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Norwegian Gem Review

4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating
2461 reviews
9 Awards

Great itinerary and production cast, other aspects so-so

Review for Norwegian Gem to Canada & New England
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chankahon
2-5 Cruises • Age 30s

Rating by category

Cabin
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Fitness & Recreation

Additional details

Sail Date: Oct 2018
Cabin: Inside
Stardust Threatre
Grand Pacific - one of the two main dining rooms.
Swordfish Carpaccio (MDR dinner, 1st sea day)
Magnets from the onboard shop
Ship-specific tee-cap set from the onboard shop
Inflated ship toy from the onboard shop
Other merchandise from the onboard shop
Key rings from the onboard shop
Magnets from the onboard shop
A selection from the breakfast buffet
Ship at Charlottetown, P.E.I.
Towel elephant in cabin and an invitation for comments
Tiramisu (MDR dinner, Charlottetown night)
Shrimp main and deep-fried calamari at Orchid Garden. Also ordered a bowl o
Ship at Halifax on one of the few fine days
Ship docked at Boston
Spinnaker Lounge on a sunny morning
Pilot boat approaching off Halifax, Canada
Shrimp curry main (MDR dinner, Sydney night)
Fresh fruit plate (MDR breakfast, Saint John morning)
Strawberry yogurt parfait (MDR breakfast, Saint John morning)
Egg Benedict on waffles with sausages (MDR breakfast - daily features, Sain
Souvenirs on sale after leaving last Canadian port (Saint John). Good deal
La Cucina open for breakfast buffet (seating only)
Chicken skewer with rice (MDR dinner, Portland night)
Dessert (MDR dinner, Portland night)
Spinnaker Lounge in action
Pea soup (MDR dinner, Bar Harbor night)
Mozzarella and tomato appetizer (MDR dinner, Bar Harbor night)
White fish main (MDR dinner, Bar Harbor night)
Phylicia Freeman's solo night with an amazing band. She's the stand
Ship-specific festive ornament from the onboard shop.
Deep fried shrimp appetizer (MDR dinner, Boston night)
Meatball appetizer (MDR dinner, Boston night)
Stir-fried beef with rice. One of the most memorable dishes (MDR dinner, Bo
"Souffle" that had little in common with the souffle I knew (MDR di
Fruit plate (MDR breakfast, 2nd sea day)
Spinach pancake with smoked salmon (MDR breakfast daily features, 2nd sea d
Main pool that was mostly empty on this chilly cruise.
Sushi demonstration on 2nd sea day that has no enriching qualities to speak
CruiseNext presentation in atrium on 2nd sea day, the day before disembarka
Hummus with pita bread (MDR lunch, 2nd sea day)
Popcorn chicken (MDR lunch, 2nd sea day)
One of the two failed Deal or No Deal shows.
Oceanview cafe at the back of the buffet restaurant. Great for the warmer d
Art auction on 2nd sea day at the Bliss lounge.
Movie showing in atrium on 2nd sea day.
Clearance on sea day was way more popular.
Bingo! That price tag was discouraging.
Final-day Bingo was held at the Stardust Theatre.
Pan-fried port stickers (Orchid Garden). I hope they could serve some black
Spicy chocolate cake at Orchid Garden was the best dessert I've had on
Crew farewell on final night
"Peking duck" at Asian-themed dinner buffet on 2nd sea day. Again I
Sushi at dinner buffet on last day.
Roast pig at Asian-themed dinner buffet on 2nd sea day
A staircase
The mid-ship Magnum's Champagne & Wine Bar
Stateroom TV showing the ship's voyage on the last day. This navigation
Statue of Liberty from the ship, hours before disembarkation in NYC.
Lower Manhattan with NYC 1 as ship sails up Hudson River.
Fruit plate with berries (MDR breakfast, disembarkation day)
Egg benedict with ham (MDR breakfast, disembarkation day). No daily feature
Norwegian Gem as seen from the Intrepid Museum, hours after disembarkation.
Lamb leg main (MDR lunch, embarkation day at Quebec)
Cabin 5021, view of bed from cabinet corner.
Cabin 5021, view of cabinets from bed. Door to hallway to the left, between
Bathroom at cabin 5021.
Magenta Main Dining Room, midship.
Sail away from Quebec at around 8pm.
Garden Cafe overlooking Saguenay River.
Spinnaker Lounge, overlooking Saguenay River during sail away.
Orange peel beef with rice at Orchid Garden.
Chinese (Mandarin) lesson in atrium in the morning.
Breakfast at O'Sheehan's.
USD10 sale on first sea day
Canvas by U! painting class - 1st sea day with the "Northern Lights&#34
Canvas by U! painting class - 1st sea day with the "Northern Lights&#34

Took the Canada/New England cruise with a last-minute solo offer and was my second cruise on NCL. Overall it was great value, but food and service were not as good as the Norway cruise on NCL Star two years ago.

