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Sail Date: December 2010
This ship is only 3 years old so it's in great condition with most things being almost new. The only exception is the casino which has that "very smoked in" environment. The non-smoking section of the casino is in the middle ... Read More
This ship is only 3 years old so it's in great condition with most things being almost new. The only exception is the casino which has that "very smoked in" environment. The non-smoking section of the casino is in the middle of the casino, so yes the smoking goes around it. Made no sense to me, so being allergic I didn't spend much time there. The new ships have a few high end shopping stores but unless you are into Jewelry there is not much interest. They lead you to believe there are several dining options however the 3 main dining options are all the same only the rooms are different. Same menu and food coming from the same kitchen. There is a pub that offers a few pub like items. The last 2 days of the cruise the menu in the pub changed for the worse. NCL explains they are giving people more dining options by having one menu that is included in the price you paid for the cruise and then a tier system for higher priced dining items which you could pay extra for. This is for the guests benefit.... ??? They have an arcade, bowling, games onboard but all of these cost extra. Food was good slightly better than on the smaller, older ships. The entertainment choices are wider. Rather than just watch the nightly broadway type show in the theatre you can also go to a comedy club, or dancing in Bliss, go listen to Jazz in Fat Cats so there are many options. The famous NCL white hot party is now the GLOW party. I preferred the white hot. It was a lot of hype and the DJ transforms all the songs into Dance music so they all sound the same. Really how much time does one want to spend jumping up and down. That's not dancing. Those who like to dance and listen to songs that don't all sound the same left early so that's shame. Past cruises we used to look forward to this party. It probably doesn't help the average age of guests on board are approx. 65. I would recommend this ship if you get a "deal". Then you get your moneys worth. Cruise On. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
NCL has become a low end cruise line, maybe one notch up from Carnival.. Meals were hardly varied, poor entree choices, in attentive waitstaff, no main dining room ambience, noisy and congested seating. Waiters around constantly ... Read More
NCL has become a low end cruise line, maybe one notch up from Carnival.. Meals were hardly varied, poor entree choices, in attentive waitstaff, no main dining room ambience, noisy and congested seating. Waiters around constantly flapping tablecloths, rattling silverware while re setting tables. Just like being in a crowded neighborhood restaurant. No flowers on the tables, some had candles, not all were lit. Never saw a Maitre'd or assistant. The atmosphere was like get them in and out fast. It is evident that there is a push to have passengers use the specialty restaurants. Lunch buffets were always the same as were the breakfast buffets. Good ice cream station. There is very little room for dancing on this ship. The Spinnaker Lounge was a decent venue but the music played there was not suitable for dancing. The lounge was used for bingo, and some shows. A lot of what was public space on the Gem has been converted to specialty restaurants or bars. Production shows were very amateurish, comedian was ok. The acrobatic duo was the best. Cruise director, Dan Dan was very talented, funny and conducted some very good passenger participation shows. One of the worst and unacceptable conditions was the messy, dirty public bathrooms. All five that I used on the first two cruise days were in terrible condition....wet floors, paper all over the floors and counters......just yucky. I complained to guest services and there was an improvement in the days following. Morning room service was excellent. We always got our order on time. Room steward was ok. Not very friendly. Had to ask for ice several days. On board credit could not be used for gratuities. If you did not buy something on the ship, you lost it.....non refundable so they said. Bought some liquor on the last night just to use it up. No more NCL Cruises for me, would rather pay a little more for a better experience. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2015
It is so hard to recapture the 1st cruise experience. The food the 2nd time around seemed mediocre, cafeteria quality. Cleanliness no where near what you would expect for that many staff, lots of room service dishes lingering in the ... Read More
It is so hard to recapture the 1st cruise experience. The food the 2nd time around seemed mediocre, cafeteria quality. Cleanliness no where near what you would expect for that many staff, lots of room service dishes lingering in the hallway and one night I passed a half eaten pastry near the elevators...it was still there the next morning. Biggest bummer of all, the youth club did not win our kids over, at all. My daughter said it was phys ed games and boring. The thermal spa pass was hard to use because it was constantly overcrowded, I felt cheated having paid all that $ for it. We paid for two passes, had to take turns because the kids didn't like kids club and when we got there all the chaises, thermal benches, etc were occupied. I had a decent massage, but it ended with a ridiculously pushy and judgmental up-sell to buy overpriced products. Our only shore excursion was the Dolphin Encounter on Tortola. The pricing to participate was high enough, but both grandparents and 3 yr old sibling all had to pay an individual observer fee to join us. The bathrooms were gross, and the staff did not provide clear direction upon our arrival. I had no idea what was going on For the price you would expect cleaner facilities and a little more attention to patrons. The dolphins were beautiful. People were intense over the lounge chairs when we had good weather. There were several arguments, it was stressful and "combative." Who needs that? They do not have any staff monitoring or helping to keep the peace. My daughter loved the shows each night. I loved the ports of call. Old San Juan on a Saturday night was so fun and the local food was amazing! St Maarten and St Thomas had great taxi drivers- fun and affordable for beautiful days at the beach. Do Coral World on your own...our taxi driver gave us coupons! We saved so much money by not signing up for the shore excursion. The rainbow lorikeet garden was such an awesome opportunity, the sea lion, and sea turtle were gorgeous. Plenty iguanas hanging out. I truly wish I had tried a different cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
Our steward Katherine was fantastic, taking care of our needs & leaving great towel animals at night for our daughter. You can't beat the variety, selection, and abundance of different types of food; we ate at all the ... Read More
Our steward Katherine was fantastic, taking care of our needs & leaving great towel animals at night for our daughter. You can't beat the variety, selection, and abundance of different types of food; we ate at all the different dining rooms and quality was very high. Nick, the shopping director, was fantastic; his seminars were very informative and his island onsite help with jewelry purchases was invaluable. Fitness Center was well equiped and staff didnt bug you unless you asked for help. Captain has a great sense of humor and we looked forward to his morning messages. Stops/islands had much to do but not so much time in some locations. Sort of whetted the appetite to come back though. Great entertainment! Dan Dan was his own entertainment. Great overall customer focused and attentive service. Thank you!! Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
