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Norwegian Gem Review

4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating
2493 reviews
9 Awards

NCL: I Won’t Be Back

Review for Norwegian Gem to Canada & New England
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10+ Cruises • Age 60s

Rating by category

Public Rooms

Additional details

Sail Date: Sep 2019
Cabin: Balcony

I am an experienced cruiser having sailed at least 20 times in Alaska, Europe, the Caribbean, and Canada/New England. Most of my experience has been with Celebrity, which I love, but I have also cruised with Princes, Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Holland America. This was my first cruise on Norwegian and I will not be back. Here is why.

The drinking water policy on the ship is obviously Norwegian’s strategy to get its guests to fork over money for what is a health necessity. You cannot bring any bottled drinking water on the ship. It will be confiscated. If you want to avoid paying for NCL’s bottled water, then you are forced to use the tap in your bathroom or the water dispensers up in the buffet. Both of these options will give you water that smells and tastes of chlorine. Yuk! The water dispensers are not without additional problems, because despite posted directions to the contrary, people fill their germy water bottles and used glasses directly under these dispensers. If you want to avoid these contaminated dispensers and purchase NCL’s bottled water, you will be forced to pay $6 per liter bottle or $16.95 for 6 bottles, $29.95 for 12 or $44.95 for 24 bottles of NCL’s “purified water,” which is not spring water and tastes exactly like the stuff out of the tap or dispensers.. For all of these prices, add a 20% gratuity as well. Really, NCL? I understand your wanting to make money on people’s desire for soda or alcohol, but water? That is pushing the limits of common decency for making a buck off of your guests. I won’t cruise with you again specifically because of this policy.

My friend and I found out about the water policy when we each purchased two sealed bottles of water in a port and tried to bring them back onboard the ship. They were confiscated as we entered the ship. When we went to Guest Services to talk to them about this event, we were dealt with very shabbily. One representative pointed to a tiny blue box titled Agricultural Notice on the daily events sheet which said that “Due to public health regulations, food of any kind (hot, raw or unpacked/packed) is not allowed to be brought onboard or taken off the ship at any time. Beverages cannot be brought onboard. Wine or liquor purchased in any port of call will be stored by the ship and given back to the guest on the evening before disembarkation or the morning of disembarkation.” I understand the food restrictions for health reasons and the wine and liquor restrictions for making money, but not the restriction on bringing in water. It is not justified under any circumstances and the policy should be dropped.

Cabin Review


Cabin BX

I have never been in a balcony cabin that was so poorly laid out. It’s a good thing that my friend and I are small ladies because a larger man or woman would be extremely uncomfortable in these rooms. We had our beds separated and that meant you had to squeeze your way past one bed to get to the other. The bathroom was tiny by any standard and my husband would have never fit in that shower. Storage was limited, so if you are bringing more than a carry-on bag with clothes, good luck putting everything away. There were three tittle drawers for the two of us and a couple of cubby holes to share. That’s all.

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