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

It was my families 1st cruise. Planned 6+ months in advance and we couldn't wait. We were told all these great things about cruises in general. Our trip began in NY port and it wasn't the bets of days but that's ok. We get ... Read More
It was my families 1st cruise. Planned 6+ months in advance and we couldn't wait. We were told all these great things about cruises in general. Our trip began in NY port and it wasn't the bets of days but that's ok. We get there to have to wait outside in the chilly/wet air for30 min before being let in. Once inside it was utter chaos! lines and lines of people waiting to get through security. There really didn't seem to be to much order to the madness. After about 45 min, we get through security to have to wait in another long line for check in. That took us another 30min. Now we finally get onboard the Gem. Lovely boat inside. We go check out our balcony room. Very pleased with that space wise and cleanliness. Going through the NCL app we noticed messaging(texting). We thought hey good way to keep in touch with our oldest. NOPE that was an extra $10 per person! We spent all this $$ for this cruise and everything was extra for this extra for that. Just silly!So we leave NY and get to open waters it was about 6pm. a bit delayed seeing is how original embarkment was 4pm. Not a big deal. Once we got out to open waters it became a MUCH different experience for my family. The ship was going so fast it was rocking all over the place. Like full speed ahead! My children and I ended up getting sea sick bc of it. It lasted all through the night (needless to say we didn't sleep well) into and throughout the next day. It calmed down when we finally got to FL. FL port was nice but unless you pay $$ to do something just stay on the ship, like we did, and enjoy it being a little less crowded. Next day was Stirrup Cay there island. That was cancelled due to high winds. SERIOUS bummer bc we were sick of the boat at this point and board. So we cont. on to Nassau. We arrived in Nassau early evening 7pm and we able to get off if we wanted to. Along with what seemed to be ALL the other passengers we disembarked to go eat dinner. Next day we went to Blue Lagoon Island which was great! Highly recommended. The only thing I'd recommend about the trip. It wasn't in our orig plan an budget but since we felt we got cheated out of a beach day, we did the excursion. Now we leave Nassau to have our last 2 days at sea. By this point we have been everywhere on the boat and my kids were very bored. Leaving Nassau we felt the ship rocking a bit too much like our 1st day. The sea days were ok. Pool during the day for the most part. The pool deck did get crowded on sea days but that was to be expected but it wasn't too crazy. We have arrived back in NY and we couldn't be happier. Its time to get off the boat. We opt'd for self assist. meaning we take care of our own bag's. So we head to elevator. HA! forget that so we end up carrying our luggage down 3 floors. Once we get to the atrium its utter CHAOS! No system what so ever. People yelling at others for cutting in line meanwhile no one knew what line was going where and started/ended. Took us an hour and a half to get off the boat. Once off, we go to customs. That was fast and easy thank god. So its been about 2 weeks now since our trip. Overall we did have a bad experience for our 1st cruise but the staff was great! Very nice and helpful. The food was EH.... the only great meal we had was one we had to pay for at Cagney's. Drinks were good and you got a good amount. Entertainment for kids was poor. We went during Halloween and they put on a nice party (at a decent hour) but there was a lot of adults not many kids. I felt it was worth giving some time to reflect and my family and I still feel the same. IF we ever cruise again it would be a few years from now and we would definitely go with another cruise line. Sorry for the long story but I felt it might help someone else. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Been on gem 7 times 5 times suppose to stop at island . My god weather was good no waves wind just a little not bad saw royal carib ship stopped and was sending passages on to there island ..i feel you should take the stopping at to maybe ... Read More
Been on gem 7 times 5 times suppose to stop at island . My god weather was good no waves wind just a little not bad saw royal carib ship stopped and was sending passages on to there island ..i feel you should take the stopping at to maybe stopping at ... It really stinks you save all year for what ????do not think i will be sailing with you guys anymore ...also telling everyone i know not to also ......my room had a bad lock on safe was told to live with it ,it is an old safe.. Flush did not work right ... Told them i was 80% disable got no help on or off ship ... I always had a great time on board that is why we always go this time was really bad .... MAYBE THEY SHOULD GET BACK KEVIN SHEEHAN SO OVER ALL WE WERE NOT HAPPY Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Embarkation was poor long lines, long wait because we are platinum we were able to go first. The disembarkation was horrendous long lines for at least an hour and a half. we almost had fist fights between the guests. Not enough staff to ... Read More
Embarkation was poor long lines, long wait because we are platinum we were able to go first. The disembarkation was horrendous long lines for at least an hour and a half. we almost had fist fights between the guests. Not enough staff to direct you and let you know what is going on. Another disappointment was not being able to go to their private island. They claimed it was dangerous. No winds Seas were calm and in the distance we can see Anthem of the Seas docked and tendering people to their island. We don't know the true story but the fact that it was not safe was BULL. The food was good the service excellent, the entertainment was very good two excellent bands one latin which was new so we were happy lots of good music. For some reason the did not have the not so newlywed game or the quest game we were disappointed. We are thinking of going Royal Caribbean more often now. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We chose this cruise last minute for a quick, less expensive getaway from NYC so we didn’t need to fly. We usually cruise with Azamara and now I know that Az is more suited for our tastes. Embarkation was a disaster as was debarkation. ... Read More
We chose this cruise last minute for a quick, less expensive getaway from NYC so we didn’t need to fly. We usually cruise with Azamara and now I know that Az is more suited for our tastes. Embarkation was a disaster as was debarkation. Truly horrific. The cabin was good. Very clean. The staff was mostly friendly but many of the dining room staff were trainees and really weren’t trained properly. The food is horrid except in the specialty dining restaurants. Nothing was hot and everything was bland. Service is spotty. The Garden Cafe is a mob scene. People were like vultures and the food, with the exception of the pretzel rolls, was gross. The barbecues on the pool deck were pretty good. The entertainment was superb. All the shows in The Stardust Theatre were excellent as were the Webb Band (boy, can that girl sing) and Justin Golan is extremely talented and hilarious! The spa is lovely as is the fitness center. There is a lot of drinking and many people were inappropriate in their behavior. That ultimate drink package encourages alcohol abuse. The pool deck was total mayhem, with screaming kids and crowds. We stayed on the sun deck which was a bit less chaotic. The ship smells like cigarettes and cigars. Since smoking is allowed at one of the pool bars, in the casino and in the cigar bar, the odors waft all over. Even the library smelled of cigarettes. I DESPISE smoke and that is enough to keep me from going with NCL again. We didn’t stop at Great Stirrup Cay because the Captain claimed the sea was too rough to tender. In my opinion, this was a total sham as the sea was totally calm. I hear they do this all the time. If a ship has a private island, they should build a dock so tendering isn’t an issue. There were a lot of activities but many involved gambling. Not our thing. We didn’t do the ship excursions. Luckily, we had nice weather in Florida and took an Uber to Jetty Beach for a chill day. In Nassau, we took a $4 per person taxi and spent the day at Atlantis beach which was lovely. Back on the ship, there was a totally crazy woman passenger who kept screaming and she actually cursed me out for no apparent reason. None of the staff did anything about it. Some of the other passengers were really loud and were very impolite. We usually like to share a table at dinner but we avoided doing so because we were afraid we’d be seated with people who don’t know how to behave themselves in a dignified manner. In summary, this cruise was a major disappointment. We will only go on a smaller, more boutique style line in the future. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Let's first preface this with the following statement, this was my 8th NCL Cruise and it will not be my last. This was my partner's first cruise, he certainly enjoyed it and now that we are at home he is watching cruise ship ... Read More