We had the best times of our life ,our cabin steward was Arnel,he went above and beyond the call of duty. What ever we needed for our cabin I would leave him a note and he would take of it. The entertainment was quite good. The event ... Read More
We had the best times of our life ,our cabin steward was Arnel,he went above and beyond the call of duty. What ever we needed for our cabin I would leave him a note and he would take of it. The entertainment was quite good. The event coordinator Big Ben was great he made my day he funny,knowledgable ,and helpful. The food was very good,we had breakfast every morning at the Grand Pacific. We enjoyed it at the specialty restaurants, La Cucina, Cagneys, Moderno's and Orchid Garden. The food and servers excellent. A special thanks to our food server at LaCucina,Amira Chow, she went out of way to make sure everything was perfect. The excursions we did through the ship in my opinion were reasonably priced and ver interesting . We look forward in the future for doing another cruise With NCL. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
My boyfriend and I have travel on the Gem before in 2013 to Bahamas and it was perfect, now 2 years later Gem still meets high standards of Customer Satisfaction. The crew makes you want to be there and the food i see has changed a little ... Read More
My boyfriend and I have travel on the Gem before in 2013 to Bahamas and it was perfect, now 2 years later Gem still meets high standards of Customer Satisfaction. The crew makes you want to be there and the food i see has changed a little but it was more variety of food this time which was so good. The thing i enjoy the most is karaoke at night in Bliss. The service on board was great. The only thing i don't like is the rock climbing is never open. I'm hoping when i come back on in May 2016 after the ship get done over it will be open. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
A definite pleasure cruise overall for this old-timer and seasoned cruise fanatic. This was our second time cruising on the NCL Gem, using a Future Cruise Certificate from the previous trip on the Gem last year. We enjoyed all the food ... Read More
A definite pleasure cruise overall for this old-timer and seasoned cruise fanatic. This was our second time cruising on the NCL Gem, using a Future Cruise Certificate from the previous trip on the Gem last year. We enjoyed all the food and variety. Tried out two specialty restaurants, the Italian and then the French cuisine, the French Restaurant was very much better than the other. The main production show were great. The dancing venue, music and the band was good. We particularly loved the smooth jazz music within our inside cabin room played on the ship front-view channel. The O'Sheehan Restaurant is a 24/7 free eating place that is one of my favorites, and they also allow you to order food to take back to the cabin. This time around we had a different captain (Captain Lars B.) who was a delight to hear everyday due to his enthusiastically exuberant and whimsical personality. If you have read this far, I'll mention briefly some suggested improvements I'd like to see. Recently, lobster was taken off the main menu of the freestyle main restaurants, but as a concession so-to-speak, there is a lobster type meal the 1st night in the buffet that has lobster and noodles mixed, but very little volume of lobster. It is of course possible to buy lobster in some of the pay specialty restaurants. Because the food overall is of great taste for us, maybe the lack of lobster can be tolerated, but it will be factored into plans on which cruise lines to go on. Another, issue is that the onboard credit (OBC) derived from the Future Cruise Certificate is extremely limited in use, which we feel is cause to claim improper advertising. That OBC cannot be used for at least 3 things that I would have wanted to use it against - 1-the daily gratuity/service charge, 2-casino gaming, 3-purchase of the cruise. The room service menu is OK generally, but the breakfast room service lacks hot food items such as eggs and sausage. The lack of eggs, etc. for breakfast room service does take away from the grand highlight of the cruising experience which we would like to see changed on NCL. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
We took this 10 day cruise out of NYC & it was great! Entertainment staff were great. Especially liked 'Big Ben' & Mandy and Gio, our cruise director. We got the UBP for free which was nice to have. Husband ... Read More
We took this 10 day cruise out of NYC & it was great! Entertainment staff were great. Especially liked 'Big Ben' & Mandy and Gio, our cruise director. We got the UBP for free which was nice to have. Husband probably got more use out of it than me, but was nice to have it. Dined at the specialty restaurant Teppanyaki & that was very good. Lots of food though, bit too much for both of us, but food was cooked really well & fun show while doing it. I liked the shrimp best, nicest shrimp I have ever tasted. Filet Mignon was just okay. Asked for medium rare, was more like medium, & not super tender. Would get the shrimp & scallops next time. Buffet was okay, good selection for breakfast, lunch & dinner. Nothing to write home about though. Magenta dining room was nice, but service was slow the night we went (1st full sea day at around 7pm). Grand Pacific was better, quick service & nice food. Hubby is a piggy & ordered 3 appetizers there when we went & they didn't question that, so feel free to experiment & order different things. Bingo was fun, I am a big bingo player. I won $118 but paid way more than that during the week. lol Basic package started at $39 for one sheet for each game. $49 for 2 sheets for each game. Or $69 for a big package with 2 sheets, single strip, some pull tabs, raffle tickets (for free cruise) & t-shirt (or extra raffle tickets). Shows in the evening were good. I only saw a couple, but husband saw most of them & liked them all. His favorite was the comedian. I liked the World Dance/Singing night. That was great! Kids 'splash' club was great. We used that a lot for our twin 9yr old girls. They didn't want to leave the ship or their new friends. They spent every day in the club! Daytime activities on ship were good, something to always do. Only complaint was that the craft sessions all seemed to be the same thing... paper folding. One day it was a crane, another day a frog, another day a box, all paper folding. Would have been nice to see some different crafts like card making, scrapbooking, painting, jewelry, stitching etc. Casino was fun, lost a bunch of money in there though & not great perks. Spent a few hundred & at the end of the cruise I had earned $5. lol Spa was nice, went there & got 4 services - mini facial, hand/arm massage, foot/ankle massage & hair conditioning treatment. I think it was about $139 for that. Was good & Tilly my spa lady was very nice. I was sick on this cruise. Think it was something I ate on shore. Ended up with a stomach virus... diagnosed me with 'acute gastroenteritis' & put me in quarantine/isolation for 24 hrs. Was boring to be stuck in an inside cabin alone for that time period & missed St Thomas port of call. But was also happy they took it so seriously & didn't want other cruise passengers to get sick. They gave me anti-diarrhea meds, Gatorade packets, ibuprofen, and told me I could only order room service & should stick to juice, water, clear liquids, crackers, rice, grilled chicken breast. Food service menu was limited