Sez Annie ''" From the Great & Good to the Bad and Ugly … and Beyond
All aboard for a wonderful fun time on Norwegian Cruise Lines’ GEM. On Saturday, 09-28-13, my husband and I sailed out of Manhattan for a 7 day cruise up to Canada. Our stops for this cruise were Halifax, New Brunswick, Bar Harbor, Boston Harbor, and Newport R.I. I am always happy when I have the opportunity to write a great review on something whether it is a vacation, a dining experience, or tour. Actually, I will write about almost anything if I feel what I have experienced should be shared.
The Gem is one of the older ships in the NCL fleet, but the good news is that it was refurbished in 2010 and she is in beautiful condition. The interior design was a colorful array of bright colors. One of the first things that caught my attention was how clean the Gem is. Scattered around the ship 24/7 are busy crew members working hard so that everything surface, carpet, nook and cranny is clean and shiny. Every public restroom I entered was clean no matter what time of day or night it was.
Each time you board the ship you are greeted by a crew member who will spray your hands with sanitizer and every time you enter one of the dining areas a crew member will be there with the sanitizer spray. In each restroom there is a small plaque on the door that reads “Please use paper towel when opening the door”. NCL makes the effort to keep those nasty flu bugs and other germs that we might have on our hands at bay to reduce the spread of germs. This is my kind of ship.
The culinary choices in the complimentary dining rooms are bountiful, and in comparison to other cruise ships I have been on, rates a 9 out of 10 on the Sez Annie scale. The reason that it is not a 10 is because I have cruised on a much smaller ship on a European cruise line, with only about 900 passengers, where the food was a little more like dinning in a high-end restaurant. I am truly a PITB when it comes to food preparation. I also believe that rating food is subjective and many people are happy with anything that is presented nicely on the plate and they do not consider how it is prepared and how good it taste, the way I do. Maybe I am a bit like that bad boy, cute looking guy on the travel channel. On the Gem, you have a choice of two main dining rooms, the Magenta and the Grand Pacific. In addition, there is the Garden Café (buffet style) opened 24 hours and the Blue Lagoon (also open 24 hours) where you can sit down and be served by one of the many pleasant wait staff. The Garden Café has many selections every day for each daily meal and snacks for in between. There is so much to choose from, you will find it hard not to go back and fill your plate at least a second time. The Blue Lagoon has a limited menu but everything on it is prepared with as much care as they take in preparing the meals in both the main dining rooms and the Garden Cafe. The Blue Lagoon has a coffee & tea station, where you are free to stop buy any time for a cup of java, tea, or hot chocolate.
The activities on the ship are exceptional. You can search those out when you go to NCL’s web site and also check out the nightly shows, which were so much fun. The Activities Director, Dan Dan, yes that is his name, is very energetic and he will keep you entertained and laughing each time you see him. By the way, Dan will surprise you with a performance of his own towards the end of the cruise.
The Gem Show Band is terrific and not only preformed for the evening shows, but graced the stages around the ship with their Big Band music, Lite Jazz and Blues. The Cynthia Macleod Trio rock the ship all through the cruise each time Cynthia picks up her fiddle and entertained us with Irish and Scottish music and other music for everyone’s enjoyment. She too is a must see. Comedian Jeff Harms was hilarious … my rib cage was sore from laughing so much; juggler Charles Peachock’s performances were amazing. What this guy does with juggling knives and rings will blow your mind away. I don’t want to leave out the Soundbytes music band and vocalist, piano & vocals with Juan and piano melodies with Michael. All these performers added to a wonderfully entertaining experience.
One last note! Please be mindful when you plan your excursions and be sure to check out the reviews for each excursion you are considering. Some of the excursions are not worth the time or the money. My suggestion to NCL is that they check out the excursions before they present them to their passengers.
Until the next time, Bon Voyage to you and yours and be sure to make it happen on the Norwegian Cruise Line Gem or one of their other ships.
I guess that sums it up for how cruising on the Gem makes the good times roll on and on and on.