Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary - full traverse of the Panama Canal and lots of stops in countries other cruise lines don't stop in. We have travelled with other companies, Celebrity, RCI, Cunard, P&O and now NCL. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary - full traverse of the Panama Canal and lots of stops in countries other cruise lines don't stop in. We have travelled with other companies, Celebrity, RCI, Cunard, P&O and now NCL. The reason for the low score for NCL is that there were lots of little things which were not as good as other cruise companies and they added up to make a big difference. Firstly the good: The organisation of the Freedom dining is fantastic. We only had to wait (briefly) for a table on a couple of occasions - the rest of the time it worked like clockwork. This is down mainly to the ladies who work at the front desk. They do an exceptional job. The staff in the dining rooms were all fantastic. Hardworking and always cheerful. No mean feat! The chinese restaurant is included rather than the usual cover charge and we thought the food was superb. The presentation of the food in the main dining rooms was the best we have seen There were proper showers in all of the rooms (not just shower curtains) The bad: The menus in the Chinese and O'Sheehans never changes nor does it in Grand Pacific at lunch time. Not too bad if you are on a 7 day cruise but this was 19 days of the same choice. The drinks are very expensive The ship was late in to nearly every port. Sometimes just by 15-20 mins but it messed up our plans (and on two of the occassions this was when the ship was only travelling a short distance between ports) Disembarkation was a shambles with poor communication. They put on too few tenders when needed so that it took us until after 1pm to get off the ship when we had to be back on board by 4pm. We paid for an upgrade to an ocean view room and yet all we could see was a lifeboat. There was no warnings about it being a partial view. There was insufficient shade on the ship so there was always a battle to be up early enough to grab some. They have a great lounge at the front of the boat where you can sit in the shade and cool and look at the view but insisted on running bingo and other talks in there all through the day despite having other areas that would accomodate these things. They even had to draw the blinds in the room to make it dark enough to see the projector. The talks about the ports and countries we were visiting were awful. The entertainment in the bars was not to our taste and hardly varied. No gala type dinners so no lobster or other special food. Food was the worst we have had on a ship (not bad like other reviews have said - just not as good as other ships) The food in the buffet was not great and was very repetitive. All of the entertainment was geared towards Americans (even though they were in the minority on the ship). I understand that they are usually the majority so I guess it would be too much trouble to change things cruise by cruise. Guest Relations were terrible. They handled a minor complaint so badly that it ended up being a big issue. They have zero authority and a terrible attitude. One thing that isn't the ships problem but is worth mentioning is that we like to share our table with others in the evening. Clearly most people who choose NCL don't like to so it was rare that we managed to get a table with other people on it. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
Chose this cruise because of 11 nites and the itinerary. Love cruising out of NYC especially since we live in New Jersey. We did have a delay in leaving NYC because of high winds the ship could not dock until the next day...but once ... Read More
Chose this cruise because of 11 nites and the itinerary. Love cruising out of NYC especially since we live in New Jersey. We did have a delay in leaving NYC because of high winds the ship could not dock until the next day...but once on the ship all that was forgotten. Better Safe than Sorry was the motto! The Gem is my favorite ship. The crew is outstanding and they cater to all your needs. It's nice to meet the same staff., like coming home. Food is excellent, bar choices are plentiful. The entertainment on this cruise was the best we have ever had. We enjoyed every show! The music in every bar was also the best. Spent many late nites in the Magnum Bar area for the musical groups. We ate in all the specialty restaurants and again Cagneys was our favorite. Teppanaki is always fun, and LaCucina has the best turimisu in the world! We will be back next year! Read Less
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Sail Date: February 2019
I was escorting a group of 41. Our first day out was delayed 1 day due to wind. We made the best of it and got a hotel in Secaucus NJ (Red Roof Plus---EXCELLENT CLEAN HOTEL). Everyone disappointed we lost 2 port stops (SanJuan and ... Read More