though, so ended up ordering chicken noodle soup 3 times, jello once, and some juice. Ports of call..... San Juan PR was nice. We took the local free tram/bus to the fort which I liked, but kids were a little bored. Then walked down to the town, shopped a bit, ate a snack & had a coconut drink. Then back to the ship. Was fun, but now I have seen San Juan, don't feel like I need to go back. St Thomas I missed as I was sick, but hubby went on shore. We had been there before & wasn't one of our favorite ports. Hubby said I didn't miss much. St Maarten was fun. Walked into town & then shopped on the main street in Phillipsburg, got some good bargains on t-shirts, alcohol, hats, bags etc. Then walked back along the beach/boardwalk, stopping for lunch at the Firehouse café. Took the water taxi back to the ship as it was a hot day & was not feeling too great. Would like to go back here though, was a pretty island & seemed like lots to do too. Tortola, BVI we stopped at on Good Friday, so consequently nearly all shops were closed. Plus there was light drizzle. We walked a tiny bit, then decided to do an island driving tour with a local by the name of Captain Friendly. $10 each for all of us four, and said he would give us one of the kids for free. So $30 total and he took us off for about 2 hours! There were about 14 of us on this trolley/bus that was open at the sides. He drove us around the one side of the island, stopping by a shell beach for us to collect a shell or two. Then over the mountains to the Atlantic side, which was beautiful & stopped for us to shop at some tourist shops & a beach for about 30 mins. Then slowly back to the ship. We gave him $40 & was totally worth it. So ask around on Tortola for Captain Friendly! Oh & he also gave us historical & interesting local facts along the drive, talking into a microphone that we could hear in the back on a speaker. Gem ship itself was beautiful inside & out & not too big. So easy to navigate & find your way around. Favorite hangout spots were Coffee Bar in the atrium to people watch or watch the big screen. Spinnakers for bingo or game shows was nice set up. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2015
Ok, I admit, the crew were great, service was excellent... BUT... Entertainment was horrible, singers were terrible, juggler was a farce, shows were boring... all but the Balskatt Duo, they were great. Food was far from great, no ... Read More
Ok, I admit, the crew were great, service was excellent... BUT... Entertainment was horrible, singers were terrible, juggler was a farce, shows were boring... all but the Balskatt Duo, they were great. Food was far from great, no variety either, same things day after day after day, both at the buffet and main dining rooms (by the way, both dining rooms had the same menu that rarely changed. Ship is cheap, far from Royal Caribbean that's for sure. Guest services were not helpful either. Had a congratulations celebration, they sang Happy birthday after we told them 3 TIMES that it was not a birthday. When we booked the cruise, we were told that gratuity would be $12. per person per day, when we left, the invoice said $12.95 per person per day and they refused to change it so we were misled on that also. Bar employees were so slow... one time, 6 persons at the bar and I had to wait 20 minutes for rum and coke, ridiculous, I could have served 6 people faster with one hand tied behind my back. Buffet was closed half the time also and food on 8 floor was terrible and COLD, I guess it sat there 20 minutes while we were waiting and when we got it, we got the appetizers and main course at the same time and both were cold. Embarkation was also very poor. I weight 135lbs, had to push my father who weight 210 alone on the ramp, NO ONE OFFERED to help me. I had to push the wheelchair AND carry 2 suitcases... NEVER AGAIN ON NORWEGIAN Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
This was our second cruise, the first being with royal Caribbean and the Navigator of the seas. Unfortunately I was comparing the two ships and companies and NCL came out second best. The ship is big, our balcony room was a good size, but ... Read More
This was our second cruise, the first being with royal Caribbean and the Navigator of the seas. Unfortunately I was comparing the two ships and companies and NCL came out second best. The ship is big, our balcony room was a good size, but that's were the positives stop, the food is average at best, we sailed from New York and the buffet was their style of food burgers, chilli, fried chicken, the seated areas Manhattan room etc were ok. The staff are ok, one night I asked to see what short he was pouring for another guest, so I could maybe order it, the bar man showed me the bottle which said 43, I asked what it was and he put the bottle away and started laughing with his mates, he obviously realised his mistake when I reminded him of his lack of tip and showed me the bottle, this is one of a few issues we had on board. Our bookings were changed, our room on deck 8 forward as above the theatre, the floor vibrated until 23:00. The tenders which take you to their island don't need booking even though they ask you to book which confuses the situation. Our execution around New York was cancelled which left with nothing to do on our last day and a trip to the airport cost $40 each, a cab outside cost $58 for the 3 of us. They don't seem to get the customer service right unlike RC, Royal Caribbean seem to understand how much your holiday has cost and treat you better. I don't think I would travel with them again. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
I've been on many NCL cruises and have thoroughly enjoyed them all....except this one. Everything about this cruise was the same as all the others...great food, great staff etc. This is the first time I've ever had the ... Read More
I've been on many NCL cruises and have thoroughly enjoyed them all....except this one. Everything about this cruise was the same as all the others...great food, great staff etc. This is the first time I've ever had the "ultimate beverage package" which has its ups and downs. The advertisement stated Grey Goose was part of the package but it's not. There was an additional charge if you wanted a Grey Goose martini. And there were discrepancies between the bars. Some wanted to charge the difference between an ultimate beverage package martini and some wanted to not credit you anything and charge you the full price for the Grey Goose. Confusing but still tolerable. But the unattended children were a problem. They sat all over the staircases for entertainment so if you needed to hold the handrail you couldn't. And the children were rude. They would not move. They ran through hallways. They ran in front of you to get on an elevator you were waiting for. You, the adult, had to step aside to let them through the hallways. Or you would be mowed down. And of course there were no words resembling a Thanks. I felt like I was on a Carnival Cruise, which for me is not a good thing. Don't know if it was Spring Break or a special deal but this was not like any other NCL cruise that I've been on. In summary, because of all the great experiences with NCL in the past I will go on another cruise just to see if this was a fluke. But if it continues I'm off to Princess, Royal Carib or Celebrity. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
I have been procrastinating about writing a review for our cruise, so here it is Overall Crew always having a smile and saying hello The Captain was very funny with his daily announcements and enjoyable Cruise Director and his ... Read More
