Ok, this was written real time while on the boat and is a mix of review/comments and tips but I haven't put it in great order, so here it goes...hope it is helpful.
Norwegian gem w/o 6/23...7d cruise
Wife and 3 and 7 yo almost 4 and 8
11 th fl balcony mid to aft ship
Leaving nyc great
Efficient check in
Less time than with previous cruise on dawn in 05
Took private limo from Ct ... much easier and relatively affordable
Arrived early ... key with kids
Packed 2 medium sized rollers 2 smaller kids plus a backpack..enough
Washy washy happy happy…you’ll know what I mean when you take the cruise…sanitizing mantra
Great night entertainment stardust
Music of 60s 70s revue
Chip Romero comedian
All good and good for families
Beware 2nd city not kid friendly the first show we went to although we were told otherwise
But apparently a second show during the week was announced as family friendly
All staff friendly
8 mo contracts
50% to 67% Filipino
Steward elmi was fast, courteous
Switched to lighter blanket
2 flatter firmer pillows stacked were right for me
Couch pulled out easily
Tv channels ok but limited
Just nick for kids
Luckily brought 2 portable Dvd players with mix of new and fave movies
Brought two small surprise toy gifts for kids to whip out mid cruise
Matchbox hotwheels for 3 yo and mini lego friends sets for 7yo
Be sure to download offline apps on smartphone or tablet
Games for kids
Bring watch and alarm clock since no alarm clock in room and no cell network svc on board unless pay for wifi
Balcony worth it
Shower and bath great
Should have brought a tote bag to bring towels etc to pool and private beach
Bring more sunscreen than you think you need
Bring snack and water for first day
Otherwise have 24 hr food at blue lagoon and buffet is open late
Can just walk out with food
At breakfast grab extra milk cartoons and cereal mini boxes for room and yogurt and spoons
Free coffee is a bit weak but ok
Java cafe ...cafe Americano is strongest coffee you'll find but will cost a couple bucks
Good job using bliss to screen world cup games during day...thanks from a team Usa fan...place was packed for the first round games ...nice environment
Garden cafe breakfast...if you show up during rush it is chaos
Show up a bit earlier with kids
Or go to great outdoors
Try a little bit of everything...I like about half to two thirds and never left hungry
Towards the end of cruise went to grand Pacific for breakfast...much calmer and although less to choose from was more than enough and is better quality
magenta also good
Only special restaurant we went to was teppanyaki which was excellent food and show
We did no paid ncl excursions
We figured disney etc was its own separate trip and the space center wasn't something the kids would get much out of
We stayed onboard at port Canaveral and enjoyed less crowded pools etc
Pools were great
No real lifeguards...just a guy managing corkscrew slide line and another telling kids not to jump in
One primarily kids pool ...adults can go in
My 7 yo said slide was slow...she had to push herself along during the slide so she didn't go on
Good idea to bring swim goggles for kids
Bring 2 swimsuits for all family members although we never used both before other dried out
3 yo liked kiddies pool first day then went to big pool while wearing front facing floatie type
Beach towels provided in room...you bring with you and back...stewards give you fresh ones quickly
Note on 11 th floor mid to slight aft rooms...I believe we are under splash academy so it’s a bit loud footsteps and running until kids leave.
My kids liked splash academy ...register them as soon as you get on ship...drop them off in morning when possible so you can have personal time with spouse.
Library is nice. Books for kids and Chinese language which wife liked. Free daily croseword and sudoko.
Game room is nice. Board game for kids and adults and dominoes. Game tables. Lots of Asians playing cards.
Bliss is the nightclub. Has 4 bowling lanes. $5 per play. Didn't partake of that or night club ...or casino.
Stopped in Nassau and got off boat. Took taxi on our own for $16 each way and walked around on our own at Atlantis. Saw some fish in the public area and admired the architecture. Bought some souvenirs and toys for the kids and went back to boat. Was hot and kids were beat. We have aquarium near our house back home. Water Adventure Park was pricey. Again...have something like that back home.
Great stirrup cay Private Island was great. Very organized and efficient on the island...getting on and off ship and tenders. Clean and pleasant.
We really lucked out on weather the whole trip. One brief downpour while in port Canaveral...otherwise warm and sunny all 7d. Very calm seas even on the way down from Ny. As of the time of this write up we are coming back up the coast so hopefully that goes well.
Highly recon Norwegian and gem in particular esp for anyone with young families.
Beer selection was ok. I like lagers so Heineken and esp. beck's suited me fine. Can’t speak to any other liquors and mixer drinks since neither I nor wife had any.
My wife did some inboard shopping so she can speak to that. Lots of opportunities to have photos taken by ship photo start and then purchase
Went for jog a couple of days...track is nice. Bring sneakers.
Freestyle cruising is great. Can dress up or down as you like.
Bring outlet strip for digital device chargers
Bring nightlight for little ones
Room has dividing curtain, pull out couch is good for kids
Air conditioning works well with two climate control zones in our room
Last day of cruise...the cake bake off with the exec chef was great. Dan dan the cruise director was hilarious.
Also the international cruise staff show was great. Even the happy happy washy girls did a dance thing. But the best was the finale called 'the fountain'. Won’t spoil it for future cruiser but let me hope they do it for you. I was laughing till I cried.