48 Norwegian Gem Cruise Reviews for First-Time Cruisers Cruises to Bahamas from New York (Manhattan)

This was our first cruise. I enjoyed the cruising part immensely. The staff was a really warm great group, 'Happy, Happy, Washy Washy' still brings a smile to my face. The food was okay, I preferred the paid restaurants over ... Read More
This was our first cruise. I enjoyed the cruising part immensely. The staff was a really warm great group, 'Happy, Happy, Washy Washy' still brings a smile to my face. The food was okay, I preferred the paid restaurants over the free food but it was all very nicely done. There was no turkey bacon I did find turkey sausages hidden away four days into my trip. I found there was not a lot of fish served for the people who did not eat met. There were no TV stations which I understood you had activities but some people just came to relax (on the water in front of the TV). For some people it was a honeymoon and peacefulness is how you find it. I thought it was ridiculous to charge $9.99 for movies that totally messed up continuously when you watched them and those small 13 inch screens are for total blindness. I enjoyed the Spa which I went to every day but at $149 for the week, had you added a second person for half price, my husband would have signed up. The gym was free but the punching bag was $30.....why? Photos were $149 for ten pictures, you're making money hand over fists in your corporation so why not sell photos $99 for ten, people may not mind paying another $99 for the rest. Drink packages were almost $400 per person; Internet was $125 for 250 minutes, it was $30 on Carnival cruises. There were children in bars in the evenings, children that should have been in bed, a lot of the children I saw should have been in school. There were fun game shows and walking the decks at night was a dream and I felt my fear of the sea leaving me. I just think that the trip was wonderful except for the monetary overages. The idea of cruising is so great and wonderful, I understand that it costs to make these dreams come true but you should re-thing want you want to give to the people who support the cruises. Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
This was my first cruise so I have nothing else to compare it to, but it was AWESOME!!!! We sailed out of NY and parked at the cruise terminal. Embarkation was fast and painless. We arrived at thr cruise terminal at11:30am and were ... Read More
This was my first cruise so I have nothing else to compare it to, but it was AWESOME!!!! We sailed out of NY and parked at the cruise terminal. Embarkation was fast and painless. We arrived at thr cruise terminal at11:30am and were in our room at 12:25pm. Our luggage arrived by 3pm. Dining- We did not purchase the dining package but we enjoyed all of our meals at the buffets and MDRs. Service was a bit slower at the Grand Pacific...the nights we ate there usually took about 2 hrs,but it was well worth the wait. On sea days the grills were on the pool deck and the chicken, rice, and corn on the cob was excellent. The washy washy girls are awesome especially Raelyn who greeted us with her beautiful smile every morning! Onboard activities- Fun Fun Fun! Dan Dan was the cruise director and he was fabulous! I did not realize how busy I would be...I thought I would be sitting by the pool all day,boy was I wrong! There is something for everyone. There were a lot of activities that cost money...Bingo was pretty expensive and was not worth it. They played Deal or no Deal and it was 20.00 a card to play. I thought that was a little much, but my niece got picked to go on stage and won $193, so it was worth it just for that. The adult Quest game is a must...I have not laughed that much in a long time. Also another activity that you should make time to go is the Battle of the cake Masters with Dan Dan ...it was hysterical! They had several dance parties and it could get crowded. I went to every show and each was better than the next. The Magika show was excellent and so was the Duo Balskatt. The singers and dancers on the ship were great! We were lucky as there were not a lot of children. We always got chairs on the pool deck and most of the time could find room in the hot tubs. Service- was excellent. Our cabin steward Eduardo was great and attended to our every need. He had towel animals each night. It was my birthday on the trip and I returned to my room to find a complimentary bottle of champagne! Everyone was kind and it was like a big happy family. One Thursday night after the show the staff members came out and sang. It was very touching. These workers never stopped and worked their butts off to make our trip perfect. They deserve every penny of the 13.50 per day gratuity charge. Ports- Port Canaveral. I could have done without. Great Stirrup Cay was the highlight of our trip. We went to the Lagoon which was to the left of the main beach. You could walk or take the tram. It was breathtaking! The lunch they served on the island was delicious. They were the best ribs and chicken I ever had. In Nassau we took a tour with one of the locals. It was very depressing and kind of creepy seeing the conditions these people live in. We did walk to Junkaroo Beach and it was beautiful. You could see your toes in the crystal clear water. Our party of 7 had a marvelous time and I loved the Gem and all of its hardworking staff! Looking forward to cruising on the Gem again!! Read Less
Sail Date September 2015
Despite the issue I had concerning the cleanliness of the cabin, overall we all had a very good time, especially my children. They thoroughly enjoyed themselves at the splash academy. The staff in that program were wonderful. The food ... Read More
Despite the issue I had concerning the cleanliness of the cabin, overall we all had a very good time, especially my children. They thoroughly enjoyed themselves at the splash academy. The staff in that program were wonderful. The food was adequate but the lunch and dinner at the buffet was not as good as the main dining rooms. Entertainment on board was fabulous, extremely enjoyable. Service on board was adequate. Could have been better. Although many staff were engaging and friendly I felt that many could have been more willing to assist. A little smile goes a long way and the overall impression was that I had a feeling that I was bothering them when I asked for something. My overall opinion of the ship was not good. Did not feel the ship was kept clean enough. I was bitten by bugs on the ship and although my cabin was examined and nothing was found in my room I got bitten somewhere on the ship which is not exceptable. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Nice, overpriced for what I hear you get on other cruise lines. Bartenders great. Freestyle dining staff felt to me like they would rather be somewhere else. Getting on and off the boat was as smooth as could be. My vacation started as ... Read More
Nice, overpriced for what I hear you get on other cruise lines. Bartenders great. Freestyle dining staff felt to me like they would rather be somewhere else. Getting on and off the boat was as smooth as could be. My vacation started as soon as I got to the port, bravo. Shops started to run out of product as soon as the rain started. Ketel one vodka was 2 for 37 dollars. There was one bottle left and I asked if I could purchase it for 19 dollars, the girl from the jewelry dept. was assisting me and asked the gentleman behind the register. Without even looking up, his answer was no. The girl said to me I'am very sir and and walked away. I still spent 350.00 in the store and my wife told me I should not have. Next time I will purchase liquor on the Island. Overall Great, but next cruise I will try another cruise line if only to compare the difference. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
