August 2015 - Norwegian Gem to Caribbean - Bahamas
I have been on several cruises, however, had not traveled on Norwegian. I had heard good things about the cruise line, however, and was excited for the trip. I knew the ship was an older one, but that didn't bother me. The experience started out pleasantly. The NY port was easy to access and maneuver around. I was extremely excited, as was my daughter and the others we were traveling with. As a single mom, I was happy that I was able to bring my daughter on this cruise, and had slowly saved up to pay for it. However, after we got on the ship, the vacation went steadily downhill. Several issues occurred throughout the week that affected our trip in a negative way.
The cabin itself was okay, however, the safe was broken and the TV was not working either. I found the cleaning gentleman fairly quickly. He was friendly. He had to call someone to fix the safe three times in the course of a few hours before it was finally fixed. I called the desk at one point to have the TV fixed and was told that someone would be sent up to the cabin. No one ever came. Fortunately, I ended up being able to fix it myself somehow.
As for the staff service during the week, honestly, the service was horrible. When you book a vacation, especially a cruise vacation, you expect to be catered to as a guest. Although I did encounter some friendly staff over the course of the week, most of the staff I encountered acted like they did not want to be there. They were not friendly at all. One waiter, after hovering over my shoulder, I guess to see if I was going to tip him, when he saw that I did tip him, stated “actually, we prefer to get tipped in cash, or we have to wait until the end of the month to get it”. I thought it was was rude, but I happened to have a couple singles, so I tipped him, effectively giving him a double tip on top of the 18% gratuity, and he did not thank me but seemed mad that he didn't get a bigger tip. Another waitress actually rolled her eyes when I asked her to take my drink order, she didn't ask anyone else at the table if they wanted one and didn't clear away the dirty glasses from the previous guest.
Finding a waiter/waitress was impossible, and if we did manage to find one, we had to wait 20 minutes or more for our drink. I'm used to being on ships where there is constantly someone asking you what they can help you with, with a smile on their face. This cruise was the complete opposite, like there were not enough staff members to accommodate the passengers. The clear-up service, like the buffet for instance, was not great, and tables were usually dirty or had dirty plates, etc., on them when you sat down.
In another on-board experience, I had tried to stop one of the staff to ask him a question on where something was located. This man didn't stop, as a matter of fact didn't make eye contact at all, just kept looking at his watch, mumbled some answer I couldn't understand and kept walking. Another guy from the maintenance department (wearing a white jumpsuit) almost knocked to my mother to the floor and didn't even acknowledge the incident.
The shore experiences were another story. They were very disorganized and it was very frustrating. We actually had to draw a number to tell us when we would be able to disembark We waited over two hours to get off the ship for our second stop. They had limited tender access for the passengers. Had we booked an excursion for this port we would have surely missed it. Two hours of our time was gone due to lack of organization. At our third and final port my daughter and I did an excursion. We were not told what time we would get back or how to get back. We couldn't find a person who knew. We somehow got back to the dock, using another cruise line’s tender.
The worst experience we had on-board was in our cabin. My mother had just come out of the shower. Using a clean towel she dried off. She stated that she felt something cut or scrape her, and all of a sudden there was blood everywhere. The bathroom looked like a crime scene. She feels that there was a small piece of glass in the towel that must have cut her. It took awhile for the bleeding to stop. I called the desk once again, and this time two gentlemen came pretty quickly to clean up and decontaminate the bathroom. I will say that they were very friendly, and concerned, and they also asked if there was something in the towel that could have cut her.
Throughout the week we spoke to several passengers. All but one stated that they were very disappointed in the cruise and the service, and some stated it was the worst cruise they have ever been on.
I also feel that this is the worse cruise I have ever been on, and am extremely disappointed. If I had to base my experience on whether I would ever travel with Norwegian again, I would say absolutely not, and I would tell anyone who asked about my experience. Word of mouth is the most powerful advertisement. I will also be letting www. know about my experience.