Sail Date: August 2019
We had left a previous on board credit which was expiring so we went on this cruise. This was our 59 cruise so we are experienced cruisers. Celebrity Princess Royal Caribbean and NCL. Norwegian Cruise Line is anything but free at sea. ... Read More
We had left a previous on board credit which was expiring so we went on this cruise. This was our 59 cruise so we are experienced cruisers. Celebrity Princess Royal Caribbean and NCL. Norwegian Cruise Line is anything but free at sea. First they push the Drink Package and the Specialty Dining Packages. Let me tell you about the Drink Package. Every bar was under staffed the lines to get a drink we’re long and sometimes 20 minutes. In the Specialty Dining which you paid a premium for you were limited to one appetizers, one entree and one dessert. Never on the other above mentioned Cruise lines. Now remember in the main dining room you can order 2 or 3 appetizers such as Lime and Dill Shrimp, Pekín Duck plus soup, plus salad, So remember you paid in your cruise price dinner and you just paid more for dinner in the Specialty restaurants. Don’t get sucked into the drink and dinning Packages. The main dining rooms as well as the other free dining option where good if not better. Osheehan's and the Orchid Garden no up charge was good Moderno's and Cagney's was wonderful although you pay extra. We had an OBC of $185.00 and this was the first time we couldn’t use it for gratitudes we didn’t like that the ship only had one main corridor on the right side of the ship to go from the front to the back so it was always crowded. There were no pool staff or any safety officers at the pool and glass beer bottles where in the hot tubs and on the pool railing. SAFTY CONCERN. Will not ever be back on NCL. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2019
Took cruise because of ease of access from Boston. Overall a very sad ship. Food was lackluster at best. ( except Cagney’s ). Everything is dated and worn. Young crew very helpful but leadership invisible. Worth driving to NYC to get a ... Read More
Took cruise because of ease of access from Boston. Overall a very sad ship. Food was lackluster at best. ( except Cagney’s ). Everything is dated and worn. Young crew very helpful but leadership invisible. Worth driving to NYC to get a different ship Buffet was undersized but food was fair to good. Dining rooms were dark and food very salty. Cafeteria quality food Pools are not sufficient to support ship and deck furnishings uncomfortable. Activities seemed few and far between. Shopping areas almost non existent and staff barely competent. Tried to buy item on sale and was told this item can’t be sold because of computer error. When we tried to get a resolution were told management was in a meeting and could not be disturber. This was at nine pm. This ship would be fine at half the ‘discounted’ prices and you had never cruised before. STAY AWAY Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
I choose this cruise because it was offered during summer and the port was convenient to where I lived. I was able to park around a block from the cruise ship which added to the convenience of embarkation and disembarkation. The ship ... Read More
I choose this cruise because it was offered during summer and the port was convenient to where I lived. I was able to park around a block from the cruise ship which added to the convenience of embarkation and disembarkation. The ship was adequate but the seating in lounges and the dining rooms was not very comfortable. The cabin I was in, room 5610, was the worst room I have ever had. It was not its' appearance that was problematic. The room was the nosiest room I have ever had in comparison to seven other cruises I have been on and any hotel room I have had in my lifetime. I was awakened all night long. I called several times to complain and find out what was going on and someone was sent to listen to the noise to determine what it was. Then one morning I was out in the hallway and was able to hear the noise well. I asked the steward if there was an ice machine in the area behind the doors. He said there was. At least I determined what the problem was! I was sent a cheese plate. I would have preferred getting a good night's sleep. My dining experience was mixed. The buffet was very good. I particularly liked the Indian food and the variety. A tip if you like smoked salmon is that you can ask for a portion of it at breakfast (It is no longer on the buffet). There was a lot of congestion around the beverage area. I always like one meal to be a sit down meal so I ate in the dining rooms for dinner. The menu had a variety of items. What I found was anything that was a soup or had a gravy or sauce was awful. The food, of course, had been prepared in advance. Unfortunately, it became concentrated and the salt content and subsequent taste was horrific. This was true of ALL sauces. The salads and dressings were very good and the hot lava cake was to die for. Also of note is that I had only one fresh cup of coffee during the entire cruise. The entertainment in the main theater was very good. I had been on a Norwegian cruise before and had not liked the main theater entertainment so this was a pleasant surprise. Piano entertainers in the lounges could play the piano but were not great singers. As I said before, the lounge chairs were not very comfortable. I did participate in some daytime activities and they were enjoyable but I think there needs to be more activities to choose from at all times of the day. The gym and massages were excellent. The service was great. My steward was very responsive. All staff were very professional and helpful although feigning ignorance of the noise situation. Photos were too expensive and I didn't see great buys in the duty free shops. The only port was Bermuda. The Naval Dockyard offers a lot and is easy to navigate. Don't waste money on excursions. Almost as soon as you get off the ship and pass regulated areas and excursion vehicles, there are people to direct you and you'll be able to find everything you need to get around Bermuda. For example, there is someone who looks like a school crossing guard you can tell what you want to do. We wanted to go to Horseshoe Bay and were directed to a minibus that charged $7 each way per person. If we had gone on the excursion it would have been $40 or $45. Also at the naval dockyard is a tram that will bring you all over the area (specified stops) for no charge. There are restaurants, mini golf, mini mall, beach, pirate ship you can jump off, dolphin experience, music, segway tours, public buses, water sports, boats, pharmacy, music, hair braiding, rum cake, glass blowing, liquor stores, ferrys to Hamilton and ST. George. If you go to Hamilton, remember stores close around 5:30. Beautiful linens but you have to be rich to indulge in a hand towel for $50. Get a dark and stormy somewhere. The ferry to St. George is a complimentary service of Norwegian. Go to Turtle beach. In regard to my daughter, she is 19. There were no activities exclusively for her age. This was very disappointing. There are many college aged kids and there should have been some ice breakers or social gatherings to help them connect. The solo traveler activities were for travelers in 40s and 50s. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
Background: I "won" a "free cruise" after gambling at a casino near my hometown. I was hesitant at the idea that it was "free", but after researching the offer, I decided to take a gamble (pun intended) on ... Read More
