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This was the second part of our honeymoon, we had chosen to spend four nights in New York and then join a cruise from Manhattan to the Bahamas. The Norwegian gem seemed to offer everything we wanted as a first time cruise. It is not as large as some other cruise ships but is still substantial in size and amenities. We had private transfers from our hotel in Midtown to the cruise terminal, when we arrived the ship was docked and terminal employees were on hand to collect luggage advising us this would be delivered to our rooms (we had previously labelled this with our stateroom number as provided in printable format). We entered the terminal and passed through security and joined a large queue to check in, it is understandable when booking in over 2000 people that there would be a wait but it was not lengthy. The booking in process was efficient and we were issued with our room cards which had a sticker stating we had purchased the unlimited drinks package (I would advise anyone to buy this before travelling). Once checked in we could board the ship, first impressions are very good. You enter the ship via the main atrium and this is large and airy with reception, shop, excursion point and bar. We opted to try the bar and a member of staff came to our table and took our order, you do sign for each drink but there is no additional charge if you have the unlimited beverage package as tips are included (except when in US ports as there is a beverage tax applied but this ceases when three miles out of port). You can buy any drink up to an $11 value without incurring additional costs (avoid buying wine by the bottle as this is additional, stick to buying it by the glass and close your bill after each drink!). We opted for a balcony stateroom, our room was a good size for two people. It would be a squeeze for more than two I think. My husband purchased the honeymoon package for me and the roses I received were lovely! We very much enjoyed the chocolate covered strawberries and fizz on the balcony! The bathroom was well appointed but room for one person only. Our steward was lovely, keeping our room clean and tidy and his towel animals were amazing. He attended twice a day, once to clean and makeup the bed and in the evening to turn the bed down and make his towel creations. He was really friendly always speaking when he saw us asking how our day had been. The food at the two main dining rooms (Magenta and Grand Pacific) was lovely and the service impeccable. The buffet was a little bit more manic, it was a struggle to get food and then a seat in which to eat it. We much preferred the main dining rooms and the service they provided. We ate at Le Bistro on one occasion and it was lovely and the food was excellent. We ate at O'Sheehans on two occasions and although the food is very nice (simple pub fare) they have a strange habit of bringing the appetisers with your main course. Lastly on sea days we ate snacks from Topsiders where burgers, hot dogs and sides could be obtained all afternoon. Drinking options on board are plentiful, we spent a lot of time in Java bar, Bali Hai (which is outside so smoking is permitted) and O'Sheehans. There is also cocktail and whiskey bars, nightclubs and lounges. There is always somewhere to go, we attended the white party on the Friday night which was very busy! Our advice would be that if you like a drink the ultimate beverage package is a must. The ship has an onboard photography team, they get to work as soon as you arrive taking pictures on embarkation. They are all really nice and you do not feel they are too intrusive. You can opt to have photo's taken on the main staircase and with backdrops and they try to make the photo's lovely. They also visit areas on the ship such as dining rooms and main decks and take photos throughout the cruise. We were very happy with our photos and bought one of their packages which significantly reduces the cost of the photos. The first stop off was Orlando, Florida. We had opted for the Universal Studios trip. we all had to wait in the theatre for our disembarkation instructions. This was a little manic. what with lots of people arriving at different times and missing some of the information it became a bit of a scrum. Once off the ship we quickly found our transport to Universal. The transfer time was a little under an hour. Once there we were told that the last bus was 5pm, though our tickets had printed on them 7pm!!! it did make the day that bit shorter. Essentially you couldn't do much after 3pm due to wait times on the rides. The potential to then be left behind was too much of a risk. We had been advised a cab back would be in the region of $150. Great Stirrup Cay was NCL's private island stop off in the Bahamas. To access the island you must take a tender boat. The early tenders are allocated by tickets, collected from the pool deck. You then waited for your ticket numbers to be called before disembarking the boat aboard the tenders. This was a very smooth process and journey to the island quite quick. Once on the island there was enough sun loungers for everyone. There was a nice Bacardi cocktail bar which if purchased your beverage package included. There was also a buffet for lunch. The island was very nice, the weather was very HOT. Dipping in the sea was essential for cooling down purposes but entering was very dicey without reef shoes. We had read some advice before hand and purchased our own. There are on the island some shops selling island gifts and beach attire. A nice touch when returning to board your tender was getting ice cold water and iced flannels to wash and cool your self down. At Nassau we booked the Atlantis Dolphin Cay interaction. I cannot recommend this highly enough. You get so close to the dolphins and the staff are really knowledgeable and friendly. The only photos available are taken by a professional photographer from Atlantis and you should be aware you cannot just buy one photo, I think the smallest package is about $90 for four photos. In with the package we had full access to the Atlantis resort which is amazing. There is a water park with rapid which I really enjoyed and other water slides. There is also a large aquarium to look around if you get too hot! There is a transfer bus back to port and a short walk from the bus to the ship through a small market. Sea days, the only point I would make is that people feel entitled to reserve sun loungers from early in the morning sometimes not utilise them until after lunch time. This means that it is a struggle to find a sun lounger if you want one. The main pool is also very full. The bands which play in the pool area are very good. The cocktails from Bali Hai are lovely when it's hot and sunny. As a first cruise we were very lucky as the weather was lovely throughout, the Atlantic ocean was like a millpond for the entirety of the cruise. Disembarkation - we opted to pick a time for disembarkation and labelled our luggage accordingly. Our luggage was then collected by our steward the night before. Many people had chosen to walk their luggage off in the easy walk off process, this appeared to be quite busy leading to a queue around the ship. We just sat patiently and waited for our colour to be called, our baggage was waiting in the terminal for us to collect. I thought this was a very smooth process. In summary we very much enjoyed our cruise and cannot fault the staff or facilities on board the Gem. I have seen some negative comments about food, staff etc but in my experience these seem unfounded.

