2nd cruise, 1st with NCL Gem. Here are my thoughts:
Food - not great great great. But, it couldn't have been that bad as I did put on weight, haha! I had dinner at Magenta most nights and that was very good. One side of the menu was all new that night and the other side was the same each night of the cruise. So, you could go each night and find some totally new things to try. I will miss the chocolate raspberry truffle cake :O(
Specialty restaurants - We went to Le Bistro one night and went to the a la carte noodle bar and sushi for lunch. Le Bistro was very good and the noodle bar/sushi was okay.
Cabin - I thought it was a good size for my husband and me. We got a balcony and I was happy we did that. Not very many TV channels but we weren't there to watch TV!
Evening Entertainment - the BEST shows were Man from Mars and the comedian, Michael Sommerville, and anything with Ken (cruise director). The Second City show and the Hypnotist were very good. Major kudos to the Gem Dancers for getting out there on the final night - it was so rocky! I was actually nervous for them. Oh, haha, try to find out if the world premiere of "Fountains" is on youtube.
Service - I have no complaints. I honestly cannot think of a thing to say that's not positive about the crew. So friendly and helpful. They really do work very hard.
Daytime activities - there is a wide selection of things to do. I wish I had done more, but that is my fault for not getting out there.
Activities Crew - they are great, especially Ken!! They were so funny and could make a simple thing like a trivia game be so much fun. I could really tell that they love their jobs.
Most favorite things - 1) the towel animals!!!! I loved coming 'home' each night to see what the animal would be. I bought the DVD so I can make them myself; 2) Spinnaker Lounge - so cheesy but I loved it so much. Haha, the furniture...you just have to see it; 3) Ken - but I guess you figured that out; 4) Evening shows - definitely make plans to see those; 5) Later evening shows - Dancing with the Gem Stars was a lot of fun; 6) Freestyle Daily - a daily schedule of all activities. A great way to plan the day; 7) Hand sanitizers - they are everywhere and I know other people complained, but I liked them. I especially liked the people at the restaurants and at boarding that would spritz each person. They were always so friendly and smiley. And I never got sick!
Least favorite things - 1) No Diet Coke - this is a Pepsi cruise, but I should cut soda out anyway; 2) So many things cost extra - even playing some of the games, like Bingo and Deal or No Deal. It would be nice if someone could figure out a way to make it free. Or have two - one that costs $$ to win $$ but one that's free and win some stupid prize or get signatures for the activity card, which leads to....3) Activity card - I didn't even hear about that until more than halfway through the cruise. Although it's possible that I got something about it but didn't read it.
Tips: Make sure to read the Freestyle Daily and ask the crew when you have questions. Talk to other passengers. I honestly found that most people were very friendly and interested in chatting. Go to activities! Pack comfortable clothes. I way overpacked and packed more dress up clothes than I needed. Skip the buffet for dinner and go to either Grand Pacific or Magenta. The buffet food wasn't all that great. Go to Deck 7 for the walking track. I was walking on the jogging track on Deck 13 and it was not ideal (plus, I felt bad for getting in the way of the actual joggers). I didn't know about Deck 7 for a few days. Don't call it a boat. It's a ship and if you call it a boat around the crew they WILL correct you. Try not to focus on what's going wrong and focus on all of the great things.
Ok, I think that about sums it up. I hope whatever you do and wherever you go that you have a wonderful time and enjoy every minute! Happy cruising!