783 New York (Manhattan) to Bahamas Norwegian Gem Cruise Reviews

Some good, some bad, some ugly - SHIP IN GENERAL *Nice ship! Plenty of space. *For a 2007, it is really not aging well - needs to go to dry-dock, SOON! A big refresh and stem to stern cleaning is in order! Lots of stains, dirt, nicks, ... Read More
Some good, some bad, some ugly - SHIP IN GENERAL *Nice ship! Plenty of space. *For a 2007, it is really not aging well - needs to go to dry-dock, SOON! A big refresh and stem to stern cleaning is in order! Lots of stains, dirt, nicks, chips, and wear. *TV in stateroom was intermittent when we wanted information on it *SMOKING IS PREVALENT EVERYWHERE!!! I could not enjoy my balcony because of invading cigarette smoke! The Magnums lounge area reeks of stale smoke. STATEROOM *The stateroom was not clean upon arrival. The floors had not been vacuumed and medication wrappers from last guest was left on tray with coffee pot. The next morning is when we discovered that there was no coffee for said coffee pot either. After these items were brought to room steward's and customer relations attention, we were not treated as friendly as we were the very first day, in fact, the room steward never spoke to us again even when we initiated greetings. We were offered a laundry service for our trouble, but who needs that really when you pack enough for a 7 day cruise? DINING *The Garden Café was very inefficient, unorganized, and lacks adequate seating. The food was always overcooked and luke warm at best. Made to order stations should not be placed in the middle of the grab and go for one thing, it confuses the masses. The grab and go could be streamlined to assist with efficiencies as well. And you single cruisers that are not eating or even enjoying a cup of joe but taking up a four person table and people are desperately looking for a place to sit while you are perusing a book - there are other places for that, they are called "lounges". Inconsiderate! *Cagney's - don't believe the hype! It sucks! Steak was tough, overcooked. The "famous Cagney Fries " with White Truffle Oil and Parmesan Cheese - may have been better if they were HOT and they actually had PARMESAN CHEESE on them! The waiter could have explained the menu to or even spoke to us, that would have been nice (and garnered him a generous tip! ) We could have told them about the food, but the waiter never came back to check on us. What a waste. *Great Pacific - Day 1 - Very small portions! 1 broccoli floret? Seriously? Food was cold. Baked potato was raw. Waiter again did not speak or check up on us. No recourse but to contact customer relations. They gave us chocolate covered strawberries to say sorry -wow. I can't have strawberries, thanks a lot. -Day 2 - Food was better! Wait staff was better! maybe they listened? *La Cucina - Wait staff was GREAT!!!!! Food was GREAT!!!!! Décor was GREAT!!!! Gotta do something about the basketballs banging over your head though! Mentioned it to Maître' D and he IMMEDIATELY took care of it! BRAVO!! *Blue Lagoon - Food was good, fast, and relaxing. ENTERTAINMENT *Second City was very good! *Comedian was good when he was doing original material and ad lib with audience. The recycled material from other comedians was stale. The sales pitch for his book was unnecessary. *Magician and Comedy by Chip Romero was fantastic! His close up comedy is worth going to! *Trivia with Mandy/Milo/and the rest of the Cruise Staff was a good time! GREAT STIRRUP CAY * Very nice, lots of space, something for everyone! *Tendering sucks. Hot, smelly, time consuming NASSAU/PORT CANAVERAL *Seen it once, you've seen it - not much to say here OTHER GUESTS/CRUISERS *Keep your kids under control! Kids running in Café, Lounges, hallways is not safe! Kids banging on our door at all hours. Kids disrupting the shows! Kids cutting in line everywhere. I know kids are going to be kids and it is vacation, but holy crap! There is having fun and then there is being disruptive - guess which ones I despise. *Smokers - if you see a couple enjoying the view on the promenade deck, is it really necessary to come right up next to them and blow your smoke down wind in their faces? Have some courtesy! If you want to smoke, fine, but please remember that not everyone enjoys YOUR cigarette. *Remember that because of the departure point of this cruise - there are a lot of other cultures on board that aren't exactly in tune with what is an accepted norm and tend to do things that are perceived to be very rude. Cutting in line, letting their offspring run wild, etc. is accepted in their part of the world. It is tough to get used to this and is VERY frustrating, especially for those of us from rural and suburban America where we are taught to be respectful, wait our turn, indoor voices, make the kids behave, and don't have to take a freaking picture of every damn thing. The non-normal behaviors were starting to grate on several passengers' nerves by the end of the cruise as I overheard many in line for disembarkation saying. I unfortunately had to agree. Bottom line - if you don't let people get to you easily, can consume alcohol in tremendous amounts, don't mind cigarette smoke, can eat your food standing up while it is cold and are not overly particular on cleanliness, then this college dorm is - oops I mean Cruise - is for you! However, if you have grown up and expect what you pay for, look elsewhere!!   Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
Just returned from the Gem on Saturday, August 16th. DD and I cruise once a year together and we both had a great time. We love Norwegian and the easy convenience of sailing out of NYC without having to fly in order to cruise is just too ... Read More
Just returned from the Gem on Saturday, August 16th. DD and I cruise once a year together and we both had a great time. We love Norwegian and the easy convenience of sailing out of NYC without having to fly in order to cruise is just too good to pass up! In Florida we went to Epcot and had a wonderful day despite the fact that you only get about 4-5 hours in the park. We ate and drank around the world; saw the movies in China and France, the show in USA, the rides in Mexico and Norway and Spaceship Earth on the way out! On GSC we spent the morning lounging and floating around. Then we did the Jet Ski Tour in the afternoon which was so much fun! My first time....and I want one! The water was full of jelly fish (yuck) but no one got stung. BBQ lunch was tasty. A lot of work has been done on the island since we were there in 2012! In Nassau, we did not get off the ship. We had hot stone massages and then lounged by the pool. We attended the Murder Mystery lunch in LeBistro which was very funny. Meal was excellent. We caught all the shows in the theatre; Three production numbers by the Gem singers and dancers, comedy magic by Chip Romero, stand-up comic Jeff Harms and the comedy of the Second City cast. I have to say, they were very good. We attended many of the evening shows in Spinnaker Lounge. Don't miss Dancing With the Gem Stars. Just too funny. My only complaint would be the temperature of the food in the Magenta Dining room. We ate there every night. Some things were very hot, some warm and some room temperature. I know that they always say to tell them a problem right away so they can fix it, but we were always rushing out to catch the show that there just was not time. It was not a major issue. A shout out to Ketut our waiter each evening. He did a fantastic job catering to our special dietary needs. All in all at GREAT trip. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
This was the first cruise for my family, leaving on the Norwegian Gem from the NY Cruise Terminal. How convenient! What to Pack: Over-the-door shoe organizer for toiletries for your whole family (hang on bathroom door on outside); pop-up ... Read More
This was the first cruise for my family, leaving on the Norwegian Gem from the NY Cruise Terminal. How convenient! What to Pack: Over-the-door shoe organizer for toiletries for your whole family (hang on bathroom door on outside); pop-up hamper or laundry bag (can fit in tiny bathroom); battery-operated clock; reusable bottle for each family member to refill juice/water from Café; and tote or day bag to take ship towels to the private island. We opted out of the soda and alcohol packages and brought our own sodas onboard for occasional use. Departure: Our ship‘s departure time was 3 pm so we tried to get to the terminal by 11 am at the latest. Take a taxi or ask a friend or family member to drop you off - best route from Queens/Long Island is the 59th St. Bridge and go straight across to 12th Ave. They can drop you off on the second level and unload your luggage (third/top level is long-term parking and the rates are approx $40 per day). Terminal is very organized and everything went smoothly. Accommodations: We had two rooms – family balcony and ocean view staterooms. The balcony was worth the money since the rooms were a bit cramped. There are lots of storage shelves and hangers for your clothes. The bathroom is tiny but clean, modern and has lots of shelves and hooks also. I don’t know how they don’t run out of water – the shower is great! Our steward, Jennry, was friendly and efficient – he set up the sofa into a bed for our kids within seconds! Food/Drink: For breakfast for our party of 6, we got our food from the Garden Café but walked to the Italian restaurant in the rear for better seating (no need to wake up too early). Garden Café has a wide breakfast selection but the pancakes are bad – get the waffles instead. Breakfast pastries are not that tasty either, stick with fruits. Lunch was mostly by the pool (skip the burgers and hot dogs and go for the specialty grilled items or run into Garden Café and get some healthy choices). The ice cream was a bit icy, not the usual creamy soft-serve. Be careful going into Garden Café – the tile at the entrance gets wet and very slippery! Dinners were long and drawn-out, and not completely satisfying. We opted out of the Specialty dining – additional fees applied. Of the two main complimentary dining rooms, Grand Pacific is better. The views are nicer, there is more capacity and you get to dress up a little (no shorts or capri’s; collared shirts for men). The servers in the evenings are pleasant but often seemed a bit distracted or overwhelmed. FYI, both dining rooms have the same menu choices. I wished there were more vegetables incorporated into the daily entrée choices – they did make an attempt to have at least one fruit dessert though. For dinners, complimentary drinks were ice tea or hot tea/coffee only – only kids get juices as part of their kids’ menu. The entrée portions were small, leaving one tempted to have a midnight snack pool-side or at the Great Outdoors. Don’t miss the Chocolate Dessert Night – the chocolate fruit cut (in edible chocolate shell) from the Garden Café is quite an experience! Kudos to Pastry Chef Lea! Entertainment: Chip Romero is a genius but his focus is mostly card tricks. Jeff Harms, the comedian, is very entertaining and has a wider audience. Cruise director Dan Dan is fantastic – so funny and I love his accent! His assistant, Nacho, is very charismatic as well. The Norwegian Gem singers and dancers were talented but the songs were a bit dated and costumes outlandish. The most notable show was World Beat – don’t miss it! Finish your dinner before 8:30 and then run over to the Stardust Theatre to get the best choice of seats for the show – they fill up fast. Take a formal dress or suit for the one optional formal night (great night for professional photos in the lounge area too). Also, take a completely-white outfit for the white-hot party (all family members). Exercise/Pampering: The spa treatments seemed fairly priced and the gym was nicely equipped (classes held also) but I didn’t visit either one! Shore Visits: Port Canaveral – rented a car from Payless (awesome crew!); didn’t have much to do there though. Space Center is expensive and more suitable for older kids so we drove around for a bit. Beaches are available but there wasn’t enough time for that. Stirrup Cay, Bahamas – the tenders are little ferries to the island. The ship’s crew will prepare a feast for you there so don’t worry about food. There are a few problems to note though. First, the lack of indoor showers/changing rooms. Plenty of bathrooms but nowhere to change comfortably out of swimsuits. Secondly, I was annoyed at how crowded the main section of the beach gets. Imagine all the people in the cruise ship in one section of the beach – it’s like being in NY again but in turquoise waters. The third problem is the hungry sea gulls that fly down and grab food right out of your plate! Getting back on the ship is very organized though (just photo ID and your key card) and the tender has a foot wash to get the sand off you feet. Nassau, Bahamas – Atlantis is much too expensive (skip it). There are plenty of beautiful beaches (with playgrounds and bathrooms) on the north coast of the main island that are free and close to the port. Take a taxi or rent a car. The fish fry restaurants along the coast are a must – the seafood is so fresh! Watch out for jellyfish though –my daughter got stung and luckily a nearby mom had Benadryl lotion to apply to reduce the swelling. Other Activities: The pool is quiet from morning until 11 am – after that, no chairs are available. Come back after dinnertime if you want quiet pool or hot tub time. Pools are very small but if you want sun, this is the place to be. No swim diapers but one tiny pool does allow it – has a slide and child-safety door. It’s pretty cool to be at the pool area and see the ocean right there! Overall, the ship and the crew are amazing but I wish we had more interesting stops (Nassau was nice though). Also, all you do is eat, eat, eat. If you try to be healthy with fruits and salads like I did, you end up feeling like you wasted a lot of money. You will come back with an amazing tan though!   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
I just returned home from a cruise with my boyfriend from NYC to Florida and the Bahamas on the Norwegian Gem (7/19-7/26 sailing) and had an excellent time. This is a full review & I tried to cover all important areas. The ship itself ... Read More
I just returned home from a cruise with my boyfriend from NYC to Florida and the Bahamas on the Norwegian Gem (7/19-7/26 sailing) and had an excellent time. This is a full review & I tried to cover all important areas. The ship itself is beautiful and incredibly clean, there are hand sanitizing stations everywhere and people to spray your hands when entering the buffet area or main dining rooms, their motto is "happy happy, washy washy." Deck 12 is the main deck and contains the Tahitian Pool area, which consists of 2 main pools and 4 hot tubs. Half of each are designated for adults only. There is also a waterside which was great to ride even as an adult, just note that it shuts down midday for a while then opens back up so you have to catch it at the right time. There is an outdoor grill and bar surrounding this area as well as a lot of deck space. This was probably one of the busiest places on the ship, there was often a band playing or entertainment and contests taking place. They had some comedic ones, such as "Mr. Sexy Legs," and "Ms. Biceps," as well as some Nickelodeon themed ones for children. There was also a lot of dancing opportunities and an ice carving demonstration during our 3rd sea day. The pool areas and hot tub were always packed and there often wasn't even room to actually swim, just sit on the edge or wade around in the water. The only other problem with this area is that as happens on most cruises, people will leave their towels and belongings in a chair & not come back for hours....so it was difficult to find seats the first two days but after searching we were always able to find something. There was deck space towards the back of the ship that was more available and quiet if you are looking to just lay out. Our room was standard sized and extremely clean, the room steward was also very friendly and attentive & made sure our room was always made up and turned down at the end of the day. We had an obstructed view (meaning there is a lifeboat partially blocking your view of the ocean) and there was a large closet with hangers and a lot of drawers and table space to store your things. There was also a hair drier in the room & a full length mirror which was great. The bathroom & shower area was very small but clean & there was shelf space inside. Shampoo and body wash are in dispensers in the shower but there is no conditioner so make sure to pack. The only thing missing was a fan you could control, but there was a ventilation system and the air did circulate fairly quickly. The TV had several channels with info about the ship & also some movie and news stations. Onto dining....we ate breakfast and lunch mainly at the Garden Cafe which was the main indoor buffet. There were plenty of options and the food was excellent. There were stations to get pasta cooked to order and omelets in the morning. There was also a crepe making station for dessert. It was extremely packed though throughout the morning with people, especially