I will start my review With EMBARKMENT......embarkment didn't go as I thought it would. It was alittle difficult waiting in such a long line. We arrived about 11:30 am,and since I cannot stand up for long periods of time, I was escorted to the handicapped line. It was alittle shorter, but still took some time to get signed in and get my keycard. After getting my keycards, I went right to the buffet. My friend who met us there was holding a table for us and was able to eat sitting down, which is great for a buffet.
When we finished lunch, our rooms were ready, so we headed up to our rooms. My friends had the room next door to us. We were on deck 10 Port side in a BB cat, I was surprised to see that the room was very small. There was only about a foot space between the bed to the bathroom and lots of odd furniture in the room , coffee table that never got used and a chair which only took up room. I stepped out on my balcony and was surprised to see that the balcony was much bigger than breakaways balconys, I considered that a plus.
There was a lot to do on the ship everyday, you just had to follow the program to get the most out of it. Towel folding, vegetable carving, and our favorite, trivia.....which I have to brag, we won the music trivia.There was pool games, and ice carving, all the usual you see on most cruises. The entertainment was fantastic.WE saw many shows. Our cruise director was "Dan, Dan". He was a lot of fun and very upbeat and friendly.... On deck 11 forward is the bridge viewing area which stayed open the whole cruise. I got to watch the captain many times operate the ship .
Day two was our cruisecritic meeting which turned out very nice. The officers and the captain showed up and spoke to us and a very nice set up was done with refreshments. After the cruisecritic meeting was over, we headed to the casino to an organized slot pull. We all put fifteen dollars in and in the end we doubled it and left.
Day three was our stop in cape Canaveral. We arrived there at 12pm, so instead of doing a tour, we headed to the beach with our friends.I don't feel there is enough time in this port to go to Orlando, so I never book that. It only give you about four hours time. The beach water was very warm and nice , but the sand is dark and it sticks to your skin. Its a nice port to just relax There are shuttles to the beach that cost about twelve dollars a person round trip.
The next day we arrived in stirrup Cay. I always love this port. I was so surprised of how built up it is getting since the last time I was there. I rented a large round tube and floated on it most of the day. A very nice lunch was prepared for us on the island.I headed back to the ship around 3 pm and took a dip in the adult pool, then went to my room and got ready for diner.
The next day we went to Nassau......I booked the blue lagoon island beach day which was the highlight of my trip. Ive been there before to swim with the dolphins and enjoyed it then , but was curious to see what the beach was like. I had a great day swimming in the lagoon and then watching the dolphins being trained. I saw everything I saw when I did the dolphin swim in 2008, just didn't get to touch the dolphin or have it kiss me. I had the option to upgrade, but I didn't want to take the last ferry back to the ship. There was only three ferrys going back...one at 1, 2 and 3...I took the 2pm ferry back to the ship. This excursion included a lunch which was very nice too.
Now, here are some of my opinions of the ship. The gem needs new beds. The beds are very worn out and I had to prop many pillows to support my back. That is the one downfall of the ship. I was in room 10514 which was in a quiet area , my neighbors weren't so nice. They slammed their door at 630 am and a small child in the room about seven years old had a screaming problem and since they were foreigners, when they spoke, they spoke loud and it just sounded muffled to me. They left a newspaper from their country that blew over to my deck.That is not the cruiselines fault, they also smoked on the balcony and many times I had to get off my balcony because the smoke came over to my balcony, they smoked everything you can light, even cigars. I cant say for sure if it was all them, but it was constant, so many others next to them also must have been smoking out there too.
The food was fantastic, on time and even with my special diet, the dining room treated me like a princess. I don't usually gain weight on cruises, but I enjoyed every meal, everything was fresh and hot when it got to our table. No issues with food, it all tasted delicious.We were told they were trying out the new menus.... The waiters and waitresses were very nice to us.
The entertainment was very good also, they gave their best all the time. All the shows were fantastic.
We had Roberto as our cabin stewart and although he was extremely happy in the beginning of the cruise, he lost his happiness the last two days of the cruise. I asked him if he knew my name the fourth day and he started naming all the cabins and names of people in the cabins , but he couldn't remember my name which was a turn off. I asked him for some extra candy for my friends, thinking he would remember my name and he said " I only have three pieces left" I said ok. He still didn't know what to call me and didn't say a word when we left the morning of disembarkment.
so, to sum this up, GEM is a great ship with a bunch of great officers and staff and I am pleased to say I have sailed both breakaway and gem within a few months and have enjoyed both cruises . I want to thank the hard workers who have made my trip memorable. I Love NCL and will continue to sail with them. Cant wait to book my next NCL cruise. Keep up the good work!
Stirrup Cay is a great relaxing island where you can rent round tubes and float the day away. The island has been built up over the years. The lunch on the island is delicious and its a fun day for all.
I really enjoyed Blue Lagoon Island Beach day. lunch was included and also the your operators were very nice, dancing on the ferry ride over to the beach. You get to see the dolphin trainers teaching the dolphins tricks . Its family centered and not crowded. will definitely go back again someday soon. I recommend this tour.