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Sail Date: August 2013
We just came back from another 2 night cruise to nowhere on the Carnival Glory. Arrived at the port by 10:30am and was on the ship by 11:10am and followed everyone to the buffet area. Unlike the last time we did this the buffet area had ... Read More
We just came back from another 2 night cruise to nowhere on the Carnival Glory. Arrived at the port by 10:30am and was on the ship by 11:10am and followed everyone to the buffet area. Unlike the last time we did this the buffet area had plenty of seating and the lunch buffet was very good. We had no complaints. The deli part of it was actually very good. After lunch we took a spa tour and I signed up for a gentlemens shave/facial later on that day. We walked around the ship and got to cabin at 1pm and unpacked. Cabin 8461 aft with extended balcony. Small cabin but nice balcony. For a couple of days it was fine. We usually stay in suites but on a 2 nighter what's the point. The ship never felt crowded except during the muster drill. It was a full ship. Ate both nights in the steakhouse. Both meals were fantastic and worth the up charge to us. There was no production show our first night and they cancelled the adult comedy show at 1130pm that night. This was very disappointing. All there was to do was gamble and drink. So we did. The gambling wasn't good to us but I did see many people getting hand paid on the slots. So some people were winning. My spa treatment was nice and spa was good. The second night went to a very weak latin stage show and saw the adult comedy show late night that was so packed we had to stand. The comedy was funny so we didn't mind standing for about 40 minutes. Had great weather and calm seas. All in all we had a real good time.   Read Less
Sail Date: August 2013
Just returned from a 2 Day Cruise to No Where with my DH and my niece. DH and I are seasoned cruisers and have been on Royal and NCL. We are now legal guardians to my 13 year old niece so sharing a vacation and a cabin with a child is new ... Read More
Just returned from a 2 Day Cruise to No Where with my DH and my niece. DH and I are seasoned cruisers and have been on Royal and NCL. We are now legal guardians to my 13 year old niece so sharing a vacation and a cabin with a child is new to us so we thought a 2 day cruise would be perfect way to try it out. Love leaving out of Manhattan. Coming from CT its a pleasant drive. Because we left early we were on the pier about 10:30 so parking was not an issue and were on board by 11:30. Being a 2 day, you bring your own luggage on board. Not an issue expect we had to drag it around for 2+ hours. We did a 2 day on NCL in Feb and they allowed you to leave your luggage in one of the clubs until the rooms were ready. Carnival, take note, that is a nice option! Heard good things about Guys Burgers and headed there first. YUM! I am not a burger fan but this really was delicious. Fries were delish too! Being there was a light rain, we walked around exploring the ship  with luggage in tow. I agree with others that said the layout is hard to manage and in some regards, strange. NCL is guilty of this too as you cant always walk from front to back or my personal pet peeve, you have to walk through the middle of a club or restaurant to get to the other side. This is where I miss Royal and the promenade. Rooms are finally ready so we are eager to get rid of our luggage. I booked the Ocean Suite and it was very nice though smaller than I expected. Again, DH and I are still getting accustomed to being parents and now sharing a very small space hence the upgrade to a suite. It worked out fine though the bed was harder than I would of liked. With prayers answered, the sun was out just in time for sail away. I was eager to show my niece the Status of Liberty and going under the bridge. We went to the very top deck and watched us pull out of our berth and start down the river. My niece was already bored watching the skyline and went to the pool, LOL. DH and I enjoyed the sun, the sights and the excitement of going under the bridge. You really do worry that youre not going to make it! Off to dinner in the My Time dining room. On a longer cruise, I always choose the late seating as my favorite part of cruising is the camaraderie you develop with the wait staff. I have been blessed each cruise with an amazing wait staff so though the staff was excellent and served me well, I still missed the personal touches of being served by the same people night after night. Oh, I did love the dancing and singing in the dining room by the wait staff. My niece of course was totally embarrassed by my participation, but I enjoyed myself. The one requirement I asked of my niece was to go to the meet & greet at Circle C (Carnivals kids camp). She begrudgingly attended after dinner but when I returned to pick her up, she was out & about with her new found friends. My plan worked! Now DH and I could go dancing while she was out with her friends.Not having ever used the kids camps before, I didnt know what to expect and have nothing to compare it to. I did think the 12-14 year old room was rather small and didnt see much in there to entertain them whereas the small kids area was very large and the older kids was set up like a night club. There were planned activities but niece preferred wondering around the ship with her group of friends. Next day was gorgeous and sunny. Went to Red Sail for breakfast and seemed to beat the crowd as there werent any lines (there were very long a couple hours later). Its funny as I thought the buffet area on the Glory was very welcoming and warm and not loud & chaotic, but it was a bit frustrating to wait in line to get your food. Then again, NCL & Royals buffet area is a mad house with people in front of you, behind you and all over trying to get their portions. Still not sure which I prefer.chaos or lines. By 9:30 am finding lounge chairs by the pool was near impossible. We managed to find two for DH & I and my niece went by herself and located one in another area. She didnt stay there long as she wanted to go find her friends. We on the other hand, stayed in the pool area all day people watching. We did leave for lunch  pizza and burritos (yummy) but otherwise relaxed all day. They did the usual pool games, music and ice sculpting on deck during the day. From 12 to 4 they had a DJ on deck which I enjoyed. I kinda liked the shout outs for birthdays, anniversaries and what not. It kept the energy high in the area. After 7 hours in the sun, I was ready for a shower and of course to eat. Another dinner in the Golden something dining room and they had lobster which surprised me. Thinking its only 2 days, they wouldnt serve lobster. But they did and I was oh so happy. Another dance with the wait staff and off we went. Took a family photo  our first, and off she went with her friends and off we went to enjoy a beautiful evening on deck and later to dance the night away. Unfortunately two days goes by so quickly and the next morning had breakfast, packed up and disembarked. Disembarkation went smoothly but as always theres a lot of people so the lines to get off tend to be long. Overall, I enjoyed myself. I am not hard to please, I have a go with the flow, make the best it attitude and had a nice long weekend. I do miss the easy layout of Royals ship and I do prefer Royals color schemes as they are more subdue. I thought Glory looked too shiny and glossy and you can easily tell the new upgraded areas from the old because of this. For example, the Alchemy Bar is done with a neutral stone bar, leather seating and wood floors whereas the hallway floor leading to it is a shiny glittery black tile with glittery color tiles sprinkled about with a mirrored ceiling, and loud colored seating. Not my personal preference but it certainly did not take away from my experience. I also think the lobby areas on other ships fall short of the wow factor. But again, I love the promenade with the sidewalk feel and its big open space. Again a personal preference. I will say I enjoyed the food on Carnival a lot, the DJs were excellent and didnt make me feel old by playing music I couldnt dance too and the staff was over the top friendly and helpful  I mean amazingly nice and eager to help you. So, how was it with my niece? Good. Im glad she had a good time, met some kids and was able to do her own thing so we could have some adult time. I learned establishing rules are vital and knowing how to get back to the cabin are also very important (for her and me, LOL!). How was my first time on Carnival? No complaints really. I like to cruise. I like having my bed made each night, my room cleaned daily, a variety of foods to choose from and try, entertainment within walking distance, and not having a care in the world for a while. So the question now is where to next?   Read Less
Sail Date: August 2013
I always try to go on a yearly Carnival cruise to nowhere when they have it out of NYC. For years it was on the Miracle and every one was great except the last one in 2011 where the crew so obviously didn't give a sh.. it soured me a ... Read More
I always try to go on a yearly Carnival cruise to nowhere when they have it out of NYC. For years it was on the Miracle and every one was great except the last one in 2011 where the crew so obviously didn't give a sh.. it soured me a bit on Carnival. Last year they skipped this cruise for the first time in years but brought it back this year with the Glory. I am certainly glad they did. this time I took my grown kids and had a nice family weekend getaway. Embarking was the quickest EVER. I drove to the pier from NJ and despite warnings from Carnival about parking issues we parked fairly quickly at 11:45 and was on the ship a few minuted after noon. No waiting - have had to wait 1-2 hours sometimes in the past. Rooms were not available until about 1:30 so we had lunch and the Guy Fieri Burger joint was as expected excellent. After the obligatory tour of the ship - it was a new one for me - I got to my room which is typical Carnival - plenty of space and with a balcony door that stays open without bungee cords! Typical of this cruise the open decks were already crowded with loud drunks/partygoers. Dinner at the Emerald Steakhouse was excellent - though I would not recommend the rib eye. The $35 pp charge is really worth it. The Alchemy bar is a great place. The Casino was extremely crowded both days - very lively but I lost some $$$. The on board comedian was good also. Food in the dining room as excellent - Sunday brunch had unusual offerings for a cruise ship and the 2nd night lobster tail dinner was simply the best of any ship I have been on. They were really that good. My only issue on this trip was the entertainment. It was very heavy on Latino entertainment as far as music and the musical show was concerned. Just not my thing. Most people I know hated the show they chose. Plus they did not have a show both nights like in years past. Perhaps since this was a summer cruise and they had so many kids on board they really needed the showroom the first night for the kids activities. Too bad. The previous cruises had much more mainstream shows. All in all a great cruise. The price had dropped also which was nice. The shopping as usual excellent although Carnival has really raised their cigarette and liquor prices substantially over years past but still much cheaper than home. I look forward to the next one. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
I was aboard for the christening in NYC May 8 and the 2 day inaugural cruise. Arrived at LGA and took a taxi, which I split with another agent, for $43 plus tip, to pier 88. Long check-in line but that was the last line we were in for ... Read More
