This was our fourth cruise and we were not disappointed. We are a couple in our fifties. We were able to drive from our home in upstate NY to the dock. We have cruised on Norwegian Jewel in the past and Gem is almost the same except it has a rock climbing wall and also a bowling alley added.
We found the service to be above average. Our room steward was excellent. Room 8084, we had Sidney as our steward. I tried to tip him day one and he would not accept it, he said he prefers to be tipped at the end if we were pleased with his work, which we were. There were two small items we had to have repaired during our stay and he had maintenence right on it. Before were were back in the room, both items were corrected both times. Our room was an obstructed view cabin, which is what we selected, and what we prefer. We paid for an inside cabin and used our free upgrade to get the cabin we prefer. We like to have the sun peek around the curtains in the morning. Other than sleeping, dressing and showering...we did not spend much time in our cabin. We were out on deck and exploring the ship unless we were on the islands. The room had plenty of storage including luggage storage underneath the bed. Cupboards, drawers and closet were more than adequate for nine days and nights of clothes. I did bring my own hangers, as was suggested in cruise critics. I used many suggestions I got on cruise critics to make our trip better. We brought a digital clock, a power strip for more outlets, too many clothes, too many shoes, cash money in small bills only, etc.
We took an excursion in each port that we purchased on the ship. I am well aware that you can save money by purchasing your own excursions at the dock yourself but we are the type of people that liked the security of buying them from the excursion desk. One day on an island this trip the bus for the tour broke down. The driver called his boss and another bus was sent for all of us. I didn't want to get out in a car with a shady character or untrustworthy person in unfamilar territory. We were tourists from upstate NY and believe me that is just what we looked like, not street smart people. So it all worked out fine with us. Our excursions involved a tour of the island on each island. In St Thomas we did a "Kayak, hike and snorkel" excursion. This was one of the finest memories I have of our cruise. We had such a great day. The hike was more of a walk along the beach. We saw so many beautiful fish.
Dining on board the ship was great. We ate in only one specialty restaurant and that was La Cusina the Italian restaurant we went with our Cruise Critics friends. Every meal, three times a day, plus coffee break at ten o'clock, and plus dessert a few hours after dinner more than met our expectations. We enjoyed every show that was in the Stardust Theater. The dancers, singers, comedians, juggler were enjoyed. Don't miss the finale' with the fountains. I won't give it away but you'll get a laugh!
Disembarkation was smooth as we carried our own luggage right off the ship and through customs. We bought the $100 certificate off our future NCL cruise and we can't wait to come back next time. Perhaps on Breakaway?!