Background: I "won" a "free cruise" after gambling at a casino near my hometown. I was hesitant at the idea that it was "free", but after researching the offer, I decided to take a gamble (pun intended) on this "free cruise" to see how free it really was. It was basically me paying the taxes and port charges only, with an option to bid to upgrade from inner to ocean view and/or balcony. I had attempted to put in a bid for a balcony, but my bid wasn't accepted, and the sailing was full. (No complaints about the room quality I ended up receiving.) I wrote a very lengthy review of the Cabin below, so here I will list off the other items that I feel are important for people to know. Ship: It is well-maintained and clean. The decor was fine. It was on par with other cruise lines and I had no complaints about the level of quality with the ship itself. It had as nice of decor as Royal, Princess and Disney. No issues here. Cabin: See below for lengthy description and list of annoyances / lack of privacy. Dining: This was the most sub-par dining experience I have ever had while cruising. The food quality on the Gem was embarrassing. The only 2 photos I am attaching have to deal with the dining. First off, let me say, I found it hilarious how they listed meals as "complimentary" with many of the high end restaurants requiring a $39 charge per person along with a forced 20% gratuity. I can not comment on any of those, as I downright refused to pay extra for restaurants that I could experience at home. There is also no free room service on this cruise line, except for a very meager continental breakfast. If you wanted any other room service, there would be a $7.95 service "convenience" charge. Ridiculous. A can of soda from the refrigerator was $3.95. I bought one. I admit, after days of non-carbonation, I found myself desperate for a Sierra Mist... The only "free" 24x7 dining is the "Irish pub" O'Sheehans, which offered typical pub-like food. We went there once, and laughed at the godawful chicken wings they were serving. I would have swore the wings were made like 2-3 days previously, tossed with whatever sauce you ordered and re-heated. My son got the "Buffalo" wings and they were so red as if they were dyed, that they actually dyed his fingers bright red. There are 3 dining rooms, and only one, the Grand Pacific, is considered a "dress-up" which isn't even "dressing up" as it just doesn't allow shorts, as the others do. The first night was the best night, and after eating the first night, I had some high hopes for the meals, but they only went downhill. As this is a freestyle cruise line, which many people will hail as awesome, since you don't have to dress up, you don't have a set reserved dining time, etc... I personally found it made things LESS enjoyable. You didn't have the same guaranteed server, didn't build any rapport or closeness with dining staff... and while I am an introvert, I still enjoy feeling like I get to know my servers, and with this freestyle mode, I definitely didn't feel like that happened. I can tell you also that if you are not a person that is going to order from the bar, you can forget receiving "exceptional service" in regards to your choice of beverages and getting bread served, etc. My son and I had a difficult time getting any lemonade or iced tea. We were lucky to have our water glasses filled in any decent time. We were laughing because around the 4th night of dinner, when we were dining towards the end of the evening, we literally were given only brown bread and water (when on all other nights, we had a variety of bread choices of 2-3-4 types of bread offerings) - We didn't have any "chef's recommendations" and the staff seemed more rushed and understaffed, ready to get us in and out as fast as possible. We went to the "fancy dining room" just today for lunch. It had a nice view, overlooking the back of the ship. We were handed the menus, but had the typical hurried experience of taking our entire order, including dessert. The peanut butter cup cheesecake was overall a disgrace. They make the plating look nice, but then you bite into it and wonder how long it was in the freezer before it was quick thawed and served to us. It was not at all creamy and I was hard-pressed to find any peanut butter cup taste to it. Service: I am well aware that cruise ship employees come from fairly impoverished nations and are looking to make a better life for themselves, as well as providing for their family, but you can see their unhappiness through the forced smiles and furrowed brows. While the whole "washy-washy" sing-song of the woman spraying our hands every time we entered the buffet area soon became humorous and meme-like, reading in the daily guide that they don't recommend handshaking because it spreads illness... I was like, okay, enough of the dirty-tourist shaming. Not all of go to the bathroom to relieve ourselves without washing our hands afterwards. I get it, noro-virus is real.. But, again, it actually became insulting to me. WiFi: This is my biggest complaint, and one I plan on fighting with the cruise line itself to get my money back. I spent over $350 for my son and I to have unlimited WiFi on 1 device each for the week-long cruise. Now, this may seem like a ridiculous fee to many of you, but I back my choice up with we enjoy what we enjoy, and we enjoy having access to email, news, YouTube, games, etc. My first cruise was in 1996, and let me tell you, after using the "Internet Cafe" back in 1996, the speed we had for this WiFi was NO BETTER than it was back in 1996. Dial-up speed at its finest. I am well aware we are OUT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE OCEAN. I get that. I get that WiFi may be sporadic. We paid for the HIGHEST LEVEL QUALITY of WiFi and we could barely do anything we wanted to do. We would be disconnected in the middle of reading news or email, games would be reset, videos wouldn't load. I paid the amount of 5 MONTHS of Cable Internet for ONE WEEK of WiFi on a cruise line, and so I'm going to say again, I expect for the cost of FIVE MONTHS of cable internet, we should have a RELIABLE connection. Otherwise, cut the cost in half. Would I Go Again: I love to cruise. I have done quite a few cruises. Would I ever sail with Norwegian again? NO WAY. Too many kids running up and down the hallways un-escorted. Too many younger children WAILING. Now this is not something Norwegian itself can fix, or can they? I mean, I guess it's time for me to look at more adults-only cruises. Way too many people trying to do a bunch of nothing on the 4 days at sea. Being docked over night for 2 nights while in Bermuda was kind of a new experience for me, and those days/nights it did seem a lot less crowded as people were off doing excursions, but yeah, too many loud and sheep-like tourists not at all realizing how annoying they and their kids were being. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
I recently cruised on The Norwegian Gem form Boston to Bermuda. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. The ship is old and in dire need of renovation. The restaurants and the food is ok however if you are looking for ... Read More
I recently cruised on The Norwegian Gem form Boston to Bermuda. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. The ship is old and in dire need of renovation. The restaurants and the food is ok however if you are looking for luxury try another ship! The entertainment was mediocre ,the cabin service was good but not stellar and the speciality dining experiences although good were costly ($39.00 per person). I felt like I was nickled and dimed for everything because every bill had a 20 percent gratuity added on to it ( even the bar ) and if you didn't opt for the expensive drink pkg you had quite a bill at cruise end. The deck was extremely overcrowded and the hot tubs were small and always full, Bostonians deserve better ...Norwegian Cruise Line needs to refurbish this ship !!! This was my 10th cruise and by far the worst. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
I did this cruise on the Dawn a couple years ago and had a great time. However, Norwegian seems to be cutting service on the Gem. The boarding process seems to have improved. We spent less time standing in line and our baggage was ... Read More