I was aboard for the christening in NYC May 8 and the 2 day inaugural cruise. Arrived at LGA and took a taxi, which I split with another agent, for $43 plus tip, to pier 88. Long check-in line but that was the last line we were in for the rest of the cruise. The christening was beamed throughout the ship, and we had been assigned to O'Sheehan's Bar & Grill to view it (while sipping wine and munching on corned beef sandwich and my wife on a salmon salad). The christening was blessed by Cardinal O'Malley, and Mayor Bloomberg was there, and the godmothers, the Rockettes, performed as well as pulling the ribbon to christen the ship. Buddy Velasco from Cake Boss on the Cooking Channel MC'd the christening. Guests were assigned various complimentary stateroom categories, and our room was a category O1 Family Oceanview with Large Picture Window on deck 5, 5174. Sleeps 5, with two twins, a Pullman, and a double sofa bed. Large room, but almost no drawers for storage.....a comment I heard from others. Nice bath with double wide sink and shower in a bathtub, a nice feature for families with small ones. Two closets. The cabins with just a shower have a bar in the shower for women to use when shaving legs. We enjoyed the Manhattan Room for dinner the first night with our Norwegian business development specialist, and again the second night by ourselves to dance during dinner and then watch the preview of Burn the Floor there. We like the food and service. We toured all restaurants. Cagney's and Moderno are huge. Taste and Savor are smaller and subdued. The new Ocean Blue by Geoffrey Zacharian is small, but he also has raw bar with open seating adjacent to it. The Noodle bar as also next to that. There are about 4 teppanyaki tables with about 12 to a table. La Cucina Italian restaurant is very attractive, and the French Bistro has some tables in a courtyard setting that resembles a Parisian cafe. Looks great. The made a point of emphasizing that there are 27 places to eat, 11 of which are complimentary, and 16 have service charges. All the action is on decks 6, 7, and 8 midships. There were no crowds in the Garden Cafe at breakfast or lunch, with omelet's to order, too. Not "action stations" exactly, rather a line of stations. You don't need to wait in line.....just move from one area to another. Very nice views there, including wrap around windows facing aft. As you may have heard, the "promenade" deck on deck 8 is The Waterfront, and has outdoor seating for Moderno, Cagney's, Ocean Blue, Maltings Beer & Whiskey Bar, Fat Cats Jazz & Blues Club, and Shakers Cocktail Bar. There is a gelato window and a hot dog cart, and a window to Carlo's Cakes Shop with cupcakes and pastries. We went to Rock of Ages, the second night, and the music and dancing is terrific, but NOT for children due to sexual innuendo and actions on stage. It is produced on board by the same production team that currently has the show running on Broadway. Even the audience got into it clapping and swaying arms, etc. I had no real idea about the show in advance, but was not grossed out and really did enjoy it. We also really enjoyed Slam Allen and his jazz band one night, late, in Fat Cats. The place was packed. The Sports Deck is amazing with ropes course, spider web, and bungee trampoline, rock climbing wall, basketball court, and really terrific waters slides, including 2 that start off with a vertical, feet first, drop. Despite a bit chilly weather, there were folks using the water slides. We inspected all types of cabins, including the Haven on decks 15 and 16, with its own lounge/bar and restaurant. As we have heard, overall the balconies are small, but there is so much to do on the ship that, although a balcony fan, I'd spend most time in other venues. Except for large aft facing balconies, most are 31 to 35 sq ft. The Bermuda itineraries that the ship will sail from May until October have 3 days in Bermuda on a 7 day cruise anyway. But this is a great ship with so much to do in addition to using a balcony. The sail away party the first night was at Spice H2O, and we enjoyed fireworks as we sailed out past the Statue of Liberty, and again fireworks the next night at sea during an 80's party out there. They will have fireworks on their regular itineraries, which started May 12. Debarkation began at 8am and in the normal Norwegian fashion, you don't really need to vacate your stateroom until 9:30 am. The Garden Cafe was open for breakfast until then, too. No rushing everybody out. Taxis were not easy to get at the street outside the terminal, although there was a taxi stand across the street. The taxi was still less expensive than cruise line transfers. We spent that day in New York and left our luggage with the hotel concierge and bought the Gray Line hop-on/hop-off bus ticket, 2 days unlimited for $59 a person. We checked TKTS, but the lines were too long, although there were tickets available at up to 40% off for some of the Broadway shows. We did the down-town loop and it took about 3 1/2 hours, going all the way from 44th St to Battery Park, past the World Trade Center memorial, Wall St, Chinatown and the Italian and Korean areas, Fifth Ave, Radio City Music Hall, etc. The 2nd day we did Uptown, all the way to Harlem, Central Park, and more. I'd never been to that area. The first night we decided to go to one of Gregory Zacharian's restaurants since we couldn't get into the one on the ship. We had spoken with Geoffrey onboard ship and he said The Lambs Club in the theatre district could get you in and out in time to see a Broadway show. The other is The National in the Benjamin Hotel at 50th and Lexington. We chose the latter and spent a leisurely evening, although expensive, but with great food. His menus at his restaurants, including the one on the ship, try to compare and contrast flavors. On the ship we did go to his take out window and the crab toasts and the calamari were excellent, little differing flavoring nuances. After lunch on Saturday at a great little wine bar and restaurant on 8th Ave near the hotel we took a taxi back to LaGuardia and the trip home. Prices in New York restaurants are high. My only two complaints about the ship are that they need more drawers in the staterooms, and the internet/wireless coverage is very spotty. Overall my impression is that this is a great ship, and it will go over very well. It is nothing like the Norwegian of the past, although I personally have been sailing on Norwegian for about 10 years, including before I became an agent. This was my 74th ocean/river cruise. This one ranks right up there with Oasis and Allure, both of which I have sailed on. It is a New York ship through and through. Kevin Sheenan, the Norwegian CEO, was raised in and attended college in New York, and the theme is there. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2013
After years of avoiding NCL, I took this inaugural cruise to nowhere because the Norwegian Epic had managed to achieve a five-star rating, so I thought that the Breakaway would be at least as good. This cruise was sadly disappointing in so ... Read More
After years of avoiding NCL, I took this inaugural cruise to nowhere because the Norwegian Epic had managed to achieve a five-star rating, so I thought that the Breakaway would be at least as good. This cruise was sadly disappointing in so many ways. Embarkation was fairly efficient. My first impression of the ship itself was that a five-year-old had decorated the outside, which I learned was actually the masterwork of an artist named Peter Max, who was also selling his artwork on board. I can't imagine who finds these simple doodles worth so much. My niece, at age five, had more artistic skill than this artist. Most of the public areas are nicely decorated. Norwegian's rooms are small...very small...about 20% smaller than the industry average (even the suites). The food was absolutely terrible. Norwegian managed to mess up food items as simple as bacon, if that gives you an idea. The lobster and shrimp served in the main dining room on the first night was rancid and no one in my party of eight could stomach it even with a lot of lemon. One of the specialty restaurants, Cagney's, had good (not great) steaks but of course they normally charge $30 per person for the "privilege" of eating here. These are the type of steaks that you would find in the main dining room on Royal Caribbean or Crystal. The ship also has a couple of completely pointless and boring venues. On Deck Six midhip is a gigantic TV screen adjacent to a dance floor, and then they have exactly the same thing towards the back of Deck 16. Why make two venues that offer exactly the same experience? A surfing simulator like Royal Caribbean has would be a better idea for the Deck 16 location. All in all, a bad cruise, and I won't be returning to NCL. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2013
Just a little background first,my DW and I have been cruising for 10 years and have been on 8 cruises. We have only been on Carnival and Norwegian. We were on the Norwegian Jewel 2 years ago and are scheduled for the Gem in April. Being we ... Read More
Just a little background first,my DW and I have been cruising for 10 years and have been on 8 cruises. We have only been on Carnival and Norwegian. We were on the Norwegian Jewel 2 years ago and are scheduled for the Gem in April. Being we were on the Jewel a short time ago we didn't need to do to much exploring. The ship is designed well. It's easy to find your way around. We arrived at the terminal at 10:15am and were seated in the waiting area by 10:45. A record in my opinion. We were actually the first ones to go through the metal detectors. We got number 5 for boarding, we thought we would be on sooner than we did. There was some glitch in the boarding but we did get on by 12:15. It really isn't bad waiting. Once on the ship we headed for the buffet area and found all the food there to be very good, many choices for all tastes. DW is a vegetarian and she found enough to eat. After lunch we left the area to give others a place to sit, being it was cold we knew the area would fill up so we went to the Spinnaker lounge to wait for our room to be ready. The rooms were ready earlier than expected and we proceeded to it. We always get a balcony but figured it was a short trip and why not try an obstructed ocean view. The room and the hallway had a strange odor that we noticed throughout the entire cruise. It actually smelled like sewage. We were in room 8590 just in case you wanted to know. We did sail away in the spinnaker lounge as did mostly everyone. We met a fellow firefighter and his wife, it was their first cruise, so we had a lot to talk about. It was great to see the city skyline from there, since all of our cruises are from New York we will probably go there from now on, even on nice days. We decided to check out the main dining room Azur's for dinner, big mistake. My wife ordered the Salmon, there were so many bones in it she couldn't eat it. We sent it back and received an apology from the Maitre D who took our room number, but we never heard about it after that. I'm sure others Salmon wasn't going to be good either. The entertainment on this cruise was top notch. We went to the show that night and loved the show, I won't give it away but only to say you must attend the shows. I know people call this cruise the booze cruise, but after a long day of travel we turned in for the night and slept better than we have in months. The first sea day was filled with many things to do. Most of the big things to do like bingo were held in the spinnaker lounge and it got very crowded. We sat at a four top and met two great people. They were doing a Father-Daughter weekend, she was from Pennsylvania and he was from Massachusetts. Since my birthday was this day my DW treated me to a spa treatment of my choice, she wanted one also so we spent some time there. It was great! We later went to the buffet for lunch and met two other fantastic people who needed to sit down due it being so busy. We hit it off immediately and we were all laughing like we had known each other for years. It turned out it was his birthday that day also. That after noon they had a drawing for a free cruise but it wasn't run so well, it was in the spinnaker lounge and it was mobbed, and ran over the time it was supposed to start, we had to leave due to dinner reservations. My DW wanted the dinner that night to be special and she knew how much I love a good cut of meat. So we went to Moderno, it's a new Brazilian restaurant where they come around with meat on swords and you have a green tag for more or red one for enough. She being a vegetarian,I knew it would be hard to go there, but they had a salad bar and she did have a little meat(don't tell anyone). We got there at 5:30 and weren't served till 6:30, the sides were served after we finished eating. At 7pm we decided to forget dessert and got the check to leave. Other guests were a little more vocal and demanded their money back. In a word the service "stunk", but in all fairness it was the kitchen not the wait staff. We went to the buffet and had dessert there. The show that night was amazing. "Le Cirque Bijou". It is a must see and you should sit higher up in the theater. We did and had a great view. Since we don't drink alcohol, we weren't in the mood to go to many of the bars, but we did go to the Casino which on both nights was packed. Everyone looked like they were having a great time winning and loosing. We lost on the roulette table but had fun doing it. The ship has a cigar room and I sat and smoked a good cigar while my DW read a book. On the last day we decided not to rush off the ship like we usually do. The ship got into New York at 7am, we had an early breakfast and decided to walk off at 7:30. We caught a cab to Penn station and made the 8:10 home. We were home by 9:45am. Overall this was a fantastic 2 days away from it all. We have been thru so much in our lives this past year with Hurricane Sandy and a death in the family, that we needed to do this for our sanity. I highly recommend a cruise to nowhere, we are booked on one in January 2015 on the Breakaway. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: February 2013
What a blast, rocking on the Norwegian Jewel's cruise to nowhere. Embarkation was a breeze, we got to the terminal about 11, paid $70 for 2-night parking, had priority check-in, got group #5, and we boarded and were eating lunch at ... Read More
What a blast, rocking on the Norwegian Jewel's cruise to nowhere. Embarkation was a breeze, we got to the terminal about 11, paid $70 for 2-night parking, had priority check-in, got group #5, and we boarded and were eating lunch at the buffet by 12:15! Dining: Speaking of buffets, I read all the previous negative reviews, and I just don't get it. You must be a really picky eater if you cannot find something you like. Ok, the Jewel did not have all the fancy Chef named stations as other lines have, but you could easily choose from very good pizza, hamburger, hot dog stations, to pressed sandwiches, pasta to order, chinese, indian, and american fare food. Since we boarded early, the food was hot, plentiful, and the choices were endless, our 2 buffet lunches and 2 buffet breakfast's were excellent. We booked dinner online in advance a month before the cruise, and on night #1 we ate at the excellent Braziian BBQ called Moderno's and were were not disappointed for the $20 upcharge per person. The salad bar was fresh with cold seafood, salads, soups, olives, cheeses, breads etc. The main meal came with delicious sides of garlic mashed potatoes, fluffy rice and black beans, and fried bananas which were tasteless. The highlight of course were the skewers of piping hot flavorful meats, including garlic beef, lamb chops, sirloin, filet mignon, chicken, chorizo, etc. The place was fun, it was buzzing with energy, and the desserts of flan and papaya ice cream were delicious also. Word got out the food was so good there, that it was fully booked on night #2. Dinner night #2 we ate at the French Bistro, and surprisingly, we were a little disappointed. Appetizers of escargot swimming in garlic, mussels in a cream sauce, and scallops were good. Main course of roasted duck and pork with apples, were boring, not hot, and had very little flavor. Only my filet of beef was excellent, but it had a weird tasteless potato gratin as a side. This place was not worth the $20 upcharge, and it appears it gets served out of the main kitchen so why all the fuss? Cabin: We had a mini-suite on deck 11, right below the outdoor deck, the pool, the spa the gym and Garden Cafe buffet, a perfect location. The suite was wonderful, it had a queen size bed and sofa that became a full size bed that could be separated by a curtain, gave the feeling of 2 rooms in one! We had plenty of room for the 3 of us, and we drank coffee brewed from our in suite coffee maker, and also had beer and wine on the balcony. Plenty of storage room, and a bathroom with a shower and bathtub combo, very serviceable. Pool/Spa/Gym: What a good time we had lounging in the outdoor hot tubs during a snowstorm, people were having a grand time, and the outdoors pools were heated and full of happy people, even though the temps were in the 40's and 30's. Excellent gym, which was full on day 2 sea, and the spa was worth the up charge of $45 for the 2-days. Entertainment/Activities: Ok, there were a lack of day time activities, too much bingo, the boring Deal or no Deal game, but the casino was full and fun, the comedian on night #1 was excellent, and the sail away parties or any parties led by the DJ were crowded and rocking. While there was no official disco, the Spinnaker Lounge was where the DJ had us all dancing way past midnight. We saw the Band on the Run show on night 2 which was good. The piano player who did Elton John was very entertaining, and most of the live music at the different venues were very good. Would have been nicer for few more activities during the day 2 at sea like wine tasting, ship and kitchen tours, etc. Getting off the ship: Best system of any cruise line, its hotel style, just walk off anytime after 7:30 with your carryon bags. We walked off after breakfast at 9, and were home in our driveway by 10:30. Overall: This was our 2nd cruise to nowhere, a two-nighter this time on the NCL Jewel, last year we were on the Gem. Quick comparison between the 2, the Jewel is a little dated compared to the Gem, there was no Bliss Lounge, in its place was the largest at sea store I have ever seen. In some respects I thought it was a waste of space. The Jewel like the Gem has a pay for fee Spa, but while nice, the Jewel's hydrotherapy pool was much smaller than the Gem's. Another gripe, why doesn't NCL have an indoor atrium and walkthrough decks? You can't walk across deck 6 from one end to the other, you have to go up a deck to deck 7 and back down to get to the casino? But overall, what a rocking good time for the 2 days at sea, we were never bored, the NY crowd was all into partying, we saw plenty of fun bachelor and bachelorette parties. We will take another 2 night cruise to nowhere on NCL again! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2013
A group of 6 of us booked this cruise last minute. It was such a deal. anyways... it was our first time cursing. Funny, we all swore we would never get on a cruise even if we won one. Haha... well.. here we are, booked one! My partner ... Read More
A group of 6 of us booked this cruise last minute. It was such a deal. anyways... it was our first time cursing. Funny, we all swore we would never get on a cruise even if we won one. Haha... well.. here we are, booked one! My partner & I had an amazing time. Everything is open! This made me happy-- Everything was open. I was talking to one of the crew memebers... he said we cram a 9 day cruise into 1 night. This was awesome! There was so much to do. It was 30 degrees and the pool was open! lol The food was amazing!!!! We ate constantly. There is a salad bar and tons of fruit if your watching calories. Service --- was great! Everyone was friendly! Room-- we got a balcony room, 9th floor. It was very compact. I can't imagine more than 2 in this room. But I guess families do it.... Booze--- it wasn't that expensive! Minibar in room ... Grey goose mini was $6.75 ... not bad. From bar... Jim beam & diet was like six bucks ... again, very reasonable! We loved it! And we will be booking again! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2013
We just salied out of NYC on the NCL Jewel for a 2 day Cruise to Nowhere January 18 thru 20. The Manhattan Pier was a mess because the NCL Jewel, NCL Gem and the Queen Victoria which is doing a world cruise made her 1st stop in NYC. We ... Read More
We just salied out of NYC on the NCL Jewel for a 2 day Cruise to Nowhere January 18 thru 20. The Manhattan Pier was a mess because the NCL Jewel, NCL Gem and the Queen Victoria which is doing a world cruise made her 1st stop in NYC. We didn't feel the pain most felt checking in because we were staying in the Haven so we were wisked thru security to the VIP counter, checked in and walked over to the VIP waiting room. Our Butler came to get us around noon and told us he would be taking us to our 2 bedroom family suite to drop our bags and then to Cagneys for our 1st lunch. When we were boarding there was still a long line of people outside that just got back from the 12 day cruise on the Jewel still waiting to get thru customs and it was COLD outside. This was our 1st time in the Haven and it didn't dissappoint us. We normally get a suite on NCL for the perks but the Haven could run a couple thousand more on the 7 day cruises so we don't bother but for a couple hundred more we decided to try it. My daughter and her friend really enjoyed the pool and Jacuzzi it was a very relaxing area and Sherwin the Haven Butler did a good job of making sure everyone had what they needed. There's a concierge lounge on the Jewel if you walk up the stairs by the elevator bank that overlooks decks 12 & 13 and makes an awesome spot for the sail off when it's cold...we were the only one's there. Speaking of the Concierge he was no where to be found. There was a letter in the room with his name and extension but never saw him until we were leaving on Sunday. I did call him Friday to see if he could change our dinner reservation at Cagney's from 7:30 to 6:30 because we wanted to see the 8PM show but he said they were booked full until 9:30 so we decided to go down at 7PM and to our surprise they weren't even 1/2 full?? They seated us and service was so fast we were done just before the show was about to start. We were on the Gem 7 day cruise in May to Florida/Bahamas and Ryan the concierge was always visible but it seemed like everyone on the Jewel was resting for their upcoming 12 day cruise. The cruise director was no where to be found and his staff didn't seem very motivated...they need to duplicate Sinan on the Gem and get some motivation in that staff. Sinan was everywhere on the Gem but this guy on the Jewel lacked any enthusiasm to the point that I don't even know what his name is...he's in the wrong line of work. More dissapointments..they don't offer the soda program on the 2 day, there's no room service (nothing), no towel animals even on the 2nd night, no champagne in the suites for sail off. The biggest dissapointment is this is a huge money maker for NCL...all the pay extra restaurants were packed to the point they added extra hours, tons of drinks being sold and Casino packed but I didn't feel they take it serious enough. Friday night after the 2nd show we went to the Blue Lagoon for a few wings and before I got to open my mouth the girl at the podium said it's quicker to get the food to go?? The place was 1/2 empty and I said we would prefer to sit here so she said suit yourself, walked to a table threw the menus down and walked away?? so much for those Platinum Haven card keys:-) Long story short this 2 day cruise didn't cost us any less per night then if we were on a longer cruise but the lack of motivation and all the extra corner cutting will keep us from ever booking a CTN in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2013
I just returned from a 2-Night Cruise To Nowhere from New York onboard Norwegian Jewel with the family. The cruise was good just to getaway for a weekend with the family. EMBARKATION DAY: Took the NY Waterway Ferry to New York, ... Read More
I just returned from a 2-Night Cruise To Nowhere from New York onboard Norwegian Jewel with the family. The cruise was good just to getaway for a weekend with the family. EMBARKATION DAY: Took the NY Waterway Ferry to New York, then a yellow cab to the terminal, cleared security, then checked in and were given a number to wait for boarding number seven waited about an hour to forty minutes, arrived 11:00am, then waited to be called then boarded ship around shortly after 12 noon, then lunch Garden Cafe, on arrival the person standing entrance sprayed your hands with sanitizer although there was a sanitizer dispenser on the wall, but not everyone notices it and I usually keep my own in pocket with me. THE FOOD: Garden Cafe is the ships buffet restaurant and on first day it was busy since we got on kind of later than normal, still found a place to sit. Offerings on first day were American meatloaf, ham at carving station, vegetables, burgers, hot dogs and chicken breast. These were the foods I enjoyed the most. They also had salad, soup, Asian station, and pizza station. The food was good but not great. There was dessert station which consisted of mousse cakes which was one my favorites, also had gelatiin, lemon-lime and cherry very good. The only beverages buffet restaurant were tea, coffee and water, I only drank water since I don't drink tea or coffee those are not my favorite beverages. The other ships I have cruised there was lemonade or fruit punch there, not this cruise. After finishing first lunch, went down to our staterooms on deck 8 and were ready which consisted of two balconies with connecting door but didn't use either since it was just 2-night cruise. Staterooms 8538 and 8540 were not that spacious, balcony not large but did not use it sinc it was kind of cold. The restroom was not large, but had stand up shower, toilet in the corner and sink in there. MUSTER DRILL: Then around 3:15pm went to Muster Drill which was in Stardust Theater deck 7 was finished within ten minutes. Muster station was A3 which said to go to the balcony level of theater but directed to main level to sit in front all in all it went smoothly. Then still plenty of time to watch the ship sail. The sail away was held in Spinnaker Lounge, did not attend, but went into the cold on deck bundled up and waved towards the city. FIRST DINNER: I went to Garden Cafe, family went to Cagney's Steakhouse, I enjoyed the buffet which was roast sirloin of beef, which I liked, chicken breast, similar to what was offered for lunch buffets. Desserts were mousse cakes and gelatin, they were good. Then after buffet walked around deck, windy and cold but was bundled up and went to sleep no towel animals on this cruise and also no mints when you returned to your stateroom. SEA DAY: Slept in until 10am, then went to Galleria Shops deck 7 just few thing postcards, keychains and pens there. Then late breakfast Great Outdoors deck 12 then lunch Great Outdoors consisted same stuff as buffets following them carving station offered roasted chicken but with bones, had that and chicken breast few burgers, enjoyed the strawberry short cake which was offered. Then walked around little bit then returned to nap. After nap went to buffet which offere pork boneless not thrilled with that, pork scallopini, veal cubes, and same items as usual and dessert. Then walked around and packed for the return trip then sleep until Sunday which was disemarbaktion day. DISEMBARKATION DAY: The ship entered New York 7:00am, family went for breakfast I stayed in finished packing up and around 8:00am left stateroom for deck 7 one deck down and off the ship and in yellow cab all within five miuntes to ferry then on ferry back in at 9:00am great disemarkation did not cleared customs since we didn not have calls, but there was customs paper in our stateroom. Not the best trip but it was good to get away for the weekend on a ship we never sailed before. I prefer Carnival, Celebrity and also Royal Caribbean inside of NCL better ships, the food and everything else is much better, family says same there. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2013
