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This was to be my first time on a new NCL Freestyle cruising ship. I didn't know what to expect and wondered if it would suit me as I have been used to the more traditional cruise vacation. I arrived at the Port of Rotterdam at 1230 midday and was given a yellow card with a number 25 on it. I was told to take a seat in the waiting area until my number was called. I was only waiting for 15 minutes and then proceeded to the check in counter. The process was quick and efficient by friendly NCL staff. Rotterdam Terminal is not the best and needs a face lift. As I boarded you couldn't help but admire the Gem. As you enter the ship you are greeted by rich colors and smiling staff. I proceeded to my stateroom which was to be a Balcony BC grade on deck 9. Cabin number 9168 which is at the back of the ship. I opened the door and right away was more than happy with the look and size. The most impressive thing that stood out to me were the bathrooms. It is the first time that I have seen the toilet with a sliding glass door to separate it from the rest of the bathroom. A great idea. The showers are hot and powerful which is what you would expect from Grohe!! These bathrooms are standard even in the lower categories and this puts NCL ahead in my opinion. All plug sockets are American 2 pin so if your from the UK/Europe you will need adapters. All staterooms have Flatscreen HDTV with a good selection of TV channels although I would have liked to have seen Sky News or BBC World available and not just Fox News !! The air conditioning system is good and has a 'quick cool' button if you want instant temperature reduction. Plenty of wardrobe space and hangers are available and a easy to use safe. The beds were very comfortable with good pillows that provide good support. I decided to then go to the top of the ship and work my way down. I wanted to familiarize myself with the facilities on offer. Deck 14 and 15 had plenty of sun deck space with nice new loungers. Also the rock climbing wall is here. Then down to deck 13 for the Spinnaker lounge, the decor is quite eye opening to put it mildly but is a really nice place to chill by day and socialize by night. Cagneys Steak house is a must and did not disappoint. The meal I had there was amazing and the food exceeded all expectations. Deck 12 houses the Spa and it really is a tranquil place to come to at least a few times during your cruise. The hydro pool is very inviting and the hot ceramic loungers are most welcoming. The sauna I saw in the mens changing rooms was really nice and a good size. It looks out to sea and was the ideal temperature. The spa has all the normal facilities with Elemis treatments etc... The Library was well stocked and a nice place to come for peace and quiet. Next door is the card room very similar to other cruise lines. The Tahitian Pool is really nice and the hot tubs are a good place to spend a few hours to wind down and relax the muscles. The swimming pool is heated to a comfortable temperature. The water slide is fun and I have to admit I tried it Once! The loungers have really soft mattresses and look really well. On either side of the ship in the pool area they have these double bed like chairs where you can relax and even take a siesta. I thought they were a brilliant idea. The grill served hot dogs hamburgers and salads which were of a good standard and fresh. The Garden cafe was really nice and the amount of choice was impressive. I had the best Indian lunch there in a long time. There was always a wide choice of Chicken,Beef,Pork,Fish dishes with soups,salads,desserts and the Pecan Ice cream is a must. On a sunny day take your food to the back of the Garden Cafe 'The Great Outdoors' where you can sit outside which was really nice. All of the restaurants are impressive in design. I managed to eat in the Grand Pacific dining room,Cagneys Steak house and Lotus Garden. Grand Pacific is your traditional cruise ship main dining experience and the food was of a high standard and service was also good. Cagneys as stated above was amazing. Lotus Garden was a real gourmet experience and the Chinese dishes were all presented in a unique way. You will know what I mean when you dine there. The choice was huge and it was hard to decide what dish to go for as they all looked so good. I went for the Chicken Satays with peanut sauce for starter then the beef Szechuan strips with chicken fried rice. It was perfect and service was second to none. On this particular cruise the restaurants , especially Cagneys and Orchid got really busy between 8pm and 9pm. Best to make reservations. The Teppanyaki looked very impressive but I didn't have enough time to