33 New York (Manhattan) to Cruise to Nowhere Norwegian Gem Cruise Reviews

I went on this cruise because i am sailing her in December to the eastern caribbean, and i wanted to see what the ship was all about... Really i can't judge the ship too much, because it was only for one night, and a lot of loud roudy ... Read More
I went on this cruise because i am sailing her in December to the eastern caribbean, and i wanted to see what the ship was all about... Really i can't judge the ship too much, because it was only for one night, and a lot of loud roudy people, which i don't enjoy too much..... but getting back to the Gem, i thought that the ship had a very homey feel, and nice and cozy....Definitely the ship was very easy to navigate around on.... I prepaid for a reservation at the Le Bistro which was $20....and had a lovely time dining there, and the food was absolutely delicious, and presented to the table very nicely.... I had the Filet of Beef, which melted in your mouth.... also ate in the Pacific Dining Room for lunch and breakfast the following morning....and i thought that the food was very good, and the food was presented to me nice and hot.... again as i said before, i cannot judge to much on the ship, as i was only there one night....but some of the people that were on the cruise, were down right loud and roudy...even in the Le Bistro, where i ate, they had a large birthday party in there, and those people were so so loud, that some of the guests asked to be moved to a more quieter location.... My cabin was 9549....forward on the ship....it was an inside cabin....and i loved it.... i got the nice cozy feel to the room....and everything was in order..... I am definitely looking forward to my cruise on the Gem in December, and i know that i will have a better experience....as it is a nine night cruise..... It was very convenient for me to get to the pier....I took the LLRR to Penn Station and hopped in a taxi, and i was there in minutes.... Had a very enjoyable time, dispite the loud and roudy people..... Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
My family and I set out on April 4th, 2014 for a one night cruise to nowhere for my grandmothers 85th birthday (300$ per person.) The day started out great after getting the family (11 people) together to celebrate such an occasion. ... Read More
My family and I set out on April 4th, 2014 for a one night cruise to nowhere for my grandmothers 85th birthday (300$ per person.) The day started out great after getting the family (11 people) together to celebrate such an occasion. Shortly after boarding the ship at 2:30pm, I began to think that maybe the getaway wouldn't be so great after all. Now were do I start...after boarding I noticed that there was only a single bar open to service a ship full of excited cruisers. Not only did the bartenders move entirely too slow, it took me over 30 minutes to get a drink. None of the activities on-board were up and running, and when we asked why, we were told that the activities didn't open until 6:30, and when they did open, many of those activities required an up-charge.There was only one dining hall open that offered terribly bland food and produced overcrowding and a lack of available seating. Above all else, my biggest complaint was the atrocious customer service. Almost every employee I encountered had a nasty attitude and didn't want to answer any of our questions or give us directions. The only positive interaction I had was with the cocktail waiters in the nightclub. Upon disembarking the vessel, we had to go through "customs," which took over an hour; upon reaching the fort we realized that there was only one employee checking guest out. I have to say, I have been on many cruises through royal Caribbean and Carnival and never had such an appalling experience and I must say that I will NEVER give Norwegian cruise line dollar of my money again! CRUISERS STAY AWAY!!!! Read Less
Sail Date April 2014
My husband and I just returned from an overnight cruise to nowhere and had a fantastic experience. We're in our early 40's with 2 small children, so this short trip was a perfect pre-Valentine's getaway. Leaving out of NYC ... Read More
My husband and I just returned from an overnight cruise to nowhere and had a fantastic experience. We're in our early 40's with 2 small children, so this short trip was a perfect pre-Valentine's getaway. Leaving out of NYC was a breeze. We drove up from Philly, went through the Lincoln Tunnel and BAM! There we were! Parked on the deck adjacent to the ship and after a five minute walk were in the terminal. We saw this cruise offered online and immediately jumped on it because of the price, and my hubby upgraded us to a suite (9170) at additional cost. This gave us priority embarkation, and upon boarding we were escorted to Cagney's for a great lunch. After, we went to our cabin which was Aft deck 9. PLENTY of space, espresso machine, king bed, bathtub, champagne, fruit basket, snacks....we might do this more often! We pulled out of port promptly at 6 pm and passed the Statue of Liberty on our way to sea. After all the bad weather of the prior weeks, we were blessed with calm seas and clear skies. It was awesome. But more about the ship.....we've been on the RC Adventure of the Seas twice, and while the Gem is noticeably smaller, it is a very nicely decorated and maintained ship. Never felt crowded or cramped. Staff was friendly and accommodating. Food was tasty; however, we did not get great service at Moderno. Just extremely slooow. I'd skip the specialty restaurant next time around. There was plenty of entertainment and the acrobat show was amazing! Had a good time with karaoke, danced, listened to the reggae band in the atrium. Ate some more. Drank. Fellow cruisers were festive and friendly.....folks were bending the elbow pretty deep, but not in the frat-party style. FYI - there were very few kids on this sailing. While most of the behavior was relatively tame, it was still an adults vibe. People were out to party and have fun. My little ones would have been out of place. The next morning we ate again at Cagney's (because of our upgrade) while everyone else had the buffet or the other sit-down restaurant. We had to be off the ship by 10 am, and the cruiseline made periodic announcement s to "encourage" our departure. Didn't feel rushed though, and we ate, disembarked and were on the road by 10:30. For $250, it was money well spent and I encourage anyone to jump on this deal the next time it's offered! Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
We just returned from a 1 night cruise to nowhere which while it was enjoyable I didn't get to do as much as one would of hoped. I was still recovering from bronchitis and a sinus infection so I knew the original plan of partying ... Read More
We just returned from a 1 night cruise to nowhere which while it was enjoyable I didn't get to do as much as one would of hoped. I was still recovering from bronchitis and a sinus infection so I knew the original plan of partying late may end a bit earlier than planned but was still planning on having a blast. We arrived at the port in record time had absolutely no traffic on our ride up from the Allentown, PA area. It was approximately 11am when we arrived. Our first lack of service was the parking elevator attendant insisted on cattling us into a line to wait for the worlds slowest elevator. We waited and waited to then be told anyone who is capable can take the stairs.... we only had a small bag so we opted that route to find it was an escalator the whole time!! We only lost about 10 minutes but it was still frustrating. We then got through security quickly and were awaiting to check in. Since we had sailed prior we had "priority" check in. The guy who ended up checking us in was having computer issues, so we waited and waited. He finally got it working and then the swiping machine went down but he kept insisting it was our credit cards. Long story short we lost another 15 minutes or so. Made it on to the ship and up to the Garden Cafe by noon. Lunch was nice and there was plenty of space considering we were lucky and got on so quickly. Rooms were ready by about 1:30. We had a balcony on the 10th deck aft. It was a nice room although the bathroom configuration was interesting. I don't remember having a sliding shower door on the toliet area on our last Gem cruise but this time we did and it was pretty pointless as my string bean hubby could barely fit in the toliet area and shut the door. There was a crack in our sink that was purely a cosmetic issue, we had no problems using the shampoo or soap dispensers as I know that's been a complaint I've seen a lot recently. The balcony was nice but there were a few used bandaids laying out there when we arrived YUCK. Our cabin stewards were awful they didn't leave any of the forms, papers etc. that were supposed to be in our cabin. When running into them in the hallway they acted like they were being bothered. Not your typical friendly and helpful cabin steward. They also notoriously knocked very lightly once and immediately opened the door walking in on quite a few passengers. We went to have dinner in the main AFT dining room but they were having pager issues so there was an insane wait around 7pm. So we headed to the Magenta room instead and walked right in. Again the service wasn't there not your happy hello I'm blah blah from some country and will be your waitstaff this evening. They literally took your order and didn't offer bar service unless you asked multiple times. The food was hit or miss. Our one friend was quite bummed that surf and turf was not offered. There was a regional specialty which was lamb I believe but our waiter didn't find that piece of information important we overheard it later on in our meal from another server. One friend had the broccoli bisque and loved it. I had the garlic polenta and a spring roll which were both good but the sauce that went with the spring roll was not consistent. My other friend had it as well and her's was nice and sweet while mine was very spicy/gingery. Main meal I got the bacon carbonara which lacked flavor, my friend got the steak which was mostly gristle and the spinach served with it was awful. Her husband got the salmon which he enjoyed but it was a very very small portion. Unfortunately we didn't get to go to any shows as my husband became very ill not long after sailaway. At first we thought maybe it was his salad at lunch as it came on quickly with no notice but when we returned this morning the doctor diagnosed him with strep. Due to him being sick and us not knowing what the issue was in respect for the other passengers onboard we remained in our room for the evening and left fairly early the next morning to get him home to the doctor. Before leaving I quickly ran up to the garden cafe to grab some breakfast and was not at all impressed. The options were really lacking and the bacon was very under done. One of my biggest complaints were they had a staff member standing in front of the juice dispensers filling them constantly and adding them to a tray but she would just stand there with her back to you even once the tray was filled and looking down. Not walking around and offering them to anyone. So it made it very hard to get a juice drink or ice tea. I asked if I should fill my own or take one from the tray and she said fill please but then just stood there in the way. Maybe I just had bad timing but everytime I wanted a drink it seemed like she was just standing there smack dab in the middle of the machine with a full tray. Read Less
Sail Date February 2014
Just returned this morning from a one night voyage and was never so happy to be home. Nutshell of this 24 hour trip is as follows: check-in was lengthy and very confusing; state rooms would not be ready for 2 hours and so the line to check ... Read More