Below is the list of specific problems I observed during my 7 night cruise 1) Day 1 - Embarking - Lines - waited over 1.25 hours from arrival to stateroom. More than 45 minutes slower than Royal Caribbean in Bayonne, NJ. 2) Day 2 - ... Read More
Below is the list of specific problems I observed during my 7 night cruise 1) Day 1 - Embarking - Lines - waited over 1.25 hours from arrival to stateroom. More than 45 minutes slower than Royal Caribbean in Bayonne, NJ. 2) Day 2 - Kids Center- 5 kids (ages 3,5,7,9 & 12) said they did not enjoy the activities and witnessed other kids being scolded. They fought us pleading not to go back. 3) Day 3 - Deck 12 - boat tender issuance - Unorganized, time consuming, bedlam. Too many people with hands in grabbing. This should absolutely be addressed and an organized system should be implemented for the future. I believe the easiest way would be to pre-issue all tickets before you even get on the ship (send with room vouchers). Those with excursions should be privy to the low number tenders and the rest issued via lottery. This would eliminate the mob scene I witnessed. 4) Bars - Days 1 through 3 - I'm allowed to get 2 drinks with one UBP card (universal beverage plan card). Days 4 through 6 - rule changed to 1 drink per card as stated by the both the bartender on Deck 12 Aft and Deck 13 bow. Why the change? Be consistent. 5) Day 5 - Deck 12 - Aft Bar - Bartender took average of 7 to 10 minutes per customer to serve. Bartender prepared drinks with one hand at times (I guess using your left hand to hold a shot glass was too complicated. He needed to set the shot glass down on the counter, pour, transfer into mixed drink next to shot glass, repeat). I witnessed a customer get skipped when there were only 3 total at the bar. Longest I recorded was 16 minutes for one customer (3 drinks). For me, one glass of wine, 6 minutes. 6) Day 5 - Deck 13 - Bar overlooking the pool area - towards bow - witnessed 2 Customers skipped, slow service time - averaged between 6 to 8 minute wait time. I believe one of the servers was named Aziz. 2 glasses of wine, 12 minutes. 7) Day 5 - Deck 14 - quiet zone upstairs deck - Bow - debris and drinks scattered on floor (counted 10 empty drinks and scattered garbage/napkins). Chairs turned in all directions. I believe I just missed a good party. 8) Day 5 - Nassau - Dolphin Excursion disembarkation to the Gem embarkation - 15 minute walk from dock to dock (not the problem) with a 25 minute line to enter ship's dock (problem). 25 minutes is a long time to wait in 95+ degree humid weather holding a child. 9) Throughout the trip, 4 separate unrelated fellow cruisers exclaimed their disbelief in the level of service provided. I now have the names of 3 different cruise ships I need to try and was told not to write off cruises all together. One Steward on the Gem stated that the ship had recently forced out personnel on mandatory vacation and the new staff that replaced them were inexperience. This should not have been our problem but Norwegian decided to make it ours. While on vacation, time is a huge factor. I am disappointed that I worked and saved for over a year to have my family and I waste time and wait in lines on and off your cruise ship. In the end, everything that was good about my trip to the Bahamas did not involve the ship. I can not recommend Norwegian line to any friends or family. I'm sorry if this was your best foot forward. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
We have done Resort thing in past to Mexico, and that was fun too. But this time we decided to do Cruise. So this was our first cruise, and all I have to say is, it was a blast, too good of a vacation, had terrific time with family on ... Read More
We have done Resort thing in past to Mexico, and that was fun too. But this time we decided to do Cruise. So this was our first cruise, and all I have to say is, it was a blast, too good of a vacation, had terrific time with family on cruise, with lined up activities within cruise and off shore excursions. Starting from embankment to dis-embankment, everything goes very smooth, being first timer, It was not difficult for us. Gem staff is just fabulous, direction Dan Dan is nice person and human being too. Upon embankment, Gem staff is ready to greet every person board the cruise. Luggage arrived within few hours after we checked-in to the room. Gem has very nice places to eat, but the buffet at the Garden Café was just fantabulous, with bunch of varieties, besides some basic items, main course changed everyday. Greeter at Garden cafe, has smile on face and tells everyone, washie-washie! The next choice for us to eat is the Grand Pacific, it was huge hall. The third place is the Magenta. We did visited other places but this three has lot to cover. Every night, they have shows to entertain guests on board, and they were terrific. Just to name few, Worldbeat, and Magic shows were fabulous. Fist two days, we spent on ship, and on third day, we got off to Orlando FL for shore excursion, picked Gator land zip lining. Fourth day, we got off to the NCL's private island, The Great Stirrup Cay, it's nice clean beach with various activities. Fifth day, we got off to Nassau, Bahamas. and picked various activities, like snorkel and kayak. One thing have to say, these shore excursions are costly, like real costly! Last two days, spent on ship. We had our mom with us, she used wheelchair and they provided special treatment as well, so hats off NCL staff. Overall, I would this was the best vacation ever. Read Less
Sail Date August 2015
This was our very 1st cruise, and I have to say it was one of our best vacations ever. I have to say how organized NCL was from embankment to disembankment and everything in between. The ship itself was clean inside and out. Our luggage ... Read More
This was our very 1st cruise, and I have to say it was one of our best vacations ever. I have to say how organized NCL was from embankment to disembankment and everything in between. The ship itself was clean inside and out. Our luggage arrived very quickly to our room. Don't get me started on the food, we ate all day, the buffet at the Garden Café was fantastic, something different everyday, I've got 2 words for you "washie-washie". The Magenta and the Grand Pacific were also great. After eating a HUGE breakfast my son and I would go to the gym, to my surprise it was big and clean. Great job to the cruise director DAN-DAN and his staff by keeping us entertained everyday and the great shows in the evening. Great job by all the photographers, whom we made friends with, did a great job taking our pictures. Shout out to our cabin steward who did a great job everyday making up and making down our room and the wonderful animals he did with the towels. The Great Stirrup Cay was a beautiful island to visit, clear water, beautiful beach, plenty of food and drinks, The pools and the hot tubs was a great place to hang out and make new friends. There was plenty of activities to do or just chill out on the sun deck. This was a very enjoyable and relaxing vacation, beats going down the shore. Great job NCL!!! Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
Have to admit was very nervous of what to expect with first time experience cruising with my comprising wife and two children aged 18 and 16. Need not have worried as thoroughly enjoyed the trip and the Norwegian Gem. Travelled from ... Read More
