275 New York (Manhattan) to Canada & New England Norwegian Gem Cruise Reviews

Went to guest relations five times during this cruise regarding my account credit vs a balance they were showing. Each person told me somethng different. On the last night of the cruise, I was told to spend a certain amount of money in ... Read More
Went to guest relations five times during this cruise regarding my account credit vs a balance they were showing. Each person told me somethng different. On the last night of the cruise, I was told to spend a certain amount of money in order not to lose non refundable credit. However, the next day, my account was then showing a balance. That fifth person I tried to talk with on Saturday, had me in tears. Then 2 other people got involved. After having to return merchandise I bought in order to not have a balance, I finally asked to speak with the head of the department. Alfie was great and she did give me some onboard credit, but I could have certainly done without all the drama while I was on vacation. Regarding other aspects of the cruise, I got charged for an excursion I missed because of health issues. I understand it is their policy to charge if you don’t give a 48 hour notice, however I think they could take the reason for missing the excursion into consideration. It wasn’t like I just changed my mind. I COULDN’t go, and my health reasons didn’t give me a 48 hour notice. Food was great! Only had one night of slow service with cold asparagus and bloody medium well steak. Cabin steward was good. My rating for service was strictly for guest relations. All other service, except one night of dining was great. I miss the days when there was good service at guest relations. They used to care if you had an issue, now it seems like they don’t care if they give you the wrong information or jerk you around. My opinion based on my experience.... Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
I traveled with my husband and my mom. We stayed in a 2 bedroom Haven villa. The room was beautiful. The Haven pool area was beautiful. Made, was the Valet in the pool area. He was wonderful. Great service and great personality. Our ... Read More
I traveled with my husband and my mom. We stayed in a 2 bedroom Haven villa. The room was beautiful. The Haven pool area was beautiful. Made, was the Valet in the pool area. He was wonderful. Great service and great personality. Our butler's name was Teo and cabin stewart was John. Loved them all. We chose this cruise for the scenery, which did not disappoint. The New England coastline was beautiful. Being in the Haven, embarkation was great. No lines, private sitting area. Once onboard, we were escorted to Cagney's for lunch. The food on the Gem, was very good, however, we had better food on the Pearl in Alaska in August of 2017. The soups all tasted the same - bisque and chowders should be thick. Both were runny and tasteless. The corn chowder tasted like pulverized canned cream corn. Watery, flavorless. At every meal, with the exception of two, our coffee was cold. At Moderno for breakfast, they bring a french press coffee pot to the table, even that was cold. The shows were good and the three of us enjoyed them. However, if it wasn't for being in the Stardust Theatre, we would have NEVER seen our cruise director Lorena. I have been on 20+ cruises and she is by far the worst cruise director I have ever had. She would announce the show and beat it. You never saw here anywhere on the ship, ever. When she made announcements over the PA system, you could not understand her. I never saw (except on the TV in the room) the assistant cruise director. Tours - Poor offering. This is the first cruise I booked my own tours, with the exception of Boston - and I wish I would have booked that on my own as well. We chose the Salem Witch Museum, which is NOT a museum. It is a bad enactment of the witch trials. Hooky, stupid, boring. Our tour guide Cathy (thank you NCL, NOT) spent the entire time on the bus yelling at the driver. How he kept his cool is beyond me. Every other word out of her mouth was Etc., Etc., Etc. Waste of money. Stop doing this tour. I can't believe it would even appeal to a young adult or child. Gift Shop - Hello, does anyone who is purchasing items for the gift shop realize that you are cruising to New England and Canada, and not a Caribbean Island? All summer clothes, beachware, flip flops. The temperature was COLD. How about a sweatshirt or t-shirt from one of the actual stops on the ship? All in all, I love Norwegian Cruise Line. I love their dining options. I did feel that the food on the Gem was not as good as other NCL ships I have been on, but I went on this cruise to see the scenery, which was beautiful. We will definitely cruise again, on NCL, however I will try to find out prior to booking who the cruise director will be. They make or break your trip. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We did the New England/Canada cruise to see something different. Loved loved loved the ports we visited. As to Norweigan, staff was wonderful. Food- disappointing. Buffet was ok, but the freestyle dining doesnt work. Had to wait ... Read More
We did the New England/Canada cruise to see something different. Loved loved loved the ports we visited. As to Norweigan, staff was wonderful. Food- disappointing. Buffet was ok, but the freestyle dining doesnt work. Had to wait to get a table every time. Nothing exciting on menu, no seafood, no filet, etc. Mediocre at best. You want a good meal, you have to do the specialty dining which is expensive. Royal Carribean's food was 10x better. I think this concept was done to get you to spend money for better food. Money...they really dollar you to death. Constantly trying to sell you lottery tickets and such. Bingo was $39 but you couldn't win the cover-all jackpot unless you did it in less than 47 numbers. End of the week they raffled off a cruise for everyone that paid. Woman that won was furious. $600 cruise for 2??? Lol. She would have to pay service charge, drink PKG, etc. Drink package was worth it. Good wine and liquor. Didn't like how they segregated everyone by the floor level/room class. We had a tour purchased through a private tour company for Bar Harbor. We couldn't get off the ship until everyone who purchase a tour through Norweigan got off and everyone who spent more on their cabin got off. We were late. Rooms.....incredibly small. Cleanliness....very clean, staff worked very hard. Entertainment.... The couple of stage productions we're good. Others not so much. Will cruise again, but not on Norweigan. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
When I made the reservation for my friend and I and our husbands, I mentioned to NCL agent that we are celebrating my 44 year anniversary. Big year right? Who can say that these days! The agent told me they will send us a cake with a card ... Read More
When I made the reservation for my friend and I and our husbands, I mentioned to NCL agent that we are celebrating my 44 year anniversary. Big year right? Who can say that these days! The agent told me they will send us a cake with a card to celebrate our special occasion..We were left empty!! Our mattress was so uncomfortable that my husband and I received back pain. One week later, we are still experiencing pain..... We tried the food at different restaurants and everything we were served was very cold. Also, the menu was same every night. Overall quality of the food within the Buffet was unacceptable. The ship had over 2000 passengers and all of us could not be accommodated in the dining halls. There were not enough tables to sit and this left us all wandering around to find a table to sit. It was a very uncomfortable experience for all of us. All PA announcements were not clear and we could not understand the anything said. This is worrying in times of emergency. WIFI was part of my package at the time of reservation and I was not able to use it. I personally went to the front desk asking for help but no one knew how to do it. Let’s just say I’m a veteran. I’ve been on 20 cruises in my life and overall this was the worst experience I’ve had to date. Both my husband and I along with our friends were disappointed in taking Norwegian. I chose this cruise to celebrate an important anniversary and it did not meet any of our expectations. I will not recommend this to anyone especially those who want to celebrate an important occasion. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We had taken many cruises on the Disney Cruise Line but we hadn't tried any other lines or taken a northern cruise and this one did not disappoint. We did Halifax, St. John, Boston, New Port, and New York City. The Gem is an older ... Read More
We had taken many cruises on the Disney Cruise Line but we hadn't tried any other lines or taken a northern cruise and this one did not disappoint. We did Halifax, St. John, Boston, New Port, and New York City. The Gem is an older ship, but very well maintained and not as big as some of the newer additions. The excursions were good, well organized and worth the money. I especially enjoyed the tours of Acadia National Park and, the one of the Vanderbilt mansions in Long Island. Our guide was super and the houses were exquisite. Our stateroom was good, with adequate space and very hard working staff. I enjoyed the live music, especially the guitarist, Angel. The passengers seemed to be a lot more friendly than on a Disney Cruise and we certainly didn't miss the plethora of children to be endured on the DCL! . On the other hand, the embarkation and debarkation processes were not handled as well as Disney, and the immigration Process was very poorly executed. The one show we attended was not up to Disney's standard, the food was only fair, except in the specialty restaurants for Italian food and the restaurant, Cagney's for steaks, etc.; and we missed the split bathrooms offered on the DCL. But all in all it was a lovely, if cold, cruise and we were very glad that we took it. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We picked this cruise for the destination and ports and because we like the smaller ships (we did a trans-Atlantic on the Epic in the spring and can now say we were on the Epic -- too big and too odd of a ship). This was our sixth cruise ... Read More