Just returned this morning from a one night voyage and was never so happy to be home. Nutshell of this 24 hour trip is as follows: check-in was lengthy and very confusing; state rooms would not be ready for 2 hours and so the line to check your bag was about 100 deep on the ship (only 2 men tagging suitcases); lunch in the main dining room was good but the portions very small (big eaters should go to the buffet where 90% of the guests so there is a lot of pushing, shoving and NO available tables to sit so people where standing withe their plates of food). I did not eat there so I have no comment; no internet in your room have to pay; constant overhead loud speakers telling people what to do and where to go (this went on most of the trip except for about 8 hours in the evening); the theatre group at 7:00 PM were entertaining and enjoyable; dinner in one of the "speciality" dining rooms for an additional cost of $20 per person was horrible. They ran out of food by 8:30 PM; 7:00 AM the House Keeping crew arrives and all heck breaks loose. Loud voices, carts going up and down the hall and a meeting of the group right, smack in front of my stateroom door. After 15 minutes of this I swung open my door and told about 15 employees to be quiet. Yep....this really worked ....not!; Went to the dining room and although the loud speakers are screaming for you to disembark our breakfast took 32 minutes to arrive and then we had to rush eating to get off by 10 AM. Getting off the boat was the same as getting on (read the above). Never again with Norwegian. Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
I didn't intend to take a cruise to nowhere. Originally, the plan was that my very first cruise would be in March of 2014 aboard the Norwegian Breakaway. I booked it over a year ago as a present to myself for my 50th birthday, even ... Read More
I didn't intend to take a cruise to nowhere. Originally, the plan was that my very first cruise would be in March of 2014 aboard the Norwegian Breakaway. I booked it over a year ago as a present to myself for my 50th birthday, even treating myself to an aft-facing balcony. But then I saw the one-night Cruise to Nowhere, and the price was just too good to pass up. So I decided to get my feet wet, so to speak, by using the overnighter as sort of a sampler to see how I'd like the world of cruising. I'm a single guy -- what they called a "confirmed bachelor" in more civilized times -- who lives in Manhattan, so getting to the port on the morning of the trip was a breeze. As was, honestly, the entire process. It helped that almost as soon as I arrived at the terminal, I met fellow Cruise Critic member Lellie and her son, two of the nicest people you could hope to meet! She basically walked me through the entire process and by noon, we were on the boat. By 12:05, I had my first cocktail in hand. 'Cause that's how I roll! Lellie and her son invited me to join them for lunch, and I gladly accepted. While I'm very, very good at traveling solo -- and have no problem eating (or doing much of anything else) on my own -- when good company presents itself, why turn it away? We wound up going to the Grand Pacific dining room. So, how was my first experience with cruise food? In a word... pretty darn good. Okay, technically, that's three, but... you get the point. One of the things I really loved about the meal -- aside from the whole "order as much as you care to" -- was the portions. I know some people probably complain when they order, say, fried calamari and receive 8-10 pieces (with a delicious aioli accompaniment) -- as opposed to the mound you might get at a landlocked restaurant -- but I found it ideal. I ordered the calamari, a delicious shrimp Caesar salad and the fish and chips. (Lellie's son, it should be noted, is a human garbage disposal. He must have had three appetizers, two main courses and three desserts! But the kid burns it off and is thin as a rail.) In any case, both my order and his illustrate the point: the smaller portions left me pleasantly full but not overly so, while Lellie's son was free to order to his heart's content. (Did I mention that as soon as we finished this fantastic meal, he was ready to go to the buffet? Ah, to have that metabolism again... ) The calamari wasn't hot (it wasn't really even warm), and oddly, the "warm bread pudding" was borderline chilly. And yet, the food was actually very tasty. Look, I'm a foodie, and -- having read a lot of mixed things about meals aboard the ship -- I came in with fairly low expectations. And yet I wound up really enjoying just about everything I ate over the next 24 hours. I'm also very much of the mindset that I'm on vacation, and it's going to take a whole lot to get me even warm under the collar, let alone hot. By the time lunch was over, the cabins were ready. This was a good hour earlier than they'd told us it would be, which was an unexpected treat. I went to my cabin -- room 8005 -- to drop off my stuff. Now, I'm a big believer that balconies are the way to go, but on a one-nighter, I just couldn't see paying the price, so I went with an inside. A couple notes about the room. As I expected, it was small. While it was fine for a solo traveler on an overnighter, I most definitely would not want to spend a week in it. I suspect I'd feel very claustrophobic after a few days. And if you had two -- let alone three of four? -- occupants... yeah, that might get real ugly real fast, especially if you planned to spend any significant time in the room. The other thing to note is that room 8005 is as far forward as a room on level 8 can get... and as a result, the ride was, at times, a little rough. I'm not talking things falling off shelves or anything, but there was a fair amount of noticeable motion that I assume was the boat sort of plowing through the water. While I didn't actually get sick sick, I did get a little... sea sick. This may also have been me, however. I do have a tendency toward car sickness in certain circumstances, and I noticed that at around 9 p.m. or so -- by which time I was in the casino -- I was feeling a bit queasy. A walk around the promenade deck and some brisk air cleared that up.. which is why I'm glad I have an aft-facing balcony on the Breakaway: easy access to all the fresh air I can suck into my lungs! Over the course of the evening, I really did my best to see as much of the ship as possible, so let me hit a few highlights: * Bliss Lounge: This is just a fantastic, groovilicious spot to hang out. Four bowling lanes, air-hockey tables, good music, a great vibe. It's sad that, by all reports, this was turned into sort of an uncomfortable cave on the Breakaway, because on the Gem, it's fantastic. (It definitely could have used more staff, however. The poor girl working the bar alone was clearly in over her head. Nice as could be, but out of her league. It didn't help that -- this being a one-night cruise filled to the brim with a whole lotta people wanting to party hard -- she was getting slammed with customers, not all of whom were of the patient variety.) * Stardust Theater: Really nice space, very comfy. Lellie, her son and I met up to see comedian Jeff Harms here. (He was, by the way, fantastic. I love a comic who plays with the crowd and manages to do circular humor that all ties together in the end, which was exactly what he did.) We went directly from here to... * Spinnaker Lounge: ... where we caught the Second City improve group. Spinnaker is a fantastic space, nice big bar, lots of seating for shows (although it was standing room only for Second City). As for the show itself... they say adult, and they mean it. It was raunchy as heck... in the best way possible. It's also true that how successful the show is depends entirely on the audience. Unfortunately, our audience tended to be a little shy when it came to shouting things out. (Except for one man, seated in front of me, who was calling out some pretty dark stuff... much to my amusement). * Casino: I had a blast here. They had a great selection of games, and a surprising number of penny slots. The staff was a LITTLE pushy when it came to selling the nightly Paradise Lotto tickets. I bought tickets, and then was asked every 10 minutes by someone else if I wanted to purchase tickets. It's not a huge casino, so it can feel a little claustrophobic, but I walked away a winner and had a blast. What more can you ask, right? * Star Bar: I'd actually like to have spent a bit more time here, but there just wasn't time. Also, there were two groups in the place when I entered... a crazy-drunk group of girls celebrating a birthday, and a group in the corner who were apparently using an iPhone or something similar to loudly play their own music over the music played by the lounge. * Shakers Martini bar: I never actually got drinks at either of these, because they were jam packed with very loud, very drunk people most of the night. Totally not my scene... unless I happen to be one of the very loud, very drunk people. :) And that IS one thing to know about a cruise to nowhere: There are a lot of people on board who have one night to party, and man, are they intent upon doing so. By 8 p.m. or so, there were folks so drunk they couldn't walk. I have to think that the bar staff hates the cruises to nowhere, with everyone trying to drink as much as possible in the course of the evening. After cashing out at the casino, I headed to the Garden Café, the only place open for late night snacks (it was around 12:30 a.m. by now, and I'd skipped dinner... unless you count bourbon!). They had a nice selection of food, including a surprising (to me) number of vegetarian options. The pizza was fantastic, as were the ham-and-cheese on sourdough bread mini sandwiches. I took one last walk around the promenade deck -- a real highlight, to me -- taking time to stand at the very back of the boat, look off into the distance and contemplate life. (My conclusion? "I'm on a one-night cruise having an awesome time... life is good.") The bed in my cabin was super comfy. The bathroom was odd... the shower stall is pretty roomy (although it would be helpful to have H and C indications on the handles, as it wasn't the easiest thing to figure out which was what or how it worked). But the toilet is oddly angled so that should you need to... er... do your business sitting down, your knees are gonna be pressed against a wall. I can't begin to imagine how some of the more... um... corpulent of my fellow cruisers would possibly use the toilet. Then again, public restrooms are plentiful... I don't know if it had to do with the far-forward location of my cabin or if this is just common (remember, this was my first time on a cruise ship), but man, there is no way you'll sleep through arriving in port! I woke to the cabin shaking and I thought, "Good lord, are the alarms going to go off? Are we goin' down?" On the plus side, you won't miss breakfast! (On the down side, you may WANT to, given that the Garden Café was a madhouse with folks trying to get in that last meal! I'm not really a breakfast person, so I skipped, but the food looked pretty tasty!) Disembarkation was a breeze. Although the announcement said I'd have a customs form in my room, I didn't... but it was easy to grab one either from guest services or even after getting off the boat. In summary? My one-night cruise to nowhere was a fantastic experience. I'd do it again tomorrow in a heartbeat... and it definitely got me excited for my first "real" cruise on the Breakaway in March! Got any questions? Hit me up, I'll try to answer them! Happy Sailing! Tralfie/Richard   Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
I went on the one-night Cruise to Nowhere sailing from New York City in November. I live in Manhattan, so it was fairly simple to get to the Manhattan Cruise Terminal, though it's far from the subway if you are taking public ... Read More
I went on the one-night Cruise to Nowhere sailing from New York City in November. I live in Manhattan, so it was fairly simple to get to the Manhattan Cruise Terminal, though it's far from the subway if you are taking public transportation. The embarkation process was very smooth and the staff I talked to were all very nice, which helped me to get more excited for the cruise. Aside from a cruise of the Greek islands I went on as a teenager, it was my first cruise, and definitely my first cruise where the ship and the entertainment were the major focus. On a Cruise to Nowhere, the ship is everything, since there are no ports of call. We did have beautiful sunset views of Manhattan, Ellis Island, and the Statue of Liberty, but at night the ship provided all the entertainment you need. There wasn't time to do everything, but I was happy with what I decided to do. I used my copy of the Freestyle Daily, NCL's daily newsletter that lists the day's available activities, to plan my schedule. First I had dinner at the Grand Pacific dining room. I loved the ambiance of the dining room—very grand—but I wasn't wowed by the food. Next I went to the 70s-inspired show, "Get Down Tonight," which was high-energy and a lot of fun. Finally, I went to the Bliss Lounge for open mic karaoke, which was my favorite activity of the night. I met some amazing people there who were on the cruise with a huge group of family and friends, and we all had fun performing, singing along, and cheering for each other up on stage. I walked around the deck before returning to my cabin, but it was a bit cold and dark to really enjoy to the fullest. I slept well in my cabin. The next morning, I woke up early with the idea that I could make the most of a one-night cruise by going up on deck to watch the sunrise over the ocean, but I emerged on the deck to find that it was raining and we were already docked back in Manhattan. I grabbed breakfast at the buffet and disembarked early to beat the rush. There wasn't much left to do at that point anyway. Overall, I did enjoy my cruise and I thought it was a great value. I wish the food was better, but maybe it's better in the paid dining rooms. Other than that, the crew was great, the other passengers on the cruise were lively and friendly, and I had a good time. I hope I get to have other cruise experiences soon! Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