I did this cruise on the Dawn a couple years ago and had a great time. However, Norwegian seems to be cutting service on the Gem. The boarding process seems to have improved. We spent less time standing in line and our baggage was delivered much faster than in 2017. That is where the improvements end. The ship itself has seen better days. Aside from the gaudy decor, upholstery, fixtures, carpeting were all worn and a bit dirty. Our bedspread had a few small stains on it. The pool towels were so old and worn that once you dry yourself off with them, you have a thick layer of lint stuck to your skin and clothing. It seemed like they were starting to disintegrate. Our balcony furniture looked like it was splattered with white paint. Regarding the service, every employee on the ship was quite busy. They seemed to be working hard to do what they could but still all service was pretty slow. My partner and I walked away from one of the bars because we had been standing there for quite some time without being served. Despite having reservations at the restaurants, it often took over a half hour to be seated. Once seated, it often took an hour to an hour and a half to receive our entrees. We could expect most meals to drag on for 3-4 hours from the time we arrived at our reserved time until the end of the meal. In the Italian restaurant, we waited close to 2 hours to receive our entrees. By the time it came, my salmon was hot, but very dry and tasted like it had been reheated. I only ate 2 bites. Luckily, the gnocchi (which we had been served an hour before the entree) was delicious, so I wasn't too hungry when the fish finally came out. The excursions were a mixed bag. It seemed like any excursion run by the Fantasea company was quite well done. The tour guides were attentive, organized, and had a good sense of humor. We did the Gosling Rum Cruise and the Wild West Kayak with them and were happy with both of those excursions. The Caves and Waves excursion though wasn't as good. Instead of traveling by boat, you take a small bus across the island. This is a long drive and they stop at Horseshoe beach, not so that you can visit, but to find out if anyone is getting motion sick. The cave visit ran smoothly, but the beach was atrocious. They drop you off at lunchtime at what they called a secluded beach. In fact, the only reason why it is secluded is because nobody else wants to be there. It's called Clearwater Beach. If you take a look at it on Google street view, you'll get a good idea of what this place is (note the sign that says no weapons allowed). It is very close to the airport, so the air traffic is constantly overhead, and being so close to a transportation center, I can't imagine that it could be a very pristine area. The restaurant and bar at the beach are a bit grimy. It looks as if they were built inside of an old skating oval, so everything is surrounded by concrete topped with barbed wire. The one good thing I will say is that even though the restaurant was a dive, the burgers were excellent. The beach itself is man made, not natural. So they have basically just dumped sand on top of rock. To get in the water, you have to walk over large pebbles and stones. My mother was with us and couldn't go in the water because the rocks hurt her feet, even with flip flops on. The water is nice and calm, so it may be ok for kids, but it is very shallow. Once you are out far enough for the water to reach waist height, you are contending with the seaweed and the wildlife living in it. On the upside, it does give you a chance to see a turtle. Again, check Google and look at the satellite images - the dark spots are the seaweed. But it's okay if you aren't having a good time there, because you only get a couple of hours before the bus comes back to take you to St. Georges which you only have a couple of hours to explore before the last ferry leaves to take you back to the Royal Navy Dockyard. Honestly, I expected Norwegian to do a better job vetting this excursion. The only reason why we do the cruise's excursions instead of finding things ourselves is the comfort of knowing the event has been vetted. Back to the ship issues though, there were a lot of thugs traveling on this vacation. There were theft issues and harassment issues. We were using white boards to communicate with our group and one morning we woke up to find someone had written threats and vulgar insults on them. The ship security didn't seem to be doing anything. We had an item stolen and heard others complaining about thefts too. We missed most of the evening entertainment because the meals took so long. However, the one act we couldn't seem to get away from was the piano player. This man had a voice like a high school kid trying out for the school play. He was also crude and vulgar. One example, his act included a song all about crude slang for women's bodies. He was in the champagne bar and the atrium. It was loud and obnoxious. At the end of it all, we did have a good time. After all, we were on a cruise to a beautiful location. However, I think next time we'll fly to Bermuda and skip this cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2019
Poor drink service near the pool. Waiters and waitresses rarely seen if ever. Terrible layout on the pool deck, difficult to walk around. Cagneys Steak House was terrible, 3 of 8 got the wrong meal. Drink waiter never showed up. A ... Read More
Poor drink service near the pool. Waiters and waitresses rarely seen if ever. Terrible layout on the pool deck, difficult to walk around. Cagneys Steak House was terrible, 3 of 8 got the wrong meal. Drink waiter never showed up. A simple request for bread was forgotten or ignored. Nearly 3 hours for dinner. During that time was able to get 1 drink. La Cucina was equally as bad. Pasta could have been rope, I’m still not sure. Far too many kids, many underage drinking. They had a few pool deck cookouts, they ran out of food by 12:30pm and then served raw vegetables before even cooking them. Spinnaker Lounge was great. Great Outdoors dining/buffet area is beautiful. Sailing was smooth. Staff was great. Food in main dining areas equally as good as specialty dining. Be careful shopping on board, prices on liquor and jewelry is better in the states. Do your homework. I won’t return to this ship. The Norwegian Dawn was far superior. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2019
Family Cruise with Children ages 26 to 15(5Kids) along with wife's Mother and Father and my father. We tried to make dinner reservations on Fri/Sat and Tues night for the Freestyle dining room for 7pm and were told they do not take ... Read More
Family Cruise with Children ages 26 to 15(5Kids) along with wife's Mother and Father and my father. We tried to make dinner reservations on Fri/Sat and Tues night for the Freestyle dining room for 7pm and were told they do not take reservations for that many between 5 and 7. My Father who is 90 and in a scooter was told he could take his scooter off the ship in Bermuda even though we took it off the previous day. We took it and when we came back security told him he had to walk through security, which he couldn't. The day we arrived the room housekeeper said she showed no one being in our room for the cruise. We went to the Irish restaurant for lunch one day I got there 10 minutes early and they seated me by the window for 11 people, the mgr came over and told I could not sit there unless all 11 people were there because someone else may come in and want the window table. The restaurant was empty and no one in line to come in. Food was cold in the dining room(magenta) Very unfriendly service all around. I have been on Norwegian a few times and was very surprised. Seems like things have gone down hill when it comes to service. In the past when we embarked the cruise lines including Norwegian always had a large amount of staff greeting us, servers offering drinks, music playing. Not this time, there was 1 person as you got on the ship. No music nothing very blah. The Wednesday we were at sea all day they closed the pools for maintenance, people were not happy. It was reopened Thursday but by then we were further North and too cool to swim. The basketball court and rock climbing wall were open very limited hours 5-7pm one day. They had a family dodge ball tournament one day from 5 to 530pm-- not much time for a game. I not consider going on the Norwegian Gem again. I was on a Carnival Cruise last year and it was outstanding. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