I was escorting a group of 41. Our first day out was delayed 1 day due to wind. We made the best of it and got a hotel in Secaucus NJ (Red Roof Plus---EXCELLENT CLEAN HOTEL). Everyone disappointed we lost 2 port stops (SanJuan and StKitts) Embarkation went very smoothly tho I think that leaving a day late left the terminal just to our ship. Disembarkation is always a crapshow in NYC and we had 5 Carts of luggage and the first 4 went out ok...the 5th was delayed like 15 minutes....BECAUSE THE WORKERS WERE ALL ON BREAK. I have been on the Gem in 2010 and was very disappointed with almost everything.But In 2019 it has definitely improved a lot. Better food, better service (in general), and I like the size of the Gem compared to the Breakaway. All in all it was a good cruise, happy to get away to 85 degrees when at home it was 0 degrees and snow. There is room for improvement and I get the feeling that the best of the NCLs staff is sent to the bigger newer ships as there is a definite difference between the Gem and Breakaway as far as service as a whole. Again, many individuals went above and beyond but there are still some service issues similar to 2010. - Osheehans for service was hit or miss. and 1 day at 11am it was CLOSED---a 24/7 restaurant....closed when all other restaurants were closed. The food is good (except the apple pie). Actually pie in general on the ship---not good at all. - The cruise director was NON-EXISTENT. I didn't even really know her name until like day 2. I saw her 4 times on an 11 day cruise. I remember TamTam from 2017 on the Breakaway and this person (I think Lorena) was just not engaging or anywhere to be found. Aris the activity staff member SHOULD BE THE CRUISE DIRECTOR. - The Bali Hai bar had the best consistent service with the most pleasant servers. Will, Nikolai & Oliver know how to service a busy crowd always with a smile and pleasantry. The Grand Pacific staff was very good. On one day 1 of our 3 tables having very slow service (I think they lost our order ticket) and many things were wrong. - Alvin in Bliss lounge was awesome. So attentive and always smiling. We chose the Gem for its size and the itinerary. I can't say it was the best cruise I've been on but it was good. Good value in cost and of course the drink package. Not sure I'd choose the Gem again unless it had a great itinerary. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We love the Gem and have been cruising on it annually for the past couple of years. We like the size of the ship, the amenities, especially the Great Outdoors the covered patio off of the back of deck 12 and the fact that it sails out of ... Read More
We love the Gem and have been cruising on it annually for the past couple of years. We like the size of the ship, the amenities, especially the Great Outdoors the covered patio off of the back of deck 12 and the fact that it sails out of NYC. However, this year, because Norwegian moved around all their cruises and introduced more January and February sailings of their larger ships we were unable to book until the end of February. Sadly, while we arrived in NYC for our cruise on the appointed date, the ship did not out. Because of high winds it was unable to dock safely on the Hudson, leaving the previous cruise stranded just past the Verrazano Narrows Bridge. This meant that our 11 day cruise, once the ship was able to dock the next day, became a 10 day cruise, with two ports, Puerto Rico and St.Kitts, missing from our itinerary. While this wasn't really much of an issue for us, we have been to both ports before how Norwegian handled the problem was less than stellar. They were unable to notify passengers about the problem on the day of departure, even though they sent out notifications about another problem a couple of days previously, and were not really that helpful about anyone having to make alternative arrangements. We were delighted however with one of their shows, which featured a Broadway soloist, who gave not only an incredible performance in her one woman show but also an added master class in voice that was much more enjoyable than the usual cheesy shows. Disembarking was also much more confusing than usual with multiple lines snaking around the ship and a crew that needs to be better trained on how to manage large crowds, minimizing frustration for everyone involved. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We arrived in NYC according to instructions. We were informed the ship would be late, and not leaving until midnight. Two hours later, they said the ship is not coming and "make other arrangements". Luckily, I was able to ... Read More
We arrived in NYC according to instructions. We were informed the ship would be late, and not leaving until midnight. Two hours later, they said the ship is not coming and "make other arrangements". Luckily, I was able to procure a hotel near by. The rest of the cruise was fine, but we missed two islands, and St Thomas was it's usual half a day. I can't imagine if anyone saw this as a cruise itinery that they would book it. High winds was the explanation for all the confusion. Have not heard a word about any sort of a refund as yet, BUT we had better get something, weather related or not we paid for an 11 day 6 island cruise and received 10 days, 4 islands. The crew was great, but the communication regarding the departure could have been better. I received countless calls, but all with old or incorrect information.. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
