jleslie48

jleslie48
Cruise Director

Hometown: NYC area
Joined: 04/10/2014
2
Cruises
4
Reviews
26
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About jleslie48

50years old, empty nesters, hail from NYC area. We like luxury and will always dress up for dinner even with casual dining.


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Ships: Norwegian Gem


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jleslie48's Past Cruises

Norwegian Gem

November 2015 - 10 Night Eastern Caribbean (New York Roundtrip) Cruise on Norwegian Gem

Just back from its re-fit, and the Gem is as spectacular as ever.

Grand staircase New atrium with new chandelier pool view facing aft snorkeling at shipwreck cove st thomas beach at puerto rico

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Well fans of the Gem here is what you care about most: The Gem has come out of the re-fit looking and feeling great.   I was worried that the re-fit would have turned the gem into a plastic shopping mall that Norwegian seems to think is appropriate for their mega-ships, but I'm happy to report that the Gem has retained all of its splendor and style and in fact, has updated itself rather nicely.   All of its woodwork and great views of the ocean are still there in all public areas of the ship and all of the venues are still there.  The only significant change is the removal of the bowling alleys in Bliss.   

 

In so far as what has changed, basically the ship have what I like to refer to as "de-trumped".  If you have ever gone into a donald trump building you know what I'm talking about.  Gone are the purple and bright flashy carpeting and loud decorations and replaced with more conservative and complimentary coloring and style that compliments the style of the ship.   What I was most pleased with was the removal of the annoying gaming machines in the spinnaker. The whole spinnaker has been re-carpeted and new furniture to give is added seating and is in color tones much more relaxing as subtle rather than loud.  It feels much more than like a luxury ship.  

 

The main atrium has also been updated similarly. The sweeping staircase is still there with a wonderful parquet tile flooring in a rich mahogany stain.  The main "gem" ceiling has been replaced with a nice led lighting system chandelier, Its OK, although I really did like the old one better.   

 

With the removal of the bowling alley Bliss has been greatly expanded and totally updated with less trumpish-bordello look and is now a more modern looking setting although the side rooms are still there albeit with new couches and seating.   

 

The Grand Pacific is unchanged.   

 

All in all I was very happy with the updates on the ship.  This is my third cruise on the Gem and it won't be the last.  The gem just seems to be able to absorb the guests perfectly.  None of the venues or public areas feel crowded and yet none empty.  This cruise has 2600 passengers on it and even on he last day of the cruise, it poured so no-one was on deck, you could still move about and do things without feeling like you were in a cattle car.   

 

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Norwegian Gem

March 2015 - 10 Night Eastern Caribbean (New York Roundtrip) Cruise on Norwegian Gem

Out of NY the GEM is far superior to the Breakaway.

little things pt3: even the regular stairs are luxurious not industrial the baths BVI one of the most beautiful spots in the world. the magnificent theater turtle cove excursion spinnaker 180º view.

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Well this is my third cruise. the first being on the gem, the second being on the Breakaway.  We loved the gem on our first ever cruise and were very disappointed with Breakaway on the second, so we went back to the Gem to see if it was just the new experience of cruising that was so attractive or was it the ship.  It was the ship that was all the difference. 

The level of luxury on the Gem far exceeds that of the Breakaway in just about every character that is not listed on any of the brochures or media.  I'm talking about the little attention to details that make the Gem a grand experience and spectacle in itself, a destination a grandeur and sophistication rather than just an ordinary run of the mill experience.   The first thing that grabs your attention is the theater with looks and feels like a grand opera house and not a movie theater.  Complete with balconies, not just one, but FOUR (yes 4!) grand entrances complete with murals and statues.  I bring attention to this no so much as a must see but as an example of the attention to detail that exists in the ship throughout that I sorely missed in the breakaway.  

The main dining room was of similar grandness, complete with curved staircases and statues on its entranceway, Fine mahagony chairs overlooking the seas and even booths with full luxury sofa seating vs benches for tables of 8 or more. The bars had quiet nooks with huge sofas and laydown areas for private informal groups, just the thing for friends to get together.  

The other thing that I noticed as an engineer is how much better the Gem was able to distribute the 2000+ guests throughout the ship without ever feeling crowded.   I was pleasantly surprised about this on my first experience on the Gem with some 2200 guests, Was VERY aware of the crowds on the Breakaway (reservations for everything are required) and on this cruise I was again treated to open spaces wonderful ocean views, pocket sitting areas for ocean views all over the ship and never a need for a reservation and always open seating in the grand theater.   Imagine my surprise when I found out that this cruise didn't have 2200 passengers but 2800!!!!   This ship is just laid out so well it naturally sends different groups of people to different areas of the ship so they are not tripping all over each other.   With 3 banks of elevators servicing some 10 levels, there was never a crowded elevator or a wait for one. On the Breakaway they had 2 banks of elevators to service 14 levels with twice as many people. the result of the 4 extra decks and 1/3 less boarding areas of  elevators was horrible on the Breakaway.  

