March 2015 - Norwegian Gem to Caribbean - Eastern
This 10 day cruise on the Norwegian Gem was very low key. Usually I cruise on Carnival. I have been in 22+ cruises. This luded the ultimate beverage package, which was great since alcoholic beverages are so expensive and add up quickly, even more so when they add in the 18% gratuity. Daily gratuities for the staff went up to $13.00 which is well deserved since they do work their butts off making sure that you are happy. The ship is older but it looked well maintained. I had a balcony cabin and the bathroom was a little bigger than those on Carnival. The food was good and there was always food available in different sections of the ship. I was actually impressed that Norwegian had such diversified entertainment. They had comedians, magicians, a juggler act and acrobats during different nights. Usually on Carnival they have the same entertainment staff doing something different every night, but it all seems the same and boring. The ports included Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Tortola. They were all great stops except Tortola. We were told that another competitor cruise ship had crashed into the pier a while ago causing a lot of damage, therefore the pier and the area was under construction and we had to use a tender to get there. There are no immediate beaches to go to in Tortola unless you are doing an excursion or paying a hefty $20 for a ride to a beach. Most of the shops were closed, so getting off was a waste of time. I had not been to St. Maarten in a few years, and I was very impressed on how much it has changed. Tons of shopping if that's your thing, there's even a Hard Rock Cafe there. Also, unlike Carnival, the photographers weren't chasing you down to take your photo on the ship. Overall a nice cruise with plenty of sea days to relax and enjoy the sun.