November 2013 - Norwegian Gem to Caribbean - Eastern
First time cruising out of Manhattan. Parking at the pier for our 10 day cruise was $315.00. Kind of pricey but well worth the convenience. We got right on and right off. The Gem was very clean and the entertainment was great. Of course our room steward was fantastic too. We set up our own shore excursions, so we didn't use the shore excursion desk. There were 3 adults in our balcony cabin. We will only cruise in a balcony cabin. The dining experiences were nothing to write home about. The dining rooms seemed to be understaffed and the staff that was working seemed confused. The food in the "inclusive dining rooms" came out warm, not hot. For us to get a cup of coffee "with" the meal, instead of "after" the meal seemed to be asking too much of the servers. The buffet food was hot and tasted very good. We went to a few specialty restaurants, but the only one we felt worth the price was the restaurant where they brought the meat on skewers to the table. Other than the buffet food, this was the only "hot" food we found. The last morning of the cruise, everyone who bought liquor at ports, that were not purchased at a "recommended stores" had to go down to pick up their purchases. This was another experience of confused staff. It seemed NCL was punishing us for not using their "recommended stores". Purchases made at "recommended stores" were delivered to the cabins. The Dominican Republic was the only port I would say you should stay on the ship, unless you have a shore excursion planned.