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Norwegian Gem Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
2,530 Reviews

A very nice cruise to Canada and Maine

Norwegian Gem Cruise Review by melnick

7 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Jun 2018
  • Destination: Canada & New England
  • Cabin Type: Inside

My husband and I are in our 40's and cruise a lot. We have cruised Princess (which is our favorite), Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Azamara and have been on the Norwegian Getaway twice. We go to the Caribbean a lot and this was a nice change. Overall, I thought this was a great cruise. I am surprised at some of the poor reviews. We just go and try to enjoy the fact that we can afford a nice vacation and don't let small things bother us. We got there early for embarkation, however it was very crowded. The NYC cruise terminal is not a very nice terminal, but we were just excited to get on the ship. We got on the ship at around 11:30 and were greeted warmly. We took a walk around the ship and headed to O'Sheehan's for lunch which was very good. We walked around a little more to explore and then were able to get into our room. We had an inside cabin which was small but nice. The bathroom was larger than expected and we had plenty of storage space.

The positives:

Service. It was excellent in 95% of the places we went. Everyone we passed always smiled and said hello. Restaurant service in the main dining rooms was super. We had different servers each night and they were all good. We had managers in many restaurants come up to us to ask how our meals were and never had to wait to be seated. We did get the 3 restaurant specialty package as a bonus and ate at La Cucina, Le Bistro, and Moderno. All were good and Moderno was the most fun, but if we had to pay for the restaurants we would not. We thought food in the main dining rooms was delicious, hot, and there were good selections. We liked the Grand Pacific main dining room the best. It was really pretty.

Our room steward was very nice and he always kept everything clean, made us nice towel animals, and gave us extra towels. Whenever he saw us, he said hello and addressed us by name. We were on deck 9 and it was a great location. A few decks up to the pool and buffet and a few decks down to the entertainment, bars and restaurants.


We thought it was top notch. The dancers and singers were excellent and had 3 different shows throughout the cruise. They were always offered at 7pm and 9pm so you could work it our around dinner times. The comedian was very funny and also we saw 2 acrobats that were outstanding. I liked that there was a live orchestra for the production shows. The theater was nice and we always found seats.

We were never pressured to buy a drink package or anything else around the ship. They do have a lot of extra stuff you can spend money on like bingo, Deal or No Deal cards, lottery rip-offs, photos, etc. but no one was pushy about it.

The cruise director His name was Ferdie from the Philippines and he was very funny and outgoing. He was easy to understand and entertaining.

Viewing the bridge: my husband really liked that you could go to deck 11 and have a great view of the bridge. You could see what was going on in there, and see the captain and the crew.

The final night of the cruise was the last production show and when it was over, they did a farewell song and had about 200 staff members come up on stage and the dancers waved around flags from different countries. They thanked us for coming and choosing Norwegian and it really left us with a nice feeling. It was a great sendoff.


There are not many and they are trivial, but we once went to Orchid Garden, the free Chinese restaurant. Food was okay and it was the only place we had bad service. We went at 5pm right when they opened and the restaurant was pretty empty. We waited a while for food and then a while to get the table cleared. Also the cruise director was great, but his staff was not. They were nice but all foreign and were really hard to understand. I get that you have crew members from all over the world, however, they should know how to speak English and how to run games. Majority Rules was run terribly and so was some of the trivia's and the Jeopardy. They had a lot of technical difficulties and they could not figure out how to use a computer. So the cruise director's staff needs to know what they are doing. They do the same programs every week, so they should have them running smoothly. We also did not love the French trio who sang in the lounges and by the pool. It was weird hearing songs constantly sung in French and hearing the same ones over and over. At the pool, I would expect more modern music. The buffet: we ate breakfast there and some lunches. It was very average. It was the worst buffet on all of the cruises we've been on, but again, it was not that bad, just not good compared to others. The choices were not great, but again, it was fine. If you have not cruised before, you may think it's great. I'm just comparing it to the many other cruise buffets I've been to. One nice thing is they have self serve soft ice cream that is delicious and also hard ice cram that they scoop for you. And they offer a good selection of free drinks like lemonade, iced tea, a strawberry drink, and a mango drink along with hot coffee, tea, and milk.

These are just small complaints and again, overall we had a really great time. Fun is what you make of it. There was plenty to do during the day. There was a nice library and game room and quiet places to sit if you wanted nothing to do. It was chilly by the pool, but we did sit out there on the 2 days at sea. There was no problem finding seats and not many people were swimming because it was cold. A lot of people used the hot tubs. If it were really warm and a lot of people were in the pools, I could see it being really crowded as there are only two small pools.

We did not use the casino at all so I cannot comment on that. Disembarkation went really smoothly and there were no problems at all. We were off and through customs quickly. The ship is an older ship, but kept very clean and taken care of well. We liked all of the ports we visited, although it rained in two of them. We did two excursions through the ship and two on our own. All were good. Again, we were on vacation, so we made sure we enjoyed ourselves as many people do not get to experience cruises. The shops were okay. We wished there was more to offer in the regular gift shop as it wasn't very big.

Overall, a really fun and relaxing cruise that my husband and I both enjoyed very much.

melnick's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
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Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review

Cabin ID 9549

Nice cabin, great storage and nice size shower in bathroom. We had a small fridge (we asked our room steward to take out the drinks and we put our own water bottles in there) and safe. Very small tv, but who stays in the room to watch tv anyway.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

Bay of Fundy

Excellent tour with Alexi. Only six of us went. It was all day and $75 per person. Well worth it and went to out of the way not crowded places. Visited all over. Highly recommend.

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Saint Martin Tour

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Acadia National Park

Great tour of the park and only $33 per person for a 3 hour tour with lots of stops throughout the park. Well worth it and great guide.

Also walking around Bar Harbor afterward was great.

View All 236 Acadia National Park Reviews
City Tour

Great tour even though it was raining. Saw a beautiful lighthouse, toured all around Portland and got to spend a few hours in Kennebubkport which was really pretty. Saw G. Bush's summer house. Our guide and driver wwre great too.

View All 51 City Tour Reviews

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