-Despite a full & busy ship, food & service in MDRs & lounges was exceptional.
-Ship was well maintained and spotless throughout
-Gem has a good variety of amenities ie, bowling, rock climbing, etc.
-Real charcoal BBQ's on the Pool deck was wonderful. A lot of effort for the staff but much appreciated by the customer (There is nothing like a charcoal BBQ burger!!)
-Loved 9 days vs 7 Days RT out of NYC. Nice itinerary & leaving NYC at night on NYs Eve was spectacular.
-NCL is a multi-generational cruise line enabling us (60 yr old parents) to bring our 22 yr old son & girlfriend and we all had a wonderful time. Food, entertainment & ship activities reach across all ages.
-Love the Spinnaker lounge on the Gem....(NCL please do not take this room away as this would make comfortable & scenic seating a scarcity on this ship)
-Had wonderful meal at Cagneys!
-Service in both La Cucina & Le Bistro was not up to previous high standards. We found the service inattentive and excessively slow. Menu items at Le Bistro were served not as described on menu with no notice or apology from waitstaff or maitre'd. Also the milk for the coffee was served curdled.
-Disembarkation on this cruise (and on our recent 10/26/12 Quebec Dawn cruise) were disasters!!! Despite color coding luggage tags by time, everyone (and I mean everyone) gets on the in-ship custom line at once. This leads to a line that snakes fore & aft on both sides of the ship making wait times in excess of 90 minutes. This amount of people with large amounts of carry-on luggage is dangerous, uncomfortable and overwhelms the HVAC systems making the deck space very warm and tempers tend to flare. A very poor ending to a nice cruise.
(NCL there is an easy fix to this. When passengers request the color coded timed luggage tags, have NCL staff stamp each passengers ID card with the disembarkation time color. Then on the day of disembarkation have NCL staff can check the cards of those lining up to ensure only the passengers with the called time are on the line. I cannot emphasize enough how discouraging & unsettling the current system is and how it ends a wonderful trip on such a bad note.