3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2019
My first experience with Norwegian Cruise Line was negative and I approached the Gem with low expectations. Happily, this cruise was miles better than the last and I'm looking at NCL in a new way. The Gem had some misses but overall ... Read More
My first experience with Norwegian Cruise Line was negative and I approached the Gem with low expectations. Happily, this cruise was miles better than the last and I'm looking at NCL in a new way. The Gem had some misses but overall we had a great cruise. The main reason was the crew - a friendly, hard-working group who seemed happy to help in any way. The Gem itself is a very comfortable ship. The layout is great - easy to negotiate and well laid out. Though our cruise sailed at close to full capacity, the ship almost never felt crowded. With the notable exception of disembarkation, we rarely stood in line for anything. The Gem has nice decor and well appointed public areas where we always found comfortable seating. As a ship it performed well, taking us through a small storm with minimal rocking. Though we have always liked having assigned dinner times and tables we decided to embrace the "free style" dining approach and ate in all but 2 of the Gem's restaurants. We found the Garden Buffet excellent - fresh food well prepared and plentiful. There were a few flubs (the pizza was often cold, even under heat lamps) but overall food was great - especially for a buffet. We had good meals at Orchid Garden, O'Sheehan's, and the Grand Pacific, three of the complimentary dining venues. The second main dining room, Magenta, gave us decent food with terrible service - our one really bad experience with the staff on board. Among the restaurants that charge an extra fee, we liked Le Bistro and loved Moderno (and I'm a vegetarian! Even not eating meat Moderno was terrific). La Cucina, the Italian restaurant, was a mix. I had a bad entree (overcooked pasta topped by under spiced shrimp) but the tiramisu at dessert was the best we had on the ship. Desserts were a weak spot overall. The desserts at the buffet were usually bad - marked by cheap tasting ingredients and a sense that they had been cooked with stability rather than taste as the prime goal. Desserts in the sit-down restaurants were better, though still below the level we've had on other cruise lines. And coffee not from the small coffee bar in the atruim was a loser too - always weak and often cold. Entertainment on the Gem was the real stand out. The two shows we saw done by the production cast were excellent. Not only was the quality of the signing and dancing high, the shows had been put together well and deserved the standing ovations they got. Bad weather caused a change in programming that gave us a cabaret night which was a treat - the four singers doing their favorite songs left the crowd every bit as happy as the scheduled show (which we saw later in the week). The three guest performers were uneven. We adored the juggler, were bemused by the acrobat/drummer brothers, and skipped the comedian after finding his preview set on the first night a yawn. We did hear others say he had been good in full performance so he may just have been off that night. We sampled the other music on the Gem also, liking the jazz band especially. We missed having classical music but are guessing we were in a very small minority with that preference. Activities on the Gem were not a good match for us and though we saw many in passing we participated in few. In part, NCL's preferred activities are not ours. Most of the passengers seemed to like the calls for raffles and bingo. There was certainly something going on all the time and many options. We missed having a real presentation about the port - the one advertised was only about shopping. We also missed getting a newspaper daily, something we have always liked on other ships. Our son used the teen Entourage lounge as a meeting place only, rarely trying the planned activities. That's not really a comment on the quality of the programming - teens are like that! The kids in the Splash Academy seemed very happy with their activities. We were happy to find the Gem has a real promenade deck with a full, outdoor circle. Unfortunately the crew were very - in our minds, overly - cautious about letting folks out and we were frequently prohibited from walking outside. The crew were almost uniformly good. Not only were they friendly towards the guests, they seemed genuinely happy to help each other and the approach to tasks ship-wide was one of teamwork. We were impressed at the wide variety of nationalities represented among the crew and lost track of how many different countries we'd seen people from. Bermuda is a lovely pace to visit and the port facilities were very good. The pier where we docked in under construction so we used a fairly ugly, temporary building but that wasn't a problem. We appreciated very much the free ferry provided to NCL passengers that travels between the Dockyard where the ship docks and St. Georges on the opposite end of thee islands. While we mostly chose to wander on our own, we took one excursion organized by NCL, an exploration of the Bermuda Railway Trail by bicycle that ended at a private beach. It was a great way to see some of the island. We sailed back to Boston feeling really good about NCL and thinking seriously about a future cruise. Then we disembarked. Honestly, it's hard to imagine the Gem could have done a worse good at getting passengers off the boat. Those of us who wanted to walk off with our luggage were told to simply do so - no tickets, no tally, no planning. Well, we ended up in line - on our feet - for well over an hour. It wasn't customs, they were very efficient. It was just poor planning. Not a good way to end what was in most ways a great cruise. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
I'm platinum on NCL and Carnival. I prefer not to fly so I generally cruise out of NY or Baltimore. I chose this cruise as it was my 50th bday and didn't want to do the usual 7 day cruise to the Bahamas. I took my entire ... Read More
I'm platinum on NCL and Carnival. I prefer not to fly so I generally cruise out of NY or Baltimore. I chose this cruise as it was my 50th bday and didn't want to do the usual 7 day cruise to the Bahamas. I took my entire family on this trip (8 of us) and 3 friends came as well. I upgraded to a 2 bedroom suite on the private Haven floor, room 14006. My family, friends, and I had an excellent time. The food was great. Service in the Grand Pacific dining room the 1st night didn't go so well, but we'll chuck it up to our large group and 1st cruise night issues. My only 2 complaints are: 1. They skipped the last port of St Thomas Mon 3/25/19 because they were expecting a storm on Wednesday and wanted to get ahead of it. Other passengers stated they were on this same cruise before and the same thing supposedly happened. 2. We were supposed to arrive back in NY at 10am. I had hired a limo service to pick us up at 11am. We arrived in NY at 6am and they MADE us get off the ship BY 10am (the time we were SUPPOSED to arrive) so my family and friends had to stand outside for over an hour in 40 degree cold waiting for our ride from PA because NCL didn't stick to their own itinerary & because the inside terminal was closed due to the ship not picking up any new passengers as the ship was repositioning to Boston. This was my 7th time on the NCL Gem. I enjoy this ship. I truly enjoy the Haven and have sailed in that type of room often. I did have an excellent 50th birthday, my family truly enjoyed themselves. However an otherwise perfect cruise was tainted by an inconvenient, avoidable, and frustrating debarkation. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2019
My friend Mary booked for her husband and 2 boys and then her husband couldn't go and since I had never been on a cruise before and she was hoping to make some money back, she asked me. All went well. I am going again with my mom ... Read More