★The GOOD★

Excellent itinerary (overnight at Quebec and 8 other ports of call) with reasonable port hours and just two sea days. Dock at Quebec City was farther away from the old town but still walkable. Departures at 5pm could squeeze port visits, but that also meant we usually sailed out just before sunset.

Cabin Review

Inside

Cabin IF

Chosen by system upon booking and will avoid it next time. Proximity to forward lift lobby wasn't a major concern, but one side of the cabin wall was facing the corridor. Without the bathroom as a partition, I could hear a lot of late night walking outside from the bed.

Otherwise the L-shaped cabinet/closet layout was quite handy. A lot of storage space and flat surface. Fixtures and textile very well maintained and cabin steward did a great job in keeping my mess in check. Closet safe failed to open after entering correct password once, but it was again fine moments later.

Power socket next to ice bucket was European continental two-pin. At least one functioning USB charging portal on TV set.

Port Reviews

Quebec City

Docked at Berth 30, closer to the bus and train terminus. Berth can be accessed from either the motorway leading to bus terminal (outer pier), the inner harbor promenade leading to the old market, or a harbor bridge linking the other two old port berths. Note trains may pass by to block the access via inner harbor and bridge.

Old city is within walking distance (20 minutes). Montmorency Falls is an easy 30-minute ride from Berth 30 by bus 800.

Saguenay

Welcomed by friendly, warm and dressed-up residents at La Baie pier with excellent blueberry pies and lumberjack contest.

While there aren't any star attractions in the vicinity, Parc de la Rivière-du-Moulin in autumn was a very pleasant surprise. Went there by bus #5 (hourly departures, ride takes 35 mins) and found out park was larger than indicated on Google Map - the entire section of the rapids down to the Saguegay River is accessible by marked paths.

The park was not large - it should take probably two hours to complete one way, depending on which route to follow. There are plenty of paved and rugged paths connected together and the unpaved trail was actually easy to walk on a slightly wet day.

Maps are distributed to show the highlights along the rapids. It was relatively quiet during my visit due to light rain, but still the fall colors were bursting. My most memorable excursion in the entire cruise!

There was a large mall near the park's visitor center with a few other restaurants nearby. La Baie the town itself features a few interesting shops but there was not a lot to see.

Charlottetown (Prince Edward Island)

Charlottetown might seem small, but it boasts some of the most sophisticated and yet affordable handcraft sellers among all the places I'd visited in this cruise. Many of those stores were between the cruise ship berth and the main street.

An Irish pub (Olde Dublin) serves CAD1 oysters after 4pm upon drink consumption - those were reasonable good.

Sydney (Nova Scotia)

Went to the Miners' Museum at Glace Bay on a public bus, though the walk from downtown Glace Bay to museum takes about 20 minutes.

Coal mining used to the economic mainstay of the area - the museum not only presented the history with artifacts and exhibits, but also a hands-on experience in an underground coal mine.

While the mine was built in the 1960s for the museum, it does contain real coal and have very low ceilings. The mine tunnels can only be visited by tours guided by retired miners and it took over an hour. It was both informative and fun.

Also highly recommend the on-site restaurant, which serves excellent lobster rolls. Note it only opens seasonally and closed in mid-October for the 2018 season.

Halifax

Most attractions are within walking distance and some of them, such as the immigrants' museum and the farmers' market are right next to the ship berth. It was easy to pack a day with multiple museums and heritage sites.

Saint John (New Brunswick)

The "Saint John Highlights and the Fundy Shore" tour that I booked with an independent operator was a little disappointing for the US$86 price tag. The reversing rapids was alright, but the touristy light house village and the coastal cave did not quite match up...

Portland (Maine)

A lively, lovely small city with plenty of artisan bakeries, craft breweries and a good art gallery. Also highly recommend the Portland City and Lighthouse Tour with the Portland Discovery Land & Sea Tours.

Bar Harbor

Acadia National Park is a must-do, though I didn't find the scenery to be exceptional. Maybe because of the gloomy weather.

The town itself is cozy with a number of restaurants and shops. Check low tide times in advance in order to hike on the Bar Island. I saw the tide came in and the sand bar could become inaccessible quickly.

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