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This was my 14th or 15th cruise, and I've been on Celebrity, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and several times on my favorite NCL. We arrived in Barcelona on Saturday, November 8th, one day prior to the cruise departure on Sunday, the 9th. Stayed one night at the Hotel AC Diplomatic which I recommend. Excellent quiet location close to Paseo Gracia. Wish we had booked more time in Barcelona as it's a great city with lots to see and do. Will go back. The port of Barcelona is absolutely top notch! We easily arrived by taxi just past noon and waited in no lines whatsoever. Baggage quickly handled and we checked in. As we originally were booked in an AE category Penthouse we also had access to the VIP arrival room where we met our lovely Concierge and hero as you'll read, Lisa Meyer. We were escorted onto the ship, received a mimosa, and led to our cabin. The entire ship still "smells new" and is spotless. Our Penthouse, category AE, number 8630, was nicely sized and just what we imagined as we've been in this category on NCL before. About double the width of a standard cabin with room for a four seat dining table which is convenient. Since suite guests exclusively can dine for breakfast and lunch at Cagney's with no additional charge we headed there for lunch, which was excellent. Perfect service! We were located at the aft of deck 8, which I love for the panoramic views from the balcony and less wind. However, around 11 p.m. we went to bed, and heard crashing and rumbling beneath our cabin. This continued constantly for an hour before I decided to call the reception desk to find out what was going on? I was told that there is a bowling alley, actually two lanes, located directly beneath the cabin! Cabin 8630 is directly over the end of the bowling lane and pin setting equipment! Why in the world was this designed without any regard for the noise it creates? Long story short, Lisa Meyer and Irina Ionita, Front Office Manager, created a resolution the next morning that was out of this world! An onboard credit, access to the private courtyard on deck 14, and we were upgraded to an AB Penthouse cabin 11012, which blew me away so much I couldn't help but literally cry for joy! Ms. Meyer and Ms. Ionita, you saved our trip and we will be forever grateful to you both! We cannot thank you enough! If you want to splurge this is the category to get! Two bedrooms, each with own bath, great for traveling with kids, a full living room and dining room, balcony, separate King sized bedroom, and a master bathroom that will amaze you, guaranteed! Picture window over the bathtub overlooking the ocean with a flat screen T.V. A walk-in stall shower with floor to ceiling window overlooking the sea, and multi-head shower system. Marble floors and double sinks. The bathroom itself was actually the size of a standard cabin! Absolutely incredible! We could have stayed in that cabin for a month. They also have an automatic espresso and coffee machine which I loved! Full hot breakfast service each morning in cabin served by our Butler, Totaram, thank you! It was pure heaven. We ate twice at Le Bistro, first time excellent, second the pits regarding quality and service. Two dinners at Cagney's were excellent. One dinner at La Trattoria which was wonderful. Only once in the main dining room Magenta which was very good, but too big and noisy for me. I'm not bothered by the cover charges as the experiences we had in the speciality restaurants was much more like dining at a private restaurant. The spa is fantastic but not free. I paid $75 for a week pass and it was worth every penny! The men's sauna and relaxation area have panoramic windows facing the front of the ship. Snacks, chilled water, tea, coffee, OJ all served complimentary. Only played craps in the casino and had one amazing night of luck, and one typical night during which I gave back some, but not all, of the money won previously. Casino was small and not very busy. We took NCL shore excursions in every port even though they were pricey. But, in all honesty, for what we saw and for the extremely knowledgeable tour guides, they were worth every penny in our opinion. Plus, one of the tour buses broke down returning from Rome. It wasn't ours but it was another NCL tour. The ship waited for the bus because it was an NCL excursion. If you're on your own, good luck getting to the next port if something happens to you as the ship won't be held for you. Peace of mind has a cost and I'll pay it every time! Tours were Historic Towns and Crafts in Valletta, Pompeii/Sorrento/Capri in Naples, Classic Rome, Splendour of Florence, Nice and Monte Carlo. I recommend them all. Paced very well and you will see so much in the amount of time allotted. A lot of walking involved over rough services so beware if that's an issue for you. Disembarkation was the smoothest ever. We carried our luggage off at about 7:15 a.m. after breakfast in the dining room, and were at the airport before 8:00 a.m. sadly ready to depart Barcelona. It was the best trip of my life and I am a fan of NCL for life, particularly for the way we were treated on this cruise. Excellent customer service! Freestyle cruising is the only way I'll go!

Trip of a lifetime, but beware of bowling alley!

