The ship is immaculate. The food is outstanding. I loved that with free style cruising our dinner companions, the time we ate and our selections were all up to us. On other cruises I felt like I was going to a catering hall for dinner each night. This gave us quality food, a wide selection and intimate dinners with our own family each night. We chose to dress up on some nights but polos and kahkis were fine other evenings. We never met a staff memember that wasn't going out of their way to make our experience 5-Star even though the tipping was included so they were truly just working to make us happy. I felt no obligation to tip beyond what was charged to us as a service fee. Everyone seemed grateful that we were on board and that they had jobs! Even the cruise director made a point of saying in tough economic times they were extremely grateful that we chose to spend our vacation and obviously our money with them. :)
Food and Dining
5 out of 5
Quality was outstanding. Never did they hesitate to bring an extra course if they saw we were enjoying something very much. The variety of restaurants was amazing as well. Sushi to Sirloin Steaks...they had it all.
5 out of 5
This cruise provided the highest level of entertainment. The Second City Players did Improv for 3 shows and the magician/comedien was a quality act that also did 3 different shows throughout the cruise. We saw 2 production numbers (Las Vegas Style) but the boys didn't care for all the singing and dancing. Great variety, you had to be happy with something.
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
It really made us nervous before we cruised that the tip/service charge was figured in to our bill because we thought that they staff might not have to go our of their way if their tip was guaranteed. We couldn't have been more wrong. Each and every person on that ship worked tirelessly to make you feel special and catered to. They were amazing.
5 out of 5
The Cleanest ship we had ever been on. It was less glitzy than some other cruise lines but this was elegant and tasteful. My younger son missed the grand common area and the glass elevators that are featured on other ships, but the Gem won hands down on elegance and sophistication.
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
Our rooms was laid out quite beautifully and the room stewards were warm, friendly and made our experience delightful. They knew all our names by day one and treated the parents and kids with great respect and made each day fun for us.
Only mother nature was a problem with Stirrup Island. The water swells prevented an early departure because there was a safety issue but once that subsided and we got to the Island it was perfect. This was the only time we hung by a beach on the cruise and it was a lot of fun. Finding a beach chair was the most challenging part of the day but we did fine.
Don't Miss: Rent the rafts for the water, they were a lot of fun.
The ABSOLUTE BEST PART was our AquaSea excursion to the Atlantis Resort. We took a boat tour from our ship to Atlanitis and then we spent 7 hours with the kids playing in the water park and slides for the day. We had a beautiful poolside day with all the amenities of the Atlantis Resort. It was wonderful. i understand a families hesitation in doing this excursion as it was very pricey at $500. for the day for 4 people but we didn't regret it for a moment after the great time we had!
Don't Miss: The Shark Tank...nothing like taking a slide through that!!!!
Pros: The cleanlieness of the ship and the warm professionalism of the crew and staff
Cons: Only that we are forced to travel with all of the rest of the world during President's week!
*Cruiseline.com is not a booking agent or travel agency,
and does not charge any service fees to users of our site. Our partners
(travel agencies and cruise lines) provide prices, which we list for our
users' convenience. Cruiseline.com does not guarantee any specific rates or
prices. While prices are updated daily, please check with the booking site
for the exact amount. Cruiseline.com is not responsible for content on
external web sites.