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My sister and I wanted to go on a Christmas/New Year cruise and the Norwegian Gem fit our schedules. My sister had been on the Norwegian Breakaway 3 years ago at the holidays and said it was wonderful. I had been on the Norwegian Jewel many years ago and my memories were also wonderful. I had always considered Norwegian to be a cut above some of the other lines. Well, my cruise on the Gem from Dec 23rd, 2017 to January 3, 2018 was VERY DISAPPOINTING. If you are a "foodie" THIS IS NOT THE CRUISE FOR YOU. The quality and variety of the food was extremely disappointing, not at all like I remembered it to be. If we had not taken the Upscale dining package as one of our "perks" we would not have had any quality meals. Food yes, but quality and tasty meals, No. When I went to the buffet on deck 12 I felt like I was in a hospital cafeteria. If you go to the buffet during meal times it is very difficult to get a table. Cold cuts on the buffet consisted of ham, bologna, mortadella, salami or pepperoni and mostly american cheese. Only time I saw roast beef or turkey was when it was part of a hero that they sliced and gave you a piece. Hamburgers and hot dogs a staple but I NEVER saw a chicken tender or chicken nugget. The upscale dining was good but that was what I had expected in the main dining room. On my first night in the dining room (Grand Pacific) I started with the crab cake. It was 90% bread crumbs and 10% fish that tasted more like old salmon and not crab. The soup and main dish was SO SALTY I could not eat it. Even my 25 year nephew who eats a lot of "junk food" said the food was salty. I finally ordered a steak, Medium Rare. It arrived with a grayish color like it came out of a microwave. I cut it open and it was Medium Well, not medium rare. Needless to say I had cheese and crackers that night. Most other nights the food had one flavor....SALT. Meat quality was Choice if that. Desserts was another story. The predominant buffet dessert was pound cake or a sheet cake with horrible, buttercream frosting of different flavors in the middle. So many times I took one bite and did not swallow. Good way not to gain weight on a cruise. Food that came out of the kitchen was inconsistent. One night, my sister and I ordered the same thing. She got potatoes on her plate & I did not. Stateroom was average but bathroom was extremely small. If you are a large person it is definitely a challenge. The stateroom steward had beautiful towel animals waiting for us each evening in our room. Chocolates on the pillow were not to be found. I guess that's a thing of the past. Although considering what I paid for the cruise, I really was expecting chocolates. The entertainers at the shows were very talented but the overall production had very little pizazz. The show on the first night was a blank stage with a sad, lopsided, Christmas tree on each end No backdrops, no special lighting. Give me a break...this was a Holiday Cruise. Many activities on the ship had an extra charge, unless you wanted to play shuffleboard, go to the overpriced art show, or listen to music in the evening. Every night at 10:30 PM they would have a movie in the Atrium. This was situated in the center of the ship where the customer service and shore excursion desk was. It was also one of the floors that went from bow to stern so there was much traffic. This theater setting had seating for 50. YES, THAT IS FIFTY and the ship had 2700 passengers. Popcorn was not available even if you wanted to buy it. The screen was 2 stories tall but unless you sat up front you could not hear clearly or see the words on the bottom of the screen. Why they did not show a movie in the Stardust theater where the shows were held was beyond my comprehension. THe shows were over by 10 PM and was empty all day. In the past I always booked shore excursions when I got aboard. I tried to do that the first day and was sold out in two ports. I could go on and on but I think you feel my sentiments. I do not believe I will travel with NCL again. S.G.L. Hollywood, FL

NCL HAS GONE DOWNHILL

Norwegian Gem Cruise Review by Sheryl Gail

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2017
  • Destination: Eastern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Oceanview Porthole Window
My sister and I wanted to go on a Christmas/New Year cruise and the Norwegian Gem fit our schedules. My sister had been on the Norwegian Breakaway 3 years ago at the holidays and said it was wonderful. I had been on the Norwegian Jewel many years ago and my memories were also wonderful. I had always considered Norwegian to be a cut above some of the other lines.