I have been procrastinating about writing a review for our cruise, so here it is Overall Crew always having a smile and saying hello The Captain was very funny with his daily announcements and enjoyable Cruise Director and his staff keep us entertained, and had lots of activities This cruise met and exceeded all my expectation, all I need is a bed, food and entertainment, and I am happy This is the 5th Cruise, that we celebrated our wedding anniversary at sea, it all began with our 25th wedding anniversary to Alaska in 2006 Booked this cruise through our personnel NCL Travel agent who did an excellent job getting us the best deal. Drove in from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, on the 05 Apr 15, took approximately 9 Hrs to drive. We had booked a room at Embassy Suites 455 Plaza Drive, Secaucus, New Jersey, 05 Apr 15, a Pre Post Cruise Package, which included free parking and transportation to Manhattan Pier 88. When we arrived at Manhattan Pier 88 at approximately 11:30 AM, on the 6 Apr 15, the embarkation registration took about 15 Minutes, we were on the ship by 12:30 PM, rooms were ready by 2 PM. We arrived at our Aft Balcony 10168, meet our room stewart, George, he was very friendly, and did an excellent job of maintaining our room. Wanted to try Aft Balcony, small but comfortable, we will go back to regular Balcony, as it is little more spacious although the Balcony, only has space for 2 chairs, compared to the Aft Balcony which has space for 2 chairs and 2 loungers. First and Second night was cool, had to wear a spring Jacket on the upper decks, the pool was empty, however the hot tubs were full. Third night didn’t need the spring jacket and people were in the pool Our first port visit was San Juan, we walked around old San Juan, and located a Ben and Jerry’s had two waffle cones. Second port visit St Thomas, went on an excursion Magen's Bay Beach, the beach was great, be prepared to pay $7.00 per lounge chair and a $5.00 Refundable deposit. Third port visit was Philipsburg, St Maarten we took the Orient Beach Rendezvous, the beach was great, be prepared to pay $3.00 for umbrella’s, the lunch that was provided was Buffet, fish, chicken and Ribs, I had the Ribs and they were excellent. Our final port was Tortola, we had to be tendered, (this is a long process, patience is very important) in from the ship, as the Pier is under construction and will be completed by end of Apr 15. We took best of Tortola, a 4 hr tour by, 12 passenger truck, we were 8 people, we were offered fruit punch and rum if you wanted, he left a bottle and it was empty when we return, we also had a lunch included, it was great. Entertainment The entertainment was great, something new every night, if you didn’t like it you just had to leave. Casino We had an enjoyable time at the Casino, would have been better had we won. Smoking is allowed in the Casino, (only if you are a player), how they regulate this I am not to sure, how dthey detrmin Smoking The restriction for smoking on board ship, you can smoke only on Deck 07, 13, Casino, Cigar Room and deck 13. Being addicted to this nasty habit, the smoking area’s are to limited. We mingled with other passengers, sharing different point of views, meet some fantastic cruiser’s, did get some names but lost my list, so if Steve and Anne read this, they are planning a wedding next year, I would like to get in contact with you. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: April 2015
We booked this cruise for spring break and to get away together, as our first vacation together. We are in our early 20's and we were looking for lots of partying under the sun and night sky. This cruise didn't really give us ... Read More
We booked this cruise for spring break and to get away together, as our first vacation together. We are in our early 20's and we were looking for lots of partying under the sun and night sky. This cruise didn't really give us much of that, but we still had fun. What I have learned from this cruise is that the ports of call really don't matter much unless you are on the ship to buy things tax and duty free. You don't have much time in any of the ports. We did 3 shore excursions in total from the four island we visited. To get to NYC Cruise Terminal, we drove to the train station, took the LIRR into NYC a day early and stayed at a hotel for the night. In the morning at about 10:30am, we took a taxi to Pier 88. We were there by like 11ish, but we were not the first ones to be there. You drop your luggage right in the beginning of the cruise terminal on the street, which makes you second guess yourself, because there are no signs saying this is where you drop it. You walk through security with your tickets and passport and then wait in line in our to get your freestyle card which is your EVERYTHING on this boat. This is your charge card; everything you purchase on board goes to your stateroom with whatever way you linked the payment to the stateroom. We linked a credit card because it was easiest. Then after that, you wait until the number you have been given has been called for you to get on the ship. Once on the ship, we explored and immediately went to the bar. We left port at about 4pm, so at 3pm, we went up to deck 13 with two chairs and sat there was we departed NYC. We had a great view of the Statue of Liberty. Like I said, the overall trip was a lot of fun, but one concern I had is the service in the dining rooms. We had dinner appointments every single night (made reservations a month before our trip for various restaurants) but it took about an hour and a half for the complete dining experience. To me, that just seemed like too long. We would sit down and someone would bring over bread and water at every single restaurant the second you sat down. I filled up on bread all the time, because between them giving you bread and then coming back to actually take your order was about 20 minutes. I am not a patient person at all so that ticked me off. When you ordered a drink from the bar, that took about 30 minutes because none of the restaurants we dined in had its own bar, and the server had to go out of the restaurant to actually get the drink leaving everyone else behind. Now at every restaurant, we also had multiple servers and I never could remember who was the actual one I should talk to to meet my needs. I think the best restaurant we ate in was the Brazilian Steakhouse, for an extra charge. It was a great experience and it was sort of like a buffet, but they carved the meat right in front of you and you got whatever you wanted and how much you wanted. At the Hibachi place, out of 8 seats, we were the only 2 so we had the show to our selves, and that was the quickest out of all the nights we sat down and ate (which was all). The food was delicious. We both had the land and sea dish and I totally recommend it. Out of the three shore excursions we went on, two of them were super great. In St. Thomas, we went on the Two Stop Snorkel Catamaran. Val was our captain. We stopped at Turtle Cove and a shipwreck. My boyfriend and I love the ocean, I swear we are creatures of the sea, so we free dived down as far as we could in the turtle area to get up close an personal with the fish and turtles. But trust me, we would never touch them. The shipwreck was cool to see, but it is deep, so from the top of the water you couldn't see the life that was living off the shipwreck and that would've been the time to be a scuba diver. After the St. Thomas excursion was over it was about 12pm and we still had until 6pm to do something, but we were not able to book another excursion for that day. So we walked around St Thomas and shopped.. pretty much the only thing you can do in ports of call which stinks. To get to town, its a mile walk from the cruise ship terminal or $4/person taxi each way. It's an