Sail Date: June 2018
We chose this cruise because it set sail and returned to New York. I cannot say enough about the service and the cuisine provided by Norwegian Cruise Lines. Every employee we encountered had beaming, smiling faces at all time. The food was ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it set sail and returned to New York. I cannot say enough about the service and the cuisine provided by Norwegian Cruise Lines. Every employee we encountered had beaming, smiling faces at all time. The food was magnificent! The entertainment was also wonderful! The shows were filled with marvelously talented young people with magnificent voices and choreography. The lounge entertainment was also fantastic from pianist Ariel, vocalist Tsurita and the amazing band 876 had everyone dancing. The only criticism I had was that we took a shuttle to Disneyworld. It has been six years since we were last there. They have changed Fast Pass and we subsequently found out you need to process this several weeks or months in advance. Our party of four were unable to go on any major rides. It was a an extremely hot and miserable time. Although this was not the fault of NCL, it would be a great idea if this factor was made known in the excursion selection area. Fortunately, we had no children in our party but I can imagine the disappointment if we did. NCL may want to include this factor in the section for the shuttle. Bravo to your disembarkment procedure! It was extremely well organized and we were off the boat so quickly that I was amazed. Great job NCL! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
We picked this cruise for the dates and the drink package. But never again. Not only did some of the shows suck the prices were horrible. Disorganized and to top it off my aunt got the carribean flu from being on this cruise. The only ... Read More
We picked this cruise for the dates and the drink package. But never again. Not only did some of the shows suck the prices were horrible. Disorganized and to top it off my aunt got the carribean flu from being on this cruise. The only saving grace is that a good portion of the staff were nice. But still i doubt i will ever take this cruiseline again unless i get an amazing deal that i will ever consider it and even then i might not. My family had the room next to us. They had the same room as me and it was tight for two people and they expected 3 people to stay in that room. Nope they had to change rooms my grandmother is disabled and they couldn't stay with them. The food selection was blah. On all the cruises ive been on this is the worst menues i have to deal with. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
#1 The pool was way too small and extremely dirty for the number of people the boat held. I found cups and tissue in the water. #2 There was no staff ensuring kids stood in kid’s pool and only adults were in adult pool. #3 Not ... Read More
#1 The pool was way too small and extremely dirty for the number of people the boat held. I found cups and tissue in the water. #2 There was no staff ensuring kids stood in kid’s pool and only adults were in adult pool. #3 Not enough chairs/tables near pool area, if you didn’t get there by 8am you were not getting a chair near the pool you’d have to sit on second level which is very inconvenient. #4 Not enough staff serving drinks in pool area, casino and bingo games. #5 I had my room person cleaned every other day, I guess person responsible for cleaning my room didn't like this because he told me I must let him clean my room day before we docked because he needed to get it ready for next guest ... REALLY?!?!? #6 I was travelling with a party of 35 ppl, some of us received our excursion tickets some of us didn't, some of us received cute towel animals some of us didn't, some of us received complimentary chocolate, some of us didn't, there was no consistency in service #5 if I paid for the all you can drink package why are you charging me for the mini bar? #6 if you're going to play family movies in the atrium make the area more family friendly #7 the air conditioner in my room was horrible. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
The ship is nice a little small needs some updates. Disappointed in the shops on board very few. Crew and staff friendly and helpful but not a lot of crew walking around by the pool to get drinks like on other ships I have been on. ... Read More
The ship is nice a little small needs some updates. Disappointed in the shops on board very few. Crew and staff friendly and helpful but not a lot of crew walking around by the pool to get drinks like on other ships I have been on. Entertainment was good. Same food everyday at the barbecue. Buffet was chaotic hard to find seats. I would definitely telling everyone not to book the Disney excursion not worth the price. You have to pay the full price and only get about 4-4 1/2 hrs there as it takes 1 hour in travel time from the ship to the park and another hour back. Every hot and crowded not much time to do anything. Can not believe they charge the full price not even a discount for only 4 hrs and no special treatment because you are on the cruise with limited time. Over all it was nice but don’t do the Disney excursion. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
Aside from the Gem's pool deck it was ok, but the pools were really awful! Cramming 2,000 people into 2 backyard-sized pools. The "Main Pool" is like a mosh pit for kids and parents, no rules, no lifeguards... and the ... Read More
