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First of all we enjoyed this cruise very much. We were a group of 4 traveling me, my husband, my mom, and my sister (2 cabins). Our group were all veteran cruisers. We have cruised several lines before; Carnival, Princess, RCCL...this was our first NCL cruise and for the most part I enjoyed this cruise more than the others. Perhaps it was the port heavy destination of Europe...I'm not big on many days at sea so this fit nicely into my travel ideals. So let me just give a breakdown by port. The Ship: Very nice and spacious. This was the first time I payed the extra money for a balcony room. For this trip it was well worth it. We spent a great deal of time sitting on the balcony. If you can afford it I definately advise it for Europe. We did a few speciality restaurants, Le Bistro, Tequila, and Cagneys. As you might expect If you don't mind paying the extra $, the food and service is better in the specialty restaurants than the free restaurants. But, the service/food was never terrible in the free restaurants like Magenta/Blue Lagoon/Grand Pacific just not outstanding. My only main complaint is concerning the buffet. There is only 1 drink/ice machine for the entire buffet. Other cruises give you more drink options like juices but w/ this cruise line at the buffet only tea/water/coffee and you have to fight the crowds at the 1 drink station. But, all in all have no other complaints. The ship is very clean and spacious with plenty of ammenities but on this port heavy cruise we really didn't have time to use all the ammenities. Barcelona: We stayed 1 night prior to our cruise at Hotel 1898 on Las Ramblas. Las Ramblas had so much to see and do! Hotel 1898 was very nice although a wee bit pretentious...maybe too modern I'm a pretty simple gal. I definately advise an extra day or so before or after the cruise in Barcelona. This is a lovely city in fact one of my favorites of the entire trip. Since we had only 1 day in Barcelona I booked a private tour w/ Barcelona Day Tours. Kudos to Juan our guide he did a great job of showing us all the highlights of Barcelona in 4hrs. We saw La Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, Montjuic, and so many other things. However, for the rest of the trip we booked all excursions we took we did through NCL. Malta: As many other cruisers have noted the view coming into this city is fabulous! We found a cab for 52 euro and he took 4 of us to Mdina, a glass factory and the president's palace. Mdina was a very interesting place. The cab dropped us off near St John's Co-Cathedral which was very beautiful as well. This was about all we had time for in Malta. But it was very nice. Naples: We did the NCL excursion Capri/Sorrento and Pompeii. This was a VERY long day. Pompeii was very interesting and you could probably spend just a day here (although I saw enough on the tour). Next we went to Sorrento which was very charming, would like to go back here. We had lunch in Sorrento and went onto Capri. Capri was gorgeous but it was jam packed full of tourists which made it somewhat less appealing. Perhaps in the evenings when the cruise ships leave Capri is less crowded? Could have lived without the stop at the cameo factory to have more time in Capri/Sorrento. Overall this was a good but tiring day. Rome/Civitavecchia: We did the Rome and The Vatican Tour. This tour should prob be renamed The Vatican with 20min of Rome. The Vatican had so much to see. The Sistine Chapel, St. Peter Bascillca, Vatican square. We had a great guide at the Vatican who gave us a lot of information. We had lunch nearby then went to the coloseum for about 20min then back to the ship. Prob wishful thinking that you could do Rome in day and was somewhat disappointed that we didn't see Trevi Fountain but...I'm glad I got to see everything at the Vatican. Guess I will have to go back to Rome one day! Florence: We did Cinque Terre. It was absolutely gorgeous! This was one of my favorite days. I wish I could have done Florence and Cinque Terre but, I have been reading about Cinque Terre and have wanted to go there for a long time so...This tour gave us a great deal of free time to see Cinque Terre on our own. We enjoyed a glass of the local Cinque Terre white wine at lunch and shopped around a little bit. Would be nice to stay here for a week and hike around and take it easy! Will have to come back here and spend some more time in Florence/Tuscany/and Cinque Terre. Our traveling companions did the Florence and Pisa tour. They complained the tour guide spent more time talking about buildings and then they didn't have time to go in them so they were somewhat disappointed. But, if I ever wondered about whether we should have booked a private tour on our excursions instead of w/ NCL...My mom broke her pinky finger in Florence and had to have a MD at our next port put it in a splint but, since her injury occured on an NCL excursion it was on their dime....everything from the cab ride to the hospital, the MD fees, the MD fees on the boat...so there goes all the $$ you saved on a private excursion. Although I will say got very tired of being in big groups being bused around everywhere.Cannes: We did the Highlights of Monaco and Nice tour. It was a very delightful tour. Not as hectic as the other tours and had lots of free time. Stopped in Nice and enjoyed a market. Went to Monaco and saw Monte Carlo and the tomb of Princess Grace. The French Riviera is stunning! Now that I have seen Monaco if I ever go back would just stay in Nice or Cannes and lay on the beach. Overall: Great cruise...saw so much in such a short time! It was all fabulous! Wish I could go back tom!

