We enjoyed the ports of call, the dining and entertainment. However as of day 7 rumors regarding the Propulsion equipment on one of the engines put a cloud of worry over everyone. We were reassured the ship was safe and all services ... Read More
We enjoyed the ports of call, the dining and entertainment. However as of day 7 rumors regarding the Propulsion equipment on one of the engines put a cloud of worry over everyone. We were reassured the ship was safe and all services proceeded as normal. Except by wednesday, day 8 it was announced the ship could not return to New York and would need to dry dock in Barbadoes. We were informed that we would be asked to disembark in Barbadoes on Friday or Saturday and chartered flights would be arranged to get us back to NY city. We received one questionnaire asking us 2 questions. What was our final destination and to check if we had arrangements with hotels, air, bus etc. in NY..not other info was asked.
By 5 pm thurs. my husband and I and friends received notification we would need to be packed and have bags out by 10pm Thurs. Report to Barbadoes immigration at 2 am, be bused to the airport where we would board the first flight out at 7am. The flight was delayed 2 hours, we got into NY 2 hours late and waited 3 hours for our luggage to begin to surface as the charter flight did not have ground crew arrangements in Newark. We were then told to get on a bus to be taken to a hotel. We got to first grungy hotel in Newark and were told by NCL rep we were not at that hotel. GEt back on bus and wait for further info. at last we arrived at another hotel by 6pm where we spent the night. Next morning bused to our airport for our flight connection at la Guardia. The NCL team let us down. Did not provide updated info while on the ship, they didn't consider needs to allow for seniors to pack and arrange themselves to be at immigration by 2 am. The disembarkation plan was poorly organized. Many who went to complain before seemed to have considerations taken into account however we didn't have the heart to become involved in the shouting fiasco in the atrium the Thurs, which was our only our 10th vacation day. We didn't get our 11th day or needed support and reassurance from NCL. Have filed complaint but not heard anything in over 15 days. Very dissatisfied with NCL ability to handle this situation which was not life threatening but stressful and worrisome. Read Less
The upgrades were fabulous - beverage package, speciality dining, shipboard credits, and excursion credits. What a value. The ship is quite nice - great layout - super entertainment, wonderful suites, nicest staff ever. First Norwegian ... Read More
The upgrades were fabulous - beverage package, speciality dining, shipboard credits, and excursion credits. What a value. The ship is quite nice - great layout - super entertainment, wonderful suites, nicest staff ever. First Norwegian cruise, but we are looking now to find another one. Lovely trip up the St. Lawrence river - trees in full foliage. The ports were interesting and the excursions informative - don't miss the falls in Quebec! 10 wonderful days. ONLY complaint: Heavy smokers in the casino - we did not use it at all - and did not even want to walk through there to get to the theatre. Gross. We had the owner's suite and it was grand - top of the ship with 180 degree view and our own hot tub and butler. The speciality dining in Cagney's, Le Bistro, and La Cucina is fabulous - book they early as soon as you get on board - they fill up fast - worth the upcharge! Highly recommend this trip. Read Less
We chose the cruise for the itinerary - eastern Canada including Halifax, Quebec City, Corner Brook and Sidney. The ports were excellent, but the last port, Sidney, had to be cancelled because of rough weather and concerns about getting ... Read More
We chose the cruise for the itinerary - eastern Canada including Halifax, Quebec City, Corner Brook and Sidney. The ports were excellent, but the last port, Sidney, had to be cancelled because of rough weather and concerns about getting into New York on time.
We enjoyed the buffet for breakfast and lunch, ate at the Magenta most other nights. The food was, for the most part, excellent and the service was good too, other than one night in the Grand Pacific where the server couldn't seem to find a tea bag so I could enjoy a cup of tea with my dessert.
We chose a midship outside cabin on deck 5. Mostly, it was quiet although we had one night where the crew was doing maintenance somewhere close by and were still drilling and pounding at 10:30 at night. A call to Customer Service ended that noise.
Most of the entertainment was excellent, although we found the show "Blazing Boots" very raunchy and offensive. There should have been stronger warnings in the daily newsletter about content. If we had known how sexually explicit it was, we wouldn't have gone.