We only needed 2 pts to get us to Platinum status so we decided to book a 1 night cruise in a suite. However, I had noticed that the cruise prices had decreased so I called to see if anything else could be done. And was it!!!!! - we ended ... Read More
We only needed 2 pts to get us to Platinum status so we decided to book a 1 night cruise in a suite. However, I had noticed that the cruise prices had decreased so I called to see if anything else could be done. And was it!!!!! - we ended up being upgraded to an Owner's Suite - 10004. It had: 4 phones, 3 tv's, 2 bathrooms, 2 balcony's, seating for 15+, etc...It was a shame that we only had it for 1 night. Embarkation was a breeze - since we were staying in a suite, we were processed quickly, taken to the small room for refreshments and then taken upstairs to meet the concierge and then to lunch in Cagney's. We had sailed on the Gem in March and were familiar with Cagney's. The thought is good - allow suites to eat breakfast and lunch there. Well, every time we eat there, the service isn't good. We are ignored, when tables around us are being asked for their orders. We see coffee being served, but skipping us. And for breakfast, it was a joke. We weren't asked for bread orders, while the table next to us was. The fresh fruit and misc foods weren't where they were in April so I presumed that they weren't available on the 1 night cruise. It wasn't until we overheard another table pointing and talking about it, that we saw it. None of the wait staff had told us. The show was good -we had seen the main dance show in March. I was surprised to see how empty the Stardust Theatre was. The comedian was excellent. We spent time at the casino and broke even. Clientele for this cruise is certainly different than on the long cruises. This was the first cruise for many people and there were lots of VIP casino players, too. I think that many people took this cruise "just to escape" for 1 night. Where else in NYC can you get a room, all meals, gamble, and take in a show - all for a reasonable price? Many, many people were drinking, buying booze and cigarettes. Being in a suite allows us for early debarkation, too, but when we went down to Deck 7 where others were getting off, there was no one in line and so we literally, just walked off the ship. Would I do this again? Probably not - now we are at Platinum and we don't need to garner any points. It was a hectic day/evening for us since we drive 150 miles just to get down to NYC. Read Less
Sail Date November 2013
A group of 6 of us booked this cruise last minute. It was such a deal. anyways... it was our first time cursing. Funny, we all swore we would never get on a cruise even if we won one. Haha... well.. here we are, booked one! My partner ... Read More
A group of 6 of us booked this cruise last minute. It was such a deal. anyways... it was our first time cursing. Funny, we all swore we would never get on a cruise even if we won one. Haha... well.. here we are, booked one! My partner & I had an amazing time. Everything is open! This made me happy-- Everything was open. I was talking to one of the crew memebers... he said we cram a 9 day cruise into 1 night. This was awesome! There was so much to do. It was 30 degrees and the pool was open! lol The food was amazing!!!! We ate constantly. There is a salad bar and tons of fruit if your watching calories. Service --- was great! Everyone was friendly! Room-- we got a balcony room, 9th floor. It was very compact. I can't imagine more than 2 in this room. But I guess families do it.... Booze--- it wasn't that expensive! Minibar in room ... Grey goose mini was $6.75 ... not bad. From bar... Jim beam & diet was like six bucks ... again, very reasonable! We loved it! And we will be booking again! Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
Just came back from a 2 day cruise to nowhere out of NYC on the beautiful Norwegian Gem. The ship was absolutely upscale and exceeded my expectations. This was my first cruise ever and I was very pleased with the ship and fantastic service ... Read More
Just came back from a 2 day cruise to nowhere out of NYC on the beautiful Norwegian Gem. The ship was absolutely upscale and exceeded my expectations. This was my first cruise ever and I was very pleased with the ship and fantastic service Norwegian provided my and my 4 sisters on this cruise. We had a balcony room which was I would suggest having no more than 2 people per room comfortably. The bathroom was extremely small. I am a plus sized gal and I had some trouble putting clothes on in the bathroom - so just be aware of that :) We ate mostly at the Garden Cafe (buffet dining) which all of the food was great!! Great selection and way better than any buffet style I ever had. On the last night on the cruise, we at the Grand Pacific main dining room. The service was very good. Ambiance was excellent and they claim to have 5 star meals here but I did not see this. I orders roast chicken and it was simply okay - nothing I would write home about. For fun, we spent alot of time on the Lido deck (party deck 12) and this was a very fun space. Drinks were fantastic and music and atmosphere was great too. We also spent some time on the Spinnaker lounge. This was a beautiful lounge and dance club. Very chic and modern - highly recommend giving the dance club a try. Great music and again great service as well. We also spent some time in Bliss bar and club. This was a very cool bar with a edgy rock feel to it. I wanted to tell you that I lost mt small black Coach clutch in it with all of my ID's, Ipod, new Iphone 5 in it as well. I was frantic and told the staff immediately. They told me to give them a description of this and to also go to Lost and Found to submit a claim. I was extremely upset and knew that I had lost it forever!! As we were waiting to go to dinner at the Grand Pacific, one of the staff members from Bliss came towards me with my purse on a drink platter. I almost cried!!!! I thanked him so much for finding this for me and told him that "I want to kiss you on the mouth right now!!!" He stood there while I checked my purse to see if anything was missing and it was. This to me was superior customer service which I want to thank Norwegian for setting a great example to other cruise lines. This service would definitely sway me to book a cruise with NCL if nothing else!! I would recommend this cruise for anyone thinking of a cruise to see if cruising is for them. Also, this cruise was extremely affordable. It cost me a total of $500 with gratuities for the 2 night cruise. I also bought 2 bottles of liquor which was included in the total amount that I spent on this cruise. Not a bad way to spend 500 bucks - 2 day cruise out of the prettiest city and all you can eat with spectacular service!!! Thank you NCL for a great time!!!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
DH and I booked the "Weekend Cruise" on the Norwegian Gem. It left from the Manhattan Cruise Terminal on Friday and returned Sunday morning. This was our 1st time on NCL. To be honest, we had heard several negative things about ... Read More
DH and I booked the "Weekend Cruise" on the Norwegian Gem. It left from the Manhattan Cruise Terminal on Friday and returned Sunday morning. This was our 1st time on NCL. To be honest, we had heard several negative things about NCL but the lure of a quick vacation without the need for flying or driving several hours to get there overcame any reluctance we had to try NCL. For 2nts in a mini-suite we paid $599 per person, plus tax and insurance. Somewhat pricey for two nights. I got to the pier around 10 a.m. and my husband joined me later on. I was able to check-in and get an early boarding #. The NYC Port/Pier staff was a mixture of friendly and helpful and utterly nasty. One staff member was annoyed by a group arguing with her about who was supposed to line up first and basically told them to "shut up". I was sitting down, waiting for my DH and on my cell phone and she barked at me to "get up!" I tried to explain that I was waiting for someone but she didn't want to hear it. It wasn't even a section that they had to clear, because they directed others to sit there. Weird and annoying. Security and check in moved quickly at this early time. Be warned, you had to hand carry your luggage. Checking luggage was NOT an option- no stevedores, no porters. As the day wore on, the lines were longer and longer and moved slowly because security was screening all of the luggage. Check-in itself was easy with a credit card. There were separate stations for cash deposits and for atm/debit card users. Boarding started around 12:15 p.m. That was poorly done. We entered onto deck 7, the "atrium". The design of the ship is disappointing. The "atrium" is cramped, with only two levels and low ceiling heights. What made it worse is that everyone was directed to "check" their luggage in the Bliss Lounge. So imagine hundreds of people at a time in a small area waiting to check luggage while hundreds more are trying to board. Finally, my husband got fed up and asked a uniformed woman if we absolutely had to check the luggage as we had been told when first boarding the ship and she said "No". So we bypassed the line and went up to the Great Outdoors to eat lunch and wait for the cabin to be ready. The lunch buffet was fine. The Garden Cafe was clean and spacious with pasta selections, sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs, carved meats, etc. and the Great Outdoors had a limited selection. Mostly carved beef, chicken, cutlets- heavier foods. Cabins were ready at 1:30 p.m. The mini-suite was spacious. Great bathroom, with a privacy partition for the toilet. Shower/tub combination was fairly roomy, good water pressure. NOTE- if you have physical difficulties- back problems, etc. this suite may not be for you. The sides of the tub are fairly high and you need to be able to get your legs over them to get into the shower. The cabin had good storage and a comfortable bed. The balcony is basic- two plastic chairs and a small table on a non-skid surface. The decor is like JC Penney threw up on a Sears- lots of royal blue, burgundy, and brights. Our cabin steward, Neil, was super-fantastic. We didn't even expect to see anyone on such a short cruise but he was always available. Neil was friendly, polite and the cabin was very well kept. The muster drill was easy- held at 3 p.m., you went to your station without needing to bring life jackets. Bali Hai, the bar above the pool area was a great place to sit and watch the sail away party. The passengers were a varied bunch but the overall atmosphere seemed friendly. The pool area has two pools, one with a water slide for the kiddos and kiddos at heart and an "adult pool". They are very close to each other, so the "adult" area is not a quiet one, as it is on Disney. The pools seemed small for the size of the ship but I think that was my perception because they were not separated like Princess'. We sailed south and so had lovely, warm, 70s weather on Saturday and the pools were busy but not crazy. We did not eat in the dining rooms, preferring to try the specialty restaurants. Cagneys was beautifully decorated, service was good, but the steaks were disappointing. Thin cuts, they were fatty and salty. The Teppanyaki was very fun. Crispino was our chef and he was funny and warm. My DH loved his "Land and Sea" saying the Filet Mignon was