We picked this ship because of the itinerary and loved the ports. However, the ship was average. Average food, entertainment, cruise director and activity staff. Another problem I had with this ship was that they put the ping pong ... Read More
We picked this ship because of the itinerary and loved the ports. However, the ship was average. Average food, entertainment, cruise director and activity staff. Another problem I had with this ship was that they put the ping pong tables so close to the smoking section of the deck. Who wants to smell smoke when they are playing ping pong? My teen sons loved the teen room. We booked excursions that were not connected to RCCL and saved money. We had a tight schedule in St. John and our private tour guide told us if we actually missed the ship, he would drive us to the next port of Halifax. We made it back in plenty of time and had an amazing time at the Fundy Trail.
We flew into Washington DC and spent a couple of days there before the cruise and stayed an extra day in Baltimore at the end. Coming from FL, we enjoyed the cooler weather and got to see a lot before and after the cruise in those two big cities. Read Less
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
We chose this cruise as we didn't have to fly to this port-we arrived by bus provided by a travel company who also booked the cruise for us and 19 other people. Have been on many of NCL's ships-most recently 3 of their larger ships which ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we didn't have to fly to this port-we arrived by bus provided by a travel company who also booked the cruise for us and 19 other people. Have been on many of NCL's ships-most recently 3 of their larger ships which we really enjoyed, but we were quite disappointed in the Gem. Embarkation went fast and quite smoothly. Immediately went to O'Sheenan's for lunch as the buffet was a mad house and it seems a lot of people did not seem to know O"Sheenan's was available for lunch. Food was pretty good there and we ate breakfast there all week long.
Never met our cabin steward the entire week we were onboard. We would see many of them in the hallway over the week but never figured out which one was ours. That said-our room was kept very clean. We had a mini -suite aft on deck 11 and whatever was above us made noise all night long! It sounded like people moving furniture all night so did not sleep well all 7 days.
Five of the shows were average, 2 were pretty good!
Casino staff very friendly, good variety,-biggest drawback is that smoking is still allowed in their casinos.
Dining rooms and their food were just average, service was slow, and even though I made reservations ahead of time, we still had to wait in a long line each night we ate in one of the main dining rooms. We ate 1 night in Cagney's and 1 night in La Cucina and both were very good! Had the drink package but thought it was funny we could get alcohol up to $15, but no lattes, cappacino's, bottled water, etc! Ate lunch at the buffet a couple of times and it really was not very good plus the food seemed to be the exact same everyday other than the soups.
Cruise staff was quite funny and entertaining throughout the trip.
Had to use Guest Services once and they were very polite and helpful.
Ports of call were good, especially Halifax and Bar Harbour. Booked outside tours on our own as oppsed to those offered by the ship. Would definitely do the itinerary again, but on a different ship.
Disembarkation was not well handled-people working in the terminal off of the ship were very rude-felt like cattle being herded, people were constantly being snapped at! They could all use a class in customer service.
NCL has been one of our favorite cruise lines, but we would not go on the Gem for a second time. Read Less
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
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
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
We choose this cruise because it was early June and we didn't want so many kids aboard. We enjoyed our cruise overall but there were issues. The food at the Windjammer was terrible, same things every day at lunch and breakfast! I mean, ... Read More
We choose this cruise because it was early June and we didn't want so many kids aboard. We enjoyed our cruise overall but there were issues. The food at the Windjammer was terrible, same things every day at lunch and breakfast! I mean, same fish, same dishes, day after day. The MDR had good dinners and we had Alicia as out waiter, she is wonderful! The assistant waiter was Romnick and he was sweet but I guess still in training. Our room attendant was Frangella, kept our room clean neat during our stay. The toilet paper was so rough!!!! Come on Royal Caribbean, wouldn't you at least get softer toilet tissue? The venues looked fun but we couldn't get into anything as they were held on extremely small venues and there were no place to sit. The weather didn't cooperate but this is not Royal Caribbean's fault. We had a good cruise overall and would try another ship. Read Less
Since we enjoyed the Explorer of the Seas some time back, we felt sure we would enjoy it's sister ship, the Adventure, and we did. However since we have sailed almost every cruise line in the non deluxe category, we feel that Royal ... Read More
Since we enjoyed the Explorer of the Seas some time back, we felt sure we would enjoy it's sister ship, the Adventure, and we did. However since we have sailed almost every cruise line in the non deluxe category, we feel that Royal reserves the better "upscale" treatment for it's Celebrity customers. On sea days, the Schooner Bar was jam packed for trivia games. The hall ways were often crowded and noisy. Food was average to good as it is on all cruise ships. Maybe I am expecting too much since I have done many cruises on Celebrity, Princess, HAL and others. The ice show is a good extra, and worth seeing. By all means if you are thinking about it, go for it. Especially if you have young ones. They have rock climbing and of course pools with slides. There are times when customers can get skates and spend time on the ice. Children will enjoy all the amenities and not think about rating the food etc. Read Less
This was our third Holland America cruise, and the first that disappointed us. The Maasdam is one of the fleet's older ships, and sister ship to the Veendam. The public areas appear to have been updated in previous years; however, our ... Read More
This was our third Holland America cruise, and the first that disappointed us. The Maasdam is one of the fleet's older ships, and sister ship to the Veendam. The public areas appear to have been updated in previous years; however, our stateroom needed work. The sink was cracked, and there was rust and chipped paint in the bathroom. The dining chairs in the upper deck Lido were worn, and need to be replaced. The food quality in the main dining room was not up to standard compared to our two previous Holland America cruises, the most recent being during Christmas 2015. It appears that budget restrictions are having an effect on food quality and presentation. This was a Maine cruise, and no whole Maine lobster was available, even in the upscale restaurant. Disappointing. Cruises are meant to be a quality travel experience. This Holland America one was mediocre at best. Read Less
Although we enjoyed this particular SMALL HA ship, several things we did not. TV's have not been updated, our cabin attendants were below the typical standards of HA. Forgot to do our room 1 night, until we returned to cabin at 9:30, ... Read More
Although we enjoyed this particular SMALL HA ship, several things we did not. TV's have not been updated, our cabin attendants were below the typical standards of HA. Forgot to do our room 1 night, until we returned to cabin at 9:30, called housekeeping to remind them. Toilet had to be flushed many times after each use, which we reported early in the week, black soot kept puffing from the air vent in the cabin, shower gel continue to empty each night and when told it was broken, they just kept refilling and it kept emptying overnight. We ask that ice bucket be filled each night, we got it 2 times, the night we ask and 1 other. Dining room service, 45 minutes or long 1 hr 15 min, no consistency, & had to continually ask for drinks to be refilled, NEVER happened on a HA cruise in the past. Tender taking us to short had not been cleaned for months and months. the windows were so covered with salt spray you could not see out, like riding in a tank. Also paint chips and dust over all seating, hated to even sit during the ride. POSITIVES - Gordon, Asst Mgr F & B, was always visible in the Lido, checking on satisfaction and overall presence was greatly appreciated. I do wish they would bring back sugar free jello, asked for it 4 times but it never happened. Angie, Lido food serer, was friendly and a joy each time I heard hear say hello to myself or my husband, delightful young women. Our cabin was inside, had not had one in years, but at 170 sq ft, my claustrophobia was not affected at all. Entertainment was excellent but for the BBC show night, I can watch similar at home on TV. Read Less
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