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We chose this cruise based on past experience on the Gem, but this was quite disappointing. It seems that NCL is more interested in increasing profits than in providing a good experience for the guests. From the moment we arrived at the cruise terminal, the service was terrible and chaotic. We were to have priority boarding, as we were booked in the Haven, and are also Gold level Latitudes members. We had to work our way through crowds to get to the room where we were to check in. The check in room was poorly organized, and the staff did not seem to know what they were doing. When we finally were able to board the ship, we had to walk quite a distance outside, in the cold, until we were led inside. Once inside, and in Cagney's for lunch, we asked for soda, and had to wait more than half an hour for straws. Our sodas were watered down and warm before the server came back with them. We had asked what Pepsi products were available, and could not get an answer from any of the staff. Not even the Food and Beverage Director knew what Pepsi products were available on the ship. The food on the ship was of poor quality, and did not have much taste. Most of the food was served barely luke-warm. The potatoes served with breakfast were covered with garlic and inedible. We had one meal in Moderno, and asked for the steak to be well-done. We were brought a few pieces that were charred on the outside and pink on the inside. The servers seemed to push the sausage, but were scarce with the better cuts of meat. The room was what we expected as we have stayed in a two-bedroom family suite in the past. What we did not expect is that the sofa-beds were made with only a bottom sheet and a comforter. This is not how a bed is properly made, and not how they were made in the past. We had to ask for the top sheet and that the beds be made up properly. The entertainment was not very good. Some of the entertainers seemed more intent in spewing their political views, which is not what we go on a cruise to hear. The singers and dancers were okay, more like watching a college or high school show than a professional level show. Also, the entertainment director seemed to be more interested in who had the alcohol package and was drunk. He said they were his "friends." We felt like we were on a Carnival cruise, not an NCL cruise. The only bright spot was the service provided in the Grand Pacific dining room by i Kektut, the Assistant Maitre'd, and his team. They worked well together and seemed to be the only team that was well managed. Disembarking the ship was the most chaotic and disastrous situation we have ever experienced. Again, being in the Haven, we were to have priority exiting the ship at the ports. When we were waiting in line to go ashore, people were coming down the elevators, pushing their way into line and running over our feet with their strollers. When we returned to New York again the "priority" did not exist. It was a disorganized chaotic mess. There was no communication as to what was causing the delays, and at times cruise staff were no where to be found. When we were finally able to start disemarkation, we were forced to stand outside for 45 minutes to an hour due to poor communication and confusion between NCL staff and CBP. We were late docking in New York due to poor decision making by the Captain. He had decided to skip our last port due to a storm in the North Atlantic, which made absolutely no sense. He decided to take us through part of the storm instead of going to St. Thomas and allowing the storm to pass by to the North East. He then went so slow that we were 2 hours late returning to New York. With the extra day, there is no excuse for this. This will be our last cruise with Norwegian. We feel that we were totally ripped off. NCL is putting their profits ahead of their guests, and it shows.

Most disappointing cruise ever.

Norwegian Gem Cruise Review by ASchaffer

4 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: November 2019
  • Destination: Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Courtyard Penthouse with Balcony
We chose this cruise based on past experience on the Gem, but this was quite disappointing. It seems that NCL is more interested in increasing profits than in providing a good experience for the guests.

From the moment we arrived at the cruise terminal, the service was terrible and chaotic. We were to have priority boarding, as we were booked in the Haven, and are also Gold level Latitudes members. We had to work our way through crowds to get to the room where we were to check in. The check in room was poorly organized, and the staff did not seem to know what they were doing. When we finally were able to board the ship, we had to walk quite a distance outside, in the cold, until we were led inside.

Once inside, and in Cagney's for lunch, we asked for soda, and had to wait more than half an hour for straws. Our sodas were watered down and warm before the server came back with them. We had asked what Pepsi products were available, and could not get an answer from any of the staff. Not even the Food and Beverage Director knew what Pepsi products were available on the ship. The food on the ship was of poor quality, and did not have much taste. Most of the food was served barely luke-warm. The potatoes served with breakfast were covered with garlic and inedible. We had one meal in Moderno, and asked for the steak to be well-done. We were brought a few pieces that were charred on the outside and pink on the inside. The servers seemed to push the sausage, but were scarce with the better cuts of meat.

