Norwegian Gem Cruise Review to Caribbean - Bahamas

Second Mate

2-3 cruises


Helpful Votes

4 out of 5

Great Cruise...Weak Itinerary

Sail Date: May 24, 2014

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Traveled As: Couple

Room Type: Balcony

Background - Married couple in 30's, second cruise..


Embarkation- It was alittle hectic, but that was because fleet week was going on...Check in took about 35-45 minutes in the Bronze/silver Latitudes line...Do your due diligence and shop around for parking, they range from $150 to $275 for a week, drop your bags with the porter and you can walk back to the terminal if your so inclined, walk took about 10 min...


The Ship- Both cruises I have been on were through NCL...The other ship was the Dawn out of Boston...The Gem is newer than the Dawn but both ships are great, The Adult areas on the Gem FAR exceed the Dawns, however the childrens areas on the Dawn are significantly better (We do have children but they did not travel with us on this trip, but we did look around the kids area during the open house to see if it was a ship we would travel with the children on in the future...) The bowling alley in the Bliss was a nice touch but the hours were limited to small blocks in the afternoon and evening and the cost was $9 pp per game...The waterslide on the pool deck was Very slow, people were getting stuck near the top and having to push themselves down...Spinnaker lounge was the place to be (Bliss was smaller and kinda Shady, Nice if your a club goer I guess, It attracted the Younger Adult crowd 16-24...Atleast it did the one night we walked thru) The other public areas we visited were clean with comfortable crowds of people, Bar City where the trivia games, Pub Crawl and Putting contests convened was always a good social spot...In the Atrium, there was a Large movie screen and they would show Movies or sporting events (NBA playoffs were on but NHL Playoffs could not be broadcast) the movies were typically PG-13 type shows...


Food/Dining- The two main dining rooms served similar menus each night, Grand Pacific was supposed to be the more Classy dining room, so I was sure to wear pants an a collared shirt as did most other patrons (80%) however we only ate there 1 time...Magenta was more casual dress and you could dress in just about anything, we ate there 4 nights...The food was prepared well, good flavor...The evening we were in Port Canaveral we dined at Le Bistro, The food was excellent, service great...For breakfast and lunch the preference was the buffet (Cafe garden of poolside) there was a good variety, Soups and salads to Indian and chinese or Burgers and sausage sandwiches or custom pasta dishes, the menu was the same most days...  


Onboard Activites- No complaints, there was something for everyone...Salsa dancing, Bingo, Comedy shows, Yoga, Pub crawls...Seize the day...The activities staff was supurb however Several in key position were leaving after this sailing...Samantha, Nacho and Mandy (Pronounced Monday) are excellent coordinators and made our cruise that much better...


The Itinerary- Port Canaveral, is pretty much a industrial area, with a taxi/bus/shuttle terminal...If you want to go somewhere you can not simply walk...Not much to look at...we stayed on the ship but so did 75% of the others, it was like a sea day...

-Great Stirrup Cay: Liked the beach area, Hippo slide looked like fun if you bring kids or are into inflatable slides, If you have your own snorkel gear you can find plenty of sealife to look at right on the beach area without paying for an excursion...There was also Waverunners for rent at a reasonable price and Parasailing but that didn't look as safe as other I have seen...Consider going back to the ship for lunch...

-Nassau: After getting of the ship we were inundated with Taxi drivers, shop owners, and street vendors...There are SEVERAL people who will approach you with a bead necklace and tell you everybody who comes to the Bahamas gets one (Implying that it is a gift but never actually saying free) and will try to put it on and then once it's on they tell you it's $5-$10, I was warned of this before I went and it helped to avoid awkward situations- Atlantis, was beautiful, but your acces to the grounds is EXTREMELY limited...You can visit about 15 shops in the Atrium and the Casino...To go any further will require buying admission the the Aquarium for $45 PP...There is also a Aquarium and Beach pass which includes lunch for about $70 and then the Aquaadventure pass for about $120...We opted for the Aquarium pass and spent about 2 hours exploring...WHen returning to the ship we stopped by the straw market, it seemed like every aisle was the same as the previous, and people get moody if you pass their area by, the moral of the story don't waste to much time looking for something unique in the hot, cramped building...T-Shirts, shot glasses, and woven bags are really all there is to offer...In the alley outside to the right there are hand carved wood items that are interesting...


Tips- I like to read reviews before I travel so I can prepare myself for disappointment...There were alot of negative reviews on this and other sites regarding the Gem and before this the Dawn, all I have to say is a vacation is what you make it, If you want to whine about food that you didn't have to cook, and a room that you didn't have to clean- Then it says more about you then the ship and it's staff...Bring your expectations down to a reasonable level and go with the flow...Some people will never be happy (FYI- I found a single stray hair in the shower when we arrived, Do you know what I did?? I grabbed a sheet of TP and threw it away)...I didn't call the Captain to complain or write a terrible review- I went out to a show, had a great diner, and consumed many drinks all while meeting lots of new and interesting people and having a memorible time with my wife...Also don't buy Advil or tylenol at the gift shop, they will give it to you free at the Infirmary without having to be checked out...



Cruise Photos

Ship Quality
Great for Adult...OK for Kids
Food and Dining
Specialty and Main Dining are Very Good, with good service
Cabin / Stateroom
Clean and Spacious...
Service and Staff
Samantha with The Activities crew and our Steward Kreshan were great...
Shows were great...
Children's Programs
We looked at the Kids Programs, suitable but no the best...
Onboard Activities
We always had something to do, at times we would miss have to pick 1 thing over another...
Destinations and Excursions
Could have a better destination than Port Canaveral
New York, New York
Shop around for parking...
Port Canaveral, Florida
Don't expect to walk to anything worth while, you will need a Taxi/Bus/ or Shuttle
Great Stirrup Cay (Cruiseline Private Island), Bahamas
Clean, Fun, affordable...You might want to go back to the ship for lunch...30 Min wait on Island- Almost nobody on the ship...
Nassau, Bahamas


Tips were in the main review...Share a cab if your going to Atlantis, It's quicker than the Water Taxi...

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