We have cruised in the past but thought we would cruise on the Gem because it was a great deal in December. We got an upgrade from a balcony to a mini-suite. When we checked into our cabin, we discovered that the bathroom hadn't been cleaned because there were dirty towels on the floor and toothpaste on the sink I called guest services and the housekeeping director appeared at our door within five minutes. The problem was resolved quickly. The housekeeping department sent us a complimentary bottle of wine and our cabin stewarard profusely apologized and presented us with a fresh floral arrangement. We received several calls asking us if we were satisfied. I was beginning to feel guilty about even reporting it! We were very impressed with the service on the ship.
I brought a large bottle of wine on board in my carry-on luggage and was expecting to pay a corkage fee but no one ever charged me for it. (shh!)
Unfortunately, we missed the Great Stirrup Cay beach day because of high winds and choppy waves. However, we received complimentary rum punch for the adults and milk shakes for the children to ease our disappointment. I thought that was a nice gesture.
These are my "Don't Miss" suggestions:
1. Check out the great amount of storage space in the cabin...lots of drawers and shelves that we didn't even use
2. "Deal or No Deal" in the theater. You can buy a card for $19.95 to participate in the audience or you can just observe. It was great fun but don't expect to win much money. Most of the prizes are free photos or free Norwegian lottery tickets.
3. We were lucky enough to see the sun set behind the Statue of Liberty on sailaway.
4. Yell "Woo-Hoo" when you sail under the Verrazano bridge.
5. See the intricate chocolate carvings and ice sculptures at the Chocolate Buffet. The selection of chocolate goodies was spectacular.
6. Eat at the Blue Lagoon. We loved the quiet atmosphere and the menu of tavern-type items - wings, chicken tenders, soups, salads, sandwiches, etc;
7. Read "Cruise Confidential" by Brian Bruns. It's a true account of an American who worked on a cruise ship. You're guaranteed to better appreciate the crew members on your cruise.
8. View the Dale Chihuly blown glass sculpture in the Atrium. If you visit Atlantis, look for Chihuly's other magnificent scupltures in the lobby and in the casino.
9. Savor the cold soups which are strangely located beside the hot dog grill in the Garden Cafe buffet.
10. Enjoy Sinan, the cruise director. His videos on the ship's TV channel, antics, and jokes are hilarious.
11. Check out the Nagivation viewing area on the very front of Deck 11.
12. Relax on cushy chairs, sofas, and ottomans in the Spinnaker Lounge on Deck 13 in the front of the ship. The views are amazing. We even saw dolphins and whales on this trip because the waters were so calm.
Here is my Wish List for the ship:
1. There is usually a movie shown during the afternoon but it would be nice to have it repeated late at night when the theater is available.
2. Put up a sign for "The Line Starts Here" at the buffet - especially at the ice cream station to avoid the elbowing that occurred.
3. Either serve a better cut of steak in the dining room or remove it from the menu. This was the only meal that I truly did not enjoy. It was like chewing leather.
4. Make the water in the bathroom just a little hotter.
5. Put the Norwegian version of "scratch-off" lottery tickets to rest or at least stop peddling them at every event.