My sister and I wanted to spend some quality time together and just relax and be pampered for the week. It really did not matter what ports we went to, we just wanted the suite ammenties, the large balcony and the spa passes.
We arrived at the port later than expected due to our car service being late. I guess it was about 11:30am. We had some problems at the port getting the staff to recognize that we were staying in a suite and therefore entitled to priority embarkation. It did take a while and was quite frustrating but once it was fixed the rest of the cruise went smoothly.
We stayed in an aft penthouse and loved the big balcony and tons of storage space in the cabin. The balconies on deck 10 of the Gem are larger than the penthouses on the other floors. I selected this cabin for the large balcony. The balcony had 2 lounge chairs and two wicker chairs and a small table. Plenty of additional space to walk around too! Love the aft view and quietness of the back of the ship. Our butler, room steward and concierge worked in unison to make sure that we had a fantastic vacation. It seemed flawless to us.
Everything that I had asked for from the preconcierge was done for me when we entered the cabin. I slept on the pull out bed and was quite surprised at how comfortable it was. Shockingly comfortable.
We dined in many resturants that included: Tempanyaki, The Orchid Garden, Le Bistro, Cagneys, Magenta, La Cucina, and the other free dining option that I forgot the name of. We prefered the larger of the main dining rooms as it was quieter and seemed less hectic. We enjoyed all of the food but Cagneys was my personal favorite. As suite guests, we ate breakfast in Cagneys almost every morning except for the day in Nassau and the last morning - those days we had room service in our suite. Never ate lunch because of the big breakfast and all of the goodies that the butler brought us each day. We sometimes made reservations and sometimes did not. We never waited for a table and ate dinner at all different times during the week.
The ship was packed and fully booked. It only seemed crowded on the pool deck! It was wall to wall people. We avoided it during most of the cruise. We did use the pool for a few hours when we were in Florida, but used our balcony more for the peace and quiet.
We purchased the spa passes for the week and that was my favorite add on. The spa on the Gem is fantastic! They only sell 84 passes each week so it was never crowded. Loved the therasy pool and the heated tile loungers. I also loved that they kept the temperature very cold in the spa so that even after being in the hot tub you were never hot. Most people using the spa were respectful to others and kept their voices down, but I did encounter some loud, rude people. The spa workers would ask them to lower their voices when they noticed them. We used the spa at least once per day, sometime more, so we thought it was a good value for $119.
Did the martini tastings which were fun but could have been better had they not been doing other demonistrations in the lounge right next to it. Poor timing. We often could not hear what the bartender was saying even though we were sitting right in front of him.
We did not get off the ship in Florida. We did go to GSC but it rained the whole 2 hours we were there and chose to go back to the ship. Of course the sun came out 15 minutes after we had returned... We went to Sandals in Nassau and had a great day there. It is couples only but they do take same sex couples and did not even ask if we were a couple or not.
I believe that when you cruise you can have any type of vacation that you want it to be. It can be party non-stop, a social trip, a food-fest, or for us, a relaxing, pampering, spa girls week away from the stresses of real life. I booked a suite because I wanted to give my sister some much needed pampering and extravagence that she does not get in her life. She loved every minute of it.
I had such a great time that I am planning on returning to the Gem with my husband next summer for the same cruise. I just hope it is as good as this one was - it will be difficult to top.