Norwegian Gem Cruise Review by DSmergs: First Time and the Last Time
Member Since 2013
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First Time and the Last Time
Embarkation on Jan 18th was horrendous. It took us two and a half hours to finally board the ship since the lines were super long and staff were not directing traffic and people seemed lost as to where to go.
Drinking Package: We purchased the Ultimate Drinking Package because we were told juice and tea were not included and this package included everything from soda, wine, specialty coffee and premium liquor. BTW, lemonade, orage, apple and cranberry juice was included. After only the first night, the wait staff in the Garden Buffet insisted my package did not include soda since I did not purchase the soda package. The next day I asked for a Chai Latte and then was told by the bartender that it was not included in my Ultimate Beverage Package! I'm sorry but if you paid $507.00 per person for a beverage package and had to constantly argue with the staff on what's included and what's not, it's more of a headache to buy it. I asked for a refund and was gladly given one. NCL More should look into wristbands and not a stupid sticker on your key card that informs staff you bought a package and not have to sign for each drink purchased and maybe train your staff to know their job!!!!
Food: The Magenta was only open from 5-7pm due to a large religious group that booked that same week. Grand Pacific had lines every night and offered the same menu as Magenta but NCL didn't take into consideration the long wait passengers had to endure due to the religious retreat. We wound up almost every night eating either buffet or paying for the restaurants. We ate at Cagney's steak house and La Cucina, both were excellent! I found after the cruise we would've bought a dinner package! I wish NCL communicated this either through the freestyle daily or informed us when boarding the ship. I was extremely disappointed. It would have made our cruise more enjoyable if we had the option. The buffet was the same every morning, nothing special. At night, there was variety but again nothing that I could rave about. Take it or leave it.
Cleanliness: Since there was a flu outbreak, I wiped everything down with my clorox wipes. Our cabin could have been cleaned better since it was supposed to be cleaned on a daily basis but dust just piled up close to the tenth day.
Too Many Kids:We thought the kids would be in school since spring break is in February and March but no, Yeshiva's kids were out and over 700 kids were on board running around, jumping on the furniture, hanging from banisters, riding elevators and knocking into other passengers. I blame the parents for their unruly children. Also, NCL should not allow children in the lounges since adults want to relax and maybe take a nap, read or book or just relax! I searched for a quite spot several times in the Bliss Lounge and the Spinnaker Lounge only to be disturbed by rowdy kids and their walking talkie's!!! Stay out kids and go play with Sponge Bob on Deck 12 in your designated area. They constantly would cut you on line to get ice cream, food and drinks.
Spa: I bought the spa package for $179.00 which included full use of the spa facility for nine days and five different scrubs to bring home. I enjoyed the steam and sauna room, whirlpool, jacuzzi and hot stone lounge chairs. They offered hot tea or ice cold water. They also had lounge chairs so you could relax while watching the view of the ocean. Some words of advice for the spa manager, have your people label the scrubs before they are ready to be sold. If I hadn't said anything about which scrub were which, I would have went back to my room with five of the same scrub. This is easy stuff people, get it together.
This was not at all a party cruise but more of a nuisance of a cruise. This was my first time and my last time cruising with Norwegian. There is way too much competition out there to risk another chaotic cruise. Shame on Norwegian the first time, shame on me if I choose Norwegian a second time. Less
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Cabin review: Norwegian Gem 5034
Port and Shore Excursions
Samana was extremely boring. We hired someone to take us to the rainforest and then the beach. He waited with us while we sun bathed.
San Juan was beautiful. Went to my favorite sea food restaurant and did some shopping.
Went to the french side and visited Grand Case beach and had lunch and shopped in little french boutiques. They accept euros so bring either euros or credit cards.