Have to admit was very nervous of what to expect with first time experience cruising with my comprising wife and two children aged 18 and 16. Need not have worried as thoroughly enjoyed the trip and the Norwegian Gem. Travelled from Northern Ireland and had 3 nights in New York sight seeing before boarding . Every thing went smoothly at embarkation - bags disappeared with porters as we got out of the taxi. On getting on board directed to the buffet for lunch which was to provide a taste of the great food we enjoyed all week. Again have to agree with the last post that the food was good and should not be expecting five star cuisine on free style cruises unless you pay extra. We ate at one of the main dining rooms once and enjoyed a couple of evenings in the orchid garden . Re the cabins we had two on level 8 -ocean view and both were very clean and well maintained. Lilia the steward was smashing. Enjoyed the ocean view for the natural light during the day and the week up in the morning to look out and see blue skies worth it imho. Entertainment on board was good , and what we expected, after all only spending an hour at the theatre and plenty of other options available . Always music on at the pool - not to my taste but catering for 2000 people hard to please all. Pool was crowded however plenty of quiet spaces fro relaxing and sun bathing if wanted. Happy that ship is generally no smoking , however no issue with those that smoked in designated spaces. Saw a number of these and some aft so have to disagree with previous post. Re excursions we did the airboat combo - which was great fun however cocoa village not very exciting and cocoa beach may have been worth the visit however we decided to stay on bus back to ship due to the storm that was brewing on the day we visited - good option as it turned out cause when it rains in florida it doesn't mess about. Also did the snorkelling at Great stirrup cay - good way to spend the day - if a tad expensive for hire of equipment but water and beach lovley and lunch superb for a beach facility. Nassau was too warm for us on the last port day but enjoyed the pirate museum as we decided to not do any excursions and explore ourselves. As first cruise going for very good as nothing to compare to but really enjoyable time was had Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
We took a cruise on the Norwegian Gem for our honeymoon, and had a great time. We found the staff to be helpful and friendly. Service was great. Our room was always cleaned and neat --every day. The room attendant was always concerned ... Read More
We took a cruise on the Norwegian Gem for our honeymoon, and had a great time. We found the staff to be helpful and friendly. Service was great. Our room was always cleaned and neat --every day. The room attendant was always concerned about our comfort and satisfaction. We found the food to be very good as it was healthy and did not tend towards fried food or fast food. In fact, because we ate better, we lost some weight. We found the entertainment to be great--nightly shows, daily BINGO, health workshops, music and more. We took a shore excursion every day we were in port and were not disappointed. Of course, it was extremely hot this time of the year so each shore excursion was "hot". However, the Gem was there to welcome us back--and they did--one day with music. On the day we used the tender ship to go ashore (Great Stirrup Cay) the Norwegian made arrangements to cool us off when we returned. When the tender ships came to get us, we were given a cold drink of water, an ice cold cloth for our head and streaming water to wash off our feet. We have only good things to say about our Norwegian cruise. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
I was extremely open to going on a cruise considering it is the hot thing to do around me, but I honestly despised it. First of all, the whole cruise was packed out. Every single room was full. We were not looking for upgrades or ... Read More
I was extremely open to going on a cruise considering it is the hot thing to do around me, but I honestly despised it. First of all, the whole cruise was packed out. Every single room was full. We were not looking for upgrades or something, but it was so crowded. The second day of the cruise which was a sea day there were zero spots to sit at the pool in the sun and the shade. The only place to sit was the top deck if you were lucky. There were probably 50 lawn chairs in the sun and were all taken by 9am. I do not think I should have to feel like getting up at the crack of dawn to get a lawn chair by the pool on my "vacation". they did have chairs on both decks, but even those were filled early. Also, it was exhausting trying to find a spot to eat at the buffet at any time of day. Eating breakfast at 10am was not even an option because we had to bring everything back to our room since there were literally no seats. It was aggravating and discouraging. The dining rooms were not that special either. At the main dining room, I ordered a vegetable burrito (literally the only vegetarian option on the menu) and it made me nauseous and light headed as if i just ate Taco Bell. I was not hoping for a excellent burrito, but at least something that did not look heated up in a microwave off the Taco Bell menu. The only good thing about the cruise was the part that did not involve cruising. The two beach days in the Bahamas were beautiful and made up for the other five days of aggravation, and why i rated the cruise 2 stars instead of 1. The whole cruise seemed like a 5 day airplane ride of being packed in one spot surrounded by people getting to a destination. The whole boat is in general extremely outdated and just ugly. It had a 70s kind of vibe, but in a dirty way. Was definitely not luxurious and comfortable at all. Me and my mother stayed in a small room on the lowest deck with a port hole. I did not mind it, but my mother was extremely uncomfortable and felt confined. I would never take a cruise again, and if I even considered it, I would take it out of Florida with limited sea days. Read Less
Sail Date July 2015
from start to finish,the gem was spectaular..we had the penthouse rm 10500,and everything was vip service from the min we got on board to the time we left,special treats were delivered to our room every night,everyday we had a diffrent vip ... Read More
from start to finish,the gem was spectaular..we had the penthouse rm 10500,and everything was vip service from the min we got on board to the time we left,special treats were delivered to our room every night,everyday we had a diffrent vip invatation to something ,even our excurisions we had vip treatment for gettting on and off.special eating arrangements as well,breakfast if we so wanted was delivered to our room,if you asked to have it brought to your room at say 8 am,your phone would ring at 7.56 and they would let you know it was on its way,then at 8 am the doorbell would ring and your butler would have it there hot and as fresh.the whole trip was just like that,the only complaint i had was that the pool is way to small for the amount of folks on board,and if you dont get up at 6am and grab a chair by the pool,your not going to get one all day,folks grab them at 6a m and put there towles on them,even if they are not there,and thats it,so your shut out.but aside from that,the only other thing i was a bit suprsed about was.we had an utlimate drink package,which sounded good at first,but they were by luck putting any real booze in them,you would get mabye a shot worth of booze in a 10 oz drink,soooooo i found that a bit of a waste of time.. but overall a great time.they think of everything for you ,the entertainment was really good,,but the shows are only 45 min long??,there was music all over the ship both live and d.j but they would blast all the new music(club stuff)but when they did play some older stuff (70s) it would be so low you could noit hear it.that was a drag,but oh well. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
This was the second part of our honeymoon, we had chosen to spend four nights in New York and then join a cruise from Manhattan to the Bahamas. The Norwegian gem seemed to offer everything we wanted as a first time cruise. It is not as ... Read More