before 9 am. There was also a beautiful outdoors buffet on the back of the ship that continued serving breakfast past 10:30 when we got up late. The complimentary drinks included unlimited iced tea, lemonade, strawberry kiwi flavored water, and mango flavored water which were all very good & more options than we have had on previous cruises. Now to one of our favorite parts of the cruise....the main dining room. There are two options, Grand Pacific and Magenta, both which are included. I know that Norwegian is noted for is "freestyle" dining options and and had many specialty restaurants that charged a $15-30 additional fee for dinner. However, we didn't feel any need to visit these as the main dining room had excellent food and service. We spent almost all of our nights in Grand Pacific, which had beautiful large paintings and many tables with an ocean view. Try to get to dinner around 5:30-6 in order to get the best seating options. The menus varied by day and had delicious seafood, meat, and vegetarian options to suit everyones needs. If you have diet restrictions you can place your order a day in advance & your meal will be specially prepared. The service at Grand Pacific was excellent, the servers were always attentive and friendly and watching to see when you were done with a plate or if you needed anything throughout the meal. A tip I have picked up after going on several cruises is to remember you can order as much food as you want even in the main dining rooms. For example, when we went to Grand Pacific for breakfast the menu seemed smaller than the options at the buffet, however it was a much quieter atmosphere and you could order as many items as you wanted or get portions on the side, making the meal very customizable. For dinner we almost always ordered two appetizers to try things out. There were 6 or 7 dinner options that never changed, but the appetizers, special entrees and desserts were varied each night. I can't stress enough how well prepared the food was presentation wise and taste, everything was always cooked fresh and we were extremely satisfied. As for entertainment the Stardust Lounge was the theater where three dancing/singing production shows took place throughout the cruise. There was also a comedian that performed one night & another comedian/magician who put on a show. An acting group called Second City from Chicago put on some great skits and did improv comedy on an additional night. All of the entertainment was great, though with the comedic shows beware of adult humor. There was also the Spinnaker lounge which had several events such as "Dancing with the Gem Stars" that we loved and several themed dance parties and game shows. These took place after the main shows starting at 10pm on. Now onto excursions.....we did Sea World during our day in Florida and had a great time. It was a smooth hour bus ride into Orlando and then we had about 6 hours to explore the park on our own. Great Stirrup Cay was the cruise lines private island, which had beautiful clear ocean water and clean white sand. The benefit was that you could charge most things to your room card & only needed cash for the beach shops (which were very overpriced). It was very hot & humid so we rented a clamshell for $30 to have some shade & also rented floaties at $10 each which was a great way to relax in the water. There is also a small cafeteria & a free BBQ/buffet lunch was available which was great... just make sure you catch it at the right time because they only had it set up for less than an hour. Finally, we spent our day in Nassau doing the Atlantis Aquaventure excursion, which was an incredible and unforgettable experience. It's a short bus ride to Paradise Island and we had about 8 hours to explore. The price included the hotel area, the aquarium, the water park, and the beach. It was well worth the money & the views and water rides were all amazing. Another clean beach with the opportunity for water sports like a banana boat ride or jet skiing. There were professional photographers out every night taking pictures in the atrium & although photo prices were steep they had deals running every day for free copies of photos or to get digital photos. We purchased a package and were happy with the prints that came out. The gift shops were quite pricy and had mainly name brand clothes & jewelry (Guess, Michael Kors, etc). There were some great printed tshirts and ship souvenirs though that were worth purchasing and a raffle on the last day for prizes. Overall, we had an amazing time on the Gem and after being on several cruise lines could say we really enjoyed the service & atmosphere on the ship. I definitely recommend Norwegian to anyone looking for a great experience & we are looking to sail with them again in the future.   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
I will start my review With EMBARKMENT......embarkment didn't go as I thought it would. It was alittle difficult waiting in such a long line. We arrived about 11:30 am,and since I cannot stand up for long periods of time, I was ... Read More
I will start my review With EMBARKMENT......embarkment didn't go as I thought it would. It was alittle difficult waiting in such a long line. We arrived about 11:30 am,and since I cannot stand up for long periods of time, I was escorted to the handicapped line. It was alittle shorter, but still took some time to get signed in and get my keycard. After getting my keycards, I went right to the buffet. My friend who met us there was holding a table for us and was able to eat sitting down, which is great for a buffet. When we finished lunch, our rooms were ready, so we headed up to our rooms. My friends had the room next door to us. We were on deck 10 Port side in a BB cat, I was surprised to see that the room was very small. There was only about a foot space between the bed to the bathroom and lots of odd furniture in the room , coffee table that never got used and a chair which only took up room. I stepped out on my balcony and was surprised to see that the balcony was much bigger than breakaways balconys, I considered that a plus. There was a lot to do on the ship everyday, you just had to follow the program to get the most out of it. Towel folding, vegetable carving, and our favorite, trivia.....which I have to brag, we won the music trivia.There was pool games, and ice carving, all the usual you see on most cruises. The entertainment was fantastic.WE saw many shows. Our cruise director was "Dan, Dan". He was a lot of fun and very upbeat and friendly.... On deck 11 forward is the bridge viewing area which stayed open the whole cruise. I got to watch the captain many times operate the ship . Day two was our cruisecritic meeting which turned out very nice. The officers and the captain showed up and spoke to us and a very nice set up was done with refreshments. After the cruisecritic meeting was over, we headed to the casino to an organized slot pull. We all put fifteen dollars in and in the end we doubled it and left. Day three was our stop in cape Canaveral. We arrived there at 12pm, so instead of doing a tour, we headed to the beach with our friends.I don't feel there is enough time in this port to go to Orlando, so I never book that. It only give you about four hours time. The beach water was very warm and nice , but the sand is dark and it sticks to your skin. Its a nice port to just relax There are shuttles to the beach that cost about twelve dollars a person round trip. The next day we arrived in stirrup Cay. I always love this port. I was so surprised of how built up it is getting since the last time I was there. I rented a large round tube and floated on it most of the day. A very nice lunch was prepared for us on the island.I headed back to the ship around 3 pm and took a dip in the adult pool, then went to my room and got ready for diner. The next day we went to Nassau......I booked the blue lagoon island beach day which was the highlight of my trip. Ive been there before to swim with the dolphins and enjoyed it then , but was curious to see what the beach was like. I had a great day swimming in the lagoon and then watching the dolphins being trained. I saw everything I saw when I did the dolphin swim in 2008, just didn't get to touch the dolphin or have it kiss me. I had the option to upgrade, but I didn't want to take the last ferry back to the ship. There was only three ferrys going back...one at 1, 2 and 3...I took the 2pm ferry back to the ship. This excursion included a lunch which was very nice too. Now, here are some of my opinions of the ship. The gem needs new beds. The beds are very worn out and I had to prop many pillows to support my back. That is the one downfall of the ship. I was in room 10514 which was in a quiet area , my neighbors weren't so nice. They slammed their door at 630 am and a small child in the room about seven years old had a screaming problem and since they were foreigners, when they spoke, they spoke loud and it just sounded muffled to me. They left a newspaper from their country that blew over to my deck.That is not the cruiselines fault, they also smoked on the balcony and many times I had to get off my balcony because the smoke came over to my balcony, they smoked everything you can light, even cigars. I cant say for sure if it was all them, but it was constant, so many others next to them also must have been smoking out there too. The food was fantastic, on time and even with my special diet, the dining room treated me like a princess. I don't usually gain weight on cruises, but I enjoyed every meal, everything was fresh and hot when it got to our table. No issues with food, it all tasted delicious.We were told they were trying out the new menus.... The waiters and waitresses were very nice to us. The entertainment was very good also, they gave their best all the time. All the shows were fantastic. We had Roberto as our cabin stewart and although he was extremely happy in the beginning of the cruise, he lost his happiness the last two days of the cruise. I asked him if he knew my name the fourth day and he started naming all the cabins and names of people in the cabins , but he couldn't remember my name which was a turn off. I asked him for some extra candy for my friends, thinking he would remember my name and he said " I only have three pieces left" I said ok. He still didn't know what to call me and didn't say a word when we left the morning of disembarkment. so, to sum this up, GEM is a great ship with a bunch of great officers and staff and I am pleased to say I have sailed both breakaway and gem within a few months and have enjoyed both cruises . I want to thank the hard workers who have made my trip memorable. I Love NCL and will continue to sail with them. Cant wait to book my next NCL cruise. Keep up the good work!   Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
We sailed 7/4 out of New York. This was our 2nd NCL cruise and 11th cruise overall. We were a total party of 15 people with 6 separate cabins; it was my Mom and us, her three children, with our families, celebrating her 70th birthday. ... Read More
We sailed 7/4 out of New York. This was our 2nd NCL cruise and 11th cruise overall. We were a total party of 15 people with 6 separate cabins; it was my Mom and us, her three children, with our families, celebrating her 70th birthday. Overall, the cruise was OK but we had some serious issues. We do cruise 1-2 times per year and this is the worst one in a long time! I will try to articulate but my summary is "don't do this cruise in July out of NY. It's too crowded and NCL is simply NOT equipped to handle the volume at the port, or on the boat". The Bright Side! THE KIDS CAMP IS AWESOME! We had kids 3-10 who loved it. They would cry at night to have to leave and my kids always wanted to go! They put on an adorable Circus on the last day which was just too sweet! The staff was fantastic and really did a great job with the kids. The shows were good. Deal or No Deal was great and worth it if you played or didn't. The family crafts were fun, the kids had a blast and the staff was lovely. My family of 4 did eat at The Orchid Garden one night. We had a 5:30 reservation and missed the 7pm show but the food was very good, and with the upgrade. The Italian restaurant food was also good, despite taking 3 hours. Our room stewardess was lovely and kept our room in perfect shape. There was a lovely piano player, Tatiana who I took my kids to see up close in the atrium to see how beautiful she could make the piano sound. Tatiana played Let It Go from Frozen for them, Under the Sea from the Little Mermaid and the theme to Beauty and the Beast. My kids were delighted! We did the Nickolodean breakfast, and aside from the awful food options, I thought it was fun; it was $20 per person for anyone 2 and older which was great because I think the price kept it from being too crowded and my kids had fun (more on kids menu later). The Dark Side! Since we were less than 8 cabins we not treated as a large group. We also got some great "on board" credits, so we didn't book with NCL directly. This was an issue from the get go. If you don't book with NCL, every time you call or need something, no one on their main telephone lines can handle you and you often have to wait 30+ minutes to discuss your issue with someone who has "access to your booking".  We were told that NCL is happy for you to book with their partners, but their actions did not match these words. One example, we wanted to book our dinner reservations for the whole cruise before we got on the boat because there were 15 of us. I called and was transferred 3 times, and after 37 minutes was left with "email this person with your request". I was able to book dinners via email and booked a special dinner at the "specialty" Italian restaurant for one night but had to pay in advance, which was OK but it was a hassle (more on dinning later). My sister-in-law requested a crib and the pack n'play was not set up until 9 PM on the 1st night and took several calls to the room steward. There just seemed to be a lack of attention to detail and the overall attitude of most staff is "it is what it is", which, as a frequent cruiser, I am not used to. I felt that I had to wait on line for EVERYTHING. It felt like there was always a line for guest services; on 2 separate occasions, I saw 2 people assisting guests but up to 7 people passing behind the desks from one office to another and one person on the floor just asking what your issue is, and no matter what, he'd always say "yes, please wait on line here". There was always a line to be helped/pay in the photo gallery, lines to get into the Grand Pacific dinning room DESPITE having reservations, and the buffet had about 1/2 the number seats it needed. One morning, I actually got up and moved my toddlers back to our stateroom to eat their breakfast so an elderly man with a cane could sit at breakfast one day. There's no staff to help or coordinate, it's a big free for all, and for breakfast the buffet was a total disaster. Dinning Issues - if you are 14+ people... Once we arrived for dinner on the Gem on the first night, we were split over 2 tables. We basically put the kids, aged 3 to 14 at the small table and the adults sat at a different table. The 2 tables had different waiters so the kids were done about an hour before us and before our dessert was served the kids had gotten up to go see us or the bathroom, the table was reset for a different group so they had no where to go. I asked the matre'd to sit us together going forward but he said that is against NCL policy that limits tables to 13. No one told me that until that point. So we struggled the whole week trying to keep eating on the same schedule and dinner took 2 hours on a good night. Service in the Grand Pacific was TERRIBLY SLOW! One night just my family of 4 had a table alone and it still took over 2 hours! The waiters were nice, for the most part, but the food takes forever to come out. Finally we had our family dinner in the specialty Italian restaurant. They did NOT want us to sit at one table but I literally kept asking for management until they let us do it; we paid an extra $150+ for dinner to celebrate my Mom and spent thousands to sail with NCL - I was having ONE meal at the same table! My credit card was charged weeks in advance and no one said we could not eat together, and so we agreed to stuff 1 kid in a high chair, keep one in a stroller and they allowed us to sit at one table. As a somewhat frequent cruiser, I found this awful. I have never had to work so hard to get a request like this approved! The casino was ok, there's no "non-smoking" tables so take that for what it's worth. You can NOT get a drink, and we had to go to the Magnum's bar outside the casino to get a drink as table service was slow to non-existent. One night they had a promo where you buy $20 in chips and they give you an extra $20. The dealer tells me this AFTER he deals me in and sends me to the cashier. He DID hold my seat, which was nice, and after waiting on line at the cashier, I was told that I needed a "players club" card, and they sent me across the casino to another line the Guest Services desk. Really guys! I felt like it was just attention to detail that made everything so unnecessarily complicated. Kids Meals Options are SHAMEFUL! The kids meals are ALL junk food. Now, I get that kids eat Mac N Cheese but the serving size should feed 2 adults and there's no healthy options. It was all pizza, hot dogs, burgers and PB&J which was the healthiest option but was made "double decker" and therefore served with twice the amount of bread. Now I am not judging - feed your kid pizza week, but just ONE healthy option would have been awesome. I was seriously disappointed that there were no "grilled chicken with applesauce" or even "fresh fruit platter" or "scrambled eggs and whole wheat toast" as an option. Something not fried and carb overload! The Nickolodean breakfast served doughnuts, cakes, pigs in a blanket, waffles, pancakes, etc. it was all junk. No eggs, no fruit, no yogurt. I get it, it's what kids like but I really was disappointed that there was ZERO balanced options for the kids. I Hope this helps. I would not do NCL during peak season again and absolutely would not do it again with a large group. Read Less