open aired taxi. Oh, and be prepared for rain because it can rain very very random here. The next shore excursion was the Best of St Maarten Drive and Beach. To be honest, it was not that great. I think it could've been the island itself, because everything was so close together and not what we were expecting a Caribbean island to look like. There is one main road around the entire island. But the cool thing about this island is that the south side is Dutch and the north side is French. Most of the island seemed like desert to us and we went to Orient Beach which is clothing optional beach and the water was not clear blue like we thought it would be like, like St. Thomas. We had a very short 1.5 hours at the beach and the two chairs and an umbrella cost us $20, but we were so sunburn, we had to spend it. This island was just not our favorite at all. The third excursion was on the island of Virgin Gorda, but the port was Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. We got there at 7am, so right after the boat was cleared, our excursion group was put onto a water taxi for about 45 min to reach Virgin Gorda. Bring motion sickness meds if you get seasick, because many people did. Now this was probably our overall favorite. Once you get to the island, you take an open aired taxi (included in the tour) to the Baths and once you get there, the tour guide explains to you how to get to Devils Bay, the caves, and the Baths and gives you a meeting time in order to get back to the ship on time for departure at 1pm. We arrived there at about 845am and had to be back up the hill by 1030am so we had no time. But for us, we are very adventurous people. We explored the caves first, climbing the rocks and not staying on the path that was created for us tourists. This excursion requires walking and climbing, so make sure you can do this. Also sneakers would be a help, but we did it barefoot instead of flip flops. This place was beautiful and the water was crystal blue. It was warm and everything about it was inviting. Back to the ship: The ships nightly shows were for the most part good. The production cast was okay; some of the signing was off tune and I noticed one dancer did not seem liked she was into it. The acrobats were the best, of course, because they stood out. It was amazing the balance they had on a ship that was moving. The comedian was okay. But I have to say the cruise staff made it the best. Gio, the cruise director was funny and made sure you kept up to date on everything happening that day. Crazy Christine, the assistant cruise director, was also very funny. They both loved to get involved with the crowd. Their helpers were also very sweet and outgoing. Don't miss the Fountain; that is not to be missed. The Second City adults only on our last night was probably the best show/thing we saw. It was all improv and it was hilarious. Don't miss them. Disembarkation is a hassle. It was not very organized, to me. I understand that the rooms need to be cleaned before the new people get on the boat a few hours after we get off, but if our disembarkation time is 1010am, and you want us out of our rooms at 830am, and everything is closed (the pool, the spa, the bars), what do we do? We wait at the deck 7 gangway to get off this ship, because the only other thing to do is to stuff your face with food for breakfast. To get off, we decided to carry off our own luggage, because it seemed easier, and it was. When you wake up in the AM, when you're going to breakfast bring your packed luggage to deck 7 gangway and line it up. Do it early because the earlier you line your luggage up, the faster you will get off the ship and have to avoid the crowding of people in the Atrium. Attend the White Hot Party; that was our funnest night for partying. As I said, we wanted to party. Every night in the Bliss Lounge, starting at about 11pm or 12am, DJ RICII was playing music. BUT, he played mostly latino, and I am white and don't dance like that our listen to that stuff. He never changed it up, UNTIL he was the DJ at the White Hot Party with all ages, but the second it became adults only, it was back to latino music. If that's your style, then this is the party cruise for you. But it was not ours. And this is the only place that has nightlife after 11pm, which was not the best thing ever. Overall, we had a great time and had lots of time to spend with each other and relax. I recommended on the first day, go get a tour of the spa and buy their package to use the place with the pool, sauna, steam room, and hot tub because it was super relaxing, but has the best view at about 1pm when arriving in Puerto Rico because all the other decks are already very busy. Be prepared to eat a lot and gain weight too. Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
Although it was an enjoyable vacation, the ship itself was just average compared to other cruises that we have been on. Activities: Not much to do during sea days, especially for people in 20s-30s (unless you like trivia, seminars on ... Read More
Although it was an enjoyable vacation, the ship itself was just average compared to other cruises that we have been on. Activities: Not much to do during sea days, especially for people in 20s-30s (unless you like trivia, seminars on jewellery shopping and art auctions). Luckily we had great weather, so we spent the day laying on the sun deck. I would suggest bringing a book, board games, and movies/shows to watch on a tablet/laptop. Entertainment: We really enjoyed the entertainment offered on this ship! There was a magician, comedian, and acrobatic pair called Duo Balskatt who were amazing! Food: NCL probably has the worst food out of all the cruise lines. Buffet lunch is always the same - burgers, hotdogs, some variation of mac & cheese, some variation of fish with cream sauce....gets boring real fast. Dinner menus at the main dining rooms were very average and nothing really appealing - lots of pasta, chicken and pork dishes - no lobster or any special seafood dishes. Luckily we got the Ultimate Dining Package, so we ate every night at a specialty restaurant (Cagney's and Bistro were our favourites; Teppanyaki was too salty and Moderno's picanha and garlic beef were overcooked). Overall, seems like NCL has had a lot of cut backs in their food quality over the yrs! Tips for booking shore excursions: If you want to spend a day at the beach, do not book a beach excursion from the ship - much much cheaper to get off the ship and get a taxi on your own. Same with taking city tours - there are lots of tours being sold independently off the ship that are much cheaper than what NCL offers. However, if you want something specific like kayaking or snorkelling, then best to book from NCL as it may not be offered outside. Note: Do book a shore ex for Tortola, otherwise don't bother tendering to shore - there is nothing much to do there except for a few souvenir tents (compared to the other ports, Tortola is not very developed for tourists). Read Less
Sail Date: April 2015
This was my second time on the gem. My kids loved teen and kids club. Loved the gem just as much the second time around. The service was above and beyond. Perfect cabin 8606 near quiet part of ship back elevators. 4 hour stay in tortola ... Read More
This was my second time on the gem. My kids loved teen and kids club. Loved the gem just as much the second time around. The service was above and beyond. Perfect cabin 8606 near quiet part of ship back elevators. 4 hour stay in tortola was not enough time to enjoy its beautiful beaches. Definitely need to lengthen stay time. Already book another ncl cruise for next spring break. Love kids sail free Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
