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We sailed out of New York and cruised from the 19th to the 29th of December and were at sea over Christmas. I do have to commend Norwegian on the holiday celebrations aboard as they had egg nog, cookies, a Santa and even gave out some little gifts to the kids on Christmas morning. That said, this trip did get off to a bad start for me. I have taken many, many cruises, probably more than thirty of them. This particular trip was booked directly through Norwegian with one of their agents and at no point was I warned that perhaps the stateroom that I'd booked wasn't really going to be comfortable for four people (we were travelling with two adults and two young children). In my opinion, the stateroom was the smallest four person room of any I've ever stayed in, hands down. There was only one drop-down bed and then, a cot was brought up from beneath one of the beds to form a giant, 3-sleeper, family bed. It didn't look promising. Upon seeing the room, I immediately called Norwegian head office before we left port. I waited for nearly an hour to speak to a service rep and was greeting by a woman named Dee Dee who treated me with increasingly rude responses as our conversation progressed. I started off by expressing my concern with the size of the room, explaining to her that this was the size of a three person room on any other ship and not a four person room. She let me know that it was my own fault for choosing this cabin to save money to which I responded that I booked this through Norwegian's own agent and was never told how small the room was. I stayed in a junior suite last time we sailed on the Gem, so I had no idea. She repeatedly told me that there was nothing that she could could do and that this decision was my responsibility, failing to offer any sort of compensation or even an apology. I asked for a manager and was promptly "disconnected". Seeing as I had no plans to call back and spend another hour on hold, this call ended off as being extremely frustrating and a terrible customer service experience. Aboard ship, however, the gentleman at the front desk, Rahul, was extremely helpful, cordial and genuinely expressed his regret that I was unhappy. The ship, however, was completely booked, so moving to another cabin was not an option. We did make the best of it and just resigned to the fact that we would be spending some time in close quarters for the next 10 days. Rahul did send us some cheese, crackers and a bottle of wine which was an incredibly nice gesture. The cruise itself was not bad, the food was average, quite passable but nothing special. The amenities on board are what you would expect from this class of ship, nothing extravagant, though there was a pretty cool rock climbing wall. They have a decent gym facility and two pools on the 12th deck which is also where you'll find the buffet. As for dining rooms, we felt that the Magenta was the nicer of the two rooms. I have to say that I am bothered by the "Washy-washy" people who stand out in front of the buffet trying to spray sanitizer on everyone who enters. I get it, not everyone washes their hands and some people are gross, but I am perfectly in control of my own personal hygiene and don't like to use the hand sanitizers because they aren't so wonderful. The high alcohol content dries out the skin and the broad spectrum anti-biotic agents kill the bad AND the good bacteria on your hands. Regular hand washing is all that you need and myself and my family practice that regularly. Anyway, when you refuse, they are pretty sour about it. (This is my own personal opinion, most people seemed to enjoy the silly "Washy-washy, Happy-happy" jingle.) The kids spent a good deal of time in the kid's club (Their choice but I wasn't arguing) which, again, I felt was quite average. There were a few nice staff members, however the others were not very memorable and a couple of them were barely friendly. The room always appeared to be in a state of controlled chaos, however, no one was seriously hurt or upset for most of the trip and that was good enough for us. I do find that Carnival cruises provide a much better experience for the kids, again, in my opinion. Overall, I honestly was soured on Norwegian Cruise Lines. I feel that we have had much better experiences on other cruise lines for a similar cost. Better food, better cabin stewards (who remembered who we were and sometimes remember names and didn't need to be chased after for things like glasses and extra towels) and better kid's clubs. Norwegian is fine, it certainly wasn't a nightmare vacation by any means, however, given my experience, I feel that an apology and an explanation would have gone a long way in improving my outlook on this cruise line.

Terrible Customer Service Call

Norwegian Gem Cruise Review by J_Rozen

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Trip Details
We sailed out of New York and cruised from the 19th to the 29th of December and were at sea over Christmas. I do have to commend Norwegian on the holiday celebrations aboard as they had egg nog, cookies, a Santa and even gave out some little gifts to the kids on Christmas morning.

