1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
I have always been very happy with Norwegian especially the Gem it is my favorite ship. I was very disappointed on this cruise. Staff is no longer happy and engaging with passengers, they seem stressed and overworked. giveaways and ... Read More
I have always been very happy with Norwegian especially the Gem it is my favorite ship. I was very disappointed on this cruise. Staff is no longer happy and engaging with passengers, they seem stressed and overworked. giveaways and general amenities are poor and barely exist anymore. No chocolate on the pillow, no glass of champagne when you are delayed at a restaurant. Little Wow factors are gone. I love the concept of free style cruising and casual dress code BUT there were people on this trip that came to dinner dressed worse than homeless people. sweat pants, hoodies with the hood on, ripped shirts, unbelievable. enough to loose you appetite. There needs to be some kind of dress code when dining in the restaurants. If you can't even groom yourself you don't belong at a table with a tablecloth.. One women came to the main dining room in her pajamas!. I may be old fashion but come on have a little self respect. Food has gone downhill dramatically. If you like hamburgers, hot dogs and fries this is the cruise for you. Dining room food is poor, choices bad. appetizers are skimpy and the same except for one or two every night.. Soups were watery and salty and deserts were boring, Cheap sweet cake. portions are so small you need to order two entrees. I hate to say it but I would compare it to food in a diner. Cabins are clean we had a mini suite, common areas ok but wait staff in the lounges and at the pool are non-existent, maybe two or three drink waiters for the entire pool area. Lines at the bars are long, Entertainment in the theater were good even excellent but lounge music was just fair., Norwegian has taken casual to a new level. I'm no longer comfortable with their business plan. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2018
The staff was generally helpful and friendly. The food was a disappointment. The service in the Grand at night was overly slow the staff couldn't keep up. During the day for lunch was entirely different. There were wait times but not ... Read More
The staff was generally helpful and friendly. The food was a disappointment. The service in the Grand at night was overly slow the staff couldn't keep up. During the day for lunch was entirely different. There were wait times but not extreme. The outdoor buffets were excellent. Cagney food was excellent but the wait staff were overloaded and not very attentive. Less of a problem with early dinner times. Bar Service and casino staff excellent. Entertainment was good. Trivia was fun but nobody cared that cell phones were used by some making trivia more like google. Ncl was gracious enough to show NFL playoff gsmes. A total bonus. Balcony room was clean, bathroom clean. Floor rug seemed overworn and moldy. Considering the first day we drove through the bomb cyclone the ship seemed like it was a routine trip. Definitely could have used more shore excursions and one more stop. I have sailed on the Gem many times and will miss her in NYC. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: January 2018
I've sailed on the Gem's sister ship the Norwegian Jade and I really like the size of these ships. I've seen them referred to as Goldilocks ships, not to big, not too small, just right. For some reason I didn't think the Gem had gotten a ... Read More
I've sailed on the Gem's sister ship the Norwegian Jade and I really like the size of these ships. I've seen them referred to as Goldilocks ships, not to big, not too small, just right. For some reason I didn't think the Gem had gotten a makeover, but it has. Things on the ship are in good shape, clean and don't feel worn. Unlike the Jade, the Bliss nightclub has a much better location and it's one of the better night club spaces on the ships I've been on. Again, just the right size. The Gem also has a water slide and a rock wall, which I don't recall the Jade had. The problem with the Gem isn't the ship, it's Norwegian's approach to it. Norwegian clearly sees this ship as a 2nd or 3rd tier ship, and as such you get a sub-par experience compared to one of their larger flagship ships (like the Breakaway or Getaway). One of the areas you really see this in is the food. The food on the Gem (outside the specialty restaurants) is horrid. Worse than Olive Garden bad. Meal after meal was sub par, with poor quality elements, cooked horribly and served at a slug's pace. I had at a piece of fish in the main dining room which ranks among the worst fish I've EVER had. The buffet was also quite poor. The selection of fruit was very small with apples dominating things, and occasionally watermelon and honeydew, also a watery fruit cocktail which was absolutely awful. The hamburgers were inedible, and hardboiled eggs so overcooked, the shells don't peel off. The food quality overall was just horrid. The only way to get through is to spend the money and eat at the specialty restaurants, which were actually solid. 11 days at sea with this bad of food is enough to spoil your vacation. In terms of the onboard staff, again you've got the "B" or "C" team. Norwegian puts the best of the best on their big ships, and the worst on the smaller ships like the gem. Our cruise director was as mediocre as they come, the solo travel lead was introverted and just not the right kind of person for the job. Having said that, there were some great bartenders, the staff in the specialty restaurants were good, and some cruise staff who were solid. But again, a mediocre cruise director really sets the tone. The worst thing about my time on the Gem was the fact that Norwegian let us sail into a brutal storm. Ultimately, the most important thing a cruise company can do is ensure the safety of the passengers and crew, and on my sailing Norwegian greatly failed at this. It's enough to make this my last NCL sailing. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
