Norwegian Gem Cruise Review by Burnsj: Third time...it only got worse!
Overall Member Rating
Third time...it only got worse!
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
Embarkation: New York (Manhattan)
What's the expression? Glutton for punishment? Never again wasting good vacation time going out of NYC in winter. My own fault, but traveled with a non flying friend, MY THIRD NORWEGIAN CRUISE. No complaints on drinks and food. No complaints for dinner, although agree that the buffet for breakfast and lunch left something to be desired...so we headed for the dining room when on board. Everything else on this cruise was pretty awful. I have been at least 3 times on Holland (best treatment), and 3 times on Carnival. No comparisons here, so here goes!
Norwegian has ALWAYS nickel and dimed you to death: selling ripoff chits and bingo cards and extra dining options and wine tastings; okay no one is twisting your arm but there is not a lot to do. You CAN just go and sit on the deck (weather permitting, and our cruise weather was either rainy, windy, cloudy and, oh, did I say,windy?) and go to the dining room and eat some more. Aside from the shows which were okay, and casinos More smokey, not a lot to do while at sea or at night. Just spend more money. Bar? Gamble? Bar? The incessant advertising for NCL on the room TVs was so repetitive it was ridiculous, and no real US news. (Holland gives a NYTimes page synopsis daily; oops, no comparisons.).
I don't think I have ever been on a Caribbean cruise ship that had no steel drums. Their idea of a deck party was 45 minutes of one cent/five cent/ten cent/dolla. They have gone from 20 waiters bothering you in an hour to one that could not be found; you'd be better off going to the bar yourself and I did.
The room, with balcony: sooo small, poorly designed. My bed leaned toward the balcony the whole cruise, and, yes, I complained, to no avail. I looked under the bed myself and discovered it was a cot style metal frame and an old skinny mattress with an egg crate on that topped with another inverted egg crate with 2 sets of sheets on that all tucked in. Complained. Their resolve? Oh, yes, 5 chocolate covered strawberries which they insisted on delivering when the DO NOT DISTURB sign was on the door, and my friend was in the shower banging incessantly on the door. It was a windy trip, our balcony slider did not work so well. (Yes, we reported it.). Twice after the evening turndown of the bed, we came into the room and the door was wide open and stuff was blowing around the room and we could barely get the door open.
We rocked and rolled all the way down from New York and all the way back to Baltimore, banging into people, walls, dining tables. I would say poor stabilizers based on previous trips though the straits of Florida, but I am no engineer.. By the time we left our last port in the Caribbean, from that port on, the toilets in the rooms were problematic for about 6 hours, and the last night, the public bathrooms were not flushing and had no water to wash hands and were not very clean, the momentum to please (and i use that term loosely), was totally gone and it was difficult to find help or get an answer on the phone.
There were 7 ships in at the same time in St Maartin (never experienced that), buses stuck un traffic while we waited in the hot sun to get to Orient Beach. I gave it up, after they said if we wanted to abandon the trip, we'd get our money back. Don't understand why ANY cruise ship that pulls in for 6 evening hours in San Juan, can't make a bus trip to a casino; not much else to do, but I found a great restaurant near the ship for mofongo. No thanks to the shore desk.
There was very little help disembarking. They wouldn't let our pickup by my son near the ship (only buses) and we had to drag our luggage across the cobblestones of 12th Avenue. (I really love NYC!). Curse the day that Holland decided not to use NY as departure port for the Caribbean. Yes, it is very convenient leaving NY, but it is not worth losing 4 extra days vacation in winter just to eat, drink and play trivia contests under these conditions. I just wanted to lay in the sun. I did this because Holland is a little too quiet and my friend would not fly, but I think as my vacation time is limited, quiet and decent treatment I.e. Holland, is worth it. Less
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