Go with Carnival if you want to have a fun time and great food. Specially if you have kids. Let’s start with embarkation on the Gem. We had to wait because the rooms weren’t ready. Why? I mean didn’t they expect us? My son and I ... Read More
Go with Carnival if you want to have a fun time and great food. Specially if you have kids. Let’s start with embarkation on the Gem. We had to wait because the rooms weren’t ready. Why? I mean didn’t they expect us? My son and I wanted to drop off our things and then explore and eat. We couldn’t. As soon as I walked in it was dead. Nothing exciting. I actually fell asleep for a little on the chair. No cruise director or staff to make you feel like you’re going to have a great time. When I went on my cruise with Carnival as soon as we walked in they greeted us with huge smiles and pictures then we went to our room. Afterwards on the deck there was a live DJ with some awesome music. Overall great atmosphere but not Norwegian. So after finally going to our rooms we got some food. The buffet was blah and the burgers were GROSS. I went with my 12 yr old and he wasn’t liking the food either. When it came time for lunch/dinner the staff was super nice but very busy. They are under staffed. I waited too many times. It’s not their fault though. On Carnival they were staffed well and way better service and way better food! The menu on the Norwegian dining rooms are repetitive. Everyday same thing! Every morning/evening same thing! Ugh The itinerary on the gem was sooooooooo boring. Nothing to do! Just bingo here and there and then some bootleg game shows. The cleaning staff did an awesome job with our room though so I can’t complain there. They were super friendly and always made our cabin up. Also, Everything on the ship is extra and expensive. Not going with this cruise line again. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
I chose to do a cruise out of Boston to Bermuda because we live in NH and it seemed easy - just Uber to Boston and Uber home. I don't typically love cruises, I've been on maybe 10 in my life but I have found as I have gotten ... Read More
I chose to do a cruise out of Boston to Bermuda because we live in NH and it seemed easy - just Uber to Boston and Uber home. I don't typically love cruises, I've been on maybe 10 in my life but I have found as I have gotten older I am pickier about my vacations and cruising just always seemed like a "cattle call" to me. However, I have a 14 year old and was traveling with just him, so this seemed like the best option. I should preface this by saying that, if you are happy with Carnival or 3 Star vacations then this cruise would be right up your alley. It's all about expectations, I suppose. But for the money, I found the food to be sub par and the service to be downright horrendous. Our Embarkation was relatively painless so I had high hopes. We went to eat lunch and when they made the announcement that the rooms were ready, we headed downstairs only to find that ours was, indeed, just being started. We had to wait an additional hour to get into our room. The luggage arrived about a half an hour later. We had made reservations for Cagney's that evening as a cruise rep I talked to on the phone said it was like a 5 Star Steak restaurant that would rival Ruth's Chris. This was not the case. The service was terrible, for starters. Our server was not friendly, seemed irritated she had to do her job, and rushed us through our very expensive dinner. The steak was tasteless and I had to keep asking our server for things that she had forgotten. Service continued much the same throughout the cruise. The bartenders tended not to make any eye contact so I was often not sure if they heard my order or not. No smiling, minimal interaction. The pool bar and the Spinnaker Lounge seemed to be the worst, but I did find two good bartenders at the Martini Bar on the 6th floor. Only personable bartenders I came across the whole seven days. The service at the pool is not good. If you wanted a server to come get your drink order, you essentially had to chase them down. They spent much of their time just standing there, looking unhappy and unapproachable. One time I ordered a Rum Swizzle, the national drink of Bermuda (where we were cruising to) and he came back and said the bartender had never heard of this and they couldn't make it. I got up myself and went to the bar and was happily sipping one within 5-10 minutes (service is also not fast). My worst experience was with the Excursion Manager. I had gone up to the desk to try and cancel my night fishing excursion because my son was seasick. I was two hours past the cancellation time and when I was told I couldn't cancel, I asked to speak to the Manager. He came barreling out of the back room, didn't greet me and had absolutely no customer service skills, and proceeded to tell me that if I had a problem I could take it up with the front desk and then turned on his heals and went back to his office. I was shocked, and did complain, but I didn't really get the impression that anyone was that concerned about my negative experience. One woman who helped me make dinner reservations for the week was rude and surly. I got one word answers to my questions and she kept looking around while i was talking to her. I finally gave up and walked away with only the two reservations I had made because she was so distracted and unfriendly. We ended up dining at Moderno, La Cucina, Magenta, and the sushi bar. Moderno was ok - very overpriced and the meat wasn't that tasty and was overcooked. La Cucina was, in my opinion, the best restaurant for the money and service onboard. We ate there twice, canceling our second pre-reserved night at Cagney's after our first experience. Burratta appetizer is good, pizza is good, Osso Bucco was above average. The sushi bar was terrible and I believe we were eating previously frozen tuna. Magenta, one of the two main dining rooms, was surprisingly ok for mass produced food. The only downside about La Cucina is that it's right under the basketball court (bad planning) and you can hear the game going on right above your head, so it's a bit distracting. The buffet was the "cattle call" I was expecting. Tons of people cluelessly milling around for the feeding. Burgers were overcooked, eggs terribly runny, etc...The french fries were ok, when they were available. They were constantly running out and the "chef" in charge of them didn't seem to notice or care. The cruise director and staff were very loud, verging on obnoxious. Any interaction I had, from bingo to pool entertainment, had me gritting my teeth because of incessant chatter and commentary. They weren't personally friendly on a one on one basis, but really put on a show that went overboard when they were in front of a crowd. I had a facial at the spa, and the very young woman who performed the service opened boxes and wrappers right in my ear while I was trying to relax and enjoy the $165 50 minute facial. It was distracting and showed lack of experience. I thought the spa services were terribly overpriced. The excursions, outside of my experience with the excursion desk, were ok. Our Kayak trip got canceled due to wind; and the night fishing was average. We did the Dolphin Quest excursion but didn't book through the boat. That was the highlight of the whole week and definitely worth the money. My son spent a lot of time in the Entourage, the teen room. The person who runs this is named "A OK" and she doesn't really seemed interested in her job. She looks bored and isn't very engaging. There were some good activities that my son enjoyed, but mostly the kids play video games and she reads the paper. I got the distinct impression from every interaction I had with the staff of this ship that 90% of them were miserable and annoyed. I could have lived with the sub par food had the service been friendly and engaging. I will NEVER take another Norwegian Cruise. This is my second (first was on the EPIC). My first experience was similar, although not quite as bad, and I thought I would give it another try. If a great vacation for you includes good food and a friendly service staff, you will want to steer clear of the Gem and even Norwegian as a whole. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