There were a lot of "sea" days on the cruise. A lecture series or something a little more stimulating than Goofy Golf or Trivia would have been appreciated. Read Less
Love NCL Gem and received great value for our cruse. All aboard were very friendly and helpful to make our cruse a great time. The entertainment was well planned and preformed with precision. The bars were great and the unlimited drink ... Read More
Love NCL Gem and received great value for our cruse. All aboard were very friendly and helpful to make our cruse a great time. The entertainment was well planned and preformed with precision. The bars were great and the unlimited drink package was very fine, had drinks with breakfast thru midnight. Specialty restaurants were great, Teppanaki dinner was presented well and he put on a great show cooking it. We really enjoyed the evening and food. The other restaurants also had great meals and great staff. We had hit some rough weather on the way home and the Captain put the ship in high gear to get us around the worst of it but we did have to go thru some 21 ft waves for about 20 hours. The ship really rocked and rolled and stuff was flying everywhere but I must say the Captain kept us safe and we were thankful but some people were green. We did have a great time and would recommend the trip to anyone. Read Less
We chose this cruise because it was staying overnight in Quebec and was stopping in Newfoundland. A few days before leaving, we learned that our time in Quebec would be shortened; instead of arriving at 1:00, we would be arriving at 5:00. ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was staying overnight in Quebec and was stopping in Newfoundland. A few days before leaving, we learned that our time in Quebec would be shortened; instead of arriving at 1:00, we would be arriving at 5:00. By the time we docked and got to town, everything was closing or closed. It would have been nice to know this prior to our going into town. The ship did provide a shuttle ($15 per person) for both days we were there and the shuttle ran continually. Unfortuantely, it rained the next day so it hampered our doing all we had planned. After Newfoundland, we were scheduled to go to Sydney, Nova Scotia but a tropical storm prevented us from stopping. We then spent Sunday and Monday with very turbulent weather basically floating toward New York. The cruise was basically senior citizens and we were very impressed with how helpful the crew was in attending to everyone's needs. The entertainment was very good, especially the Second City. The food was okay, nothing exceptional. The main dining room had the same menu everyday, with just one or two exceptions. We noticed little changes since our last cruise with Norvwegian - no more half and half for coffee, no lobster or fillet served in the dining room. We are glad we took this cruise because we were able to experience the beauty and friendliness of Newfoundland but were very disappointed in our shortened stay in Quebec and not being able to go to Sydney. Read Less
I like this ship because I live in Toronto and its only an hours flight to New York where it is based. I have been on the Gem and both its sister ships before and have come to appreciate the smaller size. I have become sick of the bigger ... Read More
I like this ship because I live in Toronto and its only an hours flight to New York where it is based. I have been on the Gem and both its sister ships before and have come to appreciate the smaller size. I have become sick of the bigger and bigger ships trying to please everyone and looking more like Disney Land than a cruise ship. I studied design and several teachers taught me that the most important thing about design is "functionality" and this ship has really nailed it. On deck by the pool instead of being gassed to death by cigarette smoke there is a full buffet and often a deck BBQ...the deck is also covered with tables to sit and eat, beds to sun bath and of course the pools and spas. The full Buffet is more then ample and there is a third at the Aft area of the ship outdoors and covered from the sun or rain. The theater is the right size and the sound system does NOT blow your brains out. The shows are first class as are the feature artists. The main dining room is great and I ate breakfast there every morning as I'm not awake enough to navigate the buffet. What can I say..."Eggs over easy...are eggs over easy" not cooked hard or med but just as you request. Bacon side is close to half a pound, delicious, a bit too much for me and there is everything else one would expect. For $200. Canadian I booked the specialty restaurants for the 10 day cruise...One evening in a comparable restaurant on land would cost you what I paid for the entire 10 days. Cagney's prime rib. Fillet, tenderloin, huge shrimp, oysters, etc. don't forget deserts. Le Bistro, French and fabulous, Amazing, non salty Onion soup, or Muscles in wine sauce to start, Fillet, lamb, veal, fabulous deserts and an amazing cheese assortment with your wine. I alternated these two restaurants all trip except for one must