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Sail Date: August 2019
This was my second time on board the Gem, and just like my first trip on the Gem on New Year's Day 2011 from NYC to the Caribbean, it did not disappoint. My family and I departed from Boston for Bermuda and had a great time. This ... Read More
This was my second time on board the Gem, and just like my first trip on the Gem on New Year's Day 2011 from NYC to the Caribbean, it did not disappoint. My family and I departed from Boston for Bermuda and had a great time. This is my fifth Norwegian Cruise, and the Gem is my favorite ship. My first cruise with Norwegian was on the S.S. Norway in July 1993. I was also on the Gem in 2011 as I mentioned, and the Breakaway to Bermuda in 2014 and 2016. There is a reason why I come back to Norwegian. I also have done three Royal Caribbean Cruises and really enjoyed them too. However, I'm more of a fan of the Freestyle aspect of cruising with NCL. Here are some highlights of our trip to Bermuda, and what my family and I enjoyed about the cruise, in no particular order: Food: The food overall was great as usual. My only gripe was the buffet, which I usually enjoy. We ate breakfast on our first full day onboard, and it was fine. We did a dinner there a night or two later for "American Night" and it was lackluster. I didn't go back to the buffet after that for any meal. The food that I ordered was cold, and so was my wife's, and we couldn't even finish our meal there. We ended up eating instead in the Grand Pacific Dining Room. My parents, sister, brother in law, and nephew didn't complain about their meal that night, but said on several occasions how the food was cold at times during later buffet visits throughout the trip. Buffet aside, the food in the main dining rooms was great too. On the first night, my brother in law had a steak that was overcooked in the Grand Pacific Dining Room, which he wasn't pleased about. He also ran into another passenger on the ship who also had an overcooked steak in the Grand Pacific Dining room during our first night onboard. My brother in law is very picky with food, and with that being said, he didn't have any complaints about any other meals onboard after that evening. My wife ordered the same steak a few days later in Grand Pacific and it wasn't overcooked. The food in O'Sheehans Bar and Grill was great too, and it was a great place to go to to grab a quiet breakfast, an afternoon snack or lunch, or even a dinner. We didn't try the food in the specialty restaurants, Orchid Garden, the poolside barbecues and poolside buffet, or Great Outdoors, so I am not able to comment on the food over in those areas. Service and staff: The bartenders were attentive and quick despite small lines that formed for drinks from time to time, particularly at the poolside bar. The cruise staff was friendly and attentive at all times. Our room stewardess Mici was awesome. Interestingly enough, we ran into the assistant Maitre'D DeRon, who was in the Manhattan Dining room on the Breakaway back during our 2016 trip, on the Norwegian Gem. He was at O'Sheehans during the late morning, and then staffed later in the evening at the Magenta Dining room. It was great running into him again. He remembered my family and I from our trip, despite seeing hundreds of thousands of passengers during the past three years. He's a great guy! The service was slow though sometimes at O'Sheehans, and was excruciatingly slow during our second night when we ate at the Magenta Dining Room. Besides that though, the service was actually fast, and I found that service during dinner was quicker on the Gem than on the Breakaway in 2016. The Ship: The Gem is a beautiful ship. I love how they renovated the Bliss Lounge. When I went in 2011 they had curtains, and sofas that looked more like day beds. They also had a couple of bowling lanes which was interesting. The new look is great though and it has a cool quiet vibe to it , with clear lights. It wasn't terrible before or anything like that, but the changes that they made the club were great. The ship though has some minor visible signs of wear such as in the carpet, the bottom of the closet door in our stateroom, the vent in our bathroom ceiling of the stateroom, and scratches on the elevator. That's to be expected though, as this ship has been around for a while. Bermuda: Bermuda is beautiful and clean. I love how whenever I go there, I'm not hounded by a group of people screaming and hollering for me to ride in their taxi. I also love it how whenever I go into a store, I'm not being pestered to buy their souvenirs. There isn't any visible poverty or sketchy areas. It's safe and beautiful, and is my favorite cruise stop. I've been all over the Caribbean, and in my opinion, you just can't beat being in Bermuda for three days. My wife and I are already looking forward to going again. This was our third trip to Bermuda but there is so much of the island that we have yet to see. Embarkation/Disembarkation: Were smooth as usual Getting off the ship was the quickest and easiest disembarkation that I ever experienced. Even my brother in law who had never cruised on Norwegian was impressed. The lifejacket drill: Kudos to Norwegian for not having passengers have to grab their lifejacket, stand shoulder to shoulder on the overcrowded deck outside, do the lifeboat drill, then fight the crowds to return back to your stateroom. Norwegian has the right idea by having people meet in their respective muster stations without their lifejacket, have the crew demonstrate how to put on the lifejacket and work the various features, and then send the passengers off to enjoy the ship. Their lifejacket drills are always quick and easy. Activities: There was always something to do around the ship. The cruise director Luz and her staff were engaging and great. There was always an activity to participate in for anyone who was looking for something to do. The weather and sailing conditions: There were rough seas on the way down, and on the way back. There was even a waterspout that I spotted on the horizon during day two, but it was very far from the ship and not in the direction we were heading. It was pretty cool actually. On the second to the last day, we hit an Atlantic Ocean Storm, which was also neat to experience. I'm somewhat of a weather nut, being an Earth Science Major, so events such as this are exciting to me. Besides that though, the weather was great especially for embarkation from Boston. Bermuda was mostly cloudy with showers during the first two days, but the third and final day was sunny and beautiful, perfect for hitting the beach. Overall, this was a great vacation and there weren't any disappointments. Out of our group, I was the only one who sailed on the Gem before. Some of my family members are picky , but they had a great time too and enjoyed the cruise. It was great being able to take a cruise on my favorite ship to my favorite vacation destination. It was my first time sailing out of Boston and I enjoyed it. I have to say that I'm a big fan of sailing out of Boston on a Friday, and returning to Boston on a Friday, giving me Saturday and Sunday to relax and recover, and of course catch up on laundry! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
I love cruising, and when planning another group trip, going with Norweigen was a no brainer. You get the biggest bang for your buck! I was going with a large group of 21 with mixed ages from 16 to 83 and wheelchair bound. I have to ... Read More
I love cruising, and when planning another group trip, going with Norweigen was a no brainer. You get the biggest bang for your buck! I was going with a large group of 21 with mixed ages from 16 to 83 and wheelchair bound. I have to say I was getting a little worried when I started reading recent reviews, but then I reminded myself to be open minded. I am a true believer that every vacation is what you make it! The embarkation was so easy and very efficient, this time they split the embarkation/ check in into two groups depending on cabin floor, which created shorter lines to get room key and then to get onto the ship. Ship: The ship was beautiful, with some areas that maybe can use some retouching, but thats to be expected with the amount of passengers that come through weekly. But I found it easy to navigate and plenty of signs to guide passengers. Don't get me wrong, it's a huge ship, so sometimes it gets confusing, but there is a diagram by the elevators that show each floor, especially for the dining rooms and bars. Cabin: Cabin was a balcony cabin midship, level 11. Loved my cabin it was clean and as roomy as you can expect for a ship cabin, you walk in the bathroom is right there, then the bed with a closet next to it, and then couch before the balcony door, on opposite side was a small vanity with small shelves, the mini bar and TV on wall. The closet has decent space for clothing, and what I did was use my suitcase as a draw and slid under bed. Our room steward Veeraj was awesome and very attentive. Dining: So, I was a little worried here because of all the reviews/ complaints about reservations and such. I am not sure what people complain about because I had NO trouble with obtaining reservations at ANY of the dining rooms. I made 3 reservations prior to boarding the ship, but the rest were made once on ship, and they never gave us an issue, and that is with a large party! Every restaurant was accommodating, my recommendation is that if you like to eat during prime time 7-730 make reservations early on, Personally I like eating early and the 5-545 reservations were perfect. The staff at all the restaurants were on point. Polite, and went out of their way to make our meals perfect. Moderno- Great salad bar and the meats were great quality, and not heavy on salt. the cheesy bread is amazing La Cucina - Way too much food,( I had meal plan, included 5 courses) the pizza is great to share with a few people. The pasta carbonara was divine. Cagneys- What can I say , my favorite meal, I had the surf and turf, and the filet was cooked perfectly. The apple crisp for desert was my favorite Taste/ Savor- ate at both restaurants and the food was good, smaller portions but filing. The deserts there were not my favorites. O'sheehans- So we decided to skip the buffet this trip and the majority of my group ate breakfast here every morning, The staff was exceptional, especially the maitre'D , Leandra. She went out of her way to make us feel welcome and personally greeted us every morning. The younger adults in my group also raved about the late night snacks/ wings/ and . ice cream served there Margaritaville: Food was excellent and the charge was cheapt at $15 pp. The Nachos are delish. My one complaint about the dining, is I wish the specialty Restaurants were open for lunch, but thats a personal