Sail Date July 2014
Was it spectacular? No, but cruising just isn't what it used to be 25 years ago. OK, so what do you expect from people who are worked many hours a day for very little pay. A very pleasant, polite crew (for the most part) who try to ... Read More
Was it spectacular? No, but cruising just isn't what it used to be 25 years ago. OK, so what do you expect from people who are worked many hours a day for very little pay. A very pleasant, polite crew (for the most part) who try to make 2,500 people happy on a daily basis. I'm not complaining as my family of 4 had a wonderful time. My sisters and I decided to take a last minute cruise and selected the GEM as it is a cab ride away. I had been on her a few years back on a European sail, so I knew the ship well. Must say she continues to be in good condition with very few flaws. Embarkation was good but, full disclosure, mother is in a wheelchair, so we had access to the front of the line! Our handicap cabin was very well appointed with all of our necessities. A big "thumbs up" for our cabin steward Gilbert Gendibe who provided us with all of our needs with a smile. Analisa Alvares, proved to be an excellent server in both the Grand Restaurant and Le Bistro, if you have the opportunity, sort her out, you won't be disappointed. Finally, Aithel Soriano, Guest Relations was absolutely wonderful. We initially had a couple of kinks which she quickly resolved. Read the menu carefully and you won't be disappointed with your food selection. My sisters and I made very wise choices and picked savory dishes that enhanced our food experience. Luckily for us we have family in Orlando and had a great family reunion, can't say much about the excursions. NCL's private island is just that.....an island for some fun in the sun! Families and younger couples looked like they were having a grand time. Lots of things to do and of course, lots and lots of food! An overnight in Nassau put a different spin on the cruise. A four-hour ride from the private island arriving in Nassau at 10:00 p.m. was a little weird but we made the best of it by cabbing it to Atlantis and seeing the entire place at night including the Aquarium and also got a little gambling in! Next day, spent the day at the Hilton, a hop, skip and a jump from the pier. All in all, we would do it again. We weren't looking for high adventure and got what we planned for, an easy going 7 days with good food and beach time. Oh, almost forgot to mention the entertainment. Mediocre, at best, if you have children in high school I'm sure you've seen better singers and dancers. Skip the shows and take a moonlit walk, a dunk in the hot tub, a drink at a bar or if you're up to it the clubs seemed to be doing very well. Hope this was helpful. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
We arrived at the Port in NYC at 11 am on June 7th , and there you had the usually craziness and busy heartbeat of the City, with passengers coming of downstairs and passengers getting on upstairs ,you can imaging that it gets a little ... Read More
We arrived at the Port in NYC at 11 am on June 7th , and there you had the usually craziness and busy heartbeat of the City, with passengers coming of downstairs and passengers getting on upstairs ,you can imaging that it gets a little hectic. Our suitcases were taking from us right away and we were directed to go to the elevators and go downstairs. We had priority boarding for the first time and we were a little confused on were to go, there were a lot of different lines to go to, and with so many latitudes and Casino at sea Passengers it was confusing on where we needed to be. Once we showed someone our papers, and told them we were in a Deluxe Owner Suite, it was smooth sailing from then on. We were ushered right to the front of check in and were checked in within minutes , we were then taking to the VIP lounge, where we picked up our Suite Key from our Concierge Carlos Zarate who throughout our whole cruise was amazing, he always made sure that we were well taking care of, came up to our suite several times just to check on everything. After waiting for maybe 30 min we were taking to get onto the ship. It seemed like there was little problem with some of the keycards not scanning so it took a little while to get on the ship. We took our carry on the Bliss lounge to drop it of so we could go and have lunch without taking it along turns out that since we were Haven Guest we should have left it at the Concierge Lounge on Deck 13 right by Cagney's.....no problem it was delivered to our Suite, we never had to worry about anything. After having a very nice Lunch at Cagney's and meeting some very nice people and the super wait staff we were told that the Cabins were ready, so about 1:30 pm we made our way to our Suite. wow and what a suite it was, posted a different review on that. I'm afraid that this review is going to turn into a book so I really just need to say that our cruise was simply amazing and we booked again for next year with the Gem in the same Suite, it is truly a ship with in a ship if you stay in the Haven. We need to acknowledge some Crew and Staff members.....our amazing Butler Zahid Ahmed we never wanted for anything he anticipated our needs before we even told him, he was always ready to assist and help us and even our friend he knew them by name and they loved him as well.......our out of this world Stateroom Stewardess Gigi Morales thank you for keeping our Suite in top notch shape and for making all of those terrific Towel Animals (our Zoo) Gigi always met us with a smile and we had many very nice conversations with her. Please keep her on the Gem . Then there is the Chef Pinto Tyson thank you so much for letting my husband share in the Crews Curry Goat and the awesome fried Chicken prepared for the Crew but we were able to share with our friends and we all loved it. Last but certainly not least there is Jenny Lim our outstanding Hotel Director a Gem working on a Gem what can be better then that. She made our cruise so special with her caring and helpful nature, just talking to a few crew members and staff you can tell she is loved and respected by all. We had a small issue in a Dinning Room and after calling her everything was solved within a matter of a few minutes, no this is what customer service is all about. She even arranged that the food be brought to the Guest who had Cabanas on GSC because of the heavy downpours on the Island and we could not make it to the BBQ, that is going way above and beyond. There is so much more to write about and I'm afraid that I'm letting out a lot of people so in short just let me say Thank you to NCL Gem for a very enjoyable Cruise and the friendship that were made on that ship. One more person I need to thank and that is Selsa a Pool Deck waitress, so friendly and she knew what we like to drink before we even said a word. DanDan CD and Nacho ACD fun fun fun, cant wait to cruise with NCL Gem again next year. Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
Ok, this was written real time while on the boat and is a mix of review/comments and tips but I haven't put it in great order, so here it goes...hope it is helpful. Norwegian gem w/o 6/23...7d cruise Wife and 3 and 7 yo almost 4 and ... Read More
Ok, this was written real time while on the boat and is a mix of review/comments and tips but I haven't put it in great order, so here it goes...hope it is helpful. Norwegian gem w/o 6/23...7d cruise Wife and 3 and 7 yo almost 4 and 8 11 th fl balcony mid to aft ship Leaving nyc great Efficient check in Less time than with previous cruise on dawn in 05 Took private limo from Ct ... much easier and relatively affordable Arrived early ... key with kids Packed 2 medium sized rollers 2 smaller kids plus a backpack..enough Beautiful weather Washy washy happy happy…you’ll know what I mean when you take the cruise…sanitizing mantra Great night entertainment stardust Music of 60s 70s revue Chip Romero comedian All good and good for families Beware 2nd city not kid friendly the first show we went to although we were told otherwise But apparently a second show during the week was announced as family friendly All staff friendly 8 mo contracts 50% to 67% Filipino Salamat=thank you Steward elmi was fast, courteous Switched to lighter blanket 2 flatter firmer pillows stacked were right for me Room nice Couch pulled out easily Tv channels ok but limited Just nick for kids Luckily brought 2 portable Dvd players with mix of new and fave movies Brought two small surprise toy gifts for kids to whip out mid cruise Matchbox hotwheels for 3 yo and mini lego friends sets for 7yo Be sure to download offline apps on smartphone or tablet Games for kids Bring watch and alarm clock since no alarm clock in room and no cell network svc on board unless pay for wifi Balcony worth it Shower and bath great Should have brought a tote bag to bring towels etc to pool and private beach Bring more sunscreen than you think you need Bring snack and water for first day Otherwise have 24 hr food at blue lagoon and buffet is open late Can just walk out with food At breakfast grab extra milk cartoons and cereal mini boxes for room and yogurt and spoons Free coffee is a bit weak but ok Java cafe ...cafe Americano is strongest coffee you'll find but will cost a couple bucks Good job using bliss to screen world cup games during day...thanks from a team Usa fan...place was packed for the first round games ...nice environment Garden cafe breakfast...if you show up during rush it is chaos Show up a bit earlier with kids Or go to great outdoors Try a little bit of everything...I like about half to two thirds and never left hungry Towards the end of cruise went to grand Pacific for breakfast...much calmer and although less to choose from was more than enough and is better quality magenta also good Only special restaurant we went to was teppanyaki which was excellent food and show We did no paid ncl excursions We figured disney etc was its own separate trip and the space center wasn't something the kids would get much out of We stayed onboard at port Canaveral and enjoyed less crowded pools etc Pools were great Chlorinated saltwater No real lifeguards...just a guy managing corkscrew slide line and another telling kids not to jump in One primarily kids pool ...adults can go in Warm My 7 yo said slide was slow...she had to push herself along during the slide so she didn't go on Good idea to bring swim goggles for kids Bring 2 swimsuits for all family members although we never used both before other dried out 3 yo liked kiddies pool first day then went to big pool while wearing front facing floatie type Beach towels provided in room...you bring with you and back...stewards give you fresh ones quickly Note on 11 th floor mid to slight aft rooms...I believe we are under splash academy so it’s a bit loud footsteps and running until kids leave. My kids liked splash academy ...register them as soon as you get on ship...drop them off in morning when possible so you can have personal time with spouse. Library is nice. Books for kids and Chinese language which wife liked. Free daily croseword and sudoko. Game room is nice. Board game for kids and adults and dominoes. Game tables. Lots of Asians playing cards. Bliss is the nightclub. Has 4 bowling lanes. $5 per play. Didn't partake of that or night club ...or casino. Stopped in Nassau and got off boat. Took taxi on our own for $16 each way and walked around on our own at Atlantis. Saw some fish in the public area and admired the architecture. Bought some souvenirs and toys for the kids and went back to boat. Was hot and kids were beat. We have aquarium near our house back home. Water Adventure Park was pricey. Again...have something like that back home. Great stirrup cay Private Island was great. Very organized and efficient on the island...getting on and off ship and tenders. Clean and pleasant. We really lucked out on weather the whole trip. One brief downpour while in port Canaveral...otherwise warm and sunny all 7d. Very calm seas even on the way down from Ny. As of the time of this write up we are coming back up the coast so hopefully that goes well. Highly recon Norwegian and gem in particular esp for anyone with young families. Beer selection was ok. I like lagers so Heineken and esp. beck's suited me fine. Can’t speak to any other liquors and mixer drinks since neither I nor wife had any. My wife did some inboard shopping so she can speak to that. Lots of opportunities to have photos taken by ship photo start and then purchase Went for jog a couple of days...track is nice. Bring sneakers. Freestyle cruising is great. Can dress up or down as you like. Bring outlet strip for digital device chargers Bring nightlight for little ones Room has dividing curtain, pull out couch is good for kids Air conditioning works well with two climate control zones in our room Last day of cruise...the cake bake off with the exec chef was great. Dan dan the cruise director was hilarious. Also the international cruise staff show was great. Even the happy happy washy girls did a dance thing. But the best was the finale called 'the fountain'. Won’t spoil it for future cruiser but let me hope they do it for you. I was laughing till I cried.   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
We recently returned from a fabulous week on the Gem- June 21-28th out of NYC. I never thought I'd be wow'ed in NY Harbor - yeah, I'm a lifelong NJ resident - however the moment we stepped into the terminal, I felt like our ... Read More
We recently returned from a fabulous week on the Gem- June 21-28th out of NYC. I never thought I'd be wow'ed in NY Harbor - yeah, I'm a lifelong NJ resident - however the moment we stepped into the terminal, I felt like our vacation had started. We were effeciently processed into the cool spacious waiting area, boarded in a relatively short time, and once on board, within minutes (like 15) we heard the announcement that our cabin was ready. After travelling on RCarribean several time, we never ever accessed our cabin so quickly. First impression upon seeing the ship up close: the Gem is beautiful, with colorful oversized exterior paintings, desk-side murals and a spotless exterior. Our trip out into the Hudson was pretty cool- traveling alongside towering cargo ships, tiny sailboats, scows and barges, pleasure boats; a real New York scene. Then - cool! a fireboat streaming fountains of water above as we passed Lady Liberty. It was hard to determine which side to the GEM to favor with views of the new NYC skyline and Freedom Tower or the historic Ellis Island area and Palisades of NJ. As with ship's hallways, public areas and lounges, there was nothing "white box" about our inside cabin, with framed art on the walls, bright carpeting and tile, and a modern wood paneling interior. Plenty of lighting sources, electric outlets, drawers and such. The cabin steward's service was impeccable and friendly with being overbearing. Our bedding was protected by vinyl mat, placed in advance, for unpacking and packing times, avoiding any suitcase spills or smudges. I recall that now as an example of the extra steps to ensure cleanliness on this spotless vessel. Our initial meals were lovely in the Grand Pacific dining room, with window views and and a light airy atmosphere. Menu varied slightly each day, so we had the chance to try something that had been passed up the day before, such as the tender roasted lamb shank and roasted tomato soup. Our portions were perfect, so that dessert could be enjoyed without unbuttoning anything on the waistline... more on that later. We enjoyed a table for two, being seated at various places in the spacious room and receiving consistently gracious and friendly service at every meal. Freestyle Dining was another first for us.The Teppanyaki was an energetic hibachi grill experience. Although our fellow diners were on the reserved side, the chefs were a hoot, and the food seasoned to perfection. The Moderno Churaschatto.. Braziliam steak house had to be our best night out. After enjoying the salad bar- there must be 35 items from specialty cheeses to interesting salads, we remarked that we could exist on only that, but we were soon proved wrong! ONe after another succulent meat items sizzling on skereers were present to us.. wow. We enjoyed breakfasts at the Great Outdoors buffet on Deck 12. Lunch, and afternoon tea were busy but never crowded. It was a few steps away from the busy pool area and the air conditioned Garden Cafe. The staff kept the area immaculate. The evening barman, Adam , was a riot, always ready with a with a joke or quip. Because we had only calm sunny days, we spent more time outside rather than indoors games and the scheduled activities. The Pool area is designed with kid's activities and slide on one end and adult pools on the other. Poolside band "Uprizyn'" was hopping in the evening, fun in the afternoon - with reggae and pop hits. Although there were a lot of kids on board, we saw them for the Nickelodeon pool party and another kiddie event, a pirate walk perhaps? Otherwise they were observed smiling or sleeping in parent's arms at the end of an day of fun. (This being our first kid-free cruise, we found kid's activities wonderfully entertaining for the kids as well as their parents in the past. Do it!) The the on-board entertainment, unless otherwise noted, was G Rated, like the daily big-screen movies the the Atrium. Throughout the ship, entertainers- not only poolside - were very professional. Paulo on acoustic guitar and an amazing voice and Tatiania on piano were my most memorable. Dan Dan energetically hosted many ship events, and still had a big surprise for us at the last night. Patricia, piano and ukelele - even asked a lovely teenage musician on board to accompany her a few times! All were very approachable, friendly and personable both on and off stage. The singers and dancers in the Production crew were outgoing and conversational before performances or on a chance meeting on board, never shying away but instead extending a handshake and a warm greeting. Speaking of personalities - Jenny the Hotel Director is an amazing young woman. As she explained it, a person can run a traditional hotel, but running a hotel on a ship is another thing altogether. With all varied her responsibilities, she always had a smile, an offer to make an experience better, and personally served up lunch poolside one day along with Tyson, the head chef. Fajitas anyone? When Jenny said, call me - she meant it! Disappointed that a World Cup match we had anticipated was subject to poor tv reception, we called Jenny and within minutes she had corrected the situation and came personally to make sure all was up to par, even though just 20 people were affected! Her #2 in command Klaus was a super guy, making us feel like celebrities and calling out to us by name whenever our paths crossed on board. Ports of Call, Shopping, Bar Hopping - you're on your own adventure. To experience the GEM was fantastic for us - we hope it will be for you too! B & G in NJ   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
This was my 4th cruise on the Gem (love it!), 8th Norwegian cruise, 15th cruise overall. I originally booked an inside cabin, but with the price drop one week prior to sailing, I was able to upgrade to a balcony cabin for $36. ... Read More
This was my 4th cruise on the Gem (love it!), 8th Norwegian cruise, 15th cruise overall. I originally booked an inside cabin, but with the price drop one week prior to sailing, I was able to upgrade to a balcony cabin for $36. Embarkation/Disembarkation - Friendly and quick. I always arrive early to avoid the crowds. Cabin - Clean and comfortable as always. Entertainment - Have been on so many cruises that I rarely attend the main shows in the evening. I do enjoy Liar's club and Quest which are hysterically funny. I also really enjoy martini and wine tasting, trivia, and the pub crawl. The band Prism was awesome! The two main singers were great entertainers. Spa - My indulgence here is the Thermal Suite which I find is worth the $149 cost for the week. The pool, hot tub, saunas and heated loungers are relaxing. Food - The buffet has great variety for this vegetarian and my favorite spot to eat is the Great Outdoors on the back of the ship. The main dining rooms always have a vegetarian option. I know that the kitchen staff will accommodate special requests when they are able. I was treated as a VIP this trip and was fortunate to have breakfast/lunch in Cagney's daily. Loved the French press coffee and Muesli with fresh fruit in the morning. Itinerary - Not crazy about Nassau (my 4th time here on a cruise) but hired a private driver to give us a tour for $25/each and had a nice time. The private island was beautiful and the complimentary lunch was good. There is a lagoon at the far end of the island if you want to get away from the crowds. You can reach it by a tram. I arranged a private airboat tour with Midway/limo ride for my traveling companions in Florida. Highly recommend doing this - saw a lot of alligators/wildlife and the airboat ride is thrilling! Staff - Everyone is friendly and the service was great. I arranged a Cruise Critic Meet and Greet and the captain and some of the officers came and chatted with us. The hotel director Jenny Lim was very nice and remembered my name - I appreciated that because I am not so good at remembering names! Overall value was outstanding! I would happily cruise on the Norwegian Gem for the 5th time!   Read Less
Sail Date June 2014
My husband and I just returned from our cruise aboard the Gem. Let me start by saying this was our 6th cruise aboard NCL ships and our 15 cruise. I always check the reviews before sailing on a different ship and have found that I cannot ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from our cruise aboard the Gem. Let me start by saying this was our 6th cruise aboard NCL ships and our 15 cruise. I always check the reviews before sailing on a different ship and have found that I cannot rely on the reviews. Almost ever review that I read said there was something wrong with the Gem. We found just the opposite. We were booked in the Owners Deluxe Suite (suite no 15000). Since this was our 35th wedding anniversary we wanted something special. NCL stepped up to the plate. Our room steward, Rodrigo, our butler, Zahid, and our consigner Carlos were exceptional. There was nothing that we could have asked for more. Anyone who can, should at one time stay in the owner’s deluxe suite. The room was beautiful. We had a large sitting area, bar area, table with two chairs, desk, king bed, vanity area, and big bathroom. In the bathroom there was a separate shower, toilet, double sink, and an amazing bath tub. I also must add that there was a television in the bathroom. Also, the balcony was tremendous. There were two lounge chairs, two regular chairs, table, couch and hot tub. The hot tub was exceptional. My husband and I enjoyed the hot tub almost every day. On our first day, we arrived at the pier about 11:00. We proceeded to the priority line and was checked in. It took about 15 minutes to do so. We were then escorted to the priority lounge and waited about 10 minutes before we were escorted onboard. Since we were staying in the Haven we were able to have lunch in Cagney’s. As always, the food was delicious. The service was excellent thanks to Dino our waiter. That evening we had dinner in Le Bistro. (I recommend anyone who can, buy the dinner package, the restaurants are excellent). Again service was excellent. During the week we had dinner at Cagney’s, LaCucina, Moderno Churrascaria, and Teppanyaki. The only place I was disappointed with was Moderno Churrascaria. The food was good, but having been told about the New York Restaurant, I was expecting more. The waiter comes around with food, Chicken, Sausage, and beef. You receive a slice of each. The salad bar was very good. When I asked for an additional piece of chicken I felt as if I was imposing on the waiter. This surprised me. Let me say that this did not ruin my vacation. Some people would complain and say that this was horrible. I chucked it up to me having higher expectations based on another restaurant. My husband and I went to see the welcome aboard show which was very enjoyable. We did not go to see any other show. We stumbled upon a lounge show next to Magnums bar, outside of Le Bistro. The piano player and singer Patricia Watson was exceptional. She knew how to draw in the crowd and have audience participation. My husband and I went to almost all of her shows. We did go to the Murder Mystery Lunch. It was great. Second City was the performers and they did an excellent job. I highly recommend anyone who can go see it. The overall condition of the ship is very clean. Reading the reviews I was anticipating a dirty ship and a ship that needed much repairs. This is not true. A few places we did notice that the carpeting needed to be replaced, but overall it was beautiful. People may say that because we were in the Owners Deluxe suite is why we had excellent service. This is not true. Most people did not know that when we were in the bars or any other place on the ship. We were treated with respect. The service was always exceptional. People need to realize that the crew is away from their families for months on end and if they do have a bad day, that’s okay. My husband and I had several conversations with the staff, and understand more how bad they miss there families. Many have children at home and this is the only way they can support them. I give them all credit for what they do. NCL should be proud of their staff. They are fantastic. Since we did not get off at the ports, I cannot write about them. My husband and I enjoy the ship and elect to stay about during the ports of call. On our last day, debarkation was extremely easy. We were off the ship and through customs within ½ hour. I am looking forward to my next cruise aboard the Breakaway in September. Congratulations to NCL for a terrific crew and a fantastic ship.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Me and my lady sailed from NYC on the Norwegian Gem on March 31st to June 7th. I'm two days back to reality and I miss it so!! We had a GREAT time! The food was plentiful, tasty and NON-STOP. The crew was amazing and there were enough ... Read More
Me and my lady sailed from NYC on the Norwegian Gem on March 31st to June 7th. I'm two days back to reality and I miss it so!! We had a GREAT time! The food was plentiful, tasty and NON-STOP. The crew was amazing and there were enough activities to keep you entertained for the entire trip. Dan Dan is the cruise director and the man is funny as hell! The big surprise with him came after the 'Newlywed' game in the Spinnaker lounge. He got up there and put it DOWN with some serious and soulful singing. I was SHOCKED!! His assistant is 'Nacho' and this guy has so much energy it's crazy. He was in charge of most of the high energy activities on the ship during the days at sea. The entertainment is very good and I have to give it to them. The singers and dancers are amazing and very talented. There's always music playing either on the pool deck or in the main spot, which is 'Bliss' This was the after hours spot hot spot on the ship. There was Latin night where a live band played a mix of Salsa, Bachata, and Merengue. Other bands played Reggae music and there was 90's night in one of the lounges. Prices for drinks were very reasonable, although I ran up a drink tab of about $330. You should expect that. Even though I had plenty of LQ in the stash, it just isn't practical to keep going back and forth to your room for a drink when you're out on the deck on in a lounge partying. The two swimming pools on the top deck are full during the day but plenty of room at night. The weather was so nice so it was nice and full most nights. The food was delicious and most of it was complimentary. There were even a few restaurants that were free and had sit down, waiter service. I definitely plan on sailing with Norwegian again. The only complaint I have would be that I wish that we could spend more time on Great Stirrup Cay and in Nassau. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
This cruise was my Christmas gift to my mom, 3 daughters, and son in-law. I have to first say it was the first cruise my children and I had been on and my moms second (her first was with carnival. and she definitely liked this one ... Read More
This cruise was my Christmas gift to my mom, 3 daughters, and son in-law. I have to first say it was the first cruise my children and I had been on and my moms second (her first was with carnival. and she definitely liked this one better).. This cruise was well worth the price. I booked through BJs travel and was able to book with no money down and got a gift card for free groceries when I got home. . . on to the good stuff. The ship (the gem) was beautiful. I have to admit when I was looking at pictures of it on line the photos did the ship a great injustice. The colors were way too bright and disco 70's looking. In reality they were more muted and pleasing to the eye. They layout of the boat can get a bit confusing. For example they list the Grand Pacific dinning room as being on the 6th floor but there is on access to the dinning room from deck 6, you have to go up to deck 7 in order to enter that dinning area. The freestyle dinning worked PERFECTLY for my family. We ate what we wanted when we wanted. The food was fantastic but I was disappointed with the desserts. They were very bland with no flavor. The first few hours your on the boat are a cluttered and dysfunctional as many of the rooms are not ready to be entered and everyone is out roaming the public areas. The great outdoors buffet area (deck 12, go all the way to the back of the buffet dinning room and out the glass doors) is quiet for the first few hours if your looking for some quiet. After day 2 though it gets packed up there for dining because everyone finally figures out it's there. As for the ports, Florida was nice I didn't do any excursions I just visited family and went to the beach. My suggestion is to line up about an hour early (you will be exiting from the 4th floor) ... Great stirrup cay, this was my favorite stop. Be sure to take some cash with you as the vendors there do not take credit cards or your rom key (with the exception of the bars and excursions.) Be sure to have plenty of sun block. This island is not dry docked your ferried over on tender ships so I pray you all have beautiful weather like we did. You will board on deck 6 or 7 (I honestly cant remember which.) .. Nassau was a bit of a disappointment. The "amazing discounts" they advertise are not exactly discounts. I saw jewelry marked at 600$ that I know I could get here in the states for 200 or less. There are people in your face every second trying to sell you something so put on your game face and be firm but polite. I simply said I already had plans and kept walking. BEWARE OF THE LADIES RUNING AROUND OFFERING FREE BEADED NECKLACES!! They are NOT free!! They will literally run to you and start putting the necklaces on you saying they are free from the children at a local school but that they ask you to make a donation.. if you give them 5$ they will continue to hassle you till they get at least 20 per necklace. If you say you have no money they will rip the necklace off your neck and head off to the next person... Heading home The white hot party was AMAZING!!!!! All and all the trip is worth the price. The staff was very friendly and the ship was kept clean. I have already booked cruise number 2 and cant wait to sail off for more fun in the sun on this awesome cruise line!! (last bit of advice. we had 2 ocean view rooms 2 people in one and 4 in another. I do not recommend 4 in such a small area. It worked and was tolerable, but for 4 adults it was pretty cramped. Our next trip will be 2 balcony with 3 in each) Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
1. We had a Romance package which we paid $139 however Champagne came with no glass and champagne was hardly on any ice 2. Food not up to NCL standard in the garden cafe. Egg for the egg Benedict was served with hard boiled eggs 2/2 ... Read More
1. We had a Romance package which we paid $139 however Champagne came with no glass and champagne was hardly on any ice 2. Food not up to NCL standard in the garden cafe. Egg for the egg Benedict was served with hard boiled eggs 2/2 times. Did not try after that! Food was Luke warm at the best. 3. Shore excursion price difference was a rip off. Online VS on the ship. Done it before with under a $ 1 difference. This time we were charged$11 for same thing per person x 4. 4. Multiple issues in the cabin – • Safe and fridge was locked had to bring to attention multiple times before fixed. • Water was not draining in the shower- which was fixed on the first call. • Shampoo was not coming again took multiple request before fixed. • TV many times had signal issues – kids TV was fine in the cabin next door. Called multiple times finally fixed. What irked me was when we brought it up to the customer service lady, she said this is a big ship sometimes things happens. I understand that but we also expect a good vacation when we paid way over $4K. On a positive note, NYC view was AMAZING! Nothing can replace it. Food at Blue lagoon and great outdoors was much better and less crowded than the Garden Cafe.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