My friend Mary booked for her husband and 2 boys and then her husband couldn't go and since I had never been on a cruise before and she was hoping to make some money back, she asked me. All went well. I am going again with my mom and two sisters May 1 on the Norwegian Dawn, embarking from Miami. I will bring my own kids someday when they are older and more independent. I am NOT a winter person so leaving from New York City in winter was not ideal for me. I like the water, seeing it all around was peaceful and my only source of privacy, however, I would not do a cruise again that took 3 days of sailing to get to first and last ports. Food was EXCELLENT compared to my experiences at numerous all inclusives, however, top decks of ship were too crowded in warm/hot weather for my taste as no space to move chairs around as packed in like sardines. TONNES to do, a la carte restaurants were terrific (we ate at the French restaurant twice, Italian and Steakhouse each once). Evening shows were amazing as well. I was not impressed by the Antiguan Experience excursion at all for various reasons which I would be happy to outline for Norwegian/Tour Company to try to improve but LOVED my excursion to Marantha Gardens and the volcano on St. Lucia. My other excusions were good too. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: November 2018
The cruise is great, should be perfect if we spend 2 days at Nassau instead one! The Great Stirrup Cay Island is gorgeous, we love it... BUT the swimming with the pigs tour was ridiculous! You pay $109 per person to feed the pigs, they are ... Read More
The cruise is great, should be perfect if we spend 2 days at Nassau instead one! The Great Stirrup Cay Island is gorgeous, we love it... BUT the swimming with the pigs tour was ridiculous! You pay $109 per person to feed the pigs, they are NOT at the beach at all! They made a gate and space for them but it’s very commercial, they are not free... You don’t swim with them at all, this is fake add! You see them, you feed them, pad them and that’s it! Very expensive for what they offer! Beside that we like it everything else! Just wish to spend more time in Bahamas... for me FL stop wasn’t worth at all... We are there for Bahamas, and Florida was just a waste of time! ;/ It’s a great Cruise, they just have to improve somethings... How about a partnership with Atlantis as well? Could be great.... Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
This ship went to the towns that I wanted to visit and ended up in Quebec City, Canada, which was important to me. The rooms were itty-bitty. The bath had doors to toilet, etc. but no more than 1/2 of a person could fit in there at ... Read More
This ship went to the towns that I wanted to visit and ended up in Quebec City, Canada, which was important to me. The rooms were itty-bitty. The bath had doors to toilet, etc. but no more than 1/2 of a person could fit in there at a time and I am not a large person. I could only raise my arms to shampoo my hair if I turned on a diagonal. The food was terrible and served over and over. There wasn't a truly good meal the entire trip except maybe the prime rib on the last night. That too was thin and covered with an indescribable sauce. A few dishes of fish were ok, no shellfish except tiny, cut in half shrimp. The steak was terrible. Everything was overcooked and then covered with unrecognizable sauce. They had several days at the buffet with very strong Indian food that I could not eat, so it was back to salads and eggs. The tours were abominable based on what people said and I had read that earlier in the reviews. Most towns were easily walked in about an hour so tours were mostly unnecessary. I did take a Hop On-Hop Off Bus in Boston and asked why they were charging $69 for one person when I remember it being much cheaper last time I was in Boston, or any other city for that matter. The staff at the kiosk said it was because NCL owned the buses. At the very least, they had a connection. Never mention that you are on the NCL! The staff was remarkable but usually unhappy, we saw some cry while working. Entertainment was 2 days of real entertainment. There was a juggler/comic who couldn't. In the bars there was a piano player who was wonderful but they made him sing, which was awful. Being tone deaf would help the audience immensely. I have been on Holland America, Princess, and even Carnival (although I wouldn't recommend them either) I have loved the first two. I heard so many people complain, almost everyone I met. Also directions to exit were barely posted, not even the floor number so we had to ask other guests or follow any line we saw. Speakers didn't usually work in our room. Directions for the next day weren't even printed. Plus events were canceled so eventually we stopped going. Never again on NCL!!! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2018
Me and wife been on Norwegian breakaway in 2014 so we thought the gem would be cool because it was a smaller ship.Well I was wrong. First never seen the steward of the floor he never came to introduce himself had to call him that Thursday ... Read More
Me and wife been on Norwegian breakaway in 2014 so we thought the gem would be cool because it was a smaller ship.Well I was wrong. First never seen the steward of the floor he never came to introduce himself had to call him that Thursday to clean the balcony window and the glass rail. 2. The buffet was horrible food had no taste no seasonings and juice only during breakfast whatt CRAZY so lunch and dinner was flavor water crazy. Bacon was like paper grits watery. Eggs runny. Highlights specialty restaurant was way better. Can't understand same ship different food. The gem needs to revamp there food more food options and seasonings on the food. Nice decor and drink package. Water should be free in rooms .entertainment needs to address the younger crowds. Live entertainment the singer could been better. Breakaway vs gem .. Breakaway way better. Overall good times with family and friends Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2018
Cruise based on port of New York saving air fare. and Canada at par. Nothing else good to say.Long waits everywhere. Pool was freezing cold. Seating in auditorium only one centre isle to crawl over everyone. Getting on was ok but ... Read More
Cruise based on port of New York saving air fare. and Canada at par. Nothing else good to say.Long waits everywhere. Pool was freezing cold. Seating in auditorium only one centre isle to crawl over everyone. Getting on was ok but getting off had far too long lines going back and forth. took over 2 hours to get through standing in line. Food was average nothing special unless you paid extra for special dinning. Staff did not seem to care about anyone. NEVER met our cabin steward. overall disappointing. Nice to get away but not worth it. Triva sessions were a waste of time as leaders staff could not even pronounce the questions or answers. No interaction with anyone, wait staff always busy, buffett staff just serving. lucky to find a seat inn buffet. Free style dinning means NO reservations therefore very lon wait lines to get a table at any time of day very hard to have the same waiter again. Food was often sent back due to cold temps. Entertainment was high school drama level. Our grandson just played basketball. did not like teen program all video games Only get what you pay for. Economy cruise. All dinning starts at 5pm Show starts at 7 rushed for first show. Staff not the best . No lobster, or steak unless you pay extra. Not what we expected.LONG disembarkation lines. Long wait times. Not coming back. Holland America here we come. Did not spend much much time in cabin except sleep.old design had to turn off lights at entrance then go to bed Read Less
Sail Date: April 2018
We choose this cruise because we lihave always went on Carnival , so we thought we would try Norweigen. The Gem was very easy to navigate and the staff was very helpful. We loved the staff , they were incredible! The food in the buffet ... Read More
