I said with my husband on the Norweigen Gem cruise that departed from New York on July 20, 2013, sailing for 7 days, stopping at Port Canaveral, FL and the Bahamas, and returned to New York on July 27, 2013. We booked our cruise with NCL for our wedding anniversary and we feel there was not enough information given to us in the brochure prior to booking the cruise vacation. Below, I will explain some experiences we encountered aboard the ship:
When we entered the Norwegian Gem, we first stopped at the Pacific Dining room for lunch, which turned out to be a big disappointment. I ordered an olive 'tartar' which turned out to be a dip with half a pita cut into 4 triangles and as a main course, the steak with fries, the steak had no flavor (no seasoning added) and the fries were covered in steak grease, absolutely disgusting (I hate to say this about food, but there was no other way of describing it). My husband had a Fettuccine Alfredo pasta, again with no seasoning, and to his surprise, no cheese! It was only heavy cream with no taste! However, he is forgiving, as he is Italian and doesn't expect great pasta outside of Italy.
Then we finally arrived to our tiny stateroom. I must say I expected it to be small from the reviews of other travelers, and that didn't really bother me as I figured I would not spend much time in my stateroom. I was wrong. The bathroom made a loud blowing noise, which made it difficult to sleep, and the water pressure of the sink was very low, making it difficult to wash. Also, my husband didnt receive his luggage until the evening, so we couldnt change our clothes.
We then went out to check out the ship. We were curious about the pools and seeing where we would be having fun for the rest of the week. We found the first pool, which was for children, and the second and as it turns out, the ONLY pool for adults. It had children in it who were splashing adults and swimming in a dangerously deep pool with no lifeguards. Not a very nice situation, but we continued exploring and looking for the other pools that most cruise ships have. We didnt find any, because there was only 1 pool on the entire ship, 1 pool for over 3000 guests!
My husband and I tried not to let this bother us, and went out to explore the ship. We were very excited, as this was our wedding anniversary gift and we hadn't been on a cruise since 2005 where we first met each other. We saved up the money and vacation time to be able to take this cruise. Needless to say this cruise meant a great deal for us.
The next day was our first Sea Day. We were excited to go and have our first pool/sun day. Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate, and it was raining and chilly outside. We decided to look at some activities and went to the Bingo, which to our surprise cost a whopping $40! Frustrated and fed up with everything, I told my husband I was returning to my room for a rest, as I didn't want him to see me upset, so I went back to the stateroom, feeling very depressed.
I cried and cried and regretted my decision of taking the cruise, as I was not going to have any Caribbean Vacation on a rainy week. There was no indoor pool, no sauna, not even a decent fitness center on the ship! What kind of Caribbean vacation cruise ship doesn't have an indoor pool?! What if it rained the entire time?! Then we wouldve had no Relax, no water, no fun? This was the first cruise ship I have ever traveled on that had no indoor pool or sauna available for guests. (For reference, I have been on 6 cruises in the past).
When my husband returned to our stateroom to find me in tears, we decided to go speak with guest services and see if they could help us. We didn't want the vacation to be ruined and hoped there would be some way they could help us.
But we were wrong again. We were met with hostility and a quick "What do you want us to do, there is nothing we can do," from both the Agent and the Manager, who was from India, my apologies, I dont recall her name. We thought that perhaps since it's been raining, we can enjoy something indoors, and that was when the manager revealed that there was an indoor pool but you must pay extra fee to use it! What a shock (at least at the moment it was a shock, now I know that NCL charges extra for just about everything!). More than the over $1500 we had already paid!!
This was very upsetting for us. As a matter of fact, it made me feel sick to my stomach, (that mixed with the grease filled fries), and I ended up with some diarrhea. I was instructed to go the medical center, which for a simple stomach ache, they decided it appropriate to confine me to my tiny claustrophobic stateroom. What I didn't know at the time (because it wasn't explained to me), was that I would not be allowed to go ashore in Port Canaveral Florida!!!!
This for me was the straw that broke the camel's back, and I was devastated. I had already purchased my tickets to the Kennedy Space Center for $100/person! Now that money is lost, and no reimbursement was made on behalf of NCL; which would be the very least that NCL could do for us, considering the circumstances.
Later, I received a call from guest services, offering us a 'free movie' in our stateroom, since we were confined. One free movie for a 24 hour confinement Better than nothing I suppose. To add insult to injury, when we received our final bill, we were charged the $9.99 for the movie, and had to go in person to Guest Services to settle it. Otherwise NCL would have NOT kept their word and charged us the $10!!
Anyway, our Caribbean vacation of a lifetime was nothing but frustration and desperation.