We have cruised 30 plus cruises on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Holland American, Celebrity & NCL. We picked this cruise for the price and convenience of the departure port. We took Metro North from New Haven to Grand Central ... Read More
We have cruised 30 plus cruises on Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess, Holland American, Celebrity & NCL. We picked this cruise for the price and convenience of the departure port. We took Metro North from New Haven to Grand Central and cab over to the ship. Since we are platinum members, we were express check in but the folks directing people didn't seem to know what they were doing. They sent us to the wrong lines but once it was straightened out, embarkation was easy. Good- Service was excellent all around. All Staff was very friendly and accommodating. We did anytime dining and even though we had different waiters, all were excellent. Entertainment-shows were good, some better than others. Piano Bar was great and the comedian shows were great. Food- Buffet was fair but it could be just my taste. Dinners were very good and the Steak House was excellent. if you go to the Steak House on the 1st night, you get a free bottle of wine. Now they only offer repeater's cocktail party to platinum & diamond members and it was one of the best we have experienced. The other members rec'd a drink coupon. Ports - Grand Turk-There is a beach where the ship is docked but we took a taxi to a small beach resort recommended by the driver. It was beautiful with only about 10 people on the beach. It cost $32 round trip for 2. $10 for lounge chair. Bad- The people- We were awakened several nights by drunk people arguing, swearing, screaming at 4 o'clock in the morning. At one point, I was going to call security as the argument was escalating. Some kids were out of control, running down hallways. I don't know if it was because we cruised out of NY but we have not encountered this before. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
My friend and I were very excited to take our first Royal Caribbean Internal cruise. We have been through a lot the past year and we were very much looking forward to some fun, sun, and relaxation. We spent more than planned on this trip ... Read More
My friend and I were very excited to take our first Royal Caribbean Internal cruise. We have been through a lot the past year and we were very much looking forward to some fun, sun, and relaxation. We spent more than planned on this trip and to say we were disappointed would be a major understatement. Throughout the trip we wrote down the issues that came up for us and this review with be based on the notes we took. This will be a bullet points review. - Staff were rude. Their priority were not to be accommodating to the passengers. One specific incident was when my friend and I mistakenly ended up in a restaurant (Rembrandt) that was not part of our "My Time" dining. The waiter at the door seated us only to have the head waiter come over after our appetizers scolding us for eating in that restaurant. He was very rude and disrespectful. When we tried to explain that we did not seat ourselves and that if there is a misunderstanding he should speak with the waiter who sat us, he refused to listen. He continued to scold us and left before telling us to make sure we use only the restaurant assigned to us. We asked for the manager and after a lot of fumbling around wearing a blue jacket with strips came over our table. We expressed our dissatisfaction and instead of Milton acknowledging the fact that we were treated unfairly, he proceeded to also scold us for being in the wrong dining room!! It is important to add that the restaurant was not packed, there were plenty of open tables. This experience took place earlier on during the trip and unfortunately set the tone for the whole trip. - Before the restaurant incident and on the day of embarkment, our luggages were help for 6 hours because they found a travel iron (tiny travel iron) in my luggage!! No announcements were mailed letting passengers know why and where to collect luggages that were help for prohibitions. Guest service desks were packed with unhappy passengers. After asking everyone we ran into about our missing luggages, we were finally directed to security. we went to security only to be told by incompetent security guards that we did not have our luggages. We resumed to wander around the ship for an additional hour (by now it's 10:30pm), we were directly to security on a different floor on the ship and that's when we ran into the crew member who asked us if we had weapons in our bags!! There was a language barrier and I am trying to give her the benefit but this woman actually asked us if we had knives and guns in our bags as part of her effort to explain that are some reasons the bags would be withheld. We eventually found our luggages and were finally able to shower and change our clothes by 11pm on the day of embarkment! -The refrigerator in the staterooms are not actually plugged into. The AC in the room keeps your beverages cool. If you do not like a cold room, you will not have cold drinks! -The food was horrible. The service was horrible. The staff were incompetent. There was a lack of dinner dining options. If I spend over $1,500 on a cruise I should be allowed to eat wherever I want without paying extra. The waiters took forever to bring the food, the never asked if we wanted anything to drink besides water. We had to always ask for ice tea and lemonade. -The bar staff yelled at us for filling up our water bottles. It cost an average of $4 to buy a bottle of water! - The shift left the Puerto Rico port an hour and half late which made us get to our next port late -Did I mention how rude, incompetent, and unhelpful the crew were?? -Part of the ship smelled like feces through the trip!!! -The only person I can honestly say was a delight was our stateroom attendant. Her name is Kenta and she's from St. Vincent's. She was nice, caring, thoughtful and a gem! She surely helped make our trip manageable. She kept us with our room. She made sure we always had clean towels, toilet paper, etc. Whenever we ran into her she had a smile on her face and always had a conversation starter to keep the guests engaged. -The last 3-4 days of the trip was bearable. I think enough people complained (we heard a lot of people complaining; even long time cruisers were expressing dissatisfaction with the service on this cruise), it was clear that the staff had a talking to and they were trying to be better. Even the food got better!! - The other saving grace was the fact that they actually located my missing camera! To summarize, the trip started off awful but got somewhat better towards the end. We found our own ways to enjoy the trip and avoided the crew as much as possible (because most of them were idiots.) I have heard many people say that this particular trip was an exception for Royal and that they usually give outstanding service and people leave wanting more. I left not wanting more at all, I was actually looking forward to returning to my hectic life just to get away from that ship and the people!! I may do another cruise in the future but it will not be with Royal Caribbean International. The cruises are very expensive and the company's priority is not to keep passengers happy and satisfied. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2015
My husband and I have been on numerous cruises with NCL and have enjoyed ourselves. That's why we keep coming back! There are a few issues that I would like to bring to light. We would like to have some shaded areas on the top ... Read More
