line for Splash Mountain, and they were able to do the Dumbo ride. They also were able to see the parade. That's all they could do before catching the last bus at 7:45. We beat them back to the boat by five minutes and met up at the buffet. My only complaint is the schedule for the intinerary. To charge as much as Norwegian does for this excursion, we should have more than five hours in the park. They should adjust the ports or charge a lot less. Disney cruises offer a cruise leaving NY on a Friday. The last stop is Port Canaveral where you pull in at 6:30 am and leave at 11:45 pm. That's a full day in the park and that's worth it!! Great Stirrup Cay was beautiful. My suggestion here is to wear water shoes! There are sharp rocks that sneak up on you in the water. Ouch!! If you have goggles at home, bring them for the kids. I rented a mask for my son. I also rented a huge tube that provided the kids with hours of fun. My girlfriend's parent did the wave runner excursion and had a blast! Atlantis was also beautiful! We did the Aquaventure. I wish I would have known about the sea lion experience sooner! They were sold out. We had fun at the aquarium and the river ride. I got stung by a yellow jacket on my back - be careful - they're all over the place! My friends said the dolphin experience was worth every penny, and her parents loved parasailing. Onboard, we had a great time playing cards in the card room, ping pong, dodgeball, basketball, various trivia games, group games, and a family scavenger hunt. We had fun watching karaoke. The boys conquered the rock wall! They used the pool once. It was always very crowded and no lifeguard. We didn't feel comfortable having the kids swim if we couldn't be close enough to watch. But, there were so many other things to do, they didn't even ask to go swimming! I signed up my daughter for the teen club, Entourage. She went the first night for five minutes and never went back. We did not sign our boys up for The Splash Academy. We all had such a great time on the Norwegian Gem and would highly recommend it!!! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
Embarkation and disembarkation were the easiest that I have ever experienced and we cruise quite often. The one thing that I was leery about is the one thing that I liked, free-style dining. We never had a wait and the food was good. ... Read More
Embarkation and disembarkation were the easiest that I have ever experienced and we cruise quite often. The one thing that I was leery about is the one thing that I liked, free-style dining. We never had a wait and the food was good. One night we had a problem with the service and the problem was corrected when the maitre d came over and started to bus tables. This cruise differed from others because they did not offer shrimp cocktail or lobster night, but what was offered was good so I did not miss it. I am not one to dress up so I enjoyed the relaxed dress code in the dining rooms. Now what I did not like about the cruise. First I felt that the service was not the best. We needed to ask for pool towels in our rooms everyday. One day we left the room at 9:30 and returned at 3:30 and the room was not made up. The pool had cups, paper, etc that was not picked up and ended up floating in the water. We frequently had to take our dishes at the pool and clear them ourselves. It seemed that the workers were busy while officers were walking around but they were not as active when there was nobody watching them. We had the complimentary ultimate beverage package and was very disappointed. While in ports we were charged an additional tax. On other cruise ships we paid for the package and were not charged this tax/gratuities which we were charged on this cruise. At the pool it would sometimes take a half hour to get drinks, did not matter if we went to the bar or if we ordered thru the attendant. This cruise seemed to have fewer attendants to take the bar orders. On other cruises we handed the worker our card, ordered a drink, and received the card back. On this cruise we handed the worker our card, they then had to print a receipt which we had to sign and then they had to retrieve the receipt; this definitely slowed down the process making it seem that the workers were overwhelmed and one of the reasons it took so long to get a drink. I was disappointed in the pool set up. The kids were allowed in the hot tubs where shade was provided; these were extremely crowded. The adult hot tubs had no shade and this is important to me since I burn easily. People were spilling beer from the deck above the pool to people in the pool. By the afternoon the pool was cloudy and I did not want to go anywhere near it. I felt that the public rooms were too small. Several events took place in the spinnaker lounge and if you did not get there early you would end up standing in the back. The same thing with the guitar player which we enjoyed. The area is small so several times we either had to stand or sit by the bar where we could not see player. The buffet area was very crowded and not set up well. Seating was limited. Most items were along one wall and the lines were long. The method to obtain tickets for the tender to the private island was cumbersome and unorganized. We had to get tickets at the pool, we were told to form two lines, then told to form one line. Then when our number was called we had to to to another area, then to the stairs, then to the tenders. On other cruises we went to a public room where we got our tickets, waited there for our numbers to be called, and then were escorted to the tenders. This process on this ship needs to be improved. We had a good time because we were on vacation and set out to enjoy ourselves. The reason that I rated this cruise three stars was because of the service and all of the annoying things above. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
Having done 2 Thomson cruises, we decided to fly to New York and go on a cruise of a life time, or so we thought. Having booked the cruise Nov 14, it gave us plenty of time to look forward to it. We booked our drinks package separate and ... Read More
Having done 2 Thomson cruises, we decided to fly to New York and go on a cruise of a life time, or so we thought. Having booked the cruise Nov 14, it gave us plenty of time to look forward to it. We booked our drinks package separate and an excursion to Magical Kingdom, not cheap might I add? A couple of weeks before we sailed my wife found out she was pregnant so we change our UBP to an adult Soda package (it took several phone calls a couple of weeks after we had retuned to get our money back), when I bought a beer I had to pay the tips which I found bizarre, and none of the bars sold draught beer, only Spinnaker, the beer was overpriced as well, especially when I heard Americans saying if they booked prior to May 15, they had the drinks package for free, bearing in mind I booked Nov 2014!!!! Loved sailing down the Hudson, highlight of the cruise. Our inner room for 4 (2 adults, 2 kids) was big enough for 3 at best, when we asked for the 4th bed a flip up bed was pulled from under a single bed. Kids loved the kids club and wanted to do every session. Buffet food wasn't very good and always seamed to be the same day in day out. Both sit down resturants were nice, Grand Pacfic the best, I refuse to pay extra for the 5 speciality resturants when I paid so much for the cruise. Day at Cape Canaveral was a disgrace, we paid nearly £500 for 4 hours in Magical Kingdom, total rip off, plus when we booked it with NCL they charged us for 2A 2K, but we only received 3no tickets, our eldest daughter who was 11, didn't have 1 until we had agreed to pay the extra $40 that was put on to our room tab as she was older than 10, which NCL obviously knew when I booked it, biggest waste of money I've ever spent. I was a little surprised with the casino allowing smoking, especially when 75% of the smoker wasn't even playing on the machines. Private Island was great and Nassau was lovely. Overall I was disappointed with NCL having had loads of great reviews from friends and families. We might try another maybe in Europe, but we won't be rushing to book an NCL cruise any time soon. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
