Norwegian Gem Cruise Review by Whoa mamma: We loved it and already planning our next trip
Overall Member Rating
We loved it and already planning our next trip
Embarkation: New York (Manhattan)
It was my husband and my 2 boys, ages 12 and 6. We sailed 6/22/13. Embarkation - easy breezy. We got there early at 10:20 (go early!!!!). We pulled up they took our bags and we proceeded in through various check-ins. We were on the ship by 11:30 and we got a table on deck 12 outside where they served a BBQ. Bring your own soda and if you stick your luggage tags on them they will be delivered to your room. Since your just pulling up and dropping your stuff off its easy. I suggest it. The soda package pp is around $55 for an adult for the week, not bad my husband did it, I did not. But I still wished I had a can or two in my room. We brought for our kids Juicy Juice and snacks (goldfish, pretzels) There is a lot of food but no snacks. Sometimes you just don't want a burger and fries or pies or fruit. The full beverage package including alcohol is $395 pp and all adults in the room have to purchase. I brought my own wine two big bottles.
Food - I got sick of the buffet real More fast. I just wanted a sit down meal. The Magenta (which is included) was really good. Expect small portions in all restaurants fee or no fee. If your kids LOVE chicken fingers you'll find them at the Magenta and the Blue Lagoon (great buffalo wings) which is a 24 hour restaurant. You can go there also in the am for Breakfast as well as the Grand Pacific for a sit down breakfast which I suggest. I love breakfast and I hated the buffet breakfast and so did my kids. How do you screw up syrup but they did it. Bring your own syrup - I kid you not. My kids did not touch their pancakes/waffles/french toast once. I tried all different sections of the buffet (which extends to the back of deck 12) All the same. It was a bad mix of honey and fake maple. Real disappointing. The eggs were always in this big fry pans. Very liquidy and cold and the bacon was just a big wet greasy mess. Like I said breakfast was a real big disappointment for ME. I stuck with Special K and fresh fruit by day 3 and never tried anything else. Bring your own coffee mugs. I saw some cruisers with them and I wished I had a nice big mug of coffee than the little tiny cups. We decided our last meal would be at Cucina (fee). Ok, not great, not worth it. I'm not picky I hate complaining but I wished I went to the Magenta. I did love the asian section in the buffet so good. Their BBQ's outside were fun, Island Music and the smell of chicken cooking. I loved their chili and ate that every chance I got. They had the seafood BBQ and their Paella was sooo good.
Entertainment - we tried to go every night after dinner. My kids loved it. Some things were a little slow for them but it kept us busy. White Hot Family Party was cute for my 6 year old. Balloons, dancing. But a lot of people on the ship did wear white which was nice.
Excursions - In Port Canaveral we just got off and decided to wing it. We grabbed the Avis Van and rented a car ($80). The guy at the place was super helpful and we decided to go to an airboat ride ($70 for the family) and he also suggested some places on the water and we then went to Coconuts on the Water. Good salads and chicken. I got myself a strong frozen drink and went down the beach and the kids went swimming. It was a nice relaxing day in FL and worth getting off the ship. You can drink on the beach!!!!
Next Great Stirrup Cay - YES GET YOUR TENDER TICKETS EARLY!!!! You will not get a seat and I mean that. I was #21 not a seat to be had. My husband and I rented the very last 2 floats and propped them up under a palm tree. No umbrellas either, expect to fry!!! Lines for food but I loved it. It was tropical. Yes there are rocks in the water but they are smooth and scattered. You don't need water shoes. It is an Island that they made inhabitable. I suggest bringing one of those cooler bags and grabbing your bucket of beer on the ship and bringing with you. Ohh, a bucket of beer is buy 5 get one free ($32).
Nassau - Yes, I made sure I got to see Atlantis. Expensive, yes, but I'd do it again. Wanna save a $100 get your tickets at Atlantis, they won't sell out. (GO EARLY) Get off the ship and grab a taxi ($4 pp). When your at the Atlantis go to the Casino to the service desk (there are 2) Go to the one with the blue plates on top (less crowded) get your tickets. It would of been $100 less for the family. Then go to the Hospitality Center outside and get your lockers and a seat right there where the lazy river starts. That is the hub bub for a lot of rides. Make sure you bring shirts to put over your chairs or people will steal. They have towels there. We found these little tents on the beach and they had great souvenirs. Be prepared to haggle, just walk away and they will drop the price more than half!
Disembarkation - Easy Breasy again, I mean great. The boat was cleared by customs at 7am. We chose to take our own bags and it worked out great. We ate and was off the ship by 8. Customs was quick also. In the BX by 9.
Service was exceptional. Every thing was clean. I'm happy we chose NCL. Less
Read more Norwegian Gem cruise reviews >>
Read Cruise Critic's Norwegian Gem Review >>
Cabin review: IB8575 Mid-Ship Inside
We were on the 8th floor mid ship (8575). Our room was small for 4 but great for 2. We managed and it did not make our trip less enjoyable. Would look into getting 2 rooms next time for a balcony. Everyone needed to stay seated or you were just on top of each other. I never heard a thing.Read All Mid-Ship Inside (IB) Reviews >>
Port and Shore Excursions
My new favorite ship
Average at best
TOO MUCH COST CUTTING
Great cruise! Great ship!