We just returned from a 1 night cruise to nowhere which while it was enjoyable I didn't get to do as much as one would of hoped.
I was still recovering from bronchitis and a sinus infection so I knew the original plan of partying late may end a bit earlier than planned but was still planning on having a blast. We arrived at the port in record time had absolutely no traffic on our ride up from the Allentown, PA area. It was approximately 11am when we arrived.
Our first lack of service was the parking elevator attendant insisted on cattling us into a line to wait for the worlds slowest elevator. We waited and waited to then be told anyone who is capable can take the stairs.... we only had a small bag so we opted that route to find it was an escalator the whole time!! We only lost about 10 minutes but it was still frustrating.
We then got through security quickly and were awaiting to check in. Since we had sailed prior we had "priority" check in. The guy who ended up checking us in was having computer issues, so we waited and waited. He finally got it working and then the swiping machine went down but he kept insisting it was our credit cards. Long story short we lost another 15 minutes or so.
Made it on to the ship and up to the Garden Cafe by noon. Lunch was nice and there was plenty of space considering we were lucky and got on so quickly.
Rooms were ready by about 1:30. We had a balcony on the 10th deck aft. It was a nice room although the bathroom configuration was interesting. I don't remember having a sliding shower door on the toliet area on our last Gem cruise but this time we did and it was pretty pointless as my string bean hubby could barely fit in the toliet area and shut the door. There was a crack in our sink that was purely a cosmetic issue, we had no problems using the shampoo or soap dispensers as I know that's been a complaint I've seen a lot recently. The balcony was nice but there were a few used bandaids laying out there when we arrived YUCK.
Our cabin stewards were awful they didn't leave any of the forms, papers etc. that were supposed to be in our cabin. When running into them in the hallway they acted like they were being bothered. Not your typical friendly and helpful cabin steward. They also notoriously knocked very lightly once and immediately opened the door walking in on quite a few passengers.
We went to have dinner in the main AFT dining room but they were having pager issues so there was an insane wait around 7pm. So we headed to the Magenta room instead and walked right in. Again the service wasn't there not your happy hello I'm blah blah from some country and will be your waitstaff this evening. They literally took your order and didn't offer bar service unless you asked multiple times.
The food was hit or miss. Our one friend was quite bummed that surf and turf was not offered. There was a regional specialty which was lamb I believe but our waiter didn't find that piece of information important we overheard it later on in our meal from another server. One friend had the broccoli bisque and loved it. I had the garlic polenta and a spring roll which were both good but the sauce that went with the spring roll was not consistent. My other friend had it as well and her's was nice and sweet while mine was very spicy/gingery. Main meal I got the bacon carbonara which lacked flavor, my friend got the steak which was mostly gristle and the spinach served with it was awful. Her husband got the salmon which he enjoyed but it was a very very small portion.
Unfortunately we didn't get to go to any shows as my husband became very ill not long after sailaway. At first we thought maybe it was his salad at lunch as it came on quickly with no notice but when we returned this morning the doctor diagnosed him with strep. Due to him being sick and us not knowing what the issue was in respect for the other passengers onboard we remained in our room for the evening and left fairly early the next morning to get him home to the doctor.
Before leaving I quickly ran up to the garden cafe to grab some breakfast and was not at all impressed. The options were really lacking and the bacon was very under done. One of my biggest complaints were they had a staff member standing in front of the juice dispensers filling them constantly and adding them to a tray but she would just stand there with her back to you even once the tray was filled and looking down. Not walking around and offering them to anyone. So it made it very hard to get a juice drink or ice tea. I asked if I should fill my own or take one from the tray and she said fill please but then just stood there in the way. Maybe I just had bad timing but everytime I wanted a drink it seemed like she was just standing there smack dab in the middle of the machine with a full tray.