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Sail Date: June 2018
My family took the 9 night cruise up the NE into Canada out of Baltimore. Without airfare, it made the trip far more economical. We paid around $3,700 before our final tab at the gift shops, bar, gratuities. Gratuities really add up at ... Read More
My family took the 9 night cruise up the NE into Canada out of Baltimore. Without airfare, it made the trip far more economical. We paid around $3,700 before our final tab at the gift shops, bar, gratuities. Gratuities really add up at $14.50/person/day. I don't debate they are deserved; just factor those in as you budget. I was on this ship in the late 90's and it's still the same. It's had a face lift, or several, but if you start looking close, you can tell it's tired. I will say that it's clean, which is what I care about most. The staff are excellent and work hard to make sure the experience is good! Age. Wow, there are a lot of older folks on this trip. It slows movement down around the ship. Not a complaint; just be aware of it. Kids activities were better than we expected based on what we had read. Our 9 and 12 year old enjoyed the kids room, pools and the rock climbing wall. Just be aware it's not a Disney cruise. The gym on this ship is terrible. Small and older equipment that needs to be replaced. I'm not sure what they would do to make it larger, but it's very much in need of a facelift and expansion. The ship is crowded. I am on the second to last day - on the ship now. When you are at sea (and you are the last two days of this trip), the place fills up quickly. Hard to find a place to sit other than your room. Two days, back to back, at sea is not ideal on this ship at all. The stops? Boston, Portland, Bar Harbor and Halifax were excellent. St. John's was our least favorite. Nice enough City, but couldn't really find much we wanted to do. Perhaps that's us? The rest were excellent stops! Avoid the "whale watching" tour they sell you at Halifax through RC. Listen, I full appreciate you can't always see a whale. However, it's positioned by RC that the likelihood you will is high. We paid nearly $200 for four of us to go and we basically went on a two and a half hour boat ride. Saw nothing more than a lobster and a crab. Terrible waste of money. Terrible. The food? It's not bad, but after 7-8 days, it gets old. You can tell what's going on. 10-15 year ago, you went on a cruise and got fed very well. Now, if you want that same experience? You are paying extra and going to their specialty restaurants. Add in the drinks and internet, you start to feel like you're getting nickel and dimed to death. It does get old in that regard. I did try a steak from their specialty restaurant. It was average, at best. Certainly not worth the up charge. I will also say, 9 days of food is hard to manage. You can only do some much to create variety. We made it a habit to have lunch off the boat in town each day. Try the café back by the gym. Great spot for an Egg McMuffin at breakfast, a light sandwich/snack in the afternoon, etc. Great food and it wasn't crowded as I don't think most people knew about it. The internet? Well, it works. It's not so slow that it doesn't run your machine, but it's certainly not blazing fast. At best, I was getting about 4mbps down and 2 up. At worst, it would manage 1 down and .5 up. It was quick enough to run FaceTime, etc. We bought a two device package. It's a real pain to connect/disconnect. About once a day, we would have to go to the customer service desk as it would "jam" and tell us we were connected even though we logged out. It would then lock us out of our account. A real pain to deal with every day. Overall, though, it's much better than I remember it being a few years ago. Useable if you need to be connected. Overall, we had a nice time. It was a great way to see many different spots that would be expensive to go to singularly. The age of the ship didn't create near the stir we thought it would. RC has done a nice job with it, frankly, and the staff was excellent. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
We picked this cruise because once in a while we want to go North, rather than South, and Norwegian is our favorite cruise line. We come from New York City and don't have to travel to board either of the NCL ships that call NYC home. Also ... Read More
We picked this cruise because once in a while we want to go North, rather than South, and Norwegian is our favorite cruise line. We come from New York City and don't have to travel to board either of the NCL ships that call NYC home. Also the price for an inside cabin on this cruise was very reasonable. We made two stops in Canada: Halifax, Nova Scotia and St. John, New Brunswick. Then we made two stops in Maine: Bar Harbor and Portland. Embarkation was very smooth. We dropped our bags at the curb, signed in right away with almost no line ahead of us and got on the ship in a hurry. (We are at the Platinum level with NCL.) We like the Gem because it's a smaller ship and doesn't entail a great deal of walking. We got an inside cabin as the scenery outside in Canada and Maine in June isn't really spectacular. There was plenty of room inside for all our stuff. The