Norwegian Gem Cruise Review by Autumn72: Canada in September
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Canada in September
We booked this cruise because it stopped only in Canada and did not have any New England ports. Living in New England, that was not a draw for us. It also had 4 sea days which we love.
Embarkation was nothing special despite being in the "Latitudes Members Only" line. It turns out that over half the ship was also in that line which took about 40 minutes to actually check in then duck past the ever present photographers and head for the gangway.
We opted for an aft mini suite specifically for the sail away from NY. My husband's alma mater,Stevens Tech, is on the Jersey side, I am from Long Island and love the NYC side - we got to see both at once plus a great view of the statue of Liberty and the new WTC. After a torrential rain in the morning, it was overcast but dry when we departed, so we had a wonderful view.
It was also a very convenient location for dining. The balcony door did have a tendency to slide back and forth and slam while the ship was moving. We More stopped the slamming by putting one of the orange velour pillows as a door stop when it was open. Unfortunately our neighbors never seemed to work that out.
Our cabin was showing its age. The extremely uncomfortable couch/extra bed tried to slide itself out every time you sat on it. The orange velour cover was worn bare in several spots. It was hard as a rock to sit on so I am glad no one had to try and sleep on it. The coffee maker was gross and took up way too much room so we asked the steward to remove it, which he promptly did. David was very obliging and was quick with any requests.
This cabin is right below the Great Outdoors which they set up at about 5:30 every morning. The scraping and dragging of chairs? tables? equipment? each morning woke us up. Fortunately it was relatively quiet after that.
The WiFi (ridiculously expensive as on any cruise) was spotty - possibly due to aft location?The bathroom had a musty smell that came and went - possibly from the toilet brush holder. Some of the towels were threadbare in places and should have been tossed or used as rags. As an FYI to those with knee issues - the height of the bathtub is about 24" compared to a standard home tub of 15". Since it is a tub/shower combo, you need to be able to raise your knee above that to get in. There is a grab bar handy. Hand soap, shampoo and shower gel were the only toiletries provided.
The food was good overall. We did not have anything that we truly didn't like. There was nothing outstanding except for a filet in Le Bistro. We tried Cagney's (it was good) and La Cucina (skip it) as well, but Le Bistro was definitely the best. The main dining rooms were consistently good. The only issue we had was with coffee. For dinner, the meals went along fine until dessert and coffee. Dessert came right out and it took up to a half hour to get coffee. Puzzling. In the Garden Cafe for breakfast, the coffee machines seemed to all be empty at the same time leaving 1 machine that did a slow on demand brew with a huge line. No one came around to the tables with refills as they do on other ships, so people were filling 2 and 3 cups at once, adding to the line. This was mentioned by several folks we met at shared dinner tables. One morning I saw 2 managers chatting 8 feet from a bank of empty coffee machines and pointed it out to them. They acted surprised. Really? We solved that problem by going to the Grand Pacific dining room for breakfast where they came around with coffee refills.
The entertainment was good overall. There was nothing outstanding except perhaps for the talented Captain who was better than some of the singers. He sang in the welcome show and then again at the Latitudes cocktail party. The cruise director, Sinan, was a very upbeat, pleasant guy that always had a friendly word for you when you passed him about the ship.
The senior officers were very visible on this ship and we had many opportunities to meet them starting with our CC meet & greet. They were there seeing us off on shore excursions even bright and early in the pouring rain.
The service overall was very good with everyone very anxious to please you.
Two ports are not listed in the port section for review:
Corner Brook, Newfoundland: Very pretty area with not much to do except a nice view at the Captain Cook memorial. We did see two Newfies(dogs).
Sydney, Nova Scotia: We took a tour around Cape Breton Island which included Alexander Graham Bell museum, an early pioneer village and a buffet lunch at a nice hotel with a beautiful view. Gorgeous area.
Overall it was a very good, relaxing cruise, even with two days of rain and two hurricanes threatening that could have interrupted our trip. We did catch some 65 mph winds and heavy rain from Leslie but the ship was extremely stable with minimal motion. Less
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Cabin review: Norwegian Gem 11656
Great view, but much noisier than side balconies. The balcony door also had a tendency to slide back and forth and slam while the ship was moving. Good location for dining. The extremely uncomfortable couch/extra bed tried to slide itself out everytime you sat on it. The orange velour cover was worn bare in several spots. It was hard as a rock to sit on. This cabin is right below the Great Outdoors which they set up at about 5:30 every morning. The scraping and dragging of chairs? tables? equipment? each morning woke us up. Fortunately it was relatively quiet after that. The bathroom had a musty smell that came and went. As an FYI to those with knee issues - the height of the bathtub is about 24" compared to a standard home tub of 15". Since it is a tub/shower combo, you need to be able to raise your knee above that to get in. There is a grab bar handy. This is the standard bath on the balcony / mini suite cabins. The WiFI was spotty - possibly due to aft location?