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Norwegian Gem Cruise Review by ozzycruzer

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Norwegian Gem
Norwegian Gem
Member Name: ozzycruzer
Cruise Date: September 2013
Embarkation: New York (Manhattan)
Destination: Canada & New England
Cabin Category:
Cabin Number:
Booking Method:
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Member Rating   3.0 out of 5+
Dining 2.0
Public Rooms 4.0
Cabins 5.0
Entertainment 2.0
Spa & Fitness 4.0
Family & Children Not Rated
Shore Excursions Not Rated
Embarkation 4.0
Service 3.0
Value-for-Money 3.0
Rates Not Rated
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Ship Facts: Norwegian Gem Review (by Cruise Critic!) | Norwegian Gem Deck Plans
Extremely disappointing

We spent 10 nights in NYC after the cruise and then returned to Australia, so I’m a little late in filing, but I’ve had the chance to read other reviews.

Frankly I am surprised at the favourable reviews of this ship. I have several serious complaints that I have already presented personally to the Hotel Director on board.

Our cabin was great – plenty of space for everything. The itinerary was great – all the ports were interesting. We really enjoyed Teppanyaki and the Chef Dinner – we did not dine in other pay restaurants because we wanted to meet fellow travellers. Partly due to dining issues we did not get to much entertainment. I personally found Jeff not funny, but I respect that many passengers enjoyed him. The juggler was awesome (and very funny!) Boarding was delayed but that may have been a port issue. Tenders did appear to be an issue – I haven’t experienced this before, don’t know how NCL compares.


The food was considerably inferior to Princess and Costa in my opinion. Breakfast selection was limited. The dinners (selection and quality) were not as good as other ships. Both other lines went all out with a Bomb (Baked) Alaska parade on final nights.

Freestyle = Wait in Line Style. I will never travel this way again. The setup for Grand Pacific was dreadful: Try to dine at 7pm – push down the narrow passageway (obstructed by throngs of passengers viewing photos, or lining up against the wall to wait, or using the elevators, plus a disabled restroom door that protrudes into the narrow space) – wait in line for buzzer, whilst partner struggles back through crowd to bar, waits for service, carries 2 full glasses back through pack – get buzzer and struggle back to bar carrying glass. Buzzer sounds – struggle through pack, wait in line AGAIN because the single hostess is dealing with everything including group reservations – get seated at a table for 2 after specifically requesting to share a table.

Why could not the buzzers be distributed in the Atrium which is an uncrowded and more pleasant area? We spent about 40 minutes per dinner on this frustrating process, whereas on other ships we would be seated in the Atrium enjoying table service before our meal. Yes, I know that we could have eaten at 5pm or 9pm!


The cabin steward, all the servers, cooks, cleaners etc (one might say JUNIOR) staff were a delight. Absolutely wonderful people doing a very demanding job. Nothing was too much trouble.

Move up the line, and I found a lot to be desired:

The Grand Pacific hostess demanded ‘give me that buzzer’ rather than ‘good evening sir’. The front reception person I was conversing with broke off eye contact whilst I was talking, and turned to speak to a colleague about another matter.

I must say I was impressed that the Meet n Greeters were given a printed card with senior staff contact details, and these officers were in attendance. As mentioned, I spoke with the Hotel Director who was very professional, disturbed at my reports of rudeness, but unaware of ‘broken’ systems.

I was also disappointed with the third party online survey that NCL sent us. There was almost no opportunity to provide feedback on specific issues (eg above) that seriously require NCL action.


My partner was unwell. We went to bed at 8.30pm. I did not want the phone to ring so I took the receiver off the hook – but it rang anyway. I contacted the operator and asked for someone to call me with instructions “do not send anyone to the cabin, we are in bed”. Next minute a very nice technician arrived. He thought taking the receiver off would silence the phone, so we tested it and it rang. He said he needed to crawl under the bed and unplug the phone – but I need not put it back myself in the morning, just ring him (with what?). In the morning, after crawling under the bed to replug, I noted that the phone can be unplugged on its base – no need to crawl under the bed.


Throughout our Canada cruise the interactive TV channel showed shore excursions for THE BAHAMAS!

The Restaurant Menu on the phone was broken: It offered no option for Teppanyaki, but did offer Option 3 for Tequila – there is no Tequila Restaurant on board, and in fact dialing 3 did not work!

The TV showed restaurant availability – why not also display telephone extension?

Given the average age of cruisers the font size used on the ship deck plan handout was a joke.


I have never noticed these to be so intrusive on other ships. In some corridors the volume was ear-splitting. Calls to Bingo cut over music performances, chef presentation at our exclusive dinner and our own attempts to converse. They were loud, longwinded and unnecessary given there is a printed daily activity sheet. Maybe NCL make money from Bingo?


Publication Date: 10/05/13
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