Norwegian Gem Cruise Review to Caribbean - Bahamas

Contributor Level: Third Mate

1 cruise (first)


Helpful Votes

5 out of 5

Family Vacation 2016

Sail Date: August 13, 2016

Reviewed: 10 months ago

Traveled As: Family (young children)

Room Type: Balcony

Cabin: 9132 and 9138

This was our first Cruise and we did not know what to really expect.  I spoke to a few people who gave their expertise.  I wanted to see for myself this Cruise thing that every one seems to be beefing over.  We embarked from the New York City, Pier 88 at 55th Street and 12th Avenue.  I am a New Yorker.  I find it unnecessary to fly from NY to where ever to board a ship.  It was very important ant to me to leave from NY.  


Before the trip, I checked out where to park the car verses renting a spot at home in the Bronx due to alternate side parking will be on the days when we would be home.  The cost of a taxi cab going to the ship and returning home.  It was better to park at the ship port.  There was a 25% coupon offered to passengers who were Cruising with the Norwegian Gem.  The price for the seven days was $220.00 dollars.  The lot is opened with enough spaces between each car.  The Terminal Attendees were available to assist with the luggage.  The usually Security and Apparatus was in placed.  This is a secure place.  There were no damages to my car.  I will utilize this facility again.  

Cabin / Stateroom
The cabin was excellent. My mom requested the balcony as she is the frequent Cruiser. Our Steward was excellent. He made a different animal out of the towel each night for the girls. They loved it.
Embarkation and Disembarkation
The embarkment process was slow as the computers were down. We had no problem with disembarkation. Our luggage was collected the night before and was available for pick up once we came through the terminal. The Terminal Attendees were available. We had no problem with checking out.
Ship Quality
Destinations and Excursions
The destination and excursions were excellent with a couple of snags. Each destination was excellent. A Photo ID for each passenger was needed and your State Room Key. The children did not need an ID. The Orlando, Florida destination was excellent. The Great Stirrup Cay, Bahamas destination was excellent. The Ship docked off shore as there was no slip for the ship to dock. When we went, the water was choppy so the boat ride was a bit rough and scary at times. Coming back the water was choppy but there were more people on the boat so the ride was much better. The last stop was Nassau, Bahamas. The Excursions were excellent. The Excursion to Cocoa Beach, Orlando, Florida was good. The Atlantic Ocean water was a bit rough but it was not like Jones Beach on Long Island. The water was warm. The waves kept coming so we could not really relax. We rented chairs and a pre setup umbrella which was cash only with a $10.00 deposit which was returned to you. We had three adults who needed chairs. The chairs were $9.00 each and the umbrella was another price but if you rented both you got a discount. I paid about $40.00 dollars and the staff carried the chairs and set them up for us. He also took them back to the shop for us. I gave him the $10.00 dollars deposit for his tip. Returning to and from the ship was good. One draw back, when we returned. There was no sign or staff to assist us with which entrance we should use to board the ship. We followed the crowd only to find out that entrance was for the crew members. We had to walk back to the other end of the building. It was not an easy walk. The Excursion to Atlantis, Bahamas was excellent. Everything was at the same location with the group being split up as each adventure was separate and the cost was also separate. We did the Aqua-