My husband and I have been on numerous cruises with NCL and have enjoyed ourselves. That's why we keep coming back! There are a few issues that I would like to bring to light. We would like to have some shaded areas on the top decks. Also some more 'quiet' areas on the outside upper decks. We find that the music thru out the ship (pool area especially) is always too loud for us. The food was delicious. The room stewards were efficient and friendly. The ship was clean and the staff well organized. I know we will be back cruising with NCL soon- can't wait!! I'd also like to mention that the 'new and improved' embarkation and disembarkation system was fantastic!!! Very well organized. I think that NCL should offer free wifi to passengers. We went on shore excursions in Halifax/Peggy's Cove and St John/St Martins Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2015
Family cruise with 52 people on NCL Gem. I, myself did no excursions, only got off in Nassau and walked back on, it was hotter than hell! Ok, so I have been on 2 other cruises, and they were both Disney cruises. No kids, just my ... Read More
Family cruise with 52 people on NCL Gem. I, myself did no excursions, only got off in Nassau and walked back on, it was hotter than hell! Ok, so I have been on 2 other cruises, and they were both Disney cruises. No kids, just my husband and myself. There is no comparison. Disney knocks NCL out of the water- pun intended. Starting with the balcony room: It was small- the two of us, who are not large people, couldn't navigate the room together. One stood on one side of the bed and then the other. The bathroom: Shower was ok, they supplied shower gel and shampoo in a wall dispenser. I used my own. The toilet was extremely tight fitting. My husband is 6ft and had an awful time using it. The bed: it was ok; there was an indent of left and right sides on the bed and going right down the middle was a lump dividing us. Standard luggage was able to fit under the bed or in the closet. Speaking of closet, it was more space than I thought it would be. The room steward Sal is super fast and loved the towel animals he left us. Every time he saw me, he made it a point to say hello and use my first name. The ship was nice, nothing outstanding tho. No "WOW" factor. Nothing really stands out. We got a spa pass for the trip ($130 bought pre-trip) and it was a nice place to get away. There's a hot tub, a therapy pool, hot rock loungers ( Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
We just got back from spending 8 days aboard the Carnival Splendor, and I have to be honest, what a disappointment. Having cruised a few times myself, I was looking forward to taking my in-laws on their first one. After shopping around ... Read More
We just got back from spending 8 days aboard the Carnival Splendor, and I have to be honest, what a disappointment. Having cruised a few times myself, I was looking forward to taking my in-laws on their first one. After shopping around for some time, we came across the Carnival Splendor, leaving out of New York City, which is literally 20 minutes from our house. I am normally a Royal Caribbean die hard, but I figured why not try and expand my horizons! Reading some reviews on the ship, I was excited for this time with my family, and was unfortunately left unfulfilled. Carnival Splendor is in dire need of some updating. The entire ship seems to be very tired looking, and very dark and dreary. I felt like I was trapped in my Grandmothers old, dark house. Traveling with other cruise lines, ships I have experienced and enjoyed are open, airy, and sparkling. Splendor has visible rust everywhere, dust and dirt on the floors, and garbage piled up in certain areas. With the walkways being so narrow, we got very well acquainted with some passing strangers, as we had to brush up against them at every pass. The buffet on the Lido deck was an interesting area. I understand that tables need to be cleaned, but staff walking into cruisers, sometimes with their carts, is inappropriate. Never in my cruise experience have I had to wait 45 minutes for a hamburger, which was the consistency of a hockey puck, and to have it served with a side of attitude, despite my saying please and thank you. Food in the buffet was not very appetizing, nor did it have much a variety. I know that going on a cruise, with my shellfish allergy, is not always the easiest thing to accommodate, but I do not think that it is asking too much for some of the food to not have some sort of fish in it at some point. Breakfast is served up until lunch, but at 2pm, the food is whisked away, never to be seen again until nearly 6, but it is explained that there are other areas in which to get food. Again, if you want to wait 45 minutes in line. While on deck, do not expect to see any servers walking around taking drink orders, especially after 3pm. We asked one to come over and he actually rolled his eyes, took his time coming by, and then charged the wrong drinks to the wrong cards... I mean seriously, what 7 year old gets a Mudslide? The "adult" pool in the aft area is a figment of imagination, as it was infested with quite a few many kids despite being told once that they need to go to the main pool. Unfortunately, with the size of the main pool, I cannot blame them for wanting to seek water solace elsewhere. And while there were no servers, there were also no clearers, so the deck is filled with dirty dishes, empty glasses, etc... At one point, we hit rough seas, and the water from the pool was sloshing out, which I get cannot be controlled. However, the drains were not working on the sides of the ship, so those on the starboard side of the ship had 5 inches of water underneath their lounge chairs, almost like their own little tide pool. The solution to this was to close the pool, on a 90 degree day, and get drain it. Seems logical. The staff was overwhelmingly rude. When passing you in the hallway, most would avert their eyes, or look down, or simply just walk past you and not say anything. I don't expect them to all know me by first name, but when I say hello to you, and ask how your day is going, don't grumble and walk away, or ignore me, but acknowledge with maybe even a smile. Even the comedian on the ship made a crack during one of his shows, referring to Carnival as the "project of the seas". Drinks were reportedly refreshing, according to the family, however I was slightly disappointed that there is no fountain soda, and everything is poured out of cans, so by the time it reaches the guest, its flat. Minor setback, against the others. This being said, not everything was bad... Beatrice and Daniel in the Gold Pearl Restaurant were EXTRAORDINARY! They made dinner every night something to look forward to. We loved their company, and wanted to take them home with us. Ramil on Deck 6 was a fantastic steward. He always greeted us with a huge smile, and asked how our day was. Our room was spotless, and we never had to ask twice for anything. The shows in the theatre were quite entertaining, and we looked forward to seeing them every night. Overall, this was an eye opening experience for me. We made the best of our time, and made our own fun, but I can guarantee you that I will never travel with Carnival again, and if you want the true way of how cruising should be, go look at Royal Caribbean and see how it's really supposed to go. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2015
I truly OVERstand why Carnival is know as The Fun Ship. Embarkation was long but not horrible. From the moment we got on the ship and christened the first bar in site, I was officially on vacation. The staff was extraordinary ... Read More