Aside from the Gem's pool deck it was ok, but the pools were really awful! Cramming 2,000 people into 2 backyard-sized pools. The "Main Pool" is like a mosh pit for kids and parents, no rules, no lifeguards... and the "Adult Pool" is crowded with drunk couples cuddling. The whole pool deck feels like Times Square during peak hour - a lot of noise and a thousand people in your face. I think people who like this ship are the people who like drinking and partying, regardless of the atmosphere. The giant slides were disappointing, most people got stuck and had to push themselves through. We have 3 kids, and I took my 2-year old into the only kiddie pool, which was a tiny slide into a big puddle, and the whole area is enclosed so it's sweltering! The restaurants were pretty good, especially O'Sheehan's and the Grand Pacific (main) dining room. The cafe is a disaster! The food there is terrible. It seems like a big selection at first but most of it isn't stuff you really want, and if it is, it's not prepared well. We went to the Churrascaria one night. Prices were very reasonable, but the food was "meh" and definitely not Brazilian... The Chinese restaurant serves the smallest portions I could imagine. Tasty, but small. As a ship-wide policy, we avoided all chicken dishes because it was very tough and dry everywhere! Stick with the main dining rooms and O'Sheehans, you'll survive! I was kind of disappointed that people didn't dress a little nicer for the dining rooms. Some did, but the overall mood of the ship was t-shirts and shorts at dinner. We didn't spend much time in any of the ports. The cruise was more about the ship than the destinations, which was ok because Great Stirrup Cay (NCL's island) was just as crowded as the ship itself, but I would've liked another day in the Bahamas. The nightly entertainment was top notch! The crew and staff are super friendly - everyone looks you in the eye, smiles, and says good morning or hello, everyone is helpful. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
My party was 7 people, I booked 2 state rooms with balconies, we were part of a Family Wedding over 50 people booked, 19 cabins including suites, most on 9th and 10th deck, some lower decks as well. Cabins very small, states two queen or ... Read More
My party was 7 people, I booked 2 state rooms with balconies, we were part of a Family Wedding over 50 people booked, 19 cabins including suites, most on 9th and 10th deck, some lower decks as well. Cabins very small, states two queen or two full beds, its one queen and a pull out couch with a hard partially foam mattress. Had to ask for more comforters to add support for both rooms. Service was awful, our rooms were rarely made up before dinner still dirty all day. Dirty glasses were always left in our rooms. as we walked around the ship we kicked garbage as we walked, like empty cups in open deck areas, Lounge chairs all around ship where stacked and locked by 6/7 pm every day. We couldn't go to the pool to enjoy a night swim, or sit in the hot tub and relax, as they where closed by 10p. Not one staff member could answer your questions, they just simply replied "I don't Know". When you call guest services to add a soda package they advise you that all you need to do is go to any bar on the ship and they can add that for you. It took 2 days and 7 bartenders before i lost it and finally they added it. Like WtH? Was also told could add water package at any bar and that too was turning in to a production, Until I said no no no, I want your manager please. then what do you know, no manager needed a little bit of mumbling with another behind the bar in a foreign language and 30 minutes later water was delivered to our room and we tipped him too! The food was not very good, there was not many choices at the buffet, same food everyday, going to the restaurants the service was awful. One restaurant was 24/7 and they were the best food on the ship. other then that food and service terrible, felt very unorganized while we were going on excursions and ports , very rushed not enough time for what the charge is on the islands. Staff was eh, there was a handful of amazing staff and they know who they are. Our Family is already planning another Cruise. One thing we know for sure is it will NOT be with NORWEGIAN NO WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
This cruise was given to us by our children for our 40th Anniversary. As they say "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth" :) As such, it was a wonderful trip, and NCL have very nice personnel. Still, this being our second ... Read More
This cruise was given to us by our children for our 40th Anniversary. As they say "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth" :) As such, it was a wonderful trip, and NCL have very nice personnel. Still, this being our second NCL trip, and 4th Cruise overall, it is worth mentioning a few things. Some thoughts about food: 1. For whatever reason, no lobster was served on the ship. Strange for a Canada/NE trip, no? We thought so. 2. They do not know how to cook Italian. There was essentially NO halfway decent tomato sauce served anywhere, Not La Cucina, main dining room, buffets, anywhere. This seems like a complete oversight. 3. The main dining room and buffets had "cheesecake" that was some type of inedible pudding, and the buffet served a breakfast quiche that almost tasted the same. Both inedible. There were inexplicable things like this at each of our dining experiences. Nice tries, but falling far short of "good". Another weird item: soup. One day, the buffet was serving "Lentil soup". No way, it was actually pea soup. Next day they listed "Pea Soup". Wrong again: it was cream of broccoli. Third day they served another soup (long name which escapes me), we asked "what is it?"... three different folks in white outfits didn't know, someone eventually found someone in the back to tell us it was "chick pea" soup. Which it was (when tasted). Note each soup tasted fine/good. Just a weird experience. 