Excellent first cruise for our honeymoon

Norwegian Gem Cruise Review by Emmie79

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: June 2015
  • Destination: Bahamas
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Balcony
This was the second part of our honeymoon, we had chosen to spend four nights in New York and then join a cruise from Manhattan to the Bahamas. The Norwegian gem seemed to offer everything we wanted as a first time cruise. It is not as large as some other cruise ships but is still substantial in size and amenities.

We had private transfers from our hotel in Midtown to the cruise terminal, when we arrived the ship was docked and terminal employees were on hand to collect luggage advising us this would be delivered to our rooms (we had previously labelled this with our stateroom number as provided in printable format). We entered the terminal and passed through security and joined a large queue to check in, it is understandable when booking in over 2000 people that there would be a wait but it was not lengthy. The booking in process was efficient and we were issued with our room cards which had a sticker stating we had purchased the unlimited drinks package (I would advise anyone to buy this before travelling). Once checked in we could board the ship, first impressions are very good. You enter the ship via the main atrium and this is large and airy with reception, shop, excursion point and bar. We opted to try the bar and a member of staff came to our table and took our order, you do sign for each drink but there is no additional charge if you have the unlimited beverage package as tips are included (except when in US ports as there is a beverage tax applied but this ceases when three miles out of port). You can buy any drink up to an $11 value without incurring additional costs (avoid buying wine by the bottle as this is additional, stick to buying it by the glass and close your bill after each drink!).

We opted for a balcony stateroom, our room was a good size for two people. It would be a squeeze for more than two I think. My husband purchased the honeymoon package for me and the roses I received were lovely! We very much enjoyed the chocolate covered strawberries and fizz on the balcony! The bathroom was well appointed but room for one person only. Our steward was lovely, keeping our room clean and tidy and his towel animals were amazing. He attended twice a day, once to clean and makeup the bed and in the evening to turn the bed down and make his towel creations. He was really friendly always speaking when he saw us asking how our day had been.

The food at the two main dining rooms (Magenta and Grand Pacific) was lovely and the service impeccable. The buffet was a little bit more manic, it was a struggle to get food and then a seat in which to eat it. We much preferred the main dining rooms and the service they provided. We ate at Le Bistro on one occasion and it was lovely and the food was excellent. We ate at O'Sheehans on two occasions and although the food is very nice (simple pub fare) they have a strange habit of bringing the appetisers with your main course. Lastly on sea days we ate snacks from Topsiders where burgers, hot dogs and sides could be obtained all afternoon.