tender and cooked just the way he asked. My "Seafood" was good but the lobster was overcooked. It didn't matter because the theatrics of the chef were great! We did see one show- Second City and laughed a lot. Mostly "sketch" comedy with one piece of improv, the show was well done, fast-paced and different from any other show we've seen on a cruise line. Definitely recommend. We ended up at Magnums, the champagne bar, most nights. This lounge, the "beer bar" and the "martini" bar are all one big area, with different seats options. Very busy and crowded, it really seems like its a corridor rather than a defined area. Mary Joy, a cocktail waiter at Magnums, was terrific. Very efficient with a great personality. "Bandaoke" was a fun idea- singing karaoke with a band and it was great to watch! Saturday had activities. DH tried Bingo, but was turned off by the price- $50 for 6 cards? and the fact the prize wasn't guaranteed. We decided to lounge by the pool. The gazebo for the band is right in the middle, so if you are looking for quiet, you need to go up to deck 14 or 15 to find the "quiet areas". We enjoyed the music and people watching so we stayed. The pool side barbecue was plentiful. The burgers and dogs were not as good as we've had on other lines, like RCL, Princess and Disney. There was NO room service or pizza delivery on this cruise. That was a sore point along with the luggage issue. This cruise felt very much like the red-headed stepchild of the cruise line. We paid almost as much for this 2nt cruise as you would for an inside stateroom for a 7 nt cruise. Yet, full services were not available. The feeling was that NCL was looking to cut corners wherever they could without shame. I did try the Seaweed wrap at the Spa. It was ok. We were double charged on our bill but DH said the front desk corrected it without a problem the morning of disembarkation. I'm glad we caught it. On the whole, the cruise was fun without being amazing. The design of the ship, the lower quality of the food, and some other things have convinced us that we won't sail on NCL for a 7nt or longer cruise. In our opinion, we prefer Princess and Disney and feel we've gotten better return for our money. For the price, about $1500 for two people, we expected more- room service at least. Just a last note, when we were getting off the cruise, the very, very nice NCL staff person who was monitoring the line said "This was a nice cruise, no fighting, no disrespect." We almost started laughing at the surprise and wonderment in his tone. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
Took my wife and 3 of her friends on the NCL Gem on a cruise to nowhere out of Manhattan for my wife's 50th birthday celebration. I booked 2 interior adjoining staterooms on deck 11 which was just 1 deck below the Garden Cafe buffet, ... Read More
Took my wife and 3 of her friends on the NCL Gem on a cruise to nowhere out of Manhattan for my wife's 50th birthday celebration. I booked 2 interior adjoining staterooms on deck 11 which was just 1 deck below the Garden Cafe buffet, the pool and sports, deck, etc! I booked this cruise due to the convenience of hopping on in Manhattan as we are from Long Island. I read a lot of negative reviews for the NCL freestyle experience, so I had to see it for myself as we are experienced cruisers with 12 under our belt split between Carnival and Royal Caribbean cruise lines and their set dining times which we are fan of. Here is a quick rundown of our fantastic 50th birthday celebration: Embarkation - A total disaster as 2 NCL ships were being loaded, the Gem and Jewel. We arrived at the Manhattan cruise ship terminal at 12:15, paid our $30 to park overnight, and from there the cue lines were ridiculous and we did not board till 2:30. Taking over 2 hours to check-in is unacceptable, it must go better when there is only one ship being checked in. Dembarkation - Great experience, ship docked a little after 8 AM, we ate breakfast at the garden buffet, and we could leave at our leisure from our rooms at any time no later than 10 AM. We grabbed our bags from our room at 9 AM, we easily got off and in our truck and we were out of there and out of Manhattan by 9:30, and home an hour later at 10:30! Great de-embarkation system, no calling decks, special assists, etc, just leave when you want! Dining - As soon as we boarded we dropped our bags in our rooms and headed to the buffet which appeared overcrowded. We then got seated at the Grand Pacific dining room and had a nice lunch of philly cheesesteaks, french fries, portobello mushrooms, steak, etc. Service was just ok, but the food was good. After lunch and the lifeboat drill, we hit the pool area, and saw a fantastic outdoor BBQ where the food looked amazing, I wish we ate there, and we will hit on a future NCL cruise! The best dining times for the best restaurants were already booked up by 3 PM, so I called and got the La Cucina Italian restaurant for an 8:45 dinner. Sitting in that restaurant made us feel like were at an italian eatery in town, the food was worth the $10 cover charge, we had nice meal, no crowd, nice atmosphere. Having a bad perception of the free style dining was washed away as I took a tour of all the restaurants, and they all looked worthy of their cover charges. You can make a reservation via phone in your room, on the phone in the passage ways, or at the restaurants themselves. There were TV screens area showing the times and availability of the restaurants, so that system worked well. We hit the Garden Buffet on the pool deck in the afternoon between lunch and dinner and the next morning, and we loved the layout of it. It was different and had a different nice feel compared to Carnival, again, it felt like a Las Vegas buffet with the themed dining stations. overall the food in the buffet was good. Room - Our inside suite was very nice, comfortable mattresses, great Ikea wood like decor everywhere including in the bathroom where the shower stall had a great layout and glass shower doors, soap was provided, we loved it. We peeked in the balcony rooms and hope to book a suite the next time. Entertainment - The NCL Gem had a great Las Vegas vibe, maybe it was the NY/NJ crowd who were looking to party till our eyes bled knowing we were there for only one night. The party started immediately after the lifeboat drill at 3 PM with the DJ rocking the pool deck. It was cold and windy, but people were dancing and partying for 2 hours, we had so much fun. The main show at 7:30 was cheesy but fun, the flow of the lounges, bars, public areas was a nice change from Carnival and Royal, and the Blizz lounge had a fantastic rock band from England. When the band was done at 11 PM, the DJ picked right up for the toga party, and we danced and partied till 1 AM in the ultracool Bliss lounges that had full size beds in it. Again I felt like we were in Las Vegas. There was plenty of live entertainment in multiple lounges, the bars were beautiful, we really enjoyed touring the public areas. Spa - I purchased Spa admission for the 5 of us at $30 each, and we spent 2 blissful hours in there in the hot tubs, heated chaise lounges. The Spa had separate areas for men and women with Sauna, steam and whirlpool tubs, and they had a coed area that was was pure joy. The Spa had a European feel, we relaxed sweated, took in the sites and we would buy a Spa package in the future! Summary - We were pleasantly surprised with our overall NCL Gem experience. The ship had a great vibe, people were buzzing and partying everywhere, the food was good not great, the service was good not great, but with so many dining choices you will be satisfied. We will sail on NCL again, next time for 7 days or more. Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
General Comments: This cruise was a fun getaway with my 12 year old daughter. I was a little worried that the crowd might be more rowdy than normal given it's a CTN, but I am happy to say that while it was a younger and more party ... Read More
General Comments: This cruise was a fun getaway with my 12 year old daughter. I was a little worried that the crowd might be more rowdy than normal given it's a CTN, but I am happy to say that while it was a younger and more party spirit crowd than other NCL cruises, I didn't see anybody out of control or behaving badly. Embarkation/Disembarkation: Getting on was crowded but ran relatively smoothly. There were two ships departing that afternoon and this makes the terminal at full capacity. From curb to ship took me about 45-60 minutes arriving at ~11:30AM. Two tips--they were handing out Freestyle dailies for the cruise and this made good reading while waiting in line to check in--try to grab one before getting in line. Second, there was a desk taking specialty restaurant reservations and a pretty long line in front of that. Again, in interest of maximizing time on board, try to visit this desk and book a reservation if you plan to dine specialty. Menus were available to browse, for those who aren't sure of plans. Disembarkation was extremely easy given no customs needed and no checked luggage. Sail away: This is probably the best aspect of this short cruise. You get an awesome view of the New York skyline as well as the Eillis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Best place to hang if it isn't too cold is forward in the top most sundeck areas. The Jewel was leaving right after the Gem and we watched it back out right after us and follow us down the river. Dinner: We ate at Teppanyaki and it met my expectations. I had done it a couple times before but it still is fun and the food, fresh grilled in front of you is quite good. Entertainment: We went to watch the comedian rather than the earlier musical show. Comedian was excellent- relaxed, good mix of working the audience and canned routine. Lunch/Breakfast at Buffet: Crowded as expected, particularly on a CTN. Food was fine and lines moved pretty fast. Hard to find seating--suggestion go aft to the La Cucina Italian restaurant where there is additional seating for lunch and breakfast. Only complaint--bacon was horrible and inedible, greasy and tasted off. Service: I was overall happy with the level of service. It's a very short cruise so hard to evaluate, but the few encounters I had were pretty positive. All in all this cruise met my expectations. Wish it could have been longer! Read Less
Sail Date February 2012
We had a great time, I had only been a a CTN once and my DH never has. Embarkation was crazy with both the Gem and Jewel departing at roughly the same time, once you were through the security checkpoint, staff could have done a better job ... Read More
We had a great time, I had only been a a CTN once and my DH never has. Embarkation was crazy with both the Gem and Jewel departing at roughly the same time, once you were through the security checkpoint, staff could have done a better job at directing Gem passengers back to check in. The check in desks were past the boarding gate, you couldn't see them at all. We arrived at the port at 11:30 and were onboard at 1, not too bad even amidst the confusion. After boarding DH and I like to find a quiet spot to have a cocktail and wait to drop off our bags. On the way to that spot we encounter a great crew member who answered my question about making dinner reservations by dailing a phone for me - I was connected to reservations and got exactly what I wanted - Le Bistro, I found out later they hadn't even set up the reservation desk in the atrium yet, so I was one of the first to make one! We found Magnum's tucked under a stairwell one floor down and had a cocktail there. Some of the staff seemed like we were a bother but not all. Lunch in the MDR was very slow,but we had to wait to get in the cabin any way. The food at lunch was not very good and the portions were extremely small, I had a Cobb salad that was missing half of the ingredients and was swimming in dressing. Got to our cabin obstructed view OV 8566, we were on a stretch of hall all by ourselves, it was nice and quiet. Tv was alittle odd the volume would increase all by itself! We only had it on while dressing though. We had booked Le Bistro thank goodness which turned out to be a perfect meal,the fruits de Mer and lamb chops were perfection. We had 6 o'clock reservations so we could see the show. The show One World was really awful, plays at my daughter's high school have been better and we left half way through. The comedian later in the evening, was good, old jokes but a good delivery kept us laughing. Wandering around and having a few cocktails at Bliss and the Spinnaker and meeting some fine folks along the way. Bliss was fun with the beds and a toga party! If we had more time we would have tried bowling at Bliss. Casino was pretty good to us the roulette wheel spun in our favor! My husband was looking for something to eat and we when to The Blue Lagoon the hostess said it was closing at 11:30 and we were told they would be open later but to go to the buffet now. The most awful mess awaited us there. There was barely anything edible, it looked like they were slopping the hogs. Every leftover nasty thing from the evening dinner buffet was STILL out, including the mayo (it was turning transparent, it was so old), it was just gross. Dried out hotdogs and grey hamburgers, a chinese beef dish with no noodles or rice, cold cuts with the oldest, hardest bread I have ever seen, is that what they call late night dining. Blue Lagoon never did open again. It makes you wonder, just how much they will cut out before folks have a real fit. Of course we didn't really need to eat again, so we didn't let it get us down. Some people though may stay out later and drink more and/or play more in the casino if they can get a nice late nite snack. All in all we had a nice time, saw everything we wanted to see and did everything we wanted to do. Would I do another 1 nighter - probably not, but never say never! Read Less