We booked this cruise to celebrate a friend's birthday just ONE week before the ship was to sail! Never have booked last minute before but was able to get a balcony cabin on Deck 10 and our friends an Aft-facing balcony. Nice ... Read More
We booked this cruise to celebrate a friend's birthday just ONE week before the ship was to sail! Never have booked last minute before but was able to get a balcony cabin on Deck 10 and our friends an Aft-facing balcony. Nice locations! We had few expectations except to enjoy ourselves and hope for nice weather! We hadn't sailed on NCL in 12 years but had sailed more frequently on RCCL and HAL (as recently as January's Panama Canal cruise). We had heard a lot about "Free-Style" sailing and wanted to see what it was like as well. I want to say that we DID enjoy our cruise! It was a birthday celebration and we found a way to have fun even though there were a lot of things we did not enjoy on the GEM. The SHIP The GEM is an attractive ship… bright colors throughout but not garish. After a fairly slow check-in (we arrived at 11 am and only 2 computers were working in the Latitudes line) we boarded shortly after noon. Rooms weren't ready so we went to the very crowded Garden Cafe for something to eat. Best part of lunch…delicious chocolate cakes---try them the first day--more on that later! Rooms ready by 1:00 so we headed there. Even after a week I don't feel I learned the layout of the ship well… takes a longer cruise for me to do that! Got in a lot of steps with the long, narrow hallways on our deck between our forward cabin and our friend's aft cabin. Liked that there were quite a few elevators (5 or 6?) They never seemed to be crowded except right after a show or when everyone was trying to leave the ship! The ship interior always seemed to be crowded.I never found places that weren't always full of people except early in the morning. The Atrium was a disappointment as it was always crowded---too much going on--- a bar, a piano player (evenings) an internet corner, excursion desk, guest relations, selling tables, a large movie screen, spa invitation tables---ALWAYS crowded and busy! And for those with allergies having a perfume shop open to the Atrium is not the best idea! THE SPA---the best thing that my friend and I did on this cruise was obtain a spa pass the first day. It was $149 for the week and we got our money's worth as we used it everyday. We were up early and in the warm pool by 8 am (preferring to soak in the warmth in the quiet, scented room without the noise jets). This therapy pool was just perfect!! The heated tile beds and soft comfortable cushioned chairs overlooking the bow made days at sea quiet and serene! It never got very crowded in the spa although at times in the afternoon could get noisy with chatter. Earplugs and a good book made for an enjoyable afternoon. No need to be at the outdoor pool with the crowds! STATEROOM We were in Room 10530 … A Balcony on the Port side. Close to the elevators but you could never hear any elevator or stair noise. Would describe the room as just "adequate" in size.. with enough storage for a week's "stuff" if you are creative and organized! It was on the small side with little room for 2 people to maneuver (can't imagine how 4 people even 2 adults with 2 children could possibly stay there. Would have liked more drawers and a night stand on the right side of the bed (have to place things on the couch--be careful things can slip between couch and bed). One closet with attached hangers (we bring cheap plastic ones that we can leave behind as they are easier to maneuver and I always need a few extra) Bathrobes are provided. The balcony had 2 deck chairs and a very tiny table. We spent a lot of time on the balcony a really enjoyed having it. The bathroom is another story. VERY small. The shower is adequate but the opening to get into it is barely 18 inches wide. The toilet is placed at an angle making it impossible to sit without your knees touching the sliding door (and I'm only 5'2"!!) That narrow door is also just 18inches. Drying yourself after a shower is impossible with the door closed as there just is no room between the sink and the towel rods on the door. Don't know how anyone who is of a "extra large" frame can easily manage this situation. My husband had a great deal of difficulty with the bathroom and will never book this type of cabin on this ship. The BED…lumpy, too soft…a hard mound in the middle… definitely not something I could have slept on for more than a week! (Have been advised to try a "mini-suite" next time!) The walls are magnetic and this time I brought a small whiteboard with magnetic backing from the dollar store for messages and some large magnetic clips for the "dailies". Hair dryer worked well---there are 2 plug areas --one on each counter for charging. THE STAFF Our room steward, Danico, was excellent, wonderful, efficient. He and all the other stewards really work hard to keep the rooms spotless, make sure ice buckets are filled and surprise us with towel animals. I asked him for a small bottle of hand cream -- he told me they were usually reserved for the suites but brought me one anyway. We did find that the wait staff in the MDR seems to be less apt to engage in conversation, perhaps because they are understaffed? Service is a bit slow and it was difficult to eat early and be able to attend a 7pm show. Several nights we skipped dessert (no loss!) and later went to the buffet for a cup of tea and dessert (much better choices for dessert!)There are advantages to having the same waiters every night who do know your preferences. Had a bit of trouble with requests due to food allergies. Not sure if it was because of a communication problem? I cannot have onions/garlic due to them causing headaches (not a severe allergy however I do avoid them). I mentioned that to the waitress the first night and she told me that the "last day" some one from customer service would call me. I usually just review what's on the menu and order accordingly. NCL's menus are NOT very complete in listing ingredients however. The next night in the MDR I mentioned I could not have onions and the waiter stated I would have to order an hour ahead of time each night. I ordered something different.... The staff at customer relations desk was extremely helpful to my husband in fixing an item that needed to be glued. Workers retrieved the item from our stateroom, fixed it and promptly returned it. The staff at the Internet cafe were also very pleasant and helpful. LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the gals at the Spa desk...could not have asked for more pleasant faces to greet us early in the morning. And of course there was always "Miss Washy, Washy, Happy, Happy" in the Garden Grill Buffet. (and if you get a chance to see the crew show, SHE can dance as well!!!) THE FOOD Although I don't "cruise for the food"... I hope to enjoy good food on a cruise -- not necessarily great but good. Unfortunatley we were mostly disappointed in this department. Wish I had taken pictures of the menus or plates so I could show the repetitive and nondescript menus. I almost always take a few pictures of "cruise" food because the presentations have such a great "wow" factor---but unfortunately not on this ship---nothing was ever "pretty" or fancy! I agree food is subjective but at best the menus and dinners in the MDR were "unimaginative" and plain. There was little variety from night to night with the same things being offered over and over. The only bright spot was the first night when "surf and turf" was offered and it was VERY good--moist and tasty lobster tail and filet. The rest of the meals were mediocre at best---more like what you would find in a family restaurant. Another night I ordered the chicken with broccoli. It arrived with exactly one piece of very overcooked broccoli and a plate loaded with peas/carrots/ONIONS which were not listed anywhere on the menu. The chicken was very tender and delicious however. I tried several appetizers and was disappointed every time. Spring roll turned out to be a very dry overcooked egg roll; crab cakes were unfortunately dry and rather like "Mrs. Paul's" and the Seafood chowder had no seafood and tasted like it came from a can. I usually just settled for the garden salad and was pleasantly surprised that a different tasty salad containing blue cheese and walnuts was offered one other night. The desserts were mostly disappointing. One night a Decadent Chocolate something-or-other was served....warm! Don't miss that one! Inattentive servers did not add to the experience. At a table next to us the ladies were served their main course first and had to ask for their salad and soup when it never arrived. We found the service slightly better in the Grand Pacific than in the Magenta dining room. We ate one night in the Garden Cafe.. I had expected similar food as what would be in the main dining rooms... Instead I found cafeteria food. BUT the desserts were HEAVENLY!! WHY do they keep the BEST desserts in the Buffet? Chocolate cakes of every description, pies, Boston creme pie... And CREPES!! We also attended the Chocoholic Buffet....all the chocolate covered strawberries were devoured early but we managed to eat more chocolate than any of us needed that night. We had planned to try Moderno's for dinner on our last night at sea but unfortunately plans changed and we weren't able to. I don't know if the "cover charge" restaurants have better food -- or if the MDR's "just so" menu is a way to draw you into the other restaurants. Breakfast buffet was good with many selections…weather permitting if you go to the Great Outdoors in the Aft area it was usually less crowded…especially for beverages. Waffles were really good! A leisurely breakfast was also a treat at the Blue Lagoon. Lunches were often a zoo in the Garden Cafe…if you want less crowds, try one of the main dining rooms, Blue Lagoon (menu doesn't change) the Great Outdoors, The Grill. Also something edible at lunch time---certainly won't starve and there are always great desserts in the Garden Cafe (although the BEST desserts are the first 3 or 4 days of the cruise…more jello molds and puddings near the end of the cruise. Best food....Lobster tail and fillet (offered first night) Dessert cakes in the Garden Cafe Crepes in the Garden Cafe Great wine with dinner--- Moscato Great drinks-- Mai Tai, Cucumber Mojito ENTERTAINMENT We attended all the evening shows on the ship...usually at 7 pm ( having to forego dessert) but sometimes at 9pm). Day 1 Welcome aboard "A Taste of Things to Come " could have been missed as it was just a preview of the dance troupe and singers BUT the comedien Rex Havens previewed his act and he was really funny...worth seeing. Day 2 "Pure Variety".... Typical singing and dance talents-- enjoyable. Day 3 Second City--- started slow but good medley of humor and improvisation Day 4 "Get Down Tonight" -- should have skipped this one or brought earplugs! Not a fan of 70's music and at that volume it was really no fun. (Note to production manager...maybe you should sit in the middle of an actual audience so you would know to turn down the volume!!) Day 5 Chip Romera-- Magic & Comedy--- great magic, some recycled comedy but enjoyable. So much that we attended his afternoon show on the last day when he did some card tricks. Day 6 World Beat.... More from the song & dance troupe but nice variety of different world music. Day 7 Rex Haven--- Comedian-- he really is a funny guy! Other entertainment --- Tetiana--- piano melodies in the Atrium. ( great to listen to but a terrible venue...too much noise in the Atrium and people always walking around and in front of her. She needs a more intimate setting for her music to be appreciated) Piano and songs with Laurie Anne--- Magnums Champayne Bar. Quite the character/show woman/entertainer LaurieAnne plays the piano but also sings along with soundtracks and dresses as characters! Excursions--- This trip was not port intensive... Just Cape Canaveral, Great Stirrup Cay and Nassau, Bahamas. In Canaveral we booked a ships tour "Pontoon Cruise on the Banana River". It was a short bus ride to small pontoon river boat. The group was divided into two boats so neither was crowded. We had a nature guide and we rode leisurely along the river for about 3 hours observing wildlife-- seabirds, manatees and dolphins. It was a pleasant leisurely activity! Great Stirrup Cay was a bit of a dissapointment as it is not the most beautiful island with the most pristine beaches. It still seems to be somewhat of a work in progress for NCL. The transfer itself went smoothly as we were not in an extreme rush to get to the island and avoided the earliest "pushy" crowd. We got to the island shortly after 10 am. We had rented clamshells on Cabana Beach which was a bit further away from the main beach and noise. The beach closer to the Barcardi Bar has the smoothest sand and less limestone rock. If you are going to rent a clamshell look for one with "air vents".. the dark blue cloth can get hot and the vents do allow some airflow. The beach sand was not as nice as the first beach and full of rocks and limestone not covered by sand. I was glad to have brought my water shoes. The water was delightful but the walk over the hard limestone was a bit tricky. After swimming for awhile and sunbathing we headed for lunch before the crowd. Lunch was tasty...good chicken! And of course brownies! (I'm sure I ate salad and some other stuff but only remembered chicken and brownies!!) The weather all week had predicted thunderstorms and even the captain said he wasn't sure we'd have a clear day. Before we left the ship a cloud of rain swept by the ship...then left for the day! After all the tenders returned, the skies broke open again for about 5 minutes before clearing once again! Nassau, Bahamas We had booked a private van tour for 2 hours $30 . We visited Fort Charlotte and had a narrated tour there, drove through rich and poor neighborhoods of Nassau and the business district. Our guide gave us a general history of the island and it's people. We traveled to Atlantis to view the casino and shops and later the Queen's steps. It was an ok but not great tour. Mid-tour we had a huge rain shower which our guide assured us was much needed and would bring out the crabs for people to pick and be able to sell at the market! We returned to the ship for lunch and then ventured out for a foot tour of the shopping area and straw market. PLACES/ Other things to do. We attended the CC Meet and Greet in the Bliss Lounge, meet some nice folks as well as the Captain and main staff. Wish we had thought to grab an email address as some folks we never saw again. Missed the Latitudes Reception--- simply forgot...darn! SPA... Even if you don't get a spa pass...ask for a tour, just for a chance to sit on the delightful heated tile chairs!! Blue Lagoon--- Hidden treasure for a quiet breakfast or lunch, or snack anytime. Great Outdoors--- if you are coming from mid-ship into Garden Cafe, keep walking Aft!! If the weather is good this is a great place for breakfast (am addicted to the waffles) and is usually MUCH less crowded then the Cafe. Good for lunch as well. Library--- quiet place to read (although not the most comfortable chairs) Ship at night--- be sure to walk around the ship at night, especially outdoors as it is quite beautiful! Shopping....this is NOT a ship for shopping...have been on other cruise lines where there is shopping ALL the time, EVERYWHERE! LOL. There was a table of bling set up in the Atruim most days but too near the perfume shop (allergies). Ship store had essentials but not extensive. Am sure there are tons of places I missed since I became addicted to the lovely spa room and spent more time there than anywhere else!! There is so much more to the ship than can be discovered in 7 days. Depending on what you want to do there is too much or too little to keep you occupied. I really enjoyed Spa relaxing time and warm water therapy pool. Hubby would have liked some computer classes or other types of lectures (not offered on this ship). Conclusions: This was a "cheap" (inexpensive) cruise; last minute choice to celebrate a friend's birthday; no airfare involved; 3 at Sea days, 3 not-so-interesting port days (Canaveral, GSC, Nassau) Did we have a good time--Yes! Would we do it again? Probably not! Best part-- being with friends, the Spa Pass, having a Balcony, no overly rough seas so didnt get seasick!! Worse parts-- mediocre MDR dinners, lack of really interesting on-board activities, feeling the crowds in so many areas of the ship, SOME of our fellow passengers. Is NCL a good fit for us? Still deciding!! But a week cruising is always better than a week NOT cruising!   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Drove to Pier 88 from southern New Jersey via the Lincoln Tunnel. The directions posted on the NY Ports website were spot on to get us to the pier in about 10 minutes after entering Manhattan. Parking is a little steep ($40 per day) but ... Read More
