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I think what made our stay on-board the Gem so nice were some of the hardworking staff on the ship who were friendly and accommodating towards us. We had some nice conversations with them and enjoyed learning about their cultures. According to the cruise director there are 65 different nationalities on-board the ship. Our cabin was great; we had the mini suite. We absolutely love our stateroom steward; she was very kind and hospitable towards us. DINING The best place to dine on the ship is the Magenta Dining Room (which is included in your ticket cost) because of the atmosphere and the attention to food taste and quality. It was very good. We had an amazing server in the Magenta Dining Room who really went out of his way to make us feel special. Originally we had the dining package, but after trying the "specialty restaurants" we realized it was all the same food, just entree names changed around a little, maybe a few different ingredient changes here and there. The Rock and Roll sushi was amazing in the Asian Restaurant. If you want to spend a little money on going out, this one is the one to go to. The desserts were really good at the Asian restaurant too. Le Bistro was really good, but not so good you'd want to spend $80 on it. You can get the same food / quality at the Magenta DR without paying extra. Use the extra money you'd spend at Le Bistro to leave a nice tip for your server and whomever is helping them. The tiramisu at La Cuchina is NOT good (if you know how to make tiramisu yourself). I would say avoid this "specialty restaurant," it's a big fail. I don't know how, but the Magenta Dining Room had a pesto gnocci that was way better than what came out of La Cuchina. We didn't like O'Sheehan's restaurant. Cranky servers and bad food. But the manager noted this and maybe he'll make some changes. AGE OF CRUISERS I found that this cruise had a lot of elderly people (much more than I expected). There were very few young people in their 20's or 30's on this cruise. I'd say the median age was 50's and up. There were a lot of older cruisers from Germany, Canada, France and A LOT from Long Island. BUFFET The buffet as another reviewer said was absolutely haphazard. They have two buffet areas on the same end of the ship and they were all congested and no one cared to run you over if you were in their way. This place is not for people with high anxiety. That said, the buffet was a good place to get a quick breakfast around 6:30 AM when they open and then get on with your day. Trust me, by 9:00 AM you'll be cursing about how rude everyone is. If you want to brave the buffet around 11:00 AM you might find a delicious indian curry hidden like a jewel among the rest of the mediocre food and you can seat yourself in La Cuchina's dining room away from the crowded mess. The outside buffet was good for getting some ice cream or a quick dessert, steamed vegetables and rice if you wanted to keep it healthier. COMMON AREAS My husband and I spent a lot of time in the card room on sea days playing monopoly and scrabble. It was fun listening to the french canadian folks playing bridge and some other cruisers brought in some Whitney Houston on their radio and we were singing along with them while we all went about our games. We also went to the fitness center and then the basketball court and enjoyed shooting some hoops. We enjoyed walking around Deck 7 on the promenade when the weather got nice and warm. We stayed away from the pool area for the most part because it got way too congested. We once tried to go on the water slide around noon and were denied from going on it because it "wasn't open yet." We didn't like that they were preventing people from going down the slide whenever they wanted to. We didn't think that was "freestyle cruising." It never felt like the rock wall was open. I never saw it open actually. We also never saw the tennis or volleyball courts in operation. SODA PACKAGE: We had the soda package, but we found it hard to actually get a soda when we wanted it. There were no drink stations where you could just grab one. You had to go to one of the bars and sometimes they didn't open soon enough so you could get a drink. The guy working in the bar in the morning at Spinnaker seemed to take delight in telling us that he was closed (even when he should have been opened). We got Lavazza coffee from the Atrium Bar in the morning and the woman from Indonesia (I didn't get her name), was really nice and remembered what we ordered the next time we came down for a coffee. EXCURSIONS: The catamaran excursions were the most fun. We did those in St. Lucia and St. Thomas. St. Thomas had the best snorkeling on the Dancing Dolphin catamaran (Champagne Catamaran Sail & Snorkel). They gave good instructions on how to snorkel properly and told us where the coral reefs were. The catamaran at St. Lucia took us to the Pitons and it was very picturesque. Loved that one, although there wasn't enough time to snorkel there. It seemed rushed. There were a few other boats in the same spot doing snorkeling too making it too congested there. Unless you're cool with just laying in a lounge chair with a bunch of other people around you, avoid the Barbados Beach Break; it was a congested mess. Too many people; the guys with the drinks were charging $3 for a bottle of coca cola. We did like the roti curry being made there though. That was the best part about the excursion actually. We ended up going on a boat and doing some snorkeling and seeing a shipwreck and sea turtles for $10 a piece. That was for about an hour. After the excursion, we got back on the ship for the rest of the day because Barbados was a bit too scary for my taste. In Antigua we did the photo tour and had decent fun. Although it was fun, I probably would have preferred to explore the beaches of Antigua and do more snorkeling. Long Bay beach is the place to go if you want to be at the beach for the day. This is what I really disliked about this cruise I don't like how they are trying to sell you something at every event on the ship. We went to a raffle for the Mandara Spa and they were trying to sell us another cruise and trying to get us to buy more stuff. They're constantly trying to sell something to you and it's REALLY annoying. I already paid a hefty price for the cruise and for gratuities. If I'm going to pay more for something it will be to those who gave me outstanding service. I joked with my husband at one point that the ship was like a giant tourist trap and there's someone around every corner trying to get you to give them your money. NCL needs to cool it! This is what I most enjoyed about the cruise: The antibacterial staff! WASHY WASHY HAPPY HAPPY! And WASHY WASHY, ALL THE TIME, MY FRIEND! Your hands had no bacteria when you wanted to go eat. And no one got norovirus or bronchitis even though one older woman thoughtlessly coughed directly into the breakfast buffet. I feel like I have at least two new family members (There are more than a few gems on the Norwegian Gem). And I'll never forget the cruise ports we visited and our snorkeling adventures. Will I cruise again? Probably not. I'm planning a flight to the Philippines instead. The beaches there are amazing and I want to stay on the beach and snorkel / dive longer than just an hour. Thanks to the great staff and their varied culture on the Norwegian Gem, I'm inspired to see a new country.

Highlight of this cruise is some of the hardworking staff

Norwegian Gem Cruise Review by adkgal79

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: February 2019
  • Destination: Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Mini-Suite with Balcony
I think what made our stay on-board the Gem so nice were some of the hardworking staff on the ship who were friendly and accommodating towards us. We had some nice conversations with them and enjoyed learning about their cultures. According to the cruise director there are 65 different nationalities on-board the ship. Our cabin was great; we had the mini suite. We absolutely love our stateroom steward; she was very kind and hospitable towards us.

DINING

The best place to dine on the ship is the Magenta Dining Room (which is included in your ticket cost) because of the atmosphere and the attention to food taste and quality. It was very good. We had an amazing server in the Magenta Dining Room who really went out of his way to make us feel special. Originally we had the dining package, but after trying the "specialty restaurants" we realized it was all the same food, just entree names changed around a little, maybe a few different ingredient changes here and there.

The Rock and Roll sushi was amazing in the Asian Restaurant. If you want to spend a little money on going out, this one is the one to go to. The desserts were really good at the Asian restaurant too.

Le Bistro was really good, but not so good you'd want to spend $80 on it. You can get the same food / quality at the Magenta DR without paying extra. Use the extra money you'd spend at Le Bistro to leave a nice tip for your server and whomever is helping them.

The tiramisu at La Cuchina is NOT good (if you know how to make tiramisu yourself). I would say avoid this "specialty restaurant," it's a big fail. I don't know how, but the Magenta Dining Room had a pesto gnocci that was way better than what came out of La Cuchina.

We didn't like O'Sheehan's restaurant. Cranky servers and bad food. But the manager noted this and maybe he'll make some changes.

AGE OF CRUISERS

I found that this cruise had a lot of elderly people (much more than I expected). There were very few young people in their 20's or 30's on this cruise. I'd say the median age was 50's and up. There were a lot of older cruisers from Germany, Canada, France and A LOT from Long Island.

BUFFET

The buffet as another reviewer said was absolutely haphazard. They have two buffet areas on the same end of the ship and they were all congested and no one cared to run you over if you were in their way. This place is not for people with high anxiety. That said, the buffet was a good place to get a quick breakfast around 6:30 AM when they open and then get on with your day. Trust me, by 9:00 AM you'll be cursing about how rude everyone is. If you want to brave the buffet around 11:00 AM you might find a delicious indian curry hidden like a jewel among the rest of the mediocre food and you can seat yourself in La Cuchina's dining room away from the crowded mess. The outside buffet was good for getting some ice cream or a quick dessert, steamed vegetables and rice if you wanted to keep it healthier.