do night in the Teppanyaki Japanese with the chef show and fabulous cooked to order food. There are Chinese, Brazilian and the 24 hr. O'Shaunasies ... never run out of food that's for sure. I am now Latitude Platinum and this gave me wonderful perks...it pays to be loyal...I got two specialty restaurants for two, a free bag of laundry, Campaign, chocolate covered strawberries...talk about pampering. I was really luck this time as I was assigned the cabin I always wanted and never could get...I got it by chance and it was dead center aft looking out over the wake...what a view from my balcony and the cabin was excellent...sleeps four but I have no idea where you would put the others...my cloths took ALL the hangers...and the bathroom was great but just room for my stuff, thank heavens I was alone. The person who never seems to get a mention is whoever it is that hires the staff. Boy what a lot of wonderful, happy, helpful people, Bravo you always hire people who suddenly become your best friends at sea. Boarding in New York was easy...on return I walked off with my suitcase so I didn't have to wait and search the dock....I was dashing for the airport for my flight back to Canada...Oh, yes, that's where the ship went...Quebec City, Halifax, Sydney, New Foundland (Corner Brook) A bit of rain at this time of year but I still enjoyed every minute of this cruise to a part of my country that I had never visited and the was the perfect way and opportunity to get a sampling of the good stuff in Eastern Canada. By the way the Fall Colors were breathtaking and I have dozens of photo's to prove it. Read Less
I chose this cruise on the Norweigen Gem the week of 10/21 for 10 days because of the ports in Canada that the ship was stopping at -Halifax, Quebec, Cornerbrook and Sydney.
Ship met up with whales so we lost a day in Quebec and then ... Read More
I chose this cruise on the Norweigen Gem the week of 10/21 for 10 days because of the ports in Canada that the ship was stopping at -Halifax, Quebec, Cornerbrook and Sydney.
Ship met up with whales so we lost a day in Quebec and then hurricane Phillipe caused us to miss the port of Sydney, Nova Scotia. The captain was very nice and took us around the storm. We did have 20 ft waves but all was fine on board.
I called Norwegian directly and spoke to an agent who assured me that my dietary needs were going to be met. Only then did I book the cruise with that Norwegian agent.
I had a hard time finding out what food items are on the ship that were either gluten and or dairy free. There is no where a published list that lets you know there is soy and almond milk available, or that there is gluten free hamburger, hot dog rolls, or that there is white bread, English muffin and bagels available. Also, there are gluten free blueberry muffins and a flourless cake if you ask the right person. It took me to the last day to find these things out and it was all just by asking and getting the right person who knew what was available.
Best bet is to talk to the Sous Chef in charge at the buffet each day. They can make your food without sauce and gravy which is on many of the hot items on the buffet. And each night, you will have to pre order your dinner if you eat in the dining rooms so the chef can prepare your food to your dietary needs. Desserts are an issue though. Keep that in mind so you are not disappointed as I was. The pastry chef needs to learn to make some better desserts for dietary needs.
My friend I traveled with had no food restrictions and had no problem. He especially enjoyed the pool side barbecues and the buffets for both breakfast and lunch. But, each evening we did eat in the Main Dining rooms. Due to my dietary restrictions, we did not eat in any of the al a carte specialty restaurants. Friends who did thouougly enjoyed that experience.
Everything else was good from the embankment to the disembarkment. It was organized and quick. Make sure you pick your times in both cases so your getting on and getting off is easy. The entertainment was fine each evening. Just like the opening shows in Las Vegas. There are some games and demonstrations daily plus the casino but the casino has poor ventilation and it is so smoky smelling even if you just have to walk through it.
I really enjoyed Park West art gallery giving informative talks and auctions. That was so much fun. Everyone should go to an auction just for the experience. The staff on this cruise were an outstanding 3 some from South Africa.
It is fun to have your picture taken but when you go to purchase them, you should take the 10 photo package deal if you want pictures from professionals. Otherwise, $25 for an 8 by 10 and $15 for a 5 by 7 photo will really add up.
This was my first time cruising on Norweigen and I had not cruised in 20 years. We were celebrating my friends birthday and it was his first cruise, so this was a special occasion cruise. They sent chocolate covered strawberries to the cabin and a birthday card. At dinner he was presented with a birthday cake and the wait staff sang Happy Birthday making the experience very enjoyable.