TV, sink, shower, and safe all worked just fine. Our room steward was really great. He always greeted us by name and he kept the room in spotless condition. We were on the 10th floor in a convenient location, between the aft and mid-ship elevators. The room was very quiet at night and we had no trouble sleeping. We've eaten in every restaurant on the Gem in the last couple of years. This time we ate in the Italian and French specialty restaurants. Both were good, the French one, Le Bistro, being the better of the two. We were able to eat in both for free as a perk to Platinum level customers but we noticed that the menus were ala carte rather than one flat price and I don't like that. The shows were OK. Like the commercial used to say, "When Hollywood and Broadway say no, the cruise ship says yes". Still, we went to the Western show and the Swing show and were entertained for an hour or so. The casino was nice. We spent a lot of time there without losing a whole bunch of money. All the employees there were great. We had a good time playing Bingo and Deal or No Deal. Since we had been to all four ports before we didn't take any excursions. We just got off the ship, ate lunch, and walked around a bit. It was chilly in all the ports except for the last one, Portland, so we tried to stay indoors. The temperature was about 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The only problem we had was that everyone had to be checked by Customs on the ship before we pulled in to Bar Harbor. I saw no reason for this because everyone was checked when we got on in NYC and whenever we got on and off in Canada. Not to mention that we all had to clear customs in NYC upon our return. The line to see the Customs agents, there were only two of them, stretched a long way. It would all through the casino and up the aft staircase. Because of this we got off the boat late and Bar Harbor is a tender port with no dock for a large ship. Some people who had purchased excursions were afraid of missing them. This was not something started by NCL. It involved Federal Customs regulations. We had the easiest disembarkation of any cruise we had been on. We put our bags out the night before, picked them up in the terminal and walked through customs in a hurry with only two people ahead of us. It's no longer necessary to fill out a declaration form if you have nothing to declare. All in all we had a very nice cruise and we were well looked after by the staff. I would love to do it again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
We had sailed with Gem before and were very happy with the service and entertainment onboard. So when we decided to holiday in New England & Canada there were no doubts in choosing the Gem but boy were we wrong. 1. Upon initial ... Read More
We had sailed with Gem before and were very happy with the service and entertainment onboard. So when we decided to holiday in New England & Canada there were no doubts in choosing the Gem but boy were we wrong. 1. Upon initial embarkation at NY, the check-in staff confiscated our passports stating that they would be handed when we get to Halifax, Canada. On asking to give an explanation on the logic behind this absurd process the staff couldn't answer and had to go get her manager who came and explained the process. We were not happy about the cruise line holding us hostage by taking our passports, totally useless and absurd process. 2. The staff in the buffet were totally useless. We had such high expectations with the Gem as it was the second time sailing with her. Our used plates, cups, glasses, towels etc were never taken away ontime. There were a lot of times that we had to move to another table because our vessels were not taken away. When this occurred the first time we dismissed it as a one off thing but as it started happening on most of our lunches/dinner we understood the level of service. 3. The staff at the bar also seemed quite racist, there were instances when we had ordered our drinks first and the bar staff would prepare drinks for the "whites" before us. 4. The cruise director (Ferdie) and his staff (Danni, Kat, Maragarita, Vivian etc) were totally useless. The entire team were from Philippines, China, Serbia etc which was fine but their vocabulary was bad. We couldn't understand a word what they spoke at times. During some of the game shows the cruise staff had to spell out what they spoke for all to understand. I am not against giving jobs to these nationalities but for a customer facing job/role they should be able to speak good English with at least a neutral accent. 5. The entertainment onboard was lackluster and very mediocre. Except for the show which involved a couple swinging/hanging over a rope all the other shows (Ashley Amber, Venessa, blazing boots) were very ordinary and boring. 6. The recording "Dancing with the stars" was so bad when shown on TV, we could not hear the judges comments nor the comments of the contestants from the "loser's lounge" 7. The announcements made by the captain was not heard clearly. Firstly the announcement in public areas were not clear and secondly the captain's accent was hard to understand. The only good part of our cruise was our room steward who was very helpful and friendly. We had high expectations with Norwegian and was so looking forward to our holiday but it turned out to be such a disappointment. Before our cruise we were thinking of booking our next cruise to Alaska next summer through the "cruise next" program but after this experience we decided against it. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