Cruising the Med in the Fall

Norwegian Gem Cruise Review by froggy1977

Trip Details
First of all we enjoyed this cruise very much. We were a group of 4 traveling me, my husband, my mom, and my sister (2 cabins). Our group were all veteran cruisers. We have cruised several lines before; Carnival, Princess, RCCL...this was our first NCL cruise and for the most part I enjoyed this cruise more than the others. Perhaps it was the port heavy destination of Europe...I'm not big on many days at sea so this fit nicely into my travel ideals. So let me just give a breakdown by port.
The Ship: Very nice and spacious. This was the first time I payed the extra money for a balcony room. For this trip it was well worth it. We spent a great deal of time sitting on the balcony. If you can afford it I definately advise it for Europe. We did a few speciality restaurants, Le Bistro, Tequila, and Cagneys. As you might expect If you don't mind paying the extra $, the food and service is better in the specialty restaurants than the free restaurants. But, the service/food was never terrible in the free restaurants like Magenta/Blue Lagoon/Grand Pacific just not outstanding. My only main complaint is concerning the buffet. There is only 1 drink/ice machine for the entire buffet. Other cruises give you more drink options like juices but w/ this cruise line at the buffet only tea/water/coffee and you have to fight the crowds at the 1 drink station. But, all in all have no other complaints. The ship is very clean and spacious with plenty of ammenities but on this port heavy cruise we really didn't have time to use all the ammenities.
Barcelona: We stayed 1 night prior to our cruise at Hotel 1898 on Las Ramblas. Las Ramblas had so much to see and do! Hotel 1898 was very nice although a wee bit pretentious...maybe too modern I'm a pretty simple gal. I definately advise an extra day or so before or after the cruise in Barcelona. This is a lovely city in fact one of my favorites of the entire trip. Since we had only 1 day in Barcelona I booked a private tour w/ Barcelona Day Tours. Kudos to Juan our guide he did a great job of showing us all the highlights of Barcelona in 4hrs. We saw La Sagrada Familia, Park Guell, Montjuic, and so many other things. However, for the rest of the trip we booked all excursions we took we did through NCL.
Malta: As many other cruisers have noted the view coming into this city is fabulous! We found a cab for 52 euro and he took 4 of us to Mdina, a glass factory and the president's palace. Mdina was a very interesting place. The cab dropped us off near St John's Co-Cathedral which was very beautiful as well. This was about all we had time for in Malta. But it was very nice.


Naples: We did the NCL excursion Capri/Sorrento and Pompeii. This was a VERY long day. Pompeii was very interesting and you could probably spend just a day here (although I saw enough on the tour). Next we went to Sorrento which was very charming, would like to go back here. We had lunch in Sorrento and went onto Capri. Capri was gorgeous but it was jam packed full of tourists which made it somewhat less appealing. Perhaps in the evenings when the cruise ships leave Capri is less crowded? Could have lived without the stop at the cameo factory to have more time in Capri/Sorrento. Overall this was a good but tiring day.
Rome/Civitavecchia: We did the Rome and The Vatican Tour. This tour should prob be renamed The Vatican with 20min of Rome. The Vatican had so much to see. The Sistine Chapel, St. Peter Bascillca, Vatican square. We had a great guide at the Vatican who gave us a lot of information. We had lunch nearby then went to the coloseum for about 20min then back to the ship. Prob wishful thinking that you could do Rome in day and was somewhat disappointed that we didn't see Trevi Fountain but...I'm glad I got to see everything at the Vatican. Guess I will have to go back to Rome one day!
Florence: We did Cinque Terre. It was absolutely gorgeous! This was one of my favorite days. I wish I could have done Florence and Cinque Terre but, I have been reading about Cinque Terre and have wanted to go there for a long time so...This tour gave us a great deal of free time to see Cinque Terre on our own. We enjoyed a glass of the local Cinque Terre white wine at lunch and shopped around a little bit. Would be nice to stay here for a week and hike around and take it easy! Will have to come back here and spend some more time in Florence/Tuscany/and Cinque Terre. Our traveling companions did the Florence and Pisa tour. They complained the tour guide spent more time talking about buildings and then they didn't have time to go in them so they were somewhat disappointed. But, if I ever wondered about whether we should have booked a private tour on our excursions instead of w/ NCL...My mom broke her pinky finger in Florence and had to have a MD at our next port put it in a splint but, since her injury occured on an NCL excursion it was on their dime....everything from the cab ride to the hospital, the MD fees, the MD fees on the boat...so there goes all the $$ you saved on a private excursion. Although I will say got very tired of being in big groups being bused around everywhere.Cannes: We did the Highlights of Monaco and Nice tour. It was a very
delightful tour. Not as hectic as the other tours and had lots of free
time. Stopped in Nice and enjoyed a market. Went to Monaco and saw
Monte Carlo and the tomb of Princess Grace. The French Riviera is
stunning! Now that I have seen Monaco if I ever go back would just stay
in Nice or Cannes and lay on the beach.
Overall: Great cruise...saw so much in such a short time! It was all fabulous! Wish I could go back tom!
froggy1977’s Full Rating Summary
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