Just returned from a "Cruise to Nowhere" on the Jewel. I went with my sister and my twenty something daughter. I have traveled on two other cruise lines. Since I have taken nine cruises I think I have enough previous experience ... Read More
Just returned from a "Cruise to Nowhere" on the Jewel. I went with my sister and my twenty something daughter. I have traveled on two other cruise lines. Since I have taken nine cruises I think I have enough previous experience to judge the quality of a cruise. This was my first time on NCL. We wanted to just try it before booking a cruise to somewhere. There are both positive and negative things to mention. Positives - 1. Embarking - We carried our small luggage directly to lunch. So we did not have to wait around for lunch service. Both sit down and buffet lunch were available. We chose the buffet. 2. We arrived at the port at noon and check in had already started. 3. We pre-registered online so check-in was quick and we waited to board the ship about 15 minutes. 3. Since this was a very brief trip we took a very basic room with a window. The cabin was very, very clean. 4. Staff was diligent in making sure to spray everyone's hands as they entered dining areas. 5. Exiting ship upon our Sunday morning return was a delight. We simply walked off and did not have to wait for numbers or letters to be called. So we were off the ship about five minutes after we left our cabin. 6. Shows were good. The 70's show was fun. The comedy act was just okay. But the Cirque show was great. I could easily see that again. 7. Bar service in the casino while sitting at the bar. 8. Elevators - Usually a very brief wait time, except immediately after a show. Also elevators were plentiful. 9. Cute gym. Nice equipment. Everything worked. 10. Common areas very clean. I did not see any worn carpet or worn chairs. 11. Bathrooms in common areas well attended to as they all were very clean. Negatives - 1. Greeting upon entering ship was strange. No one really greeted us except the washy washy person. It was difficult to allow her to spray my hands as I still had my luggage , my purse and my key card in my hands. There was no one to tell us if we should sit down, check our luggage, go to lunch or go directly to our rooms. There was no one to ask. Many passengers were milling about looking just as confused as we were. So we finally went to the desk to ask. This was a bit annoying. 2. Lunch - There was a lot less to select from than on other cruises that I have been on. I walked around a bit so I could carefully select what I wanted to eat. Food was not attractively displayed as I have seen on all of my other cruises. So I ended up having a lot of salad and a small bit of tilapia. Most other foods just looked like cafeteria slop that I could get at any school cafeteria. My daughter just had some pasta and my sister had a small burger. None of us were satisfied with lunch. Dinner - We dined at Tsar's. That was a nice experience. We had surf and turf. Yes, the portions we small. But I was happy about that as that allowed me to room to have salad, a delightful mushroom soup, and ice cream for dessert. All three of us had the same. Surf and turf were what I expected, tasty . Breakfast - This was a horrible experience. Orange juice was watery. It tasted just like flavored water. So all of us chose to just have water. Coffee, just ok. Service, not good, had to ask for everything from salt, to cream to jelly for our toast. Scrambled eggs we barely cooked. They looked awful. Corned beef hash did not look nor taste like corned beef hash. Home fries were cold. It also took about 30 minutes for our breakfast to appear. My sister asked for a different breakfast consisting of an omelet and some toast. They were just ok. My daughter was so disgusted with her meal that she elected not to order anything else. The best part of this breakfast was the water. I had several glasses of this. Dinner - The second night we again ate at Tsar's. Since our previous dining experience was nice we expected the same. The menu was mediocre, poached cod, shrimp with coconut, and some other horrible items I cannot remember. So my daughter and I selected a steak. We thought that would be safe. Wrong idea, tough , steak, hard baked potato. The best part of the meal was the salad and the green beans. The hard ice cream was pretty good. Don't have the soft ice cream at the buffet. The strawberry taste just like medicine. We all normal sized people who enjoy dining ( our sizes are size zero, size five and size nine). We did not get what we expected. I was so happy to get home and have some home made soup. Meanwhile, my daughter was happy to get home and have some eggs and toast. Entertainment - There was not enough to do in the daytime. There were several activities that required a payment. So we did not do any of those. There was not enough to do in the evening. My experience on my other cruises has been just to much to do , not to little. But on this ship it seemed that you were expected to drink yourself silly or go to the casino after the shows. Spa Area - The spa area looked very nice. We were taken on a tour. However, it cost 49 dollars for the two days. This was disappointing as my experience on other ships was that this was gratis. I usually sign up for other spa services that require a fee. But I did not as paying for use of the spa was a real turn off. Motion sickness- I know this must be just a coincidence. But all three of us got motion sickness. This has never happened to any of us before. We had great weather, so who knows. Crew - All were very pleasant. But there seem to be to few staff members around the ship. Our room steward was extremely nice. He even inquired about my sister's condition as she was experiencing motion sickness and offered to get whatever she needed. We were on the 5th level. Will I ever travel NCL again? No, I will not. I would have appreciated more entertainment, edible food, less activities that require a fee and more staff members available to answer any questions or assist with dining services and services in the gym. (There was no one around to offer towels or water, or assistance with the equipment.) The desk was unattended in the gym. Neither I nor my sister or daughter are picky people. We made the best of our cruise because we enjoy each other's company. We will continue to cruise on other cruise lines. I will not recommend NCL to anyone. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2013
Cruise to Nowehere: 2 night. Pools open and heated. Shower gel and shampoo in dispensers in shower. All rooms have hairdryer. Generous with towels. No disposable cups, bring your own if you want them. Beds were comfortable, have flat and ... Read More
Cruise to Nowehere: 2 night. Pools open and heated. Shower gel and shampoo in dispensers in shower. All rooms have hairdryer. Generous with towels. No disposable cups, bring your own if you want them. Beds were comfortable, have flat and thick pillows, 2 of each. Nice duvet. $12pp/day gratuities. Ice dispensers in buffet have filtered water. Lipton teas, include lemon, orange green and black. We cruised the Norwegian Jewel for a 2 night cruise to nowhere Jan 18-20th. Arrived at the terminal approximately 10:30am. Received group 5 boarding. Not bad since last time we were in the 29th group! Waited comfortably until boarding began. It was delayed today, due to the late arrival of the Jewel from her returning Carribean cruise. Upon embarkation, which went smoothly, we went to the Garden Cafe ( the buffet) for lunch. Some of the hot food was offered on the kind of warmers that looked like flat plates, while others were on steamer trays. I noticed that food was changed regularly; nothing ever looked old/dried out. For lunch I had grilled tilapia, smothered in spinach and a delicious soup- can't remember what kind. We then toured the ship, and decided to take a nap, before the mandatory 3:15 life boat drill. For Friday dinner we ate at the Tsar Palace dining room. Food was OK, but the service was pretty bad. One member of our group asked for steamed vegetables and potatoes, all of which were on the menu. Her meal came after everyone else was finished. Our meals were surf and turf ( skip this); 2 had a nice steak ( recommended) and the last salmon. Salmon was had both nights and was done perfectly. For Saturday's dinner we ate at the Azur dining room. Totally opposite of the Tsar! Staff was so pleasant and helpful, food presented beautifully on the plate. They were obviously proud of their craft, and we enjoyed ourselves and our meal. We should have gone there both nights. Now we know why the Tsar Palace didn't seem crowded, everyone went to Azur. We didn't try any of the specialty restaurants. People that ate at the steakhouse- Cagney's- said their steaks were superb. The Tapenyaki restaurant was busy, and we didn't look at any of the others. For lunches we ate at the main buffet, as well as breakfasts. Made to order omelets were done well, and the scrambled eggs were moist and delicious. Be sure to have the baked tomatoes and the ratatouille, which was excellent. We also liked the pretzel breadsticks, mmm! The food stations at the buffet are attractive. There's the hot food, the fruit, the cereals, the pastas, the breads, the asian stir fry, omelets and eggs to order- and desserts. Plenty of coffee/ tea areas. I usually don't like cruise buffet coffee, but I have to say the Jewel's coffee was excellent. Entertainment: Very good on the getaway. We went to the Spinnaker lounge for sailaway for some music and dancing. The Jewel dance crew was there, and people were enjoying themselves. "Jersey Boy Dan" was the emcee/dancer and fun was had by all. The first evening at 8pm show we saw "Band on the Run". A nice show; story line presented as a new nightclub that was opening up. The music and dancing was fun, costumes were bright and tastefully done. Afterward, we walked around, we enjoyed some guitar by Jim Capik. Stop by to see him, he is an excellent guitarist. Saturday we checked out JammRoc for afternoon music. Listed as soul, reggae and jazz, it was very different. The woman had an excellent voice, and we stayed for the whole set. That evening, we say the Circ Bijou show. DO NOT MISS THIS! It was excellent. Get a seat high up, because this show is full of aerialist entertainment. We went early and got a seat in the last row, best seats in the house!! Afterward, we sat The Next Stage band, a Beatles tribute. They were so good, the crowd wanted more after the scheduled hour. They were convinced to play for another 20 minutes. Took a video clip, but when I got home, there was no sound!! The cruise was great. Saturday we put our coats on and sat by the pool on the loungers. There were people in the heated pool, having a ball. The hot tubs were crowded, but I didn't venture in. The weather was nice and sunny. Late Saturday afternoon and all night found us in a rolling type of sea, 2 of our group went to the medical center for some meclizine, which helped them a lot. It is provided free. We will go next year, if they offer the 2 night getaway. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2012
Just came back from a 2 day cruise to nowhere out of NYC on the beautiful Norwegian Gem. The ship was absolutely upscale and exceeded my expectations. This was my first cruise ever and I was very pleased with the ship and fantastic service ... Read More
