This trip was my first cruise with this line. I have had experience on 9 other cruises with celebrity, princess, and royal caribbean. This ship the Gem was lacking in so many ways. First, The check in was a nightmare. So crowded and slow going compared to my previous check in times from New York City. 2. The garden cafeteria looked like a highschool cafeteria and the crowds were terrible. you had to fight your way for coffee and tea, no table service for drinks like the other ships. Also tables were in short order so you had to walk with your food looking for a place to sit while your food got cold. Table were not cleared fast enough due to the fact that there was not enough staff to do so. Anytime dining means nothing like the advertisement on tv. We could not get into the free anytime specialty restaurants "anytime" They are to small for so many passengers. The asian restaurant was just so so. I happened to get very sick after eating there but we won't go into that. All in all compared to my past dining experiences on the above lines, this was not any thing to brag about. The food offerings were terrible and the food prepared was just so so. The rooms we had were the inside cabins, since we are 6, we go for the economy, but the rooms were smaller than usual for the kind of cabin. One good thing, the showers were larger than usual, but the toilets were angled so that a tall person had to sit sideways in order to have their legs not hit the wall. The rooms have tv but unlike other ships do not show their own movie hits. they rely on TCM which I love but this channel is usually out of range so the movie quits on you. Same for the few other channels. I felt that there was extra charges for everything, bowling $5.00 per game per person, drinks were through the roof. Bingo which I like to play, was average price except that now they offer electronic players for $129.00 and say that most games are won that way, not the paper games which run 29.00. The man who ran the bingo was horrible and loud and annoying. All the other ships that I have been on had a wonderful staff of people who ran the games of which were many and had wonderful personalities. This ship offered very little to do for adults who like to playgames. The card room offered a few boxed games for those who could put them together since they were in a horrid mess and unusable. I could go on and on, The pool area was always so crowded and lounge chairs hard to find. The ports were not great. The private beach was a laugh. It looked like coney island on a Sunday in July. If you moved to an area that was not wall to wall people, you could not go in the water because of the boulders and large rocks you had to go over to get in. Royal Caribbean has a private beach the is a tropical paradise compared to this ratty looking island, there was nothing appealing about it. The shows were typical except for SCTV improv, they were very funny and the comedian was very good. The magician was from hunger. In all, I think this ship had reduced size of the common areas and increased the number of cabins so this resulted in always feeling the crowds and I never felt I was traveling with 2000 plus people on any of the other ships that I have sailed on, but this one was mobbed. I will not travel NCL again, even if the other ships they have might be better. I would not chance it. My advice to first time cruisers, go Princess, Celebrity, Or Royal Caribbean, you will not be disappointed.