Overall: C- cruise ship which may be enjoyable if only option based on port of call or schedule, or have low enough expectation. Worst aspects, 1) food; 2) dated feel; 3) NCL seemed to be looking to squeeze money from patrons at every ... Read More
Overall: C- cruise ship which may be enjoyable if only option based on port of call or schedule, or have low enough expectation. Worst aspects, 1) food; 2) dated feel; 3) NCL seemed to be looking to squeeze money from patrons at every turn; 4) pool area; 5) smoke-filled casino. The ship is dated to say the least, having been built in 2003. Despite being renovated a few years ago, the Gem was lacking in quality, style, technology and comfort. Compared to many other ships/brands, it is wholly underwhelming, with dark and unappealing public spaces and limited entertainment other than eating/drinking and spending money. The whole experience seemed to be focused on NCL trying to get passengers to spend more once onboard. You couldn't go 10 feet without encountering some way for staff attempting to sell services (more cruises, pictures, artwork, duty free, excursions, etc) or otherwise increase charges (food/drinks, Wi-Fi, casino); it came across as tacky to say the least. More information / specifics (trip was from Boston to Bermuda in mid-April): * Boarding: mostly straightforward and efficient enough. Took about an hour * "Lobby" on deck 7: small area which is often crowded, especially the bar. There is a piano and small stage with varying entertainment through the day, but limited seating so often crowds would congregate around all open areas * Cabin: 11th floor balcony room was ok/passable. Comfortable enough bed and room to survive if using cabin for sleep (which should be expectation on a cruise). Bathroom had major leak on day 1 which necessitated a maintenance call. Water pressure and temperature sufficient * Food: generally mediocre or below average - Buffet was pretty basic and often unappetizing; highlight may have been Asian soup offering for lunch - Main dining room had a pleasant, art deco design that elicits feel or old-world cruising glamour; however, quality / taste was lacking (especially fish entrees, which were generally horrible) - Tried various specialty restaurants 1) Cagney steakhouse: decent steak options, but not much better than main dining room. Tuna steak awful. Nice atmosphere. Fantastic desserts (highlight) 2) Hibachi: pleasant "chef" but amateurish and limited. Food was terrible 3) Le Bistro: best food experience on board. Felt special and worth the "splurge" * Drinks: we had the beverage package - were satisfied with the alcohol offerings - were quite surprised did not include juices or coffee outside of buffet / espresso drinks; seemed slightly absurd given the cost of the package * Service - mostly friendly but with some noticeable exceptions, such as many bartenders across various bars, including in lobby * Entertainment - many daily events required extra payment - nightly entertainment was decent but mediocre compared to offerings of bigger ships; dancers were pretty talented and engaging * Pool: tiny and cold. A few hot tubes which were always packed with teenagers/children. Lame/boring slide * Gym: one of best parts of the ship; modern and clean with plenty of cardio equipment, although weight room was small and would get crowded in the mornings * Kid zones: better than nothing, but under 3 area (Guppies) was essentially a 100 square foot room with 1 hour of activities a day * Excursions (Bermuda) - varied but highly overpriced - offered free ferry to St. George, which was much appreciated and quite comfortable * Wifi: basic service had average quality. Passable generally but was not functional at times. IT director helpful * Casino: disgusting as full of smoke and no ventilation. Also, have some "games" ("key", "claw") which may or may not be rigged and should be avoided. Blackjack uses auto shuffling machines; dealers had an impressive streak of 21 when we were there... Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
When we booked with norweign agent we requested twin bed with recliner and was told this would not be a problem. But when we arrived to our room it was a king size bed with no chair. Upon several calls and hours someone brought my ... Read More
When we booked with norweign agent we requested twin bed with recliner and was told this would not be a problem. But when we arrived to our room it was a king size bed with no chair. Upon several calls and hours someone brought my distilled water and a plastic pool low back for my husband. We had explained upon making reservations that he had a broken neck and needed a high back chair to sleep. We were accused of not making reservations with Norwegian agent because they wouldn't make that mistake. The embankment was ok but really needed a wheel chair for my husband. We did not received the distilled water and breakdown of bed and plastic chair until 10.30 PM. My husband had to sleep sitting on the bed and leaning back on the light with pillows he was unable to sleep more than 2 hours because of the pain. The excursion was terrible I fell asleep on the bus it was so boring the only good part was we stopped to shop but not enough time could only go into one store. The buffet was terrible but the specialty dining was fabulous. The service people were very helpful but everytime we ordered a wheel chair we needed a large and everytime we specified large but it didn't matter we received a small one. My husband was in so much pain from sleeping sitting up that he could not make the excursion. Our person who took care of our room was remarkable and all the dining and bars were wonderful. But with all the problems we had we should have been visited by upper management. On the last day we met the hotel director while he was smoking on the 13th deck. We spoke with him about our issues and he told us he would have a large wheel chair at our room at 8.30 am. No one ever came when our service person called to help us they refused to send someone so we had to make our way down to the 7th deck on our own. There we waited for a large wheelchair to disembark. The gentleman the helped us disembark was fabulous and very well mannered. Overall the cruise was terrible we spent a lot of time in our room because my husband was exhausted and in a lot of pain due to the sleeping conditions. We spoke to several families who had been on many cruises including the couples we were traveling with that this was the worse cruise they had been on and that the buffet was terrible. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2019
Food and service were excellent; however, NCL has a serious problem with design of its mini-suites and the staff's ability to determine reasonable fixes. NCL offered incentives to book mini-suites for two cruises that we booked, one ... Read More
Food and service were excellent; however, NCL has a serious problem with design of its mini-suites and the staff's ability to determine reasonable fixes. NCL offered incentives to book mini-suites for two cruises that we booked, one in April (7 days) and one in June (14 days). The April cruise we just completed became an issue about an hour after we gained access to our cabin. There are no electrical outlets next to the bed headboard. The fix was to string a residential extension cord across the cabin and duct tape it to the floor to allow use of a CPAP machine. We had an 11 year-old grandchild in the cabin; the dangling cord to the floor was a tripping hazard. The larger problem was the bath/shower combination in the mini-suite. The shower was over the bathtub, not a separate unit. This would have been fine if the design used a shower curtain; however, a 3-piece sliding glass door system was installed on top of the tub. It added four (4) inches to the access height. My spouse could not access the tub. Reception immediately send a 6-inch stool to the cabin to correct the problem. The response was so fast it must not be the first time it happened. My spouse attempted to use the stool; however, the fixed pane of the 3-piece glass door restricted access. So, for seven days, my wife had to take "bird baths" in a mini-suite. Our June cruise is on the Norwegian Pearl (same type ship). So, I attempted to obtain help to change our cabin for the upcoming cruise to one that has a usable bathroom. The staff on the Gem (Next Cruise) was rude, no help. The reception desk researched deck plans for the Gem and Pearl and gave helpful advice on which cabins would meet our needs. Caution: If you are 5'4" or less and have two knee replacements or any other medical restrictions, I recommend you avoid mini-suites on the Gem. We are trying to get NCL to revise our cabin assignment to one with only a shower or to one that has separate shower and bath facilities. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2019