We choose this cruise because we lihave always went on Carnival , so we thought we would try Norweigen. The Gem was very easy to navigate and the staff was very helpful. We loved the staff , they were incredible! The food in the buffet was great for breakfast. The lunch and dinner buffet was gross. They had a poolside barbecue that was phenomenal. I only gave the cruise 3 stars because my teenage son was bored. He was looking forward to playing video games in the teen program. They didn't have a video game system in the teen program. They advertised it on the norweigen website. It says they have a wii and PlayStation and they didn't have either. My son has great memories of playing video game tournaments with other teenagers on our past Carnival cruises. We I asked guest services about this, she gave me an attitude and was judgemental she said we want the kids to do other things on the cruise. She also said that they sometimes have WII activities on this floor. This was only in the morning and was a bunch of very young children playing. My son made friends on Carnival from playing the video games with them in the teen program. They would go together to have pizza on the Carnival ships. The pizza in the Norweigen Gem's buffet was horrible! Besides guest services the other staff members treated us like royalty.My husband and I loved the 70's show and the comedian. My son had to come with us and was bored. So I give the cruise on the Gem 3 stars because you know the saying, " You are only as happy as your least happy child." Read Less
Sail Date: March 2018
My wife and I decided to try sailing Norwegian Cruise Lines for the first time after it came highly recommended to us from family and friends. As I’m sure you are aware there is no better compliment in the hospitality industry then a ... Read More
My wife and I decided to try sailing Norwegian Cruise Lines for the first time after it came highly recommended to us from family and friends. As I’m sure you are aware there is no better compliment in the hospitality industry then a word of mouth recommendation from a trusted source. One common theme my wife and I discovered on our cruise of Norwegian Gem was a lack of attention to detail across the vessel, but especially in the Housekeeping Department. Our cruise embarkation began by discovering a pair of children’s underwear from the previous guest hanging on the towel rack of the bathroom door of our cabin. After discovering the underwear in our stateroom, and notifying the cabin steward, we went to O’Sheenan’s later in the afternoon for a snack. My wife and I sat down at the nearest table and a server quickly came over and asked us if we needed menus. A hostess then appeared with a pair of menu’s and in a surly tone told me that I needed to check in first. I explained that we had just came up the staircase, that it was our first time on a Norwegian Cruise and at O’Sheenans, and that I did not know and did not see any signs. She again reiterated in a surly tone “there are signs sir, you must check in.” The tone in the hostesses voice, along with her body language, did not make my wife or I feel welcomed at all. Instead, it just compounded the frustration we were already feeling about finding used underwear in our cabin. My wife and I also purchased the passes for the Thermal Suite and found throughout the cruise, that housekeeping was again an issue in the Thermal Suite Area. Guests would often leave towels on stone loungers as well as empty cups and fruit cores in around the complimentary water/snack station and lounge chair area after they left. Despite there being many staff/crew members present in and around the Thermal Suite Area very rarely did any one frequently come around and clean up these items. We experienced several other minor issues throughout the cruise such as not receiving certain items that were ordered with meals etc... All issues that just reaffirmed the lack of attention to detail. Despite all of the shortcomings outlined above, and the frustration we experienced, we did also meet some wonderful staff members who made our cruise enjoyable which made up for some of the short comings outlined above, as well as guests with whom we have made lifelong friends. All in all my wife and I enjoyed our trip and had a lot of fun. However, Norwegian did fall short of our expectations and in conclusion my wife and I would not feel comfortable recommending Norwegian Cruise Lines to friends and family at this time. We are still unsure if we would sail with Norwegian Cruise lines in the future. We did provide this feedback and more detail to NCL Guest Relations post cruise and they did respond 17 business days later apologizing for our experience, and offering to arrange some amenities if we choose to sail with them again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: May 2017
Wanted to get away from the wet NYC weather and hence the week long cruise to Bahamas. Smallish ship (2300 guests) compared to other modern ships (4000+ guests). We had a mini suite with balcony on the 11th floor. Great housekeeping, ... Read More
Wanted to get away from the wet NYC weather and hence the week long cruise to Bahamas. Smallish ship (2300 guests) compared to other modern ships (4000+ guests). We had a mini suite with balcony on the 11th floor. Great housekeeping, superb restaurants and food options and decent on board entertainment. The on board sale of merchandise was also quite inexpensive. There were art auctions and a casino which we did not try. We visited Port Canaveral (extra - visited Kennedy Space Center) and Nassau (extra - spent the day at British Colonial Hilton). Return trip was really long since the planned stop at the island of Great Stirrup Cay was cancelled (bad weather) and we returned to NYC after 3 days of continuous sailing. Cursing was freestyle and one could travel with light luggage and casual clothes. Check in procedure was very efficient but check out took a fair bit of time (had to leave our stateroom by 8.30 am and wait at the ship's restaurants till 11.30 am to disembark...food and beverages were served). If you a netizen, go for the unlimited internet plan (get yourself freebie limited internet plan during booking and pay the extra to upgrade to unlimited on Day 2 of cruise) and you can be on phone (Facebook messenger, WhatsApp) and internet anything during the cruise which is otherwise quite expensive as phone calls need to be made via maritime satellite and internet pacakages cost around $30 an hour. Internet bandwidth availability was decent. Strongly recommended for a 7 day trip. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We chose this cruise for 1)the Gem because its smaller than the Breakaway 2) leaves from NY and 3) it was a new itinerary for us. Being in the Haven is always the best and this was no different. All the shows were new and we especially ... Read More
We chose this cruise for 1)the Gem because its smaller than the Breakaway 2) leaves from NY and 3) it was a new itinerary for us. Being in the Haven is always the best and this was no different. All the shows were new and we especially liked the two Broadway type shows. Redoing the photo gallery was stunning and having new lounge chairs put in the atrium was awesome. I never recommend La Cucina since we get great Italian food locally but then it may appeal to others who have no preconceived idea of what to expect. NCL now assigned a dietician (waiter) to follow us and preorder our meals since we have some serious food allergies. Not only was the young man personable but we felt so extra special. Our only problem was disembarkation at the end since we needed wheel chairs. They were short staffed and short of chairs. A better system needs to be instituted. Read Less
8 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We chose Norwegian because we wanted to go on a cruise with more of an adult atmosphere and better service than a "party cruise" like Carnival, so our expectations were high. The crew seemed to run the gamut from very experienced ... Read More
