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Embarkation was slow (there was an outbreak on the prior sailing so we had to wait as the ship was sanitized) This could not be helped and we were glad that the crew were thorough. The outbreak is evidence of why it is SO IMPORTANT to let the washy washy girls spray you and wash your hands frequently when on a cruise ship. After everything was all clear, the crew did their best to get us all on board quickly. we booked the 3 bedroom garden villa. The you tube videos did not do the room justice. It was bigger than it appeared online and was really impressive. I highly recommend it. During the dry dock in 2015, the decor was redone (the rugs are no longer those weird 70's colors) and much (not all) of the gaudiness has disappeared. There was no reason to leave the room as we had a private sun deck, indoor and outdoor dining room, full sized hot tub. Our butler provided amazing service and went above and beyond the typical fantastic service we received on past sailings in The Haven. The concierge was wonderful although he had many other guests to tend to. The room stewards were friendly. There was a person who came in every day to set up our deck and break it down in the evening. He was fantastic but most of the time we didn't even know he was there. He would come in quietly, set up/break down and disappear. The Haven makes traveling on NCL worth it. The ship within a ship concept combined with freestyle dining is one of the reasons we keep going back. In addition, if you cannot get a reservation in a restaurant because they are all booked, the butler will serve you in your room. That came in handy the last night of the cruise. There were some negative aspects such as, on the website, NCL advertises some perks for the garden villa and owners suites but the claims are false. The "pillow menu" does not actually exist. I have been on three cruises since June and have preselected my pillows but have yet to ever see anything but cheap flimsy pillows. I inquired on one cruise about the pillows and was informed that the pillows in the room were all they had available. The "limousine" ride home is actually a van that smells like someone chain smokes in the vehicle when not transporting guests. The special diet person was not effective, which is not typical of my past encounters on Norwegian. Usually the special diet person is visible and makes sure the kitchen is informed of ones allergies. The itinerary was okay. Only half a day in Tortola which turned out to be a good thing. There are shops in the port, but they are mostly the high end jewelry stores you see in all other ports and some boutiques. After three other ports with pretty much the same jewelry stores, it was disappointing. We skipped the beach excursion and were happy for it because we heard other guests mention how crowded the beach was and that was before the Disney cruise pulled in next to us. St Marten was amazing. It is beautiful and one day was not enough time there. Nothing really impressive to me in San Juan. We visited Coral World in St Thomas briefly. It was worth a trip with a beach break afterwards. Although I wasn't excited about all of the stops, I did like the five sea days (3 at the beginning and two at the end) The extra time at sea gave us time to relax and really enjoy the awesomeness of the room. The entertainment was just okay. I think that has more to do with sailing on the same ship so many times than with the selection offered. I do wish they had less circus type acts (juggling/acrobats/illusionists) and more theatre or musical performances. All in all it was a good cruise and I would recommend it to future cruisers, just don't be surprised if some of the offered amenities are not available when you book a high end suite.

10 Nights on the Gem

Norwegian Gem Cruise Review by kfarle

5 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: March 2016
  • Destination: Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Garden Villa
Embarkation was slow (there was an outbreak on the prior sailing so we had to wait as the ship was sanitized) This could not be helped and we were glad that the crew were thorough. The outbreak is evidence of why it is SO IMPORTANT to let the washy washy girls spray you and wash your hands frequently when on a cruise ship. After everything was all clear, the crew did their best to get us all on board quickly.

we booked the 3 bedroom garden villa. The you tube videos did not do the room justice. It was bigger than it appeared online and was really impressive. I highly recommend it. During the dry dock in 2015, the decor was redone (the rugs are no longer those weird 70's colors) and much (not all) of the gaudiness has disappeared. There was no reason to leave the room as we had a private sun deck, indoor and outdoor dining room, full sized hot tub. Our butler provided amazing service and went above and beyond the typical fantastic service we received on past sailings in The Haven. The concierge was wonderful although he had many other guests to tend to. The room stewards were friendly. There was a person who came in every day to set up our deck and break it down in the evening. He was fantastic but most of the time we didn't even know he was there. He would come in quietly, set up/break down and disappear.