We picked this cruise for the destination and ports and because we like the smaller ships (we did a trans-Atlantic on the Epic in the spring and can now say we were on the Epic -- too big and too odd of a ship). This was our sixth cruise on Norwegian, two trans-Atlantic crossings and two 7/8 day cruises, so we had an idea of what to expect, but we were a bit disappointed in our experience on the ship. The port visits, though, were excellent and a driving trip to visit those areas is in our future. I tagged this "Random" because of a number of things -- the random selection of when movies and TV shows were shown on the cabin TV, the random choices of meals in the Grand Pacific, the random choices of themes in the Garden Cafe, and the random times that there was a 30-minute wait for seating in both dining rooms. I also added the "Sailing with the B Team" subtitle since the service, meals, and offerings weren't up to what we have seen before on our past cruises. Breakfast was fine since it is hard to screw up eggs, omelets, etc. on the buffet or in the dining room. The issue of service and food came up with dinner in the Grand Pacific. The standard choices were the standard choices that are on just about every Norwegian menu (steak, flounder, chicken, pork, and pasta). The daily variable menu choices on a couple of days weren't outstanding or exciting, leading my wife and I to comment, "Well, we can find something to eat, even if it is just appetizers." The option was to find nothing we liked on the themed buffet. Both my wife and I were disappointed several times, me with a steak without much flavor and her with the veal that also had no flavor. At one meal at a shared table (which we enjoyed) several appetizers were served cold (especially the spinach dip that should have been hot). Some special requests for the entree didn't get communicated well so substitutions for vegetables or other sides didn't show up. Most of the table asked for coffee with desert but it took action by the maiter de to get the coffee served -- after everyone had finished their desert. The service just wasn't there at times. Outside of the dining room, the singing entertainment seemed to be made up of lower-level performers. A number of people we talked to mentioned the atrium piano player who couldn't sing. We briefly listened to another group and didn't seek them out again. This was disappointing because we enjoyed listening to good performers in the evening in the atrium on other cruises. Other activities that were available seemed limited and didn't really appeal to us. Deal or No Deal is fun to watch the first time but is more of a racket at $25 a card to play with limited rewards. Another failure (and a Norwegian trait on other cruises) is the control of guests when there is a need to appear/line up for something. When we arrived in Bar Harbor everyone had to line up for the immigration officers. There were set times for different groups and decks to show up but there wasn't any type of check to see if someone was in the appropriate group, which meant anyone could show up at any time. This has happened on past cruises, too, which makes for longer lines filled with people who aren't supposed to be there. The staff never enforces who or when someone should or shouldn't be there. The same went for lining up for the tender trips in Bar Harbor and Newport. People grabbed early tickets (1, 3, 5, etc.) but didn't show up until they were calling 12, 14, 17 ticket numbers late in the morning. The feeling among those who were bumped by these late arrivals was that if you didn't make it when your number was called, you went to the end of the line. The ultimate failure of this was at the end of the trip in New York. Because of problems at the dock (not of Norwegian's making) everything was an hour late. When they finally started calling for the self-supporting people to disembark, there was a rush for the exits. At one point there was an announcement that if you were in a color group and your luggage wasn't available, you would be sent back (don't know if that was enforced). We ended up joining the "shuttle" group ahead of our color group because we needed to get to Penn Station in time to catch our train home (yes, we did what we complain about by jumping the line but the delay shortened what had been a comfortable window of time). Bottom line as far as the ship goes is that is was a nice cruise despite the little things and we are still keeping our reservations for a future cruise on Norwegian. As to the ports and excursions, we were very pleased -- although the excursion selection was tough to work through to balance interest and cost. In Halifax we chose the Hop On-Hop Off bus excursion. We got a good overview of the city and had an excellent guide for the first section who was knowledgeable and provided good commentary. We hopped off downtown to walk around and have lunch (and had a wonderful meal at Stayner's Wharf). The return to the ship also had an excellent guide; kudos to the company for their selection and training of their guides. We did a walking food tour in St. John and again had an excellent guide. We started with a beaver tail (a "Canadian donut") then cruised the City Market where we were given samples of Dulce, maple butter, candied and smoked salmon, a lobster roll, and a wonderful lobster tail pastry. In addition to the food, we learned the history of the city and area, had various architecture features pointed out, and worked in a visit to a restored theatre. When we were done, we had some free time to walk around a bit more. We booked another foodie tour for Bar Harbor and again the guide was very good (unfortunately my wife didn't make the tour; something from the buffet didn't agree with her and she wasn't up to the walk in the cold). The guide covered the history of the area as we walked to the first stop where we were served a delicious lobster bisque. Next stop was the Independent coffee shop, with a wonderful lobster roll, blueberry coffee cake, and a cold coffee delicacy. We visited the Bar Harbor Popcorn Shop for a tasty snack, then went to the Episcopal Church to view the Tiffany stained glass and hear about the Astors. Last stop was the Acadia Country Store and a slice of blueberry pie. None of the excursions for Boston appealed to us, so we opted for a Hop On-Hop Off bus tour. The service had a kiosk on the pier and the ticket price was the same as the on-line price so it wasn't a bad deal. The first bus shuttled us from the port to the Quincy Market area and stop 1 on the loop. We walked around Quincy Market and marveled at the variety of food stalls. We then picked up the bus for a 2-hour overview of Boston. Sully was an entertaining and knowlegeable driver/guide who provided a lot of background information. It was a quick overview that convinced us we need to return to Boston for an extended visit. A late lunch at the Quincy Market compled the day, followed by a down-to-the-wire return to the ship right at 3:30 (although we didn't leave until after 5 p.m.). Newport was a surprise -- we didn't pick from the limited list of excursions but didn't know what to expect. After a wait for a tender, we started a walk around the downtown, which turned out to be a nice place to visit and shop. On recommendation from a shop clerk, we made our way to The Mooring restaurant for lunch -- one of the best meals of the trip. We walked off lunch going back to the landing, where we had a bit of a wait for a tender. Bottom line for this is we accomplished our goal for this cruise -- to visit some places we haven't been to before. As mentioned, a road trip is in our future to return to this region for an extended visit now that our appetite has been wheted by this trip. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We chose this cruise secondary to the itinerary. The cabin was quite small compared to other NCL ships we have been on. Our steward did not turn down our bed three nights out of seven and did not receive our usual towel animal five of ... Read More
We chose this cruise secondary to the itinerary. The cabin was quite small compared to other NCL ships we have been on. Our steward did not turn down our bed three nights out of seven and did not receive our usual towel animal five of the seven nights. The food in the formal restaurant was inedible much of the time, had to go to the buffet or O'Sheehans for food after disappointing meals. The entertainment was the best thing on this cruise, professional and talented performers. The rest of the staff was either average or below average, not friendly, did not go out of their way. We did most excursions on our own as they were either half or one third of the price of going through NCL. I received a card as we celebrated my birthday on one of the days we were on the ship. They sent me a card and asked if there was anything they could do to make more day more special, please let us know. I asked for a reservation for 2 at the main restaurant and their response was it's their policy not to give reservations for a party of 2, so much for them making my day special. I will not be cruising NCL again. The final blow was that we had to wait almost two hours to disembark as there was a barge in the GEM's parking space, almost missed our flight. Horrible cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
My travel companions and I (we were a group of 4 in two cabins/ 2 people in each cabin) chose this cruise for the itinerary, price and the fact that we had never before sailed on Norwegian and wanted an opportunity to try the Norwegian ... Read More