Canada New England cruise NY on June 2. Celebrating our 60th birthdays. We had a suite. Could not say enough about the service throughout. From dining to the bartenders to the concierge. Our butler Teresa was amazing. Our concierge ... Read More
Canada New England cruise NY on June 2. Celebrating our 60th birthdays. We had a suite. Could not say enough about the service throughout. From dining to the bartenders to the concierge. Our butler Teresa was amazing. Our concierge Elvina was always there when we needed her from the moment we got on to when we left. The entertainment in lounges was so good. We went there every night to relax. The food was excellent in every restaurant . The only restaurant I was not totally overjoyed about was the Brazilian restaurant. It wasn’t what I expected. We wanted to use the pools in the spa. But you had to buy a week membership. Wanted to only use it on sea days. Last cruise they had daily rates. All in all we loved it and will sail again with Norwegian. Great cruise line. Can’t wait till next time. Thank You! Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
We chose this cruise because of the ports and because we wanted to spend a few days in New York. We had sailed on the Norwegian Escape and enjoyed our cruise, so it was an easy choice to pick the same cruise line. The ports were wonderful, ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the ports and because we wanted to spend a few days in New York. We had sailed on the Norwegian Escape and enjoyed our cruise, so it was an easy choice to pick the same cruise line. The ports were wonderful, but the ship was miserable. The food was disgusting. Again, we had been on the Escape, food was fantastic! The other problem was there was no place on the ship to get away for a quiet drink and conversation. Every bar was loud!!!!! Most of the music was horrible, don’t get me started with the French singer, or the tv’s blasting sporting events. We couldn’t go outside to be away from the noise because it was too cold. Do we sound like old folks?? I’m 30 and my husband is 32. This is our 4th cruise. Needless to say, we will not be taking any future cruises on the Gem Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: June 2018
Thought I would write about our experience as I found the cruise critic forum so useful when researching this cruise. Will try to keep it fairly brief with points good and bad. Embarkation was extremely smooth. We got to the dock at ... Read More
Thought I would write about our experience as I found the cruise critic forum so useful when researching this cruise. Will try to keep it fairly brief with points good and bad. Embarkation was extremely smooth. We got to the dock at 10.15, no que, went through paperwork, waited about half an hour then on board by 11.30. Went straight to the Pacific dining room which was quiet and peaceful for lunch. Had inside cabin (10573) which was bigger than expected, clean, lots of storage space, lovely bathroom and could get our (very large) suitcases under the bed easily. We were very glad our bid for an upgrade didn't happen! TV and light didn't work, but someone came quickly to fix them. Actually the TV broke again the second day, again it was fixed very quickly, and when we got back into our cabin at night the guest services had left a bottle of wine and plate of large chocolate strawberrys as an apology, which was a lovely touch. We ate in The Grand Pacific restaurant every night apart from one which I would highly recommend. We got a table for 2 every night without problem. The food was excellent with a change every night but always something nice to eat. The desserts were delicious. The buffet was 'OK', not brilliant but not bad. Have had better to be honest on RCL. The great outdoors was nice to sit out and eat. Only ate a 1 speciality restaurant - Teppanyki., was all right but not worth the cost, wouldn't bother again. Didn't go to any of the shows. Usually like to pop into the casino nightly for a little gamble on the roulette table, but was shocked that it was a minimum 10 dollar bet each time so only went once. This removed it from being an entertaining past time, it isn't even that in Vegas. Wasn't impressed with the atrium area, thought we might have sat in O'Sheenans people watching but it was busy and noisy. Had 1 snack meal at O'Sheenans which was not good, didn't go again. Would have been nice to have a quiet bar area on the ship but there wasn't anywhere that didn't have music. We did sit around the Maltings beer and whisky bar which was ok. Re the ports, Halifax was a lovely town, just walked from the ship. Nice shops and a lovely public garden at the end. St John was 'OK', not a lot there. Again walk to the town where there was a nice indoor shopping area market place, free wi-fi. Bar Harbor was the highlight. Tender right into the town with a lovely shopping street. Very pretty town Portland was by far the worse. Straight off the ship there were beggars everywhere. We had actually booked a trip around Portland with NCL but they had cancelled it, so we were left to walk around. There was not much shops, it was a very dismal place and we were back on ship within the hour. I would recommend booking an excursion out at this port. On the whole this was a good value cruise for us as we had the ultimate beverage package. The staff and service were excellent. New England was a bit disappointing, especially Portland. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
