Norwegian Gem Cruise Review by adamdenton: Haven Two Bedroom Suite - All you wanted to know
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Haven Two Bedroom Suite - All you wanted to know
Why we booked Canada --
We booked this cruise as we wanted a low-key relaxing vacation.
Getting to the port of NYC --
We drove from DC to NY and parked at the port of NYC. We left DC at 5:45am and arrived at 11am. We were not sure about parking and how many parking spaces but parking was a breeze at the port. Parking was $350 for anything over 9 days. I did not think that it was terrible based on what I have paid at NYC hotels for parking. We took a freight elevator from the parking deck (don't park directly under lot lights, you will have tons of bird poop when you return) to check-in area. We had one family member in a wheelchair and this was not a problem at all and the reason we chose to drive over taking Amtrak. The check-in line was very minimal this early and I we were placed in the Have/suite line with about 3 other families. We stood in line for about 10-minutes before an agent checked us in (not as nice or quick as other ports we have checked in at More but it was fast enough). After check-in we were taken to a private room for suite guest with snacks and beverages. We relaxed in this room until about 12:30 waiting to board the ship. During this time we met our concierge for the week and we were handed information about events and tours to review prior to boarding. The ship has one concierge and she was able to handle all our needs the entire week along with probably 45 other rooms.
We were able to board the ship first and taken to Cagney's for a private lunch with other suite guests. The food in Cagney's was only ok at best. Maybe I set my expectations high but on past cruises with NCL we did not love the food in Cagney's. During our lunch our concierge talked with all of us for a few minutes on a personal level. I had read that suite guest are escorted to their rooms so we sat for some time and realized that this may not be a service they offer so we made our way to the Haven as we were excited to see it and our room. We were not sure if it was ok to go in our room or go up as no one said yes or no. We went to the room and it was ready.
2 Bedroom 2 Bathroom Haven Suite -
We took the mid-ship elevators (only elevators that go to Haven) to the 14th floor that is keycard access only. Once you exit the elevators you see a higher level of finishes and doors to the 3-bedroom suites and a staircase two the two penthouse rooms. On either side of the elevator bank you will see two more keycard access control doors that your room key opens. Walking through this door it is a wonderful light filled hall with rooms on one side and windows into the private pool area on the other. The halls have 4-doors into the pool area so no room is far from the courtyard. We walked into our room and it had a foyer with a door to the left into the smaller room. The smaller room had a smallish closet with three drawers, a sofa that turned into a full sized bed an upper bed that we kept closed the whole time and a typical cabin bathroom but with a larger stall shower. The only negative on the small bathroom was the toilette is placed at an angle and if your over 5'8 you will hit your knees on the wall in front of you. The room also had a 12-inch flat screen tv. Back into the foyer you continue straight to find a table for four, a coffee bar with plates, glasses, silverware, expresso machine, DVD player, 40-inch wall mounted TV, and a sofa that turns into the coolest twin bed at night and two arm chairs. Off the living room you will find a sliding glass door out to the patio with two upscale patio chairs. The master door is a sliding pocket door with frosted glass. The master bedroom has heavy curtains that close at the foot of the bed with a 12-inch TV mounted to the wall. The master has nice lighting and deep storage cabinets along with a DVD player. The master bath has a large closet, tons and tons of drawers and storage under the double sinks. The master bath also has a nice single person tub with a window over it, bath salts, and a wall of mirrors. The stall shower has a glass door with a tall window and shower body sprays, a wall shower head and a rain shower head overhead. The negative is that the toilette is enclosed in a glass room with frosted stripes that provided zero privacy. We closed the pocket door between the living room and bathroom any time you had to use the toilette. Not terrible but a frosted door would have been best. We had 4 in the room and we were very comfortable for 10-days. They say the room holds 6 and it will but it would be very tight.
Haven / Courtyard --
The Haven was the best invention ever. We all loved being able to walk out of our room to daylight in the halls with a door across from our room out to the small but hardly used pool, spa, 2-piece gym, overly comfy deck chairs, tables, and bathrooms with steam rooms. The Haven also has a private huge sundeck on the 15th floor accessible only by stairs. The sundeck was hardly used with giant lux chairs, three hammocks, and plenty of places to hang out. The negative is that it is very close to the smokestack and diesel tends to be strong at times but did not bother us at all.
The Haven also came with butler, concierge and a courtyard attendant. This in addition to the wonderful cabin steward. You can order breakfast or lunch in the courtyard with the attendant, request them to open the glass canopy on nice days, and they will do anything to make you welcome. The concierge was the best. She delivered tickets, made sure we always had everything or did anything we asked for. The butler, well we are still not sure what his purpose was. He was super nice and polite but he brought us daily snacks to our room or by the pool but that was about it. If I ever called the ship operator they would tell me to call the butler. He did about the same as the operator if I need anything fixed or followed up on. He did drop the ball the two times I called and I had to follow up a couple of time with him. I tipped him a number of times as I felt I needed to as he was so nice and brought us snacks. We used the heck out of the courtyard and the sundeck along with the spa.