We chose Norwegian because we wanted to go on a cruise with more of an adult atmosphere and better service than a "party cruise" like Carnival, so our expectations were high. The crew seemed to run the gamut from very experienced to very inexperienced. You never knew at dinner whether you were going to have the "A Team" or the "C Team". Too few bartenders - we would have literally spent more on drinks if it weren't such a long wait at times at the bars and/or if they had more waiters walking around and the pool and lounges getting drinks. Trying to get a drink at the embarkation party was the worst!! Not a great way to start! The crew overall wasn't particularly friendly and overall the crew seemed stretched thin. We *never* saw the cruise director Mark socializing with anyone, although we shouted "Hi Mark" to him three different times when we saw him walking by (never stopped to chat). The excursions even to just go to the beach were very expensive, and one of our excursions was very disappointing (Tortola's Virgin Gorda Baths and Snorkel). Our cabin steward was wonderful and friendly, although my brother (who was staying in a much more expensive cabin) said he hardly saw his and didn't even know his name. The food overall was very good - Garden Cafe buffet was surprisingly good - although we had a terrible experience in O'Sheehan's where half our party were never brought their dinner until we got up and got the manager involved. We enjoyed the shows - Tim Kaminski was particularly great and his regular show was funnier than the PG-13 one. Ship entertainers Barry the pianist and Leo the guitar player were very enjoyable. The lounges were great too - loved the Spinnaker Lounge and the lounge by Maltings BUT it was hard to find anywhere to sit for a long period of time without some form of loud entertainment being scheduled. We kept having to move - would be nice if there was a *lounge* that was just mostly quiet (there is a game room for playing cards and games and a library but you can't bring any food or drink in - no fun!). For what we paid, we were overall not impressed with this cruise and will look at Royal Caribbean for next time. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
I chose the Norwegian Gem because: 1 - the cruise fit the exact dates of Spring Break and 2 - It was leaving from New York, so I didn't have to worry about air fare to Florida. Never having cruised the Norwegian Cruise Line ... Read More
I chose the Norwegian Gem because: 1 - the cruise fit the exact dates of Spring Break and 2 - It was leaving from New York, so I didn't have to worry about air fare to Florida. Never having cruised the Norwegian Cruise Line before, I didn't quite know what to expect. However, I was pleased with many of the attributes of NCL. Being the legal guardian with custody as well as power of attorney, I felt it would be easy to board with my 3 year old grandson. There was, however, a bit of a problem with the custom agent. To their credit, the NCL embarkation agents did their best to ensure that my boarding experience was as problem free as possible. Once aboard, and in our cabin, I was very pleased. The cabin was clean and spacious. Each day, the cabin staff made sure to replenish anything that we had depleted. There were always clean towels. We mostly ate in the Garden Cafe. The buffet was very good and the poolside barbecue was wonderful! I was disappointed with the nightly entertainment. Some entertainers were outstanding (Tim Kaminisky for example), while others were no so good (we did not care for Swing and some of the other entertainment). We did not utilize any shore excursions, but the Ports of Call were very nice to visit and enjoy. We did, however, use the Perspectives Photography Studio. The pictures were marvelous. I would recommend this feature to travelers. Unlike any ship I have been on previously, I attended an art auction and wound up purchasing a lovely piece of art. This was a first for me, but definitely, not my last! I cannot say enough about the staff. They were magnificent! Some of the hardest working people I have ever met! Always polite. Always helpful. Always there to meet our desires and our needs. Being Spring Break, I was afraid the children would overrun the ship, but to the credit of NCL, they had so many things for the youth to participate in, that the older passengers (meaning me) were not greatly disturbed by hoards of youngsters. My grandson participated in the Splash Academy and he LOVED it! The staff was wonderful and the show they performed was so cute. Overall, I enjoyed this cruise (as did my mother and grandson). I would definitely cruise with NCL again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
The 10 Day Eastern Caribbean itinerary on April 8 was fantastic. I aligned perfectly with the children's spring break. I am giving this cruise a 5 star overall rating. There was plenty to do on the ship. I typically stay in mini ... Read More
The 10 Day Eastern Caribbean itinerary on April 8 was fantastic. I aligned perfectly with the children's spring break. I am giving this cruise a 5 star overall rating. There was plenty to do on the ship. I typically stay in mini suites. However, I chose to upgrade to a 2 Bedroom Family Penthouse Suite. On the Gem, I didn't see any value in upgrading to The Haven. Embarkation was fantastic. We didn't have to wait in line and were escorted to a private area with yummy treats. We were then escorted on the ship to Cagney's for lunch. Staying in a suite allowed us to eat breakfast in Maderno and lunch in Cagney's. The food and service were impeccable. The room had plenty of space. The master bedroom was nice with a comfortable bed. Another perk, you can choose from a menu of pillows, firm, medium, soft. The bathroom was spacious with floor to ceiling glass in the shower. There was a living room and small dining room. The children's bedroom had a pullman that sleeps one and a lower pull out couch bed which can sleep 2 eleven year olds. This level of cabin came with a concierge and butler service. They took great care of us. We had a dining package and ate in Cagney's, Moderno, La Bistro, and Teppanyaki. My personal favorite was Teppanyki. Each were unique and special. No bad meal in any of them. I also ate in the Grand Pacific and Magenta. Only issue was one night the food was a little salty. I did eat at the sushi bar. As an avid sushi eater, I found the rolls really good. I was amazed by the lack of people eating there. If you sail on the Gem and like sushi, eat at the bar. You won't be disappointed! There are plenty of activities. I had mixed emotions on the entertainment in the Stardust Theater. The comedy show was hilarious!!! I can't recommend enough. The magic show was rather weak, card tricks, slight of hand. In my opinion, rather bush league. We walked out of the Second City act. Nothing funny and just excruciating, had to leave. The service around the ship was spot on. I have been on numerous excursions. We decided to take the Champagne and Snorkel sail to St. John. 10 Stars for this. The boat was immaculate! The sail was phenomenal! The beach and snorkel on St. John were pristine. What made the excursion was the crew. The service and enthusiasm of the crew couldn't have been any better. Go on this excursion! The children had a ball. I thought kids camp would be leverage for good behavior. That went out the window. They wanted to go all day lol! So much for them to do I could write a novel. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
We booked this 10 day cruise over my kid's Spring Break from school. It was myself, my husband (late 40's) and two daughters (15 & 12). We are seasoned cruisers with this being cruise 11 for myself and husband and cruise ... Read More
We booked this 10 day cruise over my kid's Spring Break from school. It was myself, my husband (late 40's) and two daughters (15 & 12). We are seasoned cruisers with this being cruise 11 for myself and husband and cruise 5 for the kids. However it was our first time trying NCL. We thought the Gem was a great ship with a wonderful crew. I'm still very sad it had to end! We booked a balcony guarantee and were assigned room 10010 on Deck 10 Forward. We were not far from the stairs and had a great view up to the bridge from our balcony and could often see the Captain and ship's officers working up there. We were also only two decks from the Spa and Pool Area's as well as a short walk from there to the Buffet. It was a very good location. Food: We mainly ate a the buffet. The food was good and easy to get to and had a little something for everyone. We did not do any paid dining as we aren't foodies and that is kinda wasted on us. As long as I didn't have to cook it I'm good so free food was fine for me! My husband and I ate at Magenta's three times and O'Sheehan's once. Everything was good. We just preferred the buffet for speed and it just had more options. Tip: they open up LaCucina in the mornings for extra seating for the buffet at breakfast there was ALWAYS tons of tables open there. My family all just met up there after they got their food. Very easy and less searching to find your family in the Garden Cafe. Cabin: We had four people in a balcony cabin. At first I was worried it would be too tight but it worked out just fine. We used the cubicles by the door to store our clothes (one for each of us). We don't bring dress up cloths (BTDT and I'm all about casual now) so that helped with storage as well. I put our dirty clothes in our suitcases under the bed so they were out of the way AND i was halfway packed to go home! The bathroom was fine for our needs as well but again we didn't do a big shower get dressed up before dinner thing each night either so we didn't all need it at the same time. Thermal Spa Pass; I purchased this for my husband prior to boarding for $199 I saw on board it was $246. Nice savings. He greatly enjoyed it and spent two hours there every evening from 8 - 10 pm. He said he would definitely purchase it again and it was worth the money. Activities/Entertainment: There were quiet a few listed in the Dallies but other then one magic show we didn't attend much of any of them. Show and such are not our thing We like to relax, read books, walk, my kids draw and read as well. Internet: I purchased 250 minutes for $125 prior to getting on board (saves you $3.95 connection fee). It was "okay". It worked best in the early mornings (I was up at 6:30) as less people were on it. At times I couldn't get on at all or it was very slow and burned up your minutes while stuff loaded. It was fine for a daily check in or post on social media but that was able it. Service: The crew on this ship is amazing. Everyone is friendly and helpful. Honestly the crew is really what makes the Gem such an amazing ship. I filled out a lot of Hero's Cards!! Ports: We stopped in San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Maarten and Tortola. This cruise was pricey due to it being 10 days AND spring break so we we tried to keep our costs low on the islands. We had been to 3 of the 4 previously. We did everything ourselves and nothing thru the ship. San Juan - We just walked around Old San Juan. My husband visited the forts. St. Thomas - Taxi to Sapphire Beach St. Maarten - Sightseeing and Shopping Tour with Bernard's Tours Torotal - Taxi to the beach at Brewer's Bay Kid's Programs: My daughter's did not take part in any of the kids activities. Their ages put them in two different groups and honestly they actually just preferred hanging out together so that is what they did. So I can not review any of the kids programs. Overall: A wonderful cruise and we would highly recommend traveling on the NCL Gem. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2017
Had a fabulous cruise on the Gem out of NYC for 10 days to the Caribbean and surprisingly I have only ONE complaint for the entire ten days! The food in the Magenta dinning room was horrible. The food was inedible! The service was ... Read More
Had a fabulous cruise on the Gem out of NYC for 10 days to the Caribbean and surprisingly I have only ONE complaint for the entire ten days! The food in the Magenta dinning room was horrible. The food was inedible! The service was rushed and disorganized. Other than that the cruise was a "Gem" even though it was Easter week with the ship being fully booked to include over 900 children. The ship is just the right size, not too big, not to small and never felt crowded. Staff we encountered from all services were friendly and efficient. Food was great (although I must admit I never eat the buffet). Most bookings come with a 3 day specialty dinning package and then we added to it decreasing the added cost, which can get pricey but worth it in my opinion if you like different dinning experiences. Cagneys- great steak and fabulous service, Moderno-perfectly roasted meats carved table side,as much or as little as you want, you decided ! Also comes with a great view. LaCucina-tasty and different Italian specialties with great service, LeBistro -elegant French with the best chocolate fondue dessert, Ocean Pacific main dinning room was great food and service and even enjoyed a good Sheppards pie in O"Sheehans! The ports of call were of a good variety especially after a long 3 days at sea. The question was book excursions thru the ship or online with private excursions. Book thru the ship won due to the security of knowing the ship will not leave with out you (and it will) and full refund if cancelled or time changes. We booked 2 excursions: Champagne and snorkel in St. Thomas and RIB speed boats around Tortola. Both were great! Just wish the excursion times were longer, most are only 3-3.5 hours and you are at port for 8 hours so what else to do but shop! In St Martin and Puerto Rico we rented a car. We drove around the Islands at our own pace stopping at several beaches, forts,the rain forest and beautiful views. The Gem is the right fit if you like a little bit of great everything, not too big, not too fancy, not too formal, not too much to do, not too much, but just enough! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2017
We were on the Breakaway in November 2016 during Jersey week and this was a totally different experience. The Gem had a lot less children on board than the Breakaway and our children never felt overwhelmed in Splash Academy during this ... Read More
We were on the Breakaway in November 2016 during Jersey week and this was a totally different experience. The Gem had a lot less children on board than the Breakaway and our children never felt overwhelmed in Splash Academy during this cruise which took place over Ontario's March Break week. My biggest complaint is the ridiculous timing of the Tortola port of call, 7:00 a.m. to 12:30. NCL, please find a way to change this...too short and too early a start. No complaints about the other ports of call. Luggage drop off and embarkation were a breeze. Smaller well run ship. Captain (actually from Norway) was very friendly and present around the ship. Our family loved the bridge viewing room. Current cruise director is Mark Wachiachi (sp?) and the assistant cruise director is Zack. Entertainment was great. Tim, the comedian, was a hoot and kept his earlier shows pretty clean for the whole family. Aerial acrobats on the last night were amazing and so was the magician. Wonderfully relaxing vacation spent with family. Read Less
14 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: April 2016
We cruised from New York to the Caribbean (Puerto Rico, St Thomas, St Martin and Tortola) on the 11th April 2016 (10 days) Our first thoughts were that we might get caught up in the New York School Easter Holiday period and have too ... Read More
We cruised from New York to the Caribbean (Puerto Rico, St Thomas, St Martin and Tortola) on the 11th April 2016 (10 days) Our first thoughts were that we might get caught up in the New York School Easter Holiday period and have too many young cruisers aboard and secondly that the ship seemed to have a "party" reputation. On both counts these did not come to fruition. We missed the main school holiday period and the atmosphere on board was overly biased towards the younger or middle age ranges and we enjoyed the whole experience. This was our first NCL cruise, although we have cruised many times before on many other lines. We were particularly drawn by the cruise destinations. Embarkation at Manhattan Cruise Terminal 88.....for a mid sized ship was rather slow (2 hours), due to a first come first served policy, despite allocated time slots on documentation.Unfortunately our clerk was devoid of any pleasant personality traits and missed opportunities to explain some things better. However, our travelling companions did better with another clerk. Disembarkation at New York(same terminal) was somewhat better and we were reunited with our suitcases after about an hour wait in the lounge area. Quick pass through customs. The problem is outside The Manhattan Cruise Terminals, because of a change in policy by the Port Authority/Police, who only allow drop offs outside the terminal building. Taxi and private car pick up HAVE to take place across a very busy inner city dual carriageway and it becomes a free for all to locate your car/taxi. It makes it impossible for a car to arrive on time for a pick up. Have your mobile handy to call your transportation company !!!! Cabins were larger than most cabins on other ships...(balcony cabin 11082), with king sized bed, separate toilet and bath tub. The balcony was much larger than other larger cruise ships we have been on the passed 2 years (8 cruises so far) There are plenty of good sized lifts at Aft,Mid and Forward ship and the public areas provide good seating and bars, although on wet sea days and pre diner/theatre times expect seating to be tight.The atrium is a nice area to take a drink and listen to some piano music. We avoided the Whisky and Cocktail bar area as it was much more boisterous.The upper and forward Spinnaker Lounge was a good space for a quiet drink, although used for many other activities including Bingo, Quizzes, iive music etc. Restaurants for freedom dining are good and quite classical in design, one is more laid back whilst the other was a little grander, but still friendly. The service in both (one night apart) was efficient and friendly. The menu has sufficient choice to make each meal selection interesting. The food, like many cruise ships, is normally only served warm, but not unduly so.There is a decent wine list and can be served by the glass. We were on the Ultimate Beverage Package (UBP) which enabled us access to many wines by either small or large wine glass size. In the bars this package gave us access to most premium wines, spirits,cocktails, liquors soft drinks and special coffees (Irish etc) The cafeteria is good, but as usual, at busy times breakfast and lunch, tables are at a premium. If the weather is good, it was good to sit on the outer deck 12 eating area, where there is a separate bar, buffet, coffee, tea and ice cream dispenser. The table attendants were efficient and cleared quickly to keep the flow going. Watch out for the Americans ignoring the queue/lines....very frustrating habit.!! The shows in theatre were of a good quality and variety. No real need to get there early, unless you want a particular seat. You will find the normal "end of row hoggers" always there early !! You will hear various attempts to sell "scratch" style cards for $20 a time, but its not a heavy sell. If you want to drink whilst watching a show, take one with you, as waiters are not easy to find inside the theatre. Overall an enjoyable cruising experience and we would certainly repeat the NCL treatment, albeit from another port other than New York. Read Less
6 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
Norwegian Gem March 12-22,1016. The cruise was way over crowded. We were told that there were 3,000 passengers on the ship, and 1/3 of them were teens. If you look up the stats on the Gem it claims it's capacity is 2400. ... Read More
Norwegian Gem March 12-22,1016. The cruise was way over crowded. We were told that there were 3,000 passengers on the ship, and 1/3 of them were teens. If you look up the stats on the Gem it claims it's capacity is 2400. It was "spring break" in Canada. It was also spring break in many US colleges and Universities. The US students must have gone elsewhere, but Canadians were the dominant participants on this cruise. There was also a large Chinese contingent. I like the diversity, I enjoyed practicing my French with some Quebecois. The cruise staff were amazing. Drew was the new cruise director, he stepped right in as if he had been there forever. .. which i suppose they are conditioned to do so changing ships with each vacation. His staff were professional and friendly. You could see them all over the ship stepping up to the challenges. I have come to the conclusion that the higher your level of cabin, the more you see your steward. I had an obstructed ocean view ada cabin. I saw him about four times in ten days. That doesn't mean he didn't clean; he cleaned my room well, twice each day. I have no complaints, in terms of his service; i just saw the stewards more often when i was in a balcony room. (and not at all when i had an inside). I had a great time playing trivia multiple times each day. Some games were incredibly difficult. Of course the pay to play activities were hawked and encouraged much more. I don't play those games any more. I spent three hours at the pool one morning while in port. all of the chairs were "reserved with towels" and I never saw a person come to those chairs. I began to believe that the towels were simply placed there for anyone's use; but i remembered other's complaints about this. Some how this practice needs to stop. There were only two of us in the pool, so the chairs were not reserved by us. Come on people. Either be at the pool or keep your towels in the room. The staff in Cagney's were lovely and welcoming. Le Bistro staff were also welcoming and kind. Meals in Cagney's were sometimes slow. in Le Bistro and the Grand Pacific I felt that service was reasonable in its time. The wait staff were always amazing. I tend to avoid the buffet if possible as it is difficult to navigate when disabled, though I walked through often to get to the aft elevator or to hang out in the Great Outdoors. I had one meal at Teppanyaki, the floor was exceptionally slippery, the food was good, however on previous cruises we were given a little of what everyone ordered and then a lot of what we ordered. On this cruise we were only given what we ordered. Had i known this, I would have ordered differently. I did not use room service. Having 1,000 teens prompted the staff to turn the Bliss lounge into an under 21 club at night. In the past it was an adults only lounge. This was a very smart move in my opinion. I did not have problems with teens all over the place, nor did i see lots of little kids outside of the buffet. Complaints: There were far fewer seats designated as handicapped seats in the Stardust Theater. This was distressing as I counted on having those seats available as my knee doesn't bend comfortably, if at all. The price of drinks has gone up 20%, ($8.80 -> $10.56) and yet we no longer get bar nuts with our drinks. The pools were way too crowded on sea days, and the passengers rudely left their towels on the chairs for hours at a time. The temperature in the thermal suite spa tubs was lower than in the past. (it was about 99˚ F) The orange juice is gone from the thermal suites, and when people got sick, so was the flavored water and teas (I don't remember if there was ever coffee). As a lattitudes member, I was disappointed that there were very few, not well indicated, signature products at the spa. (those that are eligible for discounts) Also in the past all purchases i've made in the photo gallery; generally ship pictures or destination pictures, have been discounted. This time I was told it was only the pictures taken of passengers that are discounted. Surprise surprise!! Ah well. It does take the loyalty incentive down a notch. My biggest complaint is against the hotel manager, Sonja. I wrote a note to her almost every day. Most of them were upbeat, one of them was a complaint. I never got a response to any of them. In the past I have always gotten responses from the hotel manager both when my comments were positive and when I was upset about something. Why cursed? The noro-virus was at a level that caused Saint Martin to deny us port. This upset many people. Those who fell ill, and their cabin mates, were quarantined for 48 hours. I'm sure that was difficult for families in inside cabins. The crew did their best to contain the virus I'm sure. Dancers and cruise activity staff were helping out in the buffet, which was no longer a buffet, but more like a cafeteria with staff serving everyone. There were also problems int the child care area. All in all, I stayed healthy, and so I had a very pleasant cruise. I enjoyed myself even though I was traveling solo for the first time. I still plan to cruise like a Norwegian. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