Sail Date January 2012
I had booked this cruise with a friend. She had never cruised before, so I wanted to make sure she had a good time. We planned to stay up all night in order to get the maximum amount of fun out of the 22 hours. We booked an inside ... Read More
I had booked this cruise with a friend. She had never cruised before, so I wanted to make sure she had a good time. We planned to stay up all night in order to get the maximum amount of fun out of the 22 hours. We booked an inside cabin, figuring we wouldn't be sleeping anyway, so why spend the extra money? Well, about a week before the cruise, prices had come down, so we decided to upgrade to a balcony, and that was one of the best decisions we made. The drive on Saturday morning to the pier from NJ via the Lincoln Tunnel and 10th Ave. to 55th St. was a breeze, as was parking at the pier. For a longer trip, I would have parked in Weehawken and taken the ferry, but for the one nighter, the cost would have been about equal, so I chose the convenience of parking at the pier. We got there around 11:00. Lines were non-existent; Norwegian did a great job cheerfully guiding people through the check-in process. It was about an hour before we were able to board, but the time passed quickly and pleasantly. First we perused the dinner menus for the various restaurants. Dinner at the free dining rooms looked great, but my friend wanted to try a specialty restaurant, so we splurged the extra $15 each to eat Asian Fusion cuisine at the Orchid Garden, and made dinner reservations for 6:45. We then sat down in the waiting area, and pored over our copy of the Freestyle Daily, which Norwegian had the foresight to give out before we were on the ship.As we wanted to avoid the crowds at the buffet (thank you, fellow reviewers, for the warning!), we headed to the Grand Pacific Dining Room and had a relaxed, delicious meal. There were no crowds; we were able to walk in and get seated right away. The food was amazing and portions were just right. We were quite full by the end of the meal.The rooms wouldn't be ready until 2:30, so we had a drink at the Bali Hai Bar on Deck 13. It was noisy and crowded (although less so than on Deck 12), but for some of the younger people, that was an advantage.Be sure to ask for all your drinks in regular glasses and not souvenir glasses. If you don't specify this, you will get the souvenir glass (actually, plastic cup) by default, and will pay $2 more per drink. I requested a regular glass for every drink I ordered (six total), and not one waiter or bartender minded one bit. (If you really want the souvenir glass, and you don't mind taking a used one to wash out at home, you will find plenty sitting around for the taking on Decks 12, 13, and 14 after sailaway.)Once our room was ready, we deposited our tote bags in our room, and headed back upstairs, this time one deck higher to the smaller Deck 14 at the front of the ship. This deck was peaceful and quiet, and we stayed there for hours - before, during, and after sailaway - and loved it. The one drawback to this deck, though, is that you are directly in front of the ship's horn, which is LOUD! But it only sounds a few times at the beginning of sailaway and again as the ship passes the Freedom Tower.Then it was time for dinner at the Orchid Garden. The restaurant was mostly empty, so we wouldn't have really needed to make the reservations, although I can't say if that is true at all the specialty restaurants. In hindsight, 6:00 would have been a better time, as we missed a gorgeous sunset (we took turns every so often leaving the restaurant to go peek out the starboard side windows), and were not able to visit any other bars, some of which had guitar or piano singers, before the show. The food was good, but I didn't think it was worth the extra $15 charge. My friend, however, loved it and thought it was well worth it.The show was wonderful. There is only one big show - at 8:30, so plan your dinner accordingly. After the show we headed to Spinnaker's for the comedian. The lounge was full, as Quest was still going on, and when it ended, no one left. We found seats at the bar, where we couldn't see. Turns out we could barely hear from there either. What we did hear, we didn't care for, so we went back to our room to enjoy our balcony for a while, and to take a short nap. Just a note - room service and towel animals are not done on the one-night cruise.Refreshed, we headed down to the casino. It was crowded and smoky, so we didn't spend too much time there. An awesome singer/piano player was performing at Magnum's Champagne Bar, so we sat and had a drink. Unfortunately, he was on his last song, so we didn't stay long. We set out to explore the ship and to hit more bars, but we found that by this time (after midnight), most of the entertainment was over. We did find one band in the Atrium, but as we were sitting down, they got up to take a break. We spent the rest of our time exploring. The only thing we found going on was the White Hot Party in Spinnaker's, which was a bit too loud and stroby for us. So by 2:15 am, we had run out of things to do. The Blue Lagoon was open all night, and I would have been willing to go there for some food, but we were getting tired, and went back to the room. Had there been more going on, we would have stayed out longer.My friend pointed out that falling asleep to the rocking of the ship was part of the cruise experience too, so we partially opened our balcony door, and fell asleep to the gentle rocking and the sound of the ocean. This was delightful, and the bedding was clean and amazingly soft and comfortable.After about three hours of sleep, we got up again to watch the sunrise and the re-entry into New York from our balcony. After sailing under the Verrazano, we headed up to the Great Outdoors on Deck 12, had a mini-breakfast snack, and enjoyed a beautiful, peaceful, uncrowded view of the rest of the trip back up the Hudson.Once we docked, we headed to the Grand Pacific Dining Room for a full breakfast; again, totally enjoyable and delicious. Our departure instructions said we could remain on the ship until 10 am, so we took our belongings out of the room, and headed up to our favorite place - Deck 14 - and enjoyed just relaxing in the sun until about 9:45, when we simply walked off the ship.Disembarking couldn't have been easier. People were allowed to walk off any time between docking (8:30ish) and 10:00, and from what I saw, people were leaving all during this time, so I don't think there was any crowded mass exodus. Very pleasant, as was the drive down 12th Ave. to the Holland Tunnel.Would I do the one-nighter again? I'm not sure. Although the cruise prices were reasonable for what we got, the addition of the port fee (paid on every cruise) was not economical when the cost is not spread over several nights. I think I will give the 2-nighter a try, though. I believe it would be a better value per night, and it would give us so much more time on the ship. Of course, I'd cruise 365 nights a year if I could afford it, but when you just need a cruise fix, or if you've never cruised before, the one- and two-night cruises are nice options. Read Less
Sail Date May 2011
* Background Information: First-time Cruise. We wanted to see if this is something we would enjoy and we did! * Activities - As a first-time cruiser, the activities seem fine. The newsletter was very helpful in deciding what to do and ... Read More
* Background Information: First-time Cruise. We wanted to see if this is something we would enjoy and we did! * Activities - As a first-time cruiser, the activities seem fine. The newsletter was very helpful in deciding what to do and where to go. * Service - was excellent and friendly! * Summary - The buffet had lots of delicious food to choose from and was excellent. We liked the idea of making reservations early on if wanted to eat at a restaurant. This gave us the opportunity to agree on a time and place with the other couple we went with in case we split to other different activities. The Dinner at the La Cucina, italian restaurant was excellent and the service was excellent. However, we think that we made the mistake of not leaving a nice tip thinking that this may have been covered already. We are still not sure. Hate to think that we did. The rooms were very clean. It was nice to see how important cleanliness was to NCL. Hand sanitizers everywhere. With all those people, it would be easy to catch something if you are not careful. * Stateroom - was very clean. I am glad we had a picture window. * Dining - was excellent. * Entertainment - it was fine - as a first time cruiser. * Disembarkation - it was nice to know via the tv and the bill left at door that everything was fine and all we had to do is scan our NCL card to get permission to leave with no hassle. Everything seemed organized and I like the idea of not waiting on long lines for very long. It's just too bad my brother did not get upgraded to a room with at least a window in it. Enjoyed it! Read Less
Sail Date February 2011
I am a yearly participant in the NCL GEM cruises to nowhere. This year I had the opportunity to bring two friends who have never cruised before, and one who has not cruised in almost 30 years. The CTNs/one nighters are not your ... Read More
