The North Atlantic in Winter

Norwegian Gem Cruise Review to Caribbean - Eastern

Cruises: 2-3 cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 31

Overall rating:

3 out of 5
Verified Review
Norwegian Gem

9 Night Eastern Caribbean (New York Roundtrip)

Sail date: February 09, 2015

Ship: Norwegian Gem

Cabin type: Suite

Cabin number: 9504

Traveled as: Family (young children)

Reviewed: 6 years ago

Review summary

This was a cruise of very good parts and very bad parts for us.

The good parts were that the Caribbean was beautiful and we had a great time taking a long break in the warm weather.  The crew was well trained and relentlessly friendly.  They really tried hard to make sure we were happy and satisfied at all times.  We had a suite with "Haven" status, and the Haven area is amazingly nice--totally worth the money for the peace and the ability to avoid the mass of humanity on the rest of the ship.  It makes it feel almost like your own private cruise ship.  Very great and very addictive.  I don't know how we'll ever cruise again without that.  :-)

The bad part was that the trip from NYC to the Caribbean and back--anything north of Miami--was a disaster.  The seas were so rough that the boat was bouncing up and down, crashing loudly through the waves, spray coming up multiple stories over the bow like we were on Deadliest Catch.  I think half the ship was seasick, with people avoiding their cabins and lying on couches in the Atrium and all over the boat, groaning.  On the last day, when the boat was rocking more side to side, it tilted so far over that the dishes and glasses were falling off the tables and a little girl next to our table had her entire chair tip over backwards.  In our suite, the minibar fridge fell open and everything fell out and rolled around all over our room while we were gone, and the mirror and even the drawers fell out of the little dressing table.  It was ridiculous.  In the Captain's daily announcement over the PA on one of the days (mostly weather updates), he said we were about to hit more rough waters, but "this is the North Atlantic in winter--what do you expect?" he said.  Well, we weren't expecting this, and I doubt NCL's marketing department was either.

So, overall I thought NCL did a nice job, and I loved the Haven, but I'll never take a cruise from NYC again in winter.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

3 out of 5
We had the "Ultimate Dining Package" and that was worth every penny. The food I'd rate about a "7", even in the nicest places.

Onboard Activities

3 out of 5
None of the activities seemed appealing to us at all, so we did not participate, but other people seemed to like them.


3 out of 5
The Cirque Du Soleil performers were amazing. The rest that we saw were solid but not amazing.

Children's Programs

3 out of 5
The program seemed very good, and our son enjoyed it, but it is closed every day from 12-2 and from 5-7, which makes it really inconvenient to try to cruise "freestyle" as NCL wishes us to.

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
Everyone was nice, friendly and trying very hard. Mary Anne Lorono was our favorite, and my 4 year old son's favorite.

Ship Quality

3 out of 5
I liked the layout of the ship, but it is showing its age--loud and creaky in the rough waters.

Cabin / Stateroom

1 out of 5
The place was not perfectly clean when we arrived. The bed was good but the chairs were not very comfortable and generally the furniture seemed dated and tired for such a high end suite. The TV's were barely functional, with embarrassingly little content--like 10 channels on a loop. The bathroom was very good. The bow balcony is a waste of money--you cannot use it or open the bulkhead door while the ship is in motion and you cannot open the curtain to even look out the window after dark because the light affects the night vision glasses of the crew on the bridge. Almost everything you would want to do on the ship is in "midships", which means you have a 600 foot walk down a very narrow hallway 14x a day to get to your room. And in rough waters, the bow of the boat is the absolute worst place to be for seasickness. Avoid it. Will never be in the bow again, and I don't think the suite was really worth the money at all.

Ship tip

The brazilian restaurant, Moderno, is the best of the higher end places. We went there twice. The Teppanyaki place was also fun to watch and good food. We did not really like the Italian place or Cagney's for dinner.

Ports of call

New York, New York

3 out of 5
Absolutely nothing to say about this.

San Juan, Puerto Rico Did not visit port

We were only there for like 5 hours, and it is not near a good beach.

Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

3 out of 5
St. Thomas was beautiful, but there is a mile of tourist trap shops charging triple US prices for things between the boat and the taxis.

Philipsburg, St. Maarten

5 out of 5
Had the best time here. Definitely check out the America's Cup yacht racing excursion. Best one we've ever done.

Tortola, British Virgin Islands

1 out of 5
Tiny place, under construction in harbor and stinky. We got herded to buses that drove through the slums to get us to the beach. Beach was ok but not world class.
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