This was our first time on NCL previously we have done 2 cruises on Princess, 2 Celebrity and 2 Royal Caribbean. My review: Food/Drinks: Very good. In my opinion slightly better than Princess and Royal Caribbean. Cagneys was very ... Read More
This was our first time on NCL previously we have done 2 cruises on Princess, 2 Celebrity and 2 Royal Caribbean. My review: Food/Drinks: Very good. In my opinion slightly better than Princess and Royal Caribbean. Cagneys was very good. We ate there twice. Itinerary: Good, no better no worse than other cruises I've taken to Bahamas. Great Stirrup Cay is not a very nice island. It’s basically a rock/sandbar. Coco Cay (the Royal Caribbean private island) next to great stirrup cay is much nicer (greener) and much better snorkeling. $35 to rent a covered chair on Stirrup Cay is too much. Also the bar at Stirrup cay at 3pm had a long line at bar with three guys behind the bar; two cleaning down bottles and only one tending bar. Had to wait 10 minutes on line to get two sodas. The day in Stirrup Cay would have been a total bust but what saved the day was the Stingray tour. That was a great tour. Also the tender service here is bad. Having to get a tender ticket on the pool deck then wait for your number to be called was bad experience that I didn’t have on other cruise lines. Cabins were fine. Cabin steward was friendly and kept us full with clean towels and place was cleaned nicely daily with turn down service as well. Size was decent and beds comfortable. Slightly smaller than Princess but slightly bigger than Royal Caribbean. We had a window but no balcony. Ship overall was nice. Lots of things to do. Pools could have been bigger or more of them (only 2 and they were not big enough for 2900 guests on board) A big downer is they closed the pools with netting every night at 11-11:30pm. All other cruises I've been on I've enjoyed a late night dip in the pool at 12-1am! Also no band or DJ playing when we left our last port of call? All my other cruises we had a party atmosphere when you leave a port...especially the last port. With the NCL Gem we just pulled out of port and left. No announcement or anything leaving our last port for home. Service: This is probably the one and only reason I would choose Royal Caribbean, Celebrity or Princess over NCL when I book a future cruise. While I did like the "Freestyle" experience NCL offers, the bar and beverage service was far below the other cruise lines I've been on. Service was fine in the restaurants at dinner and in the cabins, but at all the bars inside and outside the service was bad. On our first day out at sea I went to the bar for a drink in the early afternoon day when I got to the bar I was told by the bartender to "get on the back of the line" I do not want to wait on a long line to get my drink order in on a cruise. This was the norm for most of the seven days at the deck bars and the Java cafe. There were some very good bartenders on this ship and others that moved at a snail’s pace. What was annoying was that they'd have two bartenders working at the pool bar if no one was on the pool deck, same as if 1000 people were on the pool deck they wouldn't staff up with increased of people at the bars. Clearly not enough bartenders on this boat. Also the whole process of using your cruise card to pay on NCL is horrible. The bartenders have to assemble this book of two copies of receipts, one for you and one for them, they put it into a paper folder and give to you to sign and return one copy. This gums up the whole process of having a moving bar especially on a busy crowded thirsty pool deck. Royal Caribbean, Princess and Celebritry all had a much better system of using cruise card to pay over NCL. I’ve never encountered waits like this on a cruise before. In the end I enjoyed my cruise but NCL just didn’t do things in my mind as well as other lines I've been on. Food was great, service not so great and the wait to get a soda, drink or coffee is the reason I'd choose another cruise line in the future. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2015
Below is the list of specific problems I observed during my 7 night cruise 1) Day 1 - Embarking - Lines - waited over 1.25 hours from arrival to stateroom. More than 45 minutes slower than Royal Caribbean in Bayonne, NJ. 2) Day 2 - ... Read More
Below is the list of specific problems I observed during my 7 night cruise 1) Day 1 - Embarking - Lines - waited over 1.25 hours from arrival to stateroom. More than 45 minutes slower than Royal Caribbean in Bayonne, NJ. 2) Day 2 - Kids Center- 5 kids (ages 3,5,7,9 & 12) said they did not enjoy the activities and witnessed other kids being scolded. They fought us pleading not to go back. 3) Day 3 - Deck 12 - boat tender issuance - Unorganized, time consuming, bedlam. Too many people with hands in grabbing. This should absolutely be addressed and an organized system should be implemented for the future. I believe the easiest way would be to pre-issue all tickets before you even get on the ship (send with room vouchers). Those with excursions should be privy to the low number tenders and the rest issued via lottery. This would eliminate the mob scene I witnessed. 4) Bars - Days 1 through 3 - I'm allowed to get 2 drinks with one UBP card (universal beverage plan card). Days 4 through 6 - rule changed to 1 drink per card as stated by the both the bartender on Deck 12 Aft and Deck 13 bow. Why the change? Be consistent. 5) Day 5 - Deck 12 - Aft Bar - Bartender took average of 7 to 10 minutes per customer to serve. Bartender prepared drinks with one hand at times (I guess using your left hand to hold a shot glass was too complicated. He needed to set the shot glass down on the counter, pour, transfer into mixed drink next to shot glass, repeat). I witnessed a customer get skipped when there were only 3 total at the bar. Longest I recorded was 16 minutes for one customer (3 drinks). For me, one glass of wine, 6 minutes. 6) Day 5 - Deck 13 - Bar overlooking the pool area - towards bow - witnessed 2 Customers skipped, slow service time - averaged between 6 to 8 minute wait time. I believe one of the servers was named Aziz. 2 glasses of wine, 12 minutes. 7) Day 5 - Deck 14 - quiet zone upstairs deck - Bow - debris and drinks scattered on floor (counted 10 empty drinks and scattered garbage/napkins). Chairs turned in all directions. I believe I just missed a good party. 8) Day 5 - Nassau - Dolphin Excursion disembarkation to the Gem embarkation - 15 minute walk from dock to dock (not the problem) with a 25 minute line to enter ship's dock (problem). 25 minutes is a long time to wait in 95+ degree humid weather holding a child. 9) Throughout the trip, 4 separate unrelated fellow cruisers exclaimed their disbelief in the level of service provided. I now have the names of 3 different cruise ships I need to try and was told not to write off cruises all together. One Steward on the Gem stated that the ship had recently forced out personnel on mandatory vacation and the new staff that replaced them were inexperience. This should not have been our problem but Norwegian decided to make it ours. While on vacation, time is a huge factor. I am disappointed that I worked and saved for over a year to have my family and I waste time and wait in lines on and off your cruise ship. In the end, everything that was good about my trip to the Bahamas did not involve the ship. I can not recommend Norwegian line to any friends or family. I'm sorry if this was your best foot forward. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2015
We have done Resort thing in past to Mexico, and that was fun too. But this time we decided to do Cruise. So this was our first cruise, and all I have to say is, it was a blast, too good of a vacation, had terrific time with family on ... Read More
