My husband and I chose this cruise mainly because of the itinerary. We love New England and Canada and normally sail with RCCL but they had no cruises heading north and returning back to Bayonne, NJ, so we decided to give NCL a try. We live in NJ so we took a quick train ride to Hoboken and then the ferry over to NYC and walked a couple of blocks to the ship. We arrived at 1:00 and it was 2:30 until we were checked in and on the ship. Went straight to our cabin, also a first, we booked an aft facing balcony and loved it. Had lunch at the Great Outdoors Buffet and then sailed off at 4pm.
Dining that we tried:
Magenta: Good, not great.
Blue Lagoon: Good, never crowded, food comes out hot. Buffalo wings, chef salad, fish & chips and burgers were always good.
Pizza: Good, delivered so hot you have to wait a couple of minutes to eat it!
Cagney's: Very good, oysters were outstanding
Orchid: Very good, typical Chinese menu items, food was hot and delicious.
Le Bistro: Ok, the escargot was very good as usual.
La Cucina: Ok, nothing fancy.
Maderno: Very good, try not to load up on the soup, salad bar and bread; you won't be able to eat all of the meat that follows.
We had an aft facing cabin which we loved, sometimes we missed seeing what was coming instead of where we were but it was nice to be able to see what was on both sides of the ship. There was no wind so even on chilly days you could still sit out on the balcony.
We played chess, went to the gym, bowled in the Bliss Lounge. Our favorite hang outs were pool side, The Spinnaker Lounge, and the Champagne Bar. We only went to one show in the theater and that was on the last night, it was very nice. Normally we'd see the shows more than that but found ourselves doing other things.
It was strange trying to get around a different ship but by day 3 we had it down. The Gem is beautiful, very well kept.
Went above and beyond, not one complaint.