Norwegian Gem Cruise Review by mamameghan14
- Sail Date: June 2018
- Destination: Canada & New England
- Cabin Type: Family Balcony
We have taken over 20 cruises, most on NCL, some on Carnival. This is our second time on the Gem, 1st Platinum cruise out of Manhattan. Traffic was a bear getting into the port Saturday morning- we find there is much lighter traffic on Sunday departures but oh well. We drove 2 hours from PA, dropped our luggage at the port with 2 family members, then left our car at Park Right (3rd time we have used them and much less expensive than parking at the pier), then 10 minute back to the pier. We anticipated long lines but since we were Platinum Latitudes we were whisked away to priority line and never sat down, we were on the ship within 15 minutes!
We had lunch at O'Sheehan's and ate there several times for breakfast and lunch throughout the cruise and enjoyed the food and service. The bar there was also very convenient to our cabin and the bartenders knew my husband by name by the end of the day, he was always served immediately. It helps to tip, just a dollar per order is well worth it and much appreciated.
We had the drink package and made good use of it. We could order two drinks at a time so a pina colada with rum floater, 2 glasses of wine, etc. Our son was 18 and turned 19 a week after cruise. We signed waiver to allow him to purchase beer and wine on the ship.
We never ate dinner in the MDR. We had two free dinners due to platinum status, and bought a 3 meal dining plan. One night we ate in the buffet and our tradition is to eat in the Orchid Garden the last night. Expect a solid TWO HOURS to dine in the specialties for dinner. It just takes time, plan your shows accordingly.
Le Bistro - v good.
Moderno- we have skipped this for a few years after a mediocre dinner on Breakaway. But decided to give it another chance with our two teens. OMG- the lamb chops were sizzling off the skewer and melted in my mouth! Best ones I've ever had!
La Cucina- had great wait staff, food delicious. Tiramisu to die for.
Teppanyaki- went the first night to celebrate son's graduation. Always a good time, singing along with the chefs.
Cagney's- always a fan favorite. Sad there was no cheesecake on the menu. Prime rib was some of the best I've ever had.
Orchid Garden- we always eat in the Asian restaurant on the last day. We like it there, food was good.
We did not see the production number shows but saw several others. Due to dining plans we were forced to miss some of our favorite shows such as The Not-so Newlywed Game.
The magician was AWESOME. Our entire family saw both of his shows and it entertained all of us. The comedian was so-so. I can only take so many jokes about New Yorkers. The acrobat duo was the favorite- a married couple from France who were acrobats but also just really great entertainers. Saw them around the pool with their young son. Thoroughly enjoyed them, would have liked to see more of them!
We also took the free ship tour for certain latitudes levels. We have done it before but I wanted our two teens to see behind the scenes and get a feeling of how many people are working very hard to make our vacation enjoyable and to make everything on the ship run smoothly.
Ferdie (aka Jackie Chan) was our CD. Lots of energy, great dancer, lots of corny jokes. I saw him around the ship often and my daughter asked him when Fountains would be showing- WHAT??? it was done away with a few years back? Somehow I missed that tidbit of info. Hydenically, it's for the best. But that show was hysterical.
Enjoyed all of the live music in the lounges, always something to do.
We went to the meet and greet the first day at sea and it was right before lunch and unfortunately sandwiched between a bunch of other activities we had scheduled.
It was very well-attended and they were planning a room crawl and a slot pull and maybe something else I can;t recall. We were unable to stay but it looked like they were going to have a great time! I was soryy to miss seeing the 2 bedroom haven penthouse suite!
took an Uber to Cocoa Beach, our first time there. Very nice,clean beach. Rented an umbrella, worth it because it was scorching hot that day. Ate some munchies and had a drink at Coconuts at the Beach at happy hour, then Uber'd back to the port.
Great Stirrup Cay-
CUE MUSIC OF ANGELS SINGING
we have been trying to get to this island again for YEARS!!!! Have not made it there since it was completely refurbished. Missed it twice for weather issues, third time is a charm! We rented small cabana #12, worth every penny! Got a $50 food credit when we booked so had sushi, fresh fruit, chips and salsa, and cabana 12 is very easy access to the restrooms and the BAR and a very short walk to the water. The bartenders just kept em coming. Favorite time of this cruise and maybe any cruise!
we were the ONLY SHIP DOCKED!
If you've been there, you know what a rarity this is. We took the ship excursion to Blue Lagoon Island, second time there. Nice bbq lunch, no crowds to speak of, nice snorkeling right off the rocks with a lifeguard right there on his paddle board keeping an eye on us and pointing things out. You can rent snorkel gear or we brought our own.
Then we dropped my daughter at the ship and went to the straw market, haven't been in years. This is just not my scene. A merchant asked if my son wanted to buy sunglasses, then he had us follow him FAR into the bowels of the straw market. Felt very uncomfortable and vulnerable. The glasses looked like they were from the dollar store and we left immediately. The other stores were safe and we made some purchases but I will never go into the straw market again. Freaked me out.
Went back to the ship for everyone's favorite activity: watching the PIER RUNNERS!
And they did not disappoint. So many! They had an ATV shuttling people down the pier to the ship. The ship was blowing her horn and getting impatient. One couple could barely stagger to the gangway. But I think everyone made it. Barely.
I really wanted to post a positive review on the Gem. We've all read the ones that accentuate and dwell on the negative. We had a great time on her, as we did previously. There are always a few small issues, like when the door to our room decided not to stay closed on the 3rd day! It just kept popping back open. We were going to be late for dinner reservations so my husband called to have it fixed and we went to dinner. Someone came within minutes and fixed the problem very quickly. Great response.
The only other issue I recall was that a small child barfed in the pool on our first day at sea. Of course they had to follow protocol and drain and disinfect the pool, the whole process takes almost 8 hours, nothing to be done. And I'm sure that forces some kids into the adult pool but there's nothing to be done about it. They did the best they could and the pool was reopened even sooner than we expected.
Disembarcation was pretty painless. We had gold latitudes luggage tags so we got off the ship right after the self-assist. Breezed thru customs and then schlepped our bags 10 minutes to the Park Right garage. Actually had about a 30 minute wait there, they had a bit of a backup but no biggie.
Bought a cruise-next voucher so already trying to decide where to sail in 2019- my vote is the BA again.