My husband and I were excited to get cruising again. This was NCL Gem's first cruise out of their new terminal in Miami since the covid shut down. Once we figured out where to park in the garage at Terminal, we were off and running. The pre-covid testing on site was smooth, quick and easy. Once tested, we waited in a large open area with others for our assigned number for the covid test to pop up on a big screen up front, which meant you were negative and could board the ship. They put a band on our wrist to show we could board the ship and directed us to the gangway. The crew was there to welcome us on board and we were happy our luggage was already at the door to our stateroom. We went ahead and unpacked, met our room steward and then explored the ship. We had a nice couple of days at some ports and sea days. Overall it was great to get back out on the ocean and visiting countries. The only time we had to wear a mask was leaving the ship and could take it off once we boarded the ship. We did have to wear a facemask off the ship in Cozumel, Mexico, while shopping in stores but no big deal. We were told that any shop workers had to be vaccinated to work, so knowing that and wearing a mask, we felt fine to shop and take excursions. We loved Le Bistro and Cagney's for dinner which were upcharges, but we had several free upgrades for meals. That's the good.
That Not so Good was we had dinner scheduled at Le Bistro and decided to go a little early and get a bottle of wine to start off our great dinner to come at Le Bistro and listen to live music just outside of Le Bistro at the Whiskey Bar and Lounge. Keep in mind the ship was only 50% at capacity since NCL was getting started back up. We tried nearly 30 min to get service for a bottle of wine. We started at the bar and not one bartender would even look up from whatever they were doing or where they were walking about. We thought, well, let's get a seat in the lounge and they surely will come take our order. Nope. I went back up to the bar and same thing. Nothing. I went over to the hostess at Le Bistro and asked if they had a bar area we could get win before dinner because we couldn't get service. She walks me and my husband over to the bar and has to go behind the bar and get one of the bartenders attention (they were not very busy either). She tells him to please take our order for a bottle of wine and he motions with his hands up and down and tells her to just calm down. She was not being nothing but polite to him and he definitely had an attitude. He walks away and she is mortified and apologizes. My husband noticed an officer near the bar and went over to talk to him about the poor attention and what just happened. Once the officer on the ship got involved, we had service and our bottle of wine in 5 minutes. It was very unfortunate and disappointing, especially when the ship is only 50% full. The only other issue we had was with an excursion. We were doing the BUGGY ECO-ADVENTURE & MANAWAKIE NATURE PARK in Roatan. The Buggy was plain dangerous! Our buggy's brakes kept locking up. The workers would run up to us and check the brakes and have us try again. They locked up again going up a hill. The final time they locked up the worker got us unbuckled and we stood on the side of the road 15 min waiting for another buggy. At this point, we have perhaps enjoyed a couple of minutes at the most after 30 minutes! The worker tries to move our buggy off the dirt road but brakes are locked so it takes a couple of guys to push it. Finally a buggy comes and the guy says sorry about that buggy, we noticed it had brake problems when we put it in line. Really!? So we get into the next buggy and all seat belted in and the worker says to make sure we pump the brakes because they seem to need it. What!? He says just pump them a bunch as you start going. Okay, my husband is pumping the brakes as we take off and he tells me they don't feel right. Now we are going down a steep rocky dirt road in the jungle and he looks at me and says, uhhh, we have no brakes! Thank God we made it down that hill and another worker is down below and I tell him we have no brakes. He yells pull over right away and stop. I tell him we can't pull over and stop! We have no brakes. He runs up behind us and grabs the back trying to help get us stopped before our buggy goes into cross traffic of other buggys and ATV's. At that point we told him we are done. He has us drive the buggy back to the starting area as slow as possible while he runs in front of us the whole way. Worst experience of our lives. We didn't get to enjoy the excursion and it was very dangerous. What really made us mad is what we had to go through to get a very partial refund for the excursion we didn't get to enjoy or complete. NCL staff on board seemed to not want to be accountable for an excursion they approved. Very bad!