My travel companions and I (we were a group of 4 in two cabins/ 2 people in each cabin) chose this cruise for the itinerary, price and the fact that we had never before sailed on Norwegian and wanted an opportunity to try the Norwegian cruise line. Unfortunately we were extremely disappointed with just about the entire experience. Specifically, 1. Cabin steward never came by to introduce himself. 2. Bathroom floor not cleaned for several days 3. Dirty glasses left in cabin for several days 4. Food in all dining areas (Magenta, Grand Pacific & Garden) constantly cold had to ask the waiter to make certain food brought to us was hot. 5. No waiter service in Atrium/lobby area 6. Housekeeping never cleaned tables in Atrium/Lobby area, we sat in lobby area 2 times an each time dirty empty coffee cups and glasses were left on table from previous guest for an hour and not removed until we complained to Guest Services. 7. Toilet in cabin stopped working twice!! 8. Shower hose in my sister's cabin broke while she was taking a shower. 9. Toilet on very weird angle, literally when you sat on it you had to twist your body so as to face the shower...strange...peculiar, but mostly very uncomfortable. 10. Bartender in club Bliss was clearly drinking and trying to cover it up by sucking on lemons which he grabbed from the garnishment dish with his bare hands as a staff person in a suit looked on unconcerned. 11. Waiter in Bliss lounge never came over to take drink orders and never cleaned the tables. The waiter did however go behind the bar to cover for his friend the bartender who was drinking liquor he poured into plastic cups and then went into a back room to drink. 12. Over a 7 day cruise only saw one lone housekeeper wiping down one stairway rail..on other cruise line housekeeping crew are out in numbers and constantly wiping, washing and cleaning but not on Norwegian. 13. Freestyle dining was a disaster, as a party of 4 we were not allowed to make reservations so for the 3 times we showed up at Grand Pacific/Magenta we had to wait to be seated one time we were given an electronic buzzer to alert us when our table was ready just like eating at some cheesy chain restaurant. 14. At one dinner time in Pacific or Magenta (can't remember which one) we were seated right next to table where waiters were depositing dirty dishes but that's not the worst part, the absolute worst was the right next to the dirty dish table was the "clean" table were our waiter was sorting our meals...talk about yuck we had to sit near dirty dishes and then watch as our food was inches away from literal garbage. 14.Day before debarkation went to Guest Services to ask a question about luggage tags and the Guest Services crew person acted like we were bothering her, which maybe we would have understood if she had been busy, but she was just standing there doing nothing . 15. After disappointing meals in Grand Pacific/Magenta we ate most of the rest of our meals in Garden (buffet) where we had to wait or hunt down seats after which we had to beg someone to clean the tables and supply silverware. 16. During meals in Garden housekeeping crew came over, while we were still eating our meals, and asked that we move our feet so they could clean/sweep under our table. We were appalled but also confused because why they didn't seem to mind interrupting our meal to clean under our table we had to beg someone to clean the top of the table before we could sit down. 17. Crew person designated to spray hand sanitizer at entrance Garden dining area was a woman who appeared to be of Asian descent. Each time when we entered she would say "Washee, Washee" which to us sounded like some play on an Asian stereotype. Even though the crew member was Asian it made us very uncomfortable...why on earth does Norwegian allow the obvious use of such negative stereotypical phrases. 18. Every cruise line I've been on including Carnival, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean supplied bath robes...but not Norwegian, we were unpleasantly surprised to not have bath robes when we checked the closest in our cabin. 18. Given how health conscious everyone is trying to be these days we were disappointed yet again at breakfast when my sister asked for lactose free milk only to be told that they had run out. 19. There were red biohazard containers in our cabin bathrooms (which we did not request none of us use any kind of disposable needles) which the cabin steward did not remove...seeing the red containers was not only unsettling it was downright creepy. 20. The lighting in the cabins was so dim you could barely see anything including no extra lighting around the vanity mirror how on earth are you supposed to apply makeup or do anything! Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
Great cruise. Parts and excursions were great Price was acceptable Cabin was terrible. End of hallway on 5th floor (5609) Below the kitchen for Magenta dining room. Noise all night. Pans dropping on floor, carts going back ... Read More
Great cruise. Parts and excursions were great Price was acceptable Cabin was terrible. End of hallway on 5th floor (5609) Below the kitchen for Magenta dining room. Noise all night. Pans dropping on floor, carts going back forth and banging. Very little sleep Bathroom flooded second night. Repaired and cleaned up quickly. Door at the end of hall was grew entrance. There was smoking on the other side.Every time door was opened smoke came into the hallway and into my room. Told the cabin steward and he said there was nothing he could do about it. Disembarkation was a Chinese fire drill. Shio was 1 1/2 hours late docking in a pouring rain. Having an auction for an upgrade is an insult. I paid enough for the cruise and sailed enough with NCL to get an automatic upgrade. The cost would have been at least $50/person. Whom ever came up with this idea should know I will probably never sail NCL again. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
I chose this cruise for it's itinerary, and because I'd heard and read only positive reviews. While the cabin, cabin steward and ports of call were all great, those aspects of the cruise were overshadowed by the bad food. The ... Read More
I chose this cruise for it's itinerary, and because I'd heard and read only positive reviews. While the cabin, cabin steward and ports of call were all great, those aspects of the cruise were overshadowed by the bad food. The buffet lacked any variety or pizazz, and everything tasted bland or bad. The main dining rooms also carried bland or downright spoiled food, as did the specialty dining restaurants. We were served spoiled, canned crab (crab cakes), mussels that were inedible and bread/rolls/croissants that literally turned to dust when touched. While some of the staff expressed concern (most were laissez-faire about it) it was obvious they weren't empowered to do anything about it. The on-board internet was also bad; very low bandwidth made it unusable. The on-board entertainment was mediocre at best (wouldn't pass the first test of American Idol!). This was our first, and sadly our last Norwegian cruise. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We chose this cruise because of the dates and destination. Cruised over 30 times but this was our first time on NCL. Not impressed at all and found them to be sub par compared to other cruise lines. Entertainment is not very good, food is ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the dates and destination. Cruised over 30 times but this was our first time on NCL. Not impressed at all and found them to be sub par compared to other cruise lines. Entertainment is not very good, food is lousy and cold, crew is unorganized, and the ship is a bit outdated. Food at the buffet is always cold and low quality, with the exception of the hamburgers and hot dogs. Buffet area does not have enough tables so you will always be fighting for a place to sit down. The Irish Pub service and food is questionable at best. Entertainment fails compared to other cruise lines. Most of the crew does not seem interested in their jobs. Tendering system is a complete failure as the crew does not even follow their own tendering policy. The itinerary is nice for a 7 day New England and Canada cruise but doe not expect much from cruise its self. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
We took this cruise because of a very attractive, bargain basement, clearance fare on the cruise. We cruise regularly, but this would be our first time with Norwegian. While initially impressed by the ease of embarkation (Tip #1 - arrive ... Read More
We took this cruise because of a very attractive, bargain basement, clearance fare on the cruise. We cruise regularly, but this would be our first time with Norwegian. While initially impressed by the ease of embarkation (Tip #1 - arrive later in the day on embarkation day) and the initial impression of the ship, we were overall disappointed by our Norwegian experience. The Cabin, an inside stateroom (category IB,) was clean, well laid out (for the most part) and comfortable. Our cabin steward was great and took care of any issues that arose. The food experience was good. A few fantastic meals interspersed with many good, yet underwhelming, meals. The buffet food was also good, but fairly underwhelming in selection and quality compared to other cruises we have been on. The service was good but fell short on a few occasions. Definitely not up to the standards I expect on a cruise. Entertainment was good... with the exception of one lounge act who could play the piano well enough, but his singing was enough to make me avoid the atrium whenever he was scheduled to play. Where this cruise really fell short was aboard communication. It often appeared that the left hand did not know what the right hand was thinking. The first full day aboard the ship, after checking the daily newsletter for the buffet house, I went for a late breakfast 25 min prior to the printed end time, only to be told that they had just closed until lunch. That was just the first of many times we read or were told by staff one thing only to find the information inaccurate, misleading or just plain wrong. The ports were for the most part all great. In particular, I was very impressed with Saguenay, Quebec. The port facilities are good and people of that area are going out of their way to provide a great shore experience. Unfortunately I never made it into Bar Harbor, MN. It appears nobody onboard, including the captain, knew why NCL scheduled to go to the US after a stop in Canada. This was a major pain as everyone, whether going ashore or not, had to be seen by US customs for a passport check before anyone was allowed to go ashore. I certainly agree with the need for the check, but if this is the process that must be followed, I would have rather just spent that day floating at sea. It would have made more sense, from this perspective, to stop at Bar Harbor before leaving for Canada. All in all, the cruise was a good trip and well worth the small amount we paid. For first time cruisers who have not experienced better, it will provide a great experience. I may have written off Norwegian as an option for future cruises, but several people we met that had cruised Norwegian in the past said that the previous cruises all were a better experience than this one. I will consider trying Norwegian again, but if I do, it will likely be on one of their new ships... if the price is right. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
All shore tours! As an independent traveler with a Tour Company, when we took our shore excursions, we were ignored shoved to the side. Shoved to the side so only NCL tours could get by. Even when a bus slot was open, our tour bus was not ... Read More
All shore tours! As an independent traveler with a Tour Company, when we took our shore excursions, we were ignored shoved to the side. Shoved to the side so only NCL tours could get by. Even when a bus slot was open, our tour bus was not allowed to enter. Had to park the furthest away and our group was always the last off the ship. I (we) have never been treated so poorly traveling,. I have already refused to go on Bermuda cruise with NCL end of April 2019' On board staff were excellent. Only small complaint, which I passed on to upper crew staff, was a lot of hot buffet food, was cold to slightly warm. So we made sure and ordered food that had to be prepared on the spot. Cabin was a little smaller than expected, should have checked square footage a little closer.Weather on cruise was not very good, but still went ashore. Also the changes NCL made on our cruise, from when we originally signed up for was not appreciated. NCL response to that was to give us a $50 dollar oer cabin onboard credit. Really $4500 per cabin invested and they give us $50 dollars!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
Norwegian Gem, like all other Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) ships in the fleet, espouses what it calls "Freestyle Cruising." This means that there are no set dining times, and you may dine in either of the two free main dining ... Read More
Norwegian Gem, like all other Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) ships in the fleet, espouses what it calls "Freestyle Cruising." This means that there are no set dining times, and you may dine in either of the two free main dining rooms (the larger Grand Pacific or the smaller Magenta), or in one of the free specialty restaurants (such as Orchid Garden or O'Sheehan's Bar & Grill), or in one of the up-charge specialty restaurants (such as Cagney's Steakhouse or Le Bistro). The up-charge restaurants have either a $25-30 cover charge, or are priced a la carte. When one books a cruise, sometimes specialty dining packages are offered as an enticement, and it would be wise to snag one of those packages if one books NCL. Freestyle Cruising also means there are no dress codes on the ship and in most of the dining rooms and restaurants, except for Le Bistro and Cagney's, which ask gentlemen to at least wear long trousers and a collared shirt. Jackets for men are never required. This lack of dress codes draws an extremely casually-dressed crowd. This would be delightful if one enjoyed seeing men dressed for dinner as if they just cleaned out the garage. Or there was the woman at dinner in the very high-class Le Bistro wearing a wrinkled red t-shirt with some freakin' message on the front. If that's the atmosphere you like, well, good luck with it. I missed not having a set dining time with the same servers every night. And I don't mind putting on a jacket. But to each his own -- freestyle. I found the casualness, well, just too damn casual. Unfortunately the food in the main dining rooms and in the buffet-style Garden Cafe (there is nothing garden-like about it) is just so-so. I stopped going to the main dining rooms after the first three nights of my 10-day cruise from NYC to Quebec City. The food was mediocre and the service seemed to be provided by waiters still in training. One evening I ordered bratwurst with sauerkraut. I asked for some mustard for the bratwurst and you would have thought it was the first time the staff had ever heard of such a thing. Finally one of the captains (who are always on their cell phones, talking to who I don't know) came over and said they could give me some Tabasco sauce for the bratwurst! No, I said, I want mustard, and preferably spicy brown mustard. Eventually they located an individual-sized bottle of Dijon mustard. I made do, trying to pep up the very bland sausage on my plate. No spicy brown, I'm afraid. Appetizers, entrees, and desserts may sound very appealing on the menus, but what is brought to the table is often disappointing. The food tends to be bland, which is probably pleasing to many of the more mature passengers. The up-charge specialty restaurants, however, can be very good, proving that NCL knows how to provide fine dining. They just don't provide it to everyone on the ship. I loved Le Bistro for French. Cagney's was the most popular, with great steaks. But the Dobosh torte I ordered there for dessert one night was more thick frosting than cake, enough to put you on the expressway to diabetes. For those who drink from morning to midnight, it is perhaps advisable to look into the somewhat economical drink packages. I don't drink much, but on one of the early days of the cruise I ordered a Manhattan, made with Maker's Mark. Imagine my surprise when the bill was presented -- $22.00 including the mandatory 20% gratuity. For the rest of the cruise, when I occasionally wanted a cocktail, it would be whatever the drink-of-the-day special was -- usually $8.95 a throw. Enough complaining. Let me tell you what's good. The Norwegian Gem was built in 2005, so it is an older vessel. It was refurbished in 2015. Some areas of the ship appear a bit dated, but the vessel is kept immaculate, and you won't see any worn carpets or frayed upholstery. All is spic and span. Everything runs on time -- embarkation, disembarkation, tenders, etc. You never feel vibrations from the engines. The ship is extremely stable, even in 11.5-foot waves. All the staff, in fact, are friendly and eager to please for the most part. The redone Stardust Theater is wonderful, and that leads me to one of the great things on the ship: the production shows are the best I have even seen on the seas. We had three: Swing, which was music and dance from the 1930/40s swing/jazz era; Blazing Boots, which was country-western; and Get Down Tonight, which was music from the 1970s. The singers and dancers on the Gem were nearly all Broadway-quality. We also had a juggler, a comedian, a Cirque de Soleil-type act, a magician, and a singer on other evenings -- some good and some just okay for an after-dinner 45-minutes of entertainment. Acts and music in the various lounges were also good to excellent. The first day there was a meet-up for solo travelers, which I attended, and which I haven't experienced on other ships. It was nice, and I met a couple of very interesting, well-traveled folks. About 30 people showed up, and most of us went to dinner as a group (until I dropped out). Now for some of the ship's lesser qualities. There is no indoor pool on the Gem, except for the thermal suite which has a hydrotherapy pool and various accoutrements. But to use the thermal suite you must shell out $240. There are no day passes, you must buy the package for the whole cruise. Which is sad, because in the men's locker room, and I assume on the women's side as well, there is a wonderful spacious sauna with large windows looking out to sea. It would have been delightful on this cool-weather itinerary to use it once in awhile. But I didn't feel like splurging $240 bucks. A few hardy people braved the cool Fall weather to go out to the hot tubs on the ship's pool deck. Cookies were almost impossible to find on the vessel. I never saw them anywhere, until the last day I discovered they had some at a snack bar out on the pool deck. Well, few people used the pool deck on this itinerary, which is perhaps why they hid the cookies out there. And no avocados, asparagus, or berries anywhere on the ship, except as an occasional garnish. No pies, just lots of cobbler, which was the usual canned fruit pie filling with a barely-baked layer of crumbs on top, onto which you could ladle some creamy or sugar-laden sauce. The cakes tended to be two-layer jobs, with just different frosting or garnishes each day. Dessert portions tended to be small, which was probably a good thing. Ice cream or soft-serve was always available. NCL never used the theater for movies, which is sad because all of the other activities on the ship were things like trivia, bingo, game shows, and the usual pitches to patronize the spa or buy orthotics. There were no cultural events or port talks, not counting the initial presentation of all the various excursions one could buy. And there were the shopping talks, steering passengers to so-called NCL-approved retailers. NCL