Our First Cruise was a Gem on the Gem: Norwegian Gem Cruise Review by AaronLucierNC

Norwegian Gem 5
Member Since 2009
22 Forum Posts

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Our First Cruise was a Gem on the Gem

Sail Date: May 2009
Destination: Europe - Western Mediterranean
Embarkation: Barcelona
We were a bit concerned about picking the Gem after reading some of the online reviews, but found the ship, the food, and crew to meet or exceed most of our expectations.  We enjoyed our first cruise a great deal. Getting on and off the ship was a breeze at every location- no issues!

We ate in the main or non-cover charge dining locations for the entire time, and found the food to be very enjoyable and excellent quality.  The reports/reviews that they make the main dining lower quality to force you towards the cover-charge locations seems a bit over-stated.  We found nothing lacking, even if we had not tried the cover-charge locations.

We had little trouble with waiting, just checking the video screens and making decisions on the fly helps!  It is about FreeStyle right? 

Internet is slow! 56k speeds, be warned, but that is to be expected on a ship. Still, the wireless internet on the ship seemed to cover every More inch.  I got to use on deck, in my room, and even in one bar.  

The staff were friendly, helpful and seemed to enjoy their work.  The on board shopping consultant was helpful in port ideas, even if we were avoiding the NCL excursions, and assisted beyond just shopping. 

The shows were good quality, what you might expect for a casino show or a main stage in an theme park.  We enjoyed our evening with the Second City Troupe a great deal!

Perhaps I keep the big picture more than some, if everything is perfect over the period of 7 days, that might be asking a lot. Two small issues occured- in one port Livorno you had to pay  $5 to get a bus out of the port, or use a cab or excursion... so much for ALL the port fees being paid, but we found getting a cab to get the train was the best way to go anyway.  Also, in Villefrance the tender boat right outside our window was used for tendering passengers, so at 6:30 AM they were moving a boat right outside our cabin window without warning.  With all the flyers they sent us for other things, a little warning would have been nice. Less

Published 06/02/09

Cabin review: OK8584 Obstructed Oceanview

Not a good view, could see water if you looked at an angle, but a good price and still got plenty of light.  If the cruise uses a tender, be aware that you might hear a lot of noise as they lower the boats. 

Read All Obstructed Oceanview (OK) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

Did the train on our own again!  Stopped both in Pisa and Florence.  LOVED both!  These are the cities you think about when you think of Italy.  Street markets, churches, archetecture and amazing art!


Good first port, let you get into cruise mode slowly.  Lots of sights, and the history is great! 

We did the on your own option... Naples to Pompeii and Sorrento via the commuter train.  Only a few Euros for travel the whole day and on your own schedule.  Naples seemed a bit "rough" on the sections we saw on the way to the train.  Traffic was a nightmare.   Pompeii and Sorrento were both amazing.  We took the hydofoil back to the cruise ship from Sorrento, and the boat docked right near our ship for I think 12 euro each.  A good deal! 

Read 1171 Naples Reviews

We did a private car tour- arranged vis a discussion on Cruise Critic!  Amazing!  It was a "bucket list" day.  We saw everything from the Coliseum to the Vatican!  Wow! Our private tour made seeing so much possible. 

Did the train on our own again!  Villefranche is nice, but we went on to Nice!  After seeing all the other ports, you would think we had enough of street markets and small shops... but loved it!  Both cities had a lot or charm and sights to see. 

Folks were friendly and helpful! 

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Member Since 2009
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