Let's first preface this with the following statement, this was my 8th NCL Cruise and it will not be my last. This was my partner's first cruise, he certainly enjoyed it and now that we are at home he is watching cruise ship YouTube videos. I assume we will be going on another cruise vacation together sometime in the future. - BOOKING LAST MINUTE- As far as price is concerned NCL does offer an enticing package for a competitive price. My partner and I never know when we are going to be able to escape from work. This trip we were last minute cruisers. For the Saturday, September 1, 2018, Florida and Bahamas itinerary I called NCL on Tuesday, August 28 and booked a solo cabin for myself. The price was $699 for a solo cruiser with a "guarantee" balcony, plus taxes and port fees, with no 'free at sea' perks. No beverage package. :( They allowed me to use TWO of my $250.00 Cruise Next deposits for the balcony cabin even though I was going by myself and I was not booking 6 months in advance. On Thursday, August 30, my partner was able to block out some time for the week ahead and we added him to my room. That required some maneuvering on NCL's part. They had to refund my shore excursions and my spa package and I would have to rebook them on board. I am still not sure why this was necessary but okay. He was added to the room for another $699 plus tax and port fees. The drawback to this was my thermal spa package price was increased from $137 to $179 because it had to be booked on board. We never received our edocs because we booked less than 48 hours prior to sailing. I called NCL on Friday night and after waiting on hold whoever answered the phone transferred me over to tech support to reset my online account. Tech support was closed for the evening. I then called back and waited on hold again. When I got through to the next associate and explained my situation I was not greeted with the customer service I had learned to expect from NCL. - GETTING TO THE PORT - NCL's New York City Port is just North of where the Intrepid is docked on the west side of Manhattan. From Grand Central Station we took a cab at the cost of $12. Getting through security on a long line with two thousand + people is never easy nor fast. We did not have a problem without our edocs and just used our printed confirmation. Since we booked last minute there was a snafu and my partner's key card had a slight delay to get through another paperwork hurdle. - CABIN - Our cabin was 9644, a port side "family" balcony towards the aft of the 9th deck. The cabin was in very good condition. The only problem we experienced was two incidents of the toilet not flushing. They were both rectified immediately by the maintenance staff. My partner complained that the bed was too stiff, I personally loved it. The cabin was the perfect size for the two of us. My first time in a balcony cabin, I loved seeing the sunset over the ocean on the way down and the sunrise on the way home. At 6:30 AM on the last day we were greeted in NY by an amazing view of the Verrazano Bridge and Statue of Liberty before sunrise. Is it worth it? Maybe. If you don't spend much time in your room there's really no need for it. - CREW - Our cabin steward, Neil, was wonderful and attentive. He kept everything tidy, well stocked, and he was there when we wanted him. There were many crew members that I had seen over the years on other ships. Erick (MacLoughlin?) from Columbia at Topsiders, one of my favorite bartenders, his barback, who I recognized from Maltings on the Breakaway. I enjoyed Lorena as our Cruise director, she has an awesome demeanor and sense of humor. Her assistant cruise director hosted the Best Couple event which was hilarious. My partner chatted up an officer, Richard from France, the hotel director, who turned out to be an approachable and cordial host. He sent us a complimentary evening at a specialty restaurant. We greatly thank him for that. He's the one that looks like Daniel Craig. Our favorite waitress was Lee Ann at Grand Pacific she was the most amazing person, her eyes or so bright, her smile so wide, she was just wonderful every time we saw her. - MEET THE OFFICERS - We had three meet and greets with the officers. The first one was The Cruise Critic meeting, (thank you, Charlie, for organizing this!) the second the latitudes event, the third was a Q&A with the officers. The Officers are the cream of the crop they are all perfect for their roles and reflect wonderfully on what NCL is to me. - WINE - We attended three wine tasting events. The first one was the chocolate and wine pairing which was delicious. Juvy, the sommelier was knowledgeable and she was an excellent teacher. The second wine tasting was the black glass event where are you are presented with three wines in black glasses and you need to use your skills to determine what type of wine they are. The 3rd wine tasting was the progressive wine tasting. It was my first time at that event. You are given five different glasses of wine and learn how to pair them with food using their characteristics of sweet, dry, acidic, salty and savory. This class was phenomenal I'm glad I got to attend it. Also present at the wine tastings was Sofi the wine Steward from Cagney's. We had met him one evening at Moderno where he recommended an excellent Cabernet to go with dinner. - ENTERTAINMENT - We saw three of the shows in Stardust on deck 7; Swing - was an action-packed singing and dancing show. The costumes, the performers, the band, were all amazing. Luminescence - was a beautiful exhibition of the human body and showcased light and acrobatics. I highly recommend attending this. The final show was the 1970s dance show which was a lot of fun. Again the costumes and the props were very well done. At the end of the last show, NCL brings out their staff, the room stewards, chefs, officers, and desk staff to thank you for being part of the NCL Family. What's not to love! There was one room steward who made an owl towel animal I'm still looking for the directions to make at home - let me know if you find it. One night we enjoyed the band in Spinnaker Lounge the trumpet, trombone, saxophone, bass player, and drummer, are an excellent addition to NCL offering of an onboard entertainment package. There was also a piano player Lounge singer, a lot of people seem to enjoy his method of music and comedy. He definitely has skills. - THE SPA! - Now let's talk about the spa. I will never go on a cruise again without booking the thermal Spa. To have unfettered access to a hot tub, a hydrotherapy pool, heated mosaic loungers, fruit infused water, a sauna, a steam room, large showers, robes, fluffy towels, and the silence which comes along with these things, is the only way to travel. The spa on the Gem is not as Lush and Grand as it is on the Escape and the Breakaway but it certainly serves its purpose. Maybe they can squeeze a snow room or Himalayan Salt room into one of the many therapy rooms. - THE INTERNET - Book it before you get on board for a discount - it works, not fast, you won't be watching Netflix. - PHOTOS - The photographers were really fantastic on this trip. We had our photos taken at two dinners, two ports, and then posed at the backdrops twice. Each of the photographers assists in posing you, the result is high-quality photos which we did purchase the package of 10. What I didn't like was the fact that they print out all of the photos before you choose to buy them. It is very wasteful and does not reflect well on NCL's statement that they are an environmentally conscious company. - THE PASSENGERS - Over the years the demographic that NCL caters to has changed significantly. Nowadays there are a lot of people who enjoy the booze package a wee bit too much. There were quite a few incidents of idiots jumping from the hot tub into the pool, falling asleep drunk in a chair at Topsiders, white thong bathing suit wearing cell phone holding crowded into the hot tub twenty-somethings, tourists from faraway lands who lack manners and common sense in embarkation, disembarkation, and in the cafe. I don't believe that any of that is NCL's fault. - PORTS OF CALL - While in Port Canaveral we enjoyed a visit from my mom who retired down to FL. So I did not go on any organized excursions. In the past, we had traveled to Kennedy Space Center which is excellent and worth the trip for people of all ages. We visited Great Stirrup Cay which only gets better every year. It's a beautiful place to relax, to swim, snorkel, to drink, and listen to music. our tender had a little delay because of rough Seas, but that is to be expected when you are in the Caribbean during hurricane season. Our stop at Nassau Bahamas was probably the same thing everyone else experiences. As soon as you walk out of the terminal you are accosted by people who want to braid your hair, take you for a taxi ride, sell you a seashell, put a bracelet on your hand and tell you that you need to pay for it because it's a donation to some charity. This time my partner and I went on the beach day Excursion to Atlantis. It is such a beautiful place. The aquarium is exquisite, the Predators Lagoon is phenomenal. The casino will steal every cent you have, the food is ridiculously expensive, you can bring food and drinks off of the boat and take them into Atlantis. as you are getting on the shuttle to Atlantis there will be a guy attempting to sell you bottled water stating that it is $1 to buy a bottle of water right there, and then $5 to buy a bottle of water in Atlantis. What he does not tell you is that there are water fountains and water bottle filling stations all over Atlantis. Bring a water bottle to fill. - THE SHIP - While at Nassau we docked next to a Carnival Cruise lines ship, it was filthy and covered in rust. I felt bad for that Carnival ship and its crew. :( Looking at the Gem side by side with that Carnival ship made me realize and then pay attention to how much work the maintenance staff is constantly putting into the Gem and the NCL fleet. 