has done away with a daily news sheet of world news, something that is disappearing on most ships these days as passengers get news online or on their stateroom TVs. There was, of course, the ship's own newsletter listing all the day's activities, etc., which also delineated any time changes and so forth, as well as containing the inevitable NCL promotions. In the atrium, there is a large digital movie screen, but most of the time it just played one NCL commercial after another. TV channels in the staterooms were extremely limited compared to what is available on, say, Princess. Ports going up the coast into Canada vary. Bar Harbor (great lobster rolls) and Prince Edward Island were very nice. St. John, you can forget it; the Reversing Falls are overly-hyped. It was pouring in Sydney, so I never went ashore, as even three guidebooks couldn't find anything good to say about it. Halifax has a nice maritime museum with a Titanic exhibit. Saguenay had a great welcome committee, all dressed in historic French attire as loggers, bakers, schoolchildren, etc., and they served us blueberry pie and maple syrup taffy. The highlight of all was Quebec City, with a UNESCO-protected Old Town, not to be missed. And I also took a countryside excursion on the second of our two-day stay in QC that was enjoyable, and it dropped me off at the QC Airport. My two flights to get home (QC to Montreal on Air Canada Rouge and Montreal to DC on Air Canada Express) were fine, leather seats and all, despite having to pay $25 to check my suitcase. But a rain delay in Montreal caused me to almost miss my connection. Montreal is a l-o-n-g airport when you have to walk from one end to the other. My connection time was supposed to be 90 minutes, but the rain delay caused it to be reduced by half. And you have to go through US customs/immigration in Montreal, which was also slow. I needed track shoes. Thank goodness my connecting flight was also delayed, or I would have been spending the night in Montreal, as it was the end of a three-day weekend, and the airports were mobbed Would I book another NCL cruise? Well, if I did, it would have to be at a bargain fare (which I got on this trip), and I would definitely want a specialty dining package. And I would need to be content with the great production shows, and also want to just read a few good books while at sea. With so many other cruise lines to choose from, I just don't think I'd be in a rush back to NCL. But friends I met on my recent Cunard crossing have invited me to join them on two NCL cruises they do in the winter. I haven't said yes or no -- just we'll see. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
The ship needs updating especially the stardust theatre- seats uncomfortable - steps terrible and many people almost fell or tripped and this cruise because of the time of year was full of seniors who had trouble navigating steps - seat ... Read More
The ship needs updating especially the stardust theatre- seats uncomfortable - steps terrible and many people almost fell or tripped and this cruise because of the time of year was full of seniors who had trouble navigating steps - seat arm broke in my hand- lightening is old and whole auditorium need to be redone from top to bottom- first time on NCL cruise I’ve been extremely disappointed with food in the main dinning room and the buffet on deck 12- the only meal that was good was breakfast - food chef and menu’s need to change drastically - I heard a lot of complaints - meat of all types were over cooked and tough - all beef meals were terrible - pork chops - chicken all tough and over cooked - A few shows in stardust lounge need to be retired - especially the juggler - his career needs to retire - show troop from ship were great , all 3 shows fantastic. Room staff were very good - room always was clean and fully supplied. Game shows and kerokee in bliss were good - but second Saturday need more activities. Need better tv shows and movies - some live tv would be great for relaxing in room - the movies were strange and not entertaining at all - I did enjoy the live football games broadcast and wish we could have seen more live tv other than 5 news channels - some comedy and action television or movies would have been nice Disappointed in this NCL cruise Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We chose this cruise because it was Canada-New England, which we have done previously, with a few different itineraries on 3 various cruise lines, HAL, NCL and about 10 years ago, Costa. So we have seen many of these ports many times, ... Read More
We chose this cruise because it was Canada-New England, which we have done previously, with a few different itineraries on 3 various cruise lines, HAL, NCL and about 10 years ago, Costa. So we have seen many of these ports many times, but we feel comfortable with all of them, and many are either walkable, or have great public transit such as NYC, Boston, Halifax and Quebec City. It is really easy for us for the short flight from Toronto to NYC ( Newark ). As well, taking the train from Quebec City is so convenient with the train station being such a short distance from the secondary wharf # 30, where we were docked. NCL did charge $ 15 for a shuttle into Old Quebec, but a Quebec City bus could bring you there much cheaper, you see much more, and the Bus Day Pass can be bought at the train station. We went to view the Montmorency Falls, with our Bus Pass, but the water flow was quite reduced from previous years due to the semi-drought this past summer. The food on the GEM was ok, but not as varied as HAL. We were on the East Coast, but there was no lobster served on board. Disappointing. Bar Harbor was being drenched, so the tenders were cancelled, but just as well. Walking around Bar Harbor would have required superb rain gear. Raincoats and umbrellas would have been useless.. Everybody likes/hates whatever type of entertainment which is presented. We enjoyed the comedian-juggler, the solo comedian and the superb dance crew including throwback music, like Chicago, which I love. The Iriish pub, Sheehans, was a got-to place for us for quiet and quick breakfast, although we did also enjoy being served at a lower pace in the MDR, meeting really interesting folks at the share-tables which we were offered. WE did have fish n' chips in Sheehans at one lunchtime, but that item should be improved. It was batter with a miniscule amount of fish. It's always your choice if you prefer to eat without any othe tablemates. But such loneliness...you really miss out on great conversations with folks that you have never met, and never will again. Life is a series of opportunities...don't pass them up. As with all of our cruises over the years, the room was always clean, the bed comfortable and the temperature/climate control efficient. We were in an inside cabin, but the architect who put in the bathroom had the wall too close to the toilet,particularly for someone over 6 ft tall, so I had to sit in a weird way to " accomplish" that task. We self-disembarked in Quebec City, since our train was leaving at 8:15am, and the train station was just a 15 minute walk from the ship. We did enjoy visiting the new library in Halifax with its roof-top coffee patio and a great view of the harbor and our ship. Great weather is never guaranteed, so no point in crabbing about the endless rain in Bar Harbor or the very wind day which we had in Quebec City. Such is life. When we took the Dawn about 6 years ago, we missed NYC, but we did get 2 days in Boston instead because of Hurricane Sandy. So again, these things do happen, and folks do get disappointed, but you can't blame the crew or NCL for those things. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We chose the Gem because it had exactly the itinerary we were looking for at a reasonable price and we were not disappointed. The ship is well cared for and clean, the staff, for the most part, are helpful and positive, and the food was ... Read More
We chose the Gem because it had exactly the itinerary we were looking for at a reasonable price and we were not disappointed. The ship is well cared for and clean, the staff, for the most part, are helpful and positive, and the food was surprisingly good and varied. The ship was about 75% full, which meant venues were comfortable and rarely overcrowded. We did have trouble finding a seat at the Garden Cafe a couple of mornings but were able to get a table within a few minutes and met some nice fellow passengers in the process. Embarkation at the Manhattan cruise terminal was the smoothest and quickest we’ve ever had. We arrived at the terminal about 11:30 am and were through security, checked in and on board in 25 minutes. Amazing. Disembarkation in Quebec was also fine. We paid to take the ship’s bus to the train station as we went on to Montreal for a couple of days, but there were plenty of taxis so in retrospect should have just taken a cab or walked because it was very close. Food was generally good. Really appreciated the omelette stations at the Garden Cafe. Main dining rooms were fine but not exceptional. First evening at the Grand Pacific was very crowded and the staff seemed overwhelmed, probably because there was only one show in the theater that evening so most passengers were eating about the same time. The upside was we shared a table with several other wonderful people who we got to know better over the course of the cruise. We received a promotion for four free specialty restaurants when I booked, so tried Moderno, Teppanyaki, Cagney’s Steakhouse and Le Bistro. All very, very good. The highlight for me was Cagney’s; my husband really enjoyed Le Bistro. We went to most of the shows at the Stardust Theater. Performances were very good, especially the comedian and the acrobats. We skipped the juggler. Musical shows in the theater were good but the music was so loud it drowned out the vocalists. My husband actually put earplugs in his ears one evening. We really enjoyed the music in the various bars in the evening. Didn’t use the fitness center or the casino but enjoyed the trivia matches and some of the other activities, especially on sea days. We took ship’s excursions in St. John and Halifax. Big buses, not a lot of time to wander around at each stop, as you would expect, but the tour guides on each excursion were fabulous. Very knowledgeable and really went the extra mile to provide lots of information and a sense of the local culture. The only real negative was the tender process at two of the ports (Bar Harbor and Sydney) which was disorganized, slow and exceptionally frustrating. Very few announcements over the PA system; very poor communication. Although we took two ship’s excursions (noted above), we had private ones booked for those two ports and despite my best efforts, which included lining up very early to get group 1 tender tickets for Sydney, we were over 30 minutes late for both of them. The companies kindly accommodated us on later tours so it worked out okay in the end but it added a great deal of unnecessary stress to an otherwise nice cruise. If you’re not on a ship’s excursion at a tender port, it will take you at least 3 hours to get off the ship under the best of circumstances. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. Loved all the ports of call. Each stop had very interesting excursions of places to see. The trips into the countryside were especially beautiful - driving the Cabot Trail- Nova Scotia, ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. Loved all the ports of call. Each stop had very interesting excursions of places to see. The trips into the countryside were especially beautiful - driving the Cabot Trail- Nova Scotia, Peggy's Cove - Nova Scotia, St. Martin - and seeing the tides in The Bay of Fundy - New Brunswick, going to Saguenay from La Baie- Quebec, Quebec City - incredibly quaint and being able to attend a church service there the Sunday, Arcadia National Park - Maine and going to Anne of Green Gables in Prince Edward Island. The time of year also offered us the added beauty of the fall colours. I would be remiss in not mentioning the warm welcome by the locals in La Baie, Quebec. Not sure if it was sponsored by the Norwegian or the local chamber of commerce - but it was lovely. Also loved the fact that the ship sailed on 3 rivers - Hudson, St. Lawrence and Saguenay. The only disappointing part of the trip was that I missed really seeing the Saguenay River. It would have been nice if there was information given as when one would view most of the river while sailing up it on the information brochure handed out daily. That way I would have got up earlier. Unfortunately, when we sailed out the evening from La Baie, it was dark within minutes. I enjoyed the entertainment on board. Staff worked hard to keep us entertained. Mikaela was lots of fun and surprisingly we met many folk attending her daily quiz. At night the staff was there to ensure that one had a partner to dance with and kept the "party" lively! The music by The Webb band was excellent. Their female lead singer Hazel engaged with the audience so well and was so warm and caring of all - I would consider going on another cruise they are on as they are so talented and entertaining. Food menu in the served restaurants (Grand Pacific and Magenta) where very good. There was something for everyone... be it seafood, pasta, steak, lamb or pork. The steaks and roast beef were done to perfection for each of us especially since one liked it medium rare, another medium and another well done! Breakfast in the buffet had something for everyone. We especially enjoyed our eggs benedict or omelletes... and they had enough staff that there were not huge line-ups. All in all, a very enjoyable cruise which I enjoyed even more than the Alaskan! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
We chose the cruise because we had a Norwegian deposit to use and because we really wanted to visit this area. This was my first time on Norwegian having sailed with Princess and Holland America in the past. All to follow is with the ... Read More
We chose the cruise because we had a Norwegian deposit to use and because we really wanted to visit this area. This was my first time on Norwegian having sailed with Princess and Holland America in the past. All to follow is with the understanding that such experiences can vary from person to person, ship to ship, and line to line. Norwegian missed on a lot of little things. Didn't ruin the cruise but didn't stack up to other lines. During the my first three meals on the ship they forgot to bring me a course I'd ordered until I reminded them. Then once they brought TWO. There seemed to be no quiet places to sit and have a drink on sea days. They have beautiful bar up top but it seemed to always be used for dance lessons, bingo, trivia, etc, etc. Music everywhere and it sometimes clashed with what was being played at the next place. Maybe it's just me but doesn't anyone enjoy a nice drink and quiet conversation anymore? The main dining room never once made me say "wow, I really want that" with their entrees. Magenta did have the advantage of being a more quiet venue in which to dine. The appetizers were fine, entrees blah, and the desserts were not as good as other ships. Other lines will bring you coffee and juice at your table at the buffet but not Norwegian. The staff was very friendly and helpful. Guest services was excellent as was embarkation and disembarkation. We enjoyed our excursions. Note: If you are considering the "Hiking Saguenay National Park pay attention when they say you need to be an experience hiker and you certainly need to be in shape. You hike up a trail made of large rocks as steps for long distances with a steep incline. Coming down is easier but you must pay attention to every footstep. All in all, the line missed on a lot of little things that will probably lead me to choose a different cruise line next time. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
The visits to Nova Scotia, Prince Edwards Island, St John, Halifax and Quebec made this a very worthwhile cruise. The good; The ship was in excellent shape, the crew wan very friendly, accommodating and very competent. The food was good ... Read More
The visits to Nova Scotia, Prince Edwards Island, St John, Halifax and Quebec made this a very worthwhile cruise. The good; The ship was in excellent shape, the crew wan very friendly, accommodating and very competent. The food was good to very good although many courses where too salty. The land tours were good and all tour guides were exceptional, very knowledgeable and helpful. Some tour stops were unnecessary, such as spending over an hour at a small, market (mostly food) in the "Best of ST John" tour The walking tour in Quebec ended with an included return bus to the ship. Since shuttle buses from the same place left every 15 minutes it is hard to understand why we could not stay longer and return with a shuttle bus without paying $15 per person. it is not the money but very annoying. Entertainment was very good. Areas of improvement: the smoke in the casino was very annoying. We had to go up a floor and then down past the casino to avoid it. There should be no smoking except in a dedicated smoking room. The single ply cheap toilette paper should be upgraded. Internet service was good but the log in/log out procedure was terrible. After 5 days the internet guru installed log in/log out icons on my cellphone but there should be an easier way, including settable minutes for automatic logout after x minutes of inactivity. Twice I thought that I logged out and accumulated 60 and 103 minutes without realizing it. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
The cruise to Canada and New England was considered a "distinctive voyage". It was okay, but there are a lot of caveats. It's not like Norwegian had anything disastrous happen on this cruise (and I hate people who complain ... Read More
The cruise to Canada and New England was considered a "distinctive voyage". It was okay, but there are a lot of caveats. It's not like Norwegian had anything disastrous happen on this cruise (and I hate people who complain excessively about vacation), it's just that it was... well, a boring itinerary and a boring ship. Additionally, it's important to know that the Canada cruises skew a lot older than other ships (not that NCL can change that). We did this as our honeymoon and oftentimes, by midnight we were the ONLY people out in public areas. If you like nightlife at all, this ship has none. There was never anybody in Bliss, the nightclub. There were almost NO children on our ship. It was pretty much only older folks. First, the ship. The Gem has a sort of confusing layout. It's not intuitive. Our cabin was aft and many of the activities we enjoyed were in Spinnaker Lounge, on deck 13 Forward. The problem is, to get there oftentimes you have to go up or down a deck to get across the ship. The flow of getting around takes a lot to get used to on the Gem. I hit a lot of dead ends trying to get to an attraction. The Gem also clearly is in need of an update in terms of its attractions and restaurants/bars. A lot of the "theming" is blatantly dated, like the martini bar. Our cabin was great, no complaints, a lot of storage space. In fact, I had more closet space in an oceanview than I had on my last cruise in a balcony! Only complaint is that NCL televisions are tiny, but that's true across the line and not just on the Gem. Dining was sometimes an up and down experience. Meals we had in the MDR were muddled - for example, my husband loved his prime rib one night, but another night would think he had the worst French onion soup he's ever had. The specialty dining was excellent, as usual. We think the specialty dining is still a good value, compared to DC where we are from. The buffet was usually just for a quick meal - I would avoid it at breakfast and go to O'Sheehans or the MDR if possible. You'll get