This cruise was a fun getaway with my 12 year old daughter. I was a little worried that the crowd might be more rowdy than normal given it's a CTN, but I am happy to say that while it was a younger and more party spirit crowd than other NCL cruises, I didn't see anybody out of control or behaving badly.
Getting on was crowded but ran relatively smoothly. There were two ships departing that afternoon and this makes the terminal at full capacity. From curb to ship took me about 45-60 minutes arriving at ~11:30AM. Two tips--they were handing out Freestyle dailies for the cruise and this made good reading while waiting in line to check in--try to grab one before getting in line. Second, there was a desk taking specialty restaurant reservations and a pretty long line in front of that. Again, in interest of maximizing time on board, try to visit this desk and book a reservation if you plan to dine specialty. Menus were available to browse, for those who aren't sure of plans. Disembarkation was extremely easy given no customs needed and no checked luggage.
This is probably the best aspect of this short cruise. You get an awesome view of the New York skyline as well as the Eillis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Best place to hang if it isn't too cold is forward in the top most sundeck areas. The Jewel was leaving right after the Gem and we watched it back out right after us and follow us down the river.
Dinner: We ate at Teppanyaki and it met my expectations. I had done it a couple times before but it still is fun and the food, fresh grilled in front of you is quite good.
Entertainment: We went to watch the comedian rather than the earlier musical show. Comedian was excellent- relaxed, good mix of working the audience and canned routine.
Lunch/Breakfast at Buffet:
Crowded as expected, particularly on a CTN. Food was fine and lines moved pretty fast. Hard to find seating--suggestion go aft to the La Cucina Italian restaurant where there is additional seating for lunch and breakfast. Only complaint--bacon was horrible and inedible, greasy and tasted off.
I was overall happy with the level of service. It's a very short cruise so hard to evaluate, but the few encounters I had were pretty positive.
All in all this cruise met my expectations. Wish it could have been longer!