This was the second part of our honeymoon, we had chosen to spend four nights in New York and then join a cruise from Manhattan to the Bahamas. The Norwegian gem seemed to offer everything we wanted as a first time cruise. It is not as large as some other cruise ships but is still substantial in size and amenities. We had private transfers from our hotel in Midtown to the cruise terminal, when we arrived the ship was docked and terminal employees were on hand to collect luggage advising us this would be delivered to our rooms (we had previously labelled this with our stateroom number as provided in printable format). We entered the terminal and passed through security and joined a large queue to check in, it is understandable when booking in over 2000 people that there would be a wait but it was not lengthy. The booking in process was efficient and we were issued with our room cards which had a sticker stating we had purchased the unlimited drinks package (I would advise anyone to buy this before travelling). Once checked in we could board the ship, first impressions are very good. You enter the ship via the main atrium and this is large and airy with reception, shop, excursion point and bar. We opted to try the bar and a member of staff came to our table and took our order, you do sign for each drink but there is no additional charge if you have the unlimited beverage package as tips are included (except when in US ports as there is a beverage tax applied but this ceases when three miles out of port). You can buy any drink up to an $11 value without incurring additional costs (avoid buying wine by the bottle as this is additional, stick to buying it by the glass and close your bill after each drink!). We opted for a balcony stateroom, our room was a good size for two people. It would be a squeeze for more than two I think. My husband purchased the honeymoon package for me and the roses I received were lovely! We very much enjoyed the chocolate covered strawberries and fizz on the balcony! The bathroom was well appointed but room for one person only. Our steward was lovely, keeping our room clean and tidy and his towel animals were amazing. He attended twice a day, once to clean and makeup the bed and in the evening to turn the bed down and make his towel creations. He was really friendly always speaking when he saw us asking how our day had been. The food at the two main dining rooms (Magenta and Grand Pacific) was lovely and the service impeccable. The buffet was a little bit more manic, it was a struggle to get food and then a seat in which to eat it. We much preferred the main dining rooms and the service they provided. We ate at Le Bistro on one occasion and it was lovely and the food was excellent. We ate at O'Sheehans on two occasions and although the food is very nice (simple pub fare) they have a strange habit of bringing the appetisers with your main course. Lastly on sea days we ate snacks from Topsiders where burgers, hot dogs and sides could be obtained all afternoon. Drinking options on board are plentiful, we spent a lot of time in Java bar, Bali Hai (which is outside so smoking is permitted) and O'Sheehans. There is also cocktail and whiskey bars, nightclubs and lounges. There is always somewhere to go, we attended the white party on the Friday night which was very busy! Our advice would be that if you like a drink the ultimate beverage package is a must. The ship has an onboard photography team, they get to work as soon as you arrive taking pictures on embarkation. They are all really nice and you do not feel they are too intrusive. You can opt to have photo's taken on the main staircase and with backdrops and they try to make the photo's lovely. They also visit areas on the ship such as dining rooms and main decks and take photos throughout the cruise. We were very happy with our photos and bought one of their packages which significantly reduces the cost of the photos. The first stop off was Orlando, Florida. We had opted for the Universal Studios trip. we all had to wait in the theatre for our disembarkation instructions. This was a little manic. what with lots of people arriving at different times and missing some of the information it became a bit of a scrum. Once off the ship we quickly found our transport to Universal. The transfer time was a little under an hour. Once there we were told that the last bus was 5pm, though our tickets had printed on them 7pm!!! it did make the day that bit shorter. Essentially you couldn't do much after 3pm due to wait times on the rides. The potential to then be left behind was too much of a risk. We had been advised a cab back would be in the region of $150. Great Stirrup Cay was NCL's private island stop off in the Bahamas. To access the island you must take a tender boat. The early tenders are allocated by tickets, collected from the pool deck. You then waited for your ticket numbers to be called before disembarking the boat aboard the tenders. This was a very smooth process and journey to the island quite quick. Once on the island there was enough sun loungers for everyone. There was a nice Bacardi cocktail bar which if purchased your beverage package included. There was also a buffet for lunch. The island was very nice, the weather was very HOT. Dipping in the sea was essential for cooling down purposes but entering was very dicey without reef shoes. We had read some advice before hand and purchased our own. There are on the island some shops selling island gifts and beach attire. A nice touch when returning to board your tender was getting ice cold water and iced flannels to wash and cool your self down. At Nassau we booked the Atlantis Dolphin Cay interaction. I cannot recommend this highly enough. You get so close to the dolphins and the staff are really knowledgeable and friendly. The only photos available are taken by a professional photographer from Atlantis and you should be aware you cannot just buy one photo, I think the smallest package is about $90 for four photos. In with the package we had full access to the Atlantis resort which is amazing. There is a water park with rapid which I really enjoyed and other water slides. There is also a large aquarium to look around if you get too hot! There is a transfer bus back to port and a short walk from the bus to the ship through a small market. Sea days, the only point I would make is that people feel entitled to reserve sun loungers from early in the morning sometimes not utilise them until after lunch time. This means that it is a struggle to find a sun lounger if you want one. The main pool is also very full. The bands which play in the pool area are very good. The cocktails from Bali Hai are lovely when it's hot and sunny. As a first cruise we were very lucky as the weather was lovely throughout, the Atlantic ocean was like a millpond for the entirety of the cruise. Disembarkation - we opted to pick a time for disembarkation and labelled our luggage accordingly. Our luggage was then collected by our steward the night before. Many people had chosen to walk their luggage off in the easy walk off process, this appeared to be quite busy leading to a queue around the ship. We just sat patiently and waited for our colour to be called, our baggage was waiting in the terminal for us to collect. I thought this was a very smooth process. In summary we very much enjoyed our cruise and cannot fault the staff or facilities on board the Gem. I have seen some negative comments about food, staff etc but in my experience these seem unfounded. Read Less
Sail Date June 2015
This was my first cruise, it being the first cruise, was a great experience. The only problem was there were so many people at the pool you could hardly ever get a lounge chair because people saved the lounge chairs all day. I read one ... Read More