Drinking options on board are plentiful, we spent a lot of time in Java bar, Bali Hai (which is outside so smoking is permitted) and O'Sheehans. There is also cocktail and whiskey bars, nightclubs and lounges. There is always somewhere to go, we attended the white party on the Friday night which was very busy! Our advice would be that if you like a drink the ultimate beverage package is a must.

The ship has an onboard photography team, they get to work as soon as you arrive taking pictures on embarkation. They are all really nice and you do not feel they are too intrusive. You can opt to have photo's taken on the main staircase and with backdrops and they try to make the photo's lovely. They also visit areas on the ship such as dining rooms and main decks and take photos throughout the cruise. We were very happy with our photos and bought one of their packages which significantly reduces the cost of the photos.

The first stop off was Orlando, Florida. We had opted for the Universal Studios trip. we all had to wait in the theatre for our disembarkation instructions. This was a little manic. what with lots of people arriving at different times and missing some of the information it became a bit of a scrum. Once off the ship we quickly found our transport to Universal. The transfer time was a little under an hour. Once there we were told that the last bus was 5pm, though our tickets had printed on them 7pm!!! it did make the day that bit shorter. Essentially you couldn't do much after 3pm due to wait times on the rides. The potential to then be left behind was too much of a risk. We had been advised a cab back would be in the region of $150.

Great Stirrup Cay was NCL's private island stop off in the Bahamas. To access the island you must take a tender boat. The early tenders are allocated by tickets, collected from the pool deck. You then waited for your ticket numbers to be called before disembarking the boat aboard the tenders. This was a very smooth process and journey to the island quite quick. Once on the island there was enough sun loungers for everyone. There was a nice Bacardi cocktail bar which if purchased your beverage package included. There was also a buffet for lunch. The island was very nice, the weather was very HOT. Dipping in the sea was essential for cooling down purposes but entering was very dicey without reef shoes. We had read some advice before hand and purchased our own. There are on the island some shops selling island gifts and beach attire. A nice touch when returning to board your tender was getting ice cold water and iced flannels to wash and cool your self down.

At Nassau we booked the Atlantis Dolphin Cay interaction. I cannot recommend this highly enough. You get so close to the dolphins and the staff are really knowledgeable and friendly. The only photos available are taken by a professional photographer from Atlantis and you should be aware you cannot just buy one photo, I think the smallest package is about $90 for four photos. In with the package we had full access to the Atlantis resort which is amazing. There is a water park with rapid which I really enjoyed and other water slides. There is also a large aquarium to look around if you get too hot! There is a transfer bus back to port and a short walk from the bus to the ship through a small market.

Sea days, the only point I would make is that people feel entitled to reserve sun loungers from early in the morning sometimes not utilise them until after lunch time. This means that it is a struggle to find a sun lounger if you want one. The main pool is also very full. The bands which play in the pool area are very good. The cocktails from Bali Hai are lovely when it's hot and sunny.

As a first cruise we were very lucky as the weather was lovely throughout, the Atlantic ocean was like a millpond for the entirety of the cruise.

Disembarkation - we opted to pick a time for disembarkation and labelled our luggage accordingly. Our luggage was then collected by our steward the night before. Many people had chosen to walk their luggage off in the easy walk off process, this appeared to be quite busy leading to a queue around the ship. We just sat patiently and waited for our colour to be called, our baggage was waiting in the terminal for us to collect. I thought this was a very smooth process.

In summary we very much enjoyed our cruise and cannot fault the staff or facilities on board the Gem. I have seen some negative comments about food, staff etc but in my experience these seem unfounded.
Emmie79’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Balcony
Cabin BA 10560
Cabin was a good size for two people, very well appointed with a comfortable bed. Nice quiet room with balcony to sit and relax. Mid ship location made it very quick and easy to reach most things on board. Cabin steward was excellent.
Deck 10 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

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