1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Norwegian Gem
This is a repeat cruise, convenient from Manhattan. Captain was a delight to speak to, other members of senior staff seemed distant. Food was very tasty, good variety except for lunch in Grand Pacific which did not change for the 11 days we cruised. We had the Drink package but got charged for 1 drink on the last night of the cruise, mistake or calculated error? A lot of folks were scrutinizing the folio before paying it. I saw several charges that were not consistent with our spending pattern. Seems you have a unique way of naming your general ledger accounts. Why is "Bake Shop" the name used for "additional port charges" for a drink? Shore excursion team needs focus to improve - several occasions they lacked knowledge about ports. St Kitts was a money maker for NCL - you charged guests $9 RT to go from a remote dock to the main disembarking area - are you kidding, when the airlines can't land at the correct airport they hire buses (at no charge to passengers) to get us to the destination. Your excursion person explained the charge and when another passenger explained that she did not want to pay for it the passenger got the reply " if you can afford a cruise you should be able to afford the bus." Barbados was a joke - we got a note about buses the night before that was not adequately worded to explain what to do when we reached port; there were multiple lines but NO excursion people at the ship, the buses were delayed by a construction crew doing work at the end of the pier and we missed the excursion bus (saw it leave the terminal building but refused to return when radioed). The Excursion person told us we were 5 minutes late - no apology for the calamity at the dock - we were late! I asked for the name of the Excursion manager and was told " I don't know." Why don't the excursion people know who they report to? We agreed to a different excursion so as not to have a total loss for the day. I asked Customer Service on Deck 7 to have the excursion manager call me but was told to go to the excursion desk that was open at that time. We were on our way to dinner so I declined and asked that the manager call me the next morning - same answer - desk is open at 8am! I spoke to the cruise director that evening and mentioned that she and her staff were saving the cruise, at least for us. She inquired why and I explained - I got a call from the Excursion manager the next day and another from the Guest Services manager soon after. Both apologized, but the damage was done. Fortunately the beach trip to Antigua was a delight. St Thomas reboarding was a fiasco - everyone was told to be back by 12:30 and everyone was there, all 2000 of us. It took 1/2 hr waiting on lines in the blistering sun to get through security. why even stop in St Thomas ( the most shopped port in Carribean) if you have to leave by 1pm to get back to NY? Arriving in Puerto Rico at 4pm is a waste of time and money - it gets dark at 6pm and there's congestion and confusion caused by all the cruise ships that dock there - we were #6, couldn't even get a cab to go anywhere close. You should designate decks and sides of the ship as non-smoking cabins. we were next to someone smoking cigars on the balcony and had to stay inside our cabin with the door closed. or put all smokers on the tail end of the ship so smoke travel out to sea while we are underway. Of course that doesn't solve the problem when you are in port. There are many small things NCL can do to improve - NCL just has to decide where they want to be on the Excellence Continuum. My impression that "World Class" is not the target. If average generates adequate revenue I can understand why you are not spending money on improvement. My business is Service Quality - Baldrige National Quality Award level so I know it when I see it. We just got to Platinum level on this cruise, I'm not sure I want to continue the loyalty you seek but don't strive to achieve.

Thanksgiving in the southern Caribbean

Norwegian Gem Cruise Review by pjluise

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2018
  • Destination: Southern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Mid-Ship Mini-Suite with Balcony
This is a repeat cruise, convenient from Manhattan. Captain was a delight to speak to, other members of senior staff seemed distant. Food was very tasty, good variety except for lunch in Grand Pacific which did not change for the 11 days we cruised. We had the Drink package but got charged for 1 drink on the last night of the cruise, mistake or calculated error? A lot of folks were scrutinizing the folio before paying it. I saw several charges that were not consistent with our spending pattern. Seems you have a unique way of naming your general ledger accounts. Why is "Bake Shop" the name used for "additional port charges" for a drink?

Shore excursion team needs focus to improve - several occasions they lacked knowledge about ports. St Kitts was a money maker for NCL - you charged guests $9 RT to go from a remote dock to the main disembarking area - are you kidding, when the airlines can't land at the correct airport they hire buses (at no charge to passengers) to get us to the destination. Your excursion person explained the charge and when another passenger explained that she did not want to pay for it the passenger got the reply " if you can afford a cruise you should be able to afford the bus." Barbados was a joke - we got a note about buses the night before that was not adequately worded to explain what to do when we reached port; there were multiple lines but NO excursion people at the ship, the buses were delayed by a construction crew doing work at the end of the pier and we missed the excursion bus (saw it leave the terminal building but refused to return when radioed). The Excursion person told us we were 5 minutes late - no apology for the calamity at the dock - we were late! I asked for the name of the Excursion manager and was told " I don't know." Why don't the excursion people know who they report to? We agreed to a different excursion so as not to have a total loss for the day. I asked Customer Service on Deck 7 to have the excursion manager call me but was told to go to the excursion desk that was open at that time. We were on our way to dinner so I declined and asked that the manager call me the next morning - same answer - desk is open at 8am! I spoke to the cruise director that evening and mentioned that she and her staff were saving the cruise, at least for us. She inquired why and I explained - I got a call from the Excursion manager the next day and another from the Guest Services manager soon after. Both apologized, but the damage was done.

Fortunately the beach trip to Antigua was a delight. St Thomas reboarding was a fiasco - everyone was told to be back by 12:30 and everyone was there, all 2000 of us. It took 1/2 hr waiting on lines in the blistering sun to get through security. why even stop in St Thomas ( the most shopped port in Carribean) if you have to leave by 1pm to get back to NY? Arriving in Puerto Rico at 4pm is a waste of time and money - it gets dark at 6pm and there's congestion and confusion caused by all the cruise ships that dock there - we were #6, couldn't even get a cab to go anywhere close.

You should designate decks and sides of the ship as non-smoking cabins. we were next to someone smoking cigars on the balcony and had to stay inside our cabin with the door closed. or put all smokers on the tail end of the ship so smoke travel out to sea while we are underway. Of course that doesn't solve the problem when you are in port.

There are many small things NCL can do to improve - NCL just has to decide where they want to be on the Excellence Continuum. My impression that "World Class" is not the target. If average generates adequate revenue I can understand why you are not spending money on improvement. My business is Service Quality - Baldrige National Quality Award level so I know it when I see it. We just got to Platinum level on this cruise, I'm not sure I want to continue the loyalty you seek but don't strive to achieve.
pjluise’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Norwegian Gem price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email

Cabin Review

Mid-Ship Mini-Suite with Balcony
Cabin MA 11552
Deck chairs are not comfortable - couch in mini-suite would not remain in closed position, very uncomfortable to sit on. Woodwork in cabin squeaked when ship rocked keeping us awake at night. Wifi was not strong enough in many areas to use the onboard app or send email.
Deck 11 Inside Cabins, Suite Cabins