Norwegian Gem Cruise Review by all4gizmo
- Sail Date: March 2019
- Destination: Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Courtyard Villa with Balcony
I booked this cruise over a year ago after a fantastic experience in the Haven in 2016. for this trip I paid full price for my 2 bedroom courtyard villa. With that being said, I noticed some significant changes in the service on the Gem. I am not one to complain about service since I come from a customer service industry and I know how hard the staff works.. However, you can noticeably see the cut backs that NCL has made in the staff.
In the past when we have gone to specialty restaurants the service has been exceptional. That was the case in La Cucina, but not the case in Cagney's for dinner. Dinner service in Cagney's was extremely slow, slow to the point where we were going to leave without eating. There were very few servers and wait staff. There were also more exceptions to the specialty dining program. You were informed before you order; one soup or starter, one entree and one dessert. and some entrees had an up-charge that were not listed on the menu when I used my platinum certificate in Le Bistro.. Which by the way was not a good meal. Not to be rude, and I did not complain to the server, but I went to the buffet after the meal ended. the escargot was good and so was the dessert.. my entree was not good...
This cruise made me re-think booking my next trip on NCL even though I bought cruise next certificates. I spent a significant amount of money on this cruise, paying it off little by little. Having done the Haven once before we were so excited to live the Haven experience again with the same expectation of service.. Last trip our courtyard valet was extremely visible.. as soon as you put your empty drink down, you had a refill whether you were in the courtyard itself or on the sundeck on 15. While our courtyard valet this trip was very friendly, but he wasn't nearly as attentive. There were a few families that went and got their own drinks from Bali Hai and there were some that used their phones to call to get drinks. If you were on 15 floor sundeck the chances of getting anything were significantly less. I might have been better off in the main pool, but that would have defeated the entire purpose of booking the Haven. Our butler Teo was absolutely fantastic. But, our concierge was a ghost. I saw him when we got our key cards and that was it. Then midway thru our trip a different concierge appears. That was odd, but I had pre-booked the majority of my dinners online before I left and went to dining reservations on 7 to change a reservation and used the on-board app for the rest. I was my own concierge.
Pre-dinner music and drinks has always been one of my favorite thing to do every time that I have been on the Gem. I love going to Shakers/Magnums to listen to the music and have a glass of wine.. It is always busy around that time and this trip it wasn't any different.. the difference was there were only 3 servers for the two bars with a huge crowd. The first night i went to the bar to get my own drinks. The second I waited to be served. It took almost a half hour for a server to get to us. Yes, I could have gone to get my own drink, again, but honestly I am on vacation. I shouldn't have to chase a server. Once we were served, I of course tipped my server... I'm not sure if that was what made him more attentive to our table, but I'm pretty sure it helped. I noticed that many people did not tip the bar tenders and wait staff this trip.. Maybe because they feel that it is included in their fare or it could be it's just a Brooklyn thing and I tip everyone...
While my experience may differ from someone else, I'm not sure that I am willing to spend my hard earned money for the Haven on the Gem again. I do have another cruise already booked and paid for on the Escape in August, but after considering the cost and price checking other lines I opted to try another line for my cruise after. This has nothing to do with the staff, everyone was extremely friendly and hard working as always, but there was just less staff to handle the number of guests on board and service suffered because of that.
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