I am a widow from the West Coast of the United States. I always arrive into the city of embarkation the day the cruise is to leave. For the second time, I stayed at the Novotel Times Square. It is just a few blocks from the ABC studios, which you can see from the hotel dining room.
This was my first time on The Gem. I have been on The Spirit, The Jewel and 8 times on The Pearl. I like The Gem very much except for the way you have to come out of The Stardust Theater from Deck 6. I did not like having to zig zag your way through the casino. For people with walkers, wheelchairs and the power scooters, it would have been a tight fit.
For my breakfasts, I eat in The Garden Cafe. I loved watching the young man make omlelets. For dining I was either in La Cacina or Mangenta. In La Cacina, they have the most delicious salmon pizza. It is heavenly. In both restraunts the service was wonderful. I could not have asked for anything any better.
Because I have been on The Pearl as often as I have, I ran into a number Gem staff who have served on The Pearl. In some ways, it was like a homecoming. I also met a number of very kind Gem staff members. The Staff Captain took time out of his day one morning to have coffee with me. We talked about the new Cruise Vessel Saftety and Security Act that the United States Congress passed last June. It was interesting to sit and listen to him talk. It was wonderful to see the Hotel Director again (another from The Pear).
For the most part, I enjoyed the ship's entertainment. Once a dicovered a Candain who played the piano without adding anything to the piano( soundboards, laptop computers), I spent most evey evening listening to him. Just a man, his voice and piano. What a wonderful change of pace. I love soft peaceful music.
I did two shore excursions, one in St Thomas and one in St. Marteen. In St. Thomas, I took the tram to the top of the hill. On a clear day (which it wasn't), I don't know how many miles you could see. It nice. In St. Marteen I did an island tour. It always amazes me how the tour bus drivers manage to get the buses through the narrowest of streets. It was a nice tour.
I could believe how quickly it took to disembark and get through the terminal building. Before I knew it, I was on the bus heading to the airport.
On a whole it was a wonderful trip (too short). Met lots of wonderful people (staff and otherwise). Would I sail again on The Gem, yes.