Believe in second chances so we thought, why not . We are so wrong. Right from the start, we ran into issues with the hotel in Boston. Shutter bus took an hour to pick us up at the airport. Then, the next day, the driver dropped us off way ... Read More
Believe in second chances so we thought, why not . We are so wrong. Right from the start, we ran into issues with the hotel in Boston. Shutter bus took an hour to pick us up at the airport. Then, the next day, the driver dropped us off way outside the cruise terminal and we had to walk 20 minutes to the entrance. We will never book with Comfort Inn baysidel if we are in Boston again. Checked in at the terminal, long wait because Gem was not ready to receive the passengers even though embarkation began. Below are the following why we will never given Gem a third chance: - Food was still bad. It was cold most of the time and morning coffee at Grand Pacific was not fresh. Services are non existence 80% of the time. Table was never set right and waitresses, and waiters looked angry all the time. Menu selections were bad too and the special nights at fine dinning do not include lobsters nor prawns or better steaks. - Services at Guest Service, OMG. Three issues, they know everything, argumentative and poor oral communication. They have no people skill. - Cabin steward, most part he was okay but there are times we needed to chase him down for supplies because he insufficiently stocking up the supplies after cleaning. - Cruise director is like a ghost. Didn't see him much. Saw him twice the first 4 days of the cruise. Two members of his team, how shall I put it, English was not their first language. - Entertainments was okay from the independent performers but Gem dances and singers, oh gosh, they are bad and loud. Either that they cranked the volume too high. - Orchid Garden food was bad. No taste and took a long tine to be served. - Staff at Trade Wind shops, same thing too. They know it all and they didn't seem to understand when there was a promotional that involved complimentary items, give them to the guests. There should not be hassling just because they wanted to sell. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
Embarkation did not go well. We did not get on the ship until 4 or so. There were a lot of upset people including myself and my husband. The ship was nice and organized. Our balcony cabin was very nice. Dining, well that was ... Read More
Embarkation did not go well. We did not get on the ship until 4 or so. There were a lot of upset people including myself and my husband. The ship was nice and organized. Our balcony cabin was very nice. Dining, well that was another story. We did not have one hot meal from the buffet or the restaurants we ate at. The flounder was not much thicker than a couple of pieces of paper and tasteless. I had the shrimp and mushroom Alfredo a few times and the pasta was not cooked all the way. So I ended up eating a lot of salads and fruit. The only thing hot was the coffee. Entertainment and Activities were good. Service was good. Ports and shore excursions were good until our last port got canceled due to weather going home. Yes we will go again but not in the spring and sorry but not on Norwegian. We didn't travel with children. We went on this cruise for our 47th anniversary and the only thing that the cruise line offered us was a piece of cake in one of the top of the line restaurants. No thank you. 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: January 2019
My friend and I chose this cruise for a winter getaway to some new places and to revisit others. We both speak Spanish and are comfortable on our own in Spanish-speaking countries. Embarkation was organized out of LA; no major hiccups; ... Read More
My friend and I chose this cruise for a winter getaway to some new places and to revisit others. We both speak Spanish and are comfortable on our own in Spanish-speaking countries. Embarkation was organized out of LA; no major hiccups; the typical long lines. Our luggage made its way to our cabin in a reasonable amount of time. We boarded and ate lunch in the main cafeteria shortly afterwards. While there was someone at the entryways with a bottle of hand sanitizer, plus dispensers at each entry, I was surprised that guests were allowed to serve themselves even on the first day. I haven't cruised in a few years - maybe things have changed. I'm more familiar with being served the first few days in an attempt to cut down on germs. We had an inside cabin - and a WONDERFUL steward. Biency is very friendly, immediately learned our names, and was quick to provide whatever he needed. His daily towel animals are treasures. I had the joy of sleeping next the bunk for the third person - had to be careful not to hit my head on the vertical mattress. Since one spends little time in the stateroom, I imagine a family of three could do fine in the cabin. Toiletries and linens were maintained quite well. The shower had a clothesline; I brought plastic hangers and some clothes pins for our 'shower/sink laundry'. Note that Norwegian ships lack public laundries; guests may have their laundry done for $20 per bag. We preferred to do our own. The acoustics in most public areas of the ship are horrendous. Dining was a noisy, and often slow, affair. The seating in the cafeteria was poor and made for a lot of unutilized space. Tables for four with a bench and two chairs usually had two people on the chairs; the benches were low even for tall guests. Circular booths were hard to use; guests used chairs around the exterior and did not use the booths themselves. More so than on any other cruise I have experienced, I found we had to search for too long to find an empty table or else sit in the uncomfortable part of a table with other guests. Food in the cafeteria was basically reminiscent of leftovers. Meat too well cooked; eggs benedict pre-prepared and thus not fresh. They did offer omelets and fried eggs to suit every morning. Plenty of melon, bread, cereal and some yogurt. Bananas and oranges became rather scarce as the days went by. Desserts were not tempting - I did enjoy ice cream on several occasions. Dining rooms were fair, at best. Same problem with acoustics and a few times we were served the wrong food - and after waiting a LONG time. The steaks were unremarkable - seemed cheap and tough. The Orchid Garden is nice; shrimp were overcooked, though. Their menu does not change. Best meals were a couple of outside grilled lunches we had on the last few days of the cruise. Freshly grilled chicken and seafood. The ship has few nooks and crannies - just a few lounges with loud music - and poor singers. Only a few shops - I'm not a shopper; my friend was disappointed. There were only one or two days of shopping on the pool deck; if you bought trinkets in volume you got a reasonably good deal. The ship does have a nice little library - watch the hours as one can only borrow a book at very limited times during the day. The library was always open - a nice quiet respite with a good outside view. The library also has an exchange - so you can give them the book you read on the plane in exchange for one another guest left. Nightly entertainment at 7pm and 9pm - a mix of some good musicians with some not so good juggling and such. Still, an enjoyable experience. During the Panama Canal transit, they opened the bow area for better viewing - as long as you had a front row position - or are