Arrived into NYC the day before and did the typical tourist stuff. Watched the Gem pull into the pier from our hotel room. Embarkation: Traffic was snarled and our taxi could not get into the terminal area so we walked about two blocks. There were four ships in port that day and apparently one of the other cruise lines was in the Gem's spot which contributed to the docking delay. This snowballed into delays in the terminal but still overall, was not a vacation ender. Got on the ship about noon, acquired out spa thermal suite passes and explored the ship.
Cabin: Stayed on deck 11 (mini) and cabin was in great shape. Our steward kept up the cabin wonderfully for the entire trip. Overall, found the Gem public areas in great shape; staff was constantly cleaning'
Food: We ate in several venues and for the first time in 6 cruises, ate in three specialty restaurants as a change of pace. We had all our breakfasts and some lunches in the Garden Cafe or the great Outdoors. Selection and quality was very good. We enjoyed dinner at la Cucina, Cagney's and le Bistro. Had dinner one night each at the Blue Lagoon and the buffet and twice at the Magenta MDR. The seating area could get filled at times, but that is to be expected at peak hours and especially at breakfast. We used La Cucina for breakfast seating one morning and also the Great outdoors. We had lunch once in the Grand Pacific MDR. Food was good everywhere but we found service in Grand Pacific to be a bit slow. Outdoor buffets and the deck BBQ next to the pool were excellent. Shows: The production shows were excellent. The comedian (Jeff Harms) was very funny but we missed the juggler. Saw the majority of the production shows and enjoyed those that we saw. There was a musical trio on board that was fantastic and is not to be missed. Enjoyed the spa, did not play bingo, got to the majority of the late night parties and really enjoyed the itinerary.
Tendering: We tendered at Bar Harbor and Newport. Delays in getting off the ship at both locations were noted- tendering could be improved. Was able to get off the ship at Bar Harbor easily as we had an NCL shore excursion booked. Newport tendering was a different story.
Overall: DW and I were very satisfied with the experience and would recommend it to others.
In Boston we took an excursion independent of the cruise line. It was the beantown trolley and harbor cruise. Overall it was a great day in Boston but I did notice that the red bean town trolleys were very few (small company) veersus the green hop on hop off buses that were everywhere. As such, be aware that trolley stop times can very significantly from what is published.
Took the #67 city bus to the cliff walk and explored on our own. Had a wonderful lunch at the Newport creamery in Newport.