Norwegian Gem Cruise Review by c breeze
- Sail Date: September 2016
- Destination: Canada & New England
- Cabin Type: Balcony
The recent refurbishment of public areas give the ship a more tasteful decor, however the "spinner" chairs in the Spinaker Lounge and other public areas are some of the most uncomfortable I've ever sat on. I saw many people getting out of these and moving. The gym has new equipment.
I honestly preferred the old dining program, but it seems that the "free" dining package is here to stay. The prices are definitely higher with these "free" choices. There are up-charges in the main dining room now for higher end entrees, which was a surprise, and there is no longer a flat service charge for most of the specialty restaurants, and they are all a la carte. There has been an improvement in the menu at La Cuccina.
The production shows were all very good (same show as last year) and the Cynthia MacLeod Trio (fiddler, guitar, percussion) was amazing! We made it a point to see them every day/evening that they performed, unless we happened to be at dinner, and their performances really made our trip. The other two lounger performers were awful. The female guitar/vocalist had a shrill voice, and the piano player/"vocalist" was one of the worst I have ever seen. My husband is a musician, and we both wondered how this man was ever hired. I believe anyone Very few people came to see either of these performs, so I don't think it was just a matter of taste.
The crew was very helpful and friendly. The I-concierge app does not update your account info properly, so use the in cabin TV for this. Most "seminars" are really sales pitches, so we have learned to completely avoid them over the years.
We took the Best of Portland and Kennebunkport tour, and had an excellent guide and learned a great deal and enjoyed it. Other ports were done on our own, and just walked locally near the piers.
Both embarkation and debarkation were a breeze.
I would sail on this ship and itinerary again, but would hope that they would change the dining back to the way it was the past few years - no up-charges in the main dining rooms, flat service charge for the specialty restaurants , and lower fares that don't force you to select "free" perks such as dining, beverage, Wi-Fi, shore excursion credit, etc.
I would also consider other cruise lines that sail from NY/NJ if I felt the value was better.
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