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Sail Date: October 2018
We did the New England/Canada cruise to see something different. Loved loved loved the ports we visited. As to Norweigan, staff was wonderful. Food- disappointing. Buffet was ok, but the freestyle dining doesnt work. Had to wait ... Read More
We did the New England/Canada cruise to see something different. Loved loved loved the ports we visited. As to Norweigan, staff was wonderful. Food- disappointing. Buffet was ok, but the freestyle dining doesnt work. Had to wait to get a table every time. Nothing exciting on menu, no seafood, no filet, etc. Mediocre at best. You want a good meal, you have to do the specialty dining which is expensive. Royal Carribean's food was 10x better. I think this concept was done to get you to spend money for better food. Money...they really dollar you to death. Constantly trying to sell you lottery tickets and such. Bingo was $39 but you couldn't win the cover-all jackpot unless you did it in less than 47 numbers. End of the week they raffled off a cruise for everyone that paid. Woman that won was furious. $600 cruise for 2??? Lol. She would have to pay service charge, drink PKG, etc. Drink package was worth it. Good wine and liquor. Didn't like how they segregated everyone by the floor level/room class. We had a tour purchased through a private tour company for Bar Harbor. We couldn't get off the ship until everyone who purchase a tour through Norweigan got off and everyone who spent more on their cabin got off. We were late. Rooms.....incredibly small. Cleanliness....very clean, staff worked very hard. Entertainment.... The couple of stage productions we're good. Others not so much. Will cruise again, but not on Norweigan. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: October 2018
Great cruise. Parts and excursions were great Price was acceptable Cabin was terrible. End of hallway on 5th floor (5609) Below the kitchen for Magenta dining room. Noise all night. Pans dropping on floor, carts going back ... Read More
Great cruise. Parts and excursions were great Price was acceptable Cabin was terrible. End of hallway on 5th floor (5609) Below the kitchen for Magenta dining room. Noise all night. Pans dropping on floor, carts going back forth and banging. Very little sleep Bathroom flooded second night. Repaired and cleaned up quickly. Door at the end of hall was grew entrance. There was smoking on the other side.Every time door was opened smoke came into the hallway and into my room. Told the cabin steward and he said there was nothing he could do about it. Disembarkation was a Chinese fire drill. Shio was 1 1/2 hours late docking in a pouring rain. Having an auction for an upgrade is an insult. I paid enough for the cruise and sailed enough with NCL to get an automatic upgrade. The cost would have been at least $50/person. Whom ever came up with this idea should know I will probably never sail NCL again. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2018
Went to guest relations five times during this cruise regarding my account credit vs a balance they were showing. Each person told me somethng different. On the last night of the cruise, I was told to spend a certain amount of money in ... Read More
Went to guest relations five times during this cruise regarding my account credit vs a balance they were showing. Each person told me somethng different. On the last night of the cruise, I was told to spend a certain amount of money in order not to lose non refundable credit. However, the next day, my account was then showing a balance. That fifth person I tried to talk with on Saturday, had me in tears. Then 2 other people got involved. After having to return merchandise I bought in order to not have a balance, I finally asked to speak with the head of the department. Alfie was great and she did give me some onboard credit, but I could have certainly done without all the drama while I was on vacation. Regarding other aspects of the cruise, I got charged for an excursion I missed because of health issues. I understand it is their policy to charge if you don’t give a 48 hour notice, however I think they could take the reason for missing the excursion into consideration. It wasn’t like I just changed my mind. I COULDN’t go, and my health reasons didn’t give me a 48 hour notice. Food was great! Only had one night of slow service with cold asparagus and bloody medium well steak. Cabin steward was good. My rating for service was strictly for guest relations. All other service, except one night of dining was great. I miss the days when there was good service at guest relations. They used to care if you had an issue, now it seems like they don’t care if they give you the wrong information or jerk you around. My opinion based on my experience.... Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
The cruise cost us $4720.90 more than we had planned for due to their faulty, fraudulent and difficult bidding process. We talked to many people at NCL ending with K in the executive offices and got nowhere! All she kept saying was that ... Read More
