Norwegian Gem Cruise Review to Caribbean - Eastern

Contributor Level: Third Mate

7+ cruises


Helpful Votes

5 out of 5

Great Trip, Great Service

Sail Date: February 09, 2015

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Traveled As: Couple

Room Type: Suite

Do know, there is always a gamble on the Atlantic Ocean being a bit rough compared to sailing from Florida.  But we always figure the "fly to FL and stay in hotel for a day" plus the airport crap back and forth is worse than relaxing with food and drinks on the ship from NY, regardless of the ocean issues.  This was a high seas trip, and yet we still did not need Bonine (though I am sure new cruisers would want some). That said, the itinerary is fine (though not much time in Tortola) with great beaches and shopping in St. Thomas and St Maarten.  Puerto Rico has a lot of history and options.  The ship isgreat shape for its age.  The crew is very friendly and helpful.  I like the crew better than Breakaway.  Breakaway has a few more entertainment options, though the main theater options on the Gem are better.  So, explore both ships options when deciding!  Easy boarding for both out of NYC once you get to the port.  Do know you can review the menus each morning in the main dining venues before deciding if you wish to pay for specialty dining.  Also know, if you wait too long to get a reservation to popular specialties (Cagney's Steak House, for instance) your choice of when to eat diminishes.  Specialty restaurants are worth the price if you want every bit of service and food available.  Main restaurants generally have pretty good choices so skip the specialties unless you want the royal treatment!  Final note about casinos, they allow smoking.  The Breakaway is big enough to have a "no smoking" section, whereas the Gem does not.  The Gem has added or improved ventilation (or less smokers than last trip on her) so it was not overwhelming but you will smell smoke, though not as bad as in years past.  It is tolerable to this ex-smoker, and only noting in case it is important to you.  Also know the "no smoking section" of the Breakaway is not smoke free, just no smokers present but since it is adjacent to the smoking casino area, it is not entirely smoke free.  I'd say it is barely better than the Gem that is less populated and well ventilated.  I hope that helps those wondering.  :-) Happy 

Ship Quality
Better than most of her age
Food and Dining
Less choices than 5 years ago, but good quality. Buffet choices better than average.
Service and Staff
Plan an hour and a half for dinner unless you are there at 5:00.
Decent choices. Variety Show, Broadway show, comedian, juggler, acrobats.
Onboard Activities
Destinations and Excursions
Cabin / Stateroom
Great size for value. Includes a bathtub. I assume mini-suites are targeted toward families, since it has a small tub. Also has two thermostats and divider curtain for pull out couch/bed for kiddies. Probably work for two kids or one big kid/adult in the extra couch/bed.
New York, New York
Fair walk, grab a porter and tip them to lug yor stuff on way out through customs on way home. NCL will take your luggage outside upon arrival unless you arrive too early or too late before they are available. Otherwise, hop on freight elevator to floor two, and drop off their.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Easy walk off/on.
Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
Easy walk off/on.
Philipsburg, St. Maarten
Easy walk off/on.
Tortola, British Virgin Islands
Under construction. Tenders to a long walk. Juice, cold towels etc., on way back!

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