February 2015 - Norwegian Gem to Caribbean - Eastern
This was a cruise of very good parts and very bad parts for us.
The good parts were that the Caribbean was beautiful and we had a great time taking a long break in the warm weather. The crew was well trained and relentlessly friendly. They really tried hard to make sure we were happy and satisfied at all times. We had a suite with "Haven" status, and the Haven area is amazingly nice--totally worth the money for the peace and the ability to avoid the mass of humanity on the rest of the ship. It makes it feel almost like your own private cruise ship. Very great and very addictive. I don't know how we'll ever cruise again without that. :-)
The bad part was that the trip from NYC to the Caribbean and back--anything north of Miami--was a disaster. The seas were so rough that the boat was bouncing up and down, crashing loudly through the waves, spray coming up multiple stories over the bow like we were on Deadliest Catch. I think half the ship was seasick, with people avoiding their cabins and lying on couches in the Atrium and all over the boat, groaning. On the last day, when the boat was rocking more side to side, it tilted so far over that the dishes and glasses were falling off the tables and a little girl next to our table had her entire chair tip over backwards. In our suite, the minibar fridge fell open and everything fell out and rolled around all over our room while we were gone, and the mirror and even the drawers fell out of the little dressing table. It was ridiculous. In the Captain's daily announcement over the PA on one of the days (mostly weather updates), he said we were about to hit more rough waters, but "this is the North Atlantic in winter--what do you expect?" he said. Well, we weren't expecting this, and I doubt NCL's marketing department was either.
So, overall I thought NCL did a nice job, and I loved the Haven, but I'll never take a cruise from NYC again in winter.