We thought the ship was wonderfully clean and spacious. We worried about feeling crowded on the ship with so many people and were concerned about the size of our room. All of concerns were unfounded on the Gem. The check-in was a breeze. Our room was available shortly after we arrived and the storage in our mini suite was more than adequate. I loved the size of the bathroom and was surprised to see there was a bathtub! We spent a lot of time on the balcony during the week as we arrived and left from different ports. The bed was extremely comfortable and we felt the linens and towels were top notch.
Breakfast was usually very frantic but we learned to take our food back to our suite and ate on the balcony with a view of wherever we happened to be that day. We ate almost exclusively at the specialty restaurants and we tended to eat later in the evening after cocktails. We never had a bad experience and enjoyed the smaller size of these restaurants. We ate one night More
in one of the big restaurants and while the food was good, the servers were harried and our fellow dining companions were not always polite or quiet. It was certainly not a reflection on the ship but rather the quality of the patrons which is why we chose to eat in the specialty restaurants. There were fewer children in there and the late diners were most respectful and appreciative of the food and wine being offered. Special mention to the manager and staff of the Mexican restaurant who was very kind to us, especially on the last evening when I was not feeling very well. My birthday dinner at Cagney's was very special. We absolutely LOVED the freestyle dining experience!
We took in the art show our first day at sea and bought two gorgeous prints for our new home. We toured every day except one (it was overcast the day we put in to Florence so we stayed on board and enjoyed the solitude) but arranged our own tours or did our research about how to get into town on our own. Our days in Rome and Nice were especially wonderful and very inexpensive. We found the cost of the ship's excursions to be very high and therefore did not take any of them. We prefer to do our own thing and read quite a bit in preparation for this special vacation.
We were quite impressed with NCL, the ship and the crew. We are in the process of planning another cruise for Xmas 2009 and can't wait to get back on another NCL ship. Less
Norwegian Gem Cruises to the Eastern Mediterranean