In conclusion on returning on our 3rd cruise back to the Gem after a disappointing cruise on the Breakaway, I am happy to report that the Gem is everything a luxury cruise should be.    

 

 

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jleslie48's Tips

Norwegian Gem Norwegian Gem - ironically my vegetarian (plus fish) wife and I both enjoyed the moderno Brazilian barbecue as the best specialty restaurant despite the fact that she didn't eat a single bit of the meat. The moderno has the best salad bar on the ship with the best sushi and salmon. She was in heaven.
Tortola, British Virgin Islands - The hike and beach at the Baths is the highlight of the trip. Be warned though: the hike is more than a walk in the park, you'll be climbing on rocks, crawling on all fours, and getting wet. We had hiking water shoes that were great. Also bring a mask and snorkel to see the fish in the grotto's. This is a wet, challenging hike in the most beautiful spot in the world I have ever seen.
Philipsburg, St. Maarten - Meegan's bay is 15 min away and the taxi's are always running. Snorkeling at turtle and shipwreck cove will not disappoint.
Norwegian Gem Norwegian Gem - Different bars are stocked differently. For example the atrium bar does not have Beefeater gin but the spinnaker does. If you have preferred labels, check the different bars.
Tortola, British Virgin Islands - the hi-light of the trip: the baths caves. only regret too short a stop wish we had 2 days here alone instead of 1/2 a day.
New York, New York - 40 minutes from my kitchen vacation starts. NO flights, transfers issues. Will always sail from NY
Norwegian Gem Norwegian Gem - Spinnaker lounge gives you beautiful views of the ocean and a great place for drinks, seating, lying down and snoozing indoors if its cold. The garden cafe is the only buffet style dining we used on the back of the ship. Great for lunches
Norwegian Breakaway Norwegian Breakaway - the elevators are horrendous. when you click the call button it only calls half the elevators. you must click another call button to get the other half to respond. watch the lights on the call button carefully.
Norwegian Gem Norwegian Gem - Blue lagoon chicken wings and brownie sundae for lunch were great. Main Dining room stripped steak was about the best steak I've every had (get the butternut squash with it.) don't be afraid to special order dinners as well, I mixed and matched parts of the different dinners

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shared a quick tip for Norwegian Gem"ironically my vegetarian (plus fish) wife and I both enjoyed the moderno Brazilian barbecue as the best specialty restaurant despite the fact that she didn't eat a single bit of the meat. The moderno has the best salad bar on the ship with the best sushi and salmon. She was in heaven. "

shared a quick tip for Norwegian Gem"ironically my vegetarian (plus fish) wife and I both enjoyed the moderno Brazilian barbecue as the best specialty restaurant despite the fact that she didn't eat a single bit of the meat. The moderno has the best salad bar on the ship with the best sushi and salmon. She was in heaven. "

shared a quick tip for Norwegian Gem"ironically my vegetarian (plus fish) wife and I both enjoyed the moderno Brazilian barbecue as the best specialty restaurant despite the fact that she didn't eat a single bit of the meat. The moderno has the best salad bar on the ship with the best sushi and salmon. She was in heaven. "

commented on a Norwegian Dawn cruise review. - "the single biggest mistake Norwegian has done in the 2010's is removing the spinnaker lounge and splitting their ships in half with 1st class (haven) ..." read more

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Breakaway cruise review - disapointed with the ship. people and cruise were fine.

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Breakaway cruise review - disapointed with the ship. people and cruise were fine.

commented on a Norwegian Gem cruise review. - "I hear that a lot that disembarking in NYC is a problem. Personally after 5 years of sailing on the Gem I have never had a problem. That's because o..." read more

commented on a Norwegian Gem cruise review. - "been cruising on the gem for 5 years now and have yet to eat at the buffet, or as week call it the food trough. Why anyone would take a cruise to ea..." read more

received a helpful vote on their Norwegian Gem cruise review - Just back from its re-fit, and the Gem is as spectacular as ever.

commented on a Norwegian Gem cruise review. - "Wow! that really sucks. It would definitely ruin my vacation. I've been cruising on the Gem for 5 years now with not so much as a backed up toilet..." read more