I am a yearly participant in the NCL GEM cruises to nowhere. This year I had the opportunity to bring two friends who have never cruised before, and one who has not cruised in almost 30 years. The CTNs/one nighters are not your typical cruise, especially in the winter. This year we were celebrating my one friend's 50th birthday. The day we were leaving, there was quite a big snow storm in NYC. Since we are traveling from NNJ, we were concerned about being able to get into the city. We left a little later than we may have otherwise, but two of my companions were coming down from even further north and northwest. Driving into the city and parking at the pier presented no problems, although there was a good deal of snow in the parking lot. We arrived at the pier around 11am. This is when I normally arrive. Typically the queues for security and check are out the door by this time. Last Friday, we walked right up to security and were through in a minute. The check in line was also less congested than usual, and we were serviced quickly. At the picture spot just after check in, we were advised that the ship was late coming in and passengers were still disembarking (this was at around 11:20), and embarkation would not start until 12:30 or so. We had a good # (#9), and proceeded to the waiting area. A very nice new feature this year was the ability to view spa services, all restaurant menus (including the MDR)and book appointments. It also looked like you could enroll your kids in the Kids Club/Teen Club, but I had no teens in tow this time, so didn't stop and inquire. We reviewed the menus and decide on LeBistro for my friend's Birthday Celebration. On the sly, we had make note of the birthday, and YES we did want them to SING!!! Boarding started at 12:30 as promised, and by 12:45 we were onboard. We had a nice lunch at the Grand Pacific, although getting drinks was a little slow. Maybe we were just anxious to get the PARTY STARTED!!! While at lunch, we checked the Freestyle Daily. NO QUEST!!! And I was all prepared! They did have a Pub Crawl scheduled, so we decided this would be a fun compromise. :-) One of friends was not drinking that day, and she was going to go to the show--"Get Down Tonight". By the time we finished lunch, our room was ready. We dropped off our things in our room , and I gave the nickel tour to my newbie friends. The tour ended in Spinnaker lounge, where the DJ was just starting to play. Just before we were due to sail away, it looked like a BLIZZARD hit Manhattan! You could barely see the Intrepid docked next to us! The snow squall did not last long, and we were off down the Hudson, sailing past the beautiful NYC skyline and Statue of Liberty. After passing the Statue, we ran upstairs for the breathtaking view as we cruised under the Verrazzano Narrows Bridge. After wandering around onboard and checking out the Duty Free Shops, we headed to Magnum's Champagne Bar to enjoy the piano bar. Soon it was time for dinner. We had wonderful service, and one of the best meal I have had onboard the GEM. To top it off, they brought out a cake and sang Happy Birthday! Our meal lasted a full 3 hours, and we missed the Pub Crawl--no big deal--we knew we'd be better off not mixing all those drinks. We went to Spinnakers and caught the tail end of the Battle of the Sexes game, which was fun. We hung around for the comedian, Bud Anderson. We all enjoyed his humor. Immediately after Bud, the band Kenosis played a great variety 70s and 80s dance hits. I had a good time dancing. The Birthday boy joined me, but the other two ladies were content to just chill and watch. We had a great night and were lulled to sleep by the rocking of the ship. We got up, had a nice breakfast at the Garden Buffet. All too soon it was time to disembark. This was a little later than the usual, so we enjoyed the room for an extra half hour or so. My friends are now converts--and hoping the price for the May CTN drops! Read Less
Sail Date January 2011
The Gem was beautiful. The food, service and activities on this CTN were fabulous! I sailed with 3 newbies and all enjoyed their time onboard. The Quest Show was fun and was the rest of entertainment onboard. Food is always ... Read More
The Gem was beautiful. The food, service and activities on this CTN were fabulous! I sailed with 3 newbies and all enjoyed their time onboard. The Quest Show was fun and was the rest of entertainment onboard. Food is always subjective on a cruise - I must say I enjoyed variety at lunch. Dinner was great, a bit of a miss on desserts but good overall. Unfortunately the Garden Cafe did not have enough seating but seating was available at La Cucina. At the back of the Garden Cafe similar offerings could be had without the long wait. Service at the Blue Lagoon was slow but the food was delicious. A lttle patience goes a long way. Can't wait to do it again. Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
Just got back from my February 11 "Cruise To Nowhere" onboard the NCL Gem. Ship departed at 4:15PM from the New York City Westside pier 88. Embarkation. This time, I arrived at the pier at 9:45. I was the first ... Read More
Just got back from my February 11 "Cruise To Nowhere" onboard the NCL Gem. Ship departed at 4:15PM from the New York City Westside pier 88. Embarkation. This time, I arrived at the pier at 9:45. I was the first passenger inside the ship terminal. Around 10:30 the passengers were given green cards with a number written on it. At about 12:00PM they started calling group numbers. I was literally on the ship in 10 minutes. If you can, I would advise arriving at the pier 2 hours before the time the cruise ticket states embarkation begins. You will avoid all of the log-jam Grand Pacific Main Dining Room: Lunch I was seated right away. Like my CTN last month on The Jewel, service was slow. This time around, the dining room was not even crowded. About 6 minutes later the bar-waitress came around and took my diet soda order. 5 minutes after that, my waiter came by for my lunch order. I ordered the NY strip steak and French fries. As an appetizer, I had the Vietnamese summer rolls. For some reason, the food took forever to arrive. Summer rolls were just OK. Strip steak was good, but not great. For some reason, the hot French fries were all clumped together - I have never seen this before. It also took them along time to clear the table. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would give the meal a 6.5. They really do need to step up the service aspect in the restaurant Magnum's Champagne Bar I enjoyed this bar on the Jewel so I decided to check it out on the Gem. Service was great! For some reason while the ship was in NY, they charge you a "port-tax" in addition to the regular gratuity...Is this standard on other cruise lines? They do have a nice selection of champagnes. I realize that the bartenders are working for tips. But if I drink 4 sodas, how about throwing in the 5th for free? Even some of the five-star bars and restaurants do this. But I guess this seems to be part of the cruise culture. The bartender did make an effort to remember my name. Colombian Emeralds/Duty free shopping I think the Colombian Emeralds on The Jewel was a lot larger and had a wider variety. However, despite items being "on sale" and no duty/tax, the items were still on the expensive side. So I didn't really see any substantial savings at CE. They even "Hype" CE on one of the channels on the in-room TV. As usual, the liquor section of the DF shopping was a mad house! People acted as if they were in a "feeding frenzy". I guess because you could shop without limit on liquor, people wanted to really get their money's worth. I think some people were just being greedy. Debarkation Again like The Jewel, this process was a breeze. I was literally off the ship and into a taxi in a little under 10 minutes. Final Thoughts I enjoyed my CTN. But I prefer The Jewel. On The Jewel CTN I booked a mini-suite and that room was larger than the suite that I had on The Gem. I am a solo trveler and it is nice to have the extra space. I am thinking about doing the "9 day Eastern Caribbean round trip from NY" The Jewel is the ship for this voyage. Some passengers take the concept of Freestyle to no style. I saw a lot of people in the dining room in torn t-shirts, shorts and baseball hats. I think this kind of attire is not appropriate in a restaurant venue. The staff seem afraid to enforce the attire rules. Happy sailing to all! Read Less
Sail Date February 2010
Background - We are a married couple in our early forties. We wanted to try a cruise of one night to see if we both could handle a small cabin and the confines of even a large ship and the motion. Husband expected to hate it, wife expected ... Read More
Background - We are a married couple in our early forties. We wanted to try a cruise of one night to see if we both could handle a small cabin and the confines of even a large ship and the motion. Husband expected to hate it, wife expected to have a great time. Starting with embarkation... long long lines at the terminal. Parking is easy, although $30 per night is steep. Try public transport or a friend if leaving for a long trip. We got into the terminal at 11:45, told we could board at 12. Boat was late in arriving from prior cruise, so people still on ship well after 12 noon. We finally boarded at 1:30. We were told to eat first, rooms would not be ready until 2 or even 2:30. Actually, ours was ready when we boarded, so we got lucky there. We had an oceanview on the 8th Deck. We ate lunch at the Magenta (?), the buffet was a stampede, pushing and shoving and cursing. Total chaos. So we grabbed a buzzer from the restaurant and went to the bar for drinks until the buzzer went off. Hint - the pager can receive the signal all over the ship so if you have a long wait you can go to your room or wherever. So we had drinks at the martini bar. Strong drinks. We were a little hungry but I will say the drinks were strong. $10.75 for a martini and $6.75 for a screwdriver. Plus Autogratuity. 15 minutes and we had lunch. Like previous review - nothing to write home about, barely enough to fill you up... but the waitress reminded us that we can order as much as we wanted, so we did at dinner. Boat had not left yet, so we walked around to explore. Lots of drinkers outside in 37 degree weather in the hot tubs, but some were standing around in bikinis. One of the best things of the trip was the view of NY and NJ from the harbor as we were leaving at sunset. The water was like glass, and anywhere you looked at the Statue of Liberty, the skyline, the Staten Island Ferry... was gorgeous. Hint - a nice place to take it all in is from the Spinnaker Lounge or the fitness center. We explored and looked around until dinner at Le Bistro, dinner at 8:30. Upcharge of $20 did not buy you a 'gourmet' meal, but probably hotter and better food than the included stuff. Remember, you can order two appys, two entrees... whatever you want. I suggest you do so, particularly in the upcharge restaurants. Each restaurant seemed to have at least one vegetarian option. We went to Bliss Lounge, and found it quite loud and the strobe lights were tough to deal with. Maybe we're too old? I could have stayed another hour or two but my wife was done. She had some motion sickness issues and we called it a night at about 11. Biggest complaint about the cruise was the lack of communication from the ship to passengers regarding breakfast and disembarkation. There was none! Nothing in the notes, on tv, etc. (Oh did I mention Titanic was playing on TNT that night?) So we were completely lost as to when to eat breakfast, when we had to leave the boat, etc. We ended up not eating breakfast and leaving at 9:30. A few final notes... I liked the cruise, barely felt any motion, while my wife felt quite a bit... even though the seas were 1-2 feet and wind was about 6 mph. We were told that this cruise is the most profitable of the year for the cruise line... huge sales of duty free cigarettes and booze... people come on and buy the stuff and sell them to friends etc which pays for their entire cruise bill and more.... No muster drill on these cruises. Would we come back to NCL? Not sure... biggest complaint was lack of communication regarding arrival on Sunday morning. No problems with staff, no rudeness... Expensive night though... $480 incl tax, $30 to park car, $127 in extras for food and drinks. But we learned that we can both go on a cruise without problems. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
I was so disappointed with this one night cruise to nowhere that I wrote to NCL corporate headquarters. My companion and I recently attended the one night cruise to nowhere on January 23rd, 2010 out of NYC cruise port. We are both ... Read More