The room was what we expected as we have stayed in a two-bedroom family suite in the past. What we did not expect is that the sofa-beds were made with only a bottom sheet and a comforter. This is not how a bed is properly made, and not how they were made in the past. We had to ask for the top sheet and that the beds be made up properly.

The entertainment was not very good. Some of the entertainers seemed more intent in spewing their political views, which is not what we go on a cruise to hear. The singers and dancers were okay, more like watching a college or high school show than a professional level show. Also, the entertainment director seemed to be more interested in who had the alcohol package and was drunk. He said they were his "friends." We felt like we were on a Carnival cruise, not an NCL cruise.

The only bright spot was the service provided in the Grand Pacific dining room by i Kektut, the Assistant Maitre'd, and his team. They worked well together and seemed to be the only team that was well managed.

Disembarking the ship was the most chaotic and disastrous situation we have ever experienced. Again, being in the Haven, we were to have priority exiting the ship at the ports. When we were waiting in line to go ashore, people were coming down the elevators, pushing their way into line and running over our feet with their strollers. When we returned to New York again the "priority" did not exist. It was a disorganized chaotic mess. There was no communication as to what was causing the delays, and at times cruise staff were no where to be found. When we were finally able to start disemarkation, we were forced to stand outside for 45 minutes to an hour due to poor communication and confusion between NCL staff and CBP.

We were late docking in New York due to poor decision making by the Captain. He had decided to skip our last port due to a storm in the North Atlantic, which made absolutely no sense. He decided to take us through part of the storm instead of going to St. Thomas and allowing the storm to pass by to the North East. He then went so slow that we were 2 hours late returning to New York. With the extra day, there is no excuse for this.

This will be our last cruise with Norwegian. We feel that we were totally ripped off. NCL is putting their profits ahead of their guests, and it shows.
ASchaffer’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Courtyard Penthouse with Balcony
Cabin H5
As I mentioned in the review above, the cabin was what we expected. Our cabin steward, Roberto, did a good job. We did have to ask for the sofa beds to be made properly with a top sheet, which he did after we asked. The sofa beds were not very comfortable for my mother-in-law who stayed in the 2nd bedroom, and my son, who used the sofa bed in the family room. There was a thin piece of foam placed on the sofa beds, which seemed much thinner than in the past.
Deck 14 Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Antigua
    This was the nicest beach of those we went to. The sand was soft, and there were no rocks in the water. Still, there was 1 person trying to sell a myriad of junk. We did have lunch included with this excursion, and the food was good, better than the food on the ship.
    View All 13,589 Antigua Cruise Port Reviews
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  • Bacardi Rum Distillery
    This was poorly organized from the start. Our excursion was scheduled for 4:15 PM however we did not leave the pier until after 4:30 PM. When we arrived at the distillery, we had to wait until after 6:00 PM to take the tour. After the tour we had to wait for others who were by then inebriated to return to the bus to get back to the pier. We had expected to have time to walk to some local shops, but due to the delays we were unable to.
    View All 88 Bacardi Rum Distillery Reviews
  • Beach
    The tour company wasted time in taking us to the beach and taking detours through different areas on the way back. When we arrived at the beach there were local people waiting to push their drinks, junky jewelry, etc. and would not leave us relax on the beach in peace. I don't go to the beach to be solicited by salesmen. The beach itself was okay, and the water was warm.
    View All 149 Beach Reviews
  • St. Lucia
    Another tour company that wastes your time. They also waited until we arrived at the beach to tell us that we needed to sign a waiver before we could exit the bus. When questioned, the tour guide told us we could stay on the bus and take cab back to to cruise port. We felt we had no choice but to sign, since we had already paid for the excursion. Again at this beach there were people waiting like vultures to push their junk. The beach was okay, but there were many rocks in the water.
    View All 13,589 St. Lucia Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's St. Lucia Cruise Port Review
  • St. Thomas
    The Captain decided we didn't need to go to St. Thomas due to a storm in the North Atlantic. Very disappointed that we were not able to spend time on St. Thomas, as we were looking forward to this port the most.
    View All 4,729 St. Thomas Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's St. Thomas Cruise Port Review