a way more appetizing breakfast. The ports were mixed. We loved Bar Harbor, Maine - incredibly charming, a lot to walk around in the downtown area, and beautiful in its national park. St. John was cute and the reversing rapids was a nice attraction. By far the worst place was Sydney, NS - very little to see in the town and the decent excursions were taking you 45 minutes or an hour away. Ending in Quebec City was a highlight of the cruise, although I question the cruise beginning or ending with an overnight, as we did and the next cruise did. It means that for a lot of the cruise, relatively, things like the duty-free shop and casino are closed. Service was great. We always enjoy the staff and our steward. Never had to wait to get a drink or be served in a restaurant. Not a lot of lines on the Gem. We got a lot of great tips from the crew, who go out of their way to be friendly. Entertainment on board was a mixed bag. First of all, the production singers were great but the shows showcasing them were really terrible. A lot of jukebox revues without any plot or substance to them, and songs that did not show off their particular cast. I am lucky I went to the cabaret and got to see songs picked particularly for the singers - they were amazing when able to be themselves. The other entertainers did well - we enjoyed the acrobatics show and the comedian - but none were really stellar. We liked the four-piece band that traveled around the ship. Definitely, the piano player/singer aboard was awful - he had no energy and terrible vocals. I actively avoided places where he was playing. Overall, we enjoyed ourselves but would not take this ship or itinerary again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
I recently took a cruise on NCL Gem, this was our 5th cruise with NCL and 38th cruise overall. This was their New England/Canada cruise dated Sept 8th. No complains regarding the "actual crew" however there were several ... Read More
I recently took a cruise on NCL Gem, this was our 5th cruise with NCL and 38th cruise overall. This was their New England/Canada cruise dated Sept 8th. No complains regarding the "actual crew" however there were several incidents that I can only blame on their supervisors. 1) The library was only open for a minimal amount of time twice daily. This did not allowed those passengers on tours to check out books. Very irrational rule. 2) Twice during breakfast in the rear (open air) sitting area of the buffet there was no ice, nor water available to the passengers. Only when several passengers complained very loudly to the ship's officers present was anything done about the situation. 3) Three times during the breakfast buffet the orange juice ran out and when passengers complained they were advised that they were out. How can they run out of orange juice during their breakfast schedule? 4) The Tiki bar on deck 13 was the only place (besides the casino) that passengers could smoke therefore a large group would gather there to smoke and drink coffee. However, the coffee available was ALWAYS ice cold even though they knew that many passengers wanted hot coffee that early in the morning. Only by being very vocal and loud could we get any of the crew members present to bring us HOT coffee. 5) The casino was one of the worst at sea casinos that I have ever seen. Old, dated slots, rigged to not pay. I do not blame the crew for these issues, I blame the officers for doing a very poor job regarding the needs of the passengers. In not a single other vessel that I have been on these issues would had never allowed by the supervisory staff. As such I will not ever sail on the Gen again! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
This ship went to the towns that I wanted to visit and ended up in Quebec City, Canada, which was important to me. The rooms were itty-bitty. The bath had doors to toilet, etc. but no more than 1/2 of a person could fit in there at ... Read More
This ship went to the towns that I wanted to visit and ended up in Quebec City, Canada, which was important to me. The rooms were itty-bitty. The bath had doors to toilet, etc. but no more than 1/2 of a person could fit in there at a time and I am not a large person. I could only raise my arms to shampoo my hair if I turned on a diagonal. The food was terrible and served over and over. There wasn't a truly good meal the entire trip except maybe the prime rib on the last night. That too was thin and covered with an indescribable sauce. A few dishes of fish were ok, no shellfish except tiny, cut in half shrimp. The steak was terrible. Everything was overcooked and then covered with unrecognizable sauce. They had several days at the buffet with very strong Indian food that I could not eat, so it was back to salads and eggs. The tours were abominable based on what people said and I had read that earlier in the reviews. Most towns were easily walked in about an hour so tours were mostly unnecessary. I did take a Hop On-Hop Off Bus in Boston and asked why they were charging $69 for one person when I remember it being much cheaper last time I was in Boston, or any other city for that matter. The staff at the kiosk said it was because NCL owned the buses. At the very least, they had a connection. Never mention that you are on the NCL! The staff was remarkable but usually unhappy, we saw some cry while working. Entertainment was 2 days of real entertainment. There was a juggler/comic who couldn't. In the bars there was a piano player who was wonderful but they made him sing, which was awful. Being tone deaf would help the audience immensely. I have been on Holland America, Princess, and even Carnival (although I wouldn't recommend them either) I have loved the first two. I heard so many people complain, almost everyone I met. Also directions to exit were barely posted, not even the floor number so we had to ask other guests or follow any line we saw. Speakers didn't usually work in our room. Directions for the next day weren't even printed. Plus events were canceled so eventually we stopped going. Never again on NCL!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
So first off, I’m the guy that brought the bike. I boarded the ship in New York on January 02nd and got off the ship February 15th 2019 in New York. This was my escape from wither in the north east and chance to explore several new ... Read More
So first off, I’m the guy that brought the bike. I boarded the ship in New York on January 02nd and got off the ship February 15th 2019 in New York. This was my escape from wither in the north east and chance to explore several new ports that I had not been to before and after this 44 day voyage I enjoyed this ship and it’s staff very much. I had a great and memorable experience from really every department onboard. Spending that much time on board the ship I think I really got to know the cruise director and recreation staff well. Some even remembered me from my previous September 2018 trip on this ship, or perhaps the bicycle helped them remember too. Security staff definitely remembered me and the bike from September. But I was really surprised with how many of the overall ships crew called me by my first name when just walking by even though I had very little interaction with them. For me, during the cruise I always kept in mind that for most of the staff on board they are here on a 6 month contract and even though they don’t have a day off and work around 10 hours or more a day, they still start every day as if their goal was to make sure that my trip was going as best as it could. I didn’t do any drinking or gambling and I think I booked a total of 0 shore excursions and purchased about the same amount of photos but I still had a great time. Yes, the bike played a huge roll too. Since there was a lot of overlap on the ports that we would be visiting, when in port, I treated the 1st leg (west bound journey) as an exploration trip and the east bound journey I applied what I learned and explored the port more efficiently. The bike also helped a lot. Regarding the bicycle, it’s a folding bike, (specifically a Citizen Miami). The bike retails new for $275.00 but I purchased off of craig’s list for $100. I upgraded the original seat to a gelled saddle and I also brought with me: a helmet with a GoPro, an air pump and lastly the padded seat underwear. I also know now that I should bring a bike tire repair kit too, however I was able to find a bike repair shop while we were in Santa Marta, Colombia that replaced the tube, tire and the shop had WiFi for a total of 16,000 Colombian Pesos (or $5.16 USD). While not in use the bike went under my bed, and I didn’t have to worry about checking in the bike at the airport as luggage since I was doing a round trip from NY. I walked the bike on board and there was no additional fee for bringing it. Yes I also received many offers from the crew about purchasing the bike from me. I can not put to words on how welcome the cruise ship staff made me feel while on this entire voyage, but it was really great. Every department did a fantastic job. I think security had the toughest roll as they get the least appreciation for keeping people safe especially as people were climbing over ropes, railings and each other during the panama canal transit which lasted about 5 hours. The cruise director staff came in a close 2nd as they have to keep everyone as happy as possible over the entire journey but in my opinion every crew member on board did a fantastic job. I enjoyed the food very much, but my problem is really with portion control. I felt that Breakfast in the grand pacific dining room was the right way to start my morning. Glen, the only female waitress on board named Glen is the best waiter on board this ship. In regards to the evening entertainment, I would try to go to both evening shows whenever possible but I would sit in 2 totally different areas in the theater which gave me a totally different perspective of the show. Special shout out from me is included to