opinion. Bars: I love my drinks, and I had many over the course of the week, all of them were tasty and well made, I will say that the bar staff does seem overwhelmed, and could use some more help, especially the first couple of days, maybe even having more servers around the pool for drinks would alleviate the mob around the bars. A few times I would have bartenders who were borderline snotty, but most of them were fantastic. My favorite drinks are the painkiller, mudslide, Bahama mama, margaritas. I did try a few drinks from margaritaville, I cant recall the name of them. Pools Okay, big downside here, there are 2 small pools one for adults/ one for kids. the adult pool was very packed, which it were bigger, especially with size of ship! Thermal spa My husband and I purchased the spa package, unfortunately the first time we tried to use it people were reserving the heated loungers while they were not there, this was very annoying! I did get to enjoy it once or twice, and the thermal pool was wonderful. Don't think I would spend the $200 again, unless it was a winter cruise. PS. Do Not Recommend this for handicapped people. My in laws tried to use it, as they are both wheel chair bound, and it was challanging for them because of the height of the loung chairs, and the tiles were very slippery, they did not feel safe moving in the room, thankfully NCL refunded them since they couldn't use it . Entertainment: The choir of men show was great, the comedians also were a hit, howl at the moon, the piano dueling was also fun. The after midnight show was horrible in my opinion, while the performers were definitely talented, there was no storyline, I wasn't a fan, but a few people in my group did enjoy that. There ware some fun events throughout the week that were fun and many passengers participated in, the theme night parties in H20 were great , although they got packed out quick. Service: Overall the service was great, we went to customer service about a small mistake and they were very sweet, and made every effort to get to the bottom of it. Never had long wait there. We also dealt with the Cruise Next staff, and they also were fantastic with the questions I had. Highly recommend purchasing this if you plan to cruise in next few years. this is my second time using the cruise next vouchers. The elevators are a bit slow, I prefer the stairs,,but with wheelchair family, we had to rely on them. Pictures: Tons of opportunity for pictures, I just hated picking a few. I wish they would offer all the pictures digitally for one price! Just my opinion. Port: Went to Bermuda, was beautiful as always. This is my third trip there. People in my party went to horseshoe bay/ tobacco bay and said the beaches were wonderful, with a ton of fish swimming alongside. There is a wave-runner vendor right outside the ship that a few of us went on, and it was a blast. the shops around the dockyard are also cute , overall Bermuda is pricey when it comes to shopping. There are ferries cheap ($5) to take to Hamilton or St.George for more shopping. I preferred to hang on the ship for 2/3 days at port, which was lovely because the pool was basically empty! and plenty of lounge chairs available. Disembarkation- WOW is all I can say, last time I was on the ship with a group was 3 years ago and it was a complete hot mess with disembarkation. I was so nervous, but the system they set up to get the passengers off the boat in a safe manner without tons of lines is incredible. We were off an hour earlier than we thought, and our luggage retrieval went off without a hitch, and even customs was a breeze, I was completely shocked! Way to go NCL, obviously they listened to the complaints from the past cruisers! Overall I am so happy with the entire trip, we had a blast, and we are already booked on another cruise, the Encore 01/2021! Cant wait! For the future Escape Cruisers keep an open mind and you will have fun. If you have questions feel free to ask me Hscally1088@yahoo.com Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
My husband and I chose this cruise because we got married on the Norwegian Crown 20 years ago, and our time in Bermuda got cut short due to Tropical Storm Arlene. We were rerouted to Newport, RI. We had a nice time, but always wanted to go ... Read More
My husband and I chose this cruise because we got married on the Norwegian Crown 20 years ago, and our time in Bermuda got cut short due to Tropical Storm Arlene. We were rerouted to Newport, RI. We had a nice time, but always wanted to go back to Bermuda. My husband is not a big fan of cruising (he is now, more to come), so we looked in to flying and staying there for a week. It is so expensive to stay in Bermuda, so we decided to cruise. We live in NJ, so took an Uber to the port. Embarkation, despite some of the reviews I read, went very smoothly! We followed the directions, arrived at our assigned 11 am embarkation time, and were on board in about 30 minutes. I did A LOT of research before the cruise. I studied this ship, read all the reviews, watched a lot of videos...I made it my mission to make sure we knew what we were doing before we boarded. I even had a spreadsheet of our planned daily activities/dining reservations. As I mentioned before, my husband had not cruised since our wedding. I have been on 2 cruises since, so had a little bit of experience. We don't have children and we don't like huge crowds, so I researched where the quiet places were. As soon as we got on board, we changed into our bathing suits and got in to the pool while everyone was at the buffet. We enjoyed about an hour of almost no one in the pool. Highly recommend getting a railing spot to see the Statue of Liberty and the Verrazano Bridge as you leave Manhattan. Once rooms were available, our luggage was waiting (hint-tip the luggage porters at the port very well!). We were in a Spa Balcony: room 15750. We met our steward right away. Her name was Aileen. We ABSOLUTELY loved her. We gave her a tip on the first day, and kindly asked for a few things (robes and ice in the ice bucket every day so we could fill our water bottles). I believe that getting to know her and always going out of our way to talk with her made a difference in the service. On previous cruises, I only saw my steward the first day, and that was it. A complimentary bottle of bubbly, along with an Anniversary card, was waiting for us. When we booked the cruise, we told our travel agent we were celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary. Our room was clean and well appointed and included a small coffee pot, which was great. It had lots of storage, as well. More than enough for 2 people on a 7 day cruise.The nicest room I've ever stayed in. Balcony was perfect for 2 people. I'll NEVER be able to stay in an interior room again. We were right under the ping-pong tables, but it didn't bother us because we weren't in our room that much. We were very close to the stairs and elevators, which was super convenient. Noise was not an issue at all. We spent a lot of time at the Thermal Suite, which was included with our room. Other guests over 18 can buy a week or daily passes. There is a limit on the number of passes they sell, so it never gets crowded. The heated ceramic lounge chairs were AMAZING. The therapy pool, sauna, and snow room were fantastic. I highly recommend the Thermal Suite if you are looking for tranquility and a place to get away from the crowds. They have orange infused water, teas, and oranges available. My husband loved this place. This was the game- changer for him. He said he will always cruise NCL in the future and will always make sure we have access to the Thermal Suite. We had several spa treatments (he had a shave and teeth whitening, I had a manicure, and we did a couples hot stone massage). All of these things were extra, and were expensive, but I felt were well worth the price. My husband, who has NEVER been to a spa or had any type of spa services, loved the shave and the massage! Do be aware that they will try to hard sell you on their products, which is slightly annoying. If you are not interested, just be honest and say no. The food was very good, however I remember it being a lot better when we cruised on the Crown 20 years ago (perhaps because it was a much smaller ship). We did not go to any of the specialty restaurants. We ate at the buffet every morning for breakfast, and would stop in there, or O'Sheehan's for something in the afternoon if we were hungry. We got to know some of the O'Sheehan's wait staff-they were so kind and treated us like royalty! Tip: get the Thai wings. DELISH. O'Sheehan's is open 24 hours a day, also, and has decent pub style food. I enjoyed the fish and fries. My husband liked the shepherd's pie. The breakfast buffet was standard cruise breakfast food, but the French toast was amazing! Highly recommend. We tried the buffet, Taste, Savor, and the Manhattan Room for dinner. Tip: Taste, Savor, and The Manhattan Room are all main dining rooms. If you have a larger party, be sure to make reservations in advance so you don't have to wait. The menu is the same in all 3. Apps were very good, including the smoked mozzarella ravioli, the spring rolls, and the Caesar salad. Main dishes were good-I had fettuccine Alfredo with mushrooms one night and really liked it. I tried to ignore the bread, but COULD NOT. It was delicious. Tip: you only live once, you can diet later. Eat the bread. I'll say it again, eat the bread. I had a baked apple dessert one night that I thought was great. BE SURE to enjoy the mojitos at SugarCane! Even if you don't drink alcohol, they'll make you a raspberry guava sans rum. I LOVED the jalapeno cucumber mojito. Sounds strange, but it was fantastic. Loved the bartenders, too. TIP: this is not a fast food restaurant. These guys are seriously making amazing mojitos and it takes time. I heard some snarky remarks about the slow service. Relax, you'll get your drink! And side note: take the time to say hello when a crew member is not super busy. Ask them where they are from and how long they've been with NCL. Do this with as many crew as possible. These people work their butts off to make everyone happy. As soon as they get back to port, they have a few short hours to flip the ship, and they are back at it, and start all over again to make sure you have a great time. I'm a little annoyed with how NCL manages the beverage packages. On RCL, you have 2 options, if I recall. The soda package and the unlimited beverage package. The unlimited allows all alcohol under a certain amount (which is just about everything), soda, and bottled water. On NCL, you don't get bottled water with your Premium Beverage Package. If you want bottled water, you have to buy it. Tip: bring an insulated tumbler, like a Yeti, and just drink the tap water from your stateroom (it is good