24 hours a day they are cleaning, buffing, scrubbing, painting, screwing, washing, sanding, the ship - their hard work certainly shows. The Gem gleams! Another big difference was that NCL literally rolls out the red carpet, gives you water, hot towels, and greets you as you return from your day in the Bahamas. A must see on the Gem is the bridge viewing room at the bow on Deck 11 - it's awesome to see! The layout between decks 6 to 8 is bizarre. There are places where "you can't get there from here." The kitchen is somewhere in there and it interrupts the flow between the restaurants. The elevators on the Gem are fabulous - three banks of four elevators - enough for everyone, everywhere. The mega-ships have two banks of elevators - so you are walking... and walking.. and walking... Another thing that the Gem beats the mega-ships is the wider hallways and common areas in common places. (Or maybe just because there are fewer people and fewer jogs in the hallways?) The Gem does not have the 8 layers of cabin only decks which you have to through to get to any common area like the Escape. - FOOD - I've probably said this in my other reviews, skip the buffet. If you like food, take the time out of your morning and evening to go to the main dining rooms which are included in your cruise fare. We had amazing breakfasts, spinach pancakes with lox, eggs any way you want them, and on what you want. For lunch, we often went to O'Sheehans which is very good. The staff members are on top of everything. We had dinner in the main dining room, the Grand Pacific, the other main dining room, Magenta. One of the desserts was banana souffle with caramel sauce it was to die for. We had to Specialty dinners, Cagney's, and Moderno. Cagney's was fine, nothing to write home about. If you have a steakhouse anywhere around where you live it's similar in quality. Moderno is absolutely wonderful. The filet, bacon-wrapped filet, marinated chicken, grilled pineapple, the pork was so tender. This is the go-to place on the Gem. - RESCUE AT SEA - There was one crazy event while we were aboard. On Monday, Labor Day, there were two men from the Bahamas in a tiny boat out in the middle of the ocean for 3 days without food or water or a radio, who somehow managed to flag down the Gem. The Gem launched a tender to go rescue the men and take them back to the Bahamas. I even uploaded a YouTube video of it. I guess this makes it a five-star Cruise. - WHAT DID THE NEW CRUISER THINK?- What bothered my partner about the trip was the constant selling. You are bombarded with offers to spend more money. The high-pressure salespeople from the Spa and Tradewinds were tacky. The trivia even sells the next ships and ports of call! The Cruise Next push is a bit overbearing - however, this may be what keeps NCL in business and allows them to bring out the new ships. - $ - The total overall price for two people, seven days, last minute balcony "guarantee" cabin, taxes, port fees, 2 specialty restaurants, three bottles of wine, three wine tastings (for two people), six frozen drinks, Atlantis Beach Day shore excursion for two, extra cash tips for our favorite server and cabin steward, a $70.00 Pandora charm exclusive to the Bahamas, 10 photo package, two seven day thermal spa passes, the unlimited time internet package which did not include video streaming, prepaid gratuities, transportation from CT on Metro-North, $100 of souvenirs, a bottle of Sheridan coffee liquor to take home, covered private parking at the train station for 7 days, taxis from Grand Central Station to the pier and back was over $3000.00. Bringing the first time cruiser partner to experience a cruise and he loved it - PRICELESS! - FINAL THOUGHTS - Comparing the Gem to the Breakaway and the Escape is comparing grapes to watermelons. The Gem is perfect for first-time cruisers, the older demographic, the younger demographic, families .... oh.. maybe that's everyone. The Escape and the Breakaway are huge, a bit cold and impersonal. The Gem is the perfect size with a fabulous crew, meticulously maintained, big enough to cut through a storm and small enough to find your new best friend. All in all, it's my second time on the Gem and I hope it's not my last. Maybe next time I will get into the Haven. Keep it up NCL! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
I have been sailing with NCL since 2002 and am currently a latitudes platinum member. This was the third time sailing on the Gem out of New York, sailing past the Manhattan skyline is second to none and NY is probably, imho, one of the ... Read More
I have been sailing with NCL since 2002 and am currently a latitudes platinum member. This was the third time sailing on the Gem out of New York, sailing past the Manhattan skyline is second to none and NY is probably, imho, one of the best cities to sail out of or into. I prefer the smaller ships in the fleet...less crowded and more lounge space than the larger monstrosities that NCL has built recently (Breakaway being the worst designed ship I have ever set foot on). Embarkation was a breeze, priority access and from start to finish was on board in about 20 minutes. The cabins are still getting prepared which is fine...took a walk around and enjoyed views of the New York skyline then went to the buffet for a snack. The cabin was on deck 8 (8584) close to the atrium. Plenty of space and comfortable. This is an obstructed view cabin which is fine for me...I am not one to stay for long inside preferring to be out walking or going to the pool. There were some negatives on this cruise associated with this cabin...the first sea day had a crew member lustily performing maintenance with his mallet on a life boat at 6:30 in the morning...definitely an unwanted wake up call. Called the front desk and a supervisor came to our cabin to witness and hear for themselves the racket being created...he called someone and after a few more minutes...blessed silence. Later in the day a memo was delivered to the cabin stating repair work will be done between 18:00 and 21:00 on the lifeboats...no such luck....the next day the hammering started after 7:00 and the day after that at 7:30...Called the front desk on both occasions and the noise stopped...somewhere in the communication process with the actual workers there was a failure in getting the information across...18:00 and 6:00 are not the same...sigh To continue with cabin 8584...this is not a restful spot...below there must be a service area of some sort because like clockwork around 00:15 you would hear a loud metallic clattering that echoed up into the cabin and once again at around 05:15...every single day of the cruise. The cleaning steward was very friendly...but forgetful...he would forget TP...no Kleenex too....no floor mats either for the bath...he would forget his cleaning clothes on the dressers...he would leave behind the plastic doorstops they use to prop open the doors on the tables...but did I mention he was very amiable.... The food on the Gem is adequate...no one will go hungry...that being said it is sad to see how the quality of the food has been reduced and dumbed down over the years...I never heard any passenger go "wow" over the food, wether it be from the buffet or a specialty restaurant...I remember when Le Bistro was introduced on The Dawn...the food was exceptional back then...not anymore...Le Bistro could not be further from French cuisine and is on my avoid list for restaurants...at once at Cagney's and once at Moderno...Cagney's was a disaster...there was something extremely off putting and bizarrely wrong with our waitress...she kept yelling at the cooks from across the dinning area in what seemed to be Tagalog and she would never stay put...would ask if we needed anything and before we could respond she would sprint off back to doing breakfast settings for the next day....just odd....The food was awful too...burnt steaks that were blue on the inside...please...they were supposed to be medium rare...not charred black....also I really dislike the metal pots that the sides are served in, it turns everything to mush....please plate the food it isn't difficult and presents better... Moderno is now my preferred restaurant although this too has seen the quality reduced over the years....my favourites are the chicken and filet mignon...don't bother with any other meats....the salad bar is very nicely done too.... This cruise we went to magenta for dinner and the service was excellent and food was served at a very good pace... Overall if these were land based restaurants they would receive a failing grade from any food critic.... The entertainment is fair for the most part...over the years the shows just become a regurgitation of the same routines over and over...the jazz band was good...also the Caribbean band had excellent energy and a feel good vibe...the best show on the ship for us was just relaxing and watching the sunsets...always unique and spectacular...a couple got married on this cruise and they looked lovely having there photos taken with the sunseting in the background... The ports of call are the basic ones....Orlando...Great Stirrup Cay and Nassau...it is unfortunate that the scheduled arrival is so late in the day for Orlanda...it makes the day extremely rushed...other cruiselines do the same cruise in 8 days as to arrive in the early morning for this port....NCL Spirit used to do a 6 and 8 day cruise