We have done Resort thing in past to Mexico, and that was fun too. But this time we decided to do Cruise. So this was our first cruise, and all I have to say is, it was a blast, too good of a vacation, had terrific time with family on cruise, with lined up activities within cruise and off shore excursions. Starting from embankment to dis-embankment, everything goes very smooth, being first timer, It was not difficult for us. Gem staff is just fabulous, direction Dan Dan is nice person and human being too. Upon embankment, Gem staff is ready to greet every person board the cruise. Luggage arrived within few hours after we checked-in to the room. Gem has very nice places to eat, but the buffet at the Garden Café was just fantabulous, with bunch of varieties, besides some basic items, main course changed everyday. Greeter at Garden cafe, has smile on face and tells everyone, washie-washie! The next choice for us to eat is the Grand Pacific, it was huge hall. The third place is the Magenta. We did visited other places but this three has lot to cover. Every night, they have shows to entertain guests on board, and they were terrific. Just to name few, Worldbeat, and Magic shows were fabulous. Fist two days, we spent on ship, and on third day, we got off to Orlando FL for shore excursion, picked Gator land zip lining. Fourth day, we got off to the NCL's private island, The Great Stirrup Cay, it's nice clean beach with various activities. Fifth day, we got off to Nassau, Bahamas. and picked various activities, like snorkel and kayak. One thing have to say, these shore excursions are costly, like real costly! Last two days, spent on ship. We had our mom with us, she used wheelchair and they provided special treatment as well, so hats off NCL staff. Overall, I would this was the best vacation ever. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
I am just back from another great vacation with NCL. I must commend all the NCL staff for a job well done!!!! This is my 3rd time cruising on the Gem since 2012. I was surprised to learn that NCL no longer charges half price for ... Read More
I am just back from another great vacation with NCL. I must commend all the NCL staff for a job well done!!!! This is my 3rd time cruising on the Gem since 2012. I was surprised to learn that NCL no longer charges half price for children while dinning in the specialty restaurants. I am still not sure when this change went into effect. When I attempted to make reservations on line, the site indicated that child pricing would be adjusted on board so I was disappointed to learn that this was incorrect. I was disappointed with the selection of souvenirs in Trade Winds. On my last 3 cruises there was a large selection of key chains and magnets. That was not the case this time. There were no keys and there was only one magnet to choose from. When I inquired with the staff in Trade Winds I was told that there would be more items available once we were in port. I checked back on the last 2 sea days and still there were none. Great Stirrup Cay was the highlight of our trip. Over the last 3 years the island has change dramatically. My family had a cabana for the day and we enjoyed every minute of it. From our past trips, I was aware that the photographer takes pictures on the island. I was looking forward to getting pictures taken in the water with my family. When I inquired with staff, I was told that he would make his way to Cabana Beach, however that was not the case. Next time I will be sure to seek out the photographer to insure that we can take pictures in the beautiful waters of Great Stirrup Cay. We took the Tram from Cabana Beach to the main beach so we could do some shopping. We had great conversations with the tram drivers and learned about the history of the cay, the lush vegetation as well as up and coming renovations and additions to the island. My family and I are looking forward to coming back. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
I was a little nervous at first in reading other reviews prior to our cruise and was concerned that we would not enjoy our trip, but overall I must say, we had a great time! The first recommendation I can give is to warn you that the ... Read More
I was a little nervous at first in reading other reviews prior to our cruise and was concerned that we would not enjoy our trip, but overall I must say, we had a great time! The first recommendation I can give is to warn you that the ship does its emergency protocol at around 2:00pm until about 2:30pm. I wish they would have informed us of that upon check-in because unfortunately, we were in the middle of our late lunch/first meal when we suddenly had to get up, leave our food, and find our assigned station somewhere throughout the ship. That set a negative tone for the first few hours we were on board. Once the drill is over, all the restaurants closed and everyone had to go to the pool deck to get food. That is fine--it just took us about 20 minutes to figure that out because no one informed us of that. So in summary, if you get on the ship well before 2pm, enjoy your lunch at the buffet; if you arrive closer to 2pm, don't bother, wait for the emergency drill to end and head up to deck 12 for the Sail Away party and uninterrupted lunch. Have your camera ready-you will sail by the Statue of Liberty! Another early tip I would give is to explore the ship as soon as you can when you board. I did this late and missed out on some pretty cool stuff. Start at the top and work your way down so that you can see and take advantage of everything available to you. (human-size chess and checker boards, rock climbing, tennis, basketball, etc.) I'll give my review in categories: DINING Many reviewers shared the food was not the greatest. I will say the buffet food was not the best, BUT it's decent if you need something fast as there is no waiting for your food. However, it does get crowded at peak times. You will hear the words, "washy, washy; happy, happy" everyday! You will know what I mean after your first visit to the buffet. The Great Outdoors, which is through the Buffet dining area on the other side, also has food and seating. So, if the buffet is really crowded, you can try the Great Outdoors. Breakfast at the buffet and GA was good. We only ate at the complimentary dining options for dinner and enjoyed them very much. Most of our dinners were eaten at the Grand Pacific, one at Magenta, and one at the Orchid Garden Restaurant. The GP and Magenta have the same menu on the same day; the difference is that Magenta is a much smaller dining room. They have a small section of the menu that never changes, so you can get some of your favorites everyday if you want. Otherwise, the main menu changes daily. The menu is separated into Appetizers, Main Course, and Dessert. In the mood for two apps? Go for it! You can get anything you want on the menu in any quantity. The food was great--we all enjoyed all of our meals there and the service was also wonderful. I would recommend making reservations as they both will get crowded at peak dinner times. We did not have as great an experience at the Orchid Garden restaurant. Perhaps our group of 10 was too large for them to handle, but the service was slow and the food was not amazing. However, another family we traveled with marveled at the food and service: I wish we would have given them another chance, but the rest of my family was not interested. We also had breakfast a few times GP. If you have the time and would rather be waited on than fighting the buffet crowd, the GP is a good place to get breakfast and again, the service is great. The Great Outdoors has late-night food until 11:30pm. I would say it is a great meal for that time of night. There are two soups on (the same from dinner at GP or Magenta, so a few days, I didn’t have the soup for dinner and had another appetizer so that I could have the soup during late-night), sandwiches, hot dogs, chicken wings, fries, etc. It is a wonderful spread if you want to eat something before either going to sleep or partying into the night. After 11:30pm (and they close promptly!) your only option is to eat at O’Sheehan’s, which is open 24 hours. I was not a huge fan of O’Sheehan’s from a food standpoint, although since our cabin was on the 8th deck, it was convenient on several occasions. One of the reasons I was not a huge fan was because they have a very limited menu by 10:30pm or so. Your options include: Cheeseburger w/fries, hot dog w/fries, chicken wings, tuna melt, chicken pot pie…I might be missing one or two, but my point is, it’s basic food and it tastes basic, too. My recommendation-if you want to eat late, go