January 2015 - Norwegian Gem to Caribbean - Eastern
Some aspects poor, some good so I hate to rate it overall poor. This was our 4th NCL cruise and we have been pleased with free-style dining, the smaller sized ships, excellent entertainment and good service for a decent price. However, sailing from NYC in winter is not recommended, too cold, rough Atlantic both directions and WAY too many days at sea...6 of the 10. We had 15 ft. waves on return trip and you could feel it. Bonine pills and sea-bands really work. The Gem is showing its age with tacky decor, there were less free activities than previously, the main dining rooms used to offer different menu items and the food wasn't as good this trip, the drinks were watered down in the Grand Pacific but were excellent in the Magenta so we dined there most evenings. Our room steward was very courteous but oceanview Rm.5622 was pretty dirty, lumpy pillows and a bed cover that was ripped and old. He gave us better pillows but we just flipped the cover top to bottom. My husband and I got sick 4 days into the trip and it may have been from the room. Activities Director Dan Dan was the best host we've seen on NCL and boy, can he sing!
The entertainment was top notch as usual. We had to tender at 2 of 4 ports (cheaper for the cruise line) so it diminished the enjoyment of getting off ship and wandering around town when not on an excursion. Tortola is a beautiful island to see in just a few hours. Last trip on the Gem we had a full day there. Overall, not enough ports, too much ocean.
My sister and brother-in-law were hesitant first-time cruisers but we raved about NCL and convinced them to come with us, as we had done this same trip in 2009. But this was their first and last cruise after this experience and unfortunately we are also done cruising with NCL.