A fun, relaxing diversion from winter: Norwegian Gem Cruise Review by forest4trees

Norwegian Gem 4
Member Since 2009
10 Forum Posts

Overall Member Rating

A fun, relaxing diversion from winter

Sail Date: December 2011
Destination: Bahamas
Embarkation: New York (Manhattan)
This was the first time we had sailed on NCL; our previous two cruises had been on RCCL. NCL's focus is different and that showed in a number of ways. The bottom line - we both had a great time but both agreed that we will probably stay with RCCL for our next cruise.

The Gem was a pretty ship and our interior cabin was fine. Plenty of room to store our belongings, and the bathroom was roomier than I anticipated. We had asked that the bed be arranged as a queen, which was accommodated. However unlike our previous cruises it was not locked into that configuration so every morning we awoke with a crevice between us. Not a big deal, but something to be aware of.

Our cabin attendant was nice, memorizing our names right off and quickly understanding our needs and meeting them. We never met a staff member who was not kind and helpful.

We went to most of the shows and enjoyed them. Since neither of us are fans of 70s music we skipped the one show that More focused on that era. The Man from Mars was particularly exceptional, it was worth the cruise just to see them!

I enjoyed a number of the more informative events that were programmed; talks and dinner with the senior officers, Q&A with some of the show casts, etc. My wife loved the dance classes (she took me to all of them) and we never found ourselves without something to do.

We did not partake of any of the specialty dining options so I can't comment on them. The buffet, was, well, a buffet. Food was plentiful and generally good, what I expected. Yes, seating right by the buffet was sometimes crowded, but only on embarkation day was it a problem. And the staff opened up the Italian restaurant for additional table space. We ate most dinners and a couple of lunches in the main dining rooms. The food was the same in both, but the service was much better in the Magenta room. After experiencing "Freestyle dining" both my wife and I have decided we prefer a more formal dining experience. To us NCL's dining rooms felt more like eating in a chain restaurant. In comparison when we cruised on RCCL we had the same table, same servers, same companions every dinner. We got to know people, the servers got to know us, and it felt more "special." Again, its all a matter of preference and finding the cruise line that suits your preference.

We had to skip NCL's private island due to weather conditions; I know some folks on the cruise were really upset but I would rather the Captain focus on our safety. Sinan, the Cruise Director, and his staff did an excellent job reprogramming the extra sea day to provide entertainment.

This is our first cruise in two years so, while I recognize that the industry changes, we were both really turned off by the amount of upselling that went on. It seemed that every public address announcement included a pitch to spend money, whether it was on a raffle, or bingo, or a specialty restaurant. To me it cheapened the experience of the vacation. I believe I understand the underlying market forces that drive the behavior, but I don't have to enjoy it.

Embarkation and debarkation was easy at NYC. We live in central NJ and love cruising out of Bayonne or NYC. It is so much easier and cheaper than flying to get to a cruise!

Bottom line - we had a great, relaxing, fun vacation on the Gem. Your mileage may very, and by all means don't sweat the small stuff! Your cruising! Less

Published 12/21/11

Cabin review: IB9077 Mid-Ship Inside

Easy access to mid-deck stairs/elevators Noise from crew space behind cabin sometimes was distracting. Nice sized bathroom Adequate storage Small TV Lumpy mattress

Read All Mid-Ship Inside (IB) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

Kings Wharf Bermuda has spoiled me; Nassau is a poor comparision. Exiting the port facilities you have to push your way through a veritable army of hucksters, trying to sell you everything from horse and buggy rides to things I won't mention in a review. I understand the straw market burned down last year, what has replaced it is a warren of stalls selling "local" crafts. It was both fun and tiring to wander through it. The downtown section of Nassau is filled with a mixture of high-end retailers and businesses, with a main road running right through it. My wife was having foot problems so we had to cancel our plans to get to a local public beach. If I go back again I will reconsider paying for an excursion (usually we do things on our own).
Read 5024 Nassau Reviews

At Port Canaveral we rented a car and went to the Kennedy Space Center visitor's center. Even if I had paid for the car (I had a free rental special) it would have still been cheaper than the NCL excursion. The visitor's center is far enough away that a taxi would have been expensive, though we did run into a couple who got a gypsy cab both ways. The visitor's center is expensive but worth it! Lots of fun activities. The highlight for us was the Shuttle Simulator and the 3-D Imax films. Bring your own food and water because its very expensive to buy that at the cafeteria onsite. The Port is in the midst of an expansion but the debarkation and embarkation process was easy.

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Member Since 2009
10 Forum Posts
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