tall. They put up a canopy to allow people a chance to get in the shade and kept a flow of food and beverages going throughout the transit. While going through the canal is interesting, I'd personally recommend a land visit to the Miraflores and Gatun locks/visitor centers for a better overall view and understanding. The Miraflores visitor center is a wonderful museum - worthy of a day's adventure. The ship does not stop in Panama; there are no Panama shore excursions. Not a problem for me; some people noted a desire to stop in Panama. I thought the itinerary was clear - pick another cruise if you want a Panamanian stop. Or better, spend a week there. It's marvelous. Pay attention to the shore excursion reviews; too many of them are more about shopping than seeing the sights. The "Discover Puerto Vallarta" tour turned into a shopping tour. We learned nothing about Puerto Vallarta, the economy, etc. Guide left a good half dozen people at one store. When I couldn't find my friend in our group, three blocks later, I told her we had left her at the last shop. Turns out several people did not see her wave her bandanna to let us know we were departing. As with most ship tours, there are stops at stores where the guide presumably gets a cut. It would be way better to have a half hour of free time in a shopping area than 5 or ten minutes in a store. (Or, how about no shopping??? Free time at the end with a later bus pick up for those who want to shop. I personally seek out grocery stores and markets where the locals shop. Not tourist traps.) The online shore excursions for Antigua were not available - due to a timing glitch in the system, I was told, weeks before we cruised. They never fixed it so we could see what the ship offered, so we had to wait until the cruise started. I visited Santa Marta on my own; great experience at the Gold Museum. Free, clean, not crowded, descriptions in English and Spanish. What a marvelous collection of history and artifacts! Lovely old cathedral - and a real grocery store. Good coffee at 1/4 the price of the tourist shops. I had an nice time on this cruise - best parts were Santa Marta on my own and cruising into New York harbor. Americans were by far NOT the only ones waiting to see the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. Impressive skyline. As on most ships, a great escape is a deck chair on the promenade. Only problem was the smoking areas on both the port and starboard sides. It would be great to limit smoking to only one side - if at all. I also smelled smoke at times inside. It permeates; hard to escape. I wouldn't jump to cruise on this ship, or even NCL, again. If the itinerary were perfect, I'd go. But I'd say that Princess and Holland America both offer better overall experiences. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
Great Itinerary. Embarkation in LA was very easy. Stayed in Mini Suite 11020. Room was quite clean and had plenty of storage. Our room steward was excellent. I was very disappointed with the entertainment in the main venue. This was a ... Read More
Great Itinerary. Embarkation in LA was very easy. Stayed in Mini Suite 11020. Room was quite clean and had plenty of storage. Our room steward was excellent. I was very disappointed with the entertainment in the main venue. This was a 19-day cruise and the ensemble only performed 3 times on the main stage. The 3 performances were excellent! I have been on shorter cruises and the ensembles performed much more. The remaining acts were quite average. There was a singer who professed to be a "Soul Singer" and he was really bad. The highlight of shipboard entertainment was in the various lounges where there was an excellent band, an above average piano -man, and a most excellent Singer/guitarist named Leo Joelstad. The restaurant service was much slower than I have come to expect on NCL. This was true in all restaurants. Bar service was mostly good. The food...By far the poorest quality of food that I have encountered at sea. This is my 7th NCL cruise and I have never felt this way about the food. Shore excursions were typical, had a really good tour to Antigua, Guatemala. My wife raved about a tour to a "horse ranch" in Nicaragua. Wonderful "Beach Time" in Cabo. Others onboard raved about excursions in Cartagena, Colombia. Oh yeah, wonderful snorkel tour in Bonaire!! Disembarkation in NYC was by far the worst of any ship I have been on. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
This was our first cruise with NCL and chose this cruise due to the 11 ports included in this daylight Panama Canal transit. The ports were all great and enjoyable. The spacing of sea days and ports was excellent. 3 days of ports, 1 ... Read More
This was our first cruise with NCL and chose this cruise due to the 11 ports included in this daylight Panama Canal transit. The ports were all great and enjoyable. The spacing of sea days and ports was excellent. 3 days of ports, 1 sea day, 3 days of ports, 1 sea day, etc. Embarkation was smooth, with the normal delays. Disembarkation was a disaster, stood in line for more than 90 minutes after our purple 2 code was called. Then received extremely rude and poor transfer service from the NCL contracted bus line. Bus driver intentionally dropped off half the passengers at the wrong terminal. Ship: In good shape, and common areas were clean and constantly cleaned Cabin: 8590. this is a sideways cabin, partially obstructed view and the location was convenient and quiet. Dining: Food in the main dining rooms and buffet was consistently stale and Luke warm. We only got a decent meal if it was an omelet prepared in front of us or something that was intended to be cold like a salad. The fountain drinks were watered down. Entertainment: Best I've seen after 15 cruises. If you cruise with NCL and SWING is the show do NOT miss it. Broadway quality. Great show band, with 3 piece brass section Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
We sailed on the Norwegian Gem on the Panama Canal cruise from January 27 through February 15, 2019. The cruise was sold out. The formal dining facilities are very nice. The buffet ... well, not so much. Caution - if you choose the ... Read More
We sailed on the Norwegian Gem on the Panama Canal cruise from January 27 through February 15, 2019. The cruise was sold out. The formal dining facilities are very nice. The buffet ... well, not so much. Caution - if you choose the complimentary beverage package (provided it is available), you have to pay the 18% gratuity on the overly inflated "retail value" of the package. I believe the gratuity alone was over $300 per person, or $600 per cabin. I suspect we drank less than $600 of drinks while we were on the ship. Our stateroom location was a nightmare. See further description below. Though the room steward was outstanding. Pool bar bartenders were rude and pool wait staff were nearly non-existent. We had to get our drinks ourselves ... after having paid a $300+ gratuity up-front. There is clearly not enough public space for all passengers on board. Ship excursions were fairly boring and the tendering process was horrendous. What was supposed to be the cruise of a lifetime turned into a huge disappointment. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2019
My wife and I have just returned from the Panama Canal cruise out of New York in January 19. We travelled with adult friends and no children. The embarkation in New York was easy to get to, well organised and very smooth - not the same ... Read More