The cruise cost us $4720.90 more than we had planned for due to their faulty, fraudulent and difficult bidding process. We talked to many people at NCL ending with K in the executive offices and got nowhere! All she kept saying was that we bid and that the transaction was binding and irreversible. She said that there was absolutely no one else we could talk to above her! They refused to believe me that all I bid was $300 and basically called me a liar! They also flood your email with offers on future NCL cruises so that if an important one might be sent, it would be overlooked. That might have been what happened in our case, but NCL did not CARE! We tried to negotiate a less expensive suite but they kept quoting their stringent unbending rules. NCL has no "customer service" . All they care about is their "bottom line". We were told we could try and use our insurance and cancel our trip AND repay for the balcony room we had originally wanted. We might get 70% back on a future cruise. I will NEVER take a future NCL cruise! Also additional unauthorized charges were put on our account before we left on the trip: $1,280 for "Gifts and More" and also the Ultimate Beverage Pkge. for $89. pp. We promptly called and got these items removed! At this point we must have been labeled "super gullible suckers" by NCL. When on board the Gem we found out that they were about 800 passengers shy of a normal trip amount, but that ALL of the suites were full! It is no wonder if others were treated as we were! We have traveled with Grand Circle, OAT, Princess, and Holland America, and always been treated fairly and excellent by these company's. We will tell everyone we know not to go take an NCL and why! The food was only mediocre in the main dining room and cafe. The food and food choices were a lot better in the specialty restaurants. We were allowed 4 nights of 12 in the specialty restaurants. The restaurants for people in suites at breakfast and lunch, The Modera and the Cagney were outstanding in quality but their hous of operation empowers shorter. We forgot we could order room service meals at any time. We found all of the staff excellent except in the Garden Cafe so we seldom went there. Embarkation was slow because we had a trainee. It was nice to e in a priority line but it took too long because of this! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
This is a nice ship, but really BIG! There are not enough places to sit and visit, or play a board game, or write a note, or sit and plan your next day. The outdoor area is fun but small. The slides are great, but fall in to the ... Read More
This is a nice ship, but really BIG! There are not enough places to sit and visit, or play a board game, or write a note, or sit and plan your next day. The outdoor area is fun but small. The slides are great, but fall in to the smallest pool I've ever seen on a ship. The food is good, but we found nothing "great"; and, we had expected some seafood while around Maine, but alas, flounder only. The quality of the food in all complimentary venues is good, but nothing great, or memorable. The ports in the USA were great, but the 2 ports in Canada were lame, with little to nothing to see or do. Don'[t do their "Foodie" tour as it is a walk to the "market" and then 4 wee samples of foods which were fair at best. The pier restaurants in Canada were delicious, and the small shops and restaurant in Kennebunkport were awesome! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2018
Wanted to go to Canada and this was the dates that matched our availability. On and off the boat worked smoothly and timely. While the boat had room for everyone, the days at sea were just too crowded. There was room for everyone but a ... Read More
Wanted to go to Canada and this was the dates that matched our availability. On and off the boat worked smoothly and timely. While the boat had room for everyone, the days at sea were just too crowded. There was room for everyone but a venues and events were full up with folks and crowded. The Atrium was always crowded. Yes, it was cold and rainy so you couldn't use the pool deck and thus lost that physical space to put people and perhaps that's why I think it was crowded. Room was good but the sofa was too uncomfortable to use to sit on for more than a few minutes. So if you wanted to read you had to lay on the bed as it was impossible to find a quiet corner anyplace else on the boat. Complimentary entertainment was good, but the venues were crowded. Didn't attend the shows and pay the upcharge - if I wanted to pay for a show I'd have stayed at home in Vegas. Used most of the dining venues and they were all very good - food and service. And the continuous noise - some would call it background music but musical selection was not something you'd want to hum or dance to. It basically turns out to be background noise just every place you went. So if you wanted to talk to someone you had to talk loud and that just added to the noise. And for your customers with hearing aids, it really becomes noise. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2018
We chose the cruise because we had a Norwegian deposit to use and because we really wanted to visit this area. This was my first time on Norwegian having sailed with Princess and Holland America in the past. All to follow is with the ... Read More