water), or fill up at a water cooler. Ask your steward for ice every day and he/she should provide it in your ice bucket. NOTE: don't be a jerk...follow the directions at the water coolers and fill up a cup and pour into your own bottle. Sadly, we did not take advantage of the shows. I really wish we would have seen Choir of Man, because it gets rave reviews, but my husband is not into musicals, so we didn't make reservations. Tip: go to see this show. I hear it's awesome. We did go to the Atrium on most days to watch the game shows and entertainment. This was a lot of fun. We either sat a the Atrium bar, or sat up 1 level around the bar that surrounds the atrium, which is served by O'Sheehan's. The pool. If you have done any reading about this ship, you already know the pool issue. It's small. If you are a pool person and do not mind close quarters, get out there first thing and enjoy. Don't be a chair hog. The crew will remove unattended belongings after 1 hour. I love the pool, but my husband hates crowds, so we just worked around it. We loved The Grotto, which is in Spice H2O, the adults only area. It's perfect for cooling off. Alvin, the cruise director, and Alex, the assistant cruise director, were fun and HILARIOUS! We had 2.5 days in Bermuda. We did 2 excursions (not my choice; my husband wanted to do this...Bermuda is very safe and easy to navigate using public transportation, but he was not comfortable going out on our own). We took a minibus to Horseshoe Beach on day 1. it was for about 3 hours and cost $45. We could have taken a taxi for much less. TIP: take a taxi, don't bother with the excursion. There are plenty of taxis there to take you back to the ship. Speaking of coming back to the ship, when we got back to the ship on day 1 in Bermuda, there was a very, very long line to get back on. I think we waited for about 10-15 minutes, which in the hot sun is a long time. We found out that the line was for cold wash cloths and water. We could of by-passed that line and gotten right back on the ship. It would have been helpful to have a representative from NCL at the end of the line providing this direction. On day 2 we took a minibus tour of Bermuda. Highly recommend. I think it was $145 per person. Our guide was very knowledgeable and friendly. On day 3, my husband did a jet ski tour that he booked the night before at a place right by the ship. He loved it and got to see a sea turtle. We then went to Snorkel Beach ($5 fee). Got there at 9 am, before the crowd, and enjoyed ourselves. Great place to see fish, lots of activities, music, and a snack bar. TIP: wear water shoes. There are some rocky areas. TIP: if you venture out on day 3, DO take an excursion. Do not chance it because if something happens, the ship does not wait. If you are on a ship affiliated excursion, they will wait for you. Our plan was always to hang around the Dock Yard on day 3, because you are right by the ship. We did not dine in Bermuda. Food (and everything else) is super expensive in Bermuda. The reason we cruised there was to save money on food and accommodations, so we were surely not going to spend money on an expensive meal. I do regret not getting a signature Bermuda drink (Dark and Stormy and Rum Swizzle), but we will be back! Debarkation was pretty simple. The day before, go to the Guest Services area, get your tags, and follow the directions on the television monitors near the tags, or on your television. When your color is called, leave the ship. We chose to leave our luggage outside our door the night before and picked it up in the designated area at the terminal. TIP: if you chose this method, make sure you have something on your luggage so it's easily identifiable, like a bright colored luggage tag or pom-pom. We then walked few blocks up and got an Uber. We were home by 10 am. Before we left, we tipped our steward again, because she was so kind and went out of her way to help us have our perfect vacation. So in a nutshell, here are my tips: plan. I cannot overstate it. There are SO MANY things to do on this ship. If you don't have some sort of plan and understand the lay of the land before you get on board, it may be overwhelming, and you may waste your time figuring out what you want to do and where to go. Be patient. 4000+ people on one ship is a lot of people who come from all walks of life. I caught myself getting very annoyed more than once, but had several reminders that we are all on this planet together, and everyone has their own story. I met some really kind, interesting people because I took the time to talk and listen. BE KIND to the crew. GO out of YOUR way to say thank you. I looked everyone in the eye, from the Washy Washy man to the woman sweeping the restrooms, and said "thank you" or "have a nice day!" These people are away from their friends and family 9 months at a time, don't make a lot of money, and make it their mission to make sure we are having a great experience. The very least we can do is be kind. NCL has a reputation of "nickeling and diming." This is easily avoidable if you plan in advance. It's your choice-if you don't want specialty dining, then eat what is included. If you don't want to pay for spa treatments, then don't do it. You can have a grand time with what is included in your fare. We loved this cruise so much that we put down deposits for 2 upcoming cruises using the NCL Cruise Next program. I was so afraid my husband was not going to have a good time, and he ended up loving it. If you know you'll cruise again, highly recommend this approach. You can go to the Cruise Next desk to learn more. I also recommend attending the Cruise Next presentation in the atrium on Saturday afternoon. You'll learn more about itineraries and the NCL fleet. If you chose this cruise ship, you'll see why it's the happiest ship on earth. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
I don't know that I can ever cruise again without The Haven experience. The moment you enter the terminal on embarkation day, you are whisked away from the lines of weary travelers into a private room with a light buffet and private ... Read More
I don't know that I can ever cruise again without The Haven experience. The moment you enter the terminal on embarkation day, you are whisked away from the lines of weary travelers into a private room with a light buffet and private check-in. Once you have received your stateroom keys, you are escorted directly onto the ship where an employee is waiting at a dedicated private elevator to take you up to The Haven Lounge, where you meet the concierge team and receive further information about The Haven. We took full advantage of our Concierge team (Patrick and Lester were awesome!) booking shows and dinner reservations at the specialty restaurants. They were even able to manage last-minute timing changes on 2 separate nights to reservations for a group of 11 guests. Any time we were leaving The Haven and heading down into the general areas of the ship, we asked Patrick or Lester for an escort and they would take us down the staff elevators (in express/priority mode - no stops) to the deck of our choice and walk us directly into whichever show/restaurant/lounge we were heading to. The same service applied for going ashore in Bermuda. No waiting for elevators or jammed in a line of people to disembark. Private escort right to deck 4 and walk off the ship. On the last day in port, we stepped off for some last-minute shopping and were caught in a torrential downpour. Once we reached the boarding line, the ship's officers were waiting with umbrellas to pluck Haven guests from the line and escort us back onto the ship. Once through security screening - back to the private elevators and upstairs to get changed. The Haven restaurant is delightful. The menu doesn’t change daily, but there were enough options for me for the 4 times I had dinner in the restaurant. I believe there were 3 soup options, 5 appetizer options, 3 salad options and 7 or 8 entrée selections. I think there were 5 or 6 dessert options as well, but I’m not a big dessert person so I can’t say for sure. My family isn’t as adventurous as I when it comes to dining so they found the menu a little limited, but the staff was able to customize the entrees and substitute sides from other dishes to accommodate their needs. Dining in The Haven restaurant with a group of 11 was never a problem. The only time it could have been an issue was on the last morning when EVERYONE wanted to have breakfast at the same time. There were several families waiting to be seated when we were leaving the restaurant. The Escape has a very large casino onboard. I was surprised at the size and visited daily to play slots and blackjack. I never had a problem finding a $10 table to play at but did notice that any table spreading blackjack for less than $50/hand was using a continuous 6-deck shuffle machine AND only paid 6 to 5 on blackjack. If you wanted to play $50/hand, they used the traditional 6 decks in a shoe and paid 3 to 2 on blackjack. We enjoyed some onboard entertainment, checking out both the Matt Johnson show as well as the Levity Comedy Group. Both were time well spent. Our children (13 and 15) felt at home on the ship and had plenty to keep them occupied. They played basketball, hung in the arcade (HINT – you only need ONE unlimited subscription for 2 kids to share. It worked fine), swam, hung out in the teen club Entourage and once they made some friends, we only saw them for dinner and then at curfew (1230am, although the ship curfew for kids is 1 am). The kids really enjoyed their independence. It was quite a challenge to re-adjust back to life without a butler, cabin steward and concierge, so we’re looking forward to our next cruise in The Haven on Norwegian. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2019
After some research and customer reviews of cruise liners, I was impressed with the very favorable customer service and outstanding safety records of the Norwegian Cruise Liners. During the week-long Bermuda vacation of my family ... Read More
After some research and customer reviews of cruise liners, I was impressed with the very favorable customer service and outstanding safety records of the Norwegian Cruise Liners. During the week-long Bermuda vacation of my family comprisong three generations, we had wonderful rest in two spacious state rooms, authentic ethnic cuisines to chose from, four evenings of fine dining, exciting activities for kids and adults as well as fantastic entertainments in the evenings. The house keeping and the guest services staff were very cordial and extremely eager to offer comfort and enjoyment. The hygienic conditions and the ambience in the state rooms as well as on the decks were quite acceptable. NCL through operations research seems to have so nicely standardized the process of boarding the ship and the disembarkation including the luggage collection that my family had no stress and all this was incredibly smooth. On the whole, myself and my family of six had a wonderful time and a very memorable vacation to Bermuda, which we all will remember for a long time. We will be happy to board again another NCL cruise ship to a new destination for a renewed adventute! Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: August 2019