My wife and I have just returned from the Panama Canal cruise out of New York in January 19. We travelled with adult friends and no children. The embarkation in New York was easy to get to, well organised and very smooth - not the same could be said for the disembarkation in LA - what a disaster. Whilst the cruise itinerary, restaurant and bar staff were great, the food lacked variety and was very limited - one of our friends is diabetic and it was very limiting for him (NCL you have done better than this). Being on the ship for 18 days - some variation in the buffet section for lunch and supper would have been welcome, the breakfast was not much better. The fruit provided on board was generally disgusting. We basically had the same food for 18 days. The ship docked in very remote industrial ports resulting in additional costs for travel into town - almost forcing the NCL excursions on us. In one case we were to dock in Puntarenas but were taken to Puerto Caldera and advised that it would cost $15.00 per person for a bus into Puntarenas. The live bands and musical entertainment was the poorest I have experienced on a cruise ship to date. The internet service provided was expensive and slow. The positives - the cabin was clean and well serviced. The staff ( with exception of the administration) was excellent. The narrator providing us with facts and information on the Panama Canal was excellent. Overall - the ship is showing its age - not what I expect from our preferred cruise line! you can do better than this NCL - I know this because I have experienced it in the past. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
This ship definitely due for a refurbish as evidenced by railing on top deck having been replaced by unpainted patch work 2x4 planking. First ship ever to offer splinters while leaning on railing. Theater seating uncomfortable and ... Read More
This ship definitely due for a refurbish as evidenced by railing on top deck having been replaced by unpainted patch work 2x4 planking. First ship ever to offer splinters while leaning on railing. Theater seating uncomfortable and entertainment well below prior sailings with NCL. Food was mediocre and the Big Screen TV area had seating for about 80 people on a ship transporting over 2000...go figure. Television viewing in-room was on a very small screen with one movie station, one tv station other than 3 news and 2 sports. walking deck 7 frequently had closed areas for maintenance though none was witnessed. Upper decks were often closed for high winds. given the fact the ship traveled at 23 knots I have come to expect high winds to be a given on Cruise Ships. Why else surround the deck with glass panels? Cagney Steak restaurant served my steak RARE and draining blood.... although ordered MEDIUM. Even after sending back to kitchen for additional cooking it came back medium RARE...less blood but at least warm in center...the baked potato was well cooked and delicious. I should not complain though as it was a complimentary dinner for my Platinum traveler status and it came with a very good Australian wine. The Vintage Railway shore excursion in Costa Rico was well below advertisement. After discussing with the onboard representative they offered a 30% discount...which never showed on room billing. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
We had a package which consisted of QM2 from Southampton to New York, transfer to Norwegian Gem for a cruise around the Caribbean and back to New York, one night in New York and then back on the QM2 to return to Southampton. The contrast ... Read More
We had a package which consisted of QM2 from Southampton to New York, transfer to Norwegian Gem for a cruise around the Caribbean and back to New York, one night in New York and then back on the QM2 to return to Southampton. The contrast between the two ships could not have been greater. As expected the QM2 was brilliant at sailing through extremely rough weather (force 11 and 12 winds and high seas. There was plenty to do without going outside when it was rough, lots of excellent speakers each day, the Planetarium, quizzes, bridge, whist, board games, dancing, a good gym and spa, lots of quiet spaces to just sit and read or do the crossword etc. Good shops, good music at times in the various lounges (not always to everyones taste but most people could find something), excellent staff and good food offerings in the restaurants and bars. We tend not to do the shows but heard that other people enjoyed them. Prices are high in the bars and the shops. On to the Norwegian Gem! Peace was shattered - there was loud music almost everywhere in the ship. And although 600-700 of us had gone from the QM2 the majority of passengers were American, and some Americans can be loud which added to the overall sound levels. The small library was a place of refuge, but only for a few. The intellectual challenges available were limited to a crossword every day - obviously very American but this is the first time I have come across an ampersand in a crossword! We liked the ability to eat when and where we liked - no fixed dining, or even table, and a good selection of places to get food - both complimentary or at additional charge. However the menus did not change much in the different places - the lunch buffet had the same things each day, the outdoor grill had burgers, hot dogs, pizza and chilli, every day. Salads were pathetic with little choice. And the main dining room had similar lunch menus each day. Disappointing but the quality of food was quite good. We visited several Caribbean islands and the ship organised Port Shopping Talks. Not Port talks - just about the shopping. There was absolutely no information about the various places we visited except a map of the shopping area with a few special shops highlighted - expensive ones naturally. Every other cruise ship I had been on has provided passengers with a sheet of information about the places we visit - a map with places of interest marked, the currency used, taxi rates etc. But nothing from NCL - I suppose we were just expect to make their tours - expensive as always. We declined the offer. We had an all inclusive drinks package (this includes 1l of water per person per day - we didn’t know that and bought another 6l to start us off before we embarked!). This makes it much easier to just order another drink at any time - which many people took advantage of. A pint of beer or a cocktail at 10.00 in the morning wasn’t a totally usual sight but to be fair we saw very few real drunk around the ship, although I can’t comment on the nightclubs or the casino (where smoking was allowed!). Another minor niggle was the size of the sheets on the beds! They were too small and couldn’t be tucked in so if you turned over a couple of times in the night you often found yourself sleeping on the mattress cover. Not for us but I’m sure younger people who want to party would enjoy it Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2018
Leaving out of New York is super easy. You just need to learn to navigate the streets and plan your trip. The embarkation process was fine. The young lady had an attitude and was slow in checking us in but we were able to board right away. ... Read More
Leaving out of New York is super easy. You just need to learn to navigate the streets and plan your trip. The embarkation process was fine. The young lady had an attitude and was slow in checking us in but we were able to board right away. Welcome aboard was nice when we first entered the ship. Overall crew and staff were nice. This ship is bare bones though, entertainment was just ok, the activities from the cruise director were sparse. Bars were ok, some great bartenders like Joel and Ketut. Mary Ann in Magenta is wonderful! My overall complaint with this ship is that the lunch served in the buffet is the same every single day. The have a huge salad bar station with little ingredients, pizza, a pasta station which is the same every day. Vegetarian section which is basically a combination of the salad bar and stir fried vegetables everyday. Asian section for lunch was a joke...it had stir fried vegetables (same as vegetarian section), a fried rice and an indian dish. NO creativity on this ship what so ever. In the main dining room the menu is literally the same. This was an 11 days cruise and the main dining room had the same menu every single lunch. Sad! We have been a sister ship, the Jade, and the food was speictauar on it. The Gem needs to look at what it offers its passengers. I don't recommend this ship unless you want one with very little to do. Poorly managed Splash Academy. 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

Find a Norwegian Gem Cruise

Easily compare prices from multiple sites with one click
Compare and book excursions for your next cruise