Before cruising with Norweigen again, I would have to so more research to see what other cruises offer for my dietary needs and would try another cruise line before taking another cruise on Norweigen.
They offer a really good deal to travel with them again on future cruises. I could not take advantage of the special deal because I did not have an enjoyable dining experience on this cruise ship and would not want to be disappointed on another Norweigen cruise ship. Read Less
My wife wanted to take a cruise with different stops in Canada. Checking in was slow needed more windows open seem to have more employees walking around behind the employees waiting on guests.Shore excurions in Quebec were un ... Read More
My wife wanted to take a cruise with different stops in Canada. Checking in was slow needed more windows open seem to have more employees walking around behind the employees waiting on guests.Shore excurions in Quebec were un organized,needed to have persons display signs with the different places to go.Person responsible for the tours needed to have a better way of communicating instead of yelling,many guests around and you could not hear. Overall great cruise. THANK YOU VERY MUCH.Food was outstanding and the entertainment was inspiring.Enjoyed the Behind the scene tour,our guide was very nice and the management within different areas of the tour were informitive and cordial.Enjoyed playing Deal or no Deal,Cruise director and staff were very upbeat through the entire cruise.Had alot of different activities through out the entire ship,every day.Really enjoyed listening to music with Sonata,they were outstanding. This is the first we have cruisied with NCL since 1982,Thank you for a great and enjoyable 10 days on the GEM. Read Less
Norwegian Gem is my favorite ship it is smaller very convenient to find everything. No need to make reservations for everything as one has to do on the larger vessels. Crew unbelievably accommodating. Music on this voyage was exceptional ... Read More
Norwegian Gem is my favorite ship it is smaller very convenient to find everything. No need to make reservations for everything as one has to do on the larger vessels. Crew unbelievably accommodating. Music on this voyage was exceptional we had several concerts by the band of Dixeland Jazz they were wonderful. It was very obvious that all the musicians were passionate about their music an it showed in the performances I was truly sorry when they ended. Dana the piano player in the lounges was unbelievable what a repotoire and he played for hours with no break. The shows in the theatre were great especially Swing the amount of energy the dancers had was mind boggling. Broadway couldn't have done better. It was a marvelous cruise although the weather could have been better.
Room service was great had our coffee every morning brought hot and on time by an extremely happy and friendly server always chatted a moment or two. It was a great way to start our day. Read Less
This was our 1st cruise out of NYC, but our 36th cruise and 9th on NCL. First time on the Gem, but have been on all her sister ships. We drove and spent the night before the cruise at a Hampton Inn in Ridgefield Park NJ. Got a nice ... Read More
This was our 1st cruise out of NYC, but our 36th cruise and 9th on NCL. First time on the Gem, but have been on all her sister ships. We drove and spent the night before the cruise at a Hampton Inn in Ridgefield Park NJ. Got a nice room, breakfast, parking for the 10 nights, and shuttle to and from Manhattan terminal for a reasonable price. Got to the port about 10:15 or so, and they started checking people in about 10:30. Long line, but we got in priority line which was short and were checked in within 10 minutes. Had to wait for awhile in terminal, but were on ship by 11:15. Friends we had met on a previous Alaska cruise from Texas had invited us on this cruise, and they flew in that morning. They were on the ship by 1:30.
Went to Grand Pacific dining room for relaxing lunch as opposed to fighting crowd at buffet. Food on board for the most part was good quality, but service in main dining rooms was usually slow. We would usually skip dessert so we could make it to the 1st show. Would then head up after show to get dessert from the buffet. This became the normal pattern.
Entertainment on board was for the most part very good. Singers and dancers were great, as were most of the other shows. Did not care for Second City comedy shows. Cruise Director Mark was very personable, and kept people entertained. Our room steward Arnold was great, and it was the 1st time we got 2 towel animals per day. Rest of the staff was also usually very friendly and helpful.
Our favorite place on board the Gem, Pearl, Sun, Jewel, and Jade is the Great Outdoors. Love the open space on the back. When the weather was favorable that's where our frends would find us, or we would find them. Have also been on the Epic and the Escape, and while they are beautiful ships, we like the size of these ships and the Great Outdoors area. Had breakfast out there almost everyday.