to the Great Outdoors before 11:30pm! If you can't get there in time, O'Sheehan's will fill you, although it will be busy since that is the only dining option after 11:30pm. STAFF Everyone is kind and friendly. At times, I had difficulty communicating with some of the staff members, but overall, they are there to help you enjoy your vacation. They spend 8-9 months at a time on board and I am still trying to figure out if I would enjoy that lifestyle! CABINS I found our cabin for 4 to be pretty spacious considering we were on a ship. We had three beds on the ground and one above; not really a bunk but more so it was on a metal pull-out. The beds were comfortable as well. There is a refrigerator in the room if you wanted to take your own bottles of water along to keep cold. The room steward came by twice a day; first to clean and the second to make cute towel animals and drop off the schedule for the next day. Also, no need to take your beach/pool towel--they are provided for you in your cabin and you can switch it for a clean one at the far end of the pool deck as needed. PORTS Florida - We met with my cousin in FL, so I cannot speak to any shore excursions, but Coco Beach is nearby. If you're not feeling the beach and need a ride somewhere, there is a bus company that will take you to Walmart, the Merritt Square Mall, Ron's Surf Shop, and/or the beach for $12. It’s hop on/hop off, just be sure to board the one going back to the ship last—there is a ‘transfer’ bus and a ‘return to ship’ bus. Walmart is great if you forgot a toiletry or clothing item as well as the Mall. The latter isn’t huge, but has a Macy’s, Sears, and a Dilliard’s, in addition to other popular stores. There are also several chain restaurants you can walk to (10 minutes or so) in the mall area if you want a treat; but don’t forget there is paid-for food on the ship! Great Stirrup Cay – It is a beautiful beach! The water is crystal-clear blue and warm! A little too warm, actually, as it is a tropical island and it gets very hot, so be prepared for that. The tendering (ferry boat) process can be daunting. The earlier you get in line to get your tender tickets, the earlier you get on the ferry and to the island as there is nowhere for the ship to dock directly on the island. Once you are there, there will be food and drink to your heart’s content. You use your Freestyle Card for the drinks (as if you were on board) and the buffet is included. There are plenty of beach chairs and if you arrive early enough, you can reserve a clam shell for some relief from the sun. We were traveling with my 86-year old grandmother and needed a wheelchair; they had these really cool FREE wheelchairs with huge wheels that can go over the sand without a problem. Nassau – We opted for the Atlantis shore excursion. It was great to tour the property with the assistance of a guide. We went through the aquarium and the casino. It is a cashless society, so be sure to take your credit card for purchases while at Atlantis, although a few dollars would be helpful for any tips you may want to give. We did not do the beach here, but friends of ours went to Cabbage Beach and enjoyed it even more than our beach day at the Great Stirrup Cay. POOL DECK As other reviewers have stated, the pools and hot tubs get pretty crowded, but even more annoyingly, there are NO empty beach chairs to be found. People will throw a towel down and leave to who knows where and there is no where to get sun if that is your plan. However, I didn't discover this until the end of the trip--at the very front of the ship, at the highest deck, there are beach loungers and poppison-like chairs where you can get some great sun. I wish I would have found them sooner! There are also loungers in the surrounding areas, not near the pool if all you want is some sun. ENTERTAINMENT The shows on board were fantastic! The on-board cast is energetic, colorful, friendly, and very talented. The only one I will say was not my favorite was the Magic Show. I just felt he was fishing for applause and spent too much time hyping up the crowd and did few tricks because of it. However, the few tricks he did were pretty cool. The comedians are AWESOME!! They are so good at improvising and were so natural at it. And Dan Dan, the cruise director, is HILARIOUS!! He will come out after every show and give you a preview of the next day so that you know what to expect and will make some kind of joke that will make you laugh. I can say I laughed every night I was on board between Dan Dan and the comedy/various shows. The Aerialists’ show towards the end of the trip is amazing—a must see!!! SPA I wanted a treat and had a massage on board. While it was fantastic, it cost more than a massage you might get in your home town. The masseuse was very nice, but she was trying to upsell me and get me to buy the products she used or offer me another service for the next day, which HAD to be booked right then. I understand that is how they make their money, but it was a bit annoying. WHITE PARTY My family and I were not aware, but on Thursday night, there is a White Party. If you want to party and fit in with the color scheme, be sure to pack your favorite white outfit. Of course, if you forget, you can attend the White Party in any color. BEVERAGE PACKAGE I am not sure how it worked out money-wise since we booked through a travel agent, but most of the adults on our trip had the Unlimited Beverage Package and found it was worth it. It includes any drink up to $11. If you exceed that, you will be charged the difference on your Freestyle Card. No need to worry about the gratuity they tack on; that is paid for through your beverage package. As long as the drink itself is under $11, you will be fine. The drinks were great and used good brands of alcohol and they were decently poured. CHILDRENS' ACTIVITIES We were not traveling with small children, so I cannot speak to this, but I can say they have several options for young travelers, some of which costs additional money. As I said, overall, I was pleased with our experience and I know we will talk about how much fun we had for years to come! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
We took the same cruise on the same ship (NCL Gem) in July 2014. The only location that was really worth stopping at was Great Stirrup Cay (NCL's private island). The ship itself was great, and we did the same cruise again this year ... Read More
We took the same cruise on the same ship (NCL Gem) in July 2014. The only location that was really worth stopping at was Great Stirrup Cay (NCL's private island). The ship itself was great, and we did the same cruise again this year just because we enjoyed the Gem. It was disappointing the NCL now charges a service fee of $7.95/day for room service, which is new this year, and they have completely eliminated their infamous Chocolate Buffet, which was very disappointing as this was one of their signature events. It was further disappointing that Norwegian (and in fairness to them, probably all cruise lines) seem to punish early bookers in terms of not allowing them to take advantage of changes in promotional offers, based on when they booked their cruises. Travelers should also note that paying in full up front for your cruise can result in missing out on your ability to make changes in your promotions and other options, which NCL will allow without penalties or added cost to those people who pay in installments as long as the changes are made prior to the final payment. As travelers who cruise without children, it is sometimes a bit much to deal with loud and obnoxious kids/teens on NCL, with little opportunity to get away from them. We did spend a couple of days in the Mandara Spa on the Gem, where they limit the number of guest each day, and do not allow kids, but you will pay extra for that luxury, although it was well worth the additional cost. It would be nice if NCL did more to establish "adult-only" areas onboard, and even on their private island (Great Stirrup Cay), allowing the paying adults an escape from the noise and chaos once in a while. Overall, the staff, food, entertainment and staterooms were very nice and a great value for the money. Unfortunately, it seems like NCL cuts things out (or charges for things that they didn't charge for previously) in order to keep costs down, which is a sad reality. Their anytime dining (Freestyle) is still a big hit and hopefully that won't be changing anytime soon. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2015