I was so disappointed with this one night cruise to nowhere that I wrote to NCL corporate headquarters. My companion and I recently attended the one night cruise to nowhere on January 23rd, 2010 out of NYC cruise port. We are both regular NCL cruise customers and even attended the one night cruise to nowhere last year. This year, though, we were both extremely unsatisfied. To begin, the line was extra long this year. We waited about an hour and 20 minutes to board. We arrived at 1pm. After we were aboard, we went to get lunch. The buffet was too crowded and there were no seats. It was like this last year so we expected it. We then abandoned the buffet and headed to the Blue Lagoon. I ordered tomato soup and a grilled chicken sandwich. My companion ordered buffalo wings and chicken fingers. I also ordered a Mai Tai to drink. After 25 minutes, the food arrived except for the chicken fingers. We were told they were still cooking. In short, the food was terrible. Everything was cold. The chicken sandwich was very small and the bread was stale. The chicken wings were actually rotten. There was a wing that had disintegrated black bone parts in it. We showed it to the server. She shrugged and walked away. We then waited another 25 minutes for the chicken fingers to arrive. I laughed out loud when I saw the portion size. There were literally six bites of food on the plate. We are not large people at all. This plate portion would not have filled a 7 year old child. While waiting so long, I decided on another Mai Tai. The second drink arrived but this time it was in a shorter glass of the same proportion. My guess is it was about 4 ounces less than the first one. When I inquired about it, I was told that the bar ran out of glasses. I was charged the same price. After the so called lunch, we went to our room. As we were putting clothes away, the crew came to turn down our beds. This was about 5pm. Naturally, we were not ready for that so I asked him for two extra towels and sent him on his way. Because of the late lunch, we decided to do a later dinner. Mistake- the dining room had a wait so we decided to eat at the buffet. Out of all my cruises including NCL and other cruise lines, this was the worst buffet I had ever eaten at. All the hot food was cold. All of the desserts were bland and all the bread tasted as if it was a day or more old. I felt as though we were eating left overs from the previous cruise. Breakfast buffet was the same way. Example-watered down cold eggs, ice cold pancakes, double reheated greasy potatoes and a broken coffee machine. I am very troubled by this as we have a cruise booked on March 20th on this very same ship. I am hoping that there will be a different chef aboard! As for the evening entertainment, we attended karaoke which was poorly run. I came on this cruise with specific intentions; to sing karaoke and to dance at the night club. The karaoke lady lost my ticket and I had to go to her twice to see when I could finally sing. Bingo ran late so karaoke was shortened. I was one of the first to submit a song and next to last to sing. After heading to the club, well, the music was a mix of seventies and eighties even though it wasn't supposed to be. We were in Bliss lounge. I could have dealt with it but the real problem was the temperature. It was so hot you couldn't dance without sweating up a storm. The air conditioning on the entire ship was obsolete. Usually I am wearing a sweater indoors on a cruise. Not this one. Finally, it was morning and I received the bill. I noticed the $12 per person service charge on it. I did not think that we deserved a service charge since we did not have any turn down in our room and we did not eat in the dining room or specialty restaurant nor was the service worthy at the Blue Lagoon. I went to the front desk and asked for a partial amount to be removed. I was told that this can't happen on the one night cruise. In conclusion, I believe that NCL should make this mandatory charge known to the customer before the ticket is purchased. We paid $460 plus the $24 service charge plus $30 to park the car and then the high prices of liquor where I even was ripped off on that. If I were able to, I would cancel my March 20th cruise on the Gem and if I were able, I might even think about canceling the booked cruise we have on October 20th on the Epic. In my opinion, I feel that NCL takes advantage of the customers on the one night cruise and does not give the service and attention that is normally given on a longer cruise. Overall, we were very disappointed and may resort to booking with Royal Caribbean for future cruises. Read Less
Sail Date January 2010
My wife and kids booked the cruise as a birthday present for me.The kids,both under 10,were really looking forward to using their own money to purchase the birthday room decoration package as a present to me. Only they don't do it for ... Read More
My wife and kids booked the cruise as a birthday present for me.The kids,both under 10,were really looking forward to using their own money to purchase the birthday room decoration package as a present to me. Only they don't do it for the one day cruise. Nothing in the web site about that. The trip was booked at the last minute,so all that was left was a minisuite.Very nice cabin, plenty of room for 4. Total cost was $930.Over $240 of that cost was for government taxes and fees. Check in was easy,on the ship at 12:30,dropped the bags off at the room,room guy was still cleaning room,slipped him $10 to make some towel animals for the kids. He never made them and we never saw him again. We went down the the Cafe buffet. It was outstanding! Nice selection, all good.By 1:30 there were no tables and people had to eat standing up. Went bowling for $40. The one day cruise had an interesting mix of people.Some families,some who couldn't afford a full length cruise,some 18 or 19 year olds who were waiting for the ship to get 3 miles out ,so they could drink and gamble. But mostly it was a booze cruise type crowd. The temperature was in the 20's on deck and yet the hot tubs were always filled with drinkers. Funny how you never saw anyone leave to use the bathroom. Diner at Magenta was terrible. The drink waiter seemed annoyed we had kids and therefore wasn't going to get a big drink order from us. I ordered a drink that didn't arrive until we were leaving. I refused it and had it taken off the bill. My wife and I both had beef dishes that were disgusting. We waited for the kids to finish their food,chicken fingers and mac & cheese, than went back to the buffet for dinner. Our waiter didn't care. We went to the Colorz show. It was all about songs that had a color in the title. Boring We had one of those 19 year olds and his girlfriend with an open bottle of wine sitting behind us in the theater. Talked the whole time until I shushed them away. When we got out of the show, you could see how people were starting to get sloppy and stupid. We went back to the cabin and called it a night. The next morning we were lucky to find a table for breakfast. Getting an omelet made was impossible. The food was good,but you really can't mess up breakfast. This was our first Norwegian cruise. I didn't like the layout of he ship. I like Royal Caribbean's atrium going down the middle of the ship. Also the 24 cafe on the Gem requires you to get seated and order your food. On Royal Caribbean, their 24 hour cafe is basically self serve. You can sit and eat or take it back to your room. I'd never do the one day cruise again. Not really for families. The next time I would take the money to Atlantic City,get a room at the Borgata,eat there and still have $400 left over for gambling. Read Less
Sail Date March 2009
We decided to celebrate my DH's 40th birthday on the Gem one nighter. This was our fifth cruise amongst various cruise lines. I have slowly become a RCCL fan due to the beauty of their ships. But I wanted to give NCL a try. Before ... Read More
We decided to celebrate my DH's 40th birthday on the Gem one nighter. This was our fifth cruise amongst various cruise lines. I have slowly become a RCCL fan due to the beauty of their ships. But I wanted to give NCL a try. Before we even left, I was already frustrated with NCL. They price dropped my cabin $100. I am used to all the other lines I've sailed honoring price drops. NCL wouldn't honor it or upgrade me cabins. I was disappointed in them. The New York port was nice enough. The lines to board were crazy and a bit disorganized at first. We boarded the ship around 11:30 a.m. We decided not to book a specialty restaurant which was a huge mistake. We tried the bowling right when they opened at 1:00. We knew there would be a huge wait after this, and we were right. The Bliss Lounge where the bowling alley was located was also closed for quite a while due to a private party. So we were glad we bowled early. It was a fun experience. We had never been on a ship that had this opportunity. Then we went to the buffet. What a disaster! No one could find tables. Everyone was complaining. People even just stopped and put their plates on the half walls separating the buffet from the dining room and started eating. On other lines I have sailed, if the buffet gets that busy, they open the specialty restaurant areas for seating only. There was no offer of this on the Gem. The buffet area was the worst experience I've ever had on any sailing. Then we went to our room. 11156 Balcony aft. It was great. We enjoyed the room and was glad we got an aft cabin due to the winter wind. No wind on our balcony which was great. The room had signs of wear. There were scorch marks on the couch from an iron. When you tried to sit on the couch to watch TV, the couch wouldn't lock into place. So it always wanted to roll down into a bed. There was no muster drill since it was a one nighter. They had a barbecue sailaway party on the top deck with a live band. It was great. There were lots of younger people in the pools and hot tubs. We were surprised at this because it was quite cold outside. For the sailaway, we stayed on our balcony aft. Beautiful views of Manhattan, New Jersey, and the Statue of Liberty. After sailaway, we immediately went to dinner to avoid the crowds. We ate at the no cover charge Grand Pacific. The dining room was beautiful. But the wait staff did not impress us. My DH ordered the steak. It was super thin and not worth his time. I ordered the pasta dish which wasn't great either. We wished we had booked a specialty restaurant. We didn't finish our meals and just left. We went to the restaurant that NCL calls "comfort food" that overlooks the crystal atrium. We ordered desert, cheesecake and pound cake. They were excellent. We watched playoff football games on the big screen in the crystal atrium. This was a nice touch. We later went to the one show they offered at 9:15 called Colorz. We did not enjoy it. It was a musical about different colors. I'm sure others enjoyed it. It just wasn't our taste. At 11:00 p.m. they offered one comedy show. It was an improv comedy group from Chicago. This was the highlight. We really enjoyed them. After the show, we went to see the White Hot Party. There weren't many people dancing yet but it had just started. We went to bed around 2:00 a.m., and the ship was still partying. There were two weddings onboard, several kids enjoying themselves, lots of couples, lots of families, etc. Most everyone was quite dressy and enjoying themselves. Getting off the ship was simple. Since it was a one nighter there were no customs, no carousels to get luggage, etc. We walked right off, walked right outside the no wait for taxis. Perfect. If you place cash on your account, NCL won't give you back your credit until the morning of the cruise. This was frustrating. I tried to get my credit back at midnight the night before we disembarked because I knew the lines would be shorter. They wouldn't return my money until 6 a.m. the next morning. Of course, that is when the lines are the longest. I think they need to change their policy on this one. We enjoyed NCL cruise to nowhere for what it was. I will probably return to RCCL new ships only because their ships are nicer and easier to navigate. I felt like RCCL has better customer service and better food that is already included. RCCL's newer ships also cater better to families. I did enjoy the New York port better than others I have been to. New York is an amazing city and beautiful when sailing away! Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
Embarkation: A We left our home in Jersey City at 10:05 A.M. and took a commuter van to the Port Authority Bus Terminal from where we walked to the port. It was fairly easy since we only had one carry on and a backpack. We arrived at the ... Read More