This was my first cruise, it being the first cruise, was a great experience. The only problem was there were so many people at the pool you could hardly ever get a lounge chair because people saved the lounge chairs all day. I read one review that there is a limit as to how long you could save the lounge chairs, but they don't enforce that. The food was great. My husband and I liked that you could go anytime anywhere for any kind of food and also there was not a formal night and you did not have to get dressed in a gown or talk Sedo or soup which was nice it was freestyle cruising at its best. And the entertainment was very good the shows were very good. Dan Dan was an excellent cruise director kept us laughing the whole time, also they had things to do all day the only problem with that was is most of the extra activities are an additional cost, which needless to say anything extra that you purchase goes on your room card and then when you get home you find out that you spent more money than you really wanted to. Patrick who was our room Steward was very accommodating and very pleasant we enjoyed the towel animals in our room every night when we came back at night and our bed was turned down. The weather wasn't the best as we visited Port Canaveral it was very dreary not much sun, then to the cruise ships own Island which is Great Stirrup Cay, needless to say another dreary day and it absolutely poured down in buckets and it took us quite a while to get back to the ship because the waves were so bad, they put you on tender boats to get back-and-forth to the island and it was very very rough. The next day was Nassau which looked like it was going to start out the same way as the Previous two days but I actually turned out not to be such a bad day. Previous two days but I actually turned out not to be such a bad day. And the weather on the way back from Nassau was not so hot one good day and one overall I would take this cruise again but I actually would like to try another one of their ships to go to different ports of call. If you don't want to dress real fancy and just dress somewhat casual this is the cruise for you . Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This was my first cruise ever, and I wasn't sure what to expect. I went with my boyfriend and his family, who were veteran cruisers... 1. Checkin: Very easy. We were only in line for about 10 minutes before going through security, ... Read More
This was my first cruise ever, and I wasn't sure what to expect. I went with my boyfriend and his family, who were veteran cruisers... 1. Checkin: Very easy. We were only in line for about 10 minutes before going through security, then 5 minutes to get our keycards and put in credit card information, and then about 10 minutes before we were allowed to board the ship. 2. The Room: Wow. I was very impressed because I was expecting the room to be much smaller. However, we were on the 5th floor with a large rectangular window. The waterline was right under our window, and being able to see the ocean day and night was spectacular! I would also note that because our room was on a lower floor, midship, the rocking was not as pronounced. My boyfriend's sisters stayed on the the 9th floor toward the front of the ship and you could really the boat rocking in their room. The bathroom was pretty spacious and the shower was amazing! Great water pressure, and the water got hot/cold immediately when you turned the handle. 3. Room Service: THE BEST EVER. Our room attendant, Patrick Llido was PHENOMENAL. My boyfriend and I have traveled a lot and we have never received such personalized, caring attention. We often saw him in the hallways when we were coming and going from the room and he always greeted both of us by our first names. (He knew our names even before we introduced ourselves!) Every time we returned to the room, it was immaculately cleaned with the bed mad, new towels, and all our clothes neatly taken off the ground. When we went to the beach, I accidentally got sand all over the room, but when we returned an hour later, all the sand had already been vacuumed! We never had to ask for anything because our needs were always anticipated. Patrick really made our cruise so special. 4. The Food- Breakfast/Lunch: Wow. I didn't think it was possible to eat that much food in a week... For breakfast: you can eat at the buffet where there are so many options. Omelette stations, bagels, all types of pastries, fruits, all types of breakfast meats... pretty much anything you can imagine. They even had salmon lox every day, which is one of my favorites. Or you could eat healthier with cottage cheese, yogurt, cereal and milk, oatmeal. For lunch: You can go to the Magenta, Grand, or the buffet. Again- so many options. Around 11am, they start up a giant barbecue and grill where they cook your food poolside! Some of my best lunches were had here because the bbq chicken, pork, and beef was so tender and juicy. They also had grilled pineapple with cinnamon one day. DELICIOUS. 5. The Food- Dinner: Norwegian has a freestyle dining style so you can eat dinner whenever you like! They have the same menu at the Magenta and the Grand and it changes daily. The food was hit or miss. Some nights, everything I ate was so delicious (salmon, beef carpaccio, pasta, lamb, steak... just some that come to mind), but other nights, I wasn't a fan. It didn't matter because you can order as many appetizers, entrees, or desserts as you like! You can also pay extra for their speciality dining. We paid for Cagney's steakhouse (30$ surcharge per person), and the steaks were amazing. I ordered a filet and it was so buttery that it just melted in my mouth. The appetizers were pretty disappointing and basic. 6. The Shows- Every night around 7 and then 9, there would be a show in the Stardust theatre. These shows were great! We saw Second City, a comedy troupe that was hilarious and had us laughing so hard that it hurt. There was also Cory Kahaney, a comedian, but we didn't find her as funny. The Gem production team were composed of dancers and singers and they were all incredibly enthusiastic even though some of the singing was sometimes off key. We also really loved the Cruise Director, DanDan- he was so funny and personable and every time he laughed, it would make all of us laugh too! 7. Guest Services- UGH. This is my only complaint. I'm not sure how they train their employees, but whenever we would ask a question, we would receive conflicting responses. For example, we were trying to find ice cream at around 11 at night, and we asked about 5 different people in that dining area. All five of them pointed us to different directions and gave us conflicting responses. They should have just told us that the ice cream was put away! Then, we were trying to figure out how to see a recording of the magic show. One person at guest services told us that it would be shown on the big screen in the lobby on the last day (this didn't happen), another person said that the show would be on channel 34 (this was wrong because channel 34 was just advertising for the jewelry and art gallery), then another person said that the show would be on channel 28 (again, not true because it was a just a loop of the celebrity dance off). Finally, we tracked down the head of photography who said that the magic show wasn't taped at all because of copyright issues. Overall, it was an incredibly frustrating experience because clearly no one knew the answer to one simple question! 8. The Norwegian Private Island: Apparently Norwegian owns their own private island and it is great! Lots of room to relax on the beach. The water was very shallow and warm. There was a DJ right by the bacardi booth that was playing techno. The drinks were strong and around $7. The food was out of this world: The most tender fall off the bone ribs, lots of bbq meat, and so much fresh juicy watermelon and pineapple. 