I am a yearly participant in the NCL GEM cruises to nowhere.
This year I had the opportunity to bring two friends who have never cruised before, and one who has not cruised in almost 30 years.
The CTNs/one nighters are not your typical cruise, especially in the winter.
This year we were celebrating my one friend's 50th birthday.
The day we were leaving, there was quite a big snow storm in NYC. Since we are traveling from NNJ, we were concerned about being able to get into the city.
We left a little later than we may have otherwise, but two of my companions were coming down from even further north and northwest.
Driving into the city and parking at the pier presented no problems, although there was a good deal of snow in the parking lot.
We arrived at the pier around 11am. This is when I normally arrive. Typically the queues for security and check are out the door by this time.
Last Friday, we walked right up to security and were through in a minute.
The check in line was also less congested than usual, and we were serviced quickly.
At the picture spot just after check in, we were advised that the ship was late coming in and passengers were still disembarking (this was at around 11:20), and embarkation would not start until 12:30 or so.
We had a good # (#9), and proceeded to the waiting area.
A very nice new feature this year was the ability to view spa services, all restaurant menus (including the MDR)and book appointments. It also looked like you could enroll your kids in the Kids Club/Teen Club, but I had no teens in tow this time, so didn't stop and inquire.
We reviewed the menus and decide on LeBistro for my friend's Birthday Celebration. On the sly, we had make note of the birthday, and YES we did want them to SING!!!
Boarding started at 12:30 as promised, and by 12:45 we were onboard.
We had a nice lunch at the Grand Pacific, although getting drinks was a little slow. Maybe we were just anxious to get the PARTY STARTED!!!
While at lunch, we checked the Freestyle Daily. NO QUEST!!! And I was all prepared! They did have a Pub Crawl scheduled, so we decided this would be a fun compromise. :-) One of friends was not drinking that day, and she was going to go to the show--"Get Down Tonight".
By the time we finished lunch, our room was ready. We dropped off our things in our room , and I gave the nickel tour to my newbie friends.
The tour ended in Spinnaker lounge, where the DJ was just starting to play. Just before we were due to sail away, it looked like a BLIZZARD hit Manhattan!
You could barely see the Intrepid docked next to us!
The snow squall did not last long, and we were off down the Hudson, sailing past the beautiful NYC skyline and Statue of Liberty.
After passing the Statue, we ran upstairs for the breathtaking view as we cruised under the Verrazzano Narrows Bridge.
After wandering around onboard and checking out the Duty Free Shops, we headed to Magnum's Champagne Bar to enjoy the piano bar.
Soon it was time for dinner. We had wonderful service, and one of the best meal I have had onboard the GEM.
To top it off, they brought out a cake and sang Happy Birthday!
Our meal lasted a full 3 hours, and we missed the Pub Crawl--no big deal--we knew we'd be better off not mixing all those drinks.
We went to Spinnakers and caught the tail end of the Battle of the Sexes game, which was fun.
We hung around for the comedian, Bud Anderson. We all enjoyed his humor.
Immediately after Bud, the band Kenosis played a great variety 70s and 80s dance hits. I had a good time dancing. The Birthday boy joined me, but the other two ladies were content to just chill and watch.
We had a great night and were lulled to sleep by the rocking of the ship.
We got up, had a nice breakfast at the Garden Buffet.
All too soon it was time to disembark. This was a little later than the usual, so we enjoyed the room for an extra half hour or so.
My friends are now converts--and hoping the price for the May CTN drops!