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With every cruise, you have the good with the bad. I've cruised many times before on different lines. My cruise rankings thus far: Disney, Royal, NCL/Carnival (tie). I will not be cruising Norwegian or Carnival again. -Service. This may be due to the freestyle dining and the fact that you never have the same server twice, but the service is just like any restaurant it would be anywhere. With cruising, i'm used to the service being over the top fun and fantastic. Other than the 'happy happy, washy washy' exuberant hand wash women, I'd say the service was just ok. Bare minimum standard, ok. Some better and some worse than others. -Ship. This ship is small. For 10 days (originally scheduled for 5 sea days), there is not enough to do. The pools are fun but the deck allows for only a pitiful number of chairs. People were literally on deck at 7 am to claim chairs and I saw multiple arguments regarding whether or not a chair was saved or not. -Food. The food was ok. Like any mass produced food, you can generally tell it's mass produced. We were happy with the buffet and there are stations where you can have food made to order. When pretty much the same food was served in the restaurants, we were not impressed. The specialty restaurants were delicious. Our room came with 4 dinners. We did Hibachi, Le Bistro, and Moderno and each one was amazing and would have been worth getting a dining package if it wasn't included. Room Service food was as expected. We liked eating on the balcony. -Shows. The Magician (comedian) was hilarious. The acrobats were awesome. The comedian was funny. We enjoyed these shows. The dancers were ok. Cruise ship dancers and shows. Fun but nothing you would go see if you had other options. Although we did love the acrobats we heard several guests complaining that they had seen the exact same show, with no alterations, on the Gem 2 years ago. They were wondering why the shows had not been updated at all. -Room. We booked the 2 bedroom suite. The room was great. There is a huge bedroom and amazing bathroom. If you are thinking of sharing this suite with adults, don't. The 2nd bedroom is much smaller than an inside cabin. No storage. No robes. No special shampoo in the bathroom. I could not understand, even if this room was occupied by children, that this bedroom would not include these minor amenities. Otherwise, the suite was wonderful. Large balcony, and the living area was a great space for the kids to move around without being on top of everyone. -Value. I don't want to go on a cruise so that I can be a target for terrible sales. I did not see value in anything offered on the ship other than to get more money from you. I'm fine with paying money for something, but I then expect that something to be what was promised. This cruise was a poor value for the money, and even worse, a poor value for my vacation time that I feel is precious and was wasted on this trip, more than my money. A few examples: -Painting class: When you sign up for a painting class, there are canvases displayed (perhaps 14"x20"), normal art canvas and a nice painting. Great, we signed up. When we got to the class, they handed out these flat canvas things that were smaller and were much smaller and did not have the wood backer. Why would they not just show the painting on this type of smaller canvas? The 'teacher' was terrible. As in, he had obviously never painted before and my 12 year old daughters painting was better than his. His teaching was even worse. It was that bad. -Shuffleboard tournament: A fun little break for the family. We joined the shuffleboard tournament. The gentleman running the tournament kept talking on his phone and looking at his watch the entire time. This was supposed to be a guy encouraging other people to have fun. A woman came in about 3 minutes late and he told her we didn't have time to add her. The other guests were fun and we encouraged each other, but the cruise guy was terrible. So bored and couldn't be bothered. This was the feel we got from most of the staff on board. At least a fun little prize for the winner? Nope. keychain? Nothing. -Suite benefits: The best part about the suite was the super crazy easy embark/disembark process. You literally just show up and walk on/walk off. At the ports you also get escorted right off the ship. There is no priority line to get back on, which generally took 30-45 minutes waiting in line, but getting off was awesome. You also get to eat in nice restaurants for breakfast and lunch, but its the same menu every day so it got old. The suite of course, very nice. The butler brought us snacks one a day which was a nice little treat. The movies on the TV are all included. -Overall: We had a fun cruise. The islands stops were very commercial but we always have a great time. We knew by day 3 we would not be cruising on NCL again, but still made the most of our trip and had a good time.

Lots of promises, low delivery

Norwegian Gem Cruise Review by dicyr

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: February 2018
  • Destination: Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Family Penthouse with Balcony
With every cruise, you have the good with the bad. I've cruised many times before on different lines. My cruise rankings thus far: Disney, Royal, NCL/Carnival (tie). I will not be cruising Norwegian or Carnival again.