out of NY that worked great and was ideal for booking a back to back....with about 6 usable hours in port it isn't very much of a stop....that being said we still opted to go to Disney (epcot) it was nice, the food festival was a blast...the best food and drink I had during the trip and sadly it wasn't on the ship... but there never is enough time... Great Stirrup is a nice stop...there are better Cays out there but after all these years it definitely is quaint...tendering can be better managed it used to go so smoothly when we went there on the Dawn or Jewel...it was a disaster when we went on the Breakaway and this time whomever was managing this kept stopping the tender process and the ocean was calm for the most part...just position the ship to block the waves... Nassau is a good stop...we hop in a cab and go to the beach for the day...nuff said. We no longer really bother with shore excursions with NCL...horribly over priced and poor value for the money.... The days at sea are some of my favorite...it is just nice to sit back and relax...and this time on the way back to New York we were treated to a pod of dolphins migrating south...a view that lasted a few hours... I do lament the days past for cruising...now with unlimited bar packages available as an add on or purchase there are many individuals staggering around the ship...more yelling...more arguments...more security dealing with the drunk and disorderly... We have stopped purchasing "cruise next" deposits for the time being and we have a few left in our account to use up and then we will go to one of the other cruiselines we enjoy...hopefully NCL will improve to what it was in the past but with the current ownership structure and the management team that is in place...I have my doubts. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We won the cruise at Foxwoods. So we decided to give it a try. It was the best thing we ever did. It was our first cruise ever. The boat was so big I was kind of scare at the beginning,but a few days on the boat we were great. The food ... Read More
We won the cruise at Foxwoods. So we decided to give it a try. It was the best thing we ever did. It was our first cruise ever. The boat was so big I was kind of scare at the beginning,but a few days on the boat we were great. The food was unbelievable.if you couldn’t find something to eat it was your own fault. Everywhere you turn food,food,food.our stateroom was soooo nice. I miss it. We had a balcony to watch the sea at night with a glass of wine every night before we go to bed. The shows on the boat were something I’ve never seen in my life before. The casino,well that was a little tight. They could of let people win a little more. We really in joy the pools they had. The life guard was very informative on were to eat by the pool. The best was the guy that clean our room everyday.he was there to help us as needed. He did the best he could for sure.give that guy a rise.i just wish I seen him before I left in the morin. Thanks for making my first trip beautiful. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
This was our very first cruise ever. We had a great time. The food, drinks, service, entertainment, and overall atmosphere was good all around. We were given a great room on the 8th deck. It was a few steps from O'Shehans which ... Read More
This was our very first cruise ever. We had a great time. The food, drinks, service, entertainment, and overall atmosphere was good all around. We were given a great room on the 8th deck. It was a few steps from O'Shehans which was great. Everything was clean. The food at the Moderna Churrascaria was delicious. Make sure to get some of the roasted pineapple. I'd go back just for that. We stopped in Orlando; however, we didnt get off the boat. Nothing seemed appealing. We enjoyed our time at the Great Stirrup Cay. Water was clear and warm. The views were fantastic. Our last stop was in Nassau, Bahamas. We booked an excursion to go to Blue Lagoon. It was very relaxing. Tip: Make sure to get wet shoes if you plan on walking across the rocks/coral. We enjoyed the sun with a handfull of pina coladas by the water. We took a great nap on the hammocks under the shade. I would definitely recommend this trip to friends and family. I'll definitely book a different trip with NCL to another location to discover more. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Had a good time on the Gem. Crew, Food and Service was good. Staff was friendly. NCL has made 2 improvement that I have seen. 1st Very important change, Lifeguard for the children's pool. Parents still need to watch your kids. ... Read More
Had a good time on the Gem. Crew, Food and Service was good. Staff was friendly. NCL has made 2 improvement that I have seen. 1st Very important change, Lifeguard for the children's pool. Parents still need to watch your kids. 2nd Coors Lite Beer now available in bottles, not sold in pool area. I don't know why, I asked and was told glass by the pool. Not sure if that is true. They have Corona's and Heineken Beer bottles in pool area but still a good change. My only disappointment is that NCL has NO SPORTS BAR only shows Tennis & Soccer even in our room. Missed Saturday's college football opening day. NCL come on you guys you could get ESPN at least one of your tv channels thanks you for showing Thursday Night Football. I have cruise with NCL Gem 5 times in the last 3 years need to update there productions shows. Just would like to let everyone know that I did win my cruise bid on a upgrade, went from a Porthole Mid Ship to a Mini Suite. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We took this cruise because it sailed out of NY and it was around the dates we were looking for. I’m so glad we picked a balcony room and that it was mid ship. Sitting out on the balcony for down time was soooo relaxing looking out on ... Read More
We took this cruise because it sailed out of NY and it was around the dates we were looking for. I’m so glad we picked a balcony room and that it was mid ship. Sitting out on the balcony for down time was soooo relaxing looking out on the beautiful blue water, hearing the sound of the ocean along with the breeze was so delightful! This was my first cruise and I think if we had other than a balcony I wouldn’t say it was a nice experience. We went poolside everyday, having drinks served to us which was very nice. We did three off ship excursions along with going to the nightclub Bliss on the ship. We ate at all the restaurants and buffets and the food was fantastic. I was very skeptical about going on a cruise but I would definitely do it again. We want to try the BLISS ship next time when it’s ready to sail. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
This cruise was to Port Canaveral, FL, Great Stirrup Cay, and Nassau. This was a very good cruise for me, but I'm rather unique. For me, the ship is the destination, I rarely visit the ports anymore, and if then just to stretch my ... Read More
This cruise was to Port Canaveral, FL, Great Stirrup Cay, and Nassau. This was a very good cruise for me, but I'm rather unique. For me, the ship is the destination, I rarely visit the ports anymore, and if then just to stretch my legs a bit. The only exception I'll make is if there is sometimes an interesting historical or natural attraction. Otherwise, I'm there to have some peace and quiet - to unplug from my busy life - to eat, read, stroll around, and sleep. The best thing about this or any cruise is sitting out on my balcony and listening to the ocean as we sail along. Bliss! I always get a balcony cabin. I experimented once with the solo cruiser cabin, but 100 square feet and no view is not for me. I find them to have just enough space for me, a single, with enough amenities to keep me happy. On this cruise I got two of the "Free at Sea" perks (which I know aren't really free): the Ultimate Beverage Package and the free Wi-Fi. I also had $100 on board credit, which was just enough to pay for two meals at specialty restaurants and get some laundry done. My cabin attendant, Alvin, was helpful and friendly. He keep my cabin clean and stocked with fresh linen and ice all the time. I'm a bit of a foodie, so the meals are important to me. Overall I'd give the food service on the Gem a B+. It's always hit-or-miss, unless there is a dish you've had many times before on Norwegian. I know a few of these, and I order them because I like them. Still, I'm willing to try new things. That's the hit-or-miss part. I found that Norwegian is still improving on its embarkation and disembarkation procedures. This trip was the best in both regards, especially the disembarkation. I purchased the airport transfer, and for $35 from the pier to La Guardia, it couldn't be beat. That was cheaper than even Uber. We had a shuttle van type of ride, and it got us there in 30 minutes. Overall, I thought the cruise was very good, and I plan to cruise on Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
My review is based on past NCL experiences as we are Gold members on NCL, have sailed on Royal Carib, Princess & Celebrity, most of our cruising has been on NCL, as we liked the food, freestyle and restaurants. The cabin, room steward ... Read More
