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Our 09/11/11 - 09/18/11 Bermuda Cruise vacation of last week turned into something of a nightmare. I will suggest up front that anyone wishing reasonable treatment stay away from Continental Airlines (now Continental United, I believe). Norwegian Cruise Line was only slightly better, but still nowhere near the Norwegian cruises we took in the 90's. Our old and dear friends, S---T and M----A, were with us on their very first cruise, after retiring. They may never take another! This was our 13th cruise, with 3 Norwegian back in the 90's, so we are not novice cruisers. Day one, the outward flight to Newark, started off badly with the confiscation of my toothpaste - it was too large a tube! I offered to squeeze out half of it and even squeeze some into my mouth to prove it was toothpaste, but Homeland INsecurity took it anyway! Guess I looked dangerous! So I decided to buy another tube on ship after sailing, BUT the ship had sold out long ago and had not restocked! We gargled a lot for 4 or 5 days. The shuttle to the dock was not too bad and only half an hour late, but the check-in process at the dock was NIGHTMARE time! I have seen better organized Mongolian fire drills! When we were in line to be processed (no help, despite the fact that we were "Latitudes" members, having sailed three times on Norwegian), we were rudely informed that the ship would NOT be going to Bermuda due to the weather. So we boarded not knowing where we would sail. The cabin on this shiny new ship (an outside, picture window cabin, not a cheapo), was a sardine can, the smallest cabin we have ever had on a cruise - they are obviously building the new ships for maximum carrying capacity and profit, not passenger comfort. Fortunately, the little Philippine cabin steward turned out to be one of the bright spots on the cruise. The rest of the cruise ship staff, about 80% Philippine, was also fairly cordial and helpful. BUT the new itinerary was NOT good, and the food was the worst we have ever experienced on a cruise ship in 20 years of cruising. First stop was Port Canaveral, FL, a huge parking lot and not much else, unless you took a very expensive excursion many miles inland. It was NOT even worth getting off the boat, a total waste of our time. The 2nd stop was the cruise line's private island, Great Stirrup Cay, with a decent beach and some comfort amenities ashore. This was the ONLY day and stop on the entire cruise which might be considered fun and interesting at all. The last stop on the cruise was the Bahamian island of Nassau, a dirty, run down little town and island which is not worth getting off the ship for, BUT I had to get off and go wandering around the dirty little town for a tube of toothpaste, which I finally found at a scruffy little quick mart, at the exorbitant price of $5.50! The last two days were at sea, getting back to New York, and much of it was bad weather and rough seas. So we had to focus on the food and entertainment, which were decidedly uneven. We had as many really bad meals as we had good ones, and the cost of the specialty restaurants had gone up considerably - the steak restaurant on board was $25/person! Two of our party had a pork dish on the 3rd night which gave them both "Montezuma's Revenge" - what a nice added feature to the cruise from Hell! Drinks had almost doubled in price since our last cruise, with automatic gratuity running to a total of over $8.00/drink, and over $6.00 for a beer! I would say that there was only one night of decent entertainment, and the cruise director, who we heard from often, was an unintelligible Turkish fellow who was much more irritating than informative! Norwegian has slipped markedly since our last cruise on that line, especially in both the quality of meals and passenger comfort. We will take no more of their cruises. Holland America and Celebrity have given us vastly better cruise experiences in recent years.

Norwegian Disappoints After 12 Years.

Norwegian Gem Cruise Review by CommodoreBob

Trip Details
  • Sail Date: September 2011
  • Destination: Bermuda
  • Cabin Type: Oceanview Picture Window
Our 09/11/11 - 09/18/11 Bermuda Cruise vacation of last week turned into something of a nightmare. I will suggest up front that anyone wishing reasonable treatment stay away from Continental Airlines (now Continental United, I believe). Norwegian Cruise Line was only slightly better, but still nowhere near the Norwegian cruises we took in the 90's. Our old and dear friends, S---T and M----A, were with us on their very first cruise, after retiring. They may never take another! This was our 13th cruise, with 3 Norwegian back in the 90's, so we are not novice cruisers. Day one, the outward flight to Newark, started off badly with the confiscation of my toothpaste - it was too large a tube! I offered to squeeze out half of it and even squeeze some into my mouth to prove it was toothpaste, but Homeland INsecurity took it anyway! Guess I looked dangerous! So I decided to buy another tube on ship after sailing, BUT the ship had sold out long ago and had not restocked! We gargled a lot for 4 or 5 days. The shuttle to the dock was not too bad and only half an hour late, but the check-in process at the dock was NIGHTMARE time! I have seen better organized Mongolian fire drills! When we were in line to be processed (no help, despite the fact that we were "Latitudes" members, having sailed three times on Norwegian), we were rudely informed that the ship would NOT be going to Bermuda due to the weather. So we boarded not knowing where we would sail. The cabin on this shiny new ship (an outside, picture window cabin, not a cheapo), was a sardine can, the smallest cabin we have ever had on a cruise - they are obviously building the new ships for maximum carrying capacity and profit, not passenger comfort. Fortunately, the little Philippine cabin steward turned out to be one of the bright spots on the cruise. The rest of the cruise ship staff, about 80% Philippine, was also fairly cordial and helpful. BUT the new itinerary was NOT good, and the food was the worst we have ever experienced on a cruise ship in 20 years of cruising. First stop was Port Canaveral, FL, a huge parking lot and not much else, unless you took a very expensive excursion many miles inland. It was NOT even worth getting off the boat, a total waste of our time. The 2nd stop was the cruise line's private island, Great Stirrup Cay, with a decent beach and some comfort amenities ashore. This was the ONLY day and stop on the entire cruise which might be considered fun and interesting at all. The last stop on the cruise was the Bahamian island of Nassau, a dirty, run down little town and island which is not worth getting off the ship for, BUT I had to get off and go wandering around the dirty little town for a tube of toothpaste, which I finally found at a scruffy little quick mart, at the exorbitant price of $5.50! The last two days were at sea, getting back to New York, and much of it was bad weather and rough seas. So we had to focus on the food and entertainment, which were decidedly uneven. We had as many really bad meals as we had good ones, and the cost of the specialty restaurants had gone up considerably - the steak restaurant on board was $25/person! Two of our party had a pork dish on the 3rd night which gave them both "Montezuma's Revenge" - what a nice added feature to the cruise from Hell! Drinks had almost doubled in price since our last cruise, with automatic gratuity running to a total of over $8.00/drink, and over $6.00 for a beer! I would say that there was only one night of decent entertainment, and the cruise director, who we heard from often, was an unintelligible Turkish fellow who was much more irritating than informative! Norwegian has slipped markedly since our last cruise on that line, especially in both the quality of meals and passenger comfort. We will take no more of their cruises. Holland America and Celebrity have given us vastly better cruise experiences in recent years.
CommodoreBob’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Oceanview Picture Window
Cabin OA
Despite this being a new ship, the outside cabins on deck 5 are tiny. Even sitting on the toilet was difficult, and the extra bed hung on the wall was an obstruction. It was the smallest outside, picture window cabin we have ever had on a cruise ship. We do NOT recommend this ship for it's cabin space.
Deck 8 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins