This is my fifth NCL cruise out of NYC. Love the convenience of going from this port. I'm not too concerned with how hot the weather is...I just like the cruise!
Nice touch by the captain to greet oncoming passenger with a glass of champagne. Also a great idea to have complimentary drinks at the various bars so that you could sample them and know what you would like.
I had been warned by my travel agent about the gaudy interior of the Gem and he was right. Some parts of the Gem were nice and tasteful but what were they thinking with the colors and decor in the Atrium? There was also just so much "stuff" in the Atrium...reception desk, internet cafe, Wii, java bar, gift shop, shore excursions, piano/guitar player, flashing works of art on the Wii, gift shop, lectures and 2 places for picture taking. Ditto for colors and decor in Spinnaker Lounge plus there was not a comfortable chair in the place. We went there once and never again. The colors and decor in these two areas really did not fit with the rest of the ship which was much more tasteful. I know taste is personal so I'll move on.
Room was small but well laid out. Beds and pillows were very comfy. We did an outside cabin. On longer cruises we do a balcony but going out of NYC in February we don't really think a balcony is necessary.
Staff everywhere was friendly and very good.
Whoever designed the Garden Cafe and the food stations deserves a bonus. This was easy to navigate even when crowded. Loved the food, the soft serve machine, and the coffee/capuccino machines.
Food in main restaurants was good. There didn't seem to be any "special night" menu . In the past NCL has had the lobster tail/filet mignon dinner but either it wasn't there or we missed it.
We ate at La Cucina and Tequila. The food in Tequila really just wasn't good that night. The Mexican restaurants on the Dawn and Spirit were our favorites. We must have hit an off night here. La Cucina was fine but I wouldn't rush back there.
For some reason, reservations were a problem on this ship. I have never had this problem on any of the other NCL ships. After trying to make reservations for 2 days unsuccessfully either in person or on the phone, I got up one morning at 7 am and stood in line with the hordes to make a reservation. Don't think I would do this again.
Shows are great and NCL really knows how to deliver on these.
Casino was large and fun. Hubby usually gambles a little but the $25 card tables were out of his league. He came down to my level and played some slots. Casino was hopping every night so obviously business was good.
There were lots of great bars. Loved the champagne bar and loved the whiskey and malt bar. Great selection of beers by the way! This was very fun.
Bowling alley looked like fun. As this was vacation week, there were a lot of kids there and they all looked to be having a good time.
We have been to all these ports 5 times so at this point, we don't get off except to take a walk. We didn't do any of the tours but they all looked fine.
Would have liked to have seen some fresh flowers around rather than the silk arrangements which were sort of not too attractive.
Would have liked an onboard movie in a theatre rather than having to pay $11.95 for a movie in my room.
Would have liked the tv stations in my room to work and would have liked a better variety of tv stations, however it didn't really matter as most of the time tv just said "poor signal".
Would have liked to be able to get a towel at the pool rather than have to take mine from the room daily. Did not like the prospect either of being charged $25 if I left my towel at the pool by mistake.
I read nothing but rave reviews about this ship and I think my expectations were a little high. I think they need to work a few things out and once they do, all will be fine.
We have cruised and will cruise again with HAL and Celebrity. They offer a different feeling and experience than NCL. However, I do like the sort of "do your own thing" on NCL.
Overall, we enjoyed this cruise and would cruise with NCL again.