try it although I would love to in future. Down to Deck 8 where the Blue Lagoon is housed and offers 24 hour dining. I went one night at 11pm and decided to try the Singapore Fried rice with chicken,shrimp and pork. It was simply delicious and makes a great snack at anytime. There was also fish and chips in a basket which I thought was a great idea. The bowling alley and nightclub are impressive. The nightclub has private VIP areas with four poster beds and other such novelties. The DJ was very good and knew how to get a crowd on the dance floor. The show on both nights was 'Worldbeat' which was a mix of Greek,Irish, American and Japanese music fused into one 45 minute presentation. It was very professional and for someone that doesn't really go to alot of shows , I went to the same show on both nights so that says it all. The Java Cafe and the crystal Atrium are really nice meeting places. This area houses the reception,shore excursion desk,internet cafe and cashier. The Java Cafe does a mean cappuccino and is well worth a visit. I was lucky enough to see most types of cabins with the highlight being the Courtyard Villas. As you enter you just go 'WOW'. It is pure luxury and offers the ultimate 5 star cruise vacation experience. The facilities on offer are mind blowing and if your budget can stretch to it then why not. They are like apartments, in fact they are bigger than some apartments I have seen!! So what's my impression?? Well before I got on board I was wondering if the vibrant colors and 'different' furnishings would be to my taste and would I find it all a bit too much. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised because NCL have got it right, they know what they are doing. It really does work and creates the perfect vacation environment. Would I go on NCL again ?? Yes I really have to say I'm seriously thinking about booking the Gem for my next vacation. The FreeStyle experience has changed my opinion of what I want from my cruise vacation and has opened up a whole new world to me. I love the idea of dine when you want with whom you want and being able to choose whether to wear a suit or just go smart casual. For all of you lucky people booked on Gem prepare to be amazed!!

Norwegian Gem - Northern Europe

Norwegian Gem Cruise Review by Dellas1000

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: October 2007
  • Destination: Baltic Sea
  • Cabin Type: Balcony
This was to be my first time on a new NCL Freestyle cruising ship. I didn't know what to expect and wondered if it would suit me as I have been used to the more traditional cruise vacation.
I arrived at the Port of Rotterdam at 1230 midday and was given a yellow card with a number 25 on it. I was told to take a seat in the waiting area until my number was called. I was only waiting for 15 minutes and then proceeded to the check in counter. The process was quick and efficient by friendly NCL staff. Rotterdam Terminal is not the best and needs a face lift.
As I boarded you couldn't help but admire the Gem. As you enter the ship you are greeted by rich colors and smiling staff. I proceeded to my stateroom which was to be a Balcony BC grade on deck 9. Cabin number 9168 which is at the back of the ship. I opened the door and right away was more than happy with the look and size. The most impressive thing that stood out to me were the bathrooms. It is the first time that I have seen the toilet with a sliding glass door to separate it from the rest of the bathroom. A great idea. The showers are hot and powerful which is what you would expect from Grohe!! These bathrooms are standard even in the lower categories and this puts NCL ahead in my opinion.
All plug sockets are American 2 pin so if your from the UK/Europe you will need adapters. All staterooms have Flatscreen HDTV with a good selection of TV channels although I would have liked to have seen Sky News or BBC World available and not just Fox News !! The air conditioning system is good and has a 'quick cool' button if you want instant temperature reduction. Plenty of wardrobe space and hangers are available and a easy to use safe. The beds were very comfortable with good pillows that provide good support.
I decided to then go to the top of the ship and work my way down. I wanted to familiarize myself with the facilities on offer. Deck 14 and 15 had plenty of sun deck space with nice new loungers. Also the rock climbing wall is here. Then down to deck 13 for the Spinnaker lounge, the decor is quite eye opening to put it mildly but is a really nice place to chill by day and socialize by night. Cagneys Steak house is a must and did not disappoint. The meal I had there was amazing and the food exceeded all expectations.
