Sail Date: December 01, 2010 Ship: Norwegian Gem Cabin Type: Balcony Traveled As: Couple Reviewed: 6 years ago
I think more elevators or faster elevators are needed; when everyone finishes some entertainment activity, there is always a mad rush for the elevator and that can be frustrating at times.
i wished there were activities on the ship during port days as well
i didn't like the inflexibility of transportation to activities (because some times you must stay at the activity site until say 7pm, when the bus came to pick up the guests). other activities, there are constant transportation so you can go back to ship whenever you like.
i didn't like the long lines to get off the ship when tendered and when passing through customs at the last port.
it would be nice if juice was offered all day instead of only during breakfast until 11am
Food and Dining
3 out of 5
quality of food is fresh/clean, restaurant variety was alright. Lots of choices but the other two main dining rooms had the same menu. the buffet had the greatest number of choices. the asian food wasn't very authentic. ambiance of special was nice but it was sometimes hard to decide whether to dress up (since it felt a bit out of place to walk around dressed up when everyone else in the rest of the ship was dressed casually) but inside the restaurant, it was appropriate to dress up. dining times were hard to get for the teppanyaki but I didn't mind much since I've had this type of food at Benihana many times before. Reservations can only be made one day before (vs. booking all restaurants for the week on the first day) and you can only make them for 30% of the seating available; the rest are walk-in. The soda promotion for $6.25 a day in a souvenir cup was kind of expensive; must purchase for entire 7 days.
3 out of 5
there were a lot of activities but some things overlapped in terms of time so I couldn't do everything (i.e. listen to seminar on buying jewelry at the ports v.s. listening to a seminar on how to increase your metabolism)
the down side is that there are very limited activities on port days
at the spa you sometimes feel compelled to buy the products that were used in your treatment but they won't be unhappy or too pushy about it.
you can pick which spa therapist you wanted; i didn't have trouble booking times (in terms of scheduling, but not sure about others)
spa is expensive but I think it was very popular
it was hard to find a place to sit when there were seminars in the main area (crystal atrium mid ship 7) & shows in the 6th & 7th floor theater / 13th fl spinnaker lounge
Service and Staff
5 out of 5
very friendly, no one was rude, some of them will get to know you by name
5 out of 5
this was the first experience on a cruise so the ship size felt fine/good; as with any ship, you always have to walk from one end to the other if you're going to different places. public areas were in good shape; nothing shabby-- things seemed very new. decor was bright/colorful. it is definitely clean.
Cabin / Stateroom
5 out of 5
location was right near the elevator area so people walk by a lot but it was neighbors that were most often noisy. the stateroom was comfortable (perhaps on the smaller side) though I got used to the size pretty quickly. Amenities included shampoo, body soap, hand soap and hair dryer. It would have helped to include conditioner. The decor was fine; bright colored sofa/floor.
you go with other excursion guests so you have to wait for everyone else to 1) show up 2) sign waiver forms, 3) put on their wet suits & life vests etc. when on the water, you had to ride in a "line" behind the jet ski ahead of you and keep a certain amount of space (i.e. if the person in front of you is very slow, you can't increase your speed). I would have wanted the time spent on the water to last longer (I believe it was 30min, my friend thinks it was around 45min). A lot of time was spent going over safety instructions as well. They had BBQ on the beach so you don't have to go back to the ship to eat.
Don't Miss: Not much else to do here if you don't do the excursions; just the beach with frigid waters (late december)
Kennedy Space Center was interesting though it isn't that big. I didn't like the tour where you see the launch pads because 1) you didn't get very close so you didn't get to see much 2) it was freezing there 3) the lines to wait for the bus to see the different launch sites were incredibly long and waste of time. The rest of the museum was nice/interesting to see. The times for IMAX movies were not very flexible. Tron (the movie) cost extra (i.e. not included in excursion fee) other "movies" weren't worth watching.
Don't Miss: the food is like amusement park food; expensive and not tasty. Had to wait until 715pm for the 1st bus back. I wanted to leave by 5pm; not THAT much to see.
The sales people at the jewelry stores were not very friendly and refused to give the free gems if you didn't look at their stuff even though the coupon clearly shows that we can have the free necklace/bracelet/gem without any other "strings" attached.
Don't Miss: The freebies at all the jewelry stores; it was really cheap/not worth all the rushing around the different stores to collect them all.
Pros: it was fun, staff was nice, tons of things to run around doing on ship prior to arrival at ports
Cons: after the 3rd port (2 more sea days & 3rd day = disembark), the ship started having serious creaking sounds (mainly heard in the stateroom, but also in buffet dining room windows and in the "stairwell"), some of the guests are rude, some inflexible excursion transport times
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