I like this ship because I live in Toronto and its only an hours flight to New York where it is based. I have been on the Gem and both its sister ships before and have come to appreciate the smaller size. I have become sick of the bigger and bigger ships trying to please everyone and looking more like Disney Land than a cruise ship. I studied design and several teachers taught me that the most important thing about design is "functionality" and this ship has really nailed it. On deck by the pool instead of being gassed to death by cigarette smoke there is a full buffet and often a deck BBQ...the deck is also covered with tables to sit and eat, beds to sun bath and of course the pools and spas. The full Buffet is more then ample and there is a third at the Aft area of the ship outdoors and covered from the sun or rain. The theater is the right size and the sound system does NOT blow your brains out. The shows are first class as are the feature artists. The main dining room is great and I ate breakfast there every morning as I'm not awake enough to navigate the buffet. What can I say..."Eggs over easy...are eggs over easy" not cooked hard or med but just as you request. Bacon side is close to half a pound, delicious, a bit too much for me and there is everything else one would expect. For $200. Canadian I booked the specialty restaurants for the 10 day cruise...One evening in a comparable restaurant on land would cost you what I paid for the entire 10 days. Cagney's prime rib. Fillet, tenderloin, huge shrimp, oysters, etc. don't forget deserts. Le Bistro, French and fabulous, Amazing, non salty Onion soup, or Muscles in wine sauce to start, Fillet, lamb, veal, fabulous deserts and an amazing cheese assortment with your wine. I alternated these two restaurants all trip except for one must do night in the Teppanyaki Japanese with the chef show and fabulous cooked to order food. There are Chinese, Brazilian and the 24 hr. O'Shaunasies ... never run out of food that's for sure. I am now Latitude Platinum and this gave me wonderful perks...it pays to be loyal...I got two specialty restaurants for two, a free bag of laundry, Campaign, chocolate covered strawberries...talk about pampering. I was really luck this time as I was assigned the cabin I always wanted and never could get...I got it by chance and it was dead center aft looking out over the wake...what a view from my balcony and the cabin was excellent...sleeps four but I have no idea where you would put the others...my cloths took ALL the hangers...and the bathroom was great but just room for my stuff, thank heavens I was alone. The person who never seems to get a mention is whoever it is that hires the staff. Boy what a lot of wonderful, happy, helpful people, Bravo you always hire people who suddenly become your best friends at sea. Boarding in New York was easy...on return I walked off with my suitcase so I didn't have to wait and search the dock....I was dashing for the airport for my flight back to Canada...Oh, yes, that's where the ship went...Quebec City, Halifax, Sydney, New Foundland (Corner Brook) A bit of rain at this time of year but I still enjoyed every minute of this cruise to a part of my country that I had never visited and the was the perfect way and opportunity to get a sampling of the good stuff in Eastern Canada. By the way the Fall Colors were breathtaking and I have dozens of photo's to prove it.
Great bed and good hot water pressure are the first two items of importance to me...Gem had both...T.V. not much selection...one film chancel repeated a selection of good films but as I like 75% of the passengers am a senior wanted to relax in the afternoon and see a film but I quickly ran out of choices and was left with endlessly repetitious new. Show ample size, sliding door, just enough space, great shampoo, great body wash, don't bother to take your own. lots of wonderful towels that kept turning into various creatures sitting on my bed.
Balcony had lounge, table and two chairs...stocked, pay fridge...closet and shelf space and drawers..all in all excellent...I would try for this stateroom again if I could be so lucky!
Arrived a day early to see a Broadway show and then board the Gem at my leisure the next day.
Halifax as designed a fabulous boardwalk along the dock area...you can walk into the city but a bit up and down hills...I had a fabulous Fresh Lobster Roll on the Boardwalk and really enjoyed the stole.
It was raining a bit...there is a great cruise ship dock but the spaces were occupied by other ships and so we parked a fare way around the corner. I had done a bit of research so when I left the ship I didn't take the $15. U.S. shuttle bus and instead I jumped in a waiting taxi and he took me up to the Chateau Frontenac at the top of the city...$8.00 Canadian. I saw the sights, had breakfast at the hotel, walk about...took the Funicular down to the lower historic city walked about...had coffee and pastry and then walked back to the ship...big saving over the shuttle price...TAKE A CAB!
No bad review...we were chased out of the area by a hurricane and really had a dash but still had a fairground roller coaster ride for a day and a half. Everything ended up on the floor...the duty free was demolished...my stateroom was like a war zone...I kind of enjoyed it...some idiots were trying to go walk about on the decks...the Ship security had to keep taking their canes a walkers away and sending to their rooms...(just kidding) people did do crazy things...I enjoyed chasing my breakfast about the take in the morning and some of the staff were terrified to go near the windows as the sea was rising all the way to the 7th. deck. It was interesting and nobody got hurt and everyone turned up to eat...you can always count on that.
Not the most exciting stop BUT the people of Corner Brook were wonderful, Free ten min shuttle to center of town, a town ambassador on board pointing out things...In the city square the had a market of local stuff for sale and then an indoor market where you could (if you want) buy Moose Soup...I don't think the Moose was too thrilled...The indigenous people dressed in their cultural clothing and did drums and chanting...a local group sang Newfie songs. There were WONDERFUL HOSTS...bravo..thank you.