9. Ultimate Beverage Package: We were able to get one of these packages and wow, what a deal. As long as you only order 2 drinks per order, with each drink under $11. This package was amazing because 99% of the drinks were under $11 unless you were getting premium liquor like patron. All the frozen drinks and cocktails were also under $11. This package probably saved us about $1000 and I don't think we will ever go on another cruise if this package isn't offered! 10. The Little Things: I think I was most impressed by the little things that Norwegian offered. When we were getting back on the boat after a hot day on the island, they handed out small ice cold towels for everyone to wipe their faces and hands with. What a nice touch! They also had a little foot washing station right before getting on the boat. When boarding the ship from Florida and the Bahamas, they offered fresh juice and ice water. We also always got a folded towel animal in our room! Little things like this really made us feel taken care of and added to our cruise experience. Overall- I will definitely go on another cruise! Patrick our room attendant really made us feel welcomed. The food was so delicious and plentiful. And even though there were a lot of people, we never felt too crowded. Hopefully the next time we take a cruise, Norwegian will improve their guest services because the only frustrating part of the cruise was being unable to get a straight answer from anyone! Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
For my first cruise it was good. My room was made up when asked and even when not. The staff was helpful and friendly. the rock climbing wall wasn't open the entire trip but that was fine. I loved that each floor landing had a gem to ... Read More
For my first cruise it was good. My room was made up when asked and even when not. The staff was helpful and friendly. the rock climbing wall wasn't open the entire trip but that was fine. I loved that each floor landing had a gem to read about, a fun fact, the emerald is my birth stone so it was also great to see that up there. I loved the barbecues they gave, that food was delicious. The buffet food was always good because you had options but if you had to sit down at one of the restaurants and order it took at least 45 mins to get your food back even if it wasn't busy. The unlimited fruit was amazing. Disembarkation was a hassle i stood on a line from the front of the ship to the back to get off but it was my first cruise so maybe thats how things are done. Overall I enjoyed this ship. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This was my boyfriend and I first time. I was excited for the birthday celebration and our much needed vacation. We loved we were able to leave from NY which made it very easy for us. I was surprised that the embarkation went at such a ... Read More
This was my boyfriend and I first time. I was excited for the birthday celebration and our much needed vacation. We loved we were able to leave from NY which made it very easy for us. I was surprised that the embarkation went at such a fast pace. It might have taken us only a hour to get processed and on the ship. Once we got on the ship since it was our first time we didn't know what to do next. There were people just saying hi and welcoming you but no one to say what's next. So I told him lets go to customer services just to put money on our account and I asked the lady there. She told us what we could do next etc. I was just surprised they didn't have signs or people to really direct people or first timers. The cabin was nice and roomy! I loved our balcony! I love that I couldn't really feel the ship rocking so we know to always stay on the upper levels. The entertainment was great. The Kinosis band was great every time we heard them. Dan Dan is a all around type of guy, comedian, singer, cruise director and much much more. So so funny. The food was pretty good! Always something to eat and plenty of it. Shore excursions were fun! Did things we probably wouldn't ever done in life. The jet ski guys were amazing. Very nice and funny. Great Stirrup Cay, was so beautiful. We didn't want to leave. Probably one of my favorite beaches. Disembarkation process - Every time we had to get off the ship it was never in a orderly fashion. I got most of annoyed was our 2nd port stop at the Great Stirrup Cay - They tell you in the package to look at a certain channel (23) once you get your group number for the tendor boat. So my boyfriend and I ate breakfast got our number. We were group 11. On the ticket it said to look channel 21 which neither was correct because there was another channel I came across by mistake that you could see the water and hear the announcements. So by 9:30 am we getting ready to shower and they started with the first 4 groups. So they tell you to wait for your number to be called and then come to deck 7. We waited and waited. On our balcony we could see the tendor boats and people getting on. I was like wow it can't be that many people in groups 1-4 because the time now it was 11:15 am. So I'm getting upset now because we have an excursion at 11:45. So we just took it upon ourselves to go down and as we went down the called groups 5-11 and its 11:20 didn't make sense. Took us 2 hours get off and that should not be. Same thing when we got back to NY! It took us 2 hours to get off. So needless to say they need to work better on this and proof read materials to make sure that all materials are update and saying the same thing. Other than that we loved it. Had so much fun! Wasn't ready for it to end! We are looking forward to another cruise! Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Excellent service! crew was extremely nice n willing to help all ! Very organized ! Norwegian have thought of everything as far as comfort to washing sand off your feet to a wet cold wash clothes to wash off your face n hands after a day ... Read More
Excellent service! crew was extremely nice n willing to help all ! Very organized ! Norwegian have thought of everything as far as comfort to washing sand off your feet to a wet cold wash clothes to wash off your face n hands after a day on the beach n excursions! Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
For first time cruiser's... lack of communication by staff was the most frustrating and confusing thing. We missed out on our pull taps (our win's from Deal or No Deal) because my mom went to the lounge where they were suppose to ... Read More
For first time cruiser's... lack of communication by staff was the most frustrating and confusing thing. We missed out on our pull taps (our win's from Deal or No Deal) because my mom went to the lounge where they were suppose to be given and she was told it happened at a later time by the crew member in the lounge at that time so when we showed back up to that same lounge at the time we were given... we were told it happened at the time she was there previously! Not counting when we saw that we had won them after the game... I asked the cruise Director where and when do we get them, supposedly he had already told everyone and said to me "that was a stupid question" (on the mic) in front of everyone. Port Canaveral... we had to pay for a shuttle to bring us to a beach where there was no activities besides stores (waste of a day and money for shuttle) if we had known that, we would've stayed on the boat! Great Stirrup Cay... We almost missed out on our shore excursion that we paid thru the cruise line because yet again, lack of communication between crew member's! Me and my mother got up and were one of the first in line to get our tender tickets (number 5 to be called) but the crew member told us since we had an excursion that we didn't need them and could get of the boat at any time. So we went to get my sister and we had breakfast since it was 9am