Having last year had a great time on Navigator of the Seas, we approached our NCL cruise with doubts that it could possibly be as good, however, we think that our NCL experience just edged it!
The Gem is a great ship, although does n't have the wow factor of the much bigger Navigator. The advantage is that there are 1500 less people, this does n't mean that the Gem's sun decks don't get crowded on sea days though. The ship is kept immaculate and therefore everything looks like new. The NCL staff were good, they always tried to help with a smile but were not intrusive and as a result things felt comfortable for guests.
Dining is different on NCL, you have dinner whenever you like. This worked for us really well. The food in the speciality restaurants was excellent, although you have to pay up to $25pp for the experience, but with high quality ingredients - lobster, oysters, filet steak, it was well worth it. Even the British style fish and chips was excellent
There was a lot of tendering on our cruise, which was handled efficiently, although some guests had to wait a while to get off the ship at Santorini, Corfu and Mykonos. The entertainment on board was really good too.
The showtimes were great, guest entertainers got standing ovations, the NCL singers and dancers were good too, particularly the on ship band Kenosis, who looked like they were always enjoying themselves. The cabin was comfortable and had the advantage of free room service whenever you wanted which was great. We would definitely recommend NCL, great ship, staff positive, food in speciality restaurants excellent and there is lots to do on board.