COMMON AREAS

My husband and I spent a lot of time in the card room on sea days playing monopoly and scrabble. It was fun listening to the french canadian folks playing bridge and some other cruisers brought in some Whitney Houston on their radio and we were singing along with them while we all went about our games. We also went to the fitness center and then the basketball court and enjoyed shooting some hoops. We enjoyed walking around Deck 7 on the promenade when the weather got nice and warm. We stayed away from the pool area for the most part because it got way too congested. We once tried to go on the water slide around noon and were denied from going on it because it "wasn't open yet." We didn't like that they were preventing people from going down the slide whenever they wanted to. We didn't think that was "freestyle cruising." It never felt like the rock wall was open. I never saw it open actually. We also never saw the tennis or volleyball courts in operation.

SODA PACKAGE:

We had the soda package, but we found it hard to actually get a soda when we wanted it. There were no drink stations where you could just grab one. You had to go to one of the bars and sometimes they didn't open soon enough so you could get a drink. The guy working in the bar in the morning at Spinnaker seemed to take delight in telling us that he was closed (even when he should have been opened). We got Lavazza coffee from the Atrium Bar in the morning and the woman from Indonesia (I didn't get her name), was really nice and remembered what we ordered the next time we came down for a coffee.

EXCURSIONS:

The catamaran excursions were the most fun. We did those in St. Lucia and St. Thomas. St. Thomas had the best snorkeling on the Dancing Dolphin catamaran (Champagne Catamaran Sail & Snorkel). They gave good instructions on how to snorkel properly and told us where the coral reefs were.

The catamaran at St. Lucia took us to the Pitons and it was very picturesque. Loved that one, although there wasn't enough time to snorkel there. It seemed rushed. There were a few other boats in the same spot doing snorkeling too making it too congested there.

Unless you're cool with just laying in a lounge chair with a bunch of other people around you, avoid the Barbados Beach Break; it was a congested mess. Too many people; the guys with the drinks were charging $3 for a bottle of coca cola. We did like the roti curry being made there though. That was the best part about the excursion actually. We ended up going on a boat and doing some snorkeling and seeing a shipwreck and sea turtles for $10 a piece. That was for about an hour. After the excursion, we got back on the ship for the rest of the day because Barbados was a bit too scary for my taste.

In Antigua we did the photo tour and had decent fun. Although it was fun, I probably would have preferred to explore the beaches of Antigua and do more snorkeling. Long Bay beach is the place to go if you want to be at the beach for the day.

This is what I really disliked about this cruise

I don't like how they are trying to sell you something at every event on the ship. We went to a raffle for the Mandara Spa and they were trying to sell us another cruise and trying to get us to buy more stuff. They're constantly trying to sell something to you and it's REALLY annoying. I already paid a hefty price for the cruise and for gratuities. If I'm going to pay more for something it will be to those who gave me outstanding service. I joked with my husband at one point that the ship was like a giant tourist trap and there's someone around every corner trying to get you to give them your money. NCL needs to cool it!

This is what I most enjoyed about the cruise:

The antibacterial staff! WASHY WASHY HAPPY HAPPY! And WASHY WASHY, ALL THE TIME, MY FRIEND! Your hands had no bacteria when you wanted to go eat. And no one got norovirus or bronchitis even though one older woman thoughtlessly coughed directly into the breakfast buffet.

I feel like I have at least two new family members (There are more than a few gems on the Norwegian Gem). And I'll never forget the cruise ports we visited and our snorkeling adventures.

Will I cruise again? Probably not. I'm planning a flight to the Philippines instead. The beaches there are amazing and I want to stay on the beach and snorkel / dive longer than just an hour. Thanks to the great staff and their varied culture on the Norwegian Gem, I'm inspired to see a new country.
adkgal79’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Mini-Suite with Balcony
Cabin MB 11630
This room had an excellent view; the sunsets were gorgeous and we could see the scenery of the ports really well. We left our door open all night and the sea air made sleeping very peaceful and refreshing. The room was spotless because our stateroom steward was very attentive to us (and I'm sure it was like this for everyone on our floor). There was plenty of space for clothing and the bathroom was spacious for a ship too.
Deck 11 Inside Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews