Family Fun Cruise: Norwegian Gem Cruise Review by andmad
Overall Member Rating
Family Fun Cruise
Embarkation: New York (Manhattan)
Embarkation could not have been easier. We just moved up to the gold level of Latitudes and were in an express line for gold and platinum members. We went through a shorter customs line and checked in immediately.
Next we had lunch at the Grand Pacific. I noticed the menus had changed. I usually have the mushroom risotto but enjoyed a shrimp Caesar Salad and fried calamari. We explored the ship a bit and then went to our room at 2:00. We were so happy to get a family balcony this time. It was so much more spacious than our cabin last year which had an obstructed view. The kids had the balcony and TV on their side of the cabin and that kept them busy.
After unpacking and the safety drill we headed up to the deck party. We danced and had fun. The dancers and Nickelodeon crew came out to perform which was fun. Our cruise director was Sinan and was very funny. We was an assistant CD on our last cruise.
Our kids loved going More to the kids club. There were a variety of activities for them to do and both were in the 6-9 age group. DS liked the organized sports on the basketball court. The kids went to the club every evening until close and a few times in the afternoon during the days at sea. The only disappointment was for DS who wanted to participate in the kids' circus show. We did not know you had to sign the kids up for that. We thought that going to the kids club during rehearsal was enough. That could have been communicated better, but otherwise, this was perfect. The counselors knew the kids names after the first day.
We ate breakfast every day at the buffet. We usually got our food inside and then ate outside at the Great Outdoors. Lots of good choices. My daughter loved the cinnamon rolls. The omelet station was my favorite. We ate lunch in a variety of places and that was always good. We ate 4 dinners in the Grand Pacific. I liked the MDR choices a lot. The menu has improved. My favorite meal was at Moderno. There was so much food. I have never felt so full! The salad bar had delicious salads and soups. The meat came out fast and furiously. Service was fabulous. We had another delicious meal at LeBistro. I had the seafood in puff pastry($10) on top of the surcharge and it was well worth it. DH had the Bouillabaisse. We started with mussels and onion soup and finished with fondue. This is usually our favorite meal. The food did not disappoint, but the service was so slow. I think we were there for an hour and forty-five minutes. There did not seem to be enough servers. Our waiter was nice and courteous but spread to thin. The chef's tasting menu was served in Le Bistro behind a room that was curtained off to the rest of the restaurant and I think this detracted from our experience. Again, Delicious food, but just too slow.
We did an excursion to Islands of Adventure. DS loved Dr. Suess land and DD loved the Harry Potter ride. It was awesome despite the 60 minute wait. The bus ride there and back seemed to take about 50 minutes. It was nice to relax on the bus after a hot day in some long lines.
Grand Stirrup Cay was a beautiful day. The kids did the Hippo Slide. DD and DH and I did some snorkeling and saw some beautiful fish. The island has really improved since our last visit. There were plenty of chairs which has been a problem in the past. We had priority tendering thanks to our gold Latitudes level so we headed over early. The food choices at the buffet were good too.
In Nassau we took a bus to the Sheraton and used their pool and beach. It was lovely. On the way back, DD stopped for a hair wrap outside the port. We were back on the ship with 15 minutes to spare. DH and DS said that when they arrived back at the ship 30 minutes earlier, there was fun entertainment there.
We did not see any shows but Second City which was funny. We enjoyed Ray the guitar player, and the orchestra. The female piano player had a great voice but would have been better if she skipped all the silly props.
On Friday we hit rough seas on our way back to NYC. I do not usually get seasick but was sick from 5:00am until dinner time. I was in bed all day. DD got sick in the afternoon too. Looking around the ship, many people appeared to be sick. They seemed to add extra activities to keep passengers busy. The pools were drained(hot tubs stayed open) and the rock climbing wall was closed due to wind.
This was a great family kids. The kids are already asking when we can go again. I think cruising is such a great value for a family vacation. There is lots to do with the family and still an opportunity to be alone with your spouse thanks to the kids club. Despite the seasickness, I cannot wait until our next cruise! Less