That said, this trip did get off to a bad start for me. I have taken many, many cruises, probably more than thirty of them. This particular trip was booked directly through Norwegian with one of their agents and at no point was I warned that perhaps the stateroom that I'd booked wasn't really going to be comfortable for four people (we were travelling with two adults and two young children). In my opinion, the stateroom was the smallest four person room of any I've ever stayed in, hands down. There was only one drop-down bed and then, a cot was brought up from beneath one of the beds to form a giant, 3-sleeper, family bed. It didn't look promising.

Upon seeing the room, I immediately called Norwegian head office before we left port. I waited for nearly an hour to speak to a service rep and was greeting by a woman named Dee Dee who treated me with increasingly rude responses as our conversation progressed. I started off by expressing my concern with the size of the room, explaining to her that this was the size of a three person room on any other ship and not a four person room. She let me know that it was my own fault for choosing this cabin to save money to which I responded that I booked this through Norwegian's own agent and was never told how small the room was. I stayed in a junior suite last time we sailed on the Gem, so I had no idea. She repeatedly told me that there was nothing that she could could do and that this decision was my responsibility, failing to offer any sort of compensation or even an apology. I asked for a manager and was promptly "disconnected". Seeing as I had no plans to call back and spend another hour on hold, this call ended off as being extremely frustrating and a terrible customer service experience.

Aboard ship, however, the gentleman at the front desk, Rahul, was extremely helpful, cordial and genuinely expressed his regret that I was unhappy. The ship, however, was completely booked, so moving to another cabin was not an option. We did make the best of it and just resigned to the fact that we would be spending some time in close quarters for the next 10 days. Rahul did send us some cheese, crackers and a bottle of wine which was an incredibly nice gesture.

The cruise itself was not bad, the food was average, quite passable but nothing special. The amenities on board are what you would expect from this class of ship, nothing extravagant, though there was a pretty cool rock climbing wall. They have a decent gym facility and two pools on the 12th deck which is also where you'll find the buffet. As for dining rooms, we felt that the Magenta was the nicer of the two rooms.

I have to say that I am bothered by the "Washy-washy" people who stand out in front of the buffet trying to spray sanitizer on everyone who enters. I get it, not everyone washes their hands and some people are gross, but I am perfectly in control of my own personal hygiene and don't like to use the hand sanitizers because they aren't so wonderful. The high alcohol content dries out the skin and the broad spectrum anti-biotic agents kill the bad AND the good bacteria on your hands. Regular hand washing is all that you need and myself and my family practice that regularly. Anyway, when you refuse, they are pretty sour about it. (This is my own personal opinion, most people seemed to enjoy the silly "Washy-washy, Happy-happy" jingle.)

The kids spent a good deal of time in the kid's club (Their choice but I wasn't arguing) which, again, I felt was quite average. There were a few nice staff members, however the others were not very memorable and a couple of them were barely friendly. The room always appeared to be in a state of controlled chaos, however, no one was seriously hurt or upset for most of the trip and that was good enough for us. I do find that Carnival cruises provide a much better experience for the kids, again, in my opinion.

Overall, I honestly was soured on Norwegian Cruise Lines. I feel that we have had much better experiences on other cruise lines for a similar cost. Better food, better cabin stewards (who remembered who we were and sometimes remember names and didn't need to be chased after for things like glasses and extra towels) and better kid's clubs. Norwegian is fine, it certainly wasn't a nightmare vacation by any means, however, given my experience, I feel that an apology and an explanation would have gone a long way in improving my outlook on this cruise line.
J_Rozen’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Inside
Cabin IC 9615
The cabin is unusually small, in my opinion, when compared with comparable with the same or similar cabin class on other ships. If I had been warned by the cruise agent, I may have spent a few extra dollars and upgraded. It is also my opinion that these rooms should be sold as 3 person cabins with the option to add a 4th, but cruisers should be informed that the sleeping arrangements are not ideal.
Deck 11 Inside Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

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  • Beach
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