the sign language interpreter they had on board for the east bound (LA-NY) journey. While she wasn’t meant to be part of the entertainment she was both very entertaining, informative, educational and really added a layer to the show that I had never experienced before. I learned later that some times, like for the ventriloquist or comedian, a rehearsal performance is not available so the translation is just live action and there is no pause button available to look terms up. It was also really nice to talk and interact with the entertainers when they weren’t performing on stage. While the Gem’s cast performers can also be found working in places like the ship’s library, the guest performers were friendly and approachable in all areas of the ship like the gym, restaurants or even just random encounters in the elevators and hallways. Yes I also encountered people who were not enjoying the cruise, but from my perspective they were either asking for too much, just ignorant of the rules and policies, just totally missed stuff that was clearly listed in the daily schedule or just really novice cruise ship travellers (aka noobs). But yes I also had the upper had when it came to ports that we had visited before so I knew what to expect. I myself knew that I had to be a bother to the ship’s hotel director because I kept stopping by his office looking for his secretary’s signature for the ship’s scavenger hunt but kept running in to him instead. But he seemed ok with it or at least understanding and just kept telling me to keep trying to find her each time I visited. Lastly, I highly suggesting doing the behind the scenes tour for a great perspective on what goes on onboard and how and why things operate as they do. It’s free to do for platinum latitude members. Thank you very much for a very enjoyable voyage. I’m strongly considering doing this voyage again next year and I hope you next voyage on the Gem is just as enjoyable. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. Read Less
Sail Date September 2018
First off, this was our first cruise on NCL and we enjoyed it very much. Many things felt much more relaxed than recent experiences on RCCL. The ship was mid-size by current standards, and it felt about right to us. There are some onboard ... Read More
First off, this was our first cruise on NCL and we enjoyed it very much. Many things felt much more relaxed than recent experiences on RCCL. The ship was mid-size by current standards, and it felt about right to us. There are some onboard activities, but with only two at-sea days, you did not need a lot of things onboard. We flew into Montreal, where we did our own 3-night pre-cruise visit. We arrived in Quebec City by train, and we arrived almost next to the dock and walked two blocks to our hotel. We stayed one night before boarding, and took an organized walking tour of the city on boarding day. Embarkation was smooth and easy, due to our arrival at the ship just after 1 pm. We were located at the first overflow pier, Wharf 30, and the only facility they had was a semi-permanent tent. Not the nicest start, but everything was better once we boarded. We bought a 5-meal specialty dining package, and went to four different restaurants: Teppanyaki - good experience, but menu choices were a bit limited. Le Bistro - very good to excellent meal, good choices and very tasty; this is the only restaurant on the ship that suggests "smart casual" dress. Moderno - very good meal; the servers came around with the meats, much like a regular Brazilian steakhouse, and they came around with each choice more than once. Don't overload on the salad bar or you'll be sorry! Cagney's - we repeated there since we thought this was the best of the ones we visited. Our first visit was better than the second. The lamb chops on the first visit were outstanding. I had the 20 oz porterhouse the second time; it had a lot of fat and other waste, but I still had plenty of meat. The service on the first visit was efficient. The service on the second visit was confused at best - more than one person asked what we wanted to drink, wanted to take our order, etc. It was almost like we had two separate teams assigned to the table. We skipped some desserts along the way, but what we had was good. Regular dining: The Garden Cafe (buffet) had a reasonable breakfast, but like many ships, it was crowded when everyone was trying to have breakfast before going ashore to meet up with their excursions. Food was decent but not always as warm as you'd like to see. I had the best luck with omelettes cooked to order, as long as I had the time. We had few lunches and no dinners there. Magenta/Grand Pacific - the same menu in both, but we liked the Grand Pacific better. It has a nice view astern and some to the sides, it's a bit larger and feels less cramped. I think the service was slightly better in the GP. We always said we'd share a table, and were seated with others about half the time. We had a few dinners we arranged with other cruisers we'd met on excursions. O'Sheehan's Pub - maybe the most underappreciated dining venue on the ship. Yes, the menu is somewhat limited, but the lunches we had were excellent. They are open 24 hours, make everything to order, and some menu items are unique to that location. The Caesar salad with grilled salmon came with a good-size slab of fish. We had the beverage package through the Free at Sea program, which made things feel more relaxed as well: no signing for each drink order along the way and coming back with a stack of receipts to review. I would not spend the money to buy the beverage package (at almost $100/person/day) but paying 20% of that as gratuity seemed like a pretty good deal. Wines and other beverages were very good overall. There's a basic selection of wines by the glass at all of the bars. The regular dining rooms have more choices than the bar menus. They have a more interesting selection of wines in the specialty restaurants, particularly Cagney's. We ordered everything by the glass, as drinks under $15/each were covered by our package but bottles were only discounted 20%. There were a few gems on the drink lists, and the under-$15 choices were very good. I did splurge a couple of times on a nicer glass and paid the difference. We did find that some of the choices were not available, since they claimed they had "run out" or "did not have that item at that location" (despite it being on the menu!). The evening entertainment was very good to excellent. The productions were well-done and not "cheesy". They had a good mix of comedians, magicians, singing/dancing, music, etc. so you don/t get bored. One note: Blazing Boots was good, but drifted towards the raunchy side just a bit more than some people might like. We joined some other cruisers toward the end for progressive trivia and wound up tying for first place at the end. They had a late-night dance party in Bliss, but due to the many early-morning port calls, few people wanted to stay up very late. The fitness center was smaller than I would have expected. Many classes were free, but the schedule was not that good if you wanted to go on shore excursions. We only went to one class, despite having big plans to be more diligent in keeping up with our regular workout schedule. The shore excursions were (for the most part) expensive, but the $50/cabin/port Free at Sea discount helped. We joined some other cruisers on their private shore excursions, and that was a much better option. We had many times where we were standing outside and enjoying the view when a bus pulled up, stayed for about 30 seconds, and then drove off without anyone being able to get off the bus. If you have time to research and book your own trips with others, you will probably enjoy the flexibility and lower cost. We did take some of the ship-offered excursions where we thought it would make sense. You'll have to decide this one for yourself. The overall level of service was very good to excellent. As I mentioned before, there was much less hawking of added-cost items than we have experienced on other ships. They did promote things like the art auction, bingo, casino, duty-free shopping, etc. They had a 60% off sale on much of the fine jewelry and clothing on the last sea day, and this was quite well-attended. If you like the clothing items, it (mostly) pays to wait until the end. We did take advantage of the onboard purchase of deposits for future cruises, at half the face value (4x $250 certificates cost $500 net). You can always use one certificate and take advantage of all other offers available at the time, and they allow use of two deposits if you book a balcony/higher more than 6 months in advance. NCL runs specials regularly, but these deposits are sold only on the ship. If you book your next cruise, they will upgrade the cabin from the lowest in a category (e.g., balcony) to the highest, which is worth an additional $300 or so. Not huge, but worth taking advantage of if you're in the market and see something you like. Disembarkation in New York could have been better. They called groups a few minutes after the projected time, but there was a big backup once we got off the ship to claim our bags and go through customs. It did not help that there were only three windows open, but just getting to the baggage area had some issues with traffic flow. They funneled everyone to one access point, and then we walked back almost to where we had entered the baggage hall. At least things sped up once we exited. We stayed 3 days in New York on our own post-cruise visit before flying out. Would we go again? Yes. I think we will be cruising more with NCL on future cruises, but we will pick the cruise based on dates/itinerary more than blindly picking any specific cruise line. We are going on an NCL cruise in January 2020 to Australia and New Zealand... maybe we will see you there! Read Less
Sail Date September 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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