4. Seafood, other than a lack of Lobster, was ok. One night had a terribly overcooked salmon, another overcooked shrimp, however, really good calamari (two different dining options), buffet seafood was generally good as well. 4 Last, on food, our favorite dining option was the Orchid garden. IF you have a taste for it, do NOT pass up the Green tea Ice Cream. Just saying. Entertainment: In general, excellent. There was a comedian, who I found to be family friendly and funny. Enough adult innuendo without going over the top with children present. The checkerboard guy, a juggler/entertainer, a power/gymastic type couple... outstanding, and the onboard entertainers... very good. Various onboard musicians were good as well, and we enjoyed a staff night at the Bistro lounge. Ship: The main ship was a little tired, our room was pleasant (a standard balcony suite). Since the weather and onshore excursions didn't suit us for a couple of ports, we stayed onboard more than we've done on past cruises, and noted a really really bad experience by the maintenance crew: they were chipping marine paint off a railing over the back deck (Outdoor Garden Cafe) and those chips were getting blown down way way too close to the buffet, while food was being served. Real black eye on the ship's staff there. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
Of all the NCL ships we cruised on, The Norweign Pearl is our favorite. So we had high hopes for the Gem and it did not disappoint. We arrived at the New York Cruise Pier early and my son and I explored the USS Intrepid (which is right ... Read More
Of all the NCL ships we cruised on, The Norweign Pearl is our favorite. So we had high hopes for the Gem and it did not disappoint. We arrived at the New York Cruise Pier early and my son and I explored the USS Intrepid (which is right next door). Around noon is when we got in line to embark, which went as smoothly as any other embarkation. As usual, the Garden Cafe was crowded for lunch but we managed to find a table without too much difficulty. Cabins were ready at 1 pm and we settled into our starboard balcony stateroom. This was the first time we had a balcony so we have nothing to compare it to, but we found it comfortable for the three of us. My only complaint with NCL bathrooms is the toilet is the water closet is small and my knees are right on the wall. Because we were expecting cool temps for a Canadian cruise and we like peace and quiet when at the pool, my wife and I got the Spa Pass. Plus, the locker rooms offer a spacious ADA compliant shower, which makes showering easier than in the cabin. Entertainment was mostly good. We enjoyed the floor shows, comedians, and acrobat act. Music in the bars was generally ok, the show band was good but I dis not care for the jazz trio. In general, my wife and I do not have super high standards when cruising and we feel NCL fits our needs. We did not care for the NCL EPIC and the Gem confirms that the Jewel ships are our favorites. However, we did book our next cruise on the Bliss and we will need how that goes. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
My husband and I are in our 40's and cruise a lot. We have cruised Princess (which is our favorite), Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Azamara and have been on the Norwegian Getaway twice. We go to the Caribbean a lot and this ... Read More
My husband and I are in our 40's and cruise a lot. We have cruised Princess (which is our favorite), Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Azamara and have been on the Norwegian Getaway twice. We go to the Caribbean a lot and this was a nice change. Overall, I thought this was a great cruise. I am surprised at some of the poor reviews. We just go and try to enjoy the fact that we can afford a nice vacation and don't let small things bother us. We got there early for embarkation, however it was very crowded. The NYC cruise terminal is not a very nice terminal, but we were just excited to get on the ship. We got on the ship at around 11:30 and were greeted warmly. We took a walk around the ship and headed to O'Sheehan's for lunch which was very good. We walked around a little more to explore and then were able to get into our room. We had an inside cabin which was small but nice. The bathroom was larger than expected and we had plenty of storage space. The positives: Service. It was excellent in 95% of the places we went. Everyone we passed always smiled and said hello. Restaurant service in the main dining rooms was super. We had different servers each night and they were all good. We had managers in many restaurants come up to us to ask how our meals were and never had to wait to be seated. We did get the 3 restaurant specialty package as a bonus and ate at La Cucina, Le Bistro, and Moderno. All were good and Moderno was the most fun, but if we had to pay for the restaurants we would not. We thought food in the main dining rooms was delicious, hot, and there were good selections. We liked the Grand Pacific main dining room the best. It was really pretty. Our room steward was very nice and he always kept everything clean, made us nice towel animals, and gave us extra towels. Whenever he saw us, he said hello and addressed us by name. We were on deck 9 and it was a great location. A few decks up to the pool and buffet and a few decks down to the entertainment, bars and restaurants. Entertainment: We thought it was top notch. The dancers and singers were excellent and had 3 different shows throughout the cruise. They were always offered at 7pm and 9pm so you could work it our around dinner times. The comedian was very funny and also we saw 2 acrobats that were outstanding. I liked that there was a live orchestra for the production shows. The theater was nice and we always found seats. We were never pressured to buy a drink package or anything else around the ship. They do have a lot of extra stuff you can spend money on like bingo, Deal or No