Embarkation: A We left our home in Jersey City at 10:05 A.M. and took a commuter van to the Port Authority Bus Terminal from where we walked to the port. It was fairly easy since we only had one carry on and a backpack. We arrived at the port about 11:20 and immediately got into the Latitudes line. The line was about 10 minutes long. Some got out of the line and moved to the much shorter line for non Latitude members. Those who did ended up with less waiting in line and longer waiting to get on the ship. Boarding takes place by numbers which are given to you on a card when you finish all the necessary sign ins. Latitude members get lower boarding numbers and therefore board earlier. we received number 10 while those going to the other line were getting numbers in the 30s. Waiting in the Latitudes line is definitely worth it. Boarding started at 12:15. Once on board we received our complimentary Orange Juice (neither my wife or I drink alcohol) and were directed to take our carry on to our stateroom before heading to lunch. Rooms would be ready by 2 P.M. but everyone could drop their belongings in their cabins upon boarding. We then went to the Magenta restaurant where we had a terrific lunch of chili chowder and a Ruben sandwich, Service was excellent and the lunch was very good. The room is nicely decorated and smaller than the Pacific dining room. We decided to skip the food stations in the buffet because we knew they would be crowded and this was to be a relaxing romantic weekend. The ship: B The Gem is a beautiful ship; clean and well laid out. We walked around and took a number of pictures. The temperature was in the low 30's and we knew it would be too cold to walk around once the ship was moving. The public rooms are very nice particularly the library and card room. One room even had a model and picture of the SS United States which is owned by NCL. The ship does have some things that I would say are mere gimmicks. In the main lobby there is a huge two story LED screen which at times has Nintendo Wii games that only a few can play. The rest of the time the screen is used for promotional information or very annoying videos that actually are uncomfortable to the eyes. The other gimmick is the bowling alley in the Bliss lounge. This novelty is also limited since since there are only 4 lanes. There is also a rock climbing wall and sports area for those inclined when the ship gets to warmer climates. The pool area was very inviting except for the outside temperature. Muster Drill: NONE! Wow this surprised me. Even on one night cruises there has always been a muster drill. There was a short safety talk over the PA by the cruise director, but that was it. This is really nice on a one night cruise because there is such limited time and so much to do. Sail Away: A We skipped the barbecue on the pool deck and opted for sail away in the spa which is located at the front of the ship with great floor to ceiling windows. As we sat in comfortable lounge chairs sipping juice we once again enjoyed the sites of New York and New Jersey. New York City is a wonderful place to sail from and I never tire of seeing the skyline and the Statue of Liberty. Cabin: B We had an outside view cabin mid ship on the port side. The room was clean and well thought out, but small. Very adequate. There was plenty of storage. The bedding is greatly improved now that Freestyle 2.0 is in place. The small flat screen TV had a humorous welcome aboard video which is worth watching. CNN, FOX News, ESPN TNT, and the Cartoon Network were available as well as movie rentals. When we finally turned in for the night there was an annoying creaking sound throughout the room. My wife figured out hat the slight movement of the ship was causing the 20 or so empty hangers in the closet to swing a rub up against one another. It took about 5 minutes to remove then and place them on the floor of the closet. Spa: A This is where we spent much of our time. With less than 24 hours and so much to do you have to choose what is important to you. For my wife and me that was a relaxing getaway. The spa costs $20 per person per day. For that you get robes, a locker, and full use of the facility. By charging our cruise on VISA we were given $50 onboard credit which paid for the spa, a Christmas ornament and a refrigerator magnet. The spa has a hot tub, therapy pool, heated lounge chairs, cushioned lounge chairs and more. The locker rooms have saunas and steam rooms. Coffee, water and juice are always available. It would be hard to put into words how relaxing and wonderful it is. We spent most of the afternoon there and returned after dinner. In fact, after dinner we were the only people in the spa for about two hours. Food: C Many people go on a cruise for the food. Unfortunately this is a weak spot for NCL. While good and more than adequate, unless you eat in a specialty restaurant, it is nothing special. We had dinner in the Pacific dining room at the rear of the ship. The design of the room is beautiful an d there are many large windows. A basket of rolls and breads are provided. The service was impeccable. the food was just OK. NCL still offers a baby shrimp cocktail that looks like something out of a jar. The soups were good as were the salads. For the main course my wife had turkey scaloppini which was pretty good. I had beef loin which looked great but was extremely tough. The vegetable and potato sides were good. For desert we had ice cream. Later in the evening we ate at the Blue Lagoon which on this ship is located above the lobby. The flashing lights of the video screen was uncomfortable on the eyes and the service here very slow. I prefer the location on the Dawn along the side of the promenade. The food here is basic comfort food; wings, burgers, hot dogs etc. Entertainment: A There were plenty of choices to keep entertained. The main show "Colorz" was typical of cruise shows but very well done. I can't believe the energy put out by the singers and dancers. The band was excellent. The show had two performances. We chose the 9:30 show since we wanted to spend as much of the evening as possible in the spa. There was also a variety of music in the lounges, the not so newlywed game, the Second City comedy show and more. Many good choices I cannot comment on the kids programs of the casino since we did not use them. The Crew : A+ Frankly I don't expect much in the way of service from a one night cruise, but the service on the Gem was incredible. Crew members were genuinely friendly and went out of their way to be helpful and make this brief time special. Fellow Cruisers: Incredible Variety I would say that most on this cruise were from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, but I am sure there were others. Freestyle gives you many choices for eating, entertainment and dress. While most people dressed casually, there were many ladies in cocktail dresses and a number of people in formal attire. There were many couples and groups of singles, and senior citizens. Surprisingly, for a one night cruise, there seemed to be a number of families with children. Disembarking: A NCL does this right. As long as you leave by 10:30 A.M. you are free to use the ship's facilities and even leave your belongings in your cabin. Since this was a one night cruise to nowhere we also had the benefit of not dealing with customs. So on Sunday morning we woke up as the ship was coming into New York harbor, went to the Pacific dining room for a leisurely breakfast and then wandered around the ship before disembarking at about 9:10. We arrived home at 10:05 A.M. exactly 24 hours from when we had left. Overall: A A one night cruise to nowhere is a wonderful way to spend a night out and a great break in the middle of winter. Depending o the cabin you choose it is less expensive than dinner and a show in Manhattan and far more relaxing and enjoyable. This cruise was an incredible bargain. This was my second one nightie, and I would do another in a heartbeat on NCL. For a longer cruise I'd choose another cruise line for better food and more options for family activities. Having been on nine cruises on various cruise lines I find that each has something to offer depending on what a person/family is looking for. NCL and freestyle works well for couples. Pictures can be found at http://web.mac.com/pekrause/Site/Norwegian_Gem.html Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
Ok 1st off this was my 16th cruise (my 4th with NCL). I was the 1st person in the port but I was about the 100th to be let on board after sitting for over 4 hours. I went straight up to deck 12 for the buffet since we were told we could ... Read More
Ok 1st off this was my 16th cruise (my 4th with NCL). I was the 1st person in the port but I was about the 100th to be let on board after sitting for over 4 hours. I went straight up to deck 12 for the buffet since we were told we could not enter our rooms until after 2 pm due to them cleaning the rooms, I find this very ironic considering my "cleaner" just made my bed with wet piss in it from the previous cruise...but I will get back to that later. There were no tables to sit at, I wound up going outside in 20 degree weather to eat. Not a fun way to start my cruise! I went to order the bucket (buy 5 get 1 free as in every other ncl cruise I have taken)...When he rang me up i asked about the free beer the response was oh no we don't have that on the 1 night...Ok fine just give me the 1 beer..I got an attitude well why don't you want the bucket? I responded well if i am going to have to pay for them all separately why would i want to carry around 6? The guy just rolled his eyes. I usually book a balcony room or a mini-suite but I booked an inside room since it was only a 1 nighter and the first thing I did was request a soft pillow. It never came. I explored the ship for a while and while it is beautiful I could not walk more then 10 feet without a new waiter or waitress asking me if i wanted a drink (Even though I had 1 in my hand at the time). While the embarkment party was going on at 4pm i went to wait on line in front of the duty free shop to buy cigarettes, the store opening was supposed to be at 4:30. All the other stores opened on time but the duty free shop did not open until 5:30. By that time the line went down 2 hallways. When they did open the mad rush of people grabbing stuff was UNBELIEVABLE. A man knocked items out of 1 woman's hand then grabbed the stuff off the floor, the same man a minute later lifted his fist as if he was going to hit another woman. Her husband went berserk and the employees basically looked at the guy like he was crazy when he was just trying to defend his wife. Had that been me I would have picked up a bottle and cracked him over the head with it. I stood there to see if they were going to do anything about the guy and nada...they actually helped the guy pick up his 40 cartons of cigarettes and brought them to the register!! If that were my store he would have been escorted out and if i were the woman that had her stuff knocked out of her hands I would have requested a copy of the video and had the guy arrested. My cousin was already at the register so i gave him my stuff and walked out because it was getting to be a near riot and since I had my stuff I did not want to be caught in the cross-fire. We went to dinner at Teppenyaki and enjoyed the food very much. I should have expected that since it cost me over 70 bucks. After dinner we went to the casino for a few hours and I decided to go to my room for a quick nap. Well here is where the real fun began. I lifted the duvet and put my hand down on the mattress to get into bed.....IT WAS WET...not only was it wet...IT WAS YELLOW!!!!!!! Someone had pissed the bed and the cleaner just made the bed over it. (mind you this was about 11 at night so there was no chance in hell that when he made the bed at 10 am that he did not see it, since it was still wet over 12 hours later. I went downstairs to get a new room and i basically had to tell them to check the video (I was in casino, restaurant, casino) I was only in my room 10 minutes during the day to drop off my luggage before they called security to come to my room so they could "see what I am talking about". After much arguing I was given another room. I was told my luggage would be moved for me. I went back to the casino and went back to my new room at 2:30 in the morning to find my luggage was still in the old room. I walked down the hallway and ran into a crew member and I am in the middle of telling him I needed access to the old room and as I was talking to him he turned and went into a crew only area, totally ignoring me. I grabbed a house phone and called the front desk and she promised to send someone up. As I am hanging up the phone the same guy comes down the hallway. I AGAIN ask him for help and he says to me "well where is your room key?" I wanted to flip on the guy but before I had the chance the other man came to the room to help move my stuff. I wound up lugging my stuff to the other room. I finally got to bed after 3 in the morning. When I got up in the morning I went to get into the shower but changed my mind when I looked at the bottom of the shower and there was a wet, moldy towel at the bottom of it. I suggest they train their personnel on the 4th deck on how to clean a room. I cannot believe that they had the audacity to add a 12 service charge to my room for that kind of service I could have stayed in a roach motel and still had the same level of service. Read Less
Sail Date January 2009
Norwegian Gem Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 5.0 3.9
Public Rooms 5.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.6
Enrichment 4.0 3.4
Service 4.0 4.1
Value For Money 5.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 3.8

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