March 2015 - Norwegian Gem to Caribbean - Eastern
Let me say first of all that we loved the ship, and found the entire crew to be kind, polite, and accommodating.
The weather was great--I heard that the trip the week before us was very rough, and there were at least two days where most of the passengers stayed in their rooms. Not so on our trip. (Of course, that wouldn't be their fault, anyway.)
Food was excellent, but we only had dinner in the specialty restaurants. Whenever we cruise, we always purchase the beverage and dining packages--we'd prefer to pay up front, rather than having to worry about what will be charged to our stateroom by the end of the week!
I love the beverage package! This year, they changed it--instead of having different price points for wine, beer, and liquor, they had a flat $10 level under which every alcoholic beverage was included. It was easier to remember, and included more things. The downside: the wine selection and the drink menus weren't as varied as other times we've cruised. Before, there were different drink menus in each restaurant--this time, it was the same in every restaurant and bar throughout the ship. I preferred the variety, especially where wine was concerned. I had a hard time finding a wine I really wanted to drink all the time.
The dining package is a great value. We calculated it all at the end of the trip, and found that we saved about $140 per person by purchasing the dining package--and also ate a lot more steak, lobster, and fancy dessert (I love tiramasu and creme brulee) than we would have had without the package. Highly recommend it!
If I have an (in my opinion) BIG criticism, it's that there are no where near enough healthy options in the buffet and free restaurants. I wanted yogurt, granola, and better fresh fruit (the fruit on board was pretty lackluster)--but all they had was yogurt in little cups. I'd prefer a plain Greek or vanilla--and I'm sure I'm not the only one! There was oatmeal and eggs, so that was good--but a few more healthy options would be nice. At lunchtime, the salad bar was pretty boring--needed more protein options, fruits, nuts, seeds, and varied veggie toppings. It was pretty basic.
I always found things to eat, of course, but I would prefer more healthy options. I know, I know--most people aren't trying to eat healthy on vacation. Still, I love my yogurt and salads, and I doubt I'm the only one.
We had a great time, and we'll definitely cruise Norwegian again. The ship was great, the amenities were nice, and the onboard entertainment was pretty stellar. Loved it!