Before I start my review on the NCL Gem, I want to start by saying that I have cruised with NCL 4 times. I have also cruised twice on other lines. My last NCL cruise was back in 2005, so things have changed a bit since then some things are better and others are not.
The NCL Gem is the nicest ship I have been on so far. It is beautiful! The furniture, the decor, the atrium, the restaurants, the theater, all beautiful!Her name suits her right-this ship is a beautiful gem. The inside cabins are a bit smaller than other lines and I would have liked to open the closet and the bathroom door without it banging in to eachother, but the stateroom suited our needs.
THE MAIN DINING (DINNER)
When I cruised on the Dawn back in 2005, there were a few specialty restaurants. Now on the Gem there are many-and I mean too many! There are two main dining rooms to eat in but their menus are very limited and are often the same. Each night it seemed like they were serving the same food. Even the desserts stayed the same and they were nothing special.(Ice cream and cheesecake) The steak and lobster was just not as good as I remembered them to be on previous cruises. I think the reason they do this is so that you will try the specialty restaurants and pay the fees even though the food on the cruise are supposed to be included. Even the room service menu was limited. There wasn't even a bagel on the menu for breakfast. You also had to pay extra for it if you ordered past 12:00 am. Certain coffees you had to pay extra for. So as far as the dining, I was not thrilled. I felt the food and the variety of food was better on the Carnival Glory a year before.
LUNCHES /BBQ were good. I enjoyed the lunch in the main dining rooms because it was peaceful and relaxing. The BBQ was good too. The lunch buffet was ok.
Now here is where NCL shines. The people who work on this ship give it their all! They are pleasant and courteous and always greeted you with a smile. I was very impressed with how hard they work. The ship is always spotless and they go out of their way to keep it clean and to prevent the spread of germs.
MAIN PRODUCTION SHOWS
Mainly the entertainment on NCL is the Second City Comedy show which I am not a fan of. I never like improv comedy - I prefer stand up comedians so I didn't enjoy those shows. There was an arobatic show that was good, but again, not my thing. I think the entertainment on NCL could be improved.
These were excellent. There is music all over the ship and I enjoyed that. The piano bar, a jazz and a rock band which I enjoyed both very much. Kenosis was the name of the rock band and they were excellent!
I have cruised this 3 times on different NCL ships, so I was familiar and happy with the ports.
CAPE CANAVERAL -We went to the Kennedy Space Center. I highly recommend! We met an astronaut, saw the moon buggy, Saturn VI rocket, and more.
GREAT STIRRUP CAY- One of our favorite places. It gets better each time we go. NCL has improved this place with showers, shops, food stands, and more. It is beautiful relaxing island.
NASSAU BAHAMAS-The highlight of our cruise. We swam with sea lions at Blue Lagoon Island. Highly recommend! You will have the time of your life with these intelligent, gentle animals!
OVERALL-Overall we had a great time but I was disappointed with some of the cut backs NCL has made over the years with their limited menus and charging extra for so many things. We are latitudes members and I am sure this won't be our last NCL cruise, but for now, I will try some other lines.