Happy Happy - Smiley Smiley: Norwegian Gem Cruise Review by flute777

Norwegian Gem 5
Member Since 2010

Overall Member Rating

Happy Happy - Smiley Smiley

Sail Date: May 2010
Destination: Europe - Eastern Mediterranean
Embarkation: Venice
I've read many of the reviews here on the Gem, and our experience was a very positive one as opposed to some of the other reviews I read. The negative reviews actually had me concerned before going. We, however, had a wonderful time.

We arrived a couple days early so we could see the sites in Venice. What an amazing city! I am so glad we decided to do that before leaving on the cruise.

We did not use any transportation provided by Norwegian. The Crowne Plaza hotel we stayed at arranged a taxi to pick us up in the early afternoon. We had been advised by the taxi driver that picked us up from the airport to not show up at the port until 1:00 or later because it's crazy at noon time. We took his advice and are very happy we did. There were 4 of us so the taxi ride to the port was a total of 60 Euro. (Which is less per person than the shuttle ride Norwegian offers)

Because we arrived around 1:20 or so, the embarkation was a breeze. There were signs clearly More marked where to go. It did help that the taxi driver dropped us off at the right spot as well. We immediately turned in our luggage and it didn't take long after that to get on board. They used a group numbering system for going through security. We didn't wait very long for our number to be called.

The ship itself is very clean. We were impressed with how they were always making sure things were clean. They were often vacuuming for example. The decor is a bit loud, but aside from that, it is a beautiful ship.

We really enjoyed our room. We had a mini-suite which was very spacious and had plenty of storage space for our clothing and anything else we needed put away. I liked the fact that there was a separate vanity area for getting ready with a blow dryer. The bathroom was very spacious as well. The best part of all is the balcony. We loved having that private outdoor space.

Our room stewards were very good. They addressed us by name every time they saw us in the hallway. Our rooms were always very clean and the made sure we always had clean towels.

The food wasn't terrible or amazing. I don't go on cruises for the food though. The main dining rooms had decent food. We only ate at an up-charge restaurant twice. The first time was at the Tex-Mex. I don't think that was worth the up-charge price. I think the food in the main dining rooms is better. The other time was at Teppanyaki. This restaurant was worth the up-charge. I would say the food was very good. It seemed to be the most popular as it was always booked and reservations are necessary to get in. We had called for reservations a little after 7:00 AM, and the only times left were 5:30 PM and 9:30 PM. We know for next time to call the day before if we want other times. The buffet was good for breakfast. The omelette station will make you a fresh omelette and you just tell the cook what ingredients you want in it. Overall, the food on the cruise was fine.

The service was very good all over the ship. It felt to me that the crew wanted to make sure we were happy.

I've read people complain about nickel and diming. All cruises charge for alcohol and they do approach you in any public area you sit in, but you don't have to buy anything. And if they approach you for anything else, (such as bottled water) just say no. It's up to you as to how much you spend on the ship.

We really enjoyed most of the entertainment on the ship. The Broadway style shows were very enjoyable. I personally enjoyed the last one the most which was called "World Beat". There are a total of 3 of the Broadway style shows and we enjoyed them all. The magic show was good, but the magicians assistant, who is also his wife, wasn't wearing much clothing; especially at the end. The last night was an opera singer. He was very good. He sang music from Pavarotti and Andrea Bocelli. Opera isn't really of much interest to me, but I appreciated his talent. The only entertainment I really didn't enjoy was the female singer by the pool. She sings flat constantly and it was hard to listen to. Okay, so that's my one negative comment. The male singer was very good though.

The ports were all very enjoyable. They were all unique from one another which made it even more fun. We did not do any shore excursions though the ship. We knew it would be cheaper to do things on our own. I did hear the kayaking in Split was a lot of fun though which may have been worth it because that's not something you can do on your own.

The debarkation was painless as well. You can pick up colored luggage tags that represent the time you would like to debark. We had pre-arranged for a taxi to take us back to the airport so we were able to select the tag that best suit our time, which was great. You do have to be out of your room by 9:00 AM, but there they do have to start getting the rooms ready for the next cruise coming aboard, so there is a good reason. We were sad to leave the ship but walked off very happy happy, smiley smiley. (This will mean something to those who are taking this cruise) Less

Published 05/17/10

Cabin review: MA11588 Mid-Ship Mini-Suite with Balcony

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Port and Shore Excursions

Turn your clocks ahead an hour. This is a docked port which is a huge plus. We rented a car on Corfu for 60 Euros for the day. My husband and I were with my parents, so only having to pay 30 Euros for our portion wasn't bad. Corfu is a fairly big island so we are very happy that we rented a car. We drove around to the other side to the beaches. The beaches there are stunning! The shopping and the cafes are worth taking in as well in the main part of town.

Read 499 Corfu Reviews

This is another docked port. Iraklion is a big city and with a big city comes pollution. The traffic is insane as well. A taxi driver approached us and offered us a 2 and a half hour private tour of the island for 80 Euros. Since we were with my parents we were able to only pay half of that. (All that taxi drivers in the area were offering that same price and tour to people) He took us up to a palace that had been buried and rediscovered back in the 1800's. This was fascinating to see. He then took us to a beautiful church and some popular shopping areas. I would say it was worth it because we would have spent more doing any of this as a shore excursion. Sadly, this was our last port and it was time to head back to Venice.

This is a tendered port, but again wasn't bad because people got off the ship at different times due to the early arrival. This is where the famous windmills are and the white buildings with the blue domes. The main area of Mykonos is a short walk from where the tenders drop you off. We took a taxi to Ornos Beach as I had read ahead of time that this was the family-oriented beach. We ate at a cafe right on the beach. We really enjoyed this cafe because and it had a very pleasant atmosphere. I would say that Mykonos was very charming overall with the way the buildings are. It's very clean.

Read 820 Mykonos Reviews

This was my favorite port. Unfortunately we had to wait a long time for a tender because we arrived at 4:00 pm. Since everyone is up then, everyone wants off the ship at the same time. However, it's still not enough to complain about. The town of Santorini is way up on a cliff and the only way up is by cable car, donkey, or foot. The line for the cable car was a bit long where donkey's were readily available. The cable cars zip up the mountain unlike anything I've ever seen before. They are really fast, so even with the long line, it moves fairly fast. The view from the top is just breathtaking. We did the most damage at the shops in Santorini. The best thing about that port visit is the fact that we were there during the sunset. It was spectacular. We were at a restaurant overlooking the cliff. When the sun started setting, every one's camera's started coming out. I hope to get there someday again.

Split, Croatia is very beautiful. Split is a tender port, but it wasn't too bad. We arrived pretty early in the morning so we were able to get one of the first tenders as I think many people were still sleeping on the ship. The area down from the port (which isn't real far) is lined with palm trees and is very picturesque. The only downside to Split was that the ship arrives on a Sunday and all of the shops are closed on Sundays there. However, there were vender's selling jewelry, clothing and other various items. The palace has been turned into a place for vendors to sell their goods. That was a fascinating place to walk around.

Read 290 Split Reviews

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