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We loved the Gem and had looked forward to returning, unfortunately, this will likely be one of our last Norwegian cruises due to the following: 1. Boarding/embarkation took about 2 to 2.5 hours. Spoke with other frequent cruisers and confirmed that this was the worse wait time. Our particular agent was grumpy. 2. Quality of food has decreased. Meats were usually overcooked and tough to chew. Fruits were mostly not sweet. At least at the self-serve buffet we were able to get a tiny portion so that we won't waste the food. The exception was Magenta that cooked the daily steak offering just right. Desserts also improved from previous cruises. We had ordered the same dish each night and it was NOT consistently good. No more escargot. Shrimp once every 2-3 nights if you could find it, the size of quarters. Scallops were about the size of dimes. 3. Buffet often had empty or near-empty stations. I don't blame the workers, they seemed to always be working non-stop. I think this may be an upper management issue as the buffet area appeared smaller, my only guess if that they may have cut back on the number of workers/cook as well. 4. Tendering was disorganized to the private island. They called the first 2 tenders, then about an hour later called the next group. We were told by those who went first that some of their tender boats were not full at all. Spoke with others that were also long time cruisers, we joked that we would probably need to return by the time our tenders were called. 5. Felt the cruise director wasn't as engaging/entertaining, but we had Sinan as the previous director and he was hard to top, he would engage the passengers and would be hands on during tendering and other processes to make sure it went smoothly. Current cruise, however, had a lot less activities, no updates or revision to cruise staff activities during bad weather. 6. Showers had about 1-2 inches of water backup during and long after showering. Unsure if this is a design issue. 7. Angle of the toilet made it very difficult to sit for people with legs. 8. Atrium smelled like gasoline during the last two days of the cruise, strong enough to make our throats itchy and nauseous - but no one offered any explanations or empathy. The good: 1. Liam at the gym was a very good instructor. He would arrive on time and walk around making sure that we were positioned right during our stretching. 2. Different ice-cream flavors 3. The happy demeanor of the wait staff (including Oliver and John in Magenta) and washy-washy. 4. Shower pressure in inside room was strong. Overall, we thought budget wise, it was a good deal. The ports were not exciting but wanted to support the Bahamas after the hurricane, the people there were so friendly. However, we felt that the special customer care touch we felt in the past was missing and not a priority anymore. There's a lot of competition out there and I would hope that this would cause this cruise line to be better, but quality has decreased over the 10 years of cruising.

8 Day NY-Florida-Bahamas

Norwegian Gem Cruise Review by cruise4eatsleepfun

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2019
  • Destination: Bahamas
  • Cabin Type: Inside
We loved the Gem and had looked forward to returning, unfortunately, this will likely be one of our last Norwegian cruises due to the following:

1. Boarding/embarkation took about 2 to 2.5 hours. Spoke with other frequent cruisers and confirmed that this was the worse wait time. Our particular agent was grumpy.

2. Quality of food has decreased. Meats were usually overcooked and tough to chew. Fruits were mostly not sweet. At least at the self-serve buffet we were able to get a tiny portion so that we won't waste the food. The exception was Magenta that cooked the daily steak offering just right. Desserts also improved from previous cruises.

We had ordered the same dish each night and it was NOT consistently good.

No more escargot. Shrimp once every 2-3 nights if you could find it, the size of quarters. Scallops were about the size of dimes.

3. Buffet often had empty or near-empty stations. I don't blame the workers, they seemed to always be working non-stop. I think this may be an upper management issue as the buffet area appeared smaller, my only guess if that they may have cut back on the number of workers/cook as well.

4. Tendering was disorganized to the private island. They called the first 2 tenders, then about an hour later called the next group. We were told by those who went first that some of their tender boats were not full at all. Spoke with others that were also long time cruisers, we joked that we would probably need to return by the time our tenders were called.

5. Felt the cruise director wasn't as engaging/entertaining, but we had Sinan as the previous director and he was hard to top, he would engage the passengers and would be hands on during tendering and other processes to make sure it went smoothly. Current cruise, however, had a lot less activities, no updates or revision to cruise staff activities during bad weather.

6. Showers had about 1-2 inches of water backup during and long after showering. Unsure if this is a design issue.

7. Angle of the toilet made it very difficult to sit for people with legs.

8. Atrium smelled like gasoline during the last two days of the cruise, strong enough to make our throats itchy and nauseous - but no one offered any explanations or empathy.

The good:

1. Liam at the gym was a very good instructor. He would arrive on time and walk around making sure that we were positioned right during our stretching.

2. Different ice-cream flavors

3. The happy demeanor of the wait staff (including Oliver and John in Magenta) and washy-washy.

4. Shower pressure in inside room was strong.

Overall, we thought budget wise, it was a good deal. The ports were not exciting but wanted to support the Bahamas after the hurricane, the people there were so friendly.

However, we felt that the special customer care touch we felt in the past was missing and not a priority anymore. There's a lot of competition out there and I would hope that this would cause this cruise line to be better, but quality has decreased over the 10 years of cruising.
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