My review is based on past NCL experiences as we are Gold members on NCL, have sailed on Royal Carib, Princess & Celebrity, most of our cruising has been on NCL, as we liked the food, freestyle and restaurants. The cabin, room steward and some of the food/bar servers were exceptional and I feel sorry that they are subjected to management policies that have impacted NCL experience. The food has gone terribly downhill, I had to return my meal in the French restaurant as I could not even cut the veal with a knife it was that tough. Always loved Cagneys, but that has also suffered from management trying to cut expenses. The potatoes au gratin were like tasteless cardboard, could not eat those. Sauces served with meat were tasteless. The buffet is SO unappealing to even look at no less eat there, dried out burgers sitting out for hours, what used to be lox and capers is now a dollop of pink cream cheese with one caper on top of it. In the main dining room, again rationing capers 4 at most. French onion soup in main dining room has no cheese on it at all, instead they told us the cheese is baked into the crouton floating in the soup, just terrible did not even eat that. Top it off with how can you make a dessert look and taste unappealing, NCL can do it. Tender wait to private island was too long and crew staff loudly arguing among themselves in the main dining room and the tender to private island, very uncomfortable. NCL pool area has always been tacky looking and I did not go into their pool. Some cruisers at the pool very downright rude and absent any manners. Cruise director was just okay.. everything was extremely ear blasting loud from pool activities, bands to shows, the book I was reading was vibrating it was that loud....Gym is nice. Hoping NCL gets their act together, will give it one more chance before going back to Princess / Royal. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Great cruise as always. A couple of things, the "house band" is made up of great jazz musicians but have they ever heard of "smooth jazz?". They play great jazz music but almost every freakin' tune there is a ... Read More
Great cruise as always. A couple of things, the "house band" is made up of great jazz musicians but have they ever heard of "smooth jazz?". They play great jazz music but almost every freakin' tune there is a saxophone solo, trumpet solo, trombone solo, etc. It gets really boring after a while. Just play smooth jazz with a nice melody. Who cares about the "solos?". Oh, and we are always encourage to "clap"...please!!! One night they were supposed to play until almost midnight. By eleven, I was the only one there! That's why the jazz club on the "Breakaway" with Charlie Love is so much better. Another suggestion, I and many other guests, usually travel "solo". We "Platinum" and above guests have a choice of two premium restaurants for two people and a bottle of wine. Could you please allow the "solo" travelers to use four premium restaurants. Keep just the one free bottle of wine. I mean, how much more could it be? It would be great for "solo" travelers to do four restaurants instead of two by themselves.Come on, don't be so cheap. What's an extra freakin' steak to you? Besides I always leave an extra tip. What else? Ah, Lorena, the cruise director. Very distant, aloof. Seems always busy, running to some stupid game or to make announcements. And always "passing the buck". Any questions, "eh, go to the front desk and ask them about that"...really?...you are so badly trained. First of all, take down my stupid name, cabin number and do lie, yes, "I'll find out that information for you, Mr So and So". The comedian "bombed" but the juggler was a riot, very funny, great show! The employees are great, very open to questions even about their personal life. Great to hear about their hopes and dreams. It's a real pleasure to come back and find many familiar faces and many that even remember me, very nice. Well, nothing major to complain about, really. Had a great time and will definitely come back soon... Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
My wife and I sailed on Norwegian Gem Sept. 1st 7 day Bahamas cruise from NY. I cannot say enough good things about the ship, the crew and the food. The crew was extremely friendly and always went the extra mile. The cruise director was ... Read More
My wife and I sailed on Norwegian Gem Sept. 1st 7 day Bahamas cruise from NY. I cannot say enough good things about the ship, the crew and the food. The crew was extremely friendly and always went the extra mile. The cruise director was top notch and provided excellent entertainment and kept things fun and hopping. The captain and his crew kept us informed of what we needed to know and did an excellent job of avoiding any day time storms. We had a mini balcony suite on the 11th deck. It was perfect from the suite size to the guy who made up the room. The only petty negative I have is that Cagney’s wasn’t up to their usual high standards. But that is just a very minor thing on an excellent cruise. This was our 5th cruise and 4th with Norwegian. It was by far the best cruise. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
I choose this cruise after investigating different cruise lines and there options..value for money spent- i also liked that it was out of New York which was conveniant ..the cruise itself was excellent-the Staff were excellent -at all ... Read More
I choose this cruise after investigating different cruise lines and there options..value for money spent- i also liked that it was out of New York which was conveniant ..the cruise itself was excellent-the Staff were excellent -at all times we were treated very well-the cruise Director was exceptional -the food was also very good- at times the food in the buffet area wasnt as hot as it should have been but excellent none the less-the facitlities were also excellent I would not hesitate to book again -the shore excusion was not as good as expected-The time allotted was not enough to take in the full tour..the tour bus ride was confusing at times..didnt seem well organized..the evening shows were excellent--the stardust was very well laid out and comfortable-the air flow was also excellent -the comedy shows were also pretty good--I do believe more time should be spent explaining the options-the advertising says get this or get that free and none were made available -a little confusing..nothing was free..still not sure why ,,however it was a great cruise-safety seemed a priority ...comfort a priority ..all good Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Gem is a beautiful ship which is kept clean and well maintained by an excellent crew. Getting on ship was very easy with suite had priority embarkation after going though security was on ship in about 20 minutes. Staff is extremely ... Read More
Gem is a beautiful ship which is kept clean and well maintained by an excellent crew. Getting on ship was very easy with suite had priority embarkation after going though security was on ship in about 20 minutes. Staff is extremely attentive and friendly, always greeting you with a smile. Cabin 10504 was big and spacious with amazing service from Teresa (Butler) and Room Steward Andy. Dining was always great with many delicious options always available. Meganta Dinging Wine steward Julien was great very friendly and helpful. Recommend trying specialty restaurant Moderno excellent service and food. Entertainment was good, enjoyed the Juggler Randy Cabral and Get Down Tonight show. Bliss lounge at night had music with live band then a DJ, great place to get a drink and hang out, waiter Sam was excellent. Ports were great rented a Cabana on Great Stirrup Cay (Private island), only issue is was not informed that in order to use the $50 credit that comes with the Cabana had to order food the day before so we lost the credit so beware. Nassau visited Junknoo Beach, Queens staircase and shop the straw market. Tried the restaurant Sharkee had great conch fritter. Overall an excellent vacation would definitely sail the Gem again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
It's been about 3 years since I've been on an NCL cruise. Since then NCL has changed leadership and in my opinion, is going down hill. In addition to NCL I've sailed with RCCL, Carnival, and Disney. I've never felt ... Read More
It's been about 3 years since I've been on an NCL cruise. Since then NCL has changed leadership and in my opinion, is going down hill. In addition to NCL I've sailed with RCCL, Carnival, and Disney. I've never felt nickeled and dimed but those cruise lines as much as I did by NCL. Drinks are pricey - it was rare something was under $15, gratuity included. NCL now charges a $7.95 service fee for room service with the exception of the continental breakfast menu. They've done away with a flat rate for some of their specialty restaurants. We dined at Cagney's and La Cucina and that was just like going out to a regular restaurant - everything was priced ala carte. On our visit to GSC we were charged $21 for an umbrella. Seriously? On top of that they managed crowds very poorly. It took longer than usual to get off the ship in both Port Canaveral and GSC. (They began the day with one tender, ONE!) I've been on ships that hold close to 4,000 people and never had the issues we had on this ship. Embarkation also began with very long lines for security. And for some reason this ship smelled like farts or rotting eggs LOL. I expect it in the bathrooms but we're talking in public areas and in stairwells. Strange! Also there didn't seem to be much to do on this ship. I found sea days to be kind of boring. Nighttime entertainment was better - the shows were great! Overall we made the best of it but I don't think I'll be sailing with NCL again anytime soon unless it's on one of the newer ships. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