I have cruised with NCL from Boston to Bermuda many times over the years on various ships. (I'm now Platinum Plus.) Being a person who doesn't like to fly and loves to cruise, my choices are limited. That being said, it ... Read More
I have cruised with NCL from Boston to Bermuda many times over the years on various ships. (I'm now Platinum Plus.) Being a person who doesn't like to fly and loves to cruise, my choices are limited. That being said, it doesn't mean I feel this is a cruise I have to tolerate. I have been on NCL's larger ship, the Getaway, but do prefer a smaller ship. I will also say that the Boston to Bermuda cruise, regardless of what ship, has the best crew ever. There has been the Majesty, Crown, Dream, and Dawn (to name a few), that has cruised this Boston to Bermuda itinerary. I had never sailed on the Gem, it's Boston's new ship for this route, and I was quite excited to sail on a different ship. Like the Dawn, she is similar, but I feel, quite an upgrade. Having the Spinaker Lounge, The Great Outdoors, and 3 Champagne/Beer/Whiskey/Martini Bars (Dawn has one, which was always way over crowded), gave us the opportunity to enjoy a large space to listen to live music and get great service for drinks. The cigar/smoking room also kept the smoke contained to that room only. On the Dawn, it was a nightmare trying to sit in the lounge and not be constantly smelling the smoke that never stayed in the smoking room. I ate at both main dining rooms, the buffet, Cagney's, LeBistro, LaCuchina, O'Sheehan's, and Orchid. I didn't eat at the Great Outdoors or the grill by the pool. I chose neither because I don't care to eat where the food is kept outdoors in high humidity, heat, and near a pool with lots of people in bathing suits going in and out of hot tubs, outdoor bathrooms, etc. The food and menu is the same at both main dining rooms. Both have great service, but Grand Pacific is slower. Food was average to fantastic, depending on whether you ordered what was in season (like the salmon) or some of the specials. The usual, like roast chicken or meatloaf is more average. Having sailed many times, you get to know the menu quite well. LeBistro and LaCuchina had exceptional food and service. Cagney's, not so much. My fillet mignon was OK, but the sides were small and fair. Service was slow and it seemed hectic. Not bad, but I was a bit disappointed. I had high expectations because I had eaten at Cagney's on the Getaway and it was the most incredible meal I've ever had. O'Sheehan's was my least favorite. It's fast food, and more of a snack/late night hangout. The buffet had a large selection, and probably the most popular choice for families. I prefer being seated at a table in a dining room without the noise around me for dinner. Lunch is another story, and the convenience of being able to have a quick/easy lunch with far more variety than the main dining room (Grand Pacific) worked better for most days. About the crew: Always, always always....just incredible. No matter where I was or who was working anywhere on the ship. They are friendly, professional, hard-working, sociable, and extremely helpful. I felt spoiled and well cared for. I have always known the crew on every ship to be exceptional but this time, it was as though NCL has really worked hard at perfecting crew/passenger customer service. They seem to be much more professional on how to relate to issues and questions, even at the front desk. Can't say the same for the senior officers in white. They will do whatever they have to in order to pretend you are not walking by them. Zero eye contact. No "hello." It's something I've seen on all ships, unfortunately. About the entertainment: Yay!! For the first time in many years, I didn't have to see the same same same shows. Finally, the performances were all new. All the shows were absolutely wonderful with the exception of one, my least favorite, the guy who sang by impersonating other singers. His regular voice was OK but his impersonations, not so much. Bermuda: Always wonderful and beautiful. Major work (still) going on at the cruise dock. Having ships there constantly has certainly done it's job of wearing it out. Not as pretty at night time, and I've always thought the view with the lights to be quite memorable. Sadly, it just might be too much to have ships docked there all the time. I went to my favorite local place for lunch, The Pickled Onion, and fortunately, found it to be completely renovated. (It needed it.) Food was fantastic and as always, they have the most incredible bartenders. Pricey, like anywhere in Bermuda, so be prepared to spend about 60 bucks for lunch with one drink. Cabin: I had an inside (which I actually prefer because I like my room to be dark dark dark when I sleep.) I also find that with Bermuda's very high humidity, balcony rooms get wet from the moist humid air. Air conditioning can only circulate air from that room. I know, because I've had balcony rooms and found this to be so every time. This time, though, my room was at the very front of the ship. I mean the last room up front, on the 10th floor. I have been on cruises with very rough water many times. I have never gotten sea sick. I have never had to take sea sickness pills. We had one night, coming back from Bermuda, where we had some pretty rough waves. Not more than what I've experienced, and I got incredibly sick when I was in my cabin. I could absolutely feel much more motion being at the front of the ship. I got out as quick as I could, and went to atrium(center of ship), 2 floors below. Within an hour, I felt fine. Avoid at all costs getting a cabin at the front. The Boston to Bermuda cruise usually has at least one night of rough seas. The Atlantic in that area has always had that issue. Getting on the ship was far quicker than getting off, but considering the fact that over 2000 people take this cruise, and in a matter of 2 hours people are getting on and off, they do a great job of organizing this. Lots of people helping you navigate where to go. No problem with being short staffed and needing help. I have recommended this cruise to many others and will continue to do so. Mostly, it's the NCL crew I remember whenever I take this trip. The food, entertainment and cost has issues for many who cruise. I have found that I enjoy some of the above more than others and would certainly like some improvements, but that is true for anything in life. What I cannot hope for is a crew who could be better. They are the exception when it comes to looking back on your cruise and highlighting what you enjoyed most. They have always made me feel special, well cared for, and truly spoiled. I have loved every minute of my cruise:) Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
very nice ship -- first time on Norwegian -- food great -- service great-- shows great-- I liked the crew singing in the cafe and restaurant--- getting on and off the ship -- no problems- liked the water slides- zip line -- nice spa area ... Read More
very nice ship -- first time on Norwegian -- food great -- service great-- shows great-- I liked the crew singing in the cafe and restaurant--- getting on and off the ship -- no problems- liked the water slides- zip line -- nice spa area -- rooms service great- if I had any problems --guest service handled them with ease--- but I had very few issues-- liked the specialty restrauents ---- I sailed out of New Jersey before so I had no problem finding the port-- I did a jet ski tour and snorkel tour but I did not book through the ship -- it was captain kirks adventures -- yes I would book another cruise with Norwegian --- we saw 5 shows choir of man- two thumbs up- after midnight -- a magic show- duding pianos also small acts in some of the smaller clubs- always something to do - if you were board cruising is not for you Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
This was our 2nd trip aboard the Escape, and our 8th cruise on NCL. We finally made it to Platinum!! YAY! In May, my husband and I decided that we needed to get away and we started looking up cruises. We like to leave from NY so we ... Read More
This was our 2nd trip aboard the Escape, and our 8th cruise on NCL. We finally made it to Platinum!! YAY! In May, my husband and I decided that we needed to get away and we started looking up cruises. We like to leave from NY so we don't have to fly, and we have always had a wonderful time on Norwegian. It turned out that there were many offers going on and I think this was probably our best value to date! We love that we can get the drink and dining packages and then they were also offering wi-fi, and shore excursion and on-board credits. We made out quite well! Our positives outweigh our negatives, but the negatives are ones that we always experience and feel that they could definitely be improved with not too much effort. I'll start there... ~EMBARKATION--This is always a pressure point for us. The lines at the port in NYC are always ridiculous! There has to be a better way! We have tried arriving at many different times over the years, but it seems that there really is NO good time to arrive. It takes HOURS to get on the ship! ~DECK CHAIRS- THIS is always an issue. People put their towels on chairs and are never seen again! We Just wanted to sit in the sun for about 30 mins...60 TOPS...and we could not get a chair ANYwhere! We did see that they are starting to use round stickers with times on them so if the chair is still empty when the time is up, the crew will remove the items and open up the chairs for others to actually USE them. The problem was that it wasn't really being enforced too well, and also people would come back in an hour, remove the sticker and go away again. Again, there has to be a better way! Now the good stuff!... ~CABIN- We were in a Spa Mini suite on deck 15. Our cabin was wonderful, as always, and we really never have any complaints in this respect. We have enough room, love having a balcony, and the mini-suite has a great sized bathroom and shower. Only 1 small issue on this cruise, we were right below the main deck area and the chairs being set up in the morning (EARLY) was quite loud above our heads. ~DINING- We ate at Cagney's one night and Bayamo 2 nights. Both were excellent!! Fantastic food and great service. The other nights we ate in the Manhattan room and this was outstanding as well. The host remembered us from booking our dining options on day one and took excellent care of us when we arrived for dinner each night. This was a nice little touch that really made us feel special! ~ENTERTAINMENT- Since we were on the Escape last year we didn't go to the main shows. We LOVE to go to the comedy though. One comedian was awesome and the other...not so much. We did see The Choir of Man though, and that was fantastic!! Howl at the Moon is always a good time as well. ~SERVICE- Never a complaint about this!! The crew on NCL has never been anything short of phenomenal! They are always happy and friendly. It always amazes me that they remember our names!! I don't know how they do it! And if you go to a certain are more than once they usually remember what kind of drink you order! Amazing!! ~PORTS- We only docked in Bermuda. We love this itinerary. So nice to be in the same place for three days. We could never tire of visiting Bermuda! We did do a shore excursion this time. On the last day in port we did the shipwreck snorkel cruise. It was awesome! Our captain and his mate were wonderful and we really had a great, relaxing time. Lots of fun!! As I said, we LOVE NCL, and we LOVE Bermuda so I'm sure we will be back again soon! Hopefully when there is a different ship doing that route. We don't mind going on the same ship more than once, but it is also nice to explore new ones! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
