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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.

Cutting corners

Norwegian Gem Cruise Review by travelirl

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2019
  • Destination: Bermuda
  • Cabin Type: Balcony
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.
travelirl’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin BB
The cabin is run down. The bedspread had small stains. The was some smudges (handprints) on the walls. The furniture and fixtures were run down.
The people serving us however, were working hard. This was not their fault.
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