I am a first time cruiser and I am so thankful that I was able to experience my first cruise on the Norwegian Gem. The staff on the ship is top notch. The Cruise director, Lorena, and her staff made everyone on board feel like part of ... Read More
I am a first time cruiser and I am so thankful that I was able to experience my first cruise on the Norwegian Gem. The staff on the ship is top notch. The Cruise director, Lorena, and her staff made everyone on board feel like part of the family. My boyfriend and I had such a great time participating in the daily activities on board and experiencing the nightly entertainment. There was never a dull moment when we were at sea! The food on board was delicious. We ate a few times at the Grand Pacific and Magenta and were never disappointed. My favorite entrees were the Three-Cheese Baked Ziti and the Grilled Salmon. Also, you must must must get the Chocolate Lava Cake for desert! You won't regret it. We also ate at the specialty restaurants Cagney's Steakhouse and La Cucina. The food was great and the service at all of the restaurants were first-class. The first stop on the cruise was Port Canaveral and we chose to do the NASA Kennedy Space Center excursion. It was an amazing experience and we had a great time. The launch simulator was so much fun and the Atlantis exhibit was so good, it gave us goosebumps! Only downside was that we couldn't stay there longer! The second port was Norwegian's beautiful Great Stirrup Cay island where we did the Wave Runner Tour. It was so much fun and was one of the most thrilling experiences I ever had. The island is picture perfect and the water is so clear. I love how we had the whole island to ourselves, it was one big party! The last port was Nassau, Bahamas where we took a boat to Blue Lagoon Island. We did the Dolphin Encounter where we got to hug, kiss, and dance with a dolphin. This was one of my favorite excursions and something I got to cross off my bucket list. One thing I need to mention about this cruise that I found to be very impressive is that our Captain, Lars Bengtsson, went out of his way to save two people who were stranded on a boat in the middle of the Altantic. He saved lives and still got us to the port on time! Overall, my experience was incredible. Thanks to the wonderful staff on-board the Norwegian Gem, I will never forget this vacation and I look forward to cruising with Norwegian again! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
WARNING! If you are one of the 160 million Americans who are overweight this ship is NOT for you! The cabin was small, but manageable for one or two. The bathroom / toilet / shower can only be described as tiny. Please see my attached ... Read More
WARNING! If you are one of the 160 million Americans who are overweight this ship is NOT for you! The cabin was small, but manageable for one or two. The bathroom / toilet / shower can only be described as tiny. Please see my attached photos for the dimensions of the entryways of the shower and toilet - both of which opt for a sliding door, instead of curtain. If you have claustrophobia, you may have to use public toilets! The balcony only had chairs with arms. I had to request an arm-less chair for comfort. The ship makes concessions for people with disabilities, most of which enhance the experience. The Garden Cafe has an accessible area for those with mobility disabilities, but it is constantly occupied by able-bodied people looking for a quick place to sit! If you are a person with a disability you should request boarding assistance when booking. If you do not, you will not be on their 'list' for information about special assistance. The Gem does not publish disembarking process for PWD with the instructions for other guests! When you first board you are given a sheet of paper about wheelchair access. Instructions for disembarking are the last sentence on that two page document! (You are expected to remember or ask about getting off the ship!) My balcony cabin ceiling had peeling paint, which feel to the deck and got underfoot. Apparently I was not the only one, as several days in I got a message that they wanted access to my balcony for repairs while in port. I refused as I enjoy sitting out during port days (I do not go ashore). The smell of paint was so strong from the surrounding balconies being painted it proved impossible to use my balcony that day. While there are plenty of chaise lounges around the pool and on a few decks, there are virtually no upright chairs that are not in a dining area next to a table! The interior of the ship has challenges as well. The Grand Pacific Dining room has a special elevator to its main entrance. It takes a while to find the right elevator - there's only one! The dining room is designed with the host stand in the middle of the grand staircase! Guests are forced to line up on stairs to get a table. You can, of course, use the elevator access, but when you enter the maitre d' is behind you, and you must get the attention of someone to get seated. The Stardust Theatre is vast, but also poorly designed. The main orchestra area is on a reasonable rake, but halfway back it shoots up drastically steep - like climbing a mountain. The rows are also 30 seats long. Getting in an out is a series of crushed toes and bumped knees. The balcony box tiers are equally difficult to manage for those with mobility problems. There are disability designated seats, but again, they get taken up by able-bodied folks who come in late. A unique carpet in the Spinnaker Lounge gives the appearance of waves. It actually makes the floor look uneven - a trick of the eye that can be disorienting or - for those with seasickness - could make you queasy. The ship is small enough to be manageable but it is also difficult to get accustomed to because of its lack of symmetry. Corridors are on one side or the other, but not both. Different banks of elevators provide access to different areas - even if on the same floor! The ship is generally clean, although my cabin was not fully cleaned when I took occupancy and the porter did not provide clean glasses. The dining room had frayed table clothes and dusty window sills. I'm afraid the food is a real mixed bag - everything from amazing to awful. Why is the formal dining room serving Brown n Serve sausage and frozen hash-brown patties? I can get that at MacDonalds. The baked goods are made on board - except for the bagels and the English Muffins, which are from a supplier - skip those. If you crave Eggs Benedict, get it in the dining room. It is impossible to serve an egg with a runny yolk in a heat lamp buffet. The desserts are amazing, nearly without fail. Save room. The staff goes out of their way to make sure you are enjoying yourself. They are NCL's greatest asset. As for me, this may be my last trip with the line - they are cutting costs at the cruiser's expense. Stop selling - start sailing! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
This was my 13th cruise with NCL 3rd time on the Gem. I prefer the smaller ships mainly because of the amount of people, less kids and who doesn't like the Spinnaker Lounge or the outdoor Garden Cafe. Also the Dawn class has 3 banks ... Read More
This was my 13th cruise with NCL 3rd time on the Gem. I prefer the smaller ships mainly because of the amount of people, less kids and who doesn't like the Spinnaker Lounge or the outdoor Garden Cafe. Also the Dawn class has 3 banks of elevators fore, mid and aft while the Escape class has only 2, fore and aft, so if you're mid ship you have a long walk to get to an elevator. Once the Bliss comes though I think the party is over for the Gem, in NY anyway. The Ship: The ship is great, it's just the right size, easy to navigate with great open spaces (outdoor Garden Cafe') and the Spinnaker (closed space) where you can read a book, whenever bingo isn't happening, or just watch the waves through the huge windows. I was 11th deck aft which is a great spot since the Garden Cafe is one flight up. I was travelling solo so it was an inside cabin. The Cabin: Typical inside cabin with a pull down bed mounted on the wall if you have kids or a caretaker which I have neither, small kids anyway. I was able to get on each side of the bed and a decent sized TV. Big closet and the bathroom was a nice size even for my 6' 210lb. frame. Always liked the layout of the bathroom, walk-in shower, and actually mimicked it when I renovated my own. Clean and nice polish on the wood grain so plenty of light during the day but even better at night because of being inside, absolute darkness at night. With a balcony there is always a little light that comes through but here you're in total darkness which translates into very restful sleep. Dining: I ate in the Garden Cafe mostly and there is variety galore i.e. Asian Night, Italian Night etc. but since I am a Platinum member I get free dinners at Cagney's/Le Bistro and LaCucina/ Moderno so I picked the LaCucina and LeBistro. One tip as soon you get on the ship, or early as possible, book your Cagney's reservations as they load up faster than any other. The food in LaCucina I find just fine, nice variety, tasty with just the right size portions to leave you enough room for dessert. I don't expect a 5 star dining experience in these restaurants, nor should anyone else paying $20 for a meal, even though I don't pay that. What I do find is good food, tastefully presented without outstanding service. LeBistro though is on another level here you will get about as close to 5 star as you would on the outside. Impeccably dressed staff, brilliant menu that is not overstuffed with 30 varieties but a simple, well