The food was absolutely delicious. Venus, Ralph, and Vincent couldn’t have been better or anymore attentive to our needs. Wonderful caring people. Five star. The boat was clean. There was always something to do from shopping, the casino, ... Read More
The food was absolutely delicious. Venus, Ralph, and Vincent couldn’t have been better or anymore attentive to our needs. Wonderful caring people. Five star. The boat was clean. There was always something to do from shopping, the casino, pools, shows, rope course, and have some drinks at the bar. This was my first experience with a cruise and after being a passenger on the Escape I don’t know if I’d want to do another if isn’t Norwegian. I had concerns with my step son being 8 and having a balcony for a room. The room was safe, the balcony door had a lock on the top and high railings outside. This eased my mind and my wife’s. The kids club was impressive in both how safe it was and how secure. It was a huge relief and better still, he had a lot of fun and wanted to go back. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
This cruise was organized by the friends with whom we traveled. They have many years more cruise experience than my wife and I, and we were not disappointed at all. From the choice of cabin level, to the incredible service, to the varied ... Read More
This cruise was organized by the friends with whom we traveled. They have many years more cruise experience than my wife and I, and we were not disappointed at all. From the choice of cabin level, to the incredible service, to the varied options and outstanding quality of the food choices (not to mention the beauty of our destination - Bermuda), the week was an absolute pleasure! From our room steward (Omar), to the dining room wait staff, to each and every service person on board the ship (including, but not limited to, the cruise director, the captain himself, and the entertainers), the level of sincere concern for our safety, comfort, and pleasure was unparalleled. The embarkation and disembarkation processes were completely painless. We were onboard within minutes, and we were in our car in the parking garage at Bayonne within minutes, as well. We did not partake in any of the excursions offered by the ship, choosing, instead, to go by minibus to Horseshoe Bay beach. It was, in my opinion, the best way to get to the beach for two reasons: it was affordable ($7 per person, each way), and it dropped you right at the entrance of Horseshoe Bay Beach. A private taxi would have dropped you there, as well, but the fare was around $40 each way. A public transportation bus would have been less expensive than the minibus, but it drops you at the top of the hill heading to the beach. The climb up a fairly long, steep hill (especially after a few hours in the hot sun) looked pretty exhausting. There are also several packages that offer discounts on public transportation, which we chose to bypass since our goal was simply to get to the beach. We loved Horseshoe Bay so much, we decided to go back a second time two days later. We happened to be in Bermuda during their two day Emancipation National Holiday, during which almost the entire island shuts down. We stayed on board the ship during day two in Bermuda (which was day one of the holiday). I would highly recommend taking the public ferry from King's Wharf (where the ship docks) to either Hamilton or St. George (or both). It is such a pleasurable ride, offering some unique views of the island, as well as King's Wharf. The ferry is normally $4.50 per person each way. It was $5 the day we went, due to "holiday pricing." The food on board the ship did not disappoint. From the hamburgers and hot dogs by the pool, to the vast variety of quality buffet choices for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, and late night snacking (not to mention the ice cream, froyo, and gelato choices), to the excellent choices in the main dining room, there was no lack of fine quality cuisine from beginning to end. And, I have never seen a staff do more cleaning than the buffet staff. Simply outstanding. Our nightly wait staff in the main dining room of Douglas (waiter), Komang (bus boy), and Yesh (sommelier) were the best! The entertainment was also top notch. The theater was comfortable, and easy to get in and out of both prior to and after each performance, with a very attentive bar wait staff. The comedians and singers were outstanding. My only slight criticism would be the cabaret performances presented. They were just a slight notch below the level of the other performers, except for the aerialists, and the male and female acrobatic dancers, both of whom were incredible. The Summit is a bit of a smaller ship. The two pools (the main pool varies in depth from 5 ft 6 inches deep to 6 ft 2 inches deep, and the smaller pool has a uniform 4 ft depth) on board the ship don't have any of the amenities of some larger ships (e.g. - no slides or tubes, etc). There are a couple of hot tubs. There is an area on board (near the spa and fitness center) called The Solarium which is a glass enclosed pool area that has in-pool lounge areas with water jet massages, as well as some in pool shower type massage areas. The Solarium Spa Cafe also offers some healthier food choices and smoothies. There are no shortages of lounge chairs throughout the ship, as well as areas to escape the hustle and bustle of the main pool area. A great amenity is an outdoor area at the rear of the ship on deck 12 called the Rooftop Terrace which contains a series of couches and comfy lounge areas with a large screen for viewing movies and such throughout the day. A great area, again, to escape. I would definitely make this same trip again, in a heartbeat, and highly recommend it to anyone looking for a great overall cruise experience. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
My daughter and I had cruised Anthem 2 yrs ago on the 4 night to Bermuda and while there were some issues on the cruise, we decided to try the 5 night to Bermuda. Overall, I was very happy with the cruise. Room- We again had a room ... Read More
My daughter and I had cruised Anthem 2 yrs ago on the 4 night to Bermuda and while there were some issues on the cruise, we decided to try the 5 night to Bermuda. Overall, I was very happy with the cruise. Room- We again had a room with the large balcony at a good location near the elevators. The room was spotless and our steward, Carlton was very nice and provided me with extra towels when I asked for them. The issue with the horrible beds continued, though we did ask for and get toppers for them. For the first time though in a while on RCCl we had very loud and obnoxious neighbors blasting music . Key program -We had The Key program- I was not sure how it would work out, but in the end the benefits we used were great and I would do this again. We got there at 11 so missed the early embarkation but the Key had a designated check in anyhow. We had lunch when we boarded in one of the dining rooms from the Chops menu. We left a carry on near the dining room when we boarded. During the cruise we got a fruit plate. We did not use the priority time for Bermuda. We were able to book North Star through the Key, though in the end cancelled but could have used Stand By. (It had not been available on the Cruise Planner). We got a discount at Izumi. We did not see any shows this time. Best was the departure. We had breakfast and getting off the ship was super easy, as the Key employee guided us off, through the pier , to the luggage and got us into a fast customs line. I would definitely do The Key again. Internet and Drink Package- I booked the Deluxe package with internet before I realized I had booked the Key months earlier ( forgetful sometimes....) and because I did not want to cancel and rebook, we ended up with 4 internet packages. This actually worked out well as I could use my phone and computer at same time, and daughter her iPad and phone. No, I would not do that again, but it worked well this time. The drink package is totally worth it. Food- there were some issues here but they related to booking only. I had booked the Chefs Table and 3 night dining package through the Cruise Planner. We generally only eat in specialty restaurants and before I always booked pre cruise, but decided to save money this time. I did not really like running around on the first day to get the restaurants booked. We went to a gentleman in Chops first to check on the 3 nights, and the first night he claimed we were in Jamie's at 9.30 when I had booked for 8 pm times but we switched it to Wonderland and then Jamies and Chops at the end of the week. However, when I checked several times before the second to last night when we had Jamie's, and even that day the reservation was either lost or at a wrong time. I will say that the food in all the restaurants we ate in was excellent. In fact, Wonderland, which had been disappointing 2 yrs ago, and on the Symphony in Nov., was fantastic and we ended up eating there the last night again instead of Chops. Our server , Gabino, was great. We had him as our server both nights. Instead of eating in Hamilton on the night in Bermuda, my daughter ate in Izumi and I joined her for a salad as I dislike sushi. Our server, Jofel, was also super. When I said I wanted a burger he went downstairs to the pub and ordered one for me and brought it back to me. He also brought my daughter back from