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Overall the Gem is a nice ship but the poor quality of food and lack of interesting activities made for a rather ho hum three week cruise. My wife and I chose this cruise because the itinerary because the ship was scheduled to stop at many ports, most of which we had not yet visited. After boarding in L.A. and a quiet day at sea, our first stop was in Cabo and that was an exciting port - beautiful scenery and plenty of excursions from which to choose. We selected the Electric Bike tour and had a wonderful time. The power assisted bikes made the ride along a breathtaking stretch of beach very easy. The next port we visited was Puerto Vallarta - again, this port did not disappoint. Lots to see and do. We took a city bus to the Malecon - a beach side shopping district about 25 minutes via the city bus from the port. It was quite nice, filled with many souvenier shops and lots of tourists so safety was never a concern. We unfortunately took the wrong bus back to the port and got a scenic ride through the town - a concern since it took twice as long and concerned us that we would miss the embarkation time. Our next stop was Zihuatanejo, very scenic port but not much to do unless you've made excursion arrangements. Walking around the town was a bit depressing - very impoverished and the beaches though beautiful did not seem too inviting. Most were at least a 20-30 minute walk from the pier. The armed military around the tourist areas made you stop and wonder if the area was safe but nothing too much to worry about. why. Well, I guess if I write detailed accounts of every port you'll lose interest so let's just say the next few, Puerto Quetzal, Corinto, and Puntarenas offer very little to do unless you schedule an excursion - which we did not. The areas immediately surrounding the port offered simple diversions but nothing we found interesting. Guess that could be just our taste and limited budget. As others we talked with shared stories of fun excursions. After another day at sea we made it to the Panama Canal. This was our first time through the locks and the experience was quite exciting. We had to get up rather early to secure a good spot up at the bow but it made for a terrific view. The transit through the various locks was indeed one of the highlights of our trip. The next two stops were in Colombia, Cartegena - a bustling metropolis with lots of beautiful modern and ancient architecture to enjoy. The other stop was in Santa Marta - not quite as nice as Cartegena but still plenty to do if just walking off the ship to take in the town. The next three port were referred to as the A,B.C's. We visited Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire - one day after the other. These are each beautiful ports with lots of water activities. We did snorkel tours in Aruba and Bonaire - we had a blast on each. On Curacao we simply walked through the many shops and strolled through the town - it is very picturesque and offers a smorgasbord of color. The next three days were spent at sea. Norwegian Gem is a smaller ship and just did not offer enough activities to keep us busy or entertained throughout the day. The food was not that great - especially the buffet service. Most personnel didn't seem too friendly or willing to be of much assistance in answering questions. The ship lacked informative lectures as we have experienced on other cruises and the entertainment was a rather crab shoot of hit or miss. One standout though was our cabin steward. He did a terrific job of keeping our room tidy and always offered a smile and friendly greeting. Speaking of our cabin - it was an inside cabin that could accommodate up to four. It was an okay size for two - perhaps even three but four would be rather cramped. Our final port was New York. Never before have we arrived by ship; what a thrilling experience even though the wind and cold made it tough. The view was quite spectacular. All in all it was an okay voyage. We landed a great price so it helped to negate some of the negative factors, things like the constant sales for pitch for CruiseNext and the added expense for basic on-board activities. It could have been much more enjoyable had there been more on-board activities, better entertainment, and appealing food choices.

Norwegian Gem - Cons outweigh the Pros

Norwegian Gem Cruise Review by kellianded

Trip Details
Overall the Gem is a nice ship but the poor quality of food and lack of interesting activities made for a rather ho hum three week cruise. My wife and I chose this cruise because the itinerary because the ship was scheduled to stop at many ports, most of which we had not yet visited. After boarding in L.A. and a quiet day at sea, our first stop was in Cabo and that was an exciting port - beautiful scenery and plenty of excursions from which to choose. We selected the Electric Bike tour and had a wonderful time. The power assisted bikes made the ride along a breathtaking stretch of beach very easy.

The next port we visited was Puerto Vallarta - again, this port did not disappoint. Lots to see and do. We took a city bus to the Malecon - a beach side shopping district about 25 minutes via the city bus from the port. It was quite nice, filled with many souvenier shops and lots of tourists so safety was never a concern. We unfortunately took the wrong bus back to the port and got a scenic ride through the town - a concern since it took twice as long and concerned us that we would miss the embarkation time.

Our next stop was Zihuatanejo, very scenic port but not much to do unless you've made excursion arrangements. Walking around the town was a bit depressing - very impoverished and the beaches though beautiful did not seem too inviting. Most were at least a 20-30 minute walk from the pier. The armed military around the tourist areas made you stop and wonder if the area was safe but nothing too much to worry about. why.

Well, I guess if I write detailed accounts of every port you'll lose interest so let's just say the next few, Puerto Quetzal, Corinto, and Puntarenas offer very little to do unless you schedule an excursion - which we did not. The areas immediately surrounding the port offered simple diversions but nothing we found interesting. Guess that could be just our taste and limited budget. As others we talked with shared stories of fun excursions.

After another day at sea we made it to the Panama Canal. This was our first time through the locks and the experience was quite exciting. We had to get up rather early to secure a good spot up at the bow but it made for a terrific view. The transit through the various locks was indeed one of the highlights of our trip.

The next two stops were in Colombia, Cartegena - a bustling metropolis with lots of beautiful modern and ancient architecture to enjoy. The other stop was in Santa Marta - not quite as nice as Cartegena but still plenty to do if just walking off the ship to take in the town.

The next three port were referred to as the A,B.C's. We visited Aruba, Curacao and Bonaire - one day after the other. These are each beautiful ports with lots of water activities. We did snorkel tours in Aruba and Bonaire - we had a blast on each. On Curacao we simply walked through the many shops and strolled through the town - it is very picturesque and offers a smorgasbord of color.

The next three days were spent at sea. Norwegian Gem is a smaller ship and just did not offer enough activities to keep us busy or entertained throughout the day. The food was not that great - especially the buffet service. Most personnel didn't seem too friendly or willing to be of much assistance in answering questions. The ship lacked informative lectures as we have experienced on other cruises and the entertainment was a rather crab shoot of hit or miss. One standout though was our cabin steward. He did a terrific job of keeping our room tidy and always offered a smile and friendly greeting. Speaking of our cabin - it was an inside cabin that could accommodate up to four. It was an okay size for two - perhaps even three but four would be rather cramped.

Our final port was New York. Never before have we arrived by ship; what a thrilling experience even though the wind and cold made it tough. The view was quite spectacular.

All in all it was an okay voyage. We landed a great price so it helped to negate some of the negative factors, things like the constant sales for pitch for CruiseNext and the added expense for basic on-board activities. It could have been much more enjoyable had there been more on-board activities, better entertainment, and appealing food choices.
kellianded’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Inside
Cabin IX
The cabin was a nice size for two, it had a trundle bed and a drop down from the wall so it could accommodate up to four but it would be quite cramped unless it was for two adults and two small children. The aft location on the tenth deck was quite nice for going to the main dining and we never had any issues with ship noise.
Deck 4 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews