Norwegian Gem Cruise Review by jetz: Back from Canada & New England
Overall Member Rating
Back from Canada & New England
Destination: Canada & New England
Embarkation: New York (Manhattan)
This was our 2nd cruise with NCL, and for us different from our Hawaiian cruise. First of all we had a "sea" day on our way up to Canada from NY. I should never have worried - the staff took great care of all of the passengers and kept us entertained. Another difference was the crew itself. The majority of this cruise's crew was from the Philippines and they were extremely nice! I felt the demographic for this cruise was over 70 and assume it was the ports of call because it was not a senior cruise specifically. However, these seniors still got out there and danced and enjoyed the shows and I had a hard time keeping up with them! We lucked out with the weather pretty much the entire trip with maybe one overnight storm that caused some rocking and cool weather, and one kinda of rainy day in Canada. Our only disappointment during the entire trip was the fact that Acadia National Park was closed thanks to.... well, you know.
As far as the ports themselves, both Halifax and St. More John were wonderful! We were lucky enough to score two really great tour guides - Robert Young's Tall Tale Tours in Halifax and Arman from Roy's Tours in St, John. Both guides were very informative and fun and took all the time we needed while still getting us back to the ship on time. Bar Harbor was nice, but because Acadia was shut down our tour was a little bit of a let down. We went by sights so fast that I'm sure we missed many picture opportunities. It's worth it to get a private guide rather than a spot on a trolley. Walking around the town was just as nice as the tour we took and lunch at the Lazy Lobster was inexpensive and delicious - try the wild blueberry pie! I'm sorry to say that I am not a Boston fan. We took Old Towne Trolley around the whole route to get a feel for where we wanted to go and the trolley driver was awesome! It was a cold ride though when he opened all the sides. We lunched at the Barking Crab and they had great clam chowder! Do yourself a favor and order the bowl and skip the other items - oh, and a lemonade! We were able to walk around a little bit after lunch, but we ran out of time before we could get back to all the sights we wanted to revisit - like the cemetery with Paul Revere, the park with the ducks, etc. Make a special trip to Mike's Pastry near Paul Revere's house. There will probably be a line, but if you like canollis it is worth it! Faneuil Hall marketplace is good for diversity of food, but if you're not hungry skip it. There are so many wonderfully historic places, but they are buried next to modern, busy buildings. (Sorry Boston, but without the historic places, your buildings just don't have the personality of NY's art deco.) So, last stop was Newport. Get a car or a guide and get away from the docks. There is nothing close to the ship. There is a small mall but half the shops are out of business, there is a Panera but who does franchise restaurants on a trip? White Horse saloon is within walking distance but it is very expensive VERY cool, but under repair on the outside, Do pop into the church though as it's very different from what you might expect.
That's about it in a nutshell. We love NCL and plan on staying with them despite the room service charges and other charges that all tend to add up. I plan on checking out all their ships - eventually. ;-)
PS - I'm sure no one on our ship got sick because every time we came on the ship or went into any restaurant our hands were squirted with some kind of antimicrobial stuff. "Washy washy!" Less
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Loved being on deck 11! It was convenient to everything and up high enough so we didn't rock and roll with the waves. Our room steward, Rodrigo, was so nice, friendly and accommodating with the towel animals. ;-) We always had ice in the bucket and plenty of towels. A couple of times he beat us to our room and keyed us in before we had to struggle with our room key. The room itself was small, but we rearranged the beds (2 twins rather than one king). I suggest duffles instead of suitcases so you can fold them and store them under beds or in the closet. The bathroom was surprisingly roomy if you didn't mind your knees touching when you... you know. ;-) Maybe one day we'll have a window or balcony, but when you're tired you don't mind an inside room.
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