A very good cruise
The Gem is a nice clean ship and not too large like the Breakaway or Epic. You do get to see some familiar faces during the cruise. The singers and dancers in all the shows were excellent. We found the food to be very good. No complaints about quality at the buffet but it was often a bit of a pain to find seating for the four of us. If you want to sit down easily the Grand Pacific dining room is the way to go as service was significantly slower in the Magenta. Only comment on main dining rooms was there was not enough change in the menus from day to day. Buffet breakfast is also better than dining rooms - buffet has omlette stations. Hit rough seas going and returning to NY but that's expected this time of year. We enjoyed the Art auctions, trivia games and some of the movies they showed. Why they show most of them in the atrium is questionable as there is not enough seating there for all who want to watch. Kids only minimally participated in youth and teen clubs as most of the program did not interest them. We've hit all the same islands before but it there was still something new to do or see at each. We did the Segway riding in St. Maarten and had a great time. Don't be afraid of trying it as they are very easy to ride. With the unlimited beverage packages its sometimes difficult to get served at the bars as it seems a lot of folks like that offer! All in all I'd recommend the Gem to anyone.
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
If you don't want to pay the daily service charges and want to tip staff yourself just go to the main desk and tell them so. They will give you a form to send in when you get home to get a refund. They can also provide you with envelopes to tip with.