We sailed March 12-22 on The Gem. NCL does a good job of making a cruising holiday affordable and fun for families. We sailed have sailed on The Gem in 2014 as well. We returned this year hoping for a good vacation, and overall it was: ... Read More
We sailed March 12-22 on The Gem. NCL does a good job of making a cruising holiday affordable and fun for families. We sailed have sailed on The Gem in 2014 as well. We returned this year hoping for a good vacation, and overall it was: food is always good on The Gem; entertainment and service great too. Activities were often centred on making money off passengers. The entertainment was good; dancers amazing. Teen entourage was younger teens so our 16 year old didn't go there too much. Dis/embarkation was organized. The downfall? Norovirus on board with us! We will not cruise NCL again after losing 3 full days of our 10 day vacation. At $600/day, losing 3 days is hardly affordable to me. According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 128 documented cases, (I am sure there were many more unreported cases!) of Norovirus during this sailing of the Gem. http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/vsp/surv/outbreak/2016/march12_norwegian_gem.htm Our family decided to abide by the Captain's guidelines, and put ourselves in cabin isolation for 48 hours because we contracted the Norovirus that was circulating the ship during our voyage. The ship's officer visited us and made it official: he removed our Key cards from us. We spent 48 boring hours stuck in our room! We the entire ship lost our day in St. Martin, as the ship was denied to dock because of the Norovirus outbreak onboard. Wow, we got another sea day. Total of 7.5 sea days and only 2.5 port days. Unfortunately, some of our friends were isolated for 96 hours; while others were only allowed to go out to 1 of the 4 ports, so they sailed for 10 days, with only 1 day off the ship. For our next vacation, we plan to quickly fly to a resort and fully enjoy our independence. I did not like being confined to a cabin. After all, I go on vacation to increase my freedom, not diminish it. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
My husband, 2 daughters and I recently returned home from a 10 day cruise on the Norwegian Gem. The cruise left New York on March 12. Good stuff first: Embarkation- The embarkation process went fine. It was organized and the ... Read More
My husband, 2 daughters and I recently returned home from a 10 day cruise on the Norwegian Gem. The cruise left New York on March 12. Good stuff first: Embarkation- The embarkation process went fine. It was organized and the employees were friendly. Stateroom- Once we got on the boat we found our stateroom, which was an inside room. It was small, but that was to be expected. They had a small closet in the room which we found useful for storing our suitcases. The bathroom was an ok size and clean. Our steward, Larry, was really great! He was always nice and respectful of when the baby was in the room sleeping. Children's Clubs- My 8 year old daughter had a great time in the Splash Academy. The staff was great with the kids. The check-in process could have been a little more organized and efficient. A con for us was, there isn't a nursery for children under the age of 3. We knew this ahead of time, but it still would have been a nice option. Ports- We ported in San Juan, St. Thomas, and Tortola. We were also supposed to port in St. Maarten, but weren't allowed off the ship. More on that later. In San Juan we went to Isla Verde. We set up in front of the Courtyard Marriot hotel there and had a great experience. The waves were a little larger here than is ideal with an 8 year old, but as long as she stayed pretty close it wasn't too big of a concern. The Marriot has restrooms and a restaurant that they let us use while we were there. In St. Thomas we went to Magen's Bay. It was crowded because it seemed like the whole ship went there. There were restrooms and concession stand (that wasn't very good). There were also umbrellas and chairs you could rent. We had been to Magen's Bay on a previous trip and it was my favorite port this time around. It's gorgeous! In Tortola we took a taxi, $8 per person, to Cane Garden Bay. This place had all the same features as the previous places; chairs, umbrellas, a concession stand. There were also shops and other restaurants right along the beach. We were only in port there until 12:30 so we just waited to eat until we got back on the ship. Dining- We ate breakfast every morning at the buffet. We liked the options and variety we got by doing that. They were also open later than the other breakfast options. Most mornings it was pretty crazy. It was over-crowded and people would cut in line and just had a general disregard for the people around them. Lunch and dinner options were never good. The food in the buffet and the main dining rooms were not good. We only ate at one specialty dining restaurant, La Cucina and it was also, not good. On multiple occasions my daughter would show me fruit she had gotten that was filthy. Which could be the reason hundreds of people contracted the Norovirus. It got 3 out of 4 of my family members alone. People were afraid to report this though because they would quarantine the entire cabin. I will say, once it did start to spread, there were crew members being diligent about cleaning railings that people touch and making sure anyone going in or out of the dining room sanitized their hands. The captain said that it looked like it was started because of the water in Puerto Rico, but I found this to be a pretty unlikely story. Because of the widespread sickness on the boat, the officials in St. Maarten wouldn't even let us off the ship! I can't say I blame them after experiencing the nasty bug myself. Entertainment- The entertainment was for lack of a better word, boring. We only saw one act that we liked. Claire Vinkesteijn from Holland's Got Talent was fun to watch. Even the activities going on during sea days was boring. A lot of it was just more ways for them to sell more stuff. We mostly hung out at the pool. The water slide was open which was great because several reviews that I had read prior to getting onboard said the slide wasn't functioning. Disembarkation- This process worked really well for us because we carried all of our stuff off ourselves. We were able to get off the boat right around 8 which was when they said we would be let off. I couldn't get off fast enough as I was still sick the day we left. Talk about a long 4 hour drive back home. I have always liked to cruise in the past, but because of this particular cruise I will probably never go on one again. I will definitely never cruise with Norwegian again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: March 2016
First & most positive I'll say we have never had a bad cruise. My daughter at the age of 30 had gotten a very bad stomach disease & became handicapped she was a productive CNA lost over 100 pounds and is now confined mainly ... Read More