Drove to Pier 88 from southern New Jersey via the Lincoln Tunnel. The directions posted on the NY Ports website were spot on to get us to the pier in about 10 minutes after entering Manhattan. Parking is a little steep ($40 per day) but it's New York and the convenience was very nice. Once parked we took our luggage in the large elevator to the first (ground) floor to be taken by a porter, then back in the elevator to the second floor for check in. The elevator has an operator inside who was very friendly and guided us through the process. The check in area was pretty hectic and crowded upon arrival at around 10:30 am, but the NCL staff on hand was very competent in guiding guests to the proper check in line. Once checked in at the station for suite guests we were guided to the priority waiting room for our key cards. Around 11:30 am we were taken as a group, led by one of NCL's best concierges (Carlos) to the ship. We were the first ones on the ship and escorted to Cagney's for lunch. After a very relaxing lunch and a cocktail, we checked out the Haven and by then our rooms were ready (approx 12:45 pm). Our room, H3 category room 10004 the "Purple Diamond Suite" was the most amazing room we've ever had. The front balcony had two cushioned wicker lounge chairs and a small table with plenty room to move the loungers around to get the best sun angle. This balcony was off the bedroom, there is also a large picture widow which allowed us to lay in bed in the morning and watch the seas off the front of the ship. Beware; close the heavy hatch door at night. We had a big thunderstorm the second night at sea and the rain water came under the regular balcony door and got the carpet wet. Also chilly strong winds will blow through the cracks of the regular door at night leaving and returning from New York if the hatch door isn't closed. It's very easy to operate - don't be intimidated. Back to the room, we spent quite a bit of time in the room, it was magnificent to say the very least. The side balcony, off the living room had two sets of table and chairs and was shielded from the wind on sea days. We ate a few meals there that our butler brought us. The white table cloth he put on the table at meal times made it seem more formal. Our butler, Zahid was the best we've ever had. With the room you also get a portable phone that works anywhere on the ship to call Zahid to bring you anything you desire no matter where you are! Beside a phone on the desk there's one by the toilet in the master bathroom and powder room so you're never out of touch! We were lucky with very calm seas for the very most part of the cruise. In Port Canaveral we did the airboat tour and loved every minute of it and the accompanying talk from a wildlife rescue group. We also sampled fried alligator which was very good (tasted like chicken). For the stop at NCL's private island, we stayed on the ship and enjoyed the sun and breeze on our front balcony and the tranquility of the Haven - more about that later. The Nassau stop had 4 ships in port, most seemed to go on tours. We waited until the masses exited the ship (wife got a massage at the spa - wonderful according to her!) and walked around town, which cost me big - there's two Effy jewelry stores on the main drag - nuff said.... We also took a 40 minute horse drawn carriage ride ($30) which gave us a nice overview of the town and some of the points of interest. Two relaxing sea days and bam, we're home, ugh.... The Haven, unfortunately was less that heavenly. NCL needs to work on this. Prior to cruising I read many, many cruise reviews and perused the NCL message boards over and over again. On quite a few occasions I read of children spoiling the "tranquil" nature of the Haven. I thought since we were traveling over Memorial Day week schools hadn't let out for the summer yet and we wouldn't have a negative experience. Unfortunately, I was wrong. The pool is between 3'7" and 3'11" deep and heated to I'd say 90 degrees. Very nice for a quick dip and there's also a seperate hot tub. The surroundings are nice as well with hot and cold drinks and snacks always available. The courtyard valet will also serve anything you desire from food from any restaurant, sushi, drinks etc... Well, two families with children decided this was their day care center, sometimes leaving younger children under the command of a young, teenage daughter. Try reading a book in close quarters with kids in the pool screaming Marco....Polo....then splashing each other. Even when their parents were in the Haven, they were oblivious to their kids obnoxious behavior, even giving high fives at times. You get the drift... A number of adults left for the their rooms or wherever to get away. Their looks and comments to the parents again went over their heads. As I said, NCL needs to address this, people pay a lot of money for this category of room. To be run out by annoying children is just wrong. Possibly an adult swim time and time out for kids every hour?? Think about it NCL. Overall, I don't mean for one negative, which I attribute to poor parenting to ruin our cruise experience. We were pampered by our butler, concierge, room steward and courtyard valet the entire time. Nothing we asked for was met with anything but OK or I'll be right there. Even to the point of opening more or closing more the roof over the Haven on warmer or cooler days. Oh yea, I can't comment about the buffet or main dining rooms. We ate in specialty restaurants each night and had great food and service, especially in Cagney's, which we ate three nights along with breakfast each day.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Just got back from the GEM leaving out of NYC. This was my first ... and last ... time leaving out of NYC. The NYC traffic was absolutely, positively, incredible. BAD. It was not worth it. To top it off, parking is horrendously expensive ... Read More
Just got back from the GEM leaving out of NYC. This was my first ... and last ... time leaving out of NYC. The NYC traffic was absolutely, positively, incredible. BAD. It was not worth it. To top it off, parking is horrendously expensive at the port - $40 per day. I parked offsite for $175 for the week and that was bad enough. Stay away from NYC and drive to New Orleans, or Charleston. If you want to drive to Florida, go for it. Granted ... this is not NCL's fault but if I have a choice (and I do) I'll not be leaving out of NYC again ever. The ship was fine. It was clean but beginning to show it's age. I understand it's very soon going into dry dock and will come out much refreshed. The shows were good and the dance troupe was very good too. The buffet food was very very good! Did not go to any of the a la carte restaurants. The dining room food was extremely average. We finally found a wait team (Kaylen and Orven) who were GREAT but only managed to dine with them 3 nights because of their rotating schedules. Other than that, the dining room services were HORRIBLE. They could not have cared less if we were there or not. In the Magenta, we had a large waiter from Haiti and in my 40 cruises, I have never seen anyone so indifferent. Apparently, waiting on us was a chore that he did NOT want to do ... and that was evident - no questions, no answers, no refills, no talk, no service. The Grand Pacific is the place to dine. The Magenta looked like a cheap diner. The difference between the 2 is remarkable. Our room steward was great. Very thorough, prompt, and pleasant. Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
A little about ourselves- there were 5 of us on this trip, DW and myself (47 and 55), a family friend (25 and first time cruiser) and DS#4 (17) and DS#5 (18). This was our 4th cruise with NCL and 5th cruise overall. If you want the ... Read More
A little about ourselves- there were 5 of us on this trip, DW and myself (47 and 55), a family friend (25 and first time cruiser) and DS#4 (17) and DS#5 (18). This was our 4th cruise with NCL and 5th cruise overall. If you want the Cliff’s notes version we had a great time on the Gem and look forward to sailing on her again. Day 1- I was a little nervous about departing from Manhattan but it couldn’t have been easier. Straight down the Henry Hudson Parkway (Route 9) and the port is right there when you get to 12th Avenue. Traffic was stop and go before the Henry Hudson Bridge and that delayed us about 40 minutes. Paid for parking ($280), dropped luggage and people off at the front of the lot and found a spot easily. Check in took about an hour and we were onboard by noon. Bought the soda package for the boys in the Atrium and bought a 4 bottle wine package for $88. The rooms were available at 1 pm. Grabbed a quick bite in the buffet, which of course was very busy. As has been mentioned the rooms are on the smallish size but the storage is good. We had an enclosed balcony on deck 8, cabin 8530. I normally bring a measuring tape but forgot it this time. The bathroom had three compartments, one for the shower, one for the sink and one for the toilet. It was nice but a bit tight (I am 6’ and 250 pounds). Our shore excursion tickets and OBC certificates were in the cabin. We had ordered room decorations for our friend and they were in their cabin (8531 across the hall), but the cake was delivered later. Cabin had a small flat screen TV and you can access your onboard account info from it. Muster drill took place at 2:30 and we mustered in the theater without lifejackets. Got underway at 3pm and came to a stop in the Hudson because of a medical emergency (found out later it was a 10 year old who suffered an asthma attack). Took the obligatory pictures of Lady Liberty from the pool deck then went down to unpack. Met our room steward Noli. Received a call from Entienne, the Group Services Coordinator, confirming the Cruise Critic meet and greet for the next day. We had dinner at Magenta. We were seated at 5:30pm and were done by 6:45pm. I had the Surf and Turf and the lobster was a big improvement over the last time we sailed with NCL. It was about twice the size that it used to be and it was very tender and tasty. The Chocolate Raspberry Truffle cake was very good. Went to the welcome aboard show which was hosted by CD Ben Kitchen. Gave us a good idea of what was to come. The welcome aboard photo cost $19.95 and you may buy a composite for $5 extra (three smaller pictures). Day 2 At sea- The shower was fantasitic, great water pressure and tempurature. I normally get up early and am always the first one out of bed. I walked around taking pictures then had breakfast in the buffet. The Cruise Critic meet and greet was in the Bliss lounge at 11. We had 16 people there out of a potential 49 and it was nice meeting fellow members and putting faces with the screen names. The Captain even showed up briefly for the Meet and Greet. Hotel Director Jenny Lim said that she does read Cruise Critic but of course doesn’t have time to post. They had printed out cards with everyone’s name and phone number who attended the Meet and Greet and 9 senior staff were there (not counting the Captain). Jenny encouraged us to let them know if there was a problem because they can’t fix it if they don’t know about it. After a few minutes they took their leave and the rest of us mingled and chatted. NCL provided light refreshments, coffee and juice. I ran into different cruise critic members throughout the cruise and we were able to chat and compare notes, which was very nice. We had lunch at the Blue Lagoon and the spinach artichoke dip’s reputation is well deserved, it was very yummy. We attended the Latitudes party in the Spinnaker lounge at 1 and waitstaff walked around with drinks. They gave out several prizes and we won a small art print. Captain Stefan Nordberg attended this function also. Both he and the Cruise Consultant talked about Cruise Critic (nicely) and said they welcome all kinds of feedback. Went up to the pool deck and were able to find a seat. Relaxed in a hot tup and listened to Uprizin’, one of the bands onboard. They were joined for a few songs by a Jamaican recording artist who was onboard (I didn’t catch his name but he sounded good). Went to dinner in the Grand Pacific at 5pm and were done by 6:15pm. We dressed up for Norwegian’s Night Out and DW and I got our picture taken with the Captain ($21.95 and if you bought it the next day you received a free 5x7). We received an invite to the VIP cocktail party in the Haven Courtyard and it was nice. Waitstaff circulated with h’ordeourves (sp) and trays of drinks. I found out later that this invite was because I had coordinated the meet and greet. We went to the Variety Show in the Stardust and found it entertaining, then went to the Newlywed, Not So Newlywed game which is always funny. Day 3 Port Canaveral- We did an excursion to Sea World and met up in the Stardust. They called each excursion individually to disembark. We were on the bus and on the way by 12:15pm. Make sure that you watch the water as you drive past, we saw dolphins on the way there and gators and manatees on the way back. We received our tickets for the park once we boarded the bus and a ticket to get us on the bus to return. They recommended that groups used the bus as a rallying point if they got separated because a dad had gotten separated from his family a couple of weeks prior and was left behind. We got to the Park around 1:10pm. It wasn’t too crowded because it was Monday and school was in session (although we saw several school groups there on field trips). We were able to see everything in the park that we wanted except for the penguin exhibit including the sea lion show and the Shamu show. The only ride that we did was the Wild Arctic but we had time to do one or two others if we had wanted to. DS#4 wanted to do the Kracken until he actually saw it. Sea World has a program if you buy a Sea World branded cup from any gift shop you may fill it with soda for 99 cents all day. The park closed at 7, right after Shamu, so we made our way to the bus. Left the park at 7:20pm and back at the ship at 8:30pm. Ate at the Blue Lagoon because we didn’t want to change. Caught the Perfect Couple game show and comedian Rex Havens. Rex was very funny. Day 4 Great Stirrup Cay- Walked around in the morning again and walked through the photo gallery. They have computer kiosks where you can swipe your room key and view your photos. They have packages available- a 10 photo package for $129 and a 20 photo package for $199. You may get your purchased photos on a flash drive for $39.99. You may also have a bobblehead of yourself made for $99.99. Perspectives studio will do a private shoot with no sitting fee or obligation and will even do a private shoot on GSC. So, we didn’t recognize GSC from our last visit 4 years ago. It was a windy day, gusts up to 30 knots, which slowed tendering down a bit. We anchored a little early and the first tender was called at 9:15. We were on the second tender because we had a small cabana and we got to the island at 10:30. A tram took us over to the cabanas and we found number 20 very easily. A fruit plate was already on the table and they brought by the chips and salsa a few minutes after we arrived. DW and our friend walked over to the straw market and DS#4 and I chilled at the cabana (DS#5 stayed on the ship and spent most of his time in the teen club). The bottle of rum that we ordered was delivered shortly after 11 and the waiter asked us what kind of mixer we wanted and he brought us a two liter bottle of Pepsi because they had no cans. We were told that we were the first ship in a week to make it to GSC because of the weather. The beach in front of the small cabanas is nice and not used very much. There is a little walk to the lagoon, about the distance between the Bliss Lounge and the Stardust. If you face out from the cabana the lagoon is to the left. They do have a little grill by the lagoon but we were told they only open it when the Breakaway is in. 12 people live on the island to maintain it. We walked over to the BBQ pavillion and had lunch (about a 10 minute walk, but trams do run all day between the cabanas and the main part of the island). The cabana has a refrigerator, a storage compartment, tables, chairs, loungers, ceiling fan and a showere in the back. The shower is not heated and the knob was very hard to turn (someone with arthritis or a small child would have difficulty with it). They started cleaning up the cabana area at 4:15pm so we took our sunburned carcasses to the tender area. I did not note what time we got back to the ship but it didn’t take too long. DW and I had reservations at La Cucina for 7:15pm so we got ready for that, our first specialty restaurant experience. I had the Calamari and it was very very good. DW had the beefsteak tomato with mozorella and she liked it very much. We both had the Chicken Parmesian. The chicken was very tasty but the spaghetti side was unremarkable as the sauce was bland. It was all that I could do to finish the chicken and we had to split a desert (tiramasu of course). We felt that the same dinner at the mid-priced Italian restaurant in a nearby city would have cost about $60, so we felt the meal was worth $15 a person. We went to the “Get Down Tonight” show in the Stardust and it was entertaining. While the show was going on we pulled into Nassau. Day 5 Nassau- Received a note that the port visit has been extended until 4am Thursday due to routine maintenance. We only went ashore for a couple of hours. Went to the straw