July 2015 - Norwegian Gem to Caribbean - Bahamas
This was my first cruise ever and I was very excited. Although my shore excursions were a lot of fun, there were so many issues with being on the actual ship that it took away from my overall experience. My boyfriend and I did 3 excursions: surf lessons at Cocoa Beach, wave runner in the Bahamas, and also Aquaventure in the Bahamas. All three were tons of fun but getting to the locations was a hassle. We got to the location for the surf lessons via shuttle bus but we ended up leaving later than the time on our ticket because people in our group had missed the 1st shuttle bus. This seemed unfair because we actually woke up early to make sure we got there on time and it cut into our actual lesson that we paid full value for. The instructors were lovely (Rose was very helpful!) but losing that time put a damper on it. Getting to Aquaventure was a complete nightmare. The bus lines were disorganized and people were cutting the line (again unfair since we woke up early and got in line early).
Now for the issues on the actual ship: There was a dress code for 1 of the dining rooms and we did not realize it. The hostess was very rude to my boyfriend because he had shorts (not jean, but the khaki kind) on and basically made us feel as though they were doing us a favor by allowing us to dine that night (this was in the Grand Pacific dining room). The hostess in the Magenta dining room was also very rude. Before we could let her know we had reservations she cut us off and said "Room Key". This happened on 2 other occasions so perhaps she should work on her customer-service skills. The servers in Grand Pacific were not very attentive unless you were ordering drinks (basically if they were getting a tip), if you only ate it seemed like they assumed you weren't going to leave a tip and they never came back to check on us or ask if we needed anything. Besides these 2 dining areas we were also allowed to eat at the Garden Cafe (buffet) but there was always something slightly dirty about it. It smelled stale and the food was either very soft (pasta) or stone hard (biscuits). The captain would speak over the intercom throughout the cruise and I counted at least 3 occasions where he made A LOT of sexist remarks. Things along the lines of "wives will be shopping and husbands will have a headache once they see the bill" or "make sure you keep your room key handy for shopping and keep a close eye on your wife". A lot of it was said in jest, but still offensive nonetheless. Our steward, Jerry, seemed nice for the most part but on our second to last day we wanted to relax in our room. We had our Do Not Disturb sign up and at one point we left to go get a drink to bring back and he spotted us in the hallway. He asked us to remove the Do Not Disturb sign so that he could clean. I don't think he had a right to ask us to do that since we paid for that room, but he made it clear that he just wanted to clean everything before we docked the next day. Finally, the eating areas closed early the night before we docked and we were not given notice. We were sorely disappointed when we went to get a late-night snack (11pm was the norm there) and everything was closed down. It seemed like Norwegian was done being hospitable to us. Overall it was not a good experience and I would not recommend it to any family or friends.