thought out variety of chicken, veal, beef and seafood, of course. I had the escargot and I would rate it right up there with the top 3 escargot dishes I've ever had. The variety of dining choices will satisfy any taste. Enetrtainment and Activities: Plenty to do there's Bingo, Deal or No Deal, Live Quiz Games in the Atrium Big Screen. There is so much going on for the whole family all ages. Library, Game Room, outdoor basketball courts, golf cages the list goes on and on you'd be pretty hard pressed to get bored. Service: This is where NCL shines, the service is top notch and to give you an example when I first boarded and went to the cabin the safe wouldn't lock, no big deal. Went downstairs and told the staff at the main desk, she made a call. By the time I went to the Garden Cafe' and had a quick bite and went back to the cabin it was fixed. This is just a small example of what is the esprit de corps of the whole staff - get it done with a smile and have a nice cruise. Ports and Shore Excursions: This is the reason for not having the 5th circle dotted. DISNEY. This was supposed to be a 12:50 gathering at the Stardust Theatre unfortunately we had a rescue at sea. All of a sudden the ship comes to a stop and a life boat is sent out, maybe 300 yards to a small craft, maybe 18-22 ft, bobbing aimlessly in the semi-rough water. Apparently, they were stranded at sea for 3 days which is all well and good, for them. This whole thing took about an hour to save them and get the life boat hoisted back into position. Now we're about 10 nautical miles out, I think, and it pushes us back an hour. By the time we get into port, get cleared, get the walkway in, assemble in the Stardust get to the bus and take the hour ride to Disney it's 3:30 p.m. Its raining, not their fault, but on the way there, being it is raining, they announce those who bought tickets to the Magic Kingdom it will be closing at 6:00 p.m. and if you want to trade in your Magic Kingdom passes for Epcot it'll be OK. Unfortunately, those who buy tickets for the Magic Kingdom actually want to go to Magic Kingdom, not a remedy. So these poor people spent I don't know how much $ to try and squeeze getting to the park, waiting for a ride, getting on rides and getting back to the lot in 3 hours, because you have to be at the bus by 6:30. My experience was I spent $125 for a Fastpass+ and made 2 appointments for "Soarin" and "Spaceship Earth". The excursion to and from Disney cost $59 so I'm up to $184. Finally, get there and being it was a rainy day there was not as many people. I get to "Soarin" and waited about 20 minutes to get on. First time at Disney and you expect to be overwhelmed, I wasn't. "Soarin" was about 8 minutes and was kind of underwhelming. You expect to be wowed by Disney but this was like a bad first date, expectations were much higher than the actual event. Left there and went to Spaceship Earth and found out I couldn't go on I was 27 minutes early so I took a walk around to German Town and had a large pretzel and a beer and decided, at 4:30 I wasn't going to go to "Spaceship Earth", so to be underwhelmed by "Soarin" it cost me $184. Had this been a regular day and I waited 1-2 hours for "Soarin" boy I would have been pissed. Stayed there till it was 5:45 and left to get the bus home My point is DISNEY should be an all day excursion precisely for the reasons that anything could happen, and it did, and if even if the Magic Kingdom people were there when the place opened, closing it at 6 wouldn't have been a problem. You could rearrange the itinerary to make a half day at Nassau or avoid Great Stirrup Cay altogether and spend one and a half days at Port Canaveral. I definitely wouldn't have minded because I would have grabbed the space center on the half day and DISNEY the full day. I would never recommend the DISNEY excursion on a half day which is not even a half day it's a quarter day. Until this changes I would never buy this excursion because you're paying for an all day pass and getting a quarter day at the park. Even if we left at 12:50 and arrived by 2 and left at 7:30 you still need a half hour to get from where you are in the park to the bus so that's 5 hours of which most of that time is waiting in line or waiting for your Fastpass+ to activate like I did. Avoid this excursion. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
For our 40th wedding anniversary we chose to cruise out of New York harbor for it's ease of access from home. That requirement narrowed choices to a few and NCL's Gem was the pick. After that, a decision was made to spare no ... Read More
For our 40th wedding anniversary we chose to cruise out of New York harbor for it's ease of access from home. That requirement narrowed choices to a few and NCL's Gem was the pick. After that, a decision was made to spare no expense in an attempt to make our cruise week convenient, hassle free, and to allow ourselves to be pampered. That pampering began right from curbside where as penthouse guests our luggage was taken, we were directed to a private waiting room with coffee, cold drinks and small snacks. And after a wait of 15-20 mins were were escorted around the crowds and up the gang plank to a specialty dining room where we relaxed with drinks while we waited for our room. With the forward penthouse stateroom 10502 the perks continued. The choice although expensive, entitled us to an outstanding view over the bow of the ship from our 284 sq. ft. balcony that came with two lounge chairs two sitting chairs and two round tables all while still providing space to move around and to stand and lean on the railing to take in a 180 degree view of the sea. Cabin 10502 is approx. 500+ sq. ft. with a king size bed, small sofa ( pull out bed ) which was perpendicular to a large floor to ceiling window where we would look out to the balcony and the sea beyond. Inside a table and 4 chairs allowed for dining on snacks and drinks while providing a platform for towel creatures. The closets and drawers provided enough room for 3 and there was a make-up/hair drying station separate from the bathroom. The bathroom was fitted with a shower and tub, sink and mirror and a sliding glass door to personal privacy even as showers were being taken. Of course a mini bar, coffee machine with tea and espresso were also available in the cabin. The mattress was very comfortable and the bedding was plush. Furnishings and equipment were clean, worked as expected and modern. The factor which I believe allowed NCL to exceed expectations for this cabin was the additional perks and services associated with this cabin class. Those extras included NCL staff members which were dedicated to and at our service. One employee was responsible for delivering food or any beverage we requested. We enjoyed coffee, juice, fruit and cheeses all delivered when requested and on a daily basis. We enjoyed early morning 6:30 am deliveries of coffee and had cheese crackers and fruit delivered about 4-5 pm. In addition, the butler was always there to give us tips and ideas with respect to the cruise. Another employee was responsible for every want or need we had other than food and beverages ( although she would have helped with that too ). Our Concierge arranged show seating, shore excursions, smoothed out any cruise wrinkles and provided advise to make sure our cruise week was pleasant and ensured satisfaction. The penthouse cabin also allowed for us to have breakfast and lunch in the specialty dining rooms of Modernos and Cagney's. Sit down table service with waitstaff for these two meals made lines and buffet waiting disappear. French press coffee and fresh squeezed juices were the best. Continuing to treat ourselves we opted for those specialty dining packages covering all evening meals except one which was spent in the main dining room " Grand Pacific ". The specialty dining staff, food quality and venues exceeded our expectations. The service and the food quality in the main dining room was fine, However, the specialty dining was better as expected. The entertainment in the Stardust was very good. Music, dancing, specialty acts and bands there and at the bars were all professional and enjoyable. The activities were standard cruise stuff but ok and fun too. The ports of call were not important to us for this cruise and we were more looking forward to relaxing on the ship for our 3 days at sea. In fact, we had considered not getting off the ship while in port. Another service we opted for and paid extra for was the thermal spa. This area was private, had lounge chairs... heated ones as well. In the spa common area iced water flavored with fruit was available, and coffees and teas were set as well out for us. Additional locker rooms for men and women provided for steam rooms and dry saunas. Again the benefit of exclusivity was that we never felt crowded. Upon arrival at Cape Canaveral we opted to stay on board and relax. At Stirrup Cay we opted for the small cabana. The cabana was great came with a mini bar, a waiter for drinks and personal lounge chairs. Again the intention was to have a private, quite, pampered stay. and for the most part that was true of our stay on the Cay. However, with construction and expansion taking place on their island we had a unacceptable level of continuous noise from a piece of equipment. We had to discuss this with several NCL reps before some accommodation for the noise was made. This required complaining which we were averse to on vacation, required precious time and was never completely eliminated. NCL did credit 25% of the cost back to us, but for us it was not about the money. I have to dig deep now for any negatives. As mentioned the construction noise on the Cay was unacceptable and disappointing. Also, the activities like the martini tasting and whiskey tasting had an additional charge and was unexpected because we had the UBP or unlimited beverage package. Our disappointments were few, they were minor and were not allowed to ruin any part of our week. Finally, one complaint which we had and heard others complain about was the hoarding of lounge chairs on pool decks. From 7am people reserved with towels their chairs. Not sure how NCL could help with this. But no matter what we had a great time and would strongly encourage cruisers to opt for the extras. You're worth it !! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