market and Senor Frogs, both for the first time. They had a tent set up by the gangway and had cups of ice water and fruit punch available as well as cold towels. The Sky was tied up next to us (good to see an old friend) and they had a similar tent set up next to their gangway. Laundry bag day, stuff a bag full for $27.99. We did one for each room and I am glad I brought duct tape because I tore one of the bags but fit abour 50 articles in each bag (it does not say that you have to be able to close the bag). We bowled a game in the Bliss Lounge for $9 a game. If you added all of our scores together you might get one decent score. We were in the cabin at 5 and looked out at the pier. Some of the senior officers and crew were doing a line dance to welcome passengers back aboard. I saw Jenny Lim, the Executive Housekeeper and the Food and Beverage Manager either dancing or handing out towels or ice cream or cold drinks. Spent some time on the pool deck and received a little note saying that the back onboard time was changed to midnight because the maintenance was done ahead of schedule. Saw Chip Romero’s comedy and magic show and he was very funny. Went to the Bliss Lounge for the Family Friendly Fued and I signed my family up to compete over their objections. They had fun with it even though we didn’t score a single point. We received frisbees for playing. We ate in Magenta at 8:40pm and wre done by 10pm. The mushroom quesadillas were very good and the bread and butter pudding is not to be missed. The ribeye that I had was good. Watched Liars Club featuring Rex, Chip and Jules (second city) and they were funny. Day 6 Sea day- After I had my morning breakfast I went back to the cabin and while standing on the balcony saw a dolphin near the ship. DW woke up immediately when I told her there was a dolphin. Went to a Nick character meet and greet so DW could have her picture taken with the characters for the grandkids. Spent time on the pool deck. Watched a towel folding demo in the Atrium. Had dinner in the Grand Pacific at 5:10pm and were done by 6:20pm or so. I had the New Orleans shrimp and steak mignon which was very tasty. Watched the “World Beat” show in the Stardust and the Gem singers and dancers enterained with their usual engergy. Following the show the senior officers and crew from each department took the stage and sang “You Are Family” and received a standing ovation for their efforts. They all formed a reception line outside the theater as we left and our room steward was in the line. When DW gave him a hug his co-workers went wild. Watched the Beatles tribute by Prism, the Second City scriptless show and the White Hot party in the Spinnaker. Day 7 Sea day- Went to a question and answer session with the Captain, Chief Engineer, Hotel Director and Executive Chef. They carry $1,000,000 in inventory at all times, the water plant produces 300,000 gallons of water every day but is capable of 800,000 gallons if needed. In a one week cruise they will go through 15,000 pounds of beef, 10,000 pounds of potatoes, 5,000 pounds of rice, 150 packages of yeast (all bread is baked fresh daily), 35,000 pounds of vegetables, and 25,000 pounds of fruit. Laundry was returned folded in a nice wicker basket. Watched a fruit carving demonstration in the Atrium. Went to the up close magic show with Chip Romero in the Stardust but were a little late following lunch at Blue Lagoon. Noted that martini and wine tastings are $15 a person but didn’t do either one. Ate in Magenta at 5:20pm and out by 6:35pm. Seafood chowder was great and the pork medallions were very tasty as well. DW went back to the room to continue packing and I went to pick up the liquor that we had purchased earlier (which is held until the last night). There was bit of a line but it went quickly once they opened the doors. Watched the Second City adult scriptless show and Quest in the Spinnaker. Both were very funny. We went back to the cabin between shows and put our luggage out, having picked the Grey tags for the latest disembarkation. Day 8 Disembarkation- passed the Verrazzano Bridge at about 6:10am and Lady Liberty at around 6:30am. Got the family up and we vacated the cabin before 8am. Buffet was very crowded but we were able to find a table. Our color was called at 9:40 and we made our way off the ship. Found our luggage easily and it took about an hour to leave the ship, clear customs and get to the car. We made it home at about 7pm. General thoughts- there were 1099 crew onboard and 2999 passengers. I only ate at the buffet for breakfast and they did have the same things every day, but the amount of choices was mind boggling- a non-inclusive list includes scrambled eggs, made to order omelets, made to order eggs, bacon, sausage, turkey sausage, cold cereal, hot cereal, pancakes, french toast, waffles, fruit, lox, kippers, cold cuts, breads and pastries. I can see why someone would say there is no variety as in they don’t change what is offered but the variety is in the number of choices one has. The staff was friendly but I noticed that the waitstaff in the dining rooms did not engage you in conversation- they did their job professionally, politely and competently but they did not engage in chit chat. DW and I both agreed that the food quality has improved since the last time that we sailed with NCL. All in all we had a great time and we will not hesitate to sail on the Gem again.   Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
This Was My Husband & I First Cruise. The Ship Was Beautiful & The Staff Was The Best, From The Captain All The Way Down To The Housekeeping Crew. The Food Was In An Abundant The Chief & Cooks (BRAVO ,Bravo ... Read More
This Was My Husband & I First Cruise. The Ship Was Beautiful & The Staff Was The Best, From The Captain All The Way Down To The Housekeeping Crew. The Food Was In An Abundant The Chief & Cooks (BRAVO ,Bravo ,Bravo,Bravo,!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) Made Everything Looks Stunting & Appetizing. And It Was. I Was More Impressed With The Way They Ensure The Guest Of Clean Hands Before Entering Any & All Restaurants. ( Love Those Washes Washes Girls) I Would Highly Suggests That If You Are Going On Your Frist Cruise Booked It On The Norwegian Gem, It Is A Lay Back Cruise Without Dressing Up & The Entertainment Is A Blast Too! Everyone Related To The Crew Made Sure That Everyone & I Mean Everyone Got In Vowel In The Activities ( Even The Handicap & The Children's) WELL WORTH THE TRIP ! I'm And Sure That My Husband & I Will Cruise Again With Norwegian. We Travel To Fla Cocoa Beach, Port Canaveral Then To Paradise Island ( Private Island Of Norwegian) Then Went To Nassau & Took A Tour Of Resort Of Atlantis ( Saw The Wonderful Underwater Sea Aquarium Inside The Resort & The Original Dudgeon's Of The People Of Atlantis) I Have One Suggestion On Debarking The Boat @ The End Of Cruise/ Maybe Do It From Floor To Floor To Avoid Congestion ( EXP/ Floors Top To Lower & Then Switch It Up From Bottom To Top) Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
the gem is an older ship that was remodeled its a smaller ship we had about 2700 people its itinery was very low key a good ship for a starter cruise the ship has lots of dining options 2 main dining rooms and all of the optional dining ... Read More
the gem is an older ship that was remodeled its a smaller ship we had about 2700 people its itinery was very low key a good ship for a starter cruise the ship has lots of dining options 2 main dining rooms and all of the optional dining venues as on the newer ships the wait staff was struggling in all of the resturants this was the first trip of a new itinery for this ship and it seemed that wait staff was new or had not worked with one another before they were trying but it seems they were not trained properly I had a oceanview cabin the cabin was very nice lots of storage areas and a very nice bathroom with pocket doors that closed off the shower and another to close off the toilet the bathroom was small but well done embarkation was very smooth and went quickly the disembarkation was a conjested mess because there were not enough customs booths were open the carribbean and latin bands were excellent this is a good cruise for people who just want a relaxing low key cruise Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
I went on the Norwegian gem from May 10-17th and had a great time! We had a Penthouse with Large Balcony & priority embarkation/disembarkation. This was my first time with Norwegian. Embarkation - We had Priority check in, which I ... Read More
I went on the Norwegian gem from May 10-17th and had a great time! We had a Penthouse with Large Balcony & priority embarkation/disembarkation. This was my first time with Norwegian. Embarkation - We had Priority check in, which I strongly recommend if you can swing it. When we arrived by our town car to the port, we went through security & went to the priority check in line a little before 11. After we checked in, we were escorted to the priority lounge, which had some snacks & things. This is where we were introduced to our concierge & read our first Freestyle Daily newsletter so we knew what was to be expected. We were also given a special invitation to eat at Cagney's (the steakhouse on board) for lunch that day. We were on the ship by 11:30 then had lunch & ate steak & shrimp at Cagney's around 11:45. What a great way to start the trip! Penthouse - Our room was AMAZING! I strongly recommend getting a Penthouse with Large Balcony if you can! The room was about the size of a standard hotel room, which for a cruise is very large. The tv was a decent size, there was a bed, a couch & a small table in the corner right by the windows by the balcony. Our balcony was large enough for two chairs, two small tables & two chaise lounges. Loved it! The bathroom was also larger than the previous room we had. It had a full tub & a separate space for the toilet. There was also a vanity outside of the bathroom (blowdryer included) and mirrored closet. The mini bar came stocked as well. After lunch we went to Shakers Martini & Cocktail Bar which soon became one of our favorite places to hang out. The bartenders there are all really friendly & nice & remember you by name. We had some drinks & went to our rooms & unpacked. Sat on the deck & watched us sail out of New York. The first night we went to the Grand Pacific Main Dining Room where they served steak & lobster the first night. Our waiter Duwa was amazing & we requested him every night we ate in the Main Dining Room. We purchased a bottle of Caymus & enjoyed our first night onboard the Gem. We did not purchase the drink packages as we felt it was not cost effective, however we did order the water package, where you purchase a certain amount of bottles of water and they will deliver the bottles to your room. Second day was a sea day, we ate at the buffet for breakfast. It's always crowded & the food is good. They had eggs benedict, bagels, fruits, they even had fresh juices made with carrots, apple, etc. I was impressed, although like I said it's always crowded. That day we tried laying out by the pool but it wasnt very warm, so a spot in the sun was hard to come by & the wind made it too cold to enjoy it, so we went back to our room & hung out on our balcony. I definitely recommend getting the biggest balcony you can afford so you have somewhere to hang if the weather isnt ideal, or you are just sick of the crowds. For lunch we had the main dining room. I loved the cobb salad & my boyfriend got soup & an appetizer & was very pleased with his meal as well. We hung out in the Martini bar before dinner & had dinner at the specialty Italian restaurant La Cucina. Also, I suggest trying the avalon wine, I drank it for most of the cruise. I loved it! My boyfriend did the martini sampler if you go to the Martini bar & found he loved Le Fizz. I had tomato & mozzarella caprese for an appetizer, my boyfriend had the fried calamari & said it was amazing, I had a shrimp dish for dinner & loved it, he had pasta with lobster & ordered something else as well. He wasnt overly impressed with his meal, but I loved it. That night he went to the casino, I went to the shops. Shopping - There is a gift shop that has Norwegian things and typical souvenirs but they also have nice things like some clothes, handbags & wallets . There is another gift shop that has cigarettes, alcohol & other Norwegian items. There is also a fine jewelry store. Down past the atrium is a perfume store that also sells Swarovski jewelry & crystals. The prices on the jewelry & perfume were better than here. Third day we arrived in Florida and originally my boyfriend didnt even want to get off the ship. Well he was definitely right about that! We had breakfast in the main dining room & had lunch at Blue Lagoon as we were arriving in Florida. We saw dolphins right outside of the restaurant! After we got off the ship in Florida we quickly realized there was not much to do. We took a day trip to the "shopping" in Cocoa Beach and all it was was a huge surf shop (Cocoa Beach surf shop) and Ron Jon surf shop. Being from new jersey (the shore) we could have done that at home so we took the first bus back & went back on the ship. We day drank on the deck and had a nice afternoon. We had dinner in the Grand Pacific main dining room and enjoyed the chicken & sorbet. We went to the Latin Deck Party & had tons of fun! Next day was our first day in the Bahamas at Great Stirrup Cay, Norwegian's private island. Since we had priority, we were able to get on any tender we wanted to so we got off the ship around 11 & went to the beach. The tender is extremely rocky so I suggest taking dramamine before hand. The beach when you immediately get off the ship is set up with chairs & everyone sets down there, we realized after about an hour that there is a separate beach past the Bacardi bar where hardly anyone was (maybe 5 people) so just go straight there. The water & beach is amazing. They serve bbq food from 12-2 which was good. We got back on the tender around 3:30-4, and ate dinner at Teppanyaki the hibachi place onboard the ship. This was amazing & probably my favorite part about the cruise. Next day we were in Nassau. We had purchased the Atlantis tickets & I suggest saving yourselves the $100+ and just take a cab from the ship to Atlantis and you can walk around Paradise Island there. We didnt use the facilities, we just went to the aquarium & walked around so the $100+ was a little much. The aquarium was awesome, so I'm not sure if you can go there without purchasing the Atlantis tickets so you may want to check on that. Ate at Johnny Rockets and headed back to the ship via taxi. That night we ate in the Main Dining Room. Food was great & had Duwa again! The next day was a sea day & we relaxed on our deck, went to the casino, the shops, etc. We also went to Cagney's for dinner again. We had made a reservation for Cagney's & Teppanyaki a few days before and I'm glad we did because both were amazing. We also had priority entrance to the Chocoholic Buffet that night at 9:15 instead of 9:45 so we got to see everything before everyone else! You must go! It's such a site and needless to say the chocolate was amazing. The White Party was that night, but after eating steak, chocolate & drinking we didnt last very long & went back to the room & watched a movie. We were able to get a list of movies for free that came with the room so that was nice. The last day was a sea day & the weather was terrible. This was my least favorite part of the cruise, plus who wants to come home after vacation anyway? The rain made everything crowded. Ate in the Grand Pacific Main Dining Room and had Duwa. The cooks & chefs came out and walked around which was really cool. We went to a show "Everything I need to know I learned from my Wife" which was really cute & funny. We went back to our room & got a good night sleep. We arrived in New York around 7:15am. We did easy walk off & had priority so we were literally the first people off the ship. Overall the cruise was a great experience & I would cruise Norwegian again. I do think you get a different group of people on Norwegian than you do on Celebrity, but both cruises were great. Norwegian is definitely more family friendly. I think the shopping onboard is similar to other ships. They have Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Where do I even start?  I can honestly not fault one thing about my NCL experiences.  This was my 3rd NCL cruise, 2 on the Norwegian Gem & 1 upon the Norwegian Breakaway. All 3 times I have travelled all the way from Australia to ... Read More