Just came back from a 2 day cruise to nowhere out of NYC on the beautiful Norwegian Gem. The ship was absolutely upscale and exceeded my expectations. This was my first cruise ever and I was very pleased with the ship and fantastic service Norwegian provided my and my 4 sisters on this cruise. We had a balcony room which was I would suggest having no more than 2 people per room comfortably. The bathroom was extremely small. I am a plus sized gal and I had some trouble putting clothes on in the bathroom - so just be aware of that :) We ate mostly at the Garden Cafe (buffet dining) which all of the food was great!! Great selection and way better than any buffet style I ever had. On the last night on the cruise, we at the Grand Pacific main dining room. The service was very good. Ambiance was excellent and they claim to have 5 star meals here but I did not see this. I orders roast chicken and it was simply okay - nothing I would write home about. For fun, we spent alot of time on the Lido deck (party deck 12) and this was a very fun space. Drinks were fantastic and music and atmosphere was great too. We also spent some time on the Spinnaker lounge. This was a beautiful lounge and dance club. Very chic and modern - highly recommend giving the dance club a try. Great music and again great service as well. We also spent some time in Bliss bar and club. This was a very cool bar with a edgy rock feel to it. I wanted to tell you that I lost mt small black Coach clutch in it with all of my ID's, Ipod, new Iphone 5 in it as well. I was frantic and told the staff immediately. They told me to give them a description of this and to also go to Lost and Found to submit a claim. I was extremely upset and knew that I had lost it forever!! As we were waiting to go to dinner at the Grand Pacific, one of the staff members from Bliss came towards me with my purse on a drink platter. I almost cried!!!! I thanked him so much for finding this for me and told him that "I want to kiss you on the mouth right now!!!" He stood there while I checked my purse to see if anything was missing and it was. This to me was superior customer service which I want to thank Norwegian for setting a great example to other cruise lines. This service would definitely sway me to book a cruise with NCL if nothing else!! I would recommend this cruise for anyone thinking of a cruise to see if cruising is for them. Also, this cruise was extremely affordable. It cost me a total of $500 with gratuities for the 2 night cruise. I also bought 2 bottles of liquor which was included in the total amount that I spent on this cruise. Not a bad way to spend 500 bucks - 2 day cruise out of the prettiest city and all you can eat with spectacular service!!! Thank you NCL for a great time!!!! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2012
DH and I booked the "Weekend Cruise" on the Norwegian Gem. It left from the Manhattan Cruise Terminal on Friday and returned Sunday morning. This was our 1st time on NCL. To be honest, we had heard several negative things about ... Read More
DH and I booked the "Weekend Cruise" on the Norwegian Gem. It left from the Manhattan Cruise Terminal on Friday and returned Sunday morning. This was our 1st time on NCL. To be honest, we had heard several negative things about NCL but the lure of a quick vacation without the need for flying or driving several hours to get there overcame any reluctance we had to try NCL. For 2nts in a mini-suite we paid $599 per person, plus tax and insurance. Somewhat pricey for two nights. I got to the pier around 10 a.m. and my husband joined me later on. I was able to check-in and get an early boarding #. The NYC Port/Pier staff was a mixture of friendly and helpful and utterly nasty. One staff member was annoyed by a group arguing with her about who was supposed to line up first and basically told them to "shut up". I was sitting down, waiting for my DH and on my cell phone and she barked at me to "get up!" I tried to explain that I was waiting for someone but she didn't want to hear it. It wasn't even a section that they had to clear, because they directed others to sit there. Weird and annoying. Security and check in moved quickly at this early time. Be warned, you had to hand carry your luggage. Checking luggage was NOT an option- no stevedores, no porters. As the day wore on, the lines were longer and longer and moved slowly because security was screening all of the luggage. Check-in itself was easy with a credit card. There were separate stations for cash deposits and for atm/debit card users. Boarding started around 12:15 p.m. That was poorly done. We entered onto deck 7, the "atrium". The design of the ship is disappointing. The "atrium" is cramped, with only two levels and low ceiling heights. What made it worse is that everyone was directed to "check" their luggage in the Bliss Lounge. So imagine hundreds of people at a time in a small area waiting to check luggage while hundreds more are trying to board. Finally, my husband got fed up and asked a uniformed woman if we absolutely had to check the luggage as we had been told when first boarding the ship and she said "No". So we bypassed the line and went up to the Great Outdoors to eat lunch and wait for the cabin to be ready. The lunch buffet was fine. The Garden Cafe was clean and spacious with pasta selections, sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, carved meats, etc. and the Great Outdoors had a limited selection. Mostly carved beef, chicken, cutlets- heavier foods. Cabins were ready at 1:30 p.m. The mini-suite was spacious. Great bathroom, with a privacy partition for the toilet. Shower/tub combination was fairly roomy, good water pressure. NOTE- if you have physical difficulties- back problems, etc. this suite may not be for you. The sides of the tub are fairly high and you need to be able to get your legs over them to get into the shower. The cabin had good storage and a comfortable bed. The balcony is basic- two plastic chairs and a small table on a non-skid surface. The decor is like JC Penney threw up on a Sears- lots of royal blue, burgundy, and brights. Our cabin steward, Neil, was super-fantastic. We didn't even expect to see anyone on such a short cruise but he was always available. Neil was friendly, polite and the cabin was very well kept. The muster drill was easy- held at 3 p.m., you went to your station without needing to bring life jackets. Bali Hai, the bar above the pool area was a great place to sit and watch the sail away party. The passengers were a varied bunch but the overall atmosphere seemed friendly. The pool area has two pools, one with a water slide for the kiddos and kiddos at heart and an "adult pool". They are very close to each other, so the "adult" area is not a quiet one, as it is on Disney. The pools seemed small for the size of the ship but I think that was my perception because they were not separated like Princess'. We sailed south and so had lovely, warm, 70s weather on Saturday and the pools were busy but not crazy. We did not eat in the dining rooms, preferring to try the specialty restaurants. Cagneys was beautifully decorated, service was good, but the steaks were disappointing. Thin cuts, they were fatty and salty. The Teppanyaki was very fun. Crispino was our chef and he was funny and warm. My DH loved his "Land and Sea" saying the Filet Mignon was tender and cooked just the way he asked. My "Seafood" was good but the lobster was overcooked. It didn't matter because the theatrics of the chef were great! We did see one show- Second City and laughed a lot. Mostly "sketch" comedy with one piece of improv, the show was well done, fast-paced and different from any other show we've seen on a cruise line. Definitely recommend. We ended up at Magnums, the champagne bar, most nights. This lounge, the "beer bar" and the "martini" bar are all one big area, with different seats options. Very busy and crowded, it really seems like its a corridor rather than a defined area. Mary Joy, a cocktail waiter at Magnums, was terrific. Very efficient with a great personality. "Bandaoke" was a fun idea- singing karaoke with a band and it was great to watch! Saturday had activities. DH tried Bingo, but was turned off by the price- $50 for 6 cards? and the fact the prize wasn't guaranteed. We decided to lounge by the pool. The gazebo for the band is right in the middle, so if you are looking for quiet, you need to go up to deck 14 or 15 to find the "quiet areas". We enjoyed the music and people watching so we stayed. The pool side barbecue was plentiful. The burgers and dogs were not as good as we've had on other lines, like RCL, Princess and Disney. There was NO room service or pizza delivery on this cruise. That was a sore point along with the luggage issue. This cruise felt very much like the red-headed stepchild of the cruise line. We paid almost as much for this 2nt cruise as you would for an inside stateroom for a 7 nt cruise. Yet, full services were not available. The feeling was that NCL was looking to cut corners wherever they could without shame. I did try the Seaweed wrap at the Spa. It was ok. We were double charged on our bill but DH said the front desk corrected it without a problem the morning of disembarkation. I'm glad we caught it. On the whole, the cruise was fun without being amazing. The design of the ship, the lower quality of the food, and some other things have convinced us that we won't sail on NCL for a 7nt or longer cruise. In our opinion, we prefer Princess and Disney and feel we've gotten better return for our money. For the price, about $1500 for two people, we expected more- room service at least. Just a last note, when we were getting off the cruise, the very, very nice NCL staff person who was monitoring the line said "This was a nice cruise, no fighting, no disrespect." We almost started laughing at the surprise and wonderment in his tone. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
Took my wife and 3 of her friends on the NCL Gem on a cruise to nowhere out of Manhattan for my wife's 50th birthday celebration. I booked 2 interior adjoining staterooms on deck 11 which was just 1 deck below the Garden Cafe buffet, ... Read More
Took my wife and 3 of her friends on the NCL Gem on a cruise to nowhere out of Manhattan for my wife's 50th birthday celebration. I booked 2 interior adjoining staterooms on deck 11 which was just 1 deck below the Garden Cafe buffet, the pool and sports, deck, etc! I booked this cruise due to the convenience of hopping on in Manhattan as we are from Long Island. I read a lot of negative reviews for the NCL freestyle experience, so I had to see it for myself as we are experienced cruisers with 12 under our belt split between Carnival and Royal Caribbean cruise lines and their set dining times which we are fan of. Here is a quick rundown of our fantastic 50th birthday celebration: Embarkation - A total disaster as 2 NCL ships were being loaded, the Gem and Jewel. We arrived at the Manhattan cruise ship terminal at 12:15, paid our $30 to park overnight, and from there the cue lines were ridiculous and we did not board till 2:30. Taking over 2 hours to check-in is unacceptable, it must go better when there is only one ship being checked in. Dembarkation - Great experience, ship docked a little after 8 AM, we ate breakfast at the garden buffet, and we could leave at our leisure from our rooms at any time no later than 10 AM. We grabbed our bags from our room at 9 AM, we easily got off and in our truck and we were out of there and out of Manhattan by 9:30, and home an hour later at 10:30! Great de-embarkation system, no calling decks, special assists, etc, just leave when you want! Dining - As soon as we boarded we dropped our bags in our rooms and headed to the buffet which appeared overcrowded. We then got seated at the Grand Pacific dining room and had a nice lunch of philly cheesesteaks, french fries, portobello mushrooms, steak, etc. Service was just ok, but the food was good. After lunch and the lifeboat drill, we hit the pool area, and saw a fantastic outdoor BBQ where the food looked amazing, I wish we ate there, and we will hit on a future NCL cruise! The best dining times for the best restaurants were already booked up by 3 PM, so I called and got the La Cucina Italian restaurant for an 8:45 dinner. Sitting in that restaurant made us feel like were at an italian eatery in town, the food was worth the $10 cover charge, we had nice meal, no crowd, nice atmosphere. Having a bad perception of the free style dining was washed away as I took a tour of all the restaurants, and they all looked worthy of their cover charges. You can make a reservation via phone in your room, on the phone in the passage ways, or at the restaurants themselves. There were TV screens area showing the times and availability of the restaurants, so that system worked well. We hit the Garden Buffet on the pool deck in the afternoon between lunch and dinner and the next morning, and we loved the layout of it. It was different and had a different nice feel compared to Carnival, again, it felt like a Las Vegas buffet with the themed dining stations. overall the food in the buffet was good. Room - Our inside suite was very nice, comfortable mattresses, great Ikea wood like decor everywhere including in the bathroom where the shower stall had a great layout and glass shower doors, soap was provided, we loved it. We peeked in the balcony rooms and hope to book a suite the next time. Entertainment - The NCL Gem had a great Las Vegas vibe, maybe it was the NY/NJ crowd who were looking to party till our eyes bled knowing we were there for only one night. The party started immediately after the lifeboat drill at 3 PM with the DJ rocking the pool deck. It was cold and windy, but people were dancing and partying for 2 hours, we had so much fun. The main show at 7:30 was cheesy but fun, the flow of the lounges, bars, public areas was a nice change from Carnival and Royal, and the Blizz lounge had a fantastic rock band from England. When the band was done at 11 PM, the DJ picked right up for the toga party, and we danced and partied till 1 AM in the ultracool Bliss lounges that had full size beds in it. Again I felt like we were in Las Vegas. There was plenty of live entertainment in multiple lounges, the bars were beautiful, we really enjoyed touring the public areas. Spa - I purchased Spa admission for the 5 of us at $30 each, and we spent 2 blissful hours in there in the hot tubs, heated chaise lounges. The Spa had separate areas for men and women with Sauna, steam and whirlpool tubs, and they had a coed area that was was pure joy. The Spa had a European feel, we relaxed sweated, took in the sites and we would buy a Spa package in the future! Summary - We were pleasantly surprised with our overall NCL Gem experience. The ship had a great vibe, people were buzzing and partying everywhere, the food was good not great, the service was good not great, but with so many dining choices you will be satisfied. We will sail on NCL again, next time for 7 days or more. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2012