Norwegian Gem Cruise Review by LeoNsunnyCA

Trip Details
This was my 14th or 15th cruise, and I've been on Celebrity, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and several times on my favorite NCL. We arrived in Barcelona on Saturday, November 8th, one day prior to the cruise departure on Sunday, the 9th. Stayed one night at the Hotel AC Diplomatic which I recommend. Excellent quiet location close to Paseo Gracia. Wish we had booked more time in Barcelona as it's a great city with lots to see and do. Will go back. The port of Barcelona is absolutely top notch! We easily arrived by taxi just past noon and waited in no lines whatsoever. Baggage quickly handled and we checked in. As we originally were booked in an AE category Penthouse we also had access to the VIP arrival room where we met our lovely Concierge and hero as you'll read, Lisa Meyer. We were escorted onto the ship, received a mimosa, and led to our cabin. The entire ship still "smells new" and is spotless. Our Penthouse, category AE, number 8630, was nicely sized and just what we imagined as we've been in this category on NCL before. About double the width of a standard cabin with room for a four seat dining table which is convenient. Since suite guests exclusively can dine for breakfast and lunch at Cagney's with no additional charge we headed there for lunch, which was excellent. Perfect service! We were located at the aft of deck 8, which I love for the panoramic views from the balcony and less wind. However, around 11 p.m. we went to bed, and heard crashing and rumbling beneath our cabin. This continued constantly for an hour before I decided to call the reception desk to find out what was going on? I was told that there is a bowling alley, actually two lanes, located directly beneath the cabin! Cabin 8630 is directly over the end of the bowling lane and pin setting equipment! Why in the world was this designed without any regard for the noise it creates? Long story short, Lisa Meyer and Irina Ionita, Front Office Manager, created a resolution the next morning that was out of this world! An onboard credit, access to the private courtyard on deck 14, and we were upgraded to an AB Penthouse cabin 11012, which blew me away so much I couldn't help but literally cry for joy! Ms. Meyer and Ms. Ionita, you saved our trip and we will be forever grateful to you both! We cannot thank you enough! If you want to splurge this is the category to get! Two bedrooms, each with own bath, great for traveling with kids, a full living room and dining room, balcony, separate King sized bedroom, and a master bathroom that will amaze you, guaranteed! Picture window over the bathtub overlooking the ocean with a flat screen T.V. A walk-in stall shower with floor to ceiling window overlooking the sea, and multi-head shower system. Marble floors and double sinks. The bathroom itself was actually the size of a standard cabin! Absolutely incredible! We could have stayed in that cabin for a month. They also have an automatic espresso and coffee machine which I loved! Full hot breakfast service each morning in cabin served by our Butler, Totaram, thank you! It was pure heaven. We ate twice at Le Bistro, first time excellent, second the pits regarding quality and service. Two dinners at Cagney's were excellent. One dinner at La Trattoria which was wonderful. Only once in the main dining room Magenta which was very good, but too big and noisy for me. I'm not bothered by the cover charges as the experiences we had in the speciality restaurants was much more like dining at a private restaurant. The spa is fantastic but not free. I paid $75 for a week pass and it was worth every penny! The men's sauna and relaxation area have panoramic windows facing the front of the ship. Snacks, chilled water, tea, coffee, OJ all served complimentary. Only played craps in the casino and had one amazing night of luck, and one typical night during which I gave back some, but not all, of the money won previously. Casino was small and not very busy. We took NCL shore excursions in every port even though they were pricey. But, in all honesty, for what we saw and for the extremely knowledgeable tour guides, they were worth every penny in our opinion. Plus, one of the tour buses broke down returning from Rome. It wasn't ours but it was another NCL tour. The ship waited for the bus because it was an NCL excursion. If you're on your own, good luck getting to the next port if something happens to you as the ship won't be held for you. Peace of mind has a cost and I'll pay it every time! Tours were Historic Towns and Crafts in Valletta, Pompeii/Sorrento/Capri in Naples, Classic Rome, Splendour of Florence, Nice and Monte Carlo. I recommend them all. Paced very well and you will see so much in the amount of time allotted. A lot of walking involved over rough services so beware if that's an issue for you. Disembarkation was the smoothest ever. We carried our luggage off at about 7:15 a.m. after breakfast in the dining room, and were at the airport before 8:00 a.m. sadly ready to depart Barcelona. It was the best trip of my life and I am a fan of NCL for life, particularly for the way we were treated on this cruise. Excellent customer service! Freestyle cruising is the only way I'll go!
LeoNsunnyCA’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Family Penthouse with Balcony
Cabin SC 11012
Cabin 11012, Category AB Penthouse, extremely spacious, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, windows in shower and over bathtub overlooking ocean, double sinks, huge master bathroom, excellent storage space, quiet location
Deck 11 Inside Cabins, Suite Cabins