January 2014 - Norwegian Gem to Cruise to Nowhere
Found a last minute deal online - $22/pp. Couldn't pass it up (they hit you with the fees though) So, we upgraded to a mini suite with balcony for $69/pp, still totally worth it. Room was spacious - great bathroom.
I've only been on Carnival cruises to compare, so here goes.
Staff was very friendly. Although I didn't see much of them. But it's the dead of winter in NYC, so don't think the ship was filled to capacity. I'm not a fan of tons of little kids running around, so glad to see for a 1 night cruise, that nearly everyone kept the kids at home. My husband and I used this night as a date night, so did most others I guess. A few teens celebrating birthdays, but all in all - a very tame group of passengers.
Ship isn't nearly as over the top as Carnival in its decor. It seemed much smaller and cozier, but that didn't bother me at all. Entertainment was WAY better on the Gem - we really enjoyed the shows and the club was jumping! Greast music, great crowd - yound and old. Now, that could have also been because it was a 1 nighter, so everyone made sure they enjoyed what they could for the night.
Drinks in the bars were way affordable - the Bliss Lounge is ultra cute, set up with beds and counches all around instead of chairs and booths. Very sexy. Had a small area to bowl which was nice. Again, I think the smaller crowds everywhere just made it enjoyable.
Here's the kicker - the food. It was awful. Like not just cooking for big crowds awful - like really awful. It had to be some of the worst food I've ever had anywhere, cruising aside. It wasn't just bland - everything was overcooked, underseasoned, and served cold. The buffet is TINY, without many choices and none if it seemed like it was even heated. Food one of the dining rooms was inedible, we got up and left in the middle of it hoping to find something better elsewhere. Granted we didn't try any of the restaurants you pay for -- but I almost get the impression they make the food in the dining room and buffets so bad so that you're almost forced to pay to eat in one of the "fine dining" restaurants (of which there are a whopping 6 onboard.)
So - go to have a great time with a significant other or group of friends. DON'T go if you're looking for a fine dining experience