Deal cards, lottery rip-offs, photos, etc. but no one was pushy about it. The cruise director His name was Ferdie from the Philippines and he was very funny and outgoing. He was easy to understand and entertaining. Viewing the bridge: my husband really liked that you could go to deck 11 and have a great view of the bridge. You could see what was going on in there, and see the captain and the crew. The final night of the cruise was the last production show and when it was over, they did a farewell song and had about 200 staff members come up on stage and the dancers waved around flags from different countries. They thanked us for coming and choosing Norwegian and it really left us with a nice feeling. It was a great sendoff. Negatives: There are not many and they are trivial, but we once went to Orchid Garden, the free Chinese restaurant. Food was okay and it was the only place we had bad service. We went at 5pm right when they opened and the restaurant was pretty empty. We waited a while for food and then a while to get the table cleared. Also the cruise director was great, but his staff was not. They were nice but all foreign and were really hard to understand. I get that you have crew members from all over the world, however, they should know how to speak English and how to run games. Majority Rules was run terribly and so was some of the trivia's and the Jeopardy. They had a lot of technical difficulties and they could not figure out how to use a computer. So the cruise director's staff needs to know what they are doing. They do the same programs every week, so they should have them running smoothly. We also did not love the French trio who sang in the lounges and by the pool. It was weird hearing songs constantly sung in French and hearing the same ones over and over. At the pool, I would expect more modern music. The buffet: we ate breakfast there and some lunches. It was very average. It was the worst buffet on all of the cruises we've been on, but again, it was not that bad, just not good compared to others. The choices were not great, but again, it was fine. If you have not cruised before, you may think it's great. I'm just comparing it to the many other cruise buffets I've been to. One nice thing is they have self serve soft ice cream that is delicious and also hard ice cram that they scoop for you. And they offer a good selection of free drinks like lemonade, iced tea, a strawberry drink, and a mango drink along with hot coffee, tea, and milk. These are just small complaints and again, overall we had a really great time. Fun is what you make of it. There was plenty to do during the day. There was a nice library and game room and quiet places to sit if you wanted nothing to do. It was chilly by the pool, but we did sit out there on the 2 days at sea. There was no problem finding seats and not many people were swimming because it was cold. A lot of people used the hot tubs. If it were really warm and a lot of people were in the pools, I could see it being really crowded as there are only two small pools. We did not use the casino at all so I cannot comment on that. Disembarkation went really smoothly and there were no problems at all. We were off and through customs quickly. The ship is an older ship, but kept very clean and taken care of well. We liked all of the ports we visited, although it rained in two of them. We did two excursions through the ship and two on our own. All were good. Again, we were on vacation, so we made sure we enjoyed ourselves as many people do not get to experience cruises. The shops were okay. We wished there was more to offer in the regular gift shop as it wasn't very big. Overall, a really fun and relaxing cruise that my husband and I both enjoyed very much. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
After going on many cruises down to the Caribbean, my husband and I thought going up north would be a good change. We had been on the Gem 2 times prior and really like the size of this ship. It was nice to go on excursions that did ... Read More
After going on many cruises down to the Caribbean, my husband and I thought going up north would be a good change. We had been on the Gem 2 times prior and really like the size of this ship. It was nice to go on excursions that did not involve snorkeling and such. We went on nature watching cruises and lobster cruises to help pull lobster traps. The only downside was the weather (which I know I can't control). It was raining and cold, but we checked the weather before the cruise and packed appropriately. If you go to Portland, check out Lucky Catch Cruises for a lobster pull and then the opportunity to buy a lobster and walk it over to the Portland Lobster Co. for them to cook it and have a great lobster meal! The ship is smaller than the newer ones which makes for more room for quiet time. There are plenty of places to find to read or just seat and listen to music. The shows are more on the variety side, then the large Broadway productions, so there are 2 performances of the same show daily so you can work around that for your meals. The staff on the Gem are very friendly and attentive to your needs. The specialty restaurants are a great place to go for a change to the main dinning rooms. The buffet is rough, crowded and very similar food for breakfast and lunch. They do have theme nights in the buffet each night for those who wish. The nicest part of the food is that on sea days, they do a BBQ out on the deck for lunch. Chicken, sausage, paella, and veggies. Great way to spend a sea day on deck with a BBQ. I would recommend this cruise for a change of pace and new places to see. 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 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
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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