First time on Gem. And other than the Pride of America out of Honolulu, the first time on NCL. I’m a firm believer that all the main stream cruise lines are similar. Each has its own plusses and minuses. I’ll try to keep ... Read More
First time on Gem. And other than the Pride of America out of Honolulu, the first time on NCL. I’m a firm believer that all the main stream cruise lines are similar. Each has its own plusses and minuses. I’ll try to keep this objective. My wife and I travelled with two other couples for this cruise. One drove to NY with us from Delaware and one met us at the port, as they are from FL. We left the Sunday before and spent the night in Rahway, NJ so we’d have an easy drive in the next AM. When we arrived to pickup our friends, they asked if we’d recd the message that the ship was going to be late due to the weather. We recd nothing. They had been told it would leave at 6:00PM. So, we headed out and figured we’d just take our time the next morning. As, Murphy was present quite a bit this trip, he also made his presence known on Monday morning...there was hardly any traffic driving into the city and we arrived at the port by 10:30AM...go figure! No sweat, we checked our bags and we made ourselves comfy. Then came the announcement! The Gem would not be arriving until after 6:00PM if then, and the terminal staff recommended we leave the terminal and return between 7 and 10 PM! We just looked at each other dumbfounded. Where were we going to go, having parked the car at the terminal and in temps below freezing (considering 40+ mph winds). So, we chose to hang out longer. THEN, the next announcement...The Gem would not be in until Tuesday morning. Luckily, our friend found us hotel accommodations close by. We chose to let them keep our bags and we headed for the hotel. Can’t control Mother Nature! BUT.....the indecision among the terminal staff was unreal! Everyone you asked had a different answer or different directions. This can’t be the first time there was a delay! They really need to work on their contingency planning. The next day was really quite uneventful. The other two couple took their time heading for the term8nal. So, my wife and I told them we’d meet them on board. We were on board by approx 1130 and they joined us closer to 1:30. We then recd the announcement there would be a slight delay as there was a medical emergency that required passengers to debark. Again...stuff happens. We were also informed that, due to the late ship arrival, we would be reimbursed for a day of the cruise...but, the itinerary would be altered and San Juan and St Kitts eliminated. So, on a now 10 day cruise, 5 days would be sea days. That became monotonous on the Gem. The next bit of excitement came on our second sea day when there was a fire on Deck 13 in one of the heaters. Crew performed flawlessly and the situation was controlled quickly. But, that Murphy guy..... We found the ship layout did not flow easily and all of the public areas seemed to be overly noisy with some sort of activity or sales pitch going on at all times. Again, all lines have those ships that seemed to be hodge podged together to maximize room. It was the nois3 levels that bothered us most. With that many sea days so close together, it started to wear on us. Additionally, they had entertainment functions in the main Atrium area...it was just too congested for that. We found the Garden Buffet very chaotic! There was no orderly flow and people just went every which way. Add to that the people that were unaware of anyone but themselves....(again, those folks are on all cruises, I suppose). The food in the Buffet was mediocre. We ate our breakfasts in O’Sheehans Pub. That’s a great secret! Very few people took advantage of it. So, we had nice meals there each morning. Lunch, we braved the chaos in the buffet...needless to say, my least favorite meal. Dinners were in Magenta dining room, unless we had reservations at the specialty restaurants. Vladimir took great care of us and the environment again was not as chaotic. As as for the specialties....Carney’s and Le Bistro we our favorites. La Cucina and Modernos were flops for our whole crowd. None of us enjoyed our meals. Entertainment....we’ve been on quite a few cruises and the production cast on this ship were some of the best we’ve seen! Blazing Boots...Wow! Guys, if you have a weak heart, take a defibrillator! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
It was best for my children winter break. The cruise was also perfect because it was from New York will did not have to fly to get to the boat. The ship was safe foe my teenagers and 8 years old. The ship was not too big but have ... Read More
