Norwegian Gem Cruise Review to Caribbean - Eastern

Contributor Level: Third Mate

4-6 cruises


Helpful Votes

4 out of 5

Top of the line Haven Garden Villa is really top of the line

Sail Date: February 14, 2013

Reviewed: 4 years ago

Traveled As: Family (older children)

Room Type: Suite

Our family of 6, including my 94 year old mom who suffers from dementia, booked the Haven Garden Villa for nine days. It was really a magnificent suite with its own indoors and outdoors, living room, dining room, stereo, bar, hot tub, steam room, upstairs outdoor deck, access to the Haven pool, which was made all the better because of the staff perks that came with it - a lovely involved concierge and butler who paved the way for us from start to finish. No lines, no worries. We had special parties, met the captain and crew, saw the engine room, the bridge, ate in private areas of the French restaurant, Le Bistro, had reserved seats for the shows, took a limo home with a van that followed with our luggage. We felt pampered all the way. The service was excellent, the staff the same. The housekeeping was exemplary - spotlessly clean.
Some cons - The food could be rather hum drum at times and we had to wait so long for our dinner that we missed two or three 9 pm shows. We finally learned to go to the Garden Cafe, load up our plates and bring them back to our dining rooms for a dinner in our own Villa. The butler set up the dining room table and cleared most professionally.
The activities were the usual ho-hum - lots of classes in things that they want to sell you like jewelry and art. Lots of “risque” and silly game shows. Duty free shops, jewelry and souvenir shops to browse through.
But there were activities that provided opportunities to tell your own jokes and sing your own songs. The audiences were appreciative, especially when the singers were kids.The lounge singers were nice though and the entertainment staff did try to get a laugh from us. The casino was the smoke filled sad lonely place that it usually seems.
Some of the shows had spot lights that shown throughout the audience. This was blinding when the lights hit your eyes. I had to close my eyes and listen to the singer instead of watching him too.
What would I have liked more of:
Educational activities - learning about the ship, nautical stuff - knot tying for instance, astronomy, the geology of the islands we were visiting.
I’d also have liked a special lounge with soft music, free drinks, some entertainment and an opportunity to meet other suite guests just to sit and chat. The Celebrity Silhouette had that and it was great. I would have gone back to talk with this group more than once, but unfortunately this lounge didn’t exist. By the last few days of the trip life was pretty boring.
Overall however, I think Norwegian tried to go out of its way to keep us happy, safe and involved.

Cruise Photos

Ship Quality
Food and Dining
Usually ho-hum but some dishes were excellent
Cabin / Stateroom
Excellent -
Service and Staff
Would have liked more educational activities
Children's Programs How about activities for the real elderly? We brought my 94 year old mom who could have used a superb senior center
Onboard Activities
Would have liked a quieter lounge set up to meet other suite members.
Destinations and Excursions
Been there-done that but we did swim with sea lions and enjoyed it.
New York, New York
Easy port to get to - right off the East Side Highway.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
There is a CVS within walking distance in case you forgot something.
Philipsburg, St. Maarten
Good tours of the island.
Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
We liked swimming with the seals
Samana, Dominican Republic
Nice beach and hotel


The Grand Pacific was a nice free restaurant. Ask for the more private section if you want to talk.
The Garden Cafe buffet was perfectly acceptable. Dine in or bring a plate back to your suite.
Le Bistro has a cover charge - ask for a more private section on dress up day and your elegance will be enhanced.
Cagney’s was a nice breakfast/lunch amenity when you sign up for a special suite. Eat in or order out.

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