The Haven makes traveling on NCL worth it. The ship within a ship concept combined with freestyle dining is one of the reasons we keep going back. In addition, if you cannot get a reservation in a restaurant because they are all booked, the butler will serve you in your room. That came in handy the last night of the cruise.

There were some negative aspects such as, on the website, NCL advertises some perks for the garden villa and owners suites but the claims are false. The "pillow menu" does not actually exist. I have been on three cruises since June and have preselected my pillows but have yet to ever see anything but cheap flimsy pillows. I inquired on one cruise about the pillows and was informed that the pillows in the room were all they had available. The "limousine" ride home is actually a van that smells like someone chain smokes in the vehicle when not transporting guests.

The special diet person was not effective, which is not typical of my past encounters on Norwegian. Usually the special diet person is visible and makes sure the kitchen is informed of ones allergies.

The itinerary was okay. Only half a day in Tortola which turned out to be a good thing. There are shops in the port, but they are mostly the high end jewelry stores you see in all other ports and some boutiques. After three other ports with pretty much the same jewelry stores, it was disappointing. We skipped the beach excursion and were happy for it because we heard other guests mention how crowded the beach was and that was before the Disney cruise pulled in next to us.

St Marten was amazing. It is beautiful and one day was not enough time there.

Nothing really impressive to me in San Juan.

We visited Coral World in St Thomas briefly. It was worth a trip with a beach break afterwards.

Although I wasn't excited about all of the stops, I did like the five sea days (3 at the beginning and two at the end) The extra time at sea gave us time to relax and really enjoy the awesomeness of the room.

The entertainment was just okay. I think that has more to do with sailing on the same ship so many times than with the selection offered. I do wish they had less circus type acts (juggling/acrobats/illusionists) and more theatre or musical performances.

All in all it was a good cruise and I would recommend it to future cruisers, just don't be surprised if some of the offered amenities are not available when you book a high end suite.
kfarle’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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Cabin Review

Garden Villa
Cabin H1 14500
The most amazing room we have booked so far. It was very spacious. Three separate bedrooms and three and a half baths. the master bedroom is really big. The other two bedrooms have private balconies where the master shares the common area balcony. The common area is really large and the butler and room stewards keep it clean pretty much at all times.
Deck 14 Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • New York (Manhattan)
    For those traveling by cab, or have someone dropping them off, I strongly suggest getting out of the car across the street from the intrepid and walking across the street to the terminal. The traffic can be quite heavy and you can spend a significant amount of time trying to make your way to the luggage drop off otherwise. It is easier to exit the vehicle across the west side. The luggage handlers will take your bags on the first floor and there is an elevator available from there to bring guests to check in.
    View All 1,012 New York (Manhattan) Cruise Port Reviews
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  • San Juan
    I can't give more than an average rating, we exited the ship in Puerto Rico, there is a CVS about a block and a half form the ship. There was a senor frogs that was not open yet. We pretty much picked up what we needed and returned to the ship.
    View All 3,781 San Juan Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Bicycle Tour
    This was a fantastic tour. The guides were amazing and attentive. I would highly recommend this tour to anyone who wants to move a little after 7 days on the ship eating and drinking. The pace was moderate and good for anyone who can ride a bike. There was a perfect mix of biking and stops so that the hosts could give information about the island. There was one doozy of a hill but everyone was given a no shame option of walking up and many did without feeling uncomfortable. This is a must do!
    View All 11 Bicycle Tour Reviews
  • Coral World Tour
    It was a good tour that was not very time consuming. The tour is self guided, (which I prefer) Getting to the transport to Coral World was a bit like being herded. There was a significant amount of confusion at the port because a lack of communication. Our driver was really friendly and made sure we knew when to meet back up with him and where to find him at the end of the excursion. We skipped the beach (it was Easter Sunday) and returned to the port to shop and walk around a but.
    View All 75 Coral World Tour Reviews
  • Tortola
    There is nothing in the port except overpriced shops. We typically pick up a sandal magnet every place we visit. There was nothing of that sort to be found in the port. Mostly overpriced boutiques that I haven't heard of and jewelry stores.
    View All 1,381 Tortola Cruise Port Reviews
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