Norwegian Gem Cruise Review by whenisthemidnightbuffet?
- Sail Date: July 2011
- Destination: Bermuda
- Cabin Type: Owner's Suite with Large Balcony
Embarkation and Day 1: Arrived at the pier around noon, and within 20 minutes, thanks to VIP boarding, we were on the ship and eating lunch at Cagney's. As we walked on the ship heard the announcement that the cabins were ready (this is the first time that I experienced rooms being ready before 2PM, and from what I heard is the new norm, which was a very nice surprise).
After lunch we immediately went to our cabin, popped the bottle of chilled champagne that was waiting for us, and made ourselves comfortable in our fabulous temporary home for the week (DH made a video tour of this amazing suite and the link is provided below). We met our butler and told him a couple of things that we would need, like ice all of the time and our DVD choice, etc. and then we visited the private courtyard area, now known as The Haven, to take a look around and a dip in the pool, which was very quiet and relaxing.
At 3:30 it was time for the lifeboat drill, which was painless, took only about 15 minutes from start to finish. At 4:00 we were invited to the VIP sail away party on Deck 14; so while sipping the champagne which they served, we watched the NY skyline in all its glory as we set sail. Have sailed out of NYC probably a dozen times, and still am awed by the sights leaving New York's harbor. After the sail away party at about 5:30 the shops opened and we did some liquor tasting and duty free shopping. Went back to our cabin and found our suitcases waiting for us. Quickly unpacked and got ready for dinner.
That evening we had dinner in the main dining room, Magenta; they served the lobster dinner this night and we enjoyed our meal. We then went to the show to see the comedian, Jeff Harms, had ourselves some laughs and then headed over to the casino for a few hours.
Day 2 - First sea day, Monday: After an amazing breakfast at Cagney's, we attended our Meet and Greet which was at 11AM in the Star Bar. We had about 20 CC members who attended, as well as the ship's Senior Officers. I believe a good time was had by all, and it was wonderful meeting everyone from the roll call and seeing some of the officers that I had sailed with in April who were still on board.
Personal Note: There are many wonderful things about the Gem, but at the top of the list has to be its Officers and Crew; they really go out of their way to make your cruise incredible. Some of my favorites: Captain Roger, so personable and interesting; Hotel Director, Sean, has to be my absolute favorite, he is so charming and accommodating and it shows in his smile how much he enjoys his job (he is also incredibly handsome with the perfect amount of humility - a very winning combination). Jean Michel will be taking over as HD during Sean's current vacation and we had the opportunity to get to know him and I am confident those who sail with him will have an excellent cruise. Jenny the Assistant HD is as sweet as sweet can be; Joseph, F&B, always a pleasure, and Sinan the CD who is filled with energy, humor, friendliness and just a lot of fun.
Afterwards we had lunch at Cagney's. At 1:30 we headed to the main pool as I had convinced by DH he belonged in the Sexy Leg Contest which they held poolside. Though he did not win the event, he certainly gets my vote for the sexiest legs. Lots of laughs, lots of fun, again a good time had by all.
The daily was jam packed with choices this first sea day and it was impossible to do all of our favorite things so we had to make some hard choices. Wanted to definitely do the Martini Tasting (this was at 4 o'clock) and also the Pub Crawl (to be held at 8:30), but after my 5 martini samples followed by cocktails with our new found cruise friends and then the Latitudes' Party at 7 PM we never made it to the crawl. Instead we entertained some friends in our suite and a few minutes of 10 PM, before it closed, we went to Magenta for dinner. By the time we finished, 11:30ish, I just wanted to sleep... which I did. DH still had energy and continued his night with some gambling in the casino, until after 4AM, God bless him!
Day 3 - Tuesday: We wanted to sleep in so had our breakfast in the cabin and lounged about a bit. Because of his late night in the casino, DH needed to lounge about a bit more than me, so I headed off to morning trivia and then Bingo (they gave out free bingo card for this session). After he caught up on his beauty sleep, DH met up with me about noon and we headed to lunch at Cagney's. Delicious. Believe we started cocktailing again and hung about with our fellow cruisers. We visited the casino for some slotting, then headed back to our cabin to shower and change for our dinner at Le Bistro. This has to be my favorite restaurant. I had the rack of lamb, DH had the steak, we shared a wonderful bottle of wine, all accompanied by excellent service. After dinner we saw a little bit of the show then I headed off to the casino to play some three card poker. (DH had an early tee time the next morning in Bermuda so he retired after the show and left the job of closing the casino up to me. I did not let him down!)
Day 4 - Wednesday, Bermuda: Had breakfast from Cagney's delivered to our room at 7 AM. Eggs Benedict topped with crab cakes for DH and I, delicious of course, and then off he went to meet up with the golf excursion group at 8AM. Left alone, I kept myself busy; shopping in port until noon, then back to the ship for some soaking up of the sun by the incredibly empty main pool. I had a quick lunch at the buffet and then off to my spa appointment. They had a $129 special on this first port day which included a 50 minute massage followed by a ½ hour facial. Since I was functioning on 4 hours of sleep I found it very easy to doze off during this heavenly treatment. Afterward went back to the cabin for a shower and a "real" nap and DH returned from golf at about 4:30. He said the course, Port Royal, was amazing, and though it was a particularly windy day, he still was pleased with his score. Got ready for dinner, but first headed off to the Bliss Lounge for a VIP party for suite guests. Party was very nice and then afterwards we had dinner in Magenta. After dinner we took in the comedy show, and then headed up to the pool area to listen to the band play classic rock. They were very good. Went to Spinnaker to see Dancing with the Gem Stars, pretty funny, then off to sleep about midnight.
Day 5 - Thursday, Bermuda: Had breakfast in the Great Outdoors since all other breakfast venues were closed at 11:30 (though Blue Lagoon is always open), then took the No 7 Bus to Horseshoe Bay. The beach was crowded, but from what I understand, not as crowded as the first day. We rented beach chairs ($21 and $10 is refunded when you bring chairs back) and sat on the shore line with the waves crashing over us. Very relaxing. This day the surf was rough and they had riptide warning signs posted, as well as Man of War signs. Lifeguards seemed very vigilant and we did not spot even one jellyfish, though we were surely keeping an eye out for them! Stayed on the beach for 3 hours or so then headed back to the ship for showers and "nap" time. This evening, we were honored with an invitation to have dinner with Captain Roger and his Senior Officers so we headed over to the Bliss Lounge for pre-dinner cocktails and then off to the Grand Pacific for dinner. Dinner was excellent as was the company with flowing wine and conversation. My DH sat next to Captain Roger and thoroughly enjoyed his mealtime companion. I sat on the opposite side of the table with other senior officers and had a lot of laughs. After dinner we headed to the show, Second City, which was very funny. At 10:30 it was time for the pool deck party so off we went. Back to our cabin about midnight and sat on the balcony enjoying the lights and sounds of Bermuda at night.
Day 6 - Friday, Bermuda: Up early and off to Cagney's for breakfast before heading out to explore Kings Wharf. Went by Dolphin Quest (you do not have to pay any fee to just observe the dolphins) and enjoyed watching these amazing mammals and those who were experiencing their paid for interactions. Toured the Naval Dockyard grounds and museum and then afterwards headed over to the Frog and Onion Pub for some local libations. Did a little shopping and then headed back to the ship. We had requested that our butler have double orders of the jumbo shrimp cocktail from Cagney's waiting for us in our cabin, and happily they were sitting in our fridge upon our return. We sat on our balcony, port side, as the ship prepared for sail away, enjoying our shrimp and keeping an eye out for any "runners" as the ship prepared for sail away. Fortunately, we did not see any so assumed everyone made it back on. This evening there was another Latitude Party for Silver level and up, so we headed to Bliss Lounge, chatted with our fellow cruisers and amazing officers and then went to the casino for some slots (was suffering from the 2 day withdrawal since the casino had been closed while in port). Dinner this night was at Teppanyaki and we totally enjoyed the food and show. After dinner it was off to the White Hot Party where we stayed awhile and then back to the casino for some more three card poker. This was another fantastic but late night for us.
Day 7- Saturday, Sea Day: Slept a little late and had our breakfast in the cabin. After breakfast we decided to do our packing since we would need to leave our luggage in the corridor after midnight and did not want to have to think about it on this, our last day. We headed out for a late lunch and then swung by the casino. DH was a bit tired, so left me at the slots and went back to the room to read and rest. Met up with DH and our new cruise friends at the 4 PM Martini Tasting. This one was held at the Star Bar which was a much better venue then the tasting earlier in the week at Magnums Bar. Afterward, went with our friends to cheer them on at the Whiskey Tasting. Dinner tonight was at Tequilas, where we dined with Jean Michel, the soon to be acting HD. The food and company were fantastic. After dinner headed to the Farewell Show, and laughed out loud while watching "Fountains". Though I had seen this act before it did not diminish its comedic effect. At about 10:30 DH was tired and headed off to bed, and I headed to the casino for my farewell bets and to see my "casino buddies" one last time (you tend to gamble with the same group all week long as everyone has their favorite table games and gambling friendships develop).
Sunday - Disembarking: We woke the next morning at 7 AM and the ship was already docked in Manhattan. We headed to Cagney's for our final breakfast, Steak and Eggs this day (what a nice piece of filet it was too) and then off to the Reception area to deposit our Freestyle Cards. Went back to our cabin to grab our carry-ons and then met our Concierge at 9:15 for VIP disembarking and our farewells to the Gem.
Summary: Yes, there were some things that were not perfect (our butler could have been better at times, oh well, but our concierge Ana Marie was a doll) or things we would have preferred to have been different, but nothing of any true significance that would interfere with the good time we planned on having this trip. Food is a topic where there is always some debate, but honestly with all of the choices, you can never go hungry. The Gem was clean and well kept and the crew worked hard to keep the ship well maintained and her passengers happy. The main pool was very crowded on sea days, but this is a focal point of afternoon entertainment, so just gather around with everyone and enjoy the festivities and when you've had enough you can go to a quiet place. I noticed there were always empty lounge chairs on Deck 13, both in the sun and the shade, whenever I passed by (which was often since we went back and forth to Cagney's for breakfast and lunch most days, lol). Fortunately, the casino was kind to us this week and the weather cooperated totally. DH and I both agreed we had the best time!
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