February 2014 - Norwegian Gem to Caribbean - Eastern
As a first timer "Cruiser" I enjoyed myself. However the food choice was a bit repeative, although it was top quailty.
The food included in the cruise price is extremely limited. No seafood for free, and although the buffet was vast it serves the same exact thing every single day. most of the activites "included in the cruise price" were 30 minutes or less. You are pressured to spend money everywhere you turn. it kinda takes the fun out of cruising. I would rather the ticket price be higher and include more, because you get the bare minimum in the all inclusive" package deals. DRINKS ON THE SHIP!!!!! beware, I had a jager bomb and my wife had a appletini yes you counted right just two drink and the price was a whopping 29.68 USD
Diamonds International or any variation of the name steer clear...they will offer you little trinkets that look amazing on the boat. but they are not!
They pressure you to buy stuff you can't afford, like 25,000 braclets and 48,000 Diamond rings. I am a blunt person and I repeatedly told them no but they had my credit card and identification because we bought one of their "deals". So they kept us hostage by refusing to give us our cards back until I made a scene and they let us go. ONLY TO FIND OUT THAT $199.00 pair of earings were fake they made my wifes ears burn. we had to spend half our day in St. Thomas hopping between 4 different diamond international stores to return them. We had to make a scene there as well for someone to finally take their product back. ANYTHING YOU BUY YOU CANNOT RETURN!!!!!! THEY CONSIDER IT BUYERS REMORSE EVEN IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT OR IT BURNS YOUR WIFES EARS BECAUSE THE METAL IS CHEAP YOU CANNOT RETURN IT!!!!!! Finally I threatened to stop everyone who came into the store and show them my wifes ears before they would refund my card. Even then I get back to the ship only to find out that my credit card had been authorized for 52,000 Dollars. Which I had to spend 28 dollars in phone and internet charges to clear up.
In every port things are not cheap like people say they are.... if anything they are more expensive. A pair of flipflops you get from walmart for $10.00 you won't find for cheaper then 40.00 USD cigarettes and booze are cheap but even the food is outragious.
My biggest upset was I was not prepared for the real cost of a cruise. No warning is giving to first timers about the on board mandatory service fee's which are 12.00 per person per day...yes you heard me right! so if a family of 4 takes a cruise it is an additional 100.00 USD A DAY. So a 9 night cruise is 900.00 DOLLARS you get to pay at the end on top of the cost of the ticket.
My advice to anyone who reads this is ...Rent a sail boat it will be cheaper and more fun or prepare to drop about 6,000. bucks for a decent cruise.
Happy cruising and good luck.....OH and the ship was very clean, and the staff was friendly, I suppose because they are robbing you blind.