Just back from a week with a family of 6 including our 4 children ages 12, 15, 19 and 21. The Gem is a great ship with nice amenities and no shortage of activity for kids of all ages. The best place for sun and views is on the upper sun ... Read More
Just back from a week with a family of 6 including our 4 children ages 12, 15, 19 and 21. The Gem is a great ship with nice amenities and no shortage of activity for kids of all ages. The best place for sun and views is on the upper sun deck on the bow; great big wicker beds with pillows and cushions are the best spot to enjoy the sun with a spectacular view ahead. The crew is great but our week in high season with an overflowing passenger count clearly threw them off of their 'A' game. Restaurant service was rushed with little attention to details like drink orders and refills. You could sense the frustration and outright annoyance at some passenger requests. Dinner at Cagneys (Steakhouse) is worth the extra charge. Norwegian 'Next' Features are installed but the beer taps were out of order at 'Maltings' beer bar. Aside from dining the ship did not seem crowded and we were able to find great activities and excursions. Get an early tender ticket to experience a full day at Great Stirrup Cay since lunch closes at 2 PM. Our 15 year old son loved the teen experience but our 12 year old was caught in the trap - too old for the child program but too young for the much cooler teen experience. Overall a great family vacation for the price! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
This was our very 1st cruise, and I have to say it was one of our best vacations ever. I have to say how organized NCL was from embankment to disembankment and everything in between. The ship itself was clean inside and out. Our luggage ... Read More
This was our very 1st cruise, and I have to say it was one of our best vacations ever. I have to say how organized NCL was from embankment to disembankment and everything in between. The ship itself was clean inside and out. Our luggage arrived very quickly to our room. Don't get me started on the food, we ate all day, the buffet at the Garden Café was fantastic, something different everyday, I've got 2 words for you "washie-washie". The Magenta and the Grand Pacific were also great. After eating a HUGE breakfast my son and I would go to the gym, to my surprise it was big and clean. Great job to the cruise director DAN-DAN and his staff by keeping us entertained everyday and the great shows in the evening. Great job by all the photographers, whom we made friends with, did a great job taking our pictures. Shout out to our cabin steward who did a great job everyday making up and making down our room and the wonderful animals he did with the towels. The Great Stirrup Cay was a beautiful island to visit, clear water, beautiful beach, plenty of food and drinks, The pools and the hot tubs was a great place to hang out and make new friends. There was plenty of activities to do or just chill out on the sun deck. This was a very enjoyable and relaxing vacation, beats going down the shore. Great job NCL!!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2015
Cruised 7-18 to 7-25 on Gem to Bahamas. I read dozens of reviews, some good, some horrible before traveling. If your traveling in the future go into it with an open mind... Remember there are some people that you can never make happy! ... Read More
Cruised 7-18 to 7-25 on Gem to Bahamas. I read dozens of reviews, some good, some horrible before traveling. If your traveling in the future go into it with an open mind... Remember there are some people that you can never make happy! This is a cruise, you are not going to eat at a 5 star restaurant each night, if you want to, then spend extra and go to the premium restaurants. We ate at 2, the Rodizio and the Hibachi, both were very good, not great but very good. The buffet was pretty good, each day for lunch and dinner there was different selections. The main dining rooms had 5 regular meals and then 5 different meals each day and the meals were very good, from Chicken Parm to Strip Steaks to Sole. The room 11th floor mini-suite was perfect for 3 of us, once again its a cruise you are not going to get a 2000 SQ foot room! I laugh at the one person who complained because her room sucked... yeah I'm sure it did, you booked a room on the 4th floor, that is basically underwater (you get what you pay for). The crew, staff, bartenders, stewards all were very friendly and worked extremely hard to make our trip great. All were very friendly, Rolando (our room steward) was great, towel animals a few days. Never felt pressured to buy anything by the staff. Private Island and Atlantis were alot of fun and the cruise home was smooth and relaxing. All these negative reviews crack me up. You get what you pay for, you can't get an inside room and expect anything more, then complain about it. Lol -we heard people complaining about the toaster being too slow, really people that's all you can find lol. I would take this cruise again, and go on this ship again without hesitation. Travelers: Dad and 2 kids (16,13) TY Sonja! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
This was our 3rd time cruising to the Bahamas, with stops Port Canaveral (FLA), Great Stirrup(private Island) and Nassau, Bahamas. I have to say that this was the BEST! cruise we've ever taken out of all (3). Because not only has the ... Read More
This was our 3rd time cruising to the Bahamas, with stops Port Canaveral (FLA), Great Stirrup(private Island) and Nassau, Bahamas. I have to say that this was the BEST! cruise we've ever taken out of all (3). Because not only has the ship been renovated/upgraded somewhat, but the entire crew was hospitable everyday and that makes a difference; even the passengers were hospitable everyday, not that you can control that, but it does make a difference. The stop in Fla. was normal, we didn't do anything special there because we've done it before (ie CoCo Beach); Great Stirrup was TERRIFIC! I've never been to the private beaches on the private Island, but we went to Lagoon Beach which was beautiful and quiet, not many cruisers went to that beach, they went to other private beaches. You should ask about the private beaches and lastly we went took the Discover Atlantis Beach Break at the private beach in Nassau. A little crowded but as long as we had our own lounge chair and umbrella we were fine. BEST CRUISE EVER!!!!!! Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
Well, Ive been on several cruises with NCL and Carnival and to several ports. But this cruise was The BEST!!!! We stopped over in Fla. then to Great Stirrup Cay and lastly to the private island in the Bahamas, Nassau. I guess, it was the ... Read More
Well, Ive been on several cruises with NCL and Carnival and to several ports. But this cruise was The BEST!!!! We stopped over in Fla. then to Great Stirrup Cay and lastly to the private island in the Bahamas, Nassau. I guess, it was the best for a combination of reasons, first the embarkation was smooth and swift, having priority check-in helped as well. The ship was kept very clean by the crew, they do work hard, the inside stateroom was very comfortable, but small. Me and my fiancee' had enough room and space for our things, though. The food was delicious, because there was more of a variety and was cooked really well. The shows were OK, but there was one particular show that was exciting, to me, during the cruise. The weather was beautiful all week long, especially in the Bahamas. The best part of the cruise for me and my fiancee' was the Lagoon Beach at Great Stirrup, its a private island on a private island, therefore there werent many noisy kids running around. And they served "free" lunch in the Pavillion and also had a walkup Bar. We rented a clam which was amazingly fun; convenient and "COOL". I would recommend this cruise on the NCL Gem, but just make sure that you look at the Brochures that are in your room. That's how we found out about Lagoon Beach. There are (2) other private islands/beaches at Great Stirrup Cay as well. Look into into if you get a chance. Happy Cruising! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