First & most positive I'll say we have never had a bad cruise. My daughter at the age of 30 had gotten a very bad stomach disease & became handicapped she was a productive CNA lost over 100 pounds and is now confined mainly too a wheelchair. Wheeling her around I developed a whole new view on what a handicapped person goes though from the assistant director of the cruise telling me I had a right too complain due to the way she was treated trying too disembark being told we had too wait than getting rammed into by inconsiderate passengers . Let me also state I am a stock holder with NCL my wife & I are both a couple points away from platinum status. When we got off at San Juan too tour Bacardi grey line tours which I understand cannot be controlled by NCL loaded the bus when they should have been told a year ahead of time they had to accommodate a wheel chair & handicapped individual so we held up the whole bus while I helped my daughter to the rear of the bus. Which by the way I was a supervisor for the largest Para Transit company in Philadelphia & know that is against the law per ADA act. The next issue my wife which has severe allergies so I notify the cruise line as soon as I make a reservation I also carry several copies of her allergies I have listed on my computer. We than always stop by the main dinning room first when we embark . We met with a girl with a tag of waitress on her uniform she tells us she will take care of any special dietary needs. Later after serving her shrimp we believe was cooked in butter [ one of her allergies ]they say it wasn't so the next day at lunch she is served a salad with peppers an allergies which closes my wife's throat off luckily she saw them before she attempted to eat. My wife manages a large & popular dinner in Philadelphia which was featured on the show dinners drive inns & dives. Every time previously on every cruise ship or restaurant they send out one of the head chefs due to her allergies. I think [she] tried to do a good job but was overwhelmed and above her pay grade as a waitress ! Also I saw a few workers for NCL refuse to sanitize their hands entering the dinning facilities & 1 of the Passenger's getting back on the ship at St Thomas given that there were passengers sick already I find that unacceptable period. We have sailed with RCCL,Carnival, this is our 4th cruise with NCL. Read Less
Sail Date: March 2016
Lately, we prefer paying for the Haven 2 bedroom, especially because we have 3 teens and we dislike fighting for deck chairs (the Haven has its own deck and pool). Plus we don't have to deal with the crazy overstuffed hot tubs. ... Read More
Lately, we prefer paying for the Haven 2 bedroom, especially because we have 3 teens and we dislike fighting for deck chairs (the Haven has its own deck and pool). Plus we don't have to deal with the crazy overstuffed hot tubs. For this trip, we got a very good deal for ten days, so I had no qualms about booking it. One negative is leaving from NYC. Sometimes we go from Boston, and I find it to be less frustrating getting through check-in. We have foreign family members and NYC TSA agents retained us for more than an hour over paperwork - whereas Boston let us on within minutes with the same papers. We paid for priority embarkation, only to be left standing, waiting for approval. Thankfully, they allowed us to board after all the other passengers had embarked. First thing we did was get something to eat before Cagney's closed, since we hadn't eaten all day. For Haven passengers, they provide breakfast and lunch at Cagney's which is a nice restaurant, but limited in menu choices. The service and the food is very good. The first two Haven passengers in each cabin also get 5 (out of 10) nights to dine in specialty restaurants at no charge. Previous to this cruise it was every night, and it was a waived cover charge. Now they only give half the cruise, and NCL is charging a la carte in lieu of cover charges at the specialty restaurants. We loved all of them, with Cagney's being the best. The steaks rival Ruths Chris which is hard to do. They also make a great raspberry crème brulee and macadamia ice cream. Occasionally, when we got tired of overeating, we skipped the dining room and just picked up food at the Garden Café, which I found to be very good. Overall, I found the food to be much better than the Breakaway and the Dawn has been in the last two years - if you had been on NCL over 5 years ago, you will be really disappointed in the Breakaway or Dawn's non-specialty food quality. I was very impressed that the Gem had done a better job with the food. The room, a 2 bedroom family suite, was beautiful. I found this to be exactly like the NCL Dawn layout, only the Gem was refurbished with new carpeting and linens in October of 2015. It is beautifully laid out with a jet tub and glass shower overlooking the ocean. The sleeping area is very large, while the children's area is much smaller, yet very practical with 2 bunks - a full and a twin. The sitting area contains a table with four chairs and a sofa, as well as a coffee pod machine and a refrigerator. They removed all of the refrigerator stock so we could fill it with our own bottled water we brought on the cruise. If you drink lots of water, this is the way to go. You'll save enough for a spa treatment! Our butler was excellent, the steward and his assistant were great, and the drink steward in the Haven area was kind and attentive (Rod). He always made time to see that I had everything I needed, and even brought me chamomile tea (his own suggestion) when the seas were rough one night. I have NEVER felt so cared for in my life. The concierge was personable and attentive as well. Their is a difference on the Gem vs my previous cruises in that I was not able to get my requested restaurant reservations - I had to settle for different restaurant days and/or times. It might have been because we got on late due to the TSAs or because the ship was full. Interestingly, during the week, I saw openings on the reservation kiosk. Perhaps there were many cancellations. I did not find a lot of exciting activities, but I did meet a few nice people in my wanderings and enjoyed their company. In my opinion, there were too many sea days, and in fact we WERE TURNED AWAY from St. Maarten due to too many passengers coming down with an unknown virus. It's totally unfortunate as this was an island I had never been to (Puerto Rico and St. Thomas are common itineraries that I had visited previously). Imagine the dismay as we sailed away for another day at sea (now it's 7 days), sailing in a circle. We were grateful NOT to be turned away from our 5 hour Tortola trip. One big negative about that port is the HUGE line we waited in to get back on board. After our ship sponsored beach excursion, we stood in the blazing sun for exactly an hour waiting to get back on board. I would have rather spent the hour shopping in the nearby shops. Perhaps they could have staggered it somehow? Interestingly, the dock gates were locked when we returned while in Puerto Rico. We had to wait while another ship was leaving port. In order to curtail the illness, salt and pepper shakers were removed from all tables, self serving was eliminated in the Garden café and the coffee and pastry table was eliminated in the Haven area. I wonder if they wiped down the menus, as that seems like a very big was to pass germs on. Overall, I was slightly stressed out about being stuck on the ship for 7 days, but I had a great cabin and good service. It just got a little boring. Sometimes I wish there were more activities and/or spa services that weren't too costly (I had a very expensive facial) and didn't include a sales pitch. There could be more variety in the on board stores and maybe some interesting lectures on the history of the islands (not just shopping or superficial landmark type stuff -maybe marine biology, etc). I don't drink much, so that leaves me to seek other types of activities. On the Breakaway, they had dueling pianos and comedians on a regular basis. Perhaps they could also do a musical themed night for each decade rather than the same thing all the time... something for everyone. At least my husband learned to do Sodukus. We did try to find a board game, but the game room pickings were very slim. If the price was competitive, I'd do it again. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2015
Excellent service! crew was extremely nice n willing to help all ! Very organized ! Norwegian have thought of everything as far as comfort to washing sand off your feet to a wet cold wash clothes to wash off your face n hands after a day ... Read More
Excellent service! crew was extremely nice n willing to help all ! Very organized ! Norwegian have thought of everything as far as comfort to washing sand off your feet to a wet cold wash clothes to wash off your face n hands after a day on the beach n excursions! 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
Norwegian Gem Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 5.0 3.9
Public Rooms 5.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.6
Enrichment 4.0 3.4
Service 4.0 4.1
Value For Money 5.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 3.8

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