General Comments: This cruise was a fun getaway with my 12 year old daughter. I was a little worried that the crowd might be more rowdy than normal given it's a CTN, but I am happy to say that while it was a younger and more party ... Read More
General Comments: This cruise was a fun getaway with my 12 year old daughter. I was a little worried that the crowd might be more rowdy than normal given it's a CTN, but I am happy to say that while it was a younger and more party spirit crowd than other NCL cruises, I didn't see anybody out of control or behaving badly. Embarkation/Disembarkation: Getting on was crowded but ran relatively smoothly. There were two ships departing that afternoon and this makes the terminal at full capacity. From curb to ship took me about 45-60 minutes arriving at ~11:30AM. Two tips--they were handing out Freestyle dailies for the cruise and this made good reading while waiting in line to check in--try to grab one before getting in line. Second, there was a desk taking specialty restaurant reservations and a pretty long line in front of that. Again, in interest of maximizing time on board, try to visit this desk and book a reservation if you plan to dine specialty. Menus were available to browse, for those who aren't sure of plans. Disembarkation was extremely easy given no customs needed and no checked luggage. Sail away: This is probably the best aspect of this short cruise. You get an awesome view of the New York skyline as well as the Eillis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Best place to hang if it isn't too cold is forward in the top most sundeck areas. The Jewel was leaving right after the Gem and we watched it back out right after us and follow us down the river. Dinner: We ate at Teppanyaki and it met my expectations. I had done it a couple times before but it still is fun and the food, fresh grilled in front of you is quite good. Entertainment: We went to watch the comedian rather than the earlier musical show. Comedian was excellent- relaxed, good mix of working the audience and canned routine. Lunch/Breakfast at Buffet: Crowded as expected, particularly on a CTN. Food was fine and lines moved pretty fast. Hard to find seating--suggestion go aft to the La Cucina Italian restaurant where there is additional seating for lunch and breakfast. Only complaint--bacon was horrible and inedible, greasy and tasted off. Service: I was overall happy with the level of service. It's a very short cruise so hard to evaluate, but the few encounters I had were pretty positive. All in all this cruise met my expectations. Wish it could have been longer! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2012
We had a great time, I had only been a a CTN once and my DH never has. Embarkation was crazy with both the Gem and Jewel departing at roughly the same time, once you were through the security checkpoint, staff could have done a better job ... Read More
We had a great time, I had only been a a CTN once and my DH never has. Embarkation was crazy with both the Gem and Jewel departing at roughly the same time, once you were through the security checkpoint, staff could have done a better job at directing Gem passengers back to check in. The check in desks were past the boarding gate, you couldn't see them at all. We arrived at the port at 11:30 and were onboard at 1, not too bad even amidst the confusion. After boarding DH and I like to find a quiet spot to have a cocktail and wait to drop off our bags. On the way to that spot we encounter a great crew member who answered my question about making dinner reservations by dailing a phone for me - I was connected to reservations and got exactly what I wanted - Le Bistro, I found out later they hadn't even set up the reservation desk in the atrium yet, so I was one of the first to make one! We found Magnum's tucked under a stairwell one floor down and had a cocktail there. Some of the staff seemed like we were a bother but not all. Lunch in the MDR was very slow,but we had to wait to get in the cabin any way. The food at lunch was not very good and the portions were extremely small, I had a Cobb salad that was missing half of the ingredients and was swimming in dressing. Got to our cabin obstructed view OV 8566, we were on a stretch of hall all by ourselves, it was nice and quiet. Tv was alittle odd the volume would increase all by itself! We only had it on while dressing though. We had booked Le Bistro thank goodness which turned out to be a perfect meal,the fruits de Mer and lamb chops were perfection. We had 6 o'clock reservations so we could see the show. The show One World was really awful, plays at my daughter's high school have been better and we left half way through. The comedian later in the evening, was good, old jokes but a good delivery kept us laughing. Wandering around and having a few cocktails at Bliss and the Spinnaker and meeting some fine folks along the way. Bliss was fun with the beds and a toga party! If we had more time we would have tried bowling at Bliss. Casino was pretty good to us the roulette wheel spun in our favor! My husband was looking for something to eat and we when to The Blue Lagoon the hostess said it was closing at 11:30 and we were told they would be open later but to go to the buffet now. The most awful mess awaited us there. There was barely anything edible, it looked like they were slopping the hogs. Every leftover nasty thing from the evening dinner buffet was STILL out, including the mayo (it was turning transparent, it was so old), it was just gross. Dried out hotdogs and grey hamburgers, a chinese beef dish with no noodles or rice, cold cuts with the oldest, hardest bread I have ever seen, is that what they call late night dining. Blue Lagoon never did open again. It makes you wonder, just how much they will cut out before folks have a real fit. Of course we didn't really need to eat again, so we didn't let it get us down. Some people though may stay out later and drink more and/or play more in the casino if they can get a nice late nite snack. All in all we had a nice time, saw everything we wanted to see and did everything we wanted to do. Would I do another 1 nighter - probably not, but never say never! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
My boyfriend and I took a 2 night cruise to nowhere on the Carnival Miracle. We met on the same ship a year ago and thought it would be a fun idea to go back to where it all started! We were both nervous that it wouldn't be the same ... Read More
My boyfriend and I took a 2 night cruise to nowhere on the Carnival Miracle. We met on the same ship a year ago and thought it would be a fun idea to go back to where it all started! We were both nervous that it wouldn't be the same as a longer cruise (shows, amount of food, activities) and that we would be bored. Both of us are in our late 20's so it was important that we had things to do. Well, I have to say that it was just as good as a 7 night cruise. Everything was exactly the same. The only thing we did not know was that they did have a formal night of dining. Luckily I had black dress pants and he had a dressy pair of jeans. We weren't kicked out of the dining room...they didn't seem to care much. There were people who were dressed far more casual than us and everyone went in the dining room. The downside was that the 2 shows were the same shows from our cruise the year before. I wished they were different and thought the cruise line might have had special shows for this particular cruise. The buffets were exactly the same and there was always enough food. They even had the sushi cart (only for one of the nights)! You even got a daily itinerary just like the longer cruises. We did martini tastings and wine tastings, which were both really fun. They had a lot of things for you to do and we were not bored for a single minute. The nightclub was packed (on our cruise it was empty every night), which was fun. Everyone seemed to be enjoying their 2 days of vacation. The service was wonderful and everything is so orderly and efficient. When the ship docked in the morning we had breakfast at the buffet and then were able to leave right away since we carried all of our own luggage. We were off of the boat by 8:30 AM. This was a great cruise and the perfect amount of time! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
Our recent Cruise to Nowhere on the Carnival Miracle was a great disappointment. Our first cruise was 5 days to Canada on the Carnival Victory in '06, and we enjoyed the general cruise experience immensely. But it was our first and ... Read More
Our recent Cruise to Nowhere on the Carnival Miracle was a great disappointment. Our first cruise was 5 days to Canada on the Carnival Victory in '06, and we enjoyed the general cruise experience immensely. But it was our first and we had no point of reference until our next few cruises with NCL, where we discovered what a first class cruise experience should be. Still, that first Carnival cruise got us very excited about vacationing at sea. The Miracle two day cruise looked like a good deal though. It met our time constraints and budget at this time of year. But the devil is in the details, and Carnival failed big time on details. They blew it on the big stuff too. THE GOOD The embarkation/disembarkation process was fast, efficient and hassle free. Our cabin staff was courteous and eager to please, as was the dining staff. The first night's dinner was very good and prepared well, and at no time did we feel rushed. We even were able to score a window table. The Ticket to Ride stage show on Saturday night was very good. Exceptional deals were found in the duty free store on liquor and cigarettes. THE BAD Unlike NCL who provides a dedicated, temporary, protected area to store luggage on 1 day cruises where baggage is not checked, we had to carry around ours on the Miracle for 2 hours. It was awkward and at times unsafe, and some areas were impassable with every other guest doing the same. Given that we had but two days, we would have liked to have used that time to conveniently explore an unfamiliar ship and become familiar with our new surroundings. Instead we waited by the pool until the room ready announcement was made. The casino was pathetic in the ergonomic sense. The majority of the slots were all jammed into one area near a wall, reminding me of rows of vending machines in a cafeteria. The design seemed like an afterthought. It was difficult navigating between the quads and sitting at chairs back-to-back, bumping against another player was very annoying. My wife and I are smokers, but smoking machines were butted against non-smoking slots, so what was the point? I felt bad for the non-smokers. Yet on the opposite side of the room there seemed to be plenty of space for additional machines that could have been used and segregated by smoking preference. The selection of machines was poor. Many were multi-denominational, which is good, but only a select few were of the .25/.50/$1 variety. The majority were $1/$2/$5 configurations. On the first night, several machines were out of order, limiting