and our excursion was at 10:20! When we tried to get to deck 4, another crew member told us we had to go to the back of the line... even after we told him we had an excursion and were told we could get off at anytime and that if we got in line we would miss our excursion since the line went from the back of the boat thru the casino and almost to the front of the boat! He said what time is your excursion and even after we told him he still told us to get to the back of the boat and that we would not miss it! So I tried to go another way to get to deck 4 but they had all the elevators blocked, but luckily I found another crew member who actually listened to my story and called the asst. cruise director who told him to bring us to her and we just made our excursion!!! Great Stirrup Cay was the best stop... we were able to do our excursion, sit, relax and enjoy the beautiful Bahama water. Nassau... What a joke! We had another shore excursion thru the cruise line and that was the Blue Lagoon! Now I paid for me, my sister, and my mother to have a getaway with no kids and no hassles (well at least that is what I thought I paid for!) I bought the excursions in advance before sailing and my mom wanted to do the dolphin encounter with me and the seal lion encounter with my sister (because she cannot just do with one and not the other) now the cruise line told me that she could only do one thru them but if there were openings once we got there, we could go thru Blue Lagoon to change the time and pay for another encounter thru them! When I paid for the excursion our time said 10am, which was fine because we expected to stay the day there at Blue Lagoon! But when we got our tickets... the time said 12pm which didn't give us much time to do anything before hand or after since we could not get on the boat to Blue Lagoon until the time specified!!! When we asked the shore excursion desk where we had to meet for our excursion, we were told... it tells you on your tickets! Our tickets told us our meet was on the pier?! The pier is not small... so we walked to where the boats were coming and going and the security guard told us that they would pick us up by our boat! We made it there in time because we had to wait for others that were running late, so by the time we got on the boat, picked up others from the hotel pick up and made it to the island, we had just enough time to find where our instructor's were to tell us what we needed to know before we got in the water! And by the time our encounter's were over... we had just enough time to order our pictures and get back on the boat to go back to our cruise ship and that was that! 24 hour pizza?... where was that because we did not have it on our boat! I also paid for the unlimited beverage package, but cans of soda were not included in that! I am a Pepsi drinker... that is my coffee, and the fountain Pepsi did not taste like Pepsi! Luckily we were able to buy some 12 pack's of it when we got to Florida! With the amount of money I spent for me, my mom, and my sister to enjoy ourselves (me being a single mother of 3)... from what we were told, I expected a lot more then what we were given! The best service we had was from our room attendant... who remembered our names and was always right there if we wanted or needed something! I have tried to contact corporate to let them know about my experience, but their business hours are during my work hours! It was our Mother's day getaway... and we couldn't wait to get home! Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
This was our first cruise experience we decided on a balcony room and I personally feel this was worth the extra I loved sitting on the balcony in the morning reading and planning my day ahead. The room was a lot bigger than I expected ... Read More
This was our first cruise experience we decided on a balcony room and I personally feel this was worth the extra I loved sitting on the balcony in the morning reading and planning my day ahead. The room was a lot bigger than I expected and the cleaner made sure it was kept spotless. The concierge was brilliant and nothing was too much for him. The food was superb with loads of choices and we bought the corks and caps drink package we felt this was great value for money. The excursions we chose were amazing we went to see the alligators and then onto cocoa village and cocoa beach in port Canaveral. I loved Florida that much I am planning to go to back to Florida for a holiday. On Nassau we went on the tour of the Island again fantastic a lot of this was down to our tour guide Carven The entertainment in the Stardust Theatre was of a very high standard and very enjoyable. Loved the casino . We booked transfers to the airport at the end of the trip this helped to make our long journey home so much easier. I think if I went on another cruise I would want more stops and I felt the last 2 days at sea were a bit boring at times, if the weather was better it would have probably been more bearable but the weather is not down to NCL. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
Me and my husband fully recommended. Was our first cruise experience, we enjoy it so very much. Excellent service, nice people, good activities. I enjoy the disco, all the entertainment and the shows. The zumba classes excellent, I will ... Read More
Me and my husband fully recommended. Was our first cruise experience, we enjoy it so very much. Excellent service, nice people, good activities. I enjoy the disco, all the entertainment and the shows. The zumba classes excellent, I will preferred one hour instead of only halve hour. The Brazilian instructor, I believed her name is Jessica, was the best of all. Should keep the same teacher for all classes. We enjoy the food, the private island was the best of all trips. The service was excellent throw out the all ship. Loved the white party, and the games at the speaker. Another great thing, we meet great people on board, we became friends and we are keeping in touch with them. We can wait to cruise again. Thank you to ouer agent I got my birthday cake on board and it was beautiful, got a great time, and you were a great help for us, being the first time cruising and having a lot of questions. We appreciated your help very, very much. Read Less
Sail Date May 2015
My boyfriend and I took a cruise on the Norwegian Gem. It was a first cruise for both of us. We enjoyed it a great deal despite the fact that it really was not at all what we expected. For starters the weather was not good and that's ... Read More
My boyfriend and I took a cruise on the Norwegian Gem. It was a first cruise for both of us. We enjoyed it a great deal despite the fact that it really was not at all what we expected. For starters the weather was not good and that's no one's fault. We are not party animals and had no idea that a cruise is nothing more than a floating party. That said we did enjoy relaxing in our stateroom. We were always told that cruises are 24/7 eating and while that is true a lot of the food was hard to palate. We got the beverage package as an upgrade perk with our stateroom and all drinks and alcoholic beverages are included accept SPECIALTY COFFEES AND WATER. WATER????? When we went to the JAVA BAR we sat and asked for 2 regular coffees and were charged. We told them we had the beverage package and only specialty coffees were not included only to be told by the staff that all coffee at the Java bar was excluded from the beverage package. We are not big drinkers so the beverage package is a waste. If we took a soda from the mini bar in our stateroom we were also charged. Getting a seat at the buffet was a constant challenge. The excursions are pricey and very disorganized. It was pouring rain and no one knew what to do or where to go; which bus to get on; no back up plan for inclement weather. It wasn't just raining . we had serious thunderstorms and were forced to walk in wind and pouring rain to our shuttle while local taxis were allowed right up to the ship side. Disembarkation was a nightmare. We never got instructions on how to disembark. We were lost and had to ask other cruisers what to do and where to go because when we asked the cruise team members all we were told was to choose a baggage tag color for disembarkation time and that would be our time to disembark. No one told us we didn't HAVE TO choose a baggage tag. We could have chosen easy walk off. We also were not told we had to be out of the stateroom by 8 am. All that said we have better experience and a point of reference for our next attempt at a cruise. I will not write it off nor will I discourage others who have not cruised from going on a cruise. We did enjoy the relaxed atmosphere in our stateroom some shows and the specialty restaurants. Other than that expect to pay extra for everything and lower your expectations for the food. Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
