December 2015 - 10 Night Eastern Caribbean (New York Roundtrip) Cruise on Norwegian Gem
ncl gem to caribean 12/23/15 - 1/02/16
I would give this cruise 5 stars for food, service, entertainment, cleanliness, staff.
All were excellent. The down side of the cruise was the money making portion. NCL has upped the cost of "specialty restaurants" to $30 pp plus 18% gratuity. Why charge a gratuity when ncl is now charging $13.50 pp per day gratuity for waiters, stewards and all other staff, then charging again for food you already paid for and again charging gratuity they already charged for ?
Entertainment was great but many smaller shows were held in their "Spinnaker LOUNGE " which conveniently has a huge bar. Of course the drinks average $10 each plus gratuity as well.
Excursions were well overpriced as usual but guarantee that the boat won't leave without you.
Shopping at ports was constantly pushed especially diamonds, gems and expensive watches.
The trade winds shops onboard give good value compared to home, are tax and duty free. They held raffles but would not give anyone a free ticket. You had to purchase something to get a raffle ticket. They would match prices at the ports if lower which most are for liquor but only if you show proof ie a receipt..
But then why would I buy from the ship?
Entertainment was great but in my opinion lowered its ratings when all the performers tried to sell cd's at the end of the show in the hallway.
Activities during the day was awash in money making activities such as bingo, wine tasting, beer tasting, sale items, port shopping, etc.
Smoking can be bothersome as they allow it in the casino and at the bars near the outdoor pool.
In spite of the above I would recommend NCL but just keep in mind that they make the most money not from your cruise fares but from excursions, liquor and casino gambling.