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This was my 3rd solo cruise on the Gem, and the worst experience by far. The cleanliness and maintenance of the ship has deteriorated a lot since the first time I sailed; there are far fewer crew members on board, so much so that it can take 2 hours to get through dinner in the main dining rooms. Food arrived cold quite frequently; the entertainment was poor compared to other cruises. I changed cabins on the third day of the cruise (went from an oceanview on deck 4 in the very front of the ship - a TERRIBLE experience in rough seas - to an oceanview on deck 5 midship. When the gentleman from customer service showed me the new cabin, there were two bottles of wine and two trays of chocolate-covered strawberries on the table in the cabin - obviously having sat there for 3 days - quite disgusting, to say the least. But I was much happier with that cabin location. About 2 weeks prior to the cruise, the prices dropped to rock bottom, I can only assume so they could fill the ship, so there were a LOT of people irritated at having paid more for an inside cabin than a lot of new bookings paid for a balcony. There were many more heavy drinkers on this cruise than I've ever experienced before, and a lot more smokers. Basic safety rules were flagrantly disregarded by most passengers - people lighting up anywhere they chose, and disposing of cigarette butts over the rails; people traipsing through the buffet in wet bathing suits, etc. Either the crew is not empowered to enforce the rules, or told not to upset guests, I'm not sure which, but it left a sour taste in my mouth. The smell of cigarette smoke was prevalent almost everywhere. The solo group on this cruise was the worst of my 3 experiences. Mainly a combination of some of the people in it being absolutely awful, and the lack of interest on the part of the solo host. The cruise director staff on this ship was stretched extremely thin. I was told that 140 crew members were leaving the ship when we got back to New York, and many of them were leaving the company altogether. There were several crew members who departed at various ports during the cruise itself. Norwegian absolutely does "nickel and dime", but since I know that going in, I plan accordingly. But the most foolish thing I've seen them do, which tells me the most about their corporate mentality, occurred on the day we got back to New York. On disembarkation day of the other two cruises I've done there were stations all around the ship with coffee, tea, hot chocolate and pastries/muffins. Well, this time, far fewer locations to obtain a hot drink (and it was FRIGID throughout the ship when we got back to New York - it was absolutely freezing in the main dining room, the waitstaff were shivering) and NO pastries/muffins. Really, Norwegian, THAT'S going to save you a ton of money? That was a big customer service red flag for me. I've loved Norwegian in the past, I only live two hours from Manhattan, and they do have the best prices for a solo cruiser, but for me the the cruise is about the time on the ship and the weather on the journey, not the destination ports. I will be very seriously re-evaluating whether I will travel with them again or not.

Disappointing

Norwegian Gem Cruise Review by Greenleaf7

Trip Details
This was my 3rd solo cruise on the Gem, and the worst experience by far. The cleanliness and maintenance of the ship has deteriorated a lot since the first time I sailed; there are far fewer crew members on board, so much so that it can take 2 hours to get through dinner in the main dining rooms. Food arrived cold quite frequently; the entertainment was poor compared to other cruises.

I changed cabins on the third day of the cruise (went from an oceanview on deck 4 in the very front of the ship - a TERRIBLE experience in rough seas - to an oceanview on deck 5 midship. When the gentleman from customer service showed me the new cabin, there were two bottles of wine and two trays of chocolate-covered strawberries on the table in the cabin - obviously having sat there for 3 days - quite disgusting, to say the least. But I was much happier with that cabin location.

About 2 weeks prior to the cruise, the prices dropped to rock bottom, I can only assume so they could fill the ship, so there were a LOT of people irritated at having paid more for an inside cabin than a lot of new bookings paid for a balcony. There were many more heavy drinkers on this cruise than I've ever experienced before, and a lot more smokers.

Basic safety rules were flagrantly disregarded by most passengers - people lighting up anywhere they chose, and disposing of cigarette butts over the rails; people traipsing through the buffet in wet bathing suits, etc. Either the crew is not empowered to enforce the rules, or told not to upset guests, I'm not sure which, but it left a sour taste in my mouth. The smell of cigarette smoke was prevalent almost everywhere.

The solo group on this cruise was the worst of my 3 experiences. Mainly a combination of some of the people in it being absolutely awful, and the lack of interest on the part of the solo host. The cruise director staff on this ship was stretched extremely thin. I was told that 140 crew members were leaving the ship when we got back to New York, and many of them were leaving the company altogether. There were several crew members who departed at various ports during the cruise itself.

Norwegian absolutely does "nickel and dime", but since I know that going in, I plan accordingly. But the most foolish thing I've seen them do, which tells me the most about their corporate mentality, occurred on the day we got back to New York. On disembarkation day of the other two cruises I've done there were stations all around the ship with coffee, tea, hot chocolate and pastries/muffins. Well, this time, far fewer locations to obtain a hot drink (and it was FRIGID throughout the ship when we got back to New York - it was absolutely freezing in the main dining room, the waitstaff were shivering) and NO pastries/muffins. Really, Norwegian, THAT'S going to save you a ton of money? That was a big customer service red flag for me.

I've loved Norwegian in the past, I only live two hours from Manhattan, and they do have the best prices for a solo cruiser, but for me the the cruise is about the time on the ship and the weather on the journey, not the destination ports. I will be very seriously re-evaluating whether I will travel with them again or not.
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