Have to admit was very nervous of what to expect with first time experience cruising with my comprising wife and two children aged 18 and 16. Need not have worried as thoroughly enjoyed the trip and the Norwegian Gem. Travelled from ... Read More
Have to admit was very nervous of what to expect with first time experience cruising with my comprising wife and two children aged 18 and 16. Need not have worried as thoroughly enjoyed the trip and the Norwegian Gem. Travelled from Northern Ireland and had 3 nights in New York sight seeing before boarding . Every thing went smoothly at embarkation - bags disappeared with porters as we got out of the taxi. On getting on board directed to the buffet for lunch which was to provide a taste of the great food we enjoyed all week. Again have to agree with the last post that the food was good and should not be expecting five star cuisine on free style cruises unless you pay extra. We ate at one of the main dining rooms once and enjoyed a couple of evenings in the orchid garden . Re the cabins we had two on level 8 -ocean view and both were very clean and well maintained. Lilia the steward was smashing. Enjoyed the ocean view for the natural light during the day and the week up in the morning to look out and see blue skies worth it imho. Entertainment on board was good , and what we expected, after all only spending an hour at the theatre and plenty of other options available . Always music on at the pool - not to my taste but catering for 2000 people hard to please all. Pool was crowded however plenty of quiet spaces fro relaxing and sun bathing if wanted. Happy that ship is generally no smoking , however no issue with those that smoked in designated spaces. Saw a number of these and some aft so have to disagree with previous post. Re excursions we did the airboat combo - which was great fun however cocoa village not very exciting and cocoa beach may have been worth the visit however we decided to stay on bus back to ship due to the storm that was brewing on the day we visited - good option as it turned out cause when it rains in florida it doesn't mess about. Also did the snorkelling at Great stirrup cay - good way to spend the day - if a tad expensive for hire of equipment but water and beach lovley and lunch superb for a beach facility. Nassau was too warm for us on the last port day but enjoyed the pirate museum as we decided to not do any excursions and explore ourselves. As first cruise going for very good as nothing to compare to but really enjoyable time was had Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
We have sailed on NCL many times, but this was the first time on the 7 day Bahama/Florida run; usually we take the 9 or 10 day Caribbean. Overall, I would recommend that you skip it unless you are stuck for time or this is the only date ... Read More
We have sailed on NCL many times, but this was the first time on the 7 day Bahama/Florida run; usually we take the 9 or 10 day Caribbean. Overall, I would recommend that you skip it unless you are stuck for time or this is the only date you can get away. The GEM recently underwent some cosmetic changes; they were done well, but being difficult I sorta liked some of the old things better! But that's just me of course, I'm sure most other people enjoyed the upgrades just fine. The food was above average for a ship that is constantly serving 2500 people day in and day out. Seldom did we have a wait to get into the main restaurants, although getting into the specialty restaurants was difficult and we were disappointed, even though we tried to make reservations well in advance of the trip. We never had a problem on the 9 day voyages, but we were a smaller number on those occasions. I was pleasantly surprised with La Cucina - normally I would stay away from the Italian food as I can't justify spending extra money on pasta and chicken, particularly in an environment that serves as an alternate sitting area for the cafeteria, but the selection and quality much better than I expected. Bistro was also excellent, although we have eaten there many times before. The other restaurants were impossible to get into at any reasonable hour, even if we split up our group. Ship staff were excellent, and although there was nothing remarkable about us, staff would always come over and say hello since they remembered us from earlier in the cruise. A few remembered us from earlier cruises!! Unfortunately, a lot of people (some, at least) dressed poorly. I mean, complete slobs. Anything goes during the daytime - I get that, but couldn't people make an effort - a teeny weeny effort - not to dress like slobs when going to the restaurants for dinner. I'm not asking that you wear a tuxedo like on the Queen Mary, or even a jacket like on HAL, but just maybe not show up in a tank top with your baseball cap backwards and perched on the side of your head? In the past they turned people away from the Grand Pacific for wearing T shirts and sloppy shorts - not this time. A nice mixture of older passengers, as well as young adults, teenagers, and much younger children. Everyone was well behaved, even the little kids ( I was a brat at that age!) Entertainment was so/so and kind of dull. From past experiences they usually have more adult themed entertainment later in the evening/night (comedy routines, etc). This time they had some, but not many, and those they did have seemed to fall flat. My real problem with this cruise were the destinations, which were basically a waste of time. Florida did have the Space Center, but the excursion was long and involved a lot of walking which would have been difficult for some members of our party. Cocoa Beach had nothing, and although Cocoa Village was described as a quaint shopping district with shops and restaurants (I was thinking Key West-ish), it was a dump; everybody that got off the 3pm bus was back on the 4pm going back to the ship. As has been mentioned in other reviews, NCL skipped their private island - again- because of "sea conditions." It seems they skip it more than they go to it, but this meant that we had 2 days in Nassau. Let's just say that downtown Nassau ain't downtown St. Maarten! Dump. At least on other islands the government makes some attempt and has a duty free shopping center near the ship terminal (St. Thomas), but downtown Nassau was a filthy area that resembled something out of a war torn African dictatorship: dilapidated buildings and overly aggressive street vendors selling crap. So, "yes" for NCL and the GEM, but "no" for this particular voyage. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
This was our second time on the Gem and we had a great time. We ate when we wanted, participated when we wanted and relaxed when we wanted, what more could you ask for. We enjoy the freestyle, eat when you want, so we can be flexible. ... Read More
This was our second time on the Gem and we had a great time. We ate when we wanted, participated when we wanted and relaxed when we wanted, what more could you ask for. We enjoy the freestyle, eat when you want, so we can be flexible. Some nights we dressed and some we stayed in shorts. The entertainment was excellent for a ship, the cruise director, Dan Dan was very good ( he can sure sing). Service was great. I really enjoyed the French restaurant but was disappointed with the food in the Italian restaurant. The buffet menu changed everyday so you could always find something you liked. If you can take a balcony room, great place to relax and get away from the action. All employees were friendly and helpful. The ship is clean and the cabin steward did a great job keeping the room fresh. Embarkation was much better this time but Custom Clearance in NY took forever. We will probably stay with NCL in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
Booking a cruise coming out of New York is SO convenient. We didn't have to stress about timing as much since we did not have to take a plane. If there were more destinations leaving from New York, I would be more likely to just ... Read More