that deck the special pineapple drink. I got room service in the morning as I like to drink coffee on the balcony. It came promptly each morning. We also ordered from the room service menu at the pool as we booked the sunbeds, and I thought the Greek salad was very good as well. Chefs Table was exceptional and food allergies and preferences were easily accommodated. Shows- we did not see any this cruise. Last cruise we walked out on Spectra's Cabaret as we both thought it awful. Bars- on this cruise, Boleros was definitely the best . The bartenders were friendly and helpful. I enjoyed the music at night also. Schooner Bar had one of the rudest bartenders. Pool- I splurged and we enjoyed the sun beds outside the North Star Bar area on the sea days.I had seen them 2 yrs prior and knew to book them as soon as I got on the ship. For us, this was the best deal on the ship. Though expensive, we had great service throughout the day from Abraham, bottles of water, a bottle of champagne ( which I took home), and lunch from the Room Service menu. The pool was jammed on sea days and the chair hogs were out. We were told that some people were out at 4.30 am putting towels on chairs. For the first time, though, we did see a pool worker confiscate towels and put peoples' possession in plastic bags after a long period of time had gone by, but that was only on the first sea day. Bermuda- we were not overwhelmed. The island is very expensive and because I knew transportation by taxi can be costly, and difficult from some areas, we had made plans to be in Hamilton one day and possibly a beach the second. We ferried over to Hamilton but were underwhelmed . My daughter had hoped to buy a pair of sandals at the specialty sandal shop where they are hand made for you while you wait. However, the clerk was very unfriendly and dismissive. We decided to go back to the ship and went to Snorkel Park. That too was expensive for 2 chairs and an umbrella ($40). Beach was tiny and dirty. When we left we went shopping in the Clocktower and had lunch at Frog and Onion which was expensive. The second day we did the ship excursion to Clearwater Beach which involves an hour ride to St George and back. The tour was ok, but not worth the cost. I was not impressed by the beach. The host for the beach, though, was very nice. Parking- drop off of bags and parking was not difficult. The crowd is predominately from the tri state area- NY, NJ Pa , and surrounding states. That said, some were very rude, some teens were horrible, some people cut in front of you , some just very unfriendly, ( ie. at Chefs Table where in the past we found people were usually friendly, one group of 6 moved their chairs so they could all sit at one end, and never spoke to the other 6 of us), but overall we just dealt with it and in fact, booked another cruise over the holidays. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
Our first cruise on the Anthem!! This is our biggest ship we have been on and absolutely loved it! The style and decor is so wonderful! The pools are beautiful and the solarium so pretty! We had an ocean view balcony on deck 8 but would ... Read More
Our first cruise on the Anthem!! This is our biggest ship we have been on and absolutely loved it! The style and decor is so wonderful! The pools are beautiful and the solarium so pretty! We had an ocean view balcony on deck 8 but would recommend higher as the life boats were just below. The stateroom has so much storage and modern decor. We loved wonderland but missed the grand feel of the main dining room with the smaller dining areas. The food was excellent in the windjammer- better than previous ships. We were only disappointed with Jamie Oliver’s dining and that we never met our stateroom attendant ! In the past they always come and introduce themselves. We loved the overnight stay in Bermuda and would definitely return there! Embarkation and debarkation were a breeze! Cruising out of the Cape Liberty port gave us a great extended trip in NYC! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
Norwegian Gem is a beautiful ship. The itinerary was amazing. The crew exceeded our wants. Patrick or Kevin Street always made sure our mini suite was impeccable and took very good care of us. Nikola Vojovic, Gary Gatoula and Mer ... Read More
Norwegian Gem is a beautiful ship. The itinerary was amazing. The crew exceeded our wants. Patrick or Kevin Street always made sure our mini suite was impeccable and took very good care of us. Nikola Vojovic, Gary Gatoula and Mer Yaday are some of the bartenders throughout the ship but they stood out in our eyes with a great smile and excellent service I definitely go to them anytime I wanted a drink. Just make sure you give them a fist bump whenever they serve you, inside joke . Katherine Montro had the spray sanitizer bottle outside the buffet. She was always there asking how we’re doing and had good conversations with her. Made us feel part of a family. Washy washy, happy happy, clean clean. Reema Chettari and Marie Tenorio gave us a deep tissue couples massage that was totally exhilarating and made us feel like $1 million (we wanted to take them home wit us) Auinash Yaday at Carney’s steak house overheard a conversation about something we live at the Brazilian grill’s that we have at home for dessert and actually brought a couple slices of the roasted pineapple from the Grill next door and just made our meal that much more enjoyable. There are so many more noteworthy crew members that I can’t possibly go on without writing a book but everyone was appreciated and made our honeymoon incredible!!!! The only down side of the cruise was the food in the main dining rooms were lack luster. The service was excellent but it made me feel that ncl is trying to push you to the specialty dining with the lack of “wow” in the dining rooms. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
Our 1st cruise and we are NCL cruisers for life! We have already booked our 2nd cruise, a transatlantic. We can't say enough about how smoothly this vacation went. From getting on board and fine dining, followed by great ... Read More
Our 1st cruise and we are NCL cruisers for life! We have already booked our 2nd cruise, a transatlantic. We can't say enough about how smoothly this vacation went. From getting on board and fine dining, followed by great entertainment, this is the way to travel! Norwegian put the "Pro" in professional, the ship was immaculate from morning to night, and you hardly noticed the work it took to keep it that way. Our stateroom was attended to at least twice daily, and our steward was a joy. The entire staff made us feel special! After our transatlantic, we will cruise around Japan on a Norwegian ship as soon as possible. I'm a retired career Merchant Marine; these ships ride smooth and are meticulously maintained. We feel safe aboard Norwegian. NCL is a top-notch company! So what are you waiting for? Put some money down on your dream vacation and leave the rest to Norwegian! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
My husband and I love to cruise and decided to go on the Gem from Boston to Bermuda. I booked a balcony room but at the last minute saw there was a forward facing penthouse suite available so I called and changed the reservation to the ... Read More
My husband and I love to cruise and decided to go on the Gem from Boston to Bermuda. I booked a balcony room but at the last minute saw there was a forward facing penthouse suite available so I called and changed the reservation to the suite. We got to the pier at around 10:30 and were in the Haven/Suite waiting area by 10: 45. Anoop, our amazing concierge met us there and gave us our card keys and all the information we needed. We were escorted onto the ship at 11:15 and brought to Cagney's for our first lunch onboard. After lunch we decided to see if our room was ready even though they hadn't made any announcements about that yet. We were pleased that it was ready and waiting for us. We have had aft penthouse suites in the past which we have enjoyed but when we get suites on this class of ship, it will be forward facing from now on! The room is pretty much the same as the aft suite but the balcony is at least three or four times the size. There were two lounge chairs, two regular chairs and two small tables with plenty of room to walk around. We spent many hours on our balcony. While we were sailing, it was windy but if you sit on the loungers/chairs, it's really not bad at all. When we were docked, it was perfect! Our room stewardess was Helen and she was probably the best we have ever had! She took care of everything we needed and then some. She always had a smile and called us by name each time. She was so friendly and kind. We looked forward to seeing her in the hallway so we could chat. Our butler was Joaquin but we only saw him a couple of times. We didn't ask him to deliver any meals or anything like that but he brought our snacks every day. I was a little disappointed that we didn't get to know him better. We got all the perks - beverage package, dining package, excursion credit, and 250 minutes wifi. We are platinum so we also got two more specialty dinners. For dinners we ate at Cagney's twice, Teppanyaki, LeBistro, and LaCuccina. All meals were good but our tenderloin from LeBistro was the best steak we've ever eaten! I highly recommend LeBistro. Because we were in a suite, we got to have breakfast every morning in Moderno. It was quiet and the servers were very good. My husband's favorite breakfast there was steak (filet mignon) and eggs. My favorite was eggs benedict. Every morning while we were having breakfast, Anoop, our concierge stopped to see us and make sure we didn't need anything. Any questions we had, he answered for us and took care of a few minor issues with charges right away. The assistant maitre'd, I Made also visited us every morning. We enjoyed talking to him about his country and how things are run on the ship. He saw us when we were at LeBistro and came right over to us to say hi and make sure everything was ok. We had lunch at O'Sheehan's one day which was ok. We walked through the Garden Cafe a few times and saw they had a great variety of choices. The burgers there were pretty good! We didn't go to any of the shows because we've seen them all a few times. We spent a good amount of time at the Great Outdoors which is at the back of the Garden Cafe. It was a really nice place to sit and have a snack and a drink. There are tables in the shade and sun. They also have a buffet that has snacks, salads, fruit, sandwiches, and desserts. There is also a bar there with really good bartenders! We had priority disembarkation when we got to Bermuda. We met Anoop at Maltings along with the other people that had priority and he escorted us off the ship so we could skip the very long line