It was best for my children winter break. The cruise was also perfect because it was from New York will did not have to fly to get to the boat. The ship was safe foe my teenagers and 8 years old. The ship was not too big but have everything we needed for to enjoy the cruise.Even when we have to stay extra day on the sea, we were made comfortable and felt at home. The dinning staff were very good and warm. The entertainment music should have more mixed of everything for more entertainment. ship was warm and comfortable. The embarkation and disembarkation was smooth and convenient. My children made many friends on the ship and they are looking forward to another vacation. They were excited to see all the highlands we visited. The overrate experience was Excellent and worth the money. It was a time of relation for me and my husband. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2019
Family wanted this line/ship. Checking in at the NYC terminal took morr than 1 1/2hrs. Very disorganized. I have sailed over 65 cruises & this was the worst. The WiFi was TERRIBLE. Constantly getting disconnected. Food ... Read More
Family wanted this line/ship. Checking in at the NYC terminal took morr than 1 1/2hrs. Very disorganized. I have sailed over 65 cruises & this was the worst. The WiFi was TERRIBLE. Constantly getting disconnected. Food left much to be desired. The Bistro was very good. Cagney’s good. Stateroom was comfortable & keep clean. Very good attendant. The planning for disembarking was bad. The entertainment was just ok. I always see all shows, but not on this ship. The cruise director was never seen during the day. The casino was a disappointment. No one ever showed up at the crap table. Even though the minimum was lowered from $10 to $5.00. I had a good time because I was with family. The staff were very pleasant. No complaints. Most didn’t dress for formal night. With all the negative’s, I had a good time, but if I were traveling along...this would have been a disaster. I will stay with Royal. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2019
We left my on-time expecting to arrive in San Juan at 4pm however dueto a medical emergency onboard we arrived at 11am at the next port they asked us to delay our arrival time by one hour overall a good cruise although we did get an ... Read More
We left my on-time expecting to arrive in San Juan at 4pm however dueto a medical emergency onboard we arrived at 11am at the next port they asked us to delay our arrival time by one hour overall a good cruise although we did get an extra sea day due to Gail force winds in the Hudson bay the beach at St Thomas was great took a tour of one of the other islands food was delicious staff was polite and friendly always happy and smiling the casino is small could use another roulette table and less cigarette smoke good music in the atrium pool area always clean lunch BBQ on deck chicken pork loin and rice with clams shrimp and mussles want to go on the bliss next year maybe their will. be more poker players onboard their were no cash games because no one wanted to play but they did have a satalite tournament Read Less
Sail Date: February 2019
We chose this cruise out of new York to get some sun and away. We have been on 6 other ncl cruises due to the free style and no ties and jackets required for my husband won us over. We knew this was a smaller cruise and had been on the ... Read More
We chose this cruise out of new York to get some sun and away. We have been on 6 other ncl cruises due to the free style and no ties and jackets required for my husband won us over. We knew this was a smaller cruise and had been on the pearl before so was not worried. Well it started out fine but noted to have a lot kids which surprised us at this time of year. Frequent knocking on our cabin door with kids running down the halls. Cagneys ,moderno and la bistro were exceptional. Could not get near buffet due to the kids, o sheehan's was fine. Unfortunately we tried grand Pacific free dining room and they would not allow my husband in due to his attire ? Same outfit type he wore to their specialty dining ? When we pointed that out and others wearing similar outfits we were asked to leave or maybe consider their " buffet for our type" ? Very disappointing! I guess Nurses are our type ? Otherwise I was unsure what "our type mean" we did enjoy Milan at Sugar cane and all of the people we met there and Jorick from osheehans and moderno. Never met the captain this cruise, do know he kept us safe by keeping us out of port for an additional 24 hours because of high winds,just wish there would have been better communication to let us know so better plans could have been made instead of hours of waiting in the halls with our luggage not allowed in our room. We have our next cruise set up on the getaway we just hope that is like the ncl we have grown to love. Not this most recent experience which definitely was amiss. Ports of Puerto Rico, st kitts , Antigua were nice. St Lucia was unfortunately a tender so did not get off and st thomas was cut short. Read Less
Norwegian Gem Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 0.0
Dining 4.0 0.0
Entertainment 5.0 0.0
Public Rooms 5.0 0.0
Fitness Recreation 4.0 0.0
Family 4.0 0.0
Shore Excursion 3.0 0.0
Enrichment 4.0 0.0
Service 4.0 0.0
Value For Money 5.0 0.0
Rates 4.0 0.0

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