DH and I just spent a wonderful week on the GEM; we were in an aft penthouse on deck 10.
We arrived early as our ride to the pier had to get to work. Check in was a breeze and we waited in the suite lounge where we met Carlos the concierge. We also met up with Frick and Frack who set up our meet and greet (thanks). It was then on to the ship and up to Cagney's for lunch.
Rooms were ready around 1 and we headed off to our cabin to get settled in and ready for our sail away with friends from a previous cruise. It was lots of fun to just sit back and relax with some wine and enjoy the views.
Our meet and greet was well attended by those who had posted on cc as well as the Captain and the executive officers. I really appreciate how NCL takes the cc group gathering seriously and that the senior staff takes the time to say hello.
Afterwards most of our group headed to the casino for a slot pull and we managed to come out ahead thanks to a lucky spin on the wheel of fortune machine (started with $15 each and left with $27 each).
The rest of the days all blended into lots of relaxation, so I'll just try to summarize as best I can.
Suite life ' We spoil ourselves with the aft penthouse suite on 10. Room size is perfect for two and the balcony is large enough for two loungers, two chairs and a small table. Carlos was the concierge and he's really a sweetheart! Always around and making sure everything is in order. He even stopped by our cabin on the first day to make sure everything we had requested with the pre concierge was in place. That was a first for us from any concierge and we appreciated the extra touch. Our butler was Zahid and he was a perfect butler. Met all of our requests but was nearly invisible! Mainly because except for having breakfast twice, we were never in the cabin when he was restocking or dropping off treats.
Crew ' As with previous cruises, we found all of the staff to be very friendly and welcoming. Our room steward knew our name upon arrival and kept the room in order and we had towel animals every evening. The remainder of the crew was very friendly and always greeted you with a smile and a hello. All of these folks work so very hard and such long hours and yet always manage a smile and when you ask for something always say 'my pleasure' when helping you.
Dining ' This cruise we had all but one dinner in the specialty restaurants. That night we did another first for us and had dinner at the buffet! It was just fine. DH was able to find rare roast beef and I had a tasty pork dish. We were very disappointed in Cagney's. DH really missed the crab cakes and all of the portions were smaller while they raised the price. I doubt we'll be back anytime soon. Le Bistro is our favorite and our favorite waiter from our previous cruise also happened to be assigned there this cruise. We ended up going there 3 times and each meal was fantastic! Of note, two of the meals were free since DH and I are both platinum. We also tried Moderno for the first time. I really enjoyed it but DH was disappointed. He likes rare beef and had very few cooked to his liking although they tried very hard to please him by bringing him more meat. At least he enjoyed the flan for desert!
Ports ' We do the 7 day cruise as relaxation so the only port we got off at was GSC to enjoy a beach day. We rented a cabana and shared with two couples from our cc group. It's really a great way to enjoy the day and the service is fantastic. They will even go to the barbecue and bring back food for you! It was also great to have the cabana as we did have a storm come through that lasted almost an hour. We were in the water for the first half, but when the thunder and lightning came around it was a great place to stay safe without squeezing in with the crowds by the buffet.
Entertainment ' We didn't go to many shows but did enjoy the ones we went to with the exception of Jokers Wild where fellow passengers tell jokes. They weren't very good and we left within the first 10 minutes.
Casino ' We did spend a few hours every evening in the casino, and I had fun at the let it ride table while donating. Most evenings I was able to spend a couple of hours at the table before either taking some extra money back with me or losing my limit for the night. DH played the slots and left his budgeted money on the ship. I did hear of on $15000 winner on the slots and a few $1000 payouts on the wheel of fortune machine. All of the casino staff was friendly and this was the first time that the casino manager even knew us by name even though we weren't high rollers, but made us feel special.
Other ' DH managed to fall getting out of the tub on the next to last evening. The first thing he grabbed was the shower door which pulled off the tract and cut his leg. So off to the infirmary we went where they stitched him up. All staff was very helpful and security took a full incident report. Everyone we had contact with regarding the incident called the next day to follow-up to make sure he was okay. Carlos was also informed and he called that evening to make sure all was okay.
Security ' As a result of DH's fall, the next day they came to repair the shower door. We happened to return as they were working on the door. When the gentleman finished he asked me for my room key, which I though was unusual and joked with him that we were going to be charged for the repairs. Instead, he took my key and tried opening the door with it. That was when the light bulb went on and I realized that he was confirming that we belonged in the room and didn't just wander in while he was repairing the door!
Disembarkation ' This was a day I was really grateful for the suite life! There were 4 ships in port and customs kept stopping people from leaving the ship because the terminal was getting too crowded. Once off the ship, they stopped the line again and we had to wait outside before entering the terminal for about 10 minutes. Thankfully it was a nice day. We managed to be off the ship and through customs by 9:45 which was a little later than usual but still not as late as those who had to wait until their color tags were called. My only tip is to get a porter. They have their own line through customs and it goes much faster so they can get back to help the next person.
All in all, we had a great cruise and look forward to sailing the Gem in February.