March 2015 - 9 Night Eastern Caribbean (New York Roundtrip) Cruise on Norwegian Gem
This was my first cruise on NCL. I've been on 3 Carnival ships. The ship was very clean and attractive, but not breathtaking like Carnival's ships are. 96% of the crew were great; friendly, always said hello. Cruise directors were excellent, especially Dan Dan and Big Ben. Hysterical. And entertainment/shows were great. Bliss was out of the 1970's, yet it was fun. Spinnakers had great entertainment. There were 3 of us in one room with 2 beds and a bunk out of the wall. Not the greatest setup. Bathroom was not bad. Food was TERRIBLE! No shrimp cocktail or lobster. I had shrimp with pasta two nights in a row because it was called something different yet it was the same thing!!! Selections were Country Fried Chicken. Who goes on a cruise and expects Country Fried Chicken??? Meals must have been leftovers or selections from the lunch buffet. We went to a different restaurant that was free, service was slower than a snail and food was just as bad. Wanted to try an Italian restaurant that you paid for, but someone we met said don't go there, not worth it. I had pancakes that were the worst things I've ever tasted. How do you mess up pancakes? Mac n cheese was good and the ice cream. Guess that's why I ended up gaining weight; I ate those the most. I liked the free style seating, yet some friends did not. We missed the dinner entertainment from our servers like Carnival has. The waiters got to know us when we ate at the same time/table. But we were later some nights, so having the option to eat later or earlier was nice. We didn't have to worry about rushing to dinner. The Gem experience is definitely low key; more for the older generation. Things calmed down by 9:00 and nothing was going on at 11:00 pm or midnight. I felt sorry for a Jamaican band playing in the evening because no one was there and the band was very good! Photographers were limited and not as good as Carnival. Backgrounds were for class pictures. The excursion in Tortola that we had signed up for was a LOT harder than described. And the water was not calm as in the brochure picture. There are always two sides to everything and I cannot say that NCL was all bad. I had a decent vacation. I don't really think I would try NCL again.....maybe in 20 years.