Third time cruising with NCL, second time on the Gem. It's been almost two years since the last one and the reviews were iffy so I was a little nervous, as this cruise was for my honeymoon. But I wasn't so nervous that is stopped me. So glad it didn't! Everything was fantastic from start to finish.
Embarkation was smooth and on time. The room was immaculate. I do have to say the mini bar was not yet stocked and we did not have life jackets in our room the first evening but in the big scheme of things, not a big deal as we had both first thing the next morning. My travel agent did let the cruise line know that it was our honeymoon and when we got in our room there was a card waiting for us that wished us Happy Honeymoon and instructed us to turn it in at any one of the restaurants on the night of our choice. We chose Cagney's a few nights later and were awarded with a cake and a serenade :-).
You cannot walk anywhere on the Gem without seeing friendly staff cleaning, organizing, replenishing or just ensuring guests' overall satisfaction. I cannot say enough about the quality of service.
We ate at the Garden Café quite a bit and as far as buffets go, this is top notch. The variety, quality and amount of food was excellent. Everything was immaculate. They changed dishes daily so it never became boring. My only complaint would be that they had a few of my favorites (pork tenderloin cordon bleu) early on in the cruise and I didn't see it again :-(
We ate at Cagney's once and Moderno Churrascaria twice. I highly recommend both!!! Both very tasty and they certainly do not skimp on portions. Great atmosphere as well. Cagney's is a little more private and romantic if that is what you are in the mood for. Both were definitely worth the cover charges.
We only got off the ship in one port - St. Martin - for an excursion. We did the Golden Eagle Catamaran trip - which was by far the best excursion I have ever done. We waited for about 30 minutes after the gangways opened up to let the lines go down and we got off (and back on) the ship very easily, with no wait whatsoever. It was very easy to hook up with the excursion crew (they were waiting right on the pier with a sign) and it was an awesome day of sailing on a catamaran, viewing the island, swimming/snorkeling in the ocean and having a party onboard on the way back. A++++++++.
The weather this time of year was perfect - 75-80 degrees. Any showers we hit passed by in minutes.
We did the easy disembarkation - walking off with our own luggage. There was some wait but not bad at all considering the amount of people getting off the ship.
Overall, it was a fantastic honeymoon, one that I will never forget. We are planning on making this a yearly trip, in my opinion the Eastern Caribbean trip is so much more exciting than the Florida / Bahamas trip.
Great ship, great staff, great time!!! Cannot wait to go again.