As part of being in a suite you can order breakfast to your room and we took advantage of this on two days when we had early ports. The butler set up the table with linens and placed our food allowing us to get ready later and have breakfast in the room. Maybe this is his job. Again, super nice polite guy but on past cruises the room service person did this for us.
Also as suite guest you are allowed to eat in Cagney's. We decided to have breakfast our second day in Cagney's as we wanted to take advantage of the added service and private dinning but breakfast was not great at all. A negative was that they menu for breakfast and lunch in Cagney's that comes with suites is the same every day on the ship. We did not visit the Cagney's but a couple of times as the food seems to be less tasty over the main dining room and with the menu static it was not interesting to eat the same thing every day.
Also as a suite guest you are reserved seats in shows but the seats are sectioned off on the balcony and or not the best seats but nice to have if you come late. We only used these seats once as a show was packed. The seats are not accessible by handicapped guests at all. The concierge meets you and knows you when you do use them. She did offer to hold us a handicap space but most shows were not packed and we arrived 15-minutes early.
As suite guests the ship hosts a cocktail hour in the courtyard with the ships officers.
Lastly, your luggage is tagged going in and out so your luggage is given priority to your room and exiting the ship. In the past we have done easy walk-off where you take your luggage with you and loved it. We could not do it with the wheel chair and so suites were given the opportunity to go off after walk offs.
Almost forgot that you have a cordless phone that works all over the ship that you can call the concierge and butler for anything you need. We did not use it but was a great idea.
The Ship --
Loved the ship! It was well cared for and we found all of the food and staff amazing. This is my 5th cruise with NCL and it felt like NCL did major training since our last cruise 12-months ago. The staff was amazing. They also had cocktail hour for repeat cruisers and met with the officers. We dinned a few times in the sushi bar, teppanyaki, and Italian and loved all of them. The main dinning was our favorite but sitting on the back of the boat on the Great Outdoors was one of our favorite places. It has an awning and very little wind gets in.
Cruise Critic Meet and Greet --
This was our first time going to the Cruise Critic Meet and Greet. I highly recommend joining the roll call. The group organized a few events but we only joined the meet and greet. At the event the ships officers came, about 40+ showed up, the provided refreshments and all of the people who came were all super nice. A few took upon themselves to bring giveaways and other fun things and it was so very thoughtful. I wish I had done this in the past.
The port was packed with ship and over 8,000 cruisers. We took advantage of the early off option with the concierge as we wanted to get to the car rental place fast. The concierge meets you at a predestinated spot and escorts you off the ship at any port you like. We rented a car and visited the Lunenburg - a German town that photos do not do it justice but small and cute. A maple shop on the way from Peggy's cove which is a rocky lighthouse small town and cute shop town. Peggy's Cove is super cute but can be very packed especially with as many ships as we had with us.
Quebec / two nights
We arrived on Wednesday day and paid a cab for a two hour tour that I paid by credit card. Some Capital One bank cards do not charge foreign usage fees. I highly recommend it. The cab ride was $75 per hour. The drive did an amazing job or visiting the falls (10-minute ride), tour of the parks, major sights, and things to do. Worth every penny. We had the driver drop us off at the lower shopping area near the funicular (hillside elevator). The ride is $2 per person and free for the wheelchair. After walking upper and lower city we took a cab back to the ship. Later that night we hit the town but it was a Wednesday and things closed about 10pm. Next day we had a leisurely day shopping and dining in the city. The city is steep hills but a little like Paris with buildings at the back of the sidewalk with lots of cafes.
Corner Brook --
The people were the nicest ever and I think we may have been one of their first ships of the year. The town is super small, no tourist shops, not much to offer so I highly recommend doing some type of tour. We did a zip-line and this was a first for me. We loved it and everyone in our group had been on one before and they all said this one was the best.
Rent a car and drive. We drove up to the national park and it has some of the most amazing countryside I have ever seen. We were all amazed by the scenery and beauty. Less
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Cabin review: Norwegian Gem
The room was comfortable for 4 but they say the room can sleep 6. I would not want to stay in this room with 6 people. The master is wonderful with a king sized bed, large bathroom with window in the shower + body sprays with rain shower and shower head. The bathroom also had a nice sized tub for one with a large window and bath salts. Also the bath had two sinks and a separate commode room. The commode room was mostly clear glass and was the only negative thing about the room. Lots and lots of storage in the master, some in the living room and a less but an ok amount in the smaller bedroom. The balcony was a bit smallish but very comfortable with lux style patio chairs. The smaller bathroom was probably a standard sized bathroom for other rooms on the ship. Negative is that both commodes are smallish in smaller spaces. I am not a big person and I hit my knees on the wall and knocked the phone off the wall a number of time as did other family members. The beds were comfortable and lighting was great. The four flat screen TVs were nice and used all of them.
Port and Shore Excursions
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Decent first cruise
Excellent cruise and ports!
Serenity NYC to Quebec City