Having read Gem reviews AFTER we had booked we were somewhat nervous but we decided "to make the best of it" whatever ...WELL, we needn't have worried. Yes, some reviews (and mostly reviewers only write negative reviews) were correct but the Gem had lots of plus points and far fewer minus points than we were led to believe.
Our cabin was spacious and had a great bathroom, plasma tv, a huge comfy bed and a large balcony. Our cabin steward was delightful, hard working and nothing seemed too much trouble for him. Passengers do not realise that the staff have to work 24/7 for as much as ten months without a day off. Cabin stewards often work much longer than their designated hours and ours never grumbled.
We ate in The Bistro, Tequilla and La Cuccina and all the food was excellent and served with a smile and yes ..we did pay extra for the privilege of eating in speciality restaurants and it was worth every penny. We didn't eat in Teppenyaki (although we would have liked to) as it would have been like eating in a goldfish bowl as the windows faced out on to the corridor and passers by stopped and stared in. And YES the drinks on board are expensive, especially when the service charge is added...but there are two alternatives..buy or not to buy!
We didn't take the NCL tours as they were expensive so we did our own thing and having been to all the ports previously we knew where we wanted to go.
The ship was full but at no time did we feel crowded, but because it wasn't school holidays there weren't too many children on board, which we felt was a benefit. There is a lot for the children to do and I can imagine that children would have a wonderful time and there is even a designated children's buffet area with tv!
I can't stress how hard the staff work and feel that they deserve every penny of the service charge which is added to the final bill....and we felt that our cabin steward deserved a little extra. Generally the staff are cheerful and helpful and although we still have certain reservations we will be back!