Booking a cruise coming out of New York is SO convenient. We didn't have to stress about timing as much since we did not have to take a plane. If there were more destinations leaving from New York, I would be more likely to just cruise for future vacations. You meet people who live around you, so socially it's pretty fun. The staff were great! I rarely had bad experiences with staff. They were all entertaining, kind, and beneficial to our great experience. As for excursions, Port Canaveral was pretty anticlimactic. Coco Beach was okay; nothing spectacular. The theme parks were too far to really enjoy so there isn't much to do except go to the beach. The Bahamas was really nice-- Great Stirrup Bay/ Cay was super nice for beach time. Nassau was nice too. If you're on a budget, use the locals to tour with you through the Bahamas. Most of the excursion activities were expensive, so my family and I decided what to do when we got to the ports. As for the boat, the cruise director Dan Dan was HILARIOUS! He set such a great tone for the vacation and he was always putting smiles on our faces anytime he showed up. My mother got hurt by the elevators so beware of their timing in closing. Everyone has something to do-- young kids 8 and below have the Nickelodeon thing; kids 13-17 have a club they can participate in and meet other kids with; there are 21+ events, and Bliss Lounge is 18+ after 11pm. Bliss is what you make of it. I would just make sure you make friends if you're traveling solo. It could be really boring if you don't have someone to have fun with drunk and sober. Food was GREAT, our cabin was always kempt thanks to our great stewardess, and the entertainment was worthwhile. Everything was great; I would do it again. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
Booking a cruise coming out of New York is SO convenient. We didn't have to stress about timing as much since we did not have to take a plane. If there were more destinations leaving from New York, I would be more likely to just ... Read More
Booking a cruise coming out of New York is SO convenient. We didn't have to stress about timing as much since we did not have to take a plane. If there were more destinations leaving from New York, I would be more likely to just cruise for future vacations. You meet people who live around you, so socially it's pretty fun. The staff were great! I rarely had bad experiences with staff. They were all entertaining, kind, and beneficial to our great experience. There were plenty of activities, but it's mostly what you make of it and depends on how easily you make friends affects how you enjoy it. The pool is a joke-- it's too small for the population. Seeing how crowded it gets just doesn't seem sanitary, regardless of the amount of chlorine they use. I only went in it once and that was on the last night since it was the least crowded then. As for excursions, Port Canaveral was pretty anticlimactic. Coco Beach was okay; nothing spectacular. The theme parks were too far to really enjoy so there isn't much to do except go to the beach. The Bahamas was really nice-- Great Stirrup Bay/ Cay was super nice for beach time. Nassau was nice too. If you're on a budget, use the locals to tour with you through the Bahamas. Most of the excursion activities were expensive, so my family and I decided what to do when we got to the ports. As for the boat, the cruise director Dan Dan was HILARIOUS! He set such a great tone for the vacation and he was always putting smiles on our faces anytime he showed up. My mother got hurt by the elevators so beware of their timing in closing. Everyone has something to do-- young kids 8 and below have the Nickelodeon thing; kids 13-17 have a club they can participate in and meet other kids with; there are 21+ events, and Bliss Lounge is 18+ after 11pm. Bliss is what you make of it. I would just make sure you make friends if you're traveling solo. Cruising is really boring if you don't have someone to have fun with drunk and sober. Food was good to me, our cabin was always kempt thanks to our great stewardess, and the entertainment was worthwhile. Everything was pretty; I would do it again as long as I have friends to go with. Otherwise, I'd reconsider. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
We took a cruise on the Norwegian Gem for our honeymoon, and had a great time. We found the staff to be helpful and friendly. Service was great. Our room was always cleaned and neat --every day. The room attendant was always concerned ... Read More
We took a cruise on the Norwegian Gem for our honeymoon, and had a great time. We found the staff to be helpful and friendly. Service was great. Our room was always cleaned and neat --every day. The room attendant was always concerned about our comfort and satisfaction. We found the food to be very good as it was healthy and did not tend towards fried food or fast food. In fact, because we ate better, we lost some weight. We found the entertainment to be great--nightly shows, daily BINGO, health workshops, music and more. We took a shore excursion every day we were in port and were not disappointed. Of course, it was extremely hot this time of the year so each shore excursion was "hot". However, the Gem was there to welcome us back--and they did--one day with music. On the day we used the tender ship to go ashore (Great Stirrup Cay) the Norwegian made arrangements to cool us off when we returned. When the tender ships came to get us, we were given a cold drink of water, an ice cold cloth for our head and streaming water to wash off our feet. We have only good things to say about our Norwegian cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
I love the Norwegian Gem from start to finish! It is the right size, the crew is fantastic, the food is wonderful to excellent all over the ship. Entertainment is plentiful and top notch. I would never leave the ship if I didn't ... Read More
I love the Norwegian Gem from start to finish! It is the right size, the crew is fantastic, the food is wonderful to excellent all over the ship. Entertainment is plentiful and top notch. I would never leave the ship if I didn't have to. The Cruise Director DanDan was outstanding as a participant in so many activities. I was picked to be part of Cakemasters where DanDan proceeded to make a cake that had a full bottle of alcohol in it. Just hilarious! Service was just on point everywhere we went from restaurants to bars, cabin steward, concierge, guest services and anywhere else we went on the ship. It feels more like a family party than a group of people we don't know taking care of us! It was my fifth time on the ship and it won't be my last for sure. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2015
Family cruise with 52 people on NCL Gem. I, myself did no excursions, only got off in Nassau and walked back on, it was hotter than hell! Ok, so I have been on 2 other cruises, and they were both Disney cruises. No kids, just my ... Read More
Family cruise with 52 people on NCL Gem. I, myself did no excursions, only got off in Nassau and walked back on, it was hotter than hell! Ok, so I have been on 2 other cruises, and they were both Disney cruises. No kids, just my husband and myself. There is no comparison. Disney knocks NCL out of the water- pun intended. Starting with the balcony room: It was small- the two of us, who are not large people, couldn't navigate the room together. One stood on one side of the bed and then the other. The bathroom: Shower was ok, they supplied shower gel and shampoo in a wall dispenser. I used my own. The toilet was extremely tight fitting. My husband is 6ft and had an awful time using it. The bed: it was ok; there was an indent of left and right sides on the bed and going right down the middle was a lump dividing us. Standard luggage was able to fit under the bed or in the closet. Speaking of closet, it was more space than I thought it would be. The room steward Sal is super fast and loved the towel animals he left us. Every time he saw me, he made it a point to say hello and use my first name. The ship was nice, nothing outstanding tho. No "WOW" factor. Nothing really stands out. We got a spa pass for the trip ($130 bought pre-trip) and it was a nice place to get away. There's a hot tub, a therapy pool, hot rock loungers ( Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