This was our first cruise, we LOVED it! We look forward to booking next year with Norwegian. We enjoyed the variety of activities and shows available, we were unable to see and do everything we wanted due to the vast amount of ... Read More
This was our first cruise, we LOVED it! We look forward to booking next year with Norwegian. We enjoyed the variety of activities and shows available, we were unable to see and do everything we wanted due to the vast amount of entertainment on board. We have a seven year old daughter who we spend every waking minute with, she discovered the "Splash Academy" and spent every moment she could there? My husband and I have not had that much free time together in seven years! "Billy" at "Splash Academy" was incredible! my daughter still asks for her! Our Stewardess was Judy Reyes, who truly made our trip incredible! she was so personable and immediately took to Maddy, and our family. She did everything from the moment we arrived to make us feel at home. After many years of family vacations at Disney and Universal Resorts, we have unanimously decided our future vacations are cruise's. We loved the food, entertainment (Billy), pool side entertainment and the nickelodeon options for the kids. This was truly a vacation for both us and our baby girl! Read Less
Sail Date April 2015
I will start off by saying that this was our best vacation ever. This was our first Cruise and we were having doubts about cruising. We are glad that we did it! Norwegian staff members made our stay comfortable and enjoyable. It starts off ... Read More
I will start off by saying that this was our best vacation ever. This was our first Cruise and we were having doubts about cruising. We are glad that we did it! Norwegian staff members made our stay comfortable and enjoyable. It starts off from the welcoming staff, then comes the bars, the food, the housekeepers, the entertainers, the cruise director, the chef, the splash academy and you can't forget the ladies with the bottles of washy washy and happy happy. I would like to recognize some bartenders that I have met such as Michael Maglaque (always smiling and talked to us), Rrrrrrroel the magician (thank you for teaching me the trick with the spoon, fork and wine bottle), Marisol (Always smiling and remembering my favorite drink) and there are others that I cannot remember their names. These bartenders from the first day till the end has remembered my family and I and has called us by our names. We will never forget our entertainers, Dan Dan (my wife and aunt loves the way he laughs), Nacho (funny) and Ruben Anthony (our 17 year old daughter fell in love with his eyes) for entertaining us. Last but not forgotten, We recommend the Splash Academy for giving our 5 year old daughter a smile from ear to ear every night and giving us a break. Can't forget our last afternoon, our daughter and many other kids from the Splash Academy had a performance at the Star Dust Theater for the parents to enjoy. WOW!!! Not only did the Splash Academy employees worked with our kids to perform but had the patience to deal with our kids.. We highly recommend Norwegian Gem and for us they are more than 5 stars in our book. Thank you for the great moments and memories. From The Santana Family! Cabin # 10592 and 10590 P.S. For those who gave Norwegian Cruise Line a 1 star due to a illness in the family, please remember that every vacation that is purchased is offered a protection plan. If you decide not to purchase the protection plan then don't blame Norwegian Cruise Line, blame yourself. Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
this was our first cruise which was recommended by my brother and family whom they have went on this cruise August 2013 and was returning again this year,that means they really really enjoyed it so we all went as a family 15 people to be ... Read More
this was our first cruise which was recommended by my brother and family whom they have went on this cruise August 2013 and was returning again this year,that means they really really enjoyed it so we all went as a family 15 people to be exact. First thing we met and liked was the ships staff whom were very friendly,and warm we had nice welcoming when embarking,the cabins were very net and clean,in fact the entire ship was very clean,entertainment was awesome,and service by entire ship was great,and most importantly the food was fabulous,deelicious,high grade quality food,pastry like you never seen before i was amazed,also the different culture of food was available at breakfast,lunch and dinner. Whenever the ship is embarking or disembarking they very organized,getting around all stops were very easy.Me, my spouse, and the entire crew came with us loved everything about the entire cruise we loved it so much we did not care to leave the ship inside everything was so great all of us agree to rate the norwegian gem a five star Read Less
Sail Date August 2014
This Was My Husband & I First Cruise. The Ship Was Beautiful & The Staff Was The Best, From The Captain All The Way Down To The Housekeeping Crew. The Food Was In An Abundant The Chief & Cooks (BRAVO ,Bravo ... Read More
This Was My Husband & I First Cruise. The Ship Was Beautiful & The Staff Was The Best, From The Captain All The Way Down To The Housekeeping Crew. The Food Was In An Abundant The Chief & Cooks (BRAVO ,Bravo ,Bravo,Bravo,!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) Made Everything Looks Stunting & Appetizing. And It Was. I Was More Impressed With The Way They Ensure The Guest Of Clean Hands Before Entering Any & All Restaurants. ( Love Those Washes Washes Girls) I Would Highly Suggests That If You Are Going On Your Frist Cruise Booked It On The Norwegian Gem, It Is A Lay Back Cruise Without Dressing Up & The Entertainment Is A Blast Too! Everyone Related To The Crew Made Sure That Everyone & I Mean Everyone Got In Vowel In The Activities ( Even The Handicap & The Children's) WELL WORTH THE TRIP ! I'm And Sure That My Husband & I Will Cruise Again With Norwegian. We Travel To Fla Cocoa Beach, Port Canaveral Then To Paradise Island ( Private Island Of Norwegian) Then Went To Nassau & Took A Tour Of Resort Of Atlantis ( Saw The Wonderful Underwater Sea Aquarium Inside The Resort & The Original Dudgeon's Of The People Of Atlantis) I Have One Suggestion On Debarking The Boat @ The End Of Cruise/ Maybe Do It From Floor To Floor To Avoid Congestion ( EXP/ Floors Top To Lower & Then Switch It Up From Bottom To Top) Read Less
Sail Date May 2014
Norwegian Gem Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.5 3.9
Public Rooms 3.5 4.1
Fitness Recreation 3.5 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.6
Enrichment 3.0 3.4
Service 5.0 4.1
Value For Money 5.0 3.7
Rates 4.0 3.8

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