July 2015 - Norwegian Gem to Caribbean - Bahamas
Age 55-60 yrs
Check in: we arrived around 11am, people outside take your luggage, and it in your room later in day. Pack a carry on if you want to use pool before that. People were very friendly, and the process was very smooth, we were on the ship in 45mins. Looks like lines were getting longer after we arrived, I would suggest 1030-11am
Ship: super clean, all workers very friendly. Gym was nice
Passengers: I would say 60-70 percent families with most having kids under 12, if you want quiet time go to deck 7 or 12. There are chairs just looking out at the water, quiet and relaxing, deck 12 is the better one.
Ship note: Don't get caught up your first day with the free give always, they are sales pitches for the spa, art gallery, etc. stay away and just enjoy the other stuff
back in NYC: We did self checkout, which is you leave your bags in your room and then leaves between 7-9am when back in ny. People were lining up at 645 as we went to get coffee. They ended up letting people go around 745, we came down the line seemed long in the hall way, but it took only 15 mins and we were off, through customs and outside eating to be picked up, it was out first time doing this, with young children it might be tough, but for us it worked out great.
Pools: around the pool is elbow to elbow in chairs. Not uncommon on most ships. If your in your 20s, or with kids, you won't Mind it, we found two chairs and stayed there 30mins before someone almost took off my toes putting there back down, front to back row chairs are less the a foot.
Food: We ate at included restaurants for breakfast, lunch, and dinners. Food was very good, always plenty of seating. For breakfast and lunch it seems most people eat buffet or around pool.
Food note: we ate at the specialty resturant Cagneys twice, and the Italian place once for dinner. Do yourself a favor and book Cagneys online before you go. The food is outstanding, melts in your mouth. They all book up, so do it online before you go. The Italian was also good, to mix it up, but Caseys is a must!
Room: we paid for a guaranteed room, not one we picked specifically, they explained we might get a better on. Well, we got a cove balcony on the 8th floor, room 8540. I was first concerned, but it actually had less wind,more privacy, and it states its a forward cabin, but it is right in middle of ship, and a real smooth ride. Very clean, attendant very nice. I think next time I will pay the extra $30 to pick my room, because I stressed out for a week when we were assigned the room.
Entertainment: shows were 7 and 9 pm, and ok, we actually never made it thru one, as we left. To be honest we travel a lot and have scene many professional Broadway, and Vegas shows, so it not fair for me to judge. Most people really enjoyed them
Entertainment Note: Go see Leo at the margarita/ wine bar. He is fantastic.
Excursions: We did our own thing, but they are all we run, book early.
Drink Package: we chose this, it is marked on your key card. All drinks under $11 are included, except water or soda. You still have to sign the check, every time, but when you get your bill its zero, worked out great for us. For two glasses of wine for my wife and I, including tip, was around $26, so it can add up quickly.
Drink note: pack an extra suitcase and fill it with bottled water, they charge $6 a bottle, we ended up in Florida picking up a few 6 packs of water and they gave us no problems bringing it on board
Suggestions: if your a coffee drinker, brink a large to go cup so in the morning you can fill it up and relax,
the other is the cabins have only one outlet in cabin area, bring a small power strip if you have a lot of things to charge, I had a monster travel power cord.