First of all,I'd like to let everyone know that the Norwegian Gem is a beautiful sparkling clean ship. I have read some "OK" to the "not so OK" reviews on cruise critic about the Gem. All I will say on that subject is that you get what you PAY for! Book a suite or Villa and you cannot go wrong. If you book a "bottom level" aka 4th floor port-hole or inside cabin, you may not have such a pleasant time - it's up to you, really. My partner and I were traveling with his mom and Aunt. We flew in from JFK, hired a taxi and were whisked away to the ship port which was fairly close by. We arrived a little before noon, checked in quickly and were happily greeted by Ruth H. [the concierge]we waited in the private lounge for our Butler Ramadhan to arrive. He gave us the grand tour of our suites, the private courtyard and Cagney's restaurant which is only reserved for suite guests during breakfast and lunch. We were on a 14 night cruise and hit great ports such as Croatia, Greece and Turkey. The first week of the cruise we were supposed to go to Santorini,Greece but due to inclement weather and a rough sea, we had to make it a sea day. Too bad for first 7 day cruisers, however, we got to go the next week and it was awesome!! Dining - most of the food was very good in the specialty restaurants except for La Cucina [$10 up charge] and the Magenta [free] they were just so, so. The Garden Cafe felt like "running of the bulls" during lunch hour and chocolate buffet at 10 pm was like a stampede of wild horses. Too many brats for us.The Great Outdoors was good for afternoon tea and the scones were yummy!! We chose to take most of our meals at Cagney's - delicious and much fewer kids... The staff at Cagney's is magnificent so pleasant and always smiling:) The Spa was fair to good the first week, their best masseur Tomas was leaving at the end of the week. I had two massages from him and they were awesome! The spa staff was chaotic - a bunch of young girls who really didn't know what was going on - I was not impressed. I realize that we broke the bank with our suite, but the 300% markup on most massages, facials,hair cuts,BOTOX etc., was just too much $$. A mani-pedi was $100 - no way! Save your money and have all that done BEFORE your cruise, it just makes sense. Needless to say, the spa wasn't that busy either week. The passengers: The first week - good they second week - too many families with small kids. I'm 42 and trust me, I would have never gotten to go on a cruise when I was 10 years old! Make your kids get a job, then take them on a cruise - then they may appreciate it.. Body Waves Gym - very good and excellent staff! Steven will put you through the workout of a lifetime!Most of the passengers never stepped foot in the gym, but it did get crowded a few days on the cruise. Shore Excursions - worth it! All tour guides were smart and spoke English very well. NCL does a fine job here and it is very organized. Shows were decent for the most part - there were magic acts, acrobatic acts,singers, dancers - it's a cruise ship after all not Las Vegas - enjoy it and move on. Our cruise was truly wonderful, a trip of a lifetime. My advice: save your money, spend your kids inheritance or whatever it takes to travel first class and book a suite - it will afford you memories of a lifetime long after your 401k and company stock options take another nose dive - Carpe Diem!
The Owner's suite 10504 has two great balconies and a perfect port side location!