of people waiting to get off. In Bermuda, we did the Rising Sun Catamaran Swim and Snorkel excursion. They met us right at the pier and we walked a short way to the catamaran. It was a three hour excursion that seemed more like a half hour. The crew were great. They were funny and entertaining telling us about Bermuda. They took us to a cove where we could swim, snorkel (with their equipment if we didn't have our own), paddle board, or kayak. The place we went this day had caves you could explore and there were a lot of fish to look at while snorkeling. They have Rum Swizzles that you can buy until the last hour when you are on the way back to the ship and they are free. They are the best Rum Swizzles too! We had a great time and I would go on this excursion every time we were in Bermuda! We also went to Horseshoe Bay. We took a mini-van in the parking lot between the two piers. It's $7 per person each way. They take you right to the entrance of Horseshoe Bay. When you are leaving (no set time), there will be another minivan there waiting or one will be there shortly. Horseshoe Bay is absolutely beautiful with its pink sand and little coves to walk to. The last day we were in Bermuda we walked around the Dockyard and did some souvenir shopping. It was pretty hot and very humid so we got back on the ship early. We were glad we did because we were able to get chairs right by the pool! That is something that in nine cruises, we have never been able to do. People "save" chairs by putting towels or other things on the chairs. Unfortunately, some of those people leave the towels there all day and only go to the pool for an hour or so. There are two pools, one adult only pool and one for everyone that has a lifeguard. There is also a big water slide that the kids love. For us, the wifi was only ok. We tried to FaceTime with our grandchildren twice and had issues both times. I checked my email and messages a few times and the server was very slow. It would take about a minute and a half for my emails to load. I also couldn't send any pictures to my sons or receive any from them. If I didn't get the free wifi, I wouldn't pay for it. Maybe it's better if you get the unlimited though. There were many people, especially teens on their devices all the time. We decided to get the Cruise Next deal where you pay for two Cruise Next certificates ($250 each) and get four. You can use two at a time on future cruises that are taken within four years. We tend to cruise once a year so that's a good deal for us. The only issue we had was at the shore excursion desk. My husband and I walked over to the desk and before we could say a word, the guy put up his hand and said, "Wait a minute, I need to do something" in a very nasty tone. We waited a couple of minutes and were finally able to ask our question. When he looked us up and saw we were platinum cruisers, his tone changed completely. It shouldn't matter what level you are at, everyone should be treated kindly. Overall, we had a wonderful time. I can't say enough about the crew and the service we received. I would highly recommend the Gem to Bermuda. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
There’s absolutely nothing negative that I can say about my first experience with Norwegian. This will be the first of many because I don’t think there is a better cruise line out there and I’ve tried carnival but this cruise line ... Read More
There’s absolutely nothing negative that I can say about my first experience with Norwegian. This will be the first of many because I don’t think there is a better cruise line out there and I’ve tried carnival but this cruise line far exceeded my expectations. Everything from the food to the service to the entertainment was top-notch. Anything you could possibly need they are there to accommodate without a problem. For me the food was the highlight of my trip because I am a huge foodie and for me that was very important. And not only was it good at the specialty dining restaurants but also in every other dining option you had from the buffet to the complementary dining rooms. My family and I totally love the entertainment on board from the comedy shows to the bands that played. The friendliest crew of people i’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting on a ship. Good work Norwegian keep it up!! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
I choose Norwegian Escape to Bermuda because I wanted lots of time to relax and be pampered, great excursions and one port of destination. From boarding to disembarkation, I felt like I was treated like a queen...but I do tend to act like ... Read More
I choose Norwegian Escape to Bermuda because I wanted lots of time to relax and be pampered, great excursions and one port of destination. From boarding to disembarkation, I felt like I was treated like a queen...but I do tend to act like one. Lol. The staff referred to me by name (which blew my mind), they remembered details and special needs. I honestly do not have the time to explain the quality of the freestyle dining in terms of food, presentation, and staff. You honestly would think the Maitre D's were taking care of royalty. The entertainment was great. An older couple who were on their 27th cruise with different cruise lines told me that it was the best entertainment they had ever encountered. I don't have the comparison, because this was my first extended cruise, but OMG...the entertainment was first class with Broadway and Motown entertainers, as well as comedians from well known television shows. Would I do it again? I can't wait to do it again. I am hypersensitive to cigarette smoke, so my only displeasure is that some of the events I wanted to attend were or the two smoking floors and required me to go in and out so that the faint smell did not cause me difficulty. Please note that the faint smell did not bother most people, and probably would not bother 99.9 but as always, cigarette smoke can cause headaches for me. Excursions were professional and fun! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
I chose Norwegian because I heard it was a great company to sail with. From when we stepped on the ship everyone was welcoming, friendly and helpful. We only stopped in Bermuda but what a great stop it was. People are friendly and helpful ... Read More
I chose Norwegian because I heard it was a great company to sail with. From when we stepped on the ship everyone was welcoming, friendly and helpful. We only stopped in Bermuda but what a great stop it was. People are friendly and helpful and we felt safe to explore on our own. If you don’t like crowds then I would recommend the spa rooms. We upgraded to the spa balcony and loved that we could get away from all the noise and drunk people and use the quiet time to relax. The only issue I had was the restaurants where slow to serve. Some might thing that’s ok but for us it wasn’t. Allow 1 1/2 to 2 depending on your group size for dinner. Make reservations before you get on the ship or right when you get on it. They have kiosk that you can do yourself which was great. The shows on the Escape where ok but needs to be booked as soon as you get on the ship. Would highly recommend a Norwegian Cruise Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
This was our 3rd trip on Summit. Other two in Carb. (with Capt. Kate). This was first trip after refit. Ship looks great! Weather was fine the whole week. Had worries about driving up from VA but trips up and back went fairly ... Read More
This was our 3rd trip on Summit. Other two in Carb. (with Capt. Kate). This was first trip after refit. Ship looks great! Weather was fine the whole week. Had worries about driving up from VA but trips up and back went fairly smoothly. We had a room with an joining door. That door let a lot of noise pass through. Trip to concierge desk fixed that problem. Crew came in and taped around door. Problem fixed. Sounds like this is a common complaint as crewman had done the fix before. Ship's crew very visible and easy to talk with. Saw the captain walking around ship many times. Our 3rd trip to Bermuda and will probably go again in a couple of years. We don't rent the mopeds anymore but public transportation is fun and inexpensive. The ferrys are crowded but get you around quickly. This time we went to Hamilton on Wed. for their block party. Only went to one onboard show. It included the airolist couple which by themselves make it worth staying up late to see. Because of the higher cost, we usually don’t book excursions through the ship. We did a snorkeling trip on the “pink boat” and had a great time. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We stayed in the Haven area, and I will tell you this, once you go Haven there is no turning back. We had the best butler, Roland, the best cabin assistant Jennifer, and Adrian and his staff were outstanding. Our every wish was taken ... Read More
We stayed in the Haven area, and I will tell you this, once you go Haven there is no turning back. We had the best butler, Roland, the best cabin assistant Jennifer, and Adrian and his staff were outstanding. Our every wish was taken care of sometimes without even realizing we had a wish. The Haven restaurant impeccable. The wait staff was so attentive breakfast, lunch and dinner. Must have..Rack of Lamb! Oh! And the bartender in the Haven area makes a mean Bloody Mary. Don’t miss Cagneys, LaCucina, or Moderno. You can’t make a bad choice. The staff and crew from boarding the ship to disembarking were attentive, pleasant, and just SPECTACULAR. Don’t miss The Choir oh Men...The best show. Our trip was so great my sister is booking her trip for September. thank you NCL. For reviving me ✌️ Read Less
Sail Date: July 2019
We cruised 7/21 out of NYC to Bermuda. I was a little hesitant after reading the negative reviews by some about the number of people on the ship. After the first day, I knew crowds were not going to be much of a problem. Full review ... Read More