I picked this cruise itinerary because I’ve been on 3 other NCL Cruises and I wanted a different itinerary leaving out of NY. Overall, my friend and I were very pleased. I have to say the food was good and plentiful. I like the fact ... Read More
I picked this cruise itinerary because I’ve been on 3 other NCL Cruises and I wanted a different itinerary leaving out of NY. Overall, my friend and I were very pleased. I have to say the food was good and plentiful. I like the fact that they had 5 complimentary dining areas. We did go to the Teppanyaki Restaurant and paid a coverage charge. The food was good, as well as the entertainment from our Chef. I have to say the NCL staff were very friendly and accommodating. You pass a staff in the hall, and there was always a smile and a hello. The entertainment was excellent. They had 2 really great bands, and one pianist who sounded like Frank Sinantra. The entertainment crew were exactly that, entertaining and funny. The only issue we had was closing our safe. You follow the directions, but it would take about 10 times before we actually got it closed. Also, we didn’t find the shore excursion guy very friendly. Normally, we’d go up to a desk and ask for something and right away we’d be greeted by a smile and a hello, how can I help you, but not the excursion guy. Maybe he needs more training on friendliness. Lol. Most of the excursios we went on were good except we weren’t crazy about the “Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour” in Halifax, because you have to wait 30 minutes or longer for the next arriving bus to come, and the Lobster Bake which was part of the Arcadia National Park Tour. The Oark Tour was great, it’s the Lobster Bake lunch which we weren’t impressed with, and that cost us $99. For me, I didn’t see much meat on my lobster, and got more with a lobster roll on our Portland excursion for less money. All in all, it was a great and enjoyable cruise. Thank you NCL. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
We have been on many cruises and this was our fourth family cruise. We have two grandchildren and they have cruised the Caribbean three times, we thought that it would be nice for them to have a new experience as well as see some of our ... Read More
We have been on many cruises and this was our fourth family cruise. We have two grandchildren and they have cruised the Caribbean three times, we thought that it would be nice for them to have a new experience as well as see some of our great county. We are originally from the northeast and wanted them to see New York Harbor, The Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island , The Verrazano Bridge and the New York Skyline where we came to this country and we grew up. We flew in a day early and stayed in Newark, NJ and had what we call "New York Pizza". We took a Lyft to Port Liberty and had a smooth boarding process. We had a two bedroom grand suite in the rear of the ship for the six of us. Nothing super special but well laid out and very comfortable. Much larger then a standard balcony stateroom. Meals, Entertainment and service where top notch. We did not take any excursions but rather went out in our group of six. If the weather was not so cold it would have been A+ but with cold and rain I will say it was a B rating. In Halifax we went to the Citadel where everybody had a great time. Highly recommend it... On the ship the kids learned how to ice skate and enjoyed the activities and shows the ship had for them. I have tried to sail Canada twice and froze both times. I will think twice before I go again only because of the weather. Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
Party of 5 (Mom(44) Dad (42), DD (17) DS#1 (16) DS#2 (10) Avid Cruisers Rooms 8465 and 8467 (Adjoining/connecting Cabins) My Time Dining The good- Embarkation and debarkation Smooth and well organized. Arrived at the ... Read More