I sailed on the Norwegian Dawn in 2005, and swore that I would never sail with them again! I am a culinary school graduate and a Hospitality Professional and I was deeply dissapointed in the food. The only saving grace was Cagney's ... Read More
I sailed on the Norwegian Dawn in 2005, and swore that I would never sail with them again! I am a culinary school graduate and a Hospitality Professional and I was deeply dissapointed in the food. The only saving grace was Cagney's Steakhouse, which was out of this world. The buffet was a diaster, and as a food service professional I was deeply offended by some of the options that were offered at that time. I sent a letter to the CEO, and Executive Chef and detailed my observations. This was before trip advisor, so my only option was snail mail. Of course, I never recieved a response from anyone. So fast forward 10 years to our sailing on 7/11(our 16th cruise) I did not feel like flying to Miami or Fort Lauderdale,so we decided to give Norwegian another try because sailing out of New York was stree free. We were booked into a mini-suite, which was fantastic! Our steward was wonderful and just an all around great guy...Thanks Eugene! Service was way above average,and the staff were friendly and professional..with the exception of the Guest Services Staff, they were knowledgable but a little surly...no smiles from them! The shore excursions were okay, I had been to those ports on the Dawn. Blue Lagoon Beach day is worth the expense. So lets get to the reason why we cruise...the food! We choose the ulitimate dining package and booked almost every specialty restaurant in advance. I was so impressed with Cagney's in 2005 that we booked dinner there for three nights! Well Cagney's was a shadow of its former self. To start, Norwegian has sevruga caviar on it's room service menu so I thought having caviar would be a nice start to what I had hoped would be a great meal. When I requested caviar, I was told by the rookie waiter that that was not an option. (strike one) Knowing what I know about the industry..if a guest ask for something and if it is on the ship you go get it where ever it is...but I got a flat no with no explanation whatsoever. Then we moved on to ordering appetizers (in 2005 they had a wonderful lump crab appetizer that was served in a large martini glass with fresh herbs, and was just beautiful and delicious. This time the lump crab was not lump crab but mashed crab meat with mayonaisse, and tasted disgusting. I asked to see the manager and she told me that the chef mashed up the crab...her words, not mine. I told her about truth in menu and said that if they could not meet the description, they should have taken if off the menu. (strike two) When it came time to serve the entrees, the rookie waiter came over and told us that there would be a wait of about 10 minutes..right be hind him was the restaurant manger with our meals...whaaaaaa? (Strike three) Needless to say, I was not happy and my face told the whole story. Of course there was some attemp at service recovery, but the train had already left the station. We canceled our Cagney reservations for the rest of the cruise. Now back to the caviar...the next afternoon I ordered the caviar from the room service menu and was told again that it was not available. I said to the attendant on the phone"but you have it on the menu!" He proceeded to tell me how much the caviar cost!!!!???? To make a long story short I finally did get my caviar, and it was delicious, but I had to work to hard for it! Le Bistro was a wonderful experience...it was so nice we dined there twice! Service was top shelf and our head waiter Frances is to be commended! The food was OUTSTANDING! Moderno was great as well. Why no to freestyling you ask? I am old school and I like the formal nights. Dinner in the main dining room should be an event with great menus and the lobster tails. We like dressing for dinner as they do on Royal Carribbean. In summary, if you don't mind service gaps in food service, and you don't like to dress for dinner, they freestyle is for you. If you prefer a traditional cruise experience go with RC International. I will not cruise Norwegian again, and this time I mean it. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2015
I don't understand how there are any good reviews on here regarding the food, it must be a joke because me & my husband just took a 7 day cruise out of ny to port carnaval and bahamas and we starved for 7 days. The best thing we ... Read More
I don't understand how there are any good reviews on here regarding the food, it must be a joke because me & my husband just took a 7 day cruise out of ny to port carnaval and bahamas and we starved for 7 days. The best thing we had the entire trip was chicken fingers and we had to pay for it. If your into low grade knock off buffet food than enjoy! If your normal like we are and enjoy something with taste that wasn't left over from lunch and now being served for dinner, save your hard earned money and go elsewhere! I've cruised carnival before and it was nothing like this! We practically almost disembarked in florida because we were that unhappy. Not to mention the boat has much of nothing to do. Two small pools overrun with children, the bar staff is incredibly slow and most the staff is pretty rude. The tv in the balcony room we had was so small, for those with bad eyes like me ... Well it's glasses time! You would think you pay more for a balcony room & it would at least come with a normal sized tv or relevant movies not just repeat grease and dirty dancing for 7 days. I mean come on! Do yourselves a favor, do not waste your money on this poor excuse of a cruise ship. I even fell down the stairs one night (i was wearing flats) because it was wet and there was poor lighting and the stairs have slippery metal on the edge ... And the doctor who saw me was so nasty because i woke him up after hours (it was 10). Isn't that what you get paid for?! I mean i work in the medical field and there is no excuse for that! Pathetic. Ruined our one year anniversary ... Will def not ever sail norweigen. By the way they charge each person in the room 15$ a night to tip their staff meanwhile anything you eat or purchase or drink Comes with a tip already alsooo ....so get ready to spend big on tips for people who don't deserve it. We did. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2015
This was my third time cruising with Norwegian. I was very disappointed. My family arrived early in case of traffic but it was clear sailing. Parking was great at the ship and convenient only $295 for the week with a coupon. Boarding was ... Read More
This was my third time cruising with Norwegian. I was very disappointed. My family arrived early in case of traffic but it was clear sailing. Parking was great at the ship and convenient only $295 for the week with a coupon. Boarding was very easy not really a wait for us I guess because we previously traveled with NCL. I had an inside cabin which i was quite happy with. Our room was always kept clean. CONS: Ship was over crowded, there were lines for everything. Forget about trying to get a seat at the pool deck or above not happening. Jacuzzi filled with young teens all the time. I had to purchase a spa package just to relax. From breakfast through Dinner the buffet was impossible to enjoy. After waiting to get served you had to then walk the ship to find seating on the other end. It was so frustrating on a daily basis. This is the only cruise I Lost weight on! We had to pay for 2 nights at the specialty restaurants due to the crowd and poor food. The Gem had nothing exciting to do as for the bowling there was two lanes that were always filled. The rock climbing wall was closed the duration of the cruise. By day two even the kids were bored. I will say the shows were pretty good. I will say I was a big fan of Norwegian until this ship. The staff that cleaned the room and in cafeteria looked over worked and didn't smile much. 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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