Our family of four enjoyed our 7 day cruise on the Norwegian Gem. There were some things I found to be wonderful and some things I think they can improve on.
The food was amazing. The food was fresh and delicious! We did not have a bad meal the entire week. We enjoyed the specialty Brazilian restaurant very much and would definitely eat there again if we have the chance. But the Grand Pacific and Magenta were the places we ate the most--we enjoyed every bite! We loved that we did not have to sit at a specific table each time we ate, or with strangers, as other cruise lines make you do. We loved being able to eat when we wanted as well. The Garden Cafe-- the buffet-- was surprisingly delicious too.
The service was perfect. We felt cared for and every detail from dining to our stateroom was friendly and warm. We cannot say enough about the service.
The entertainment was surprisingly enjoyable! The dancers/singers, magician/comedian, and (our favorite) Second City were top notch, and family friendly. When entertainers can please the kids and grown ups at the same time, it speaks volumes about the quality.
Our biggest complaint is allowing people to smoke on their balcony. We had to keep our door closed at all times, and still the smell made it in. It made me regret spending the money on having a balcony. With an oceanview room, this not an issue. It was a real spoiler.
The scene at the pool was ridiculous. People are allowed to reserve chairs and will not show up for hours and hours. There really should be some policy for this or some way to make it so that people at the pool have a place to sit!
Up-selling: We were constantly being pushed to buy more and more-- jewelery, the next cruise, bingo tickets, etc.
1. If you go to Universal, get the Express Pass. It is worth it in order to really get on enough rides to make the excursion worthwhile.
2. Be the first to get on the tender for the Great Stirrup Cay-- you can do this by booking an excursion, renting a set of snorkel gear, or being the first on line to get the tender number. It gets really crowded so get there first, pull up your chair to the water's edge.
3. Swimming with dolphins at Atlantis was by far the best part of our trip. Book this early-- there were so many people who wanted to go but it sold out weeks before the trip.
Some things I would do differently next time:
Sail out of a southern port-- we went out of NY because we could drive to the port. This made sea days chilly and not enjoyable to be outside. We enjoyed warm weather at the ports, but on the ship, sweaters needed, or we stayed inside. This may be the reason the stomach bug ran amuck during the last two days. The ship dealt with it very well but it there were many people sick!
We had a wonderful week, and my hope is that this review shows the positives more than the negatives.