First time with NCL. Chose this cruise initially because of the original itenary which included St Maarten but this schedule was cancelled because of storm damage, this could not be helped. Got off to a bad start at airport flew in from UK ... Read More
First time with NCL. Chose this cruise initially because of the original itenary which included St Maarten but this schedule was cancelled because of storm damage, this could not be helped. Got off to a bad start at airport flew in from UK expecting transfer only to be told transfer had left. However the rep agreed to arrange another vehicle but only after a one hour wait and another half hour wait in another terminal for further passengers. Food selection in buffet restaurant very limited and the same most days. Paid for all inclusive package UBP+CJ This means unlimited drinks including coffee and juice. Coffee was not readily available unless you are in main dining rooms and then when coffee was ordered the waiter had to go to atrium to get coffee. If you presented card personally at atrium coffee bar they refused to accept order and said free coffee only available in restaurants. Ordered an Aviation cocktail Bombay sapphire gin was the main ingredient but waiter put in cheaper alternative gin when I questioned him he became argumentative. Went on shore excursion to Megan’s Bay beach driver said pick up at 11:45, went to to pick up point at said time no driver. Left wondering do we get a taxi or wait. On board ship time was 12:30. After approx 10 minute driver turns up. Not a big issue you may think but if a time is arranged it should be adhered to good money is paid for peace of mind. It was a Christmas/ new year cruise, hardly noticed it was Christmas more effort was made for New Year’s Eve. A couple of other small issues but we had already decided NCL is not for us Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: December 2017
My sister and I wanted to go on a Christmas/New Year cruise and the Norwegian Gem fit our schedules. My sister had been on the Norwegian Breakaway 3 years ago at the holidays and said it was wonderful. I had been on the Norwegian Jewel ... Read More
My sister and I wanted to go on a Christmas/New Year cruise and the Norwegian Gem fit our schedules. My sister had been on the Norwegian Breakaway 3 years ago at the holidays and said it was wonderful. I had been on the Norwegian Jewel many years ago and my memories were also wonderful. I had always considered Norwegian to be a cut above some of the other lines. Well, my cruise on the Gem from Dec 23rd, 2017 to January 3, 2018 was VERY DISAPPOINTING. If you are a "foodie" THIS IS NOT THE CRUISE FOR YOU. The quality and variety of the food was extremely disappointing, not at all like I remembered it to be. If we had not taken the Upscale dining package as one of our "perks" we would not have had any quality meals. Food yes, but quality and tasty meals, No. When I went to the buffet on deck 12 I felt like I was in a hospital cafeteria. If you go to the buffet during meal times it is very difficult to get a table. Cold cuts on the buffet consisted of ham, bologna, mortadella, salami or pepperoni and mostly american cheese. Only time I saw roast beef or turkey was when it was part of a hero that they sliced and gave you a piece. Hamburgers and hot dogs a staple but I NEVER saw a chicken tender or chicken nugget. The upscale dining was good but that was what I had expected in the main dining room. On my first night in the dining room (Grand Pacific) I started with the crab cake. It was 90% bread crumbs and 10% fish that tasted more like old salmon and not crab. The soup and main dish was SO SALTY I could not eat it. Even my 25 year nephew who eats a lot of "junk food" said the food was salty. I finally ordered a steak, Medium Rare. It arrived with a grayish color like it came out of a microwave. I cut it open and it was Medium Well, not medium rare. Needless to say I had cheese and crackers that night. Most other nights the food had one flavor....SALT. Meat quality was Choice if that. Desserts was another story. The predominant buffet dessert was pound cake or a sheet cake with horrible, buttercream frosting of different flavors in the middle. So many times I took one bite and did not swallow. Good way not to gain weight on a cruise. Food that came out of the kitchen was inconsistent. One night, my sister and I ordered the same thing. She got potatoes on her plate & I did not. Stateroom was average but bathroom was extremely small. If you are a large person it is definitely a challenge. The stateroom steward had beautiful towel animals waiting for us each evening in our room. Chocolates on the pillow were not to be found. I guess that's a thing of the past. Although considering what I paid for the cruise, I really was expecting chocolates. The entertainers at the shows were very talented but the overall production had very little pizazz. The show on the first night was a blank