Beautiful weather when we headed out of NYC, and was nice to sail past the skyline and the Statue of Liberty on such a beautiful day. Weather in Halifax was nice, but a little overcast. We hired a taxi with our friends, and went over to Peggy's Cove. Nice drive, and the trees had color. Also went by the Citadel, and walked around the Public Gardens, etc. Then walked along the waterfront boardwalk back to the ship.
N ext port was Quebec City, but due to speed limit imposed to protect Right whales we got into port about 5pm instead of 1pm. Ship stayed overnight, and left at 6 pm instead of 10pm. Ship docked over a mile from where the Princess and Regent ships were docked, and NCL had buses to take you back and forth to where the other ships were docked, but charged $15/person to use the bus. So in our opinion they charged us to go where we should have been in the 1st place. Really NCL? We didn't go into town as it was getting dark already, so waited till next day. Unfortunately drizzeled all day long. But it's a neat city. Very European feeling. Just walked around the city streets and up to the Hotel Fontenac. Very nice.
Next port after a sea day was Corner Brook, Newfoundland. Small town, not a ton to do, but very friendly people. Had free school buses and shuttles to take you into the town and back, and music playing and free wifi in front of the city hall and library. Were lots of hiking trails for those interested. Can't say enough about how friendly and accomodating the people from the town were.
Next day was supposed to be Sydney NS, which was a tender port, but Captain skipped this port in order to try to avoid tropical storm that was heading up the east coast. Couldn't fault him for that. Had a nice sea day, until later on that late afternoon it started getting a little rough. The next day and a half was very rough seas, with high winds and waves over 21 ft. There were a lot of people who stayed in their rooms. Roughest sease in all our cruises, but I'm sure they've been through worse. Last big production show was cancelled, but very understandable.
Fortunately when we got back to NYC, the previous day's storm had passed, and it was a very nice morning to cruise into the harbor and disembark. Did self-assist, and never sure how long it will take to get off and go thru Customs. Ended up being about 10 minutes, so had some time to wait for our shuttle. But all was good.
Summary: Enjoyed the cruise, but will probably not do NCL for awhile unless I see a really great deal. There are a few things they do well, like barbeques out poolside on calm sea days, and we really enjoy the freestyle concept. And we love the Great Outdoors area, and O'Sheehans pub, which is open 24 hours a day.
But they do kind of nickel and dime you, like charging for the bus in Quebec City because they couldn't secure a good berth spot. And unlike other cruise lines, no daily shrimp cocktail, and no lobster. A 10 night cruise in New England/Canada area and no lobster? Even Carnival gives it to you on a 7 day cruise. We just had an inside cabin, and cabin is much smaller than on some other lines. And I don't take a cruise to watch TV, but the World Series was going on, and you could not watch it on the ship anywhere because NCL was too cheap to buy the rights to show it. But you can see lots of soccer. We knew there was a tropical storm heading up the coast, but you couldn't find any channel to see the weather, because all they have is MSNBC, BBC, CNBC, and Fox News. Great if you want to watch political banter over and over, but don't try to see any normal news or weather.
And apparently NCL wasn't able to negotiate very well for their liquor supply, because they charge more for it than any other cruise line we have been on. The drink package is $89.95/per person per day plus 18% gratuity, but it doesn't even include bottled water or specialty coffees. But you can buy a 24 pack of 1 liter bottled water for only $45. What a deal. Even if you get the drink package as a free perk, we would have spent $360 in liquor gratuities for the cruise. And unlike most other lines that allow you to carry on one bottle of wine per person free, they charge you $15 corkage fee for every bottle. And the wines in their drink package are not really that good. They also charge a fee for almost all room service orders. HAL has them beat hands down in this department.
Did we have a good time? Yes. Am I glad I went? Yes. But after having been on numerous other lines, guess the luster has worn off for me for a while on NCL. Still a good line, but they have raised prices and taken away some of the things they used to include, more so in my opinion than some of the other lines, which have also been cutting costs.
If you like the itinerary, I wouldn't hesitate to go on NCL, especially if you like the freestyle concept. But some of the little things above are starting to bug me, because I know what it was like. But any cruise is a good cruise!! Read Less
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