further one's selection. We attended the late night adult comedy show. There were 2 headliners performing in back to back scant 25 minute shows. We wanted to stay for the second headliner, but were ushered out and told that we had to get on line for the other performance. The reasoning was that they had to make sure there was no broken glass and had to clean up. Drinks, by the way, were served in plastic glasses. Our cocktail waitress was slow and screwed up our order, and it wasn't until the show was almost over before we got ours. After we exited, the line for the second show was so long there was no chance we'd get in. THE UGLY Friday morning's breakfast buffet was a joke. There were two omelet chefs at the station, and on either side were trays of breakfast meats and potatoes. One could get on line either to the right or left which is in fact efficient. However, only one side had trays, plates and silverware. We got on the line that didn't, and lost our place on very long lines to get our things on the other side. The bacon was sitting in a pan that looked like it was filled with motor oil, pretty much the same with the sausage. My wife wanted egg whites only and they could not accommodate her. Friday evening's dinner experience, or lack there-of, was horrendous. The main dining facility was the Captain's Dinner was reserved for properly attired guests. We only packed causally for a simple 2 day cruise and therefore could not enjoy a fine meal. This would be fine on a 5 day+ trip, but not on a 2 day sailing. We went down to the buffet at 5:45 and were told it would open at 6pm. By 6:15 there wasn't a server in sight, so we went to the the burger bar. The meat was way undercooked, the buns stale. No toppings such as salsa, mushrooms, onions, etc were available. The nachos and cheese were literally inedible. The hot dogs looked like they had been soaking in the pan that the breakfast bacon was served from. We never finished our food. We went back to the buffet the Horatio room. There were several serving stations divided by walls, but only one was staffed. The main selections were scant...fish that could be smelled from across the room, indicating it wasn't fresh, fried stuffed mushrooms that had the taste and texture of dirty ping pong balls, and a pretty gnarly looking prime rib. I asked for the beef, and was given a tiny sliver about 2 fingers worth. I asked for another piece and got even a smaller slice. When I asked for a normal sized piece, I was told that I could come back for more. The beverage dispenser in the staffed station wasn't working. I had to go to 2 or 3 sections away where I got old coffee, my wife getting cold hot chocolate. The bread was stale and tasteless, and the dessert selection were 3 types of cakes that tasted like they came from a child's Easy Bake Oven. There were objects that looked somewhat like fruit, but we had no appetite to try them. Nothing, absolutely nothing, was fresh. I suppose we're spoiled by the near 24/7 gourmet buffet that NCL offers. By this point, we picked nits...any little thing became a object of disdain. The hot tub on deck looked dirty, rusty, and disgusting. It probably just needed needed to be painted, but it was a turnoff never the less. The stopper in our sink was stuck in the drain so the basin always stayed full. The chairs on our balcony were splattered in white paint and it left us wondering why they weren't covered first before maintenance. Small things that would have gone unnoticed otherwise just added fuel to the fire. We essentially paid $900 for not much more that a balcony cabin for two nights at sea. Presently we are booked with NCL on a 7 day jaunt to Bermuda, and are planning on the inaguaral cruse of the NCL Breakaway in 2013. Carnival never again. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
I got off my 5th annual Carnival Miracle cruise to nowhere this morning and while most details are fresh I want to jot down the perverbial good, bad and ugly. As I just said this was my 5th tear in a row taking this cruise - same ship - ... Read More
I got off my 5th annual Carnival Miracle cruise to nowhere this morning and while most details are fresh I want to jot down the perverbial good, bad and ugly. As I just said this was my 5th tear in a row taking this cruise - same ship - same cabin. The first 3 years were fantastic - 5 stars. Last year a few problems but manageable. This trip was a major letdown. First I would like to say that I love this cruise. It's a great getaway for me to spend quality time with my wife and as we both enjoy being on ships this is a great way to be on one more than once a year. The getting away, the ambience, the activities, the awesome shopping, the great food in the steakhouse and the Beatles show make this the perfect getaway. I think I will go right to the ugly. My cabin steward for the first time did bit care at all about service or the condition of the room. The previous occupant's garbage was left for us and I had no hand soap the first night as we never until 2nd night. I had never experienced this level of indifference in ANY cruise I have taken. The food in deck 9 - the buffets were bit up to par with precious cruises on this ship. The Chinese station dishes had a putrid smell and the taste of nations "Italy" day was simply not tasty. The lemonade was undrinkable. The best food here was the fried chicken tenders by the pool, the really good pizza and the foccacia sandwich with peppers, arugula and roasted peppers. Breakfast was not appetizing - the usually good French toast was terrible. I figured the dining room would be better, I was wrong. Service here was also indifferent and uncaring. The grapefruit was inedible, the French toast horrible and waffles ice cold. Luckily I could eat lunch 90 minutes later. Later on night 2 dinner was mediocre at best. Service was again indifferent ( I had anytime dining) and the usually very good prime rib was buffet quality. My wife got a rubbery end piece that should have never made the plate -shameful.(this was rectified) Lobster tail was good and the chocolate melting cake fabulous. Carnival excels at activities and this cruise was no exception. Tons of activities, demonstrations, bingo, shows both nights, 5 comedy shows each night and an art auction. No complaint here. Carnival is the best at this. I realize this is a 2 day cruise and after us the ship headed to Florida empty. The crew has a nice easy 2 days of partying and getting the ship ready for next cruise but they should have realized that my cruise was important to me and over 2000 others. I don't pretend to know why this year service and food quality deteriorated so but I would suggest someone at Carnival to address this before another cruise to nowhere on any of their ships. Yes there were crew who cared and the good that I mentioned ealier were actually FANTASTIC and yes I would take this cruise again in a heartbeat. I just feel that on THIS cruise the passenger was an afterthought which for the first-timer looking to get their feet wet in cruising is not a good thing for numerous obvious reasons. Sorry, last complaint. The coffee bar deck 2 fwd has for years had excellent chocolate milkshakes. NOT this cruise. No chocolate syrup. Pathetic. Hey Carnival: Shame on you for allowing a ship's staff and this cruise to be downright mediocre. Read my other reviews here folks. I am usually the most easy going cruiser there is. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2011
I had booked this cruise with a friend. She had never cruised before, so I wanted to make sure she had a good time. We planned to stay up all night in order to get the maximum amount of fun out of the 22 hours. We booked an inside ... Read More
I had booked this cruise with a friend. She had never cruised before, so I wanted to make sure she had a good time. We planned to stay up all night in order to get the maximum amount of fun out of the 22 hours. We booked an inside cabin, figuring we wouldn't be sleeping anyway, so why spend the extra money? Well, about a week before the cruise, prices had come down, so we decided to upgrade to a balcony, and that was one of the best decisions we made. The drive on Saturday morning to the pier from NJ via the Lincoln Tunnel and 10th Ave. to 55th St. was a breeze, as was parking at the pier. For a longer trip, I would have parked in Weehawken and taken the ferry, but for the one nighter, the cost would have been about equal, so I chose the convenience of parking at the pier. We got there around 11:00. Lines were non-existent; Norwegian did a great job cheerfully guiding people through the check-in process. It was about an hour before we were able to board, but the time passed quickly and pleasantly. First we perused the dinner menus for the various restaurants. Dinner at the free dining rooms looked great, but my friend wanted to try a specialty restaurant, so we splurged the extra $15 each to eat Asian Fusion cuisine at the Orchid Garden, and made dinner reservations for 6:45. We then sat down in the waiting area, and pored over our copy of the Freestyle Daily, which Norwegian had the foresight to give out before we were on the ship.As we wanted to avoid the crowds at the buffet (thank you, fellow reviewers, for the warning!), we headed to the Grand Pacific Dining Room and had a relaxed, delicious meal. There were no crowds; we were able to walk in and get seated right away. The food was amazing and portions were just right. We were quite full by the end of the meal.The rooms wouldn't be ready until 2:30, so we had a drink at the Bali Hai Bar on Deck 13. It was noisy and crowded (although less so than on Deck 12), but for some of the younger people, that was an advantage.Be sure to ask for all your drinks in regular glasses and not souvenir glasses. If you don't specify this, you will get the souvenir glass (actually, plastic cup) by default, and will pay $2 more per drink. I requested a regular glass for every drink I ordered (six total), and not one waiter or bartender minded one bit. (If you really want the souvenir glass, and you don't mind taking a used one to wash out at home, you will find plenty sitting around for the taking on Decks 12, 13, and 14 after sailaway.)Once our room was ready, we deposited our tote bags in our room, and headed back upstairs, this time one deck higher to the smaller Deck 14 at the front of the ship. This deck was peaceful and quiet, and we stayed there for hours - before, during, and after sailaway - and loved it. The one drawback to this deck, though, is that you are directly in front of the ship's horn, which is LOUD! But it only sounds a few times at the beginning of sailaway and again as the ship passes the Freedom Tower.Then it was time for dinner at the Orchid Garden. The restaurant was mostly empty, so we wouldn't have really needed to make the reservations, although I can't say if that is true at all the specialty restaurants. In hindsight, 6:00 would have been a better time, as we missed a gorgeous sunset (we took turns every so often leaving the restaurant to go peek out the starboard side windows), and were not able to visit any other bars, some of which had guitar or piano singers, before the show. The food was good, but I didn't think it was worth the extra $15 charge. My friend, however, loved it and thought it was well worth it.The show was wonderful. There is only one big show - at 8:30, so plan your dinner accordingly. After the show we headed to Spinnaker's for the comedian. The lounge was full, as Quest was still going on, and when it ended, no one left. We found seats at the bar, where we couldn't see. Turns out we could barely hear from there either. What we did hear, we didn't care for, so we went back to our room to enjoy our balcony for a while, and to take a short nap. Just a note - room service and towel animals are not done on the one-night cruise.Refreshed, we headed down to the casino. It was crowded and smoky, so we didn't spend too much time there. An awesome singer/piano player was performing at Magnum's Champagne Bar, so we sat and had a drink. Unfortunately, he was on his last song, so we didn't stay long. We set out to explore the ship and to hit more bars, but we found that by this time (after midnight), most of the entertainment was over. We did find one band in the Atrium, but as we were sitting down, they got up to take a break. We spent the rest of our time exploring. The only thing we found going on was the White Hot Party in Spinnaker's, which was a bit too loud and stroby for us. So by 2:15 am, we had run out of things to do. The Blue Lagoon was open all night, and I would have been willing to go there for some food, but we were getting tired, and went back to the room. Had there been more going on, we would have stayed out longer.My friend pointed out that falling asleep to the rocking of the ship was part of the cruise experience too, so we partially opened our balcony door, and fell asleep to the gentle rocking and the sound of the ocean. This was delightful, and the bedding was clean and amazingly soft and comfortable.After about three hours of sleep, we got up again to watch the sunrise and the re-entry into New York from our balcony. After sailing under the Verrazano, we headed up to the Great Outdoors on Deck 12, had a mini-breakfast snack, and enjoyed a beautiful, peaceful, uncrowded view of the rest of the trip back up the Hudson.Once we docked, we headed to the Grand Pacific Dining Room for a full breakfast; again, totally enjoyable and delicious. Our departure instructions said we could remain on the ship until 10 am, so we took our belongings out of the room, and headed up to our favorite place - Deck 14 - and enjoyed just relaxing in the sun until about 9:45, when we simply walked off the ship.Disembarking couldn't have been easier. People were allowed to walk off any time between docking (8:30ish) and 10:00, and from what I saw, people were leaving all during this time, so I don't think there was any crowded mass exodus. Very pleasant, as was the drive down 12th Ave. to the Holland Tunnel.Would I do the one-nighter again? I'm not sure. Although the cruise prices were reasonable for what we got, the addition of the port fee (paid on every cruise) was not economical when the cost is not spread over several nights. I think I will give the 2-nighter a try, though. I believe it would be a better value per night, and it would give us so much more time on the ship. Of course, I'd cruise 365 nights a year if I could afford it, but when you just need a cruise fix, or if you've never cruised before, the one- and two-night cruises are nice options. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
I did this cruise with my 22 year old daughter. (it was her B day gift) She had never been on a cruise and it seemed like a fun intro and a good thing to do together. We live 1 hr away from NYC so getting there by train was easy. I read on ... Read More
I did this cruise with my 22 year old daughter. (it was her B day gift) She had never been on a cruise and it seemed like a fun intro and a good thing to do together. We live 1 hr away from NYC so getting there by train was easy. I read on previous reviews that some people had long lines at embarkation so we were prepared for that. Yes they were long when we arrived at 12;40 but they moved very fast. The whole process took us about 40 minutes. Then we went straight to the spa to book a treatment. Even that early on they didn't have a lot of spaces left so if you want to do this ....book that first and then go to lunch. We went to the main dining room for lunch and even though they close at 2:00 when we arrived at 1:45 they seated us and we had a very nice relaxed lunch. After that the cabin was ready. Beds were comfy and sheets looked new. No pilling at all as I read in an earlier review. We got familiar with the ship and had a drink and watched NYC's sky line and Statue of Liberty go by before heading to the spa. We had dinner at Azura which was as good as most cruise food is. Nothing special nothing bad. I never go to specialty restaurants. All staff was super nice.. Then we went to the "adult Quest" game. We sat next to some very nice people and although I never do those games this time I did and we had lots of silly fun. After that we stayed to watch the comedian who was ok. Then me and my daughter danced until we were tired! We had a great night together. This cruise to nowhere is really what you make of it. Pools and hot tubs were heated and there was a good amount of people using them even though it was 30 degrees out. There were no kids and mostly the crowd was under the age of 55 and lots of couples for Valentines and people celebrating b days etc. I would never do it if I would live far away from NYC. (not worth the hassle) but it was certainly fun for us. Also I would NEVER book anything else but an inside cabin for this. I mean why would you? It's too cold to be outside. The seas were calm and in the morning I didn;t feel that we were rushed of the ship. The first announcement was at 8:15....We skipped breakfast and took our time and left the ship at 10:00. Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
* Background Information: First-time Cruise. We wanted to see if this is something we would enjoy and we did! * Activities - As a first-time cruiser, the activities seem fine. The newsletter was very helpful in deciding what to do and ... Read More
* Background Information: First-time Cruise. We wanted to see if this is something we would enjoy and we did! * Activities - As a first-time cruiser, the activities seem fine. The newsletter was very helpful in deciding what to do and where to go. * Service - was excellent and friendly! * Summary - The buffet had lots of delicious food to choose from and was excellent. We liked the idea of making reservations early on if wanted to eat at a restaurant. This gave us the opportunity to agree on a time and place with the other couple we went with in case we split to other different activities. The Dinner at the La Cucina, italian restaurant was excellent and the service was excellent. However, we think that we made the mistake of not leaving a nice tip thinking that this may have been covered already. We are still not sure. Hate to think that we did. The rooms were very clean. It was nice to see how important cleanliness was to NCL. Hand sanitizers everywhere. With all those people, it would be easy to catch something if you are not careful. * Stateroom - was very clean. I am glad we had a picture window. * Dining - was excellent. * Entertainment - it was fine - as a first time cruiser. * Disembarkation - it was nice to know via the tv and the bill left at door that everything was fine and all we had to do is scan our NCL card to get permission to leave with no hassle. Everything seemed organized and I like the idea of not waiting on long lines for very long. It's just too bad my brother did not get upgraded to a room with at least a window in it. Enjoyed it! Read Less
NYC
Sail Date: January 2011
A little bit about me: I am 45 years old. This is probably my 7th cruise. I previously have sailed on the following cruise lines: NCL, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Princess and Carnival. Just got back from a "one-nighter" ... Read More
A little bit about me: I am 45 years old. This is probably my 7th cruise. I previously have sailed on the following cruise lines: NCL, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Princess and Carnival. Just got back from a "one-nighter" on the NCL Jewel. Ship departed from NYC Pier 88 on Saturday January 22, 2011 . When I arrived at the pier at 12:00PM it was a total cluster: there were massive crowds. At first it seemed a little disorganized. However the lines moved rather quickly once inside the terminal. I was able to board the ship at about 1:00. Since the cabin was not ready, I went to Tsar's Restaurant. I was seated rather quickly. It took a while for the waiter to come by and take my order....probably because there were a lot of people in the restaurant. I ordered a club sandwich and a diet pepsi. Food arrived in about 15 minutes. Food was OK. Once I was done it took a long time for somebody to clear the table... I was able to go to my balcony cabin on the 11th floor at 2:00 PM. Room was nice. It was spacious and it was definitely enough for me...Not sure how two people would do in the room. My only two room criticisms are that the queen size bed is comprised of two twin beds pushed together. While sleeping, I could feel the gap between the two beds. I also wish that the bathroom had mini individual bottles of shampoo and body wash. There was a dispenser for these products. Bathroom was a good size, there was even a full-sized bathtub... Prior to departure, I spent time in the ship's champagne bar, Magnum's. It was nice. They had a nice selection of champagnes. Prices were reasonable. For dinner I made a reservation for the Teppanyaki restaurant. Hint: make your specialty restaurant dinner reservations as soon as possible. Food was really good and the chefs did a wonderful presentation. I did not spend much time in the casino because it was very smoky. I was able to pick up two bottles in the Duty Free shop. Hint: there is no limit as to how much stuff you can bring back, you do not go through Customs. So shop til you drop! Overall I had a nice time. I did notice that people were VERY casually attired. Some guest were just plain sloppy! I guess freestyle not only applies to dining options, but to attire as well. On a scale of 1 to 10 I would give it a 7. Next month I am going on the NCL Gem for another one -nighter! Departing the ship was a breeze. I was off the ship in about 5 minutes. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
I am a yearly participant in the NCL GEM cruises to nowhere. This year I had the opportunity to bring two friends who have never cruised before, and one who has not cruised in almost 30 years. The CTNs/one nighters are not your ... Read More
I am a yearly participant in the NCL GEM cruises to nowhere. This year I had the opportunity to bring two friends who have never cruised before, and one who has not cruised in almost 30 years. The CTNs/one nighters are not your typical cruise, especially in the winter. This year we were celebrating my one friend's 50th birthday. The day we were leaving, there was quite a big snow storm in NYC. Since we are traveling from NNJ, we were concerned about being able to get into the city. We left a little later than we may have otherwise, but two of my companions were coming down from even further north and northwest. Driving into the city and parking at the pier presented no problems, although there was a good deal of snow in the parking lot. We arrived at the pier around 11am. This is when I normally arrive. Typically the queues for security and check are out the door by this time. Last Friday, we walked right up to security and were through in a minute. The check in line was also less congested than usual, and we were serviced quickly. At the picture spot just after check in, we were advised that the ship was late coming in and passengers were still disembarking (this was at around 11:20), and embarkation would not start until 12:30 or so. We had a good # (#9), and proceeded to the waiting area. A very nice new feature this year was the ability to view spa services, all restaurant menus (including the MDR)and book appointments. It also looked like you could enroll your kids in the Kids Club/Teen Club, but I had no teens in tow this time, so didn't stop and inquire. We reviewed the menus and decide on LeBistro for my friend's Birthday Celebration. On the sly, we had make note of the birthday, and YES we did want them to SING!!! Boarding started at 12:30 as promised, and by 12:45 we were onboard. We had a nice lunch at the Grand Pacific, although getting drinks was a little slow. Maybe we were just anxious to get the PARTY STARTED!!! While at lunch, we checked the Freestyle Daily. NO QUEST!!! And I was all prepared! They did have a Pub Crawl scheduled, so we decided this would be a fun compromise. :-) One of friends was not drinking that day, and she was going to go to the show--"Get Down Tonight". By the time we finished lunch, our room was ready. We dropped off our things in our room , and I gave the nickel tour to my newbie friends. The tour ended in Spinnaker lounge, where the DJ was just starting to play. Just before we were due to sail away, it looked like a BLIZZARD hit Manhattan! You could barely see the Intrepid docked next to us! The snow squall did not last long, and we were off down the Hudson, sailing past the beautiful NYC skyline and Statue of Liberty. After passing the Statue, we ran upstairs for the breathtaking view as we cruised under the Verrazzano Narrows Bridge. After wandering around onboard and checking out the Duty Free Shops, we headed to Magnum's Champagne Bar to enjoy the piano bar. Soon it was time for dinner. We had wonderful service, and one of the best meal I have had onboard the GEM. To top it off, they brought out a cake and sang Happy Birthday! Our meal lasted a full 3 hours, and we missed the Pub Crawl--no big deal--we knew we'd be better off not mixing all those drinks. We went to Spinnakers and caught the tail end of the Battle of the Sexes game, which was fun. We hung around for the comedian, Bud Anderson. We all enjoyed his humor. Immediately after Bud, the band Kenosis played a great variety 70s and 80s dance hits. I had a good time dancing. The Birthday boy joined me, but the other two ladies were content to just chill and watch. We had a great night and were lulled to sleep by the rocking of the ship. We got up, had a nice breakfast at the Garden Buffet. All too soon it was time to disembark. This was a little later than the usual, so we enjoyed the room for an extra half hour or so. My friends are now converts--and hoping the price for the May CTN drops! Read Less

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