Sail Date for NCL Gem was 11/15/13
After having a very hard summer, my husband & I were looking forward to some much needed R & R.
Getting to the port was a bit of a difficulty since they are doing construction on the streets in NYC and we had to go 60 blocks out of our way (30 each way) to get to the pier. Our taxi ride cost us $30 from Penn Station.
The ship was late getting into port due to rough weather. They also announced that they had a Nero virus on board so they were sanitizing everything.
We are Gold Latitude Members and got on earlier than most.
They had a lot of staff members down with the virus, and senior staff were on the new Breakaway helping t the new staff (so we were told). So the service was sub par.
The service in the restaurants was lacking. Either because of poor skill or poor language communication.
I sometimes didn't get what I had ordered, or it was cold, or they just missed bring out appetizers or soup.
They were not quick with getting your coffee, or refilling your water, and there were no salt & pepper on the table. And Lord forbid you should ask for ketchup or steak sauce.
Our room was quiet (11641) and our Cabin Stewart was new and had some issues with getting us ice and dry towels. I had to call for ice 3 times. I had ordered breakfast one morning and didn't get it at all.
But we did have towel animals and chocolates.
The food was so so. The best dessert by far was the coconut soufflé.
Be aware the first night on the ship is Surf and Turf. I had Surf and Surf, since the portions were so small.
The wait staff was friendly and we always got a great seat in the dining rooms, but things just needed a little tweaking.
We choice not to eat in the Garden Café, since it was a mad house with long lines, and rude guests who would just jump in front of you. You could not even get your own drinks. Since we always bring thermal cups this posed an issue.
We liked having our breakfast out in the Great Outdoors area. It was quieter, and scenic.
This was our 3rd time on the Gem. I keep hoping the weather will be warmer, but it wasn't. I was cold most of the time, and the Theater, Card Room and Lounges were always cool.
Kids were a problem. Most parents just let them on their own, (even though this is not ship policy).
They were running through the ship, playing games with the elevators, running through the halls which was an issue since there were a great number of guests with balance problems, (my husband being one of them)
They did not have a lot of things for older kids to occupy their time. I suggest having more movies, maybe in the Theater or Bliss Lounge.
The TV schedule was awful. News channels only and once in a while a comedy TV show and the same 4 movies all week. And I like to fall asleep to the TV but the "sleep" function on the remote did not work.
We did 4 excursions. The first was really bad. The tour guide would say things like "this is a McDonalds, and this is the first gas station, and the first bank. Nothing related to the history of the Island. But our tour guide in St John's was just the opposite. But have deep pockets to shop there...heehee ( a sun visor was $128!
We didn't realize that San Juan would be closed up due to Thanksgiving. But you could still get souvenirs at CVS & Walgreens.
The hot tubs were very hot and the pool was too deep to stand.
The entertainment was good. Leo the guitarist is fantastic, Marc on the piano was great and the musical shows in the theater were good.
Casino slots were tight, and people were complaining and not playing. The had limited machines, and mostly 1¢
Martini tasting was fun.
Trivia games were too.
Food was mediocre.
But my most compliant was the out of control kids. They need to do more to occupy them and the parents need to be more considerate of the passengers.
I would suggest you bring light sweaters, water shoes, a high lighter for your activity sheet. I bring my own bright colored beach towel, so I can find my chair easily. Wait to buy your photos on the last day- big sale.
Enjoy your trip ♥
Next time I am sailing at a warmer time of year, not bringing so many dress up clothes, getting a larger cabin!