Party of 5 (Mom(44) Dad (42), DD (17) DS#1 (16) DS#2 (10) Avid Cruisers Rooms 8465 and 8467 (Adjoining/connecting Cabins) My Time Dining The good- Embarkation and debarkation Smooth and well organized. Arrived at the port around 12:00, Was at the ship by 12:35p. No major lines and security very organized and professional. Headed directly to the WJ to grab some lunch until cabins were ready (they moved the time to 1:30P) Debarking was the same, very organized, no major lines anywhere and bags were available when they said they were going to be available. The best debarkation process we have experienced (and we travel a lot!) Food at the MDR Decent, well prepared and good selection. Lobster offered on Day 6. Escargot available the first 3 days. NY Strip Available every day (we ordered twice and came at perfect temperature) Desserts are nothing fancy, and some are not that good. The Onion and Goat Cheese Tart is AMAZING. Service in the cabins Cabins are serviced twice a day, and kept immaculate. Great service from the Cabin Steward. He really seemed genuine in wanting to know us. Super guy. Diamond Club Never crowded. Nice offerings of drinks and snacks from 4:30-8p. We were able to use our drinks in the MDR without problems. Very Accommodating ambassador Cafe Promenade I heard so many bad things about this cafe and their pizza, that I wanted to go and check it out myself. Perhaps I imagined it to be sooo bad that in reality was ok! LOL... Of course is not the BEST pizza ever, but when your kids are hungry, coming from port and just want a quick bite to tie you up until dinner (since you havent eat in the last 6min!) this hit the spot. I was under the impression that only pizza was offered in this cafe, but they have finger sandwiches (varied selection every day) salads, fruits, dessert and cookies. They also offer breakfast sandwiches and fruit cups and yogurt and granola each morning. This was perfect for us, because we dont like buffets (WJ) and we wanted to sleep in, so didnt go to the MDR for breakfast. It fitted us and what we wanted. The music bands in Boleros There was a Latin Music band (3 Mexican guys) that played everything from Salsa to Merengue to Bachata and they were awesome! and there was another band with more contemporary music, great selection of soft rock, 80's and 90's that was fantastic. Port-of-calls Great places, rich in culture and sights, explored the cities with gusto and curiosity. Portland- Took a trolley tour through the city (booked ourselves) BarHarbor- Went to Acadia Park with Oli's Trolley, fantastic! Saint Johns- Visited several times before so we did our own thing, walking and visiting on our own. Halifax -LOVED it!!! did our own thing, Citadel, and Promenade. The bad- Service. It has definitely gone downhill in RCCL. So sad about this because I didnt want to believe what I read about this. There were a few here and there that really went above and beyond (our Cabin Steward, Waiter and Assistant Waiter on table 266, the Diamond Club Manager, 2 Guest Services Agents and 1 Casino Cashier) All the others we encountered, it was like they didnt want to be there... and perhaps they dont want to be there. No eye contact, short, rude and plain awful. It didnt spoil our vacay, but definitely not what it used to be. WJ Let me start saying that we are not buffet ppl. I cant stand the mess and the rude patrons eating with their hands and then reaching out to the thongs to serve themselves some more. So I am the first one to say that my view *might* be skewed LOL... Buffet was messy, no themed what so ever. Its like they put random dishes out there... Mind you this is just my impression of the ONE day I ate there. Might not be a totally fair review. JUST MY OPINION Read Less
Sail Date: June 2018
Overall we enjoyed our cruise. The specialty restaurants were the highlight. Main dinning room food was terrible, cold, raw, poor quality, everyone was complaining. (Shocked to read positive dinning comments). Disappointed in our cabin ... Read More
Overall we enjoyed our cruise. The specialty restaurants were the highlight. Main dinning room food was terrible, cold, raw, poor quality, everyone was complaining. (Shocked to read positive dinning comments). Disappointed in our cabin selection, lovely large cabin but we are below the fog horn and it sounded every 2 minutes for 24 hours, it was horrible. Our room steward left dirty glasses in our room and trash, finally put it outside the cabin and left there for days. Room service trays left in the hallway for days, such a mess. Our favorite was Givovanie's Italian, a must and excellent service, Izumi great service and wonderful choices, Chops was good but not great this time. Blue Moon Lounge and Disco best DJ ever and Best Bar staff always, they were truly exceptional. Ports were cold and rainy but our favorite was Bar Harbor and Portland. RCL did a poor job describing ports and excursions, they had no videos or meetings offering port info... So if you've never been to New England & Canada, yes go but do your homework on your own of where to visit when in ports. Go in late July thru September for better weather odds. Do not choose the cabin below the fog horn - deck 12 - 1886 - I can't recall the name of the cabin. It was large and offered floor to ceiling windows but the horn if in fog will destroy you for days. Shows were just average, comedian was great, hypnosis was great, staff entertainment average. Windjammer staff average. With limited outside activities RCL should have had more activities and music and dance inside to entertain all, not just evening dance and music. I've been on over 20 cruises and I have found RCL is declining in service and quality, this I find extremely disappointing. I chose not to book with the Next Cruise staff due to my disappointment and I have now booked with HAL for August of this year. They have missed an opportunity to sell to me! Read Less

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