We cruised 7/21 out of NYC to Bermuda. I was a little hesitant after reading the negative reviews by some about the number of people on the ship. After the first day, I knew crowds were not going to be much of a problem. Full review below: Embarkation - Easy. We arrived at the pier at 10:30, and we were on the ship at 11:30. Ship - Beautiful and clean. Even though there are a lot of people on this ship, we could always find a quiet place to sit and relax in the sun, or in the shade (Deck 8) Cabin - We had two inside cabins across from each other. It's a cruise ship cabin. It was small, clean, and served our needs. Dining - We always ate in one of the three main dining rooms for dinner. We did not eat at any specialty restaurants. We had reservations, but sometimes we wanted to switch dining rooms, or eat a little earlier. So we did not always use our reservation. We are a party of 5, and we had no problem walking in without a reservation around 5:30. I thought the food was excellent. My wife thought it was very good. She wished they had more seafood selections on the menu. The buffet had a seafood night for dinner, and she wished she checked it out. The service was very good. Some of the wait staff were very personable, and asked about our day. Others, just served us food. But everyone was extremely nice.The desserts were great. We ate at the Garden Buffet everyday for breakfast and lunch. They had a wide selection of food. It was all very good. Entertainment and Activities: We booked After Midnight prior to cruising, and we booked The Choir of Man as soon as we got on the ship. The music in After Midnight wasn't my type of music, but the show was excellent. Definitely worth it. The Choir of Man was awesome. Again definitely worth it. We saw Howl at the Moon Dueling Pianos on three different nights. They were great. My boys and I went on to the ropes course any time we wanted. We waited in line one time, but only for 5 minutes. Make sure you walk the plank!! Half of the course was usually closed due to high winds. The tube water slide usually had a line. Service: Fabulous. Our cabin steward always asked how my day was going, he opened the door for me whenever we were in the same hallway, and upon my request, he made towel animals every night for the kids. All other staff were great as well. Extremely friendly, and personable. Earlier reviews had mentioned long waits at the bars, chair hogs, and not enough seating in the Atrium for shows. I agree that some bars were crowded, especially by the pool. I just walked to another (usually the complimentary side of Vibe) and I had no problem ordering drinks. To deal with the chair hogs, stickers were placed on chairs with the time a towel and belongings were placed on it. If the chair was not sat in during that hour, a worker removed the towel and the belongings of the person who had the chair. I thought that was great. My wife and I always got a chair where she wanted on the 17th floor, one deck above the pool overlooking the ocean. Regarding the Atrium, if many people were standing watching a show, workers would bring additional chairs for people to sit in. I always had a seat available, if I wanted to sit. But, I did not go to many shows there. Disembarkation: Organized. But it was the only aspect of the cruise that I was disappointed in. Everyone had to have a colored tag with a time frame to leave the ship. Even though only the first color was called over the intercom, workers let anyone with the first three colors (with a time given) off the ship. This made the line extremely long. However, it did move quickly. Overall: A fantastic cruise. I highly recommend NCL and the Norwegian Escape. As long as you plan accordingly, the number of people are not an issue with the exception of the pools. If you want to swim, it needs to be done early in the morning or late in the day. During peak sun hours, the pool is too crowded. But in my experience, pools on cruise ships are always overcrowded. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
Well I was a bit skeptical going in......Some of the past reviews I have read about the Escape were somewhat mixed. Large ship, lots of people, bad service?? I was concerned let's be honest. But it was just so wonderful, where do I ... Read More
Well I was a bit skeptical going in......Some of the past reviews I have read about the Escape were somewhat mixed. Large ship, lots of people, bad service?? I was concerned let's be honest. But it was just so wonderful, where do I begin. We haven't cruised in 30 years. This was our 30th anniversary celebration. This ship is just beautiful. The service was first class. Food very good. Shows were amazing. Yes, some areas crowded up, but it was never a big issue. So much to do so everyone was scattered about. We will definitely go Norwegian again. I also loved the designated quiet areas on the ship The Waterfront on deck 8 was very relaxing when you wanted quiet time. Something for everyone on this cruise. One thing I can suggest, if any: maybe another pool area for cause one pool for adults only? Could have been a bit larger. But still it was no big issue for us. Maybe some get togethers for couples of two - just a suggestion. All in all, a perfect cruise to Bermuda. Read Less
5 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
Have taken many cruises over the years. With the exception of 2 cruises, we always cruised Royal Caribbean. After the last cruise, 2 years ago on the Anthem, we decided to try Celebrity. The service was 100% better! From the moment we ... Read More
Have taken many cruises over the years. With the exception of 2 cruises, we always cruised Royal Caribbean. After the last cruise, 2 years ago on the Anthem, we decided to try Celebrity. The service was 100% better! From the moment we went aboard, we received excellent service with a smile. It seems every employee is happy and walks around with a smile and kind word, If you ask them where something is, they take you there! One of the disappointments on our last RC cruise was not having enough staff to service the passengers. We had a drink package and it was an effort to get a drink! On Celebrity, we were asked numerous times by numerous staff if we needed a drink. This was at EVERY bar. In the Main dining room, you had a drink server, sommelier, waiter, asst waiter and maitre D. On the Anthem, our Asst waiter was actually making the drinks and they didn't arrive until after dinner came! Our first night in the Main dining room, we were not happy with the location of our table which was near the serving station. When we left, we asked if we could change. They said they were all reserved and they would try. We arrived in our room the next day and a note with our new table was listed. Food was really good in the dining room. The Oceanview Cafe had a great buffet, nice selection of food, tables cleaned quickly, and managers constantly overseeing the operation. I am not really a buffet person, but ate there quite often. We tried 2 Specialty Restaurants, Tuscan Grill and Qsine. Both excellent. Qsine was very interesting, an eclectic restaurant with various types of food. Order on an Ipad and let them know when you are full. We initially ordered too much and they stopped when we were finished. The cabin was very nice. We usually do inside, husband likes the darkness in the room. The bed was so comfortable, almost as good as the Marriott beds. The bathroom is very small, but I liked the rectangular shower better than the oval. Less shelves on the sink but it worked. The place was immaculate and our attendant had a great sense of timing when he came to clean. The Celebrity has an older population (40 plus) than the RC large ships (Allure) and very few kids, which was a plus. Not as many activities for them as the splashier ships. The layout of the ship is nice. The shops are all at one end, much classier than the other ships. No blocking the walk way with tables of sale items. Very relaxing cruise, we booked another for next year. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2019
Everything on this cruise was oustanding, from the staffs, food, activities, shows. No complaints. The mini-suit with balcony is quite spacious for 3 or 4 (we were 3). For the restaurant, great choices in food, timings, waiters being very ... Read More
Everything on this cruise was oustanding, from the staffs, food, activities, shows. No complaints. The mini-suit with balcony is quite spacious for 3 or 4 (we were 3). For the restaurant, great choices in food, timings, waiters being very pleasant, paying attention to details. I strongly recommend to try the Specialty restaurant. They are well worth the money and the entertainment (like the Tepaniaki). The stay in Bermuda was quite pleasant. Good weather, swimming with the dolphins was quite a blast. Beautiful beaches. I enjoyed the fact that we were not rushed everyday to visit a new port. It was like having your hotel in Bermuda for 2 and a half days. On the way back, a little bit of rough seas and thanks to the Captain, we made a little detour to avoid rougher seas. Disembarkation, well organised but it does take time to empty a cruise ship of 2000 plus passengers. Well done Norwegian. Read Less
4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: July 2019
We just got back from a 4 day Bermuda on the Sunrise. We chose this cruise because of the length as we did not have the time to book the 8 day to the Caribbean. Regardless, we had so much fun. The ship is in great condition and I thought ... Read More
We just got back from a 4 day Bermuda on the Sunrise. We chose this cruise because of the length as we did not have the time to book the 8 day to the Caribbean. Regardless, we had so much fun. The ship is in great condition and I thought they did a great job with the refurbishment. You are able to tell that the ship is older, however the cabins and guest areas have been quite modernized and are definitely a big step up from the older carnival ships. Our cruise director Chris (the Flying Scotsman) was fantastic! is is always full of energy and he seems to make an appearance at every event around the ship. The fun squad and DJ were good. But we wish they had a few more deck parties as those are usually our favorite on Carnival. We enjoyed our cabins very much as well. We had the interior with walkway views on deck 7 at the front of the ship. It was great having a full size window just like an Oceanview cabin. both embarkation and disembarkation were very easy. During embarkation it was only about 20 minutes from curbside to on the ship. during disembarkation we waited in a short line in the atrium to get off and had very minimal lines at customs. Another reason we chose this ship was for all of the dining options. We are big fans of the new restaurants added such as guys burger joint, the blue iguana cantina, and the pig and anchor smokehouse which was delicious. The service in the dining room was great, we had your time dining and we were always seated in the Sunshine restaurant at the aft of the ship. In Bermuda we decided to take a taxi to Horseshoe bay beach, as we heard it was a great beach. The ride cost $7 per person and was about 15 minutes away. The beach was absolutely beautiful. The front gets crowded, but the back and side of the beach have lots of coves that are much more secluded and great for spending a day at the beach. But, definitely decide to return to the ship early as the line to get a taxi/ shuttle back to the ship was extremely long and people were scrambling to get back to the ship. Overall this was a great getaway cruise, we would definitely go on this ship and route again! Read Less

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