Norwegian Gem Cruise Review by matt151617
- Sail Date: November 2012
- Destination: Eastern Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Inside
Our room was forward and center on deck 8. We had no problems with it, there was adequate shelving for our stuff in the closet and bathroom. Bed was very comfortable. There was a few TV channels, but the satellite feed cut out a lot (MSNBC, FOX News, ESPN, BBC).
The entertainment was fantastic. There was much more stuff that appealed to us than our last cruise, and the quality was better also. The cruise director was a riot and did a great job. All the other performers were extremely friendly and we had lots of conversations with them.
Service, as it was on the last ship, was beyond fantastic. We never had a single problem or unfriendly crew member. We chatted with a few of them about the various ports they had been to.
The food was also fantastic. We ate in the buffet a few times, but it was usually so crowded we tried to avoid it. The 2 sit-down restaurants were great and also allowed portion control (we overate way too much on the last cruise).
The only bad time we had was the last port, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (which isn't on the port list). I don't have a clue why they went here. There's no dock, so they had to use the lifeboats as tender boats, and it was a good 20 minute ride to shore. Trying to get off the ship, we somehow ended up in the shore excursion line (nothing was marked). A shore excursion crew member gave us attitude about not being in the right line. After we got to the correct line and got on shore, we were baffled at how awful the city was. The beach was covered in trash and and smelled terrible. There were kids picking through garbage and stray dogs roaming around. Nothing was for sale except a few junky things, and we got hounded by taxi drivers the entire time. After a couple minutes we got right back on the tender boat and spend the rest of the time on the ship. Maybe the shore excursions were better, but the cheapest one was $55/person.
The ride back was also not very fun. We hit some sort of front system which resulted in 40 mph winds and 25 foot seas. It became almost impossible to walk on the ship. The 30 mph speed of the ship along with the wind resulted in 70 mph wind on the decks, and they closed most of the outdoor decks. My girlfriend, even with dramamine, got really seasick and spent almost 24 hours dizzy and nauseous. We arrived back in New York at 6am (4 hours ahead of schedule), and disembarkation started at 7am. They pretty much forced us off at 9:30am. Due to some sort of problems at the port, everyone had to get off at deck 4, which resulted in a huge traffic jam. We cleared Customs by 10:30, and unfortunately didn't have a bus home until 4pm (we planned off of the 10am arrival).
Even with the bad second half, it was still a great time and I wouldn't hesitate to take Norwegian again.
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
San JuanNice port but we didn't have enough time to do much. Ship docked a bit early and we were off at 3pm, but last call was 8:30pm, plus it got dark pretty early. We went to one of the forts, walked around a bit, and did a little shopping, but really didn't get to see much of Puerto Rico.View All 3,095 San Juan Cruise Port Reviews
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St. John (U.S.V.I.)Best place we went. Took a cab to the opposite side of the island. The beaches there were extremely busy and they packed way too many people on them. However, the water was crystal clear and fantastic snorkeling. Tons to see. The traffic is totally insane. The best part of our trip was the cab ride back, the driver was nuts, yelling at other people and driving really fast. Although scared, we were laughing very hard.View All 135 St. John (U.S.V.I.) Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's St. John (U.S.V.I.) Cruise Port Review
St. MaartenBeautiful place. Lots of shops with tons of stuff to buy, including excellent chocolates and cheap alcohol. We bought water taxi tickets. The locals were very persistent in trying to sell us chairs, jet ski rides, massages, etc, and it was constant. We went to the far end of the beach away from the busy sections. The water was a little choppy due to the constant back and forth jet skis, and it wasn't clear at all, so no snorkeling.View All 4,132 St. Maarten Cruise Port Reviews
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