Embarkation Port: Per NCL this cruise left out of Venice...or so we thought. NCL listed the embarkation port as Venice (Trieste). In every cruise I have ever taken, the embarkation port is in the city listed so we assumed Trieste was close to Venice. Trieste is 2 HOURS away from Venice by taxi or train. Since we thought the cruise left out of Venice, we had not booked our train to Venice in time to make the train to Trieste. So we had to pay $400 for a taxi to Trieste. Shame on NCL for not telling its customers that the embarkation port is no where near Venice! If they had communicated that, or provided detailed directions to the Trieste port, we could have planned better. Venice is forcing many cruises to go out of other ports. Pay attention to the port as it may be very far from Venice and NCL will still consider it "Venice". There were many people who were upset about this so hopefully NCL will provide better communication for future cruises out of "Venice".
Ship: We previously went on the Bliss and the Encore so the Gem definitely seemed old. But it had the main amenities and was still in decent shape.
Food: Food was just OK, including the specialty restaurants. I felt the food quality/taste was better on our previous cruises.
We had room 14010. The layout and size were great. However, the room did smell musty which could be due to the age of the ship. We were also disappointed that the Haven didn't have it's own restaurant or bar like it does on the bigger ships. However, the extra service we got was very good and I really liked the private deck for the Haven members.
Was kind of run down so it wasn't the greatest port. We did the "Best of Corfu" through NCL. I would not recommend this tour. The Mon Repos estate is not worth visiting and the lunch at the tavern was just OK. The old port was pretty nice. If I could do it over again, I would just walk to the old port and not pay for an excursion.
We did the "Dubrovnik at Leisure" tour through NCL. Do NOT do this excursion. You essentially pay $80 for a $15 shuttle. We booked this tour because we thought it was different than the shuttle. It was complete chaos when we got off the ship and they had the people on our tour and the people who needed to buy tickets for the shuttle, wait in the same line. So we didn't even get on the shuttle any faster than the people who purchased the ticket the day of. The tour also came with a ticket to the cable car but I am not sure if that was even running due to weather. The only had maps in German which wasn't helpful for us. Overall, it was just a bad experience made worse by the fact the we paid 5x what everyone else paid.
We walked the wall which I would recommend and it's something you can do without a tour. I would recommend just buying the $15 shuttle the day of and a ticket for the wall ($33 Euro) or taking a tour that walks the wall.
We loved Santorini. We did the Ultimate Santorini tour through NCL. I would recommend this one. Akrotiri was really cool but our time was cut short b/c the tour didn't start on time . We loved Oia and they give you 1.5 hours to explore. The dinner in Fira was decent. They served us very quickly so we had time to walk around before going back to the ship.
We did the Delos excursion through NCL. It was interesting and only 4 hours so we had plenty of time to walk around Mykonos afterwards. Our guide was an archeologist and actually used to work at Delos so we were lucky.