I truly OVERstand why Carnival is know as The Fun Ship. Embarkation was long but not horrible. From the moment we got on the ship and christened the first bar in site, I was officially on vacation. The staff was extraordinary friendly. Almost off putting to the average cynical New Yorker. :). The food was plentiful and wide variety. The wait at omelette station line was worth it. The staff entertained us at dinner. The on board entertainment was delightful. I found myself enlisted into a ship-wide scavenger hunt. “Excuse us Mr., can you help us with some items on our scavenger hunt list?” “Sure kids. Let’s do it”. I loved it. Dr Seuss Parade was fun. The youngest person in our group was over 50. We Met some great people young and older. Excursions were rewarding. The beach on St. Thomas was the best. Lot of drinking and shopping. Old San Juan rewarded me with good cigars and inexpensive liquor shopping. Although the Carnival Splendor is not a huge ship, it was a wonderful home for 7 nights. Debarkation was painless. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
This is my 2nd cruise, 1st with NCL & I won't cruise without NCL again. I was just on The Gem from 10/10/15 to 10/20/15 Eastern Caribbean. I can't say enough amazing things. I don't know what's easier, check in or ... Read More
This is my 2nd cruise, 1st with NCL & I won't cruise without NCL again. I was just on The Gem from 10/10/15 to 10/20/15 Eastern Caribbean. I can't say enough amazing things. I don't know what's easier, check in or check out. The ship was spotless (Washy, washy!), the food delicious (Thanks Noriel!), the staff...where to begin with the staff? EVERYONE was so polite, friendly, always had a smile & ready to help. They genuinely cared, they learned your name, not because they had to, but because they WANTED to. There's Mandee from Wales, Kevin from Chicago, Dana from FL, Helmy from Tunisia, RoRo, Luz & Dan-Dan from the Philippines. Van from La Cucina dining room, Maria from Peru, "Magenta" & "Grand Pacific" dining rooms & many more. The shows every night were put on by truly talented people who went above & beyond. Sander and Allison, Rebecca and Phillipe, stunning performances. I was gasping the whole show. The on board singers & dancers...just awesome. Dan-Dan, the cruise director, was so involved. The last cruise, we saw the director once, twice tops. Dan-Dan was always out & about, taking pictures, talking with us etc. I met Captain Steffan! The waiters in the Spinnaker Lounge were amazing. I didn't catch his name or where he was from but he was very tall & so polite. The prices were pretty reasonable & there's always a sale or raffle going on. I got a water bottle & deck of cards by having my activity card signed. I really can't say enough amazing things. One day we had a rough sea day & the staff was handing out ginger ale & sea sick tips. There was always someone vacuuming or cleaning. The islands are gorgeous, (St.Thomas for the win!) Coming back from an island day, they had a tent with chairs, ice cold water & washcloths waiting for you at the pier. NCL genuinely CARES. I hope whomever reads this passes it on to the staff of The Gem from the past 10 days & anyone in charge at NCL. It was a phenomenal trip & NCL will be the only line I use! A HUGE thank you to everyone at NCL & The Gem. Safe travels ALWAYS! I will only #CruiseLikeaNorwegian. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
The staff on the Norwegian Gem made the vacation spectacular. We loved our Haven stateroom and separate facilities and all of the restaurants were very nice and served excellent meals. We enjoyed the on ship activities. The Shore ... Read More
The staff on the Norwegian Gem made the vacation spectacular. We loved our Haven stateroom and separate facilities and all of the restaurants were very nice and served excellent meals. We enjoyed the on ship activities. The Shore excursions were informative and entertaining. Getting on and off the ship was a little slow coming back from excursions but not terrible. This was our secord Norweigian cruise and based on our experience with NCL ships and crews, we have already booked three more NCL cruises. We did things at our own pace. Ate when we wanted, were entertained when we wanted! Just a great overall experience. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2015
The NCL Gem was a delightful experience. The crew was so nice and helpful.. the food was excellent.. the entertainment was excellent. I couldn't be more pleased with a Norwegian. I've been on the oldest ship (spirit) and the ... Read More
The NCL Gem was a delightful experience. The crew was so nice and helpful.. the food was excellent.. the entertainment was excellent. I couldn't be more pleased with a Norwegian. I've been on the oldest ship (spirit) and the newest ship (breakaway) and both of those experiences were either awful or just overcrowded. The cruise director on this ship was hilarious- Dan Dan. The food staff really went out of their way to either get more of my favorite dish or serve me fresh poached eggs, etc. The itinerary was good too. The only cons I could really think of was how understaffed the bar was often and how watered down the drinks were. If we hadn't had the unlimited drink package would we really be paying full price for those watery drinks? Eh. I could almost see how quickly the liquid poured out of the bottles.. I also thought it was weird that the room steward never really introduced himself. For the first few days we would guess which one was ours. Eventually we figured it out but it was quite impersonal. I also miss having a consistent waiter so I'm not too crazy about the freestyle dining experience, but it was nice to eat any time we wanted. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2015
To me, what makes a cruise memorable are the staff. My recent cruise with Norwegian makes me want to make them my first choice cruise line. The arts and crafts, which is one of the few things I participate in on board were poor. Most ... Read More
To me, what makes a cruise memorable are the staff. My recent cruise with Norwegian makes me want to make them my first choice cruise line. The arts and crafts, which is one of the few things I participate in on board were poor. Most days it was origami and they didn't even use proper paper, but used scrap paper. Come on....pony up some funds for paper. How much can it be? Or even better, have better quality classes. Origami with scrap paper is a cop out. The singers and dancers were great. Choreography left a little to be desired, but they did a great job with the material they were given. Duo Balskat was a phenomenal show. Husband and wife acrobatic adagio act. The magic show and the comedy show were okay at best. I missed the Second City show in the auditorium but caught some improv at the lounge. Very enjoyable. Snorkeling in Tortola is something I would do again in a heartbeat. Lagoon Kayaking was canceled due to weather. Dining in the main dining room never disappointed me. We received a free meal in La Cucina that didn't compare to the main dining room and I'm sorry I missed going to the Grand Pacific that night. I tried to go to 'the trough' a couple afternoons and had trouble finding a seat. It's always too crowded around the food and at the tables. I much prefer the service in the main dining room but it was not open for lunch on port days. As I said in the beginning, what makes a cruise for me is the quality of the service staff. I only found a couple servers at breakfast that didn't have a smile on their face and didn't seem happy to be of service. Everybody else in all areas of the ship were so friendly and accommodating. I don't know if they are made to, but I enjoy when staff acknowledges my presence whenever they see me. I purchased four future cruise deposits for NCL. Read Less

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