Me and my girlfriend ages 26 and 27 booked this cruise mainly for the convenience of leaving from NY and the itinerary. We got to the pier around 1pm and it was a madhouse since the Jewel was also at the same pier leaving on a ctn. Although it was jam packed the line to get through security actually moved alot faster than I thought it would. We were through security in about an hour and there were no lines at all on the other side and we were able to walk right up to the desk get our room cards and then walk right on the ship. Our room was ready by the time we got on so we went straight there dropped off our carry ons then went to check out the ship. We were on the Jewel for a 7 night Bahamas last year so we had an idea what to expect. I have to say that I was impressed more with the Gem than I was the Jewel. I like the layout better from the atrium bar being bigger and the casino going from wall to wall with a path through it, I didnt like how the casino felt like a separate room on the Jewel but on the Gem it was setup nice. The Bliss lounge was also great we spent almost everynight in there having drinks and dancing. Only bowled once and it was fun but very hard when the ship is rocking!
We had minisuite 11550(not really a suite just a larger balcony room)on deck 11 and it was nice. Not sure if it was worth the extra money over a balcony room, everyone says there's more storage but I found the setup of the closet to be horrible you could barely stand between the bed and the closet to get your clothes. Next time i'll stick with the regular balcony room. Our room stewards were great always cleaned our room twice a day and left us a new towel animal everynight.
Now onto the food we ate mostly at the specialty restaurants LeBisto, Cagneys, La Cucina, Teppanyaki, Orchid Garden and we did the sushi bar for lunch one day. All the specialty restaurants were great and worth the upcharge except the sushi. The sushi chefs were nice and the service was good but they use too much rice and hardly any fish in the rolls. We still enjoyed it but it was more like rice rolls. We ate at both main dining rooms for dinner and they were good service was good too, only a short wait one night to be seated, about 30mins so we got a drink and by the time we were done with it the pager went off. We ate breakfast at the buffet everyday and it was good never a big line at the omelet station and the food was good. For lunch we did the main dining room a few times it was the same menu everyday but was pretty good. We also had lunch on lido deck at the grill, the burgers and fries were good and one day they did a taco bbq which was also really good.