Where do I even start?  I can honestly not fault one thing about my NCL experiences.  This was my 3rd NCL cruise, 2 on the Norwegian Gem & 1 upon the Norwegian Breakaway. All 3 times I have travelled all the way from Australia to board these wonderful ships & have never been disappointed or for that fact, ever wanted to depart the ship on the final day. I have even highly considered applying for a job, being 22 years off age, that's how much I have loved the experience. ONBOARD- Both these ships are absolutely stunning, inside & out. Always enough room anywhere you went, always clean & everything was well accessible. The Breakaway in 1000000x bigger then the gem, so expect to get some good exercise in, I was only on the breakaway ship for 7 days & still believe I did not get to see everything on board, it is just that big. Both incredible. FOOD- could not fault one bit. Surprised I didn't eat myself to death aboard both. So much selection, all perfectly cooked, I tried so many new things aboard both ships, since being from Australia & was even spoilt for choice when one day that had the eye of the bacon, what us Australians eat & not the long hard squiggly bit which Americans love. My fellow Australians will understand what I am talking about and too you Americans, eat the eye, you don't know what you are missing out on. it's the best part of the bacon!!!! Hahaha 😉. I also ate at some of the restaurants that you can chose to be seated with fellow passengers & we did. It was a lovely way to meet new people & us Aussies talk to anyone, whether they like it or not. ONBOARD ENTERTAINMENT & SHORE EXCURSIONS- WOW WOW WOW WOW, is all I have to say!!! The ONBOARD entertainment was phenomenal. Where In the world would I be able to experience such incredible acts of talent right at my doorstep on a holiday?? Only on NCL that is. From Rock of Ages on the Breakaway, to the production cast on the Gem (mostly all Aussies yew) these acts are all world class. Every comedian I went and seen, (Jeff Harms you rock!!!) & Second City are legendary. You will not be disappointed & if you are, somehow I believe you've snuck drugs on to the boat & are completely off your head on crack!!! One tip however for people travelling on the Breakaway. As soon as you get on the "ship" (not a Boat, as the captain would say) find your way to one of the little television looking screens adorning all the corridors and pre book a seat for the shows straight away otherwise you will miss out. I learnt the hard way, but wasn't bothered because it was my own stupidity to think on a ship with 5000 other passengers, I was going to get a seat in the theatre which seats not even 1% of that. But they have more then 1 show off each so I got in at another time!!!! Also, the trivia, social games & competitions held throughout the day where also amazingly fun. I learnt a lot of things about America which I didn't know, like for example "which state produces the most pretzels?" answer was Pennsylvania and I had only just left there prior to boarding the ship & even I wouldn't have guessed that. I participated as a judge in Mr Sexy Legs Competition on the pool deck & that was the best fun. Nothing more shouts "enjoyable" then having men aged between 18 & 70 grinding their hairy legs on you surrounded by great people & even better staff & I'm being serious. I got to pick "Mr Chicken Legs" and after I did, his wife & him, became my best mates on the ship for the remainder of my time onboard. hahaha. Shore excursions where also unforgettable, from diving in the shark tank in the Bahamas at Atlantis Resort, to sailing along the shores of Phillisburg St.Marteen on a catamaran and who could forget your own private island on Great Stirrup Cay, all unforgettable experiences that I will treasure for life!!! We chose to deal with the shore excursion crew onboard & had no issue paying that little bit more money to ensure we where back in time to board the ship, but not only that, it was not like we where familiar with all the local hangs etc like most Americans onboard who cruise with NCL numerous times a year. But we also know now that there are a lot of places you could hop off and chose to do your own thing with no problems what so ever!!! STAFF- Amazing!!!!! I have never met such generous & caring staff anywhere in my life before. From room stewards to bar guys to the entertainment crew. I have no complaints about any. That probably however has to do with the fact that my Aussie nature, gets along with everyone & rarely ever complains as I see the best in everyone. I am also a very endearing traveller who understands that all the crew works long & hard hours and spends months away from their families in countries you & I might have never heard off. So I don't pick at tiny things or anything for that matter. You could say I'm easily pleased. I just take everything how it is & roll with it. It also makes it better when on all 3 cruises, other then the handful of Australians that work onboard, we were the only 2 Australians holidaying onboard. So we sort of stuck out like a sore thumb & that made for an entertaining holiday with all the staff & crew. I also believe nothing can beat a towel animal in your room. That made me so happy like a little kid in a chocolate factory. I was absolutely loving life. So all in all. I hope my review helped someone somewhere, especially an Aussie considering cruising with NCL when travelling to American next. A cruise is going to be whatever you make of it. Go in there with an open mind & participate in everything & anything, because remember, the likelihood of seeing these people again for me was never, so I embarrassed myself non stop, just because I could. Let your hair down (ladies) or your receding hairlines (males) and enjoy it whilst you can, because it's over in a blink of an eye.. I wish NCL would bring their cruise lines to Australia quick smart. And if they where ever looking for an Australian spokeswomen for their cruise line, I'd put my hand up or 10 (if I could borrow some) and do it. THIS CRUISE LINE IS PHENOMENAL. End of rant. Hahaha Read Less
Sail Date October 2013
My spouse and I enjoyed on our 7 day cruise to Florida and the Bahamas on the Norwegian Gem! After staying in NYC for a couple days prior to go to a Yankee game and just hang out (recommendations: Gild Hall for hotel; Spicy Village in ... Read More
My spouse and I enjoyed on our 7 day cruise to Florida and the Bahamas on the Norwegian Gem! After staying in NYC for a couple days prior to go to a Yankee game and just hang out (recommendations: Gild Hall for hotel; Spicy Village in Chinatown; and Leo's Bagels in Financial District), we embarked smoothly with about an hour and a half wait to get on the boat from arrival to the Manhattan cruise terminal. Our cab ride from Wall St area was $27, thanks to traffic on the Westside Highway, but it beat lugging our suitcases into and out of the subway and on a crosstown bus. We had so much fun that everything from this point on is a blur if you are expecting a day-by-day play-by-play. Here are the pros and cons of our trip by category: Food: The good was good to pretty good. We usually ate in the Garden or Great Outdoors for breakfast and lunch. Scrambled eggs were terrible (powdered?), but I was able to get "real" eggs at one of the many omelette stations. Fresh fruit was always available, and the breakfast pastries were usually tasty (once in a while a little dry). The Garden Cafe was usually crowded and hectic, but I blame this on the aimlessly wandering masses of guests who just wanted to see everything there was to offer (even though the stations offered the same things in different parts of the cafe). We ate dinner in Grand Pacific 5 nights; no complaints there except for the turf part of the surf and turf on Night 1 (just was not good steak) and the risotto primavera on the last night (seemed like the cheese sauce was made with canned nacho cheese), but overall it was good enough. One night we ordered pizza and a bucket of beer to our room and watched football (totally worth it), and the other we went to Cagney's. For $30 a plate, it wasn't worth it until we got our entrees, which were well above the quality of the Grand Pacific food (I think they save the good steak or Cagney's). The service was fantastic in both places! Everyone was so attentive and pleasant in every dining area that we experienced. We did not go to any other specialty restaurants, Blue Lagoon, or Magenta. BBQ on Great Stirrup Cay was better than usual Garden food! Drink: No issues here! Great service at Maltings and Bali Hai! After having a few drinks in NYC prior to cruising, on-board prices of alcohol seemed reasonable. We brought two regular-sized bottles of our own wine on board and were charged $15 corkage fee for each. No worries because even after the fee, they were still cheaper than the cheapest bottle of wine for purchase on board. Note: the corkage fee for a mag of wine is $30: be warned. Buckets of beer are buy 5 get the 6th free, which we did often and just brought back to our room (they give you an opener with the bucket). The wonderful bartender at Malting's made my spouse black and tan's with Guinness and Bass, too! Stateroom: Small but comfortable! Our enclosed balcony served our sitting outside and reading or watching the world go by purposes just fine. We were forward on the ship, so once we could hear the music from the Stardust Theater in our room but it was not bothersome. The toilets did not work on our wing of the 8th floor for a day but it was fixed with minimal difficulty. The smell of sewer did come up after the repair of the plumbing, though. Yuck. Overall, our room was certainly sufficient. Ports of Call: In Port Canaveral, we shuttled for $24 total round-trip for both of us to Cocoa Beach Surf Co., where we had lunch (it was cheap and obviously so), did a small amount of shopping (magnets and postcards), and walked a block down Marion Ave to the beach (which was above my expectations). You can rent an umbrella for I think $5-$10, but we opted to wait and see if we actually needed it for refuge from the sun (which we did not). Overall, great port to save some money and energy! In Great Stirrup Cay, we hung out on the beach, which was beautiful! Large rocks in the water to hang out on and snorkel from are a short swim away, but overall rocks are not a problem. Beautiful white sand, turquoise blue water, and plenty of chairs and shady spots were more than we had expected based on other reviews here. We only spent $12 on some booze at this port of call, and had a wonderful day anyway! Rain dampened our spirits for about an hour, but we waited it out in the dining pavilion and talked to some nice people to pass the time! Nassau, Bahamas was great, too! We had tickets to Aquaventure at Atlantis, and they were so worth it! Next time, I may order them directly from the website and take a cab over ($4 per person), but the convenience of having everything planned out and ready for me was worth it. We got there before 10 am and stayed until 4pm, and kept busy and having fun the whole time! The waterslides were so much fun, especially the Challenger slide and the Serpent slide. We did not do the Leap of Faith, but it was awesome watching other people do it! The Current was a lot of fun, too, as was The Surge! We did a small amount of shopping by the port (more magnets and a Christmas ornament for my mother), had some Conch fritters and a couple Kalik's, and headed back to the boat. Public Areas of the Ship: Poolside was usually busy, but there are so many areas that you can be in to either be up close to the energetic activity or get away from it. We loved the sundeck all the way forward on Deck 14, where we could lounge on oversized loveseats and watch the dolphins jump out of the water in front of the boat! The theater was nice, and we enjoyed the Second City show, the Jeff Harms comedy stand-up, and the magician shows in there. The casino was laid out well but of course loud and smoky. Atrium was nice enough, but usually crowded. Internet Cafe is in the Atrium. The library and game rooms were nice, quiet, and relaxing! Tradewinds boutique is small and has overpriced, limited selections. It was insanely crowded during raffle draws. Spinnaker Lounge was well laid-out and comfortable, and we enjoyed the Second City shows in there! The fitness center was spacious, clean, up-to-date, and it looked out over the water! Cool towels were available, too! Sports court was great; golf tents, basketball court, and rock wall were among the popular highlights, and I saw some happy people playing oversized chess and checkers and table tennis! Service: We had no complaints about service. Everyone was friendly, attentive, and punctual. This boat has a wonderful crew who are away from their homes and families for months at a time. Many of the crew members come from countries which are going through some turmoil at this time (i.e. The Philippines), yet they provided services for guests with smiles and steadfast attentiveness. We had a wonderful time. We hope to take the same cruise in a couple of years with our small child, as there were so many kids activities! Great vacation overall!   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
1st let me start by saying what an awesome staff there is on the NCL Gem. I've been on quite a few cruises and I NeVer remember anyone's name. Well Jenny, Kyle, Krazy Kristine, Tom, Carlos and Zahid. they have made this a special ... Read More
1st let me start by saying what an awesome staff there is on the NCL Gem. I've been on quite a few cruises and I NeVer remember anyone's name. Well Jenny, Kyle, Krazy Kristine, Tom, Carlos and Zahid. they have made this a special anniversary cruise and we hope they are still on board when we bring the rest of the family. Saturday NYC Embarkation: We get to the pier at 1105am, (a little later than we expected) however everything ran smoothly. We put our luggage through the machines, went over to VIP check in where you can see the ship through the glass behind the agents. We went to the VIP room where we me our concierge for the week and waited for maybe all of 10 minutes before we were escorted to the Star Bar to drop off our carry ons before we were escorted for lunch at Cagneys. OMG we were spoiled from the moment we got on. The room: was a really nice size we were at the bow of the ship just under the bridge my husband likes to be in the aft but this was great I loved the views and you can see everything ahead before you get to it. We did go outside at night we just made sure the curtains were closed or the lights were off. The room could have been a little tidier we found a child's pink sock under the bed. All other maintenance issues were handled after we met some of the officers at the meet and greet. We had in suite dining one night and ordered from the main dining room. The service was excellent. Everyone must do it at least once. Speaking of meet and greet: We met some cool people at our meet and greet passengers that I hope to meet on board again. The slot pull followed and we actually one as a group a few $ more than we played. We did not have a cabin crawl but we got to see a DOS and a Cat SF Suite and a few ppl came to view ours so I guess it was an informal cabin crawl. We did not get off in port canaveral because the excursions we would've liked to go on, we felt bad not bringing the kids along. We just enjoyed the 50% less crowded ship and took the opportunity to enjoy the Gem's pool and hot tub. Great stirrup cay: When we arrived the weather was beautiful and so was the beach I'm not really a swimmer but I couldn't stay out of the water. The weather took a turn for the worse when we went on the waverunner excursion.. Which is no fault of NCL but nonetheless we are glad everyone got back safely. I loved the Island and I can't way to go back to GSC. Nassau: We got a great deal on the Atlantis Aquaventure excursion and had a great time. Everyone must try it for the day at least once. Definitely worth the money. Restaurant: We ate at the Gp dining room once. Order dinner to our room once and ate at four of the specialty restaurants, la Cucina, le Bistro, Moderno and Cagneys all were great. We had blue lagoon wings fish and chips burger and desert more than I can count. We made it to the BBQ the last 2 sea days and I lived the paella. Cagneys brownie and ice cream was my husbands favorite after lunch treat! The chocoholic buffet was on the small side. They had the same things all over and they had a sign for a red velvet cake but no1 knew where it was. This ship had zumba but it was more like 20 minute zumba and it was 2x I went to the 1st one but didn't bother to go the 2nd time because I didn't feel like it was worth it. I would gladly pay $5-15 per class if it was 1 hour. Entertainment: We went to most of the shows at the stardust theatre with the exception of the magic comedy show. The perfect couple show was pretty funny, however the not so newlywed, not so much. Questions need to be changed up a bit, they seem to be the same on all cruises. The battle of the sexes was fun and the different trivias and charades was fun too such a cozy atmosphere. I missed the martini tasting this cruise they had it twice I was just MIA. The internet worked better on this cruise than hue epic so I was able to get in touch with my kids daily. When I had problems the internet concierge girl was such a sweetheart (4got her name) Overall it was an unforgettable cruise and we can't wait for our next NCL Gem cruise vacation with the family!   Read Less
Sail Date September 2013
Norwegian Gem Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.5 3.9
Public Rooms 3.5 4.1
Fitness Recreation 3.5 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.6
Enrichment 3.0 3.4
Service 5.0 4.1
Value For Money 5.0 3.7
Rates 4.0 3.8

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