This was a cruise of first for us as it was our 1st Norwegian Cruise (platinum on Carnival), 1st Bermuda cruise, 1st time leaving out of a Northern port (Boston), 1st time in a suite (Opal Penthouse 2 bedroom family suite), and 1st time ... Read More
This was a cruise of first for us as it was our 1st Norwegian Cruise (platinum on Carnival), 1st Bermuda cruise, 1st time leaving out of a Northern port (Boston), 1st time in a suite (Opal Penthouse 2 bedroom family suite), and 1st time staying in a port overnight. I have to say this was an absolutely amazing trip.
We spent time in Boston exploring the city including a trip to the Boston Tea Party Museum and a trip to Fenway. Boston is an interesting city, but it was still a little cold for us southerners and the roads were more chaotic than we are used to in the south. This is a cool port to leave from on a cruise ship, but much smaller than we are used to. We took a Lyft to the cruise port and it was very easy drop off just crowded down a congested street. Our luggage was taken and we were directed into a waiting area since it wasn’t time to go through security and get on the ship just yet. This was an outdoor space that’s covered where we waited in a long line to go in. Once inside everything was a breeze. We had a suite booked so we got through security and were directed to another line to get checked in. Everyone working at the port seemed brand new so we waited an extra 20mins trying to get checked in when the normal line would’ve been faster. It seemed as if only one person had a clue what was going on, but I’m sure it’s gotten better now as they have been in those positions for a few weeks. This didn’t bother us and we were quickly escorted into the suite waiting area with cookies, fruit, sandwiches, coffee, juices, and more. Our concierge greeted us and let us know what she could help us with and any plans we wanted to schedule. She also provided us with the daily so we knew all the activities once on board. From here we were them escorted onto the ship and into Carney’s for a suite guests exclusive lunch. It was very good and a great perk of having a suite. The steak and truffle fries with the brownie dessert was one of the best meals all trip. We left here to go to our cabin which was ready for us and absolutely amazing.
The Gem itself isn’t a brand new fancy ship, but it has a lot to offer. It has quite a few dining areas complimentary and for an upcharge. We only tried Chaney’s and Moderno for upcharge. We ate a good bit of our meals in Magenta and a few in Grand Pacific. Coming from Carnival cruiseline, the whole freestyle dining was new to us and there were plenty of things we liked about it. We loved being able to book a dining time through the app and it could change each day. We loved having 2 different main dining rooms to choose from. We also really enjoyed the food. The few things we didn’t like were the staff seemed to be less involved and slightly more rude than we are used to in the dining areas because with freestyle dining we didn’t have the same staff each night. We know we could’ve asked for the same, but we didn’t find anyone serving us early on that we truly had a great experience with. This didn’t change from breakfast, lunch, or dinner we felt the same way at all meals. On our last 2 days we found a waiter for breakfast/lunch and a waitress for dinner that we wished we had found earlier on and could’ve asked for each time. I will say as far as suite dining goes those meals and staff were absolutely incredible. It was just in the main dining we didn’t get that same feel we are used to from our wait staff on carnival. Lastly, we didn’t like how even in the casual dining rooms hats were not allowed. It seems if you are going to have 2 different dining areas and one of which is more lenient this would be okay. We noticed a lot of frustration from people throughout the cruise because of this. Especially since this itinerary has us docked in the same spot for 3 days and people wanted to come and go as they please. Overall, the food was excellent, but some of the desserts could use some improvements. We were very fond of the pound cake French toast at breakfast and liked how breakfast rotated out some specials. As far as the main buffet, we didn’t eat here all that often, but the few things we had very delicious. I can’t compliment enough how the structure of the buffet lines being in sections instead of one huge line made such an incredible difference in lines. It was great to be able to just walk up to pizza, salad bar, or up to the main grill foods, or fruit, or dessert without waiting in a line to grab just a piece of bread.
As far as activities go we loved that it had a rock wall, pool with water slide, a golf driving net, a library, multiple liquor and wine tastings and bars, the great outdoors outside deck, a chapel, and lots of amazing lounges. The shows and entertainment were pretty good. The ship itself seemed to not have a ton of activities, but there was still enough to do. It really lacked activities after 10pm. We hosted the cruise critic meet and greet so that was a blast getting to know the crew, cruise director, and fellow cruisers. Ferdie was a great cruise Director and kind guy.
Our cabin was absolutely breathtaking. At the time of booking we are a family of 4 and to buy 2 ocean view rooms it was only a small price difference between that and a 2 bedroom family suite with balcony so we went with the family suite. This made our cruise and really impressed us with our opinion on Norwegian. Everything was top notch from the room, Butler, cabin steward, and concierge. What an experience it is to have an opportunity in a suite. This is something if you’re debating you should definitely go for. The shower has ocean views, the tub has ocean views, the balcony is large, the room has the main bedroom with full size bathroom, then a pull out couch and living room in a separate room with kitchen type area, then the front bedroom which has its own bathroom inside. Our butler brought us a water pitcher to keep in our fridge each day, ice, and daily afternoon snacks such as sandwiches, cookies, chocolate covered strawberries, fruit, cheese and crackers, and more. This trip was truly amazing and left us with a great vacation and lots of memories.
As far as the destination, Bermuda is by far one of our favorite places we’ve ever been. It feels very safe and absolutely loved being on the island for 3 days. There’s no shortage of activities here and we are already planning to come back. We loved having the suite perk of 1st off the ship on the first day as it allowed us to get to Horseshoe bay before a lot of the crowds. We had a great time at the beach that whole day. We spent the next day at Crystal Caves, St. George, Admiralty Park, and in Hamilton. The last day rained, but that didn’t stop us from hanging out in the dockyard, going to Gibbs lighthouse, and spending some time at Bonefish. We enjoyed the entire island and would love to do a catamaran in our next trip there, more beach time, and play golf. Public transportation was a breeze for us and everything can be relatively inexpensive if well planned out. Don’t miss the chance to see Bermuda especially a chance with 3 days there. Read Less