We chose the cruise because we had a Norwegian deposit to use and because we really wanted to visit this area. This was my first time on Norwegian having sailed with Princess and Holland America in the past. All to follow is with the understanding that such experiences can vary from person to person, ship to ship, and line to line. Norwegian missed on a lot of little things. Didn't ruin the cruise but didn't stack up to other lines. During the my first three meals on the ship they forgot to bring me a course I'd ordered until I reminded them. Then once they brought TWO. There seemed to be no quiet places to sit and have a drink on sea days. They have beautiful bar up top but it seemed to always be used for dance lessons, bingo, trivia, etc, etc. Music everywhere and it sometimes clashed with what was being played at the next place. Maybe it's just me but doesn't anyone enjoy a nice drink and quiet conversation anymore? The main dining room never once made me say "wow, I really want that" with their entrees. Magenta did have the advantage of being a more quiet venue in which to dine. The appetizers were fine, entrees blah, and the desserts were not as good as other ships. Other lines will bring you coffee and juice at your table at the buffet but not Norwegian. The staff was very friendly and helpful. Guest services was excellent as was embarkation and disembarkation. We enjoyed our excursions. Note: If you are considering the "Hiking Saguenay National Park pay attention when they say you need to be an experience hiker and you certainly need to be in shape. You hike up a trail made of large rocks as steps for long distances with a steep incline. Coming down is easier but you must pay attention to every footstep. All in all, the line missed on a lot of little things that will probably lead me to choose a different cruise line next time. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
The cruise to Canada and New England was considered a "distinctive voyage". It was okay, but there are a lot of caveats. It's not like Norwegian had anything disastrous happen on this cruise (and I hate people who complain ... Read More
The cruise to Canada and New England was considered a "distinctive voyage". It was okay, but there are a lot of caveats. It's not like Norwegian had anything disastrous happen on this cruise (and I hate people who complain excessively about vacation), it's just that it was... well, a boring itinerary and a boring ship. Additionally, it's important to know that the Canada cruises skew a lot older than other ships (not that NCL can change that). We did this as our honeymoon and oftentimes, by midnight we were the ONLY people out in public areas. If you like nightlife at all, this ship has none. There was never anybody in Bliss, the nightclub. There were almost NO children on our ship. It was pretty much only older folks. First, the ship. The Gem has a sort of confusing layout. It's not intuitive. Our cabin was aft and many of the activities we enjoyed were in Spinnaker Lounge, on deck 13 Forward. The problem is, to get there oftentimes you have to go up or down a deck to get across the ship. The flow of getting around takes a lot to get used to on the Gem. I hit a lot of dead ends trying to get to an attraction. The Gem also clearly is in need of an update in terms of its attractions and restaurants/bars. A lot of the "theming" is blatantly dated, like the martini bar. Our cabin was great, no complaints, a lot of storage space. In fact, I had more closet space in an oceanview than I had on my last cruise in a balcony! Only complaint is that NCL televisions are tiny, but that's true across the line and not just on the Gem. Dining was sometimes an up and down experience. Meals we had in the MDR were muddled - for example, my husband loved his prime rib one night, but another night would think he had the worst French onion soup he's ever had. The specialty dining was excellent, as usual. We think the specialty dining is still a good value, compared to DC where we are from. The buffet was usually just for a quick meal - I would avoid it at breakfast and go to O'Sheehans or the MDR if possible. You'll get a way more appetizing breakfast. The ports were mixed. We loved Bar Harbor, Maine - incredibly charming, a lot to walk around in the downtown area, and beautiful in its national park. St. John was cute and the reversing rapids was a nice attraction. By far the worst place was Sydney, NS - very little to see in the town and the decent excursions were taking you 45 minutes or an hour away. Ending in Quebec City was a highlight of the cruise, although I question the cruise beginning or ending with an overnight, as we did and the next cruise did. It means that for a lot of the cruise, relatively, things like the duty-free shop and casino are closed. Service was great. We always enjoy the staff and our steward. Never had to wait to get a drink or be served in a restaurant. Not a lot of lines on the Gem. We got a lot of great tips from the crew, who go out of their way to be friendly. Entertainment on board was a mixed bag. First of all, the production singers were great but the shows showcasing them were really terrible. A lot of jukebox revues without any plot or substance to them, and songs that did not show off their particular cast. I am lucky I went to the cabaret and got to see songs picked particularly for the singers - they were amazing when able to be themselves. The other entertainers did well - we enjoyed the acrobatics show and the comedian - but none were really stellar. We liked the four-piece band that traveled around the ship. Definitely, the piano player/singer aboard was awful - he had no energy and terrible vocals. I actively avoided places where he was playing. Overall, we enjoyed ourselves but would not take this ship or itinerary again. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
Norwegian Gem, like all other Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) ships in the fleet, espouses what it calls "Freestyle Cruising." This means that there are no set dining times, and you may dine in either of the two free main dining ... Read More
Norwegian Gem, like all other Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) ships in the fleet, espouses what it calls "Freestyle Cruising." This means that there are no set dining times, and you may dine in either of the two free main dining rooms (the larger Grand Pacific or the smaller Magenta), or in one of the free specialty restaurants (such as Orchid Garden or O'Sheehan's Bar & Grill), or in one of the up-charge specialty restaurants (such as Cagney's Steakhouse or Le Bistro). The up-charge restaurants have either a $25-30 cover charge, or are priced a la carte. When one books a cruise, sometimes specialty dining packages are offered as an enticement, and it would be wise to snag one of those packages if one books NCL. Freestyle Cruising also means there are no dress codes on the ship and in most of the dining rooms and restaurants, except for Le Bistro and Cagney's, which ask gentlemen to at least wear long trousers and a collared shirt. Jackets for men are never required. This lack of dress codes draws an extremely casually-dressed crowd. This would be delightful if one enjoyed seeing men dressed for dinner as if they just cleaned out the garage. Or there was the woman at dinner in the very high-class Le Bistro wearing a wrinkled red t-shirt with some freakin' message on the front. If that's the atmosphere you like, well, good luck with it. I missed not having a set dining time with the same servers every night. And I don't mind putting on a jacket. But to each his own -- freestyle. I found the casualness, well, just too damn casual. Unfortunately the food in the main dining rooms and in the buffet-style Garden Cafe (there is nothing garden-like about it) is just so-so. I stopped going to the main dining rooms after the first three nights of my 10-day cruise from NYC to Quebec City. The food was mediocre and the service seemed to be provided by waiters still in training. One evening I ordered bratwurst with sauerkraut. I asked for some mustard for the bratwurst and you would have thought it was the first time the staff had ever heard of such a thing. Finally one of the captains (who are always on their cell phones, talking to who I don't know) came over and said they could give me some Tabasco sauce for the bratwurst! No, I said, I want mustard, and preferably spicy brown mustard. Eventually they located an individual-sized bottle of Dijon mustard. I made do, trying to pep up the very bland sausage on my plate. No spicy brown, I'm afraid. Appetizers, entrees, and desserts may sound very appealing on the menus, but what is brought to the table is often disappointing. The food tends to be bland, which is probably pleasing to many of the more mature passengers. The up-charge specialty restaurants, however, can be very good, proving that NCL knows how to provide fine dining. They just don't provide it to everyone on the ship. I loved Le Bistro for French. Cagney's was the most popular, with great steaks. But the Dobosh torte I ordered there for dessert one night was more thick frosting than cake, enough to put you on the expressway to diabetes. For those who drink from morning to midnight, it is perhaps advisable to look into the somewhat economical drink packages. I don't drink much, but on one of the early days of the cruise I ordered a Manhattan, made with Maker's Mark. Imagine my surprise when the bill was presented -- $22.00 including the mandatory 20% gratuity. For the rest of the cruise, when I occasionally wanted a cocktail, it would be whatever the drink-of-the-day special was -- usually $8.95 a throw. Enough complaining. Let me tell you what's good. The Norwegian Gem was built in 2005, so it is an older vessel. It was refurbished in 2015. Some areas of the ship appear a bit dated, but the vessel is kept immaculate, and you won't see any worn carpets or frayed upholstery. All is spic and span. Everything runs on time -- embarkation, disembarkation, tenders, etc. You never feel vibrations from the engines. The ship is extremely stable, even in 11.5-foot waves. All the staff, in fact, are friendly and eager to please for the most part. The redone Stardust Theater is wonderful, and that leads me to one of the great things on the ship: the production shows are the best I have even seen on the seas. We had three: Swing, which was music and dance from the 1930/40s swing/jazz era; Blazing Boots, which was country-western; and Get Down Tonight, which was music from the 1970s. The singers and dancers on the Gem were nearly all Broadway-quality. We also had a juggler, a comedian, a Cirque de Soleil-type act, a magician, and a singer on other evenings -- some good and some just okay for an after-dinner 45-minutes of entertainment. Acts and music in the various lounges were also good to excellent. The first day there was a meet-up for solo travelers, which I attended, and which I haven't experienced on other ships. It was nice, and I met a couple of very interesting, well-traveled folks. About 30 people showed up, and most of us went to dinner as a group (until I dropped out). Now for some of the ship's lesser qualities. There is no indoor pool on the Gem, except for the thermal suite which has a hydrotherapy pool and various accoutrements. But to use the thermal suite you must shell out $240. There are no day passes, you must buy the package for the whole cruise. Which is sad, because in the men's locker room, and I assume on the women's side as well, there is a wonderful spacious sauna with large windows looking out to sea. It would have been delightful on this cool-weather itinerary to use it once in awhile. But I didn't feel like splurging $240 bucks. A few hardy people braved the cool Fall weather to go out to the hot tubs on the ship's pool deck. Cookies were almost impossible to find on the vessel. I never saw them anywhere, until the last day I discovered they had some at a snack bar out on the pool deck. Well, few people used the pool deck on this itinerary, which is perhaps why they hid the cookies out there. And no avocados, asparagus, or berries anywhere on the ship, except as an occasional garnish. No pies, just lots of cobbler, which was the usual canned fruit pie filling with a barely-baked layer of crumbs on top, onto which you could ladle some creamy or sugar-laden sauce. The cakes tended to be two-layer jobs, with just different frosting or garnishes each day. Dessert portions tended to be small, which was probably a good thing. Ice cream or soft-serve was always available. NCL never used the theater for movies, which is sad because all of the other activities on the ship were things like trivia, bingo, game shows, and the usual pitches to patronize the spa or buy orthotics. There were no cultural events or port talks, not counting the initial presentation of all the various excursions one could buy. And there were the shopping talks, steering passengers to so-called NCL-approved retailers. NCL has done away with a daily news sheet of world news, something that is disappearing on most ships these days as passengers get news online or on their stateroom TVs. There was, of course, the ship's own newsletter listing all the day's activities, etc., which also delineated any time changes and so forth, as well as containing the inevitable NCL promotions. In the atrium, there is a large digital movie screen, but most of the time it just played one NCL commercial after another. TV channels in the staterooms were extremely limited compared to what is available on, say, Princess. Ports going up the coast into Canada vary. Bar Harbor (great lobster rolls) and Prince Edward Island were very nice. St. John, you can forget it; the Reversing Falls are overly-hyped. It was pouring in Sydney, so I never went ashore, as even three guidebooks couldn't find anything good to say about it. Halifax has a nice maritime museum with a Titanic exhibit. Saguenay had a great welcome committee, all dressed in historic French attire as loggers, bakers, schoolchildren, etc., and they served us blueberry pie and maple syrup taffy. The highlight of all was Quebec City, with a UNESCO-protected Old Town, not to be missed. And I also took a countryside excursion on the second of our two-day stay in QC that was enjoyable, and it dropped me off at the QC Airport. My two flights to get home (QC to Montreal on Air Canada Rouge and Montreal to DC on Air Canada Express) were fine, leather seats and all, despite having to pay $25 to check my suitcase. But a rain delay in Montreal caused me to almost miss my connection. Montreal is a l-o-n-g airport when you have to walk from one end to the other. My connection time was supposed to be 90 minutes, but the rain delay caused it to be reduced by half. And you have to go through US customs/immigration in Montreal, which was also slow. I needed track shoes. Thank goodness my connecting flight was also delayed, or I would have been spending the night in Montreal, as it was the end of a three-day weekend, and the airports were mobbed Would I book another NCL cruise? Well, if I did, it would have to be at a bargain fare (which I got on this trip), and I would definitely want a specialty dining package. And I would need to be content with the great production shows, and also want to just read a few good books while at sea. With so many other cruise lines to choose from, I just don't think I'd be in a rush back to NCL. But friends I met on my recent Cunard crossing have invited me to join them on two NCL cruises they do in the winter. I haven't said yes or no -- just we'll see. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: September 2018
The ship needs updating especially the stardust theatre- seats uncomfortable - steps terrible and many people almost fell or tripped and this cruise because of the time of year was full of seniors who had trouble navigating steps - seat ... Read More
The ship needs updating especially the stardust theatre- seats uncomfortable - steps terrible and many people almost fell or tripped and this cruise because of the time of year was full of seniors who had trouble navigating steps - seat arm broke in my hand- lightening is old and whole auditorium need to be redone from top to bottom- first time on NCL cruise I’ve been extremely disappointed with food in the main dinning room and the buffet on deck 12- the only meal that was good was breakfast - food chef and menu’s need to change drastically - I heard a lot of complaints - meat of all types were over cooked and tough - all beef meals were terrible - pork chops - chicken all tough and over cooked - A few shows in stardust lounge need to be retired - especially the juggler - his career needs to retire - show troop from ship were great , all 3 shows fantastic. Room staff were very good - room always was clean and fully supplied. Game shows and kerokee in bliss were good - but second Saturday need more activities. Need better tv shows and movies - some live tv would be great for relaxing in room - the movies were strange and not entertaining at all - I did enjoy the live football games broadcast and wish we could have seen more live tv other than 5 news channels - some comedy and action television or movies would have been nice Disappointed in this NCL cruise Read Less
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