This was our first Cruise and it was AMAZING everything was organized embarking and disembarking from beginning of our trip to the end. The ship staff was professional, friendly and helpful all day everyday. Our cabin was cleaned everyday ... Read More
This was our first Cruise and it was AMAZING everything was organized embarking and disembarking from beginning of our trip to the end. The ship staff was professional, friendly and helpful all day everyday. Our cabin was cleaned everyday with a different towel animal on our bed when we retuned to our room. The food was delicious with so many different verities of food to choose from. I liked that everyday there was a artillery schedule of Activities and Entertainment for the day and there was something for everyone to do. We met good people from other nationalities and laughed, talked and ate together. On one of our Shore exclusions my husband and I when on a jet ski ride and I held a beautiful starfish. The fantastic part of my cruise was standing or sitting on our private balcony stateroom cabin with my husband and watching the sunset at night or sunrise in the morning and appreciateing life. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
I will like to thanks Lorena, Kat and all the staff from the Gem it was a fantastic experience been with your guys this week. Lorena Y Kat was fabulous with the entertainment. (Wash it Wash it) don't remember her name but she ... Read More
I will like to thanks Lorena, Kat and all the staff from the Gem it was a fantastic experience been with your guys this week. Lorena Y Kat was fabulous with the entertainment. (Wash it Wash it) don't remember her name but she was the best. Also the guy who clean my room was very good. Thank you for the service and for all the animals he did in on the bed. The food was very good. the diferent type of food was exellent. The band, the singers, the dancers, you guys this grate job. The only bad think was they did not have enough space on the splash academy for the crildren. Need to work on that because it was a lot of chilfren on the ship and parents want to go to the club after 10:30pm please work on that. need a biger room or more staff. One again I want thank you for the the amaizing week for the service, for the entretaiment, for the food. for everythink. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
We booked this cruise only about 3 weeks before the sailing date - it seemed like the perfect easy family vacation. I had been on another cruise with Carnival many years ago but this was the first cruise for my hubby and daughter. The ... Read More
We booked this cruise only about 3 weeks before the sailing date - it seemed like the perfect easy family vacation. I had been on another cruise with Carnival many years ago but this was the first cruise for my hubby and daughter. The ship was very nice - it had been refurbished a couple of years ago. Overall, we had a great time, but there were definitely some shortcomings. First, I need to praise the staff - they really went above and beyond to please us in so many ways. My daughter is a very picky eater and on the first day, she found a dish she liked at the Chinese restaurant. On a few of the other nights, even though we were eating in other restaurants, we mentioned this dish and it was made and brought to her at the restaurant we were at!! Now if that isn't service, then I don't know what is. We did notice that there could have been a few more family or kid oriented activities for those kids who did not enroll in the splash academy. We also had a couple of issues with the shore excursions - definitely not worth the price we were charged. I understand that you pay a premium to book through the ship, but it was still overpriced. The original boat ride we were supposed to go on in Port Canaveral was cancelled because not enough people signed up. They let us know the day before so we had enough time to go to the shore excursion desk and find a new excursion. We found a similar boat ride and they gave us a tiny discount to make up for the inconvenience. It was a pretty disappointing boat ride. We also booked a day at Atlantis and for what we paid, we only had access to the beach and the aquarium. Our favorite day was the private island. The tender ride was a bit bumpy, but it was a short ride. My daughter had the greatest time floating in the water on a raft we rented for $16!!! It was really beautiful and relaxing there. They told us to keep hydrated, but there really was not a lot of water available. They served a very nice lunch with a theme of an island!!! We enjoyed the entertainment - the magician could have done a few more tricks, but we still enjoyed him. It was nice that there were 2 shows each night, so we didn't have to rush through dinner or anything. There seemed to be music all over the place at most times. There were also a lot of giveaways and raffle type of events. I loved being able to eat where we wanted, when we wanted. The only places we had to make reservations were at the specialty restaurants. Now on to the food - overall, we enjoyed the food - there was always something for everyone, especially at the buffet. Some of the food was a bit disappointing - the soups, and a lot of the meat was dry and not flavorful. I also expected higher quality fish at the meals. The French restaurant was a disappointment - the quality was not great and we had a little trouble with the service. Our favorite restaurant was Moderno and my daughter loved the teppenyaki place - she is still talking about it. The pools were small but it was a treat for my daughter to be able to go into a hot tub and she enjoyed the slide. We didn't really have any problems finding chairs. The cabin was not huge, but we didn't feel cramped in it. We especially loved the turn down service with the animals made out of towels. We had a family size window and it was fine. The embarkation was fine, but the welcome when we first got on the ship could have been better. Overall, it was a blast - the staff truly aimed to please and we really had quality family time together. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
So, first time to the cruise experience and from the UK. Wasn’t sure what to expect. The Gem was the right size for us and we quickly got our bearings and were able to move about the ship with ease. The balcony stateroom was ... Read More
So, first time to the cruise experience and from the UK. Wasn’t sure what to expect. The Gem was the right size for us and we quickly got our bearings and were able to move about the ship with ease. The balcony stateroom was ample in size. The bathroom small but the shower was excellent. The food options were good and of great quality. A little overwhelmed to have so much food on offer and I can’t lie. The main buffet was BRUTAL. We have stayed at many inclusive resorts and I have never known such loaded plates or such rudeness from other passengers. ( admittedly mainly one particular nationality in my experience.) The other non speciality restaurants were very good and we favoured these when our youngest was in the kids club. The kids club was where my main issue lay. My child became unwell and there was no way that the staff can page you. They leave a message on your room voicemail. But you aren’t in your room so you don’t pick this up. NCL really need to look at a pager system or tannoy you in these circumstances. The ports of call were great. We visited Kennedy Space ( we arranged ourselves and saved £150 on the NCL excursion )and did 2 beach excursions. No issues for sun loungers. The pools are SMALL. Too small. And strangely had no lifeguards until days 6/7. And these lifeguards were very strict. I’m surprised the kids were even allowed in the water. Not sure why no lifeguards on days 1-5?? Another guest mentioned there had been a port inspection. Maybe they got pulled up on the lack of safety around the pool bit there had been no issues and most parents supervised their children adequately. The housekeeping staff were amazing and work really hard. Our real disappointment was the beverage packages we had paid for up front. Definitely paid more when we booked via a NCL agent in the UK then if we had waited and despite this being all inclusive you get charged port taxes on your free drinks. Only a couple dollars each time but not really the point. It was still an added cost. And for the kids not enough selection of juices to choose from so wasted money if your kids don’t drink fizzy drinks. Overall had a great time and would cruise again. Fellow passengers suggest that Disney and Royal Caribbean provide better services so would perhaps look at one of these. Read Less
Sail Date August 2018
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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