-Service. This may be due to the freestyle dining and the fact that you never have the same server twice, but the service is just like any restaurant it would be anywhere. With cruising, i'm used to the service being over the top fun and fantastic. Other than the 'happy happy, washy washy' exuberant hand wash women, I'd say the service was just ok. Bare minimum standard, ok. Some better and some worse than others.

-Ship. This ship is small. For 10 days (originally scheduled for 5 sea days), there is not enough to do. The pools are fun but the deck allows for only a pitiful number of chairs. People were literally on deck at 7 am to claim chairs and I saw multiple arguments regarding whether or not a chair was saved or not.

-Food. The food was ok. Like any mass produced food, you can generally tell it's mass produced. We were happy with the buffet and there are stations where you can have food made to order. When pretty much the same food was served in the restaurants, we were not impressed.

The specialty restaurants were delicious. Our room came with 4 dinners. We did Hibachi, Le Bistro, and Moderno and each one was amazing and would have been worth getting a dining package if it wasn't included.

Room Service food was as expected. We liked eating on the balcony.

-Shows. The Magician (comedian) was hilarious. The acrobats were awesome. The comedian was funny. We enjoyed these shows. The dancers were ok. Cruise ship dancers and shows. Fun but nothing you would go see if you had other options. Although we did love the acrobats we heard several guests complaining that they had seen the exact same show, with no alterations, on the Gem 2 years ago. They were wondering why the shows had not been updated at all.

-Room. We booked the 2 bedroom suite. The room was great. There is a huge bedroom and amazing bathroom. If you are thinking of sharing this suite with adults, don't. The 2nd bedroom is much smaller than an inside cabin. No storage. No robes. No special shampoo in the bathroom. I could not understand, even if this room was occupied by children, that this bedroom would not include these minor amenities. Otherwise, the suite was wonderful. Large balcony, and the living area was a great space for the kids to move around without being on top of everyone.

-Value. I don't want to go on a cruise so that I can be a target for terrible sales. I did not see value in anything offered on the ship other than to get more money from you. I'm fine with paying money for something, but I then expect that something to be what was promised. This cruise was a poor value for the money, and even worse, a poor value for my vacation time that I feel is precious and was wasted on this trip, more than my money. A few examples:

-Painting class: When you sign up for a painting class, there are canvases displayed (perhaps 14"x20"), normal art canvas and a nice painting. Great, we signed up. When we got to the class, they handed out these flat canvas things that were smaller and were much smaller and did not have the wood backer. Why would they not just show the painting on this type of smaller canvas? The 'teacher' was terrible. As in, he had obviously never painted before and my 12 year old daughters painting was better than his. His teaching was even worse. It was that bad.

-Shuffleboard tournament: A fun little break for the family. We joined the shuffleboard tournament. The gentleman running the tournament kept talking on his phone and looking at his watch the entire time. This was supposed to be a guy encouraging other people to have fun. A woman came in about 3 minutes late and he told her we didn't have time to add her. The other guests were fun and we encouraged each other, but the cruise guy was terrible. So bored and couldn't be bothered. This was the feel we got from most of the staff on board. At least a fun little prize for the winner? Nope. keychain? Nothing.

-Suite benefits: The best part about the suite was the super crazy easy embark/disembark process. You literally just show up and walk on/walk off. At the ports you also get escorted right off the ship. There is no priority line to get back on, which generally took 30-45 minutes waiting in line, but getting off was awesome. You also get to eat in nice restaurants for breakfast and lunch, but its the same menu every day so it got old.

The suite of course, very nice. The butler brought us snacks one a day which was a nice little treat. The movies on the TV are all included.

-Overall: We had a fun cruise. The islands stops were very commercial but we always have a great time. We knew by day 3 we would not be cruising on NCL again, but still made the most of our trip and had a good time.
dicyr’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Ages 10 to 12
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Family Penthouse with Balcony
Cabin SC 11524
The room was great. There is a huge bedroom and amazing bathroom. If you are thinking of sharing this suite with adults, don't. The 2nd bedroom is much smaller than an inside cabin. No storage. No robes. No special shampoo in the bathroom. I could not understand, even if this room was occupied by children, that this bedroom would not include these minor amenities. Otherwise, the suite was wonderful. Large balcony, and the living area was a great space for the kids to move around without being on top of everyone.
Deck 11 Inside Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews