303 Norwegian Gem Canada & New England Cruise Reviews

Food was mediocre, dining room service needs improvement, line to get off the ship was more than an hour, Announcement and staff were hard to understand, shows not so good. Did not use shore excursions from ship. I used vacations to ... Read More
Food was mediocre, dining room service needs improvement, line to get off the ship was more than an hour, Announcement and staff were hard to understand, shows not so good. Did not use shore excursions from ship. I used vacations to go. The room service was fine and very friendly. Furniture (love seat) had to be moved against balcony window so we could access the 2 twin beds. Still very tight to get between them and in and out. I am used to dining with many waiters at my table, more elegant decor, and far better food. Many items on the menu were the same every night. Had technical problems with my phone changing to weird times and sometimes not changing when new time zones. We missed one tour that we paid for due to this. Overall I would not sail on Norwegian again. I had planned on Hawaii Islands with them but will choose another line. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
The ship was very compartmentalized. No large open area atrium to enjoy. The food was absolutely horrible. We have traveled NCL and other cruise lines in the past and have never experienced such a bad experience related to the food. ... Read More
The ship was very compartmentalized. No large open area atrium to enjoy. The food was absolutely horrible. We have traveled NCL and other cruise lines in the past and have never experienced such a bad experience related to the food. Buffet was the same things every day with little variety. The main complimentary dining rooms were bland and like warm. By the time we realized the food issue, the pay for dining reservations were booked. Everyone we talked to had the same experience. Getting off the ship at ports was slow, unorganized and disappointing. Do NOT choose stateroom 8570. This obstructed view cabin has NO view, just light coming in. Additionally, the lifeboat outside the room is used for tendering. Each morning it is a rude noisy awakening and good luck resting after a long day at the ports. Overall horrible experience. We traveled on the Escape a year before and it was awesome. Not sure why this experience was on the opposite end of the scale. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
Destinations were good, a bit boring at Sydney Nova Scotia Miss communication between ncl rep and agency rep and ncl online. I choiced shore credit and was told final destination could be one,,however after booking I was told by shore ... Read More
Destinations were good, a bit boring at Sydney Nova Scotia Miss communication between ncl rep and agency rep and ncl online. I choiced shore credit and was told final destination could be one,,however after booking I was told by shore excursion offc that not true, however the beginning of the cruise port Quebec I could use it for..but wasn't able to due to the miscommunication. Also book as soon as possible since alot of the better excursions were already sold out prior to sailing. Also alot of the extra cost for drinks, ex: water pkg was better to buy on ship to save money Also wasn't told we will be doing a tandem in Sydney which of course they used the life boats and started to make noise at 06:00. Food everywhere was tasteless and mostly cold..also they never change the menu, main dining room has a few more options and apparently changed those few options nightly. The specialty Italian was adequate in taste temperature and quality and quantity. Service was Wonderful there. Elsewhere not so good. Seemed like they always were in a rush. No Lobster or crab in restaurants..come on we're doing a Canadian and New England cruise Will not book NCL most likely again. At least not on the GEM Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
If you're used to spending your holidays in the hands of Celebrity or better cruise lines, I would not recommend you try Norwegian because you'll be disappointed several times per hour. Their processes are efficient and ... Read More
If you're used to spending your holidays in the hands of Celebrity or better cruise lines, I would not recommend you try Norwegian because you'll be disappointed several times per hour. Their processes are efficient and streamlined, but the quality of everything on board is rather poor. We found it took us more than half hour to find a place to sit in the garden cafe since the weather wasn't good and everyone was trying to eat there. Once we found an empty table, it seemed rude not to offer the two extra rooms to other passengers who were also waiting, and the experience turned out more of a school cafeteria in a rush than a vacation. There was nothing wrong with those other people, they were as hungry as we were! Other nights we were refused from all dining rooms since they were full. I realize the whole ethos of this line is based around "Freedom" and being "Free to choose" whenever and whenever you want to eat, but on the Norwegian Gem there just aren't enough seats for every passenger indoors when the ship is full and the weather outside is rainy. Yes, you can always go and pick up some poorly prepared items at the buffet and eat standing up, or room service has a delivery charge. I can go on and on about how the dishes elegantly described in their dining room menus were shockingly disappointing once they arrived at the table. Presentation was rather good to mask the poor quality of ingredients/preparation. The first night we were pretty sure that the steak had been pumped with something to make it fluffier and cooked on a george foreman grill. It tasted fine but the texture was artificial. Didn't order that again. The entertainment was wholesome and included several acts with one man and his guitar, as well as dance sketches from the ship dancing crew and an acrobatics show that was very good in athleticism but had very poor production and artistry. Since we felt like we were trapped at a suburban mall on this Norwegian Gem ship while traveling from port to port, we did the best we could, relaxed and tried to find the positive aspects. However, if you think it's going to be like their brochures and videos promise, beware it will likely not be like that. Also it was a bit shocking that smoking was allowed in the casino, so passing through isn't pleasant if you are allergic to cigarrette smoke. The ship needs maintenance, and there were some workers doing their repairs, etc.. a lot of painting is needed in public areas, some of the banisters and furniture were broken and fixed with tape... all in all it was cheap but not too cheerful. Kudos for their sanitary procedures which were excellent, as well as their port services Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Great value I had a great time and would definitely do it again. The ports were well chosen, just the time at the ports could be longer. It was sometimes a little bit rushy. The food onboard is great, a final cake walk would be ... Read More
Great value I had a great time and would definitely do it again. The ports were well chosen, just the time at the ports could be longer. It was sometimes a little bit rushy. The food onboard is great, a final cake walk would be great, and thr prizes at the specialty restaurants are too high.the food there is great though. Overall, there is a good chance beeing again onboard NCL The staff is friendly, the entertainment was great and the bar tenders new their job well. However adding 20%on every single onboard service is unreasonable. Also the prices for excursions are far too high, you can make some excursions in half prize, if you do them by yourself. Both are things not related with the cruise, more likely with the policy of NCL. Freestylecruising is a good invention and makes the cruise enjoyable for everybody. Overall, well done and save sailings Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
After witnessing how badly passengers were treated on the recent NCL Spririt Mystical Fjords Cruise, With an appalling 25% discount on a future cruise, it has become obvious NCL sees customers only as livestock. Ship is old(2005), ... Read More
After witnessing how badly passengers were treated on the recent NCL Spririt Mystical Fjords Cruise, With an appalling 25% discount on a future cruise, it has become obvious NCL sees customers only as livestock. Ship is old(2005), refurb in 2015. Jewel class ships now look worn and dated. The lack of amenities compared with the newer Breakaway/Bliss class of ships is very evident. The Norwegian formula is easily summarized: nickel & dime the passengers with up charges, and make food look appealing with cheap ingredients. They make a killing on beverages including bottled water, and use cheap Philippine /Indonesian labor wherever possible. It seems even their cruise directors are now cheap labor with incomprehensible English. The head chef is Indian, leading to baffling food items like chicken tandoori paninis!? All of the food is prepared by untrained cheap labor following a cook-by-numbers approach. Food lost in translation. The soulless minions of profit have removed slightly more expensive items like butter and cream. Now witness the result: Omelettes cooked in oil “pan release”, ice cream with little cream, and cheese cake with little cream cheese. Pastries made with margarine and minimal filling, not worth the calories. Grilled cheese sandwiches which contain spongy bread and unmelted cheese. Veritable Frankenfood! Food lost in translation. Since they are not under any supervision, are we being fed trans fats, banned in first world counties? A prior Canadian maritime cruise visited St John’s & Bay of Fundie - but our cruise had lopped off that additional leg (because it cost Norwegian port charges) and instead we were a captive audience, relentlessly upsold for 2 days at sea while they crept at 5 mph from Halifax to Portland .. a mere 100 miles. This cruise is now less of a tour of the Maritime provinces, and more of a floating bar & casino. NCL entertainment was good! Particularly the company which staged Swing, Blazing Boots, and Get Down Tonight. Unfortunately the theater seats were mostly worn out and broken. Sadly, the remaining experience is an exercise in appearance versus reality - assuming passengers can be fooled by something which looks good, even if it isn’t good. This isn’t good. It’s a sad commentary on the gullibility and dumbing-down and exploitability of most Americans. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I am an experienced cruiser having sailed at least 20 times in Alaska, Europe, the Caribbean, and Canada/New England. Most of my experience has been with Celebrity, which I love, but I have also cruised with Princes, Carnival, Royal ... Read More
I am an experienced cruiser having sailed at least 20 times in Alaska, Europe, the Caribbean, and Canada/New England. Most of my experience has been with Celebrity, which I love, but I have also cruised with Princes, Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Holland America. This was my first cruise on Norwegian and I will not be back. Here is why. The drinking water policy on the ship is obviously Norwegian’s strategy to get its guests to fork over money for what is a health necessity. You cannot bring any bottled drinking water on the ship. It will be confiscated. If you want to avoid paying for NCL’s bottled water, then you are forced to use the tap in your bathroom or the water dispensers up in the buffet. Both of these options will give you water that smells and tastes of chlorine. Yuk! The water dispensers are not without additional problems, because despite posted directions to the contrary, people fill their germy water bottles and used glasses directly under these dispensers. If you want to avoid these contaminated dispensers and purchase NCL’s bottled water, you will be forced to pay $6 per liter bottle or $16.95 for 6 bottles, $29.95 for 12 or $44.95 for 24 bottles of NCL’s “purified water,” which is not spring water and tastes exactly like the stuff out of the tap or dispensers.. For all of these prices, add a 20% gratuity as well. Really, NCL? I understand your wanting to make money on people’s desire for soda or alcohol, but water? That is pushing the limits of common decency for making a buck off of your guests. I won’t cruise with you again specifically because of this policy. My friend and I found out about the water policy when we each purchased two sealed bottles of water in a port and tried to bring them back onboard the ship. They were confiscated as we entered the ship. When we went to Guest Services to talk to them about this event, we were dealt with very shabbily. One representative pointed to a tiny blue box titled Agricultural Notice on the daily events sheet which said that “Due to public health regulations, food of any kind (hot, raw or unpacked/packed) is not allowed to be brought onboard or taken off the ship at any time. Beverages cannot be brought onboard. Wine or liquor purchased in any port of call will be stored by the ship and given back to the guest on the evening before disembarkation or the morning of disembarkation.” I understand the food restrictions for health reasons and the wine and liquor restrictions for making money, but not the restriction on bringing in water. It is not justified under any circumstances and the policy should be dropped. If NCL is going to continue such a policy to fleece their passengers, then they should make an announcement explicitly telling passengers leaving the ship to not purchase water as it will be confiscated upon their return to the ship. Don’t hide such information behind a notice regarding health restrictions and the prohibition of carrying alcohol onboard. Additional sources of irritation on the Gem were the lack of entertainment options if you did not want to go to the live shows in the theater. Forget the casino; it reeks of smoke and there is no designated movie theater on the ship like you will find on Celebrity and Holland America. Movies are played at 10:30 at night in the very public area of the atrium where you will also find a bar, Guest Services, the Excursions desk and the future cruise desk. Movies will sometimes be played here in the afternoon as well, but with all of those other services and people walking through the area to get to other portions of the ship, good luck seeing and hearing the movie. Besides, most seats there lack backs and are very uncomfortable. Very limited television options await guests in their cramped cabins. There is a movie channel but it does not always play movies and what movies there are repeat throughout the week. We found that A Star is Born was playing at least three nights on this channel. If you want more movie selections, then fork over $9.95 per movie for a just few more more films, less than a dozen. I remember that Holland America offers a huge collection of free in-room movies and the guests have their choice of numerous DVDs that can be picked up or delivered from the guest services desk. Seating for the buffet upstairs is very limited and we found that our food often got cold while we searched for a place to sit. I think this is because, unlike all other cruise ships I have been on, the buffet seating is limited to only one side of the ship. A pay restaurant and its kitchen takes up the space on the other side. You can sit in it’s very limited dining space in the morning and afternoon up until about 2 pm, but after that, it’s given over to the paying guests. While you are in there, you are bombarded with the noise of a basketball court above you. What a joke! We didn’t take any ship excursions, which are always overpriced and herded into big busses. We hired cabs and shared them with other cruisers off the Gem. If you haven’t ever done this, try it. Stand around outside and ask if anyone is interested in joining you. Negotiate a price with the cab driver and enjoy your small group excursion. The cabbie will always get you back to the ship in plenty of time and you won’t be traveling with 39 other people. Sadly, I wanted to like this cruise line, but I didn’t. That ridiculous drinking water policy ended my cruising with NCL. I won’t be back. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I chose this cruise because I am single now, and I had friend going on this sailing. I sailed NCL in1987 and had been very happy with the experience. On the plus side I found the staff very pleasant and helpful. Officers did not engage ... Read More
I chose this cruise because I am single now, and I had friend going on this sailing. I sailed NCL in1987 and had been very happy with the experience. On the plus side I found the staff very pleasant and helpful. Officers did not engage at all. The ship was very clean and my cabin comfortable with plenty of closet space. The food was hit and miss, my visit to the Italian specialty restaurant was disappointing, food Luke warm, sent back, still not hot. I gave up. The entertainment was low budget, but I found that I enjoyed most of the entertainers. We missed three of our ports due to poor weather, all needed to be tendered, I don’t recommend this ship if you have a disability, tendering difficult with lots of stairs. I would have gone on NCL again, if I had friends going, but this is the deal breaker. They having smoking in their casinos, putting their employees and customers in a proven unsafe health environment. With what we know of the hazards of secondhand smoke, this is unforgivable. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We sailed on the Jewel to Alaska in July and were disappointed in the ship and food, but gave NCL one more try. We were so excited about the ports for the Northeast Canada sailing, but we missed two ports - and didn't have to miss ... Read More
We sailed on the Jewel to Alaska in July and were disappointed in the ship and food, but gave NCL one more try. We were so excited about the ports for the Northeast Canada sailing, but we missed two ports - and didn't have to miss them! The food was below average, the service was below average and there was nothing to do on the ship. We've taken 25 cruises and this was our 7th with NCL. The point is we've taken enough cruises to know you go with the flow. Sometimes you miss a port - it happens. We always love another sea day, but that wasn't the case this time. Prince Edward Island is the first port we missed and it was because we were tendering. The Captain said it was too windy and too dangerous. It was disappointing, but understandable - it was windy and waters were rough. So we had a sea day and headed to our next port. The next port was Saguenay and we were supposed to have been docked from 11:00 am to 8:00 pm. We arrived early, at 8:00, and there was no dock available. I surmised the Captain gave our dock away and agreed to tender because all of a sudden this became a tender port and the Captain said it was too windy and dangerous to stop. It was a little windy at 8:00 am, but what made everyone mad is: 1) we were supposed to have been docked - if we had docked, as planned, we would have go to stop at the port 2) it wasn't that windy, and by 9:00 am, there was no wind at all. It was the smoothest waters we had ever sailed. The Captain could have waited just a little while, and t we could have had our port. So we had 3 sea days in a row on a ship with absolutely nothing to do. Passengers were grouchy and staff was rude. And to add insult to injury, we received a refund of $15 per person for missing the two ports. What?! We paid over $300 in port taxes and missed half the ports. The port fees should have been fully refunded and an additional bigger refund for missing the ports. Rumor has it - there was an issue with the anchor and that was the real reason we missed two ports, but we'll never know. I wrote NCL a letter, and have only received a generic response they received my letter - still no direct response. NCL had opportunities to make this better and they missed every one of them. They lost a lot of customers over that, and I see they are in the headlines again today for a similar issue on the Spirit. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I have been on 5 cruises previously with 4 different cruiselines (including Disney, Princess, and Royal Carribean). My experience on Norwegian Gem was by far the worst. 1. The stateroom is poorly designed, with no outlets near the ... Read More
I have been on 5 cruises previously with 4 different cruiselines (including Disney, Princess, and Royal Carribean). My experience on Norwegian Gem was by far the worst. 1. The stateroom is poorly designed, with no outlets near the head of the bed. Family members with CPAP machines had to run extension cords across the entire room to be able to use their medical device. 2. Stateroom did not seem fully stocked. I found out halfway through the cruise that hand/body lotion is readily available but was never stocked in my room for no clear reason. 3. The food was one of the biggest disappointments. Many dishes came out cold, and the portions for the appetizers are laughable. The food taste was mediocre at best. In particular, the quality of the food at Orchid Garden is not tasty at all. The buffet has poor variety. Despite having a large space, each food station is duplicated, so there is really only half the selection. And attempts at cost-saving were obvious... other cruises have smoked salmon, and this cruise had salmon spread. The tikka masala was always some vegetable rather than chicken. Just a few examples. 4. Having to tender to ports is terrible, and I left with the sense that my cruise experience was diminished due to cost-saving decisions by the cruiseline. 2 ports were cancelled due to weather preventing safe use of tender boats, but other cruise boats were able to dock at those ports on the same day as their cruiselines booked the pier rather than resorting to using tender boats. At one of the ports we actually made it to, delays in the tendering process led to our group having to wait 3.5 hours after our arrival time to actually make it onto a tender boat, so the time available to actually enjoy the port was lessened. 5. When ports were canceled due to weather, the cruise staff revised the activity options. But all I could see were more sales and charged activities (wine/whisky tastings). It's bad enough to miss out on a port, but then to have the cruiseline only open up activities that you have to pay more for is ridiculous. 6. My cruise benefit was to save $50 per port on shore excursions, and I was unable to use that benefit as half the ports were canceled. I had unused "non-refundable" credit that I asked be applied to the service charge since I was unable to use it on a shore excursion, and I was told that wasn't allowed. If a port is canceled, I would hope the cruiseline would go out of their way to try and improve the experience rather than make it more frustrating. 7. The cruise staff was overall friendly but one staff member (female cruise staff member from USA) was rude. She was managing elevator use while it was restricted for 4 hours due to tender boats. 8. The layout of the boat is poorly planned. With disabled members in our party, it was frustrating to have to take elevators up to a certain floor to walk across the boat and then take another elevator down to get to the main dining hall (which is a location we needed to get to 1-2x every day). Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
The whole point of this trip was to see Canadian ports. Norwegian massively let us down. Although there was only supposed to be one tender port, without explanation, there ended up being three, two of which the captain claimed the weather ... Read More
The whole point of this trip was to see Canadian ports. Norwegian massively let us down. Although there was only supposed to be one tender port, without explanation, there ended up being three, two of which the captain claimed the weather was too rough to visit. It didn't seem that windy or wavy to the passengers, and everyone on board was bummed out and bored. Other cruise ships were docked at the ports in these locations, but apparently Norwegian didn't consider this a priority. We would not have booked this cruise if we knew such an outcome was a possibility, yet other than a half-hearted apology, Norwegian has as of yet done nothing to compensate us for a ruined voyage. This ship was not made for three consecutive days at sea. All the dining venues were severely over-crowded, old people were eating at the buffet standing up, good luck getting a drink at the bars even with the drink package, and the only additional activities they added were for-pay ones such as shopping and gambling. Every spot on the ship was a zoo, as passengers were meant to be away on excursions instead of being corralled on board with nothing to do for an endless period. The food was edible but uninspiring. I didn't even gain weight as there was no temptation to overeat. We did enjoy Teppenyaki, Le Bistro and Moderno that were a small cut above regular dining.The entertainment was quite good, other than two of the evening shows being by one man, an Irish singer who was only mildly comedic the first time. I thought we were supposed to see Blazing Boots, but it didn't happen. The staff were almost universally nice, and our room had a lot of storage with a very comfortable bed. I could have been quite happy if they hadn't cut the itinerary in half. The highlight of our trip was getting off the boat in Quebec city. After three days without stepping foot on dry land, we practically kissed the grimy ground of the port terminal. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
First time cruising in many years. Very impressed with friendliness of staff on board. Food was excellent t (I only ate in the dining room). No real concerns with waiting around in line. Generally short lines everywhere other than boarding ... Read More
First time cruising in many years. Very impressed with friendliness of staff on board. Food was excellent t (I only ate in the dining room). No real concerns with waiting around in line. Generally short lines everywhere other than boarding in Quebec City. Quebec I chose this itinerary as it features some excellent ports for bike riding. Connected with local bike shops in Charlottetown and Sydney to rent a road bike. Did a 70km route along the Confederation Trail in Charlottetown and 50km route Along the coastline in Sydney. E-bike tour in Halifax and mountain biking in Bar Harbour. On board environment is what you make of it. Want laid back, head to thermal suite or join a trivia session. Want late night activities head to Spinnaker lounge. Production shows very good. Others perfectly fine. The Gem is not the newest ship with loads to do for young families, but recent updates give it a new modern look. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Fall in New England by cruise was a bucket list item. Really enjoyed spending time in Quebec City before the trip started. Processing for boarding was going well until we all got stuck in a line outside as small groups were allowed to ... Read More
Fall in New England by cruise was a bucket list item. Really enjoyed spending time in Quebec City before the trip started. Processing for boarding was going well until we all got stuck in a line outside as small groups were allowed to enter the ship, waiting in line for 40 mins. The rooms were all available by 1pm which was better than previous ships. Our cabin steward was the best. The buffet was the lowest quality we encountered, always the same and sometimes lacking of food. The entertainment was below par. We had a feeling that the majority of the staff was tired and in a bad mood. But some were very nice and helpful. Our first formal dinner in the back of the ship was really bad, worthy of complaining. Bad slow service and marginal food. The Magenta and the steak house were much better. The best shore excursion was Bar Harbor with lobster and sunshine. The ship is getting old and needs updating and paint. Getting off the ship in Boston was good and unhurried. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I am a solo traveler This was my 7th NCL cruise but first on the Gem. The crew was fantastic and so was the food in all the free venues. The Activity person running the solo group was very wonderful and so enjoyed the group. The ship ... Read More
I am a solo traveler This was my 7th NCL cruise but first on the Gem. The crew was fantastic and so was the food in all the free venues. The Activity person running the solo group was very wonderful and so enjoyed the group. The ship layout is easy to navigate and clean. I loved spending time in Spinnaker lounge such a great place to read. The entertainment was fun and great shows. I love the mid size ship great mix of ages and not over crowded. My room steward took excellent care of me and was very friendly. My favorite part was the Activity Staff and the fun activities they planned, I loved it. I highly recommend the Gem for any cruise with NCL great ship and staff made it a pleasant fun filled cruise. I love the way NCL treats Solo's and the Solo groups are always fun. I loved the ports of call and had a great time on the Gem Look forward to sailing on her again Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We have sailed with Norwegian twice before, and have always loved the destinations, the value, and the service. We chose this tour because we had always wanted to see Quebec and the surrounding territories in the fall. Although the colors ... Read More
We have sailed with Norwegian twice before, and have always loved the destinations, the value, and the service. We chose this tour because we had always wanted to see Quebec and the surrounding territories in the fall. Although the colors were not yet vibrant, we did see some fall foliage and the weather was perfect. Be aware that travel to Quebec can be problematic: major airlines only land in Montreal which is 3-1/2 hours away. For us, the train was a good option (Via Rail). Once at the Port, embarkation was disorganized: there were no staff to direct us and we had to wait about 3 hours for a wheelchair assist, even though we had a scheduled arrival time. No one seemed to know if there was a line or where to drop luggage and none of the employees were available to ask. Once on board we were impressed with the cleanliness of our stateroom (we had a mini-suite), the efficiency of our steward (Lillies), and the beautiful public areas of the ship. I loved the Promenade for my morning walks as it goes the full circle of the ship with no stairs and plenty of room. We sailed about 3 hours late for some reason--there was no announcement from the captain or explanation given. In fact, communication could be improved on the Gem. One example was a notice that all guests must submit documents to immigration, starting at 7:45 and ending at 9:00 am. Groups were to be called.... those with excursions were to be in the first group, but for well over an hour there were no announcements at all, and people were stressed about missing their excursion buses. The Gem offers plenty to do onboard as well as on shore, and they even did our laundry for us one day (a big bag for 19.99). We got the Thermal Spa Package--highly recommended for relaxing and being pampered! We enjoyed listening to music every evening in the lounges and attending the nightly shows. The piano man, Nathanael Reed, was especially talented! We did not do many excursions this time, but we went ashore at the ports to shop, visit restaurants, and walk downtown. I also enjoyed going ashore for a bicycle ride in Sydney--"I Bike Sydney" offered many varieties of bicycles to rent right on the dock, and there was an adjoining parkway for riding. One excursion we did take was to Acadia Park and Carriage Ride. It was scenic and relaxing, very memorable, and now we want to go back again. Disembarkation was the exact opposite of embarkation--fast, easy and organized. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
I was attracted to the Boston departure in early September 2019, I wrongly thought we would enjoy more pool time and sun - instead we dodged hurricane Dorian and missed Bar Harbor and Halifax on our first leg. The service was ... Read More
I was attracted to the Boston departure in early September 2019, I wrongly thought we would enjoy more pool time and sun - instead we dodged hurricane Dorian and missed Bar Harbor and Halifax on our first leg. The service was outstanding, the ship was easy to navigate, and public areas and activities were never crowded. The late show in the theater was never more than 2/3 full so you could show up last minute and get a great seat. Guests were older than other NCL cruises I have taken, with average age approx. 70. The itinerary was not as exotic and kids were back in school, so maybe half dozen kids onboard, few if any Europeans or Asian tourists, 80% US and 20% Canadian. The entertainment surprised me, the dancers and singers were just outstanding on the first leg - a new cast came on the second leg from Quebec to Boston and they were excellent also. The comedians were very good, but the cover band and solo musicians in the lounges were just average. Unfortunately we had very few sunny days to enjoy live music at the pool in the late afternoon. The late evening bars and entertainment are hardly attended, literally no one came to karaoke. Not the cruise for those who like to party. While the service on the ship was excellent, the dining room food is just ok. I started eating KETO and the protein choices in the main dining rooms are limited. After 14 days in the same dining room without carbs I paid for specialty dining on my next NCL cruise. Overall, sort of like a floating retirement home. Very good value for money if booked last minute, staff and ship are first class. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
We chose this ship because of the dates and the ports it was supposed to visit. As it turns out, Hurricane Dorian was coming towards the New England and Canadian coasts. We had to go to Portland, Maine rather than Bar Harbor and then ... Read More
We chose this ship because of the dates and the ports it was supposed to visit. As it turns out, Hurricane Dorian was coming towards the New England and Canadian coasts. We had to go to Portland, Maine rather than Bar Harbor and then they skipped Halifax altogether due to the port being closed. The next 2 stops, at Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island - both areas had been affected by the hurricane and were coping with loss of electricity and many downed trees and related damage. I was disappointed to miss Halifax and although it could not be helped, I wished that we had added an additional day in Portland, letting the storm get well ahead of us, or add Bar Harbor back in after the storm had passed by there. Instead, they put in an "at sea" day, which is great I guess with some people, but it is also more of a money making opportunity for the cruise line, with nothing really being handed out to the passengers to compensate for missing one port entirely and having to adjust to Portland instead of Bar Harbor. I went on this cruise with my two grown children and their spouses, plus my husband and sister in law. We had fun because we enjoyed the opportunity to be with each other, rather than anything in particular on the ship. Of all the dining on the ship, Cagney's, the steakhouse was far and away our best experience. It had the best food, best service, best atmosphere, etc. The Teppanyaki hibachi restaurant food was good, and the chef was entertaining, but it was very crowded seating and very loud, The regular buffet dining on deck 12 was good and we ate there for lunch and breakfast most of the time, most of the time getting our food and then moving outdoors to the aft deck. The evenings we were mostly in the Grand Pacific dining room, and other than confusion about "reservations", it was pretty good with good service. We did not go to really any entertainment or activities; did not hang out at the pool which seemed to be closed a fair amount of the time; the hot tubs enjoyed a fair amount of activity, but not from us. The rope climbing area which I had thought my son in law would enjoy was closed most of the time - I don't know for what reason. Several of us used the gym equipment and enjoyed walking the deck. Two of us used the spa for a massage and enjoyed that. We planned virtually all of our own shore excursions, although two of us did enjoy the Celtic music show at Sydney right there in the cruise port area. I would say that there are problems with the "tender" process, especially because they expect you to climb this giant step to get on and off the tender boat. This was a stressful and dangerous situation for anyone who had anything less than great mobility. The ship personnel there wanted to feel like they were handling all the problems with people getting on and off and they did not want the person's able bodied family members assisting in any way, just telling them to stay out of the way. This was just not a good situation. So, all in all, we had a good time because we were together. It was not really because of the ship or the activities or the ship's personnel (most of whom were very friendly and helpful). It was our first time on Norwegian and I picked it due to the itinerary and the dates that it sailed - I don't know that I would be looking to sail Norwegian again. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
The timing of the cruise fit within our schedule so NCL was chosen. This was our 2nd cruise, 1st with NCL and probably the last with NCL. One reason we won't go NCL again - is it's too old of a clientele. The comedian has it ... Read More
The timing of the cruise fit within our schedule so NCL was chosen. This was our 2nd cruise, 1st with NCL and probably the last with NCL. One reason we won't go NCL again - is it's too old of a clientele. The comedian has it correct. It's a floating nursing home. At 50, we were the youngest on the boat ! Expect most to turn in at 10 pm or earlier. You'll also be stuck behind many walkers in the many lines. While the hurricane wasn't their issue, they could have communicated it better. We had to hear on the local new (we're from Maine) that the ship would be re-routed to Portland due to Dorian. NCL had not told us yet. We called the customer service # and they still had no information yet. So we traveled from Portland to Boston, just to head back to Portland - oh well. They gave us a port charge credit of $10 each. Halifax closed their port so we had to skip that port. So it was a day at sea instead. Still waiting to hear about a port charge credit for Halifax. Several calls/emails still nothing. Cabin was on deck 4 (4553) Inside. Good for us. Less movement. Never met the steward but he/she did a good job. It was just the 2 of us so this fine. Dining - The pay restaurants - Japanese place, french place were too close to the Casio and cigar bar so they stank of smoke. We passed on those. We did eat at the restaurant - grand pacific (included in your cruise fare). Service was excellent. Food needs improvement. Meat (Prime Rib) was excellent, but the corn cob was so overcooked, was not edible. The steak, also good, was served with shoestring fries (Really ?) way to take the ambiance down - serve french fries with a quality steak. No local seafood? No lobster.. we were in Maine? really? Scallops also were no larger than your fingernail. Tiny. No Blueberries that I could find. Again, this is the area for it. Buffet - we ate there a lot. Seating was at a premium though and our ship was not fully booked. Lots of choices - including vegetarian. So real creative designs with fruit carvings Entertainment = we thought it good. Shows were worth going to. One we actually went to twice. They have them at 7 and 9 pm. Dancing - I appreciated that the professional dancers came out to dance at the clubs to get the party started. They missed the Latin night unfortunately, which my wife and I went to. We had the floor to ourselves. Excursions - Dorian caused some damage. Many areas had no power. Not NCL's issue but they cancelled some of the tours and the other ones quickly became overcrowded. Alcohol - packages not worth it. Not even if they are "free" as you still pay the service fee. Do the math. You'd need to drink about 5 drinks each day (for every one in your room) to break even. That's including the first day when they leave port at 5 pm. Skip the packages, and just pay by the drink. We did the "drink of the day" which had a reduced price. They do tack on 20% already, so don't add another tip unless you're really generous. Plenty of free booze around - each night they gave out sample to taste. Hit them up ! Casino also has a "learn" night with free booze. It was the first night was relatively free from smoke and smell. We just took the drinks and walked :) . The art show also has free champagne. Take some, browse for a bit, and walk if you want. Again, would not use NCL again. Customer service on the front end desk is often contradictory. One person would say one thing. If you come back and talk to another person you'd get a different answer. After the cruise, good luck in getting any response - we're still waiting. Average age of our boat I'g guess was mid 70s as well. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
This was our first cruise. We always wanted to see the beluga whales in the st.lawrence seaway and to see Nova Scotia and PEI. This sounded perfect. Unfortunately, due to hurricane Dorian, two of the stops were rerouted and we ended up ... Read More
This was our first cruise. We always wanted to see the beluga whales in the st.lawrence seaway and to see Nova Scotia and PEI. This sounded perfect. Unfortunately, due to hurricane Dorian, two of the stops were rerouted and we ended up spending an extra day at sea. That was out of NCI’s control we understand. But the ship went thru the st.lawrence seaway at night, so no belugas to speak of and we arrived too late in sanguanay to go on an excursion to see them. I would have expected NCI to plan that better. As far as the cruise itself went, we enjoyed it but there were things that weren’t so great. Like paying for an all inclusive drinks plan, but having to pay extra for coffee and tea. And the WiFi was ridiculous. We paid an extra $170 for the week for ONE device. Another annoyance was constantly being upsold on everything. There were good things too: dinner at the extra cost restaurants was great. The spa was beautiful. The housekeeping staff made ship sparkle. Our cabin attendant, Berlin, was friendly, conscientious, and super helpful. All in all, maybe we’d try another cruise, but probably with another cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Chose this cruise as it was going North during hurricane season and bought trip insurance thru NCL. We believed the cancel for any reason. When we wanted to cancel the trip due to hurricane, we found we should have read the small print ... Read More
Chose this cruise as it was going North during hurricane season and bought trip insurance thru NCL. We believed the cancel for any reason. When we wanted to cancel the trip due to hurricane, we found we should have read the small print carefully as weather was not included. The weather caused an itinerary change from Bar Harbor to Portland, ME. Halifax closed the port so we could not dock. Ship spend additional day at sea. I felt there should have been more activities available for at sea days. There were many older passengers so there should have been more activities focused on this group. Dining in main restaurants and Le Bistro was great. Buffet seating was always an issue. Entertainment was okay--ranged from really good sing/dance troupe to not very good individuals. Atrium was always loud. Service in sit down restaurants was very good. White Zin is NOT rose wine. Try explaining that to a limited English bar tenders. Several limited English employees in bar/waiter positions. Menus were in English so even pointing did not always help. Do not waste your money on unlimited internet. It is really not unlimited as you cannot access it easily and only one device can be used at a time. Notice on screen in Atrium said to be patient about getting online due to many users! Also, it does not include internet phone calls. In spite of it all, I will probably give NCL another try but I do not feel the value for payment was in my favor on this trip. Blame it on Mother Nature. Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Have never been to any part of Canada, was hoping this would be an opportunity to see whales etc. and wildlife. Boston departure was ok, ship dock located in a typical big city port area, mostly industrialized, pick up at airport was ... Read More
Have never been to any part of Canada, was hoping this would be an opportunity to see whales etc. and wildlife. Boston departure was ok, ship dock located in a typical big city port area, mostly industrialized, pick up at airport was easy once we identified the ship's folks handling transfers....no sign or anything, noticed ladies had name badges, assumed, correctly, they were with Norwegian transfer. Cabin was fine, ship was a little dated, main dining room was a disappointment from the menu changing very little from day to day........service was very slow (one hour wait for Breakfast...really two eggs, bacon?), waiter told my wife the reason they took so long is "Busy, busy"! Best Food was in Buffet, and Best Service was O'sheehans (spa?) Loss of two best ports, due to storm was very disparaging, replacement (Portland) was ok, but not on my list. Balance of Ports were Beautiful places, with very little to do or see, unless you jumped on a tour, mostly available from ship. Saguenay was pretty, but, required a $50 shuttle to main part of town, which was eleven miles away......Port area was very minimal shopping, however, there was a seaplane or Helicopter ride readily available next to ship dock....Beautiful Fjord area! Departure was very poor, we opted for walk off early with luggage, due to early flight (airport in Quebec ws 30 min. cab ride), ship allowed most of us to leave at about 7:15 AM, except me, (wife and I were 10 the in line to leave, was stopped at exit, due to red flag on my account......it was due to me having a $51 credit on my Sea pass account.....had to go up to Customer service and "wait" in line 15 mins(no notation on the bill which I received the night before to go down to Customer Service, close my bill out by collecting my $51....finally returned to debarkation line and was allowed to break the line to exit, and was stopped again, saying I still had a red flag...showed my receipt, noting my account was cleared, necessitated a call to CS, before allowing me to leave! My wife was just ahead of me when we started down ramp, when I was stopped, had no idea what was going on, however, she did not panic, and waited on dock for 15 minutes till i exited.....than the fun began: walked about three blocks thru warehouse to Cab pick up, then we were told by personnel at door, it would be at least an hour before we might "see" a cab! wow! so much for early departure.....we were about halfway back to fence gate, maybe 100th in line when this announcement was made...also, we were told it was a 10minute walked to train station, with luggage, where we might find a cab? Not very impressed, wife and I stayed in line, from 7:45AM until 9:10AM, when we were able to join another couple in a cab to Jean Lesarge Int'l airport, made it, checked luggage, Kiosk were not working, were told a luggage check in we had 15 minutes to get to gate for our flight....fortunately we made it! Note: Some of the folks we were chatting with, while in line to depart ship, opted to return to ship and take the cruise shuttle, we noticed they were arriving at airport after we had processed our luggage.....Our Departure Flight was scheduled for 10:25 AM! Very dissapointed with departure operation...... Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
Had such a good experience with NCL on our Hawaii cruise we thought we would book for New England with them. Called NCL and booked through their agent. We had two issues with NCL booking: 1. Booked an extra day for sight seeing for the ... Read More
Had such a good experience with NCL on our Hawaii cruise we thought we would book for New England with them. Called NCL and booked through their agent. We had two issues with NCL booking: 1. Booked an extra day for sight seeing for the plane tickets. When we got the tickets the flight back was out of Montreal, not Quebec where the cruise ends. I called customer service and was told "they don't change flights". All I wanted was to know how I was supposed to get to Montreal. "Your problem" is a direct quote. I attempted to escalate the issue and was told by NCL that I had to talk to Alexander who booked the cruise. I said..."he works for NCL".. they said it didn't matter. Called him, he told me thats the way they do it. I demanded he find out how I am supposed to get to Montreal. He said he would call back...never did....and wouldn't return my future calls. We eventually found out there is a bus 1/4 mile from the dock we took to Montreal. So disappointed that NCL couldn't take the time to help us once we paid them. 2. The recommended room 11600 which we booked was right below the kitchen for the garden cafe......they clean that place every night until midnight and start every morning around four. I know, I heard them every day. Once on board we found the ship to be clean and well maintained, though a little dated. Staff was nice and the stops were just gorgeous. We really enjoyed the shows put on by the NCL crew (Swing and Blazing Boots). and most of the activities aboard ship. Ship internet stinks (but every ship I have been on stinks) so nothing new there. Spent alot of time dining (who doesn't). On board restaurants (free) were both very nice. Good service and decent food but nothing to really write home about. Found the cafe food to be about the same but the level of service to be a little lacking. there was plenty of table clearing going on but was a little difficult to order drinks from the table. we dined in the Japanese Steakhouse. Food was very good and unbelievably plentiful. Overall, not the experience I was expecting. We did disembark in Quebec and took the Orleans bus to Montreal. Stayed in the Bonaparte Hotel in Old Montreal, I would highly recommend it (had a blast in Montreal!) Read Less
Sail Date September 2019
My travel companions and I (we were a group of 4 in two cabins/ 2 people in each cabin) chose this cruise for the itinerary, price and the fact that we had never before sailed on Norwegian and wanted an opportunity to try the Norwegian ... Read More
My travel companions and I (we were a group of 4 in two cabins/ 2 people in each cabin) chose this cruise for the itinerary, price and the fact that we had never before sailed on Norwegian and wanted an opportunity to try the Norwegian cruise line. Unfortunately we were extremely disappointed with just about the entire experience. Specifically, 1. Cabin steward never came by to introduce himself. 2. Bathroom floor not cleaned for several days 3. Dirty glasses left in cabin for several days 4. Food in all dining areas (Magenta, Grand Pacific & Garden) constantly cold had to ask the waiter to make certain food brought to us was hot. 5. No waiter service in Atrium/lobby area 6. Housekeeping never cleaned tables in Atrium/Lobby area, we sat in lobby area 2 times an each time dirty empty coffee cups and glasses were left on table from previous guest for an hour and not removed until we complained to Guest Services. 7. Toilet in cabin stopped working twice!! 8. Shower hose in my sister's cabin broke while she was taking a shower. 9. Toilet on very weird angle, literally when you sat on it you had to twist your body so as to face the shower...strange...peculiar, but mostly very uncomfortable. 10. Bartender in club Bliss was clearly drinking and trying to cover it up by sucking on lemons which he grabbed from the garnishment dish with his bare hands as a staff person in a suit looked on unconcerned. 11. Waiter in Bliss lounge never came over to take drink orders and never cleaned the tables. The waiter did however go behind the bar to cover for his friend the bartender who was drinking liquor he poured into plastic cups and then went into a back room to drink. 12. Over a 7 day cruise only saw one lone housekeeper wiping down one stairway rail..on other cruise line housekeeping crew are out in numbers and constantly wiping, washing and cleaning but not on Norwegian. 13. Freestyle dining was a disaster, as a party of 4 we were not allowed to make reservations so for the 3 times we showed up at Grand Pacific/Magenta we had to wait to be seated one time we were given an electronic buzzer to alert us when our table was ready just like eating at some cheesy chain restaurant. 14. At one dinner time in Pacific or Magenta (can't remember which one) we were seated right next to table where waiters were depositing dirty dishes but that's not the worst part, the absolute worst was the right next to the dirty dish table was the "clean" table were our waiter was sorting our meals...talk about yuck we had to sit near dirty dishes and then watch as our food was inches away from literal garbage. 14.Day before debarkation went to Guest Services to ask a question about luggage tags and the Guest Services crew person acted like we were bothering her, which maybe we would have understood if she had been busy, but she was just standing there doing nothing . 15. After disappointing meals in Grand Pacific/Magenta we ate most of the rest of our meals in Garden (buffet) where we had to wait or hunt down seats after which we had to beg someone to clean the tables and supply silverware. 16. During meals in Garden housekeeping crew came over, while we were still eating our meals, and asked that we move our feet so they could clean/sweep under our table. We were appalled but also confused because why they didn't seem to mind interrupting our meal to clean under our table we had to beg someone to clean the top of the table before we could sit down. 17. Crew person designated to spray hand sanitizer at entrance Garden dining area was a woman who appeared to be of Asian descent. Each time when we entered she would say "Washee, Washee" which to us sounded like some play on an Asian stereotype. Even though the crew member was Asian it made us very uncomfortable...why on earth does Norwegian allow the obvious use of such negative stereotypical phrases. 18. Every cruise line I've been on including Carnival, Celebrity and Royal Caribbean supplied bath robes...but not Norwegian, we were unpleasantly surprised to not have bath robes when we checked the closest in our cabin. 18. Given how health conscious everyone is trying to be these days we were disappointed yet again at breakfast when my sister asked for lactose free milk only to be told that they had run out. 19. There were red biohazard containers in our cabin bathrooms (which we did not request none of us use any kind of disposable needles) which the cabin steward did not remove...seeing the red containers was not only unsettling it was downright creepy. 20. The lighting in the cabins was so dim you could barely see anything including no extra lighting around the vanity mirror how on earth are you supposed to apply makeup or do anything! Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
When I made the reservation for my friend and I and our husbands, I mentioned to NCL agent that we are celebrating my 44 year anniversary. Big year right? Who can say that these days! The agent told me they will send us a cake with a card ... Read More
When I made the reservation for my friend and I and our husbands, I mentioned to NCL agent that we are celebrating my 44 year anniversary. Big year right? Who can say that these days! The agent told me they will send us a cake with a card to celebrate our special occasion..We were left empty!! Our mattress was so uncomfortable that my husband and I received back pain. One week later, we are still experiencing pain..... We tried the food at different restaurants and everything we were served was very cold. Also, the menu was same every night. Overall quality of the food within the Buffet was unacceptable. The ship had over 2000 passengers and all of us could not be accommodated in the dining halls. There were not enough tables to sit and this left us all wandering around to find a table to sit. It was a very uncomfortable experience for all of us. All PA announcements were not clear and we could not understand the anything said. This is worrying in times of emergency. WIFI was part of my package at the time of reservation and I was not able to use it. I personally went to the front desk asking for help but no one knew how to do it. Let’s just say I’m a veteran. I’ve been on 20 cruises in my life and overall this was the worst experience I’ve had to date. Both my husband and I along with our friends were disappointed in taking Norwegian. I chose this cruise to celebrate an important anniversary and it did not meet any of our expectations. I will not recommend this to anyone especially those who want to celebrate an important occasion. Read Less
Sail Date October 2018
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
Norwegian Gem Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 5.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 5.0 3.9
Public Rooms 5.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 3.0 3.6
Enrichment 4.0 3.4
Service 4.0 4.1
Value For Money 5.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 3.8

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