stage with a sad, lopsided, Christmas tree on each end No backdrops, no special lighting. Give me a break...this was a Holiday Cruise. Many activities on the ship had an extra charge, unless you wanted to play shuffleboard, go to the overpriced art show, or listen to music in the evening. Every night at 10:30 PM they would have a movie in the Atrium. This was situated in the center of the ship where the customer service and shore excursion desk was. It was also one of the floors that went from bow to stern so there was much traffic. This theater setting had seating for 50. YES, THAT IS FIFTY and the ship had 2700 passengers. Popcorn was not available even if you wanted to buy it. The screen was 2 stories tall but unless you sat up front you could not hear clearly or see the words on the bottom of the screen. Why they did not show a movie in the Stardust theater where the shows were held was beyond my comprehension. THe shows were over by 10 PM and was empty all day. In the past I always booked shore excursions when I got aboard. I tried to do that the first day and was sold out in two ports. I could go on and on but I think you feel my sentiments. I do not believe I will travel with NCL again. S.G.L. Hollywood, FL Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
Chose this cruise based on where it sailed from, where it sailed to, how long the sailing was, and when it sailed. First time being away from home over the holiday. My family very much enjoyed this sailing. We had two ocean view cabins ... Read More
Chose this cruise based on where it sailed from, where it sailed to, how long the sailing was, and when it sailed. First time being away from home over the holiday. My family very much enjoyed this sailing. We had two ocean view cabins for 4 people with connecting rooms which worked very well. Cabin steward was very helpful! (Thank you Lloyd!). First day at sea was a little rough but I did not mind at all. I actually enjoy that once in a while. We had several specialty dining experiences and a couple normal dining room experiences. The best thing about the regular dining rooms was that you could order multiple items. We had no bad food in any restaurant as we pretty much already know what we do not like and did not order any of that. Tim Kaminski was the comedian on the cruise and was extremely nice. Very personable as well. He'd always take time to stop and say hi to people throughout the cruise. Excellent comedian and a great person as well! The only downside to the entertainment was that there were a couple shows we did not get to see because of timing with dinners and other shows. A little disappointing that we did not get to see the other Second City show. We were disappointed that we were not able to get one of the excursions we wanted but the excursion staff helped us find an alternate that was very good and as such never felt like we missed out on the other. The person we worked with was very helpful in explaining some of the ones we were interested in and explained the groups of people that each was targeted for. Some were actually targeted for kids under 10. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2017
This was our first time on NCL. Have been many times on HAL, once on Carnival and twice with RCL. Definitely better than Carnival. About the same as RCL in terms of crew (nationalities and service) as well as food. The deck and ... Read More
This was our first time on NCL. Have been many times on HAL, once on Carnival and twice with RCL. Definitely better than Carnival. About the same as RCL in terms of crew (nationalities and service) as well as food. The deck and poolside crew were not as visible as RCL. Most every time you had to go to the bar. Not a big deal but worth mentioning. Food was very good and the menus varied. We noticed no lobster-tail night and never a shrimp cocktail on the menu in the MDR. However not to say there was a shrimp "shortage" because there was shrimp in many meals and salads. I think NCL was somewhat less strict with alcohol in terms of volume (New Years was crazy!) in one respect. But I personally do not like their corkage fee for in-room consumption. Basically NO wine allowed on board unless you pay the fee. The mixed drinks were proportioned well. The frozen drinks seemed a little weak. Boarding in NYC was great. We found a porter right away and got into the warm terminal almost immediately. Not a long wait to board. Early muster drill so we could appreciate ALL of sail away. RCL needs to take a lesson from NCL on that. Late sail away so there was PLENTY of time to unpack and enjoy the ship first. Debarkation in NYC was awful!!! The line-up to actually exit the ship was a great idea. But not being able to sit in public lounges to wait was terrible. I tried to sneak around to find a public lounge, but kept being directed to the Bliss Lounge. What? Do they really think 2000 passengers are going to fit in one lounge? We grabbed what chairs we could find in the Garden Cafe. Then in the terminal, there were hardly any porters to help disabled passengers. And you couldn't go through Customs with them anyway! On the curb, there were porters taking on passengers who arrived early but coming back out empty. Do you see where I am going with this?! Overall it was a wonderful cruise and personally we had a refreshing break from not having to fly. That alone was awesome. We would sail with NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
We took NCL Gem from NYC to eastern Caribbean, from 12/23 to 01/03, 2 adults and a teen and had a wonderful time. Embarkation: Smooth, great service by miss Ferguson, cabins were ready right away Cabin: We BID for a balcony cabin, ... Read More
We took NCL Gem from NYC to eastern Caribbean, from 12/23 to 01/03, 2 adults and a teen and had a wonderful time. Embarkation: Smooth, great service by miss Ferguson, cabins were ready right away Cabin: We BID for a balcony cabin, and got a midship cabin, smalller than other cruise lines, but enough storage space and coffee in the room. Sofa bed was hard, so we requested a egg crater mattress and it help. We got the water package delivered to our cabin and paid for the internet package, totally worthed, we used over 7000 minutes online. You can share with your family, just using a device at a time.We got the Ultimate beverage package ( which is great, but excludes bottle of water and specialty coffees, such as caffe latte) , the dining package, and room credit. Also, we bought the soda package for our son. Ship: Nice and clean, small pool area for the size of the ship, not really an adult area which I missed, comparing to other cruises. Dining: superior , even at the main restaurants, make reservations in advance on specialty restaurant, loved Cagney and Le bistro, Hibashi was fun. Entertainment:, so-so, the cruise Director Lorena, was great and tried to keep the party going, but some shows were very disappointing. The comedian, nice guy, but not funny at all. We liked the country and 70's shows, the Latin party, the acrobats and the disco. Daily activities that were fun was Deal or not deal, although expensive, cake wars, and pool games. Too many seminars trying to sell you services, no freebies. Teen center was ok, my son made some friends, movies in the ship, were of a poor selection, specially on Christmas Eve, and who can enjoy a movie , next to a bar, were people were screaming , laughing and walking around the screen all the time, poor design. Ports/Excursions: St croix: just walk around town, seems hurt by the hurricane, local beach ok, felt safe St. lucia: took the arias tram and canopy excursion ( Zipline), expectacular Barbados: use Hilton Barbados for resort for a day, beautiful beach , pool and delicious lunch. We have been in Barbados before, for first timers I will recommend snorkeling and swimming with turtles St kits: 4x4 excursion And beach , good enough if you want to tour the island, too short of a break on the beach. St Thomas: we just shop around the port, some parts of the island did not have electricity. Casino: Tipical small smoky casino, delicious snacks at night, only one roulette table Spa , art center, library: did not use Gym; nice, my husband found it adequate TIPS: Cabins, they are small, get the bigger category you can afford or BID for an upgrade. Avoid 8th floor, it is like walking in a maze. Get free breakfast room service if you need to get out of the ship early in am. Mini bar expensive. Order water bottles, you can keep one in the mini fridge. Free offers: ultimate drinking package was well worthed, if you like to drink, specialty dining, wonderful for foddies. Free gratuities and internet were good if you can get four. Most of the excursion were over 50 dollars, do I would not recommend the free excursion as a top choice. Dining: make especiallty restaurant reservations before boarding the ship, online or by calling, you can change them later , free of charge , if your plans change. Shows/ Entertainment: Country, 70's, acrobats and Latin party. Shows are at 7pm and 9 pm, get 30 minutes early for front road, anytime if you like to seat in the back Pools/ Hot tubs: get your chair early, or use it on port days, gets very congested. Hot tubes, great at night, hardly anybody on them after the 2nd day. Avoid karoeke, unless your family is singing, it was a painful experience to listen to most of the people. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2017
Very disappointed with menu choices in main dining room. service generally very slow unless we specifically asked to get out quickly. Rewards for games was ridiculous. We played Progressive trivia for five days on a team and won. The prize ... Read More
Very disappointed with menu choices in main dining room. service generally very slow unless we specifically asked to get out quickly. Rewards for games was ridiculous. We played Progressive trivia for five days on a team and won. The prize we were offered was a water bottle. The team had to literally beg for a better prize, to ultimately get an a tee shirt as well. That's insulting! The word around the ship amongst guests who travel on NCL, and especially on the Gem, is that the service as well as other things has deteriorated. Loyal travelers of NCL, such as myself, a Platinum Plus member, are just.getting less then we're used to getting. We no longer get wine in both specialty restaurants, and we can't exchange our champagne, which we don't drink, for an inexpensive wine like we used to be able to do. We used to have a party for Platinum & platinum plus members, now you put everyone together. We don't feel special anymore, and are certainly not being treated in a special way. Read Less
Norwegian Gem Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.8
Entertainment 5.0 3.9
Public Rooms 5.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.0
Family 4.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.6
Enrichment 4.0 3.4
Service 4.0 4.1
Value For Money 5.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 3.8

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