Traveled Norwegian Gem June 8-16. Have cruised many times previously with several other cruise lines. In comparison, Norwegian was okay. The food and service didn't come close to other lines; however, since we weren't onboard for those aspects, it didn't affect our overall experience too much.
Cabin-we had an inside cabin. It was a little smaller than those we've had on previous ships; however, we spent very little time in the cabin so it wasn't a problem. We LOVED the larger shower & the shower door! What a great improvement! Unfortunately, the shower wasn't leveled properly and water didn't drain well. Again, a small problem. Our cabin stewards never came and introduced themselves. They were very unavailable; however, when we needed something and called for it, we got it.
Food-fewer choices than on other cruise lines and quality not as good. We chose not to eat at one of the restaurants that had a surcharge. We spoke to people who did and they said the food More
was pretty good, but there were also surcharges for many of the items on the menu, so in addition to the surcharge per person, you paid for the item. It could get very expensive. We loved the chocoholic buffet! My husband enjoyed the cappuccino machine (& loved the fact that he didn't have to pay for each one). The buffet was very nice; however, the reviews we read about lack of seating were correct. It was usually hard to find a table. We had also read that they do not have trays in the buffet, so you have to carry everything on your own--that is true and quite inconvenient. They do have the silverware wrapped in napkins on each table though. I think they do it to try to reduce the amount of waste (you don't take as much at the beginning and only go back if you really want more). We never experienced having to wait for a table at the Grand Pacific restaurant (the nice-no jeans or shorts restaurant). We had read a lot about having to wait even when there were tables open.
Activities-because we were in ports 6 out of the 7 days, we didn't take part in too many on board activities. We did notice that pretty much every thing ran a few minutes late though. The shows always started 5-10 min. after the starting time. They called Bingo for a certain time and by the time they gave the rules and sold cards, it actually started about 45 min. after the printed time. Again, not a big deal.
Ship's Tours-We took two ship's tours. One in Sorrento & Pompeii which we really enjoyed and one in Nice/Monaco which was just fair. We spoke to some people that took a ship tour in Rome and were extremely disappointed. They were going to request a refund. (We chose to hire a private driver, which worked out very well.)
Service-We felt that because the waiters were not working for their tips, the quality of service definitely suffered. We didn't feel like the quality of service was what you would get on Royal Caribbean or Princess (which are our two favorite lines--though we have never been on Celebrity or Holland America).
Shows-We felt like the shows were just as good as most other cruises we've been on. The female entertainer was very good! Comedy group was very good too.
OTHER-We definitely understood what others meant about them trying to nickel and dime you to death; however, you didn't have to "buy into it."
Being a "germophobe" I really appreciated that they had hand sanitizer everywhere and asked you to use it before reboarding the ships and before entering the restaurants. I know that doesn't stop all germs, but I think it helps.
All in all, it was the ports that made the trip what it was. We had a great time, especially in Italy! Less
Norwegian Gem Cruises to the Western Mediterranean