Norwegian Gem Cruise Review by SOUTHERN MD CRUISER
- Sail Date: May 2012
- Destination: Bahamas
- Cabin Type: Family Balcony
Good points: Embarkation was quick and easy. Food was consistently good, with the exception of the buffet which was average. We ate at the main dining rooms (Grand Pacific and Magenta) most of the time, but also tried Blue Lagoon and Orchid Garden (specialty restaurant). I typically book a specialty for the last night since you have a reserved time and there doesn't appear to be a lot of effort in the dining rooms on the last night.
Not so good: Cabin was adequate and beds were comfortable, however, we upgraded to a balcony and were not able to fully enjoy it due to smoking on the next cabin's balcony (seems to be a common complaint for NCL non-smokers with balconies....are you listening NCL???) The steward is normally the first to greet you and always very friendly. Not so much on this cruise. He never introduced himself and seemed to duck into a cabin whenever we approached. Don't know if he was shy or just didn't care. Fortunately he was replaced by a new steward near the end of the cruise who had the normal friendly personality.
The other (huge) disappointment was the noise. Our cabin (9130) was directly above the smoking area for Bliss (the nightclub), and every night club goers would congregate and continue the party (well into early morning). After the third night we figured it out, called security and they eventually addressed the problem. Sometimes it would start up again, sometimes not. Seems like it should be something that should be monitored, but did not appear to be, particularly since they were probably consuming (and paying for) a lot of alcohol.
The weather was not good most of the cruise, but there are enough things to do (I played in a slot tournament, so ended up spending a lot of time in the casino) on the ship to keep you entertained if necessary.
To summarize, NCL has definitely improved the quality of the food (the menu has been changed significantly in the last two years). NCL does not seem to be as concerned with customer satisfaction as they used to be in other areas. They did not seem to pushing the alcohol as much as they did in the past either, which is a good thing. I think they need to address the smoking and noise issues for balcony cabins as well. Overall, it was average, but needs improvement.