Well, my cruise on the Gem from Dec 23rd, 2017 to January 3, 2018 was VERY DISAPPOINTING. If you are a "foodie" THIS IS NOT THE CRUISE FOR YOU.

The quality and variety of the food was extremely disappointing, not at all like I remembered it to be. If we had not taken the Upscale dining package as one of our "perks" we would not have had any quality meals. Food yes, but quality and tasty meals, No. When I went to the buffet on deck 12 I felt like I was in a hospital cafeteria. If you go to the buffet during meal times it is very difficult to get a table. Cold cuts on the buffet consisted of ham, bologna, mortadella, salami or pepperoni and mostly american cheese. Only time I saw roast beef or turkey was when it was part of a hero that they sliced and gave you a piece. Hamburgers and hot dogs a staple but I NEVER saw a chicken tender or chicken nugget.

The upscale dining was good but that was what I had expected in the main dining room.

On my first night in the dining room (Grand Pacific) I started with the crab cake. It was 90% bread crumbs and 10% fish that tasted more like old salmon and not crab. The soup and main dish was SO SALTY I could not eat it. Even my 25 year nephew who eats a lot of "junk food" said the food was salty. I finally ordered a steak, Medium Rare. It arrived with a grayish color like it came out of a microwave. I cut it open and it was Medium Well, not medium rare. Needless to say I had cheese and crackers that night.

Most other nights the food had one flavor....SALT. Meat quality was Choice if that.

Desserts was another story. The predominant buffet dessert was pound cake or a sheet cake with horrible, buttercream frosting of different flavors in the middle. So many times I took one bite and did not swallow. Good way not to gain weight on a cruise.

Food that came out of the kitchen was inconsistent. One night, my sister and I ordered the same thing. She got potatoes on her plate & I did not.

Stateroom was average but bathroom was extremely small. If you are a large person it is definitely a challenge.

The stateroom steward had beautiful towel animals waiting for us each evening in our room. Chocolates on the pillow were not to be found. I guess that's a thing of the past. Although considering what I paid for the cruise, I really was expecting chocolates.

The entertainers at the shows were very talented but the overall production had very little pizazz. The show on the first night was a blank stage with a sad, lopsided, Christmas tree on each end No backdrops, no special lighting. Give me a break...this was a Holiday Cruise.

Many activities on the ship had an extra charge, unless you wanted to play shuffleboard, go to the overpriced art show, or listen to music in the evening.

Every night at 10:30 PM they would have a movie in the Atrium. This was situated in the center of the ship where the customer service and shore excursion desk was. It was also one of the floors that went from bow to stern so there was much traffic. This theater setting had seating for 50. YES, THAT IS FIFTY and the ship had 2700 passengers. Popcorn was not available even if you wanted to buy it. The screen was 2 stories tall but unless you sat up front you could not hear clearly or see the words on the bottom of the screen. Why they did not show a movie in the Stardust theater where the shows were held was beyond my comprehension. THe shows were over by 10 PM and was empty all day.

In the past I always booked shore excursions when I got aboard. I tried to do that the first day and was sold out in two ports. I could go on and on but I think you feel my sentiments.

I do not believe I will travel with NCL again.

S.G.L. Hollywood, FL
Sheryl Gail’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Oceanview Porthole Window
Cabin OF 4590
Cabin 4590 is very centrally located. It is also right near the exit for Ports of Call. Plenty of storage space.
Deck 5 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

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    We had a 4 by 4 adventure along with the Harrison Cave. Cave experience was wonderful, however, no instructions were given as to what to do when you exited the cave. We wandered around not knowing if we had time to explore, had to get on a bus, where to meet, etc. Finally asked a worker and they said to take the elevator up a flight and go to the parking lot. That is where the 4 bu 4 was.On the 4 x 4 the driver did not narrate what we were seeing as we drove Not very organized. Did not learn anything about Barbados.
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  • ATV Adventure
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  • Island Tour
    Guide was very informative. We went to a waterfall and the mineral baths. Nice day.
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