Deck 12 houses the Spa and it really is a tranquil place to come to at least a few times during your cruise. The hydro pool is very inviting and the hot ceramic loungers are most welcoming. The sauna I saw in the mens changing rooms was really nice and a good size. It looks out to sea and was the ideal temperature. The spa has all the normal facilities with Elemis treatments etc...
The Library was well stocked and a nice place to come for peace and quiet. Next door is the card room very similar to other cruise lines.
The Tahitian Pool is really nice and the hot tubs are a good place to spend a few hours to wind down and relax the muscles. The swimming pool is heated to a comfortable temperature. The water slide is fun and I have to admit I tried it Once! The loungers have really soft mattresses and look really well. On either side of the ship in the pool area they have these double bed like chairs where you can relax and even take a siesta. I thought they were a brilliant idea. The grill served hot dogs hamburgers and salads which were of a good standard and fresh.
The Garden cafe was really nice and the amount of choice was impressive. I had the best Indian lunch there in a long time. There was always a wide choice of Chicken,Beef,Pork,Fish dishes with soups,salads,desserts and the Pecan Ice cream is a must. On a sunny day take your food to the back of the Garden Cafe 'The Great Outdoors' where you can sit outside which was really nice.
All of the restaurants are impressive in design. I managed to eat in the Grand Pacific dining room,Cagneys Steak house and Lotus Garden.
Grand Pacific is your traditional cruise ship main dining experience and the food was of a high standard and service was also good.
Cagneys as stated above was amazing.
Lotus Garden was a real gourmet experience and the Chinese dishes were all presented in a unique way. You will know what I mean when you dine there. The choice was huge and it was hard to decide what dish to go for as they all looked so good. I went for the Chicken Satays with peanut sauce for starter then the beef Szechuan strips with chicken fried rice. It was perfect and service was second to none.
On this particular cruise the restaurants , especially Cagneys and Orchid got really busy between 8pm and 9pm. Best to make reservations. The Teppanyaki looked very impressive but I didn't have enough time to try it although I would love to in future.
Down to Deck 8 where the Blue Lagoon is housed and offers 24 hour dining. I went one night at 11pm and decided to try the Singapore Fried rice with chicken,shrimp and pork. It was simply delicious and makes a great snack at anytime. There was also fish and chips in a basket which I thought was a great idea.
The bowling alley and nightclub are impressive. The nightclub has private VIP areas with four poster beds and other such novelties. The DJ was very good and knew how to get a crowd on the dance floor.
The show on both nights was 'Worldbeat' which was a mix of Greek,Irish, American and Japanese music fused into one 45 minute presentation. It was very professional and for someone that doesn't really go to alot of shows , I went to the same show on both nights so that says it all.
The Java Cafe and the crystal Atrium are really nice meeting places. This area houses the reception,shore excursion desk,internet cafe and cashier. The Java Cafe does a mean cappuccino and is well worth a visit.
I was lucky enough to see most types of cabins with the highlight being the Courtyard Villas. As you enter you just go 'WOW'. It is pure luxury and offers the ultimate 5 star cruise vacation experience. The facilities on offer are mind blowing and if your budget can stretch to it then why not. They are like apartments, in fact they are bigger than some apartments I have seen!!
So what's my impression?? Well before I got on board I was wondering if the vibrant colors and 'different' furnishings would be to my taste and would I find it all a bit too much. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised because NCL have got it right, they know what they are doing. It really does work and creates the perfect vacation environment.
Would I go on NCL again ?? Yes I really have to say I'm seriously thinking about booking the Gem for my next vacation. The FreeStyle experience has changed my opinion of what I want from my cruise vacation and has opened up a whole new world to me. I love the idea of dine when you want with whom you want and being able to choose whether to wear a suit or just go smart casual.
For all of you lucky people booked on Gem prepare to be amazed!!
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