May 2016 - Norwegian Gem to Caribbean - Bahamas
We were really looking forward to this cruise because of the itinerary and convenience of the port near our home. One day before departure, we received a notice that we would not be going to their private island (Great Stirrup Cay) and would go straight to Nassau for propulsion system repairs. Apparently the ship has been doing this for a couple cruises before ours and are still doing this for the upcoming cruises. It would have been nice to get notice of this earlier so we could plan accordingly and maybe even transfer to another cruise. We received a $50 onboard credit per cabin. I guess NCL thinks that their island stop is only worth $50, it should have been per person. We really wanted to go to their island because we read a ton of reviews that it was the best stop on the cruise and had planned paddle boarding and snorkeling a shipwreck.
The first two days down the Atlantic were terrible with high winds and the ocean was very rough. We couldn't even go out on deck to read a book or enjoy other outdoor activities. Port Canaveral was a good stop for us because we went to Epcot and enjoyed the Flower & Garden Festival. I wish we had more time at this port and less at Nassau. We did get an extra half day in Nassau because of skipping their private island and did a kayak excursion which was okay. The second Nassau day we went to Atlantis and really enjoyed that. We did not book through ship, way too expensive. The last two days sailing back was better, but still windy. I think I was able to enjoy 4 hours total out on the deck. Of course there were plenty of people out on deck tanning, but I just wanted to read and the wind made it hard to do this.
The activities were just ok. They had plenty of trivia and bingo games. The cost of the bingo games were outrageous, $39 for 3 cards, $49 for 6 cards and so on. There was one budget bingo where you play one game with one card for $10. The singing & dancing shows were good, Corey Cahaney comedian was good, but the Majika illusion show was kind of corny and they were all about selling their DVD.
The food was decent in the buffet and good in the dining rooms. Two of us must have gluten free food, so we ate in the dining rooms most of the time. We had no problems at all with getting GF food and their special diets person made everything very easy and stress free for us.
Overall, the ship was clean and the staff was very nice. It's a bit smaller than what we are used to. The itinerary change and how NCL handled it was our biggest issue along with being stuck inside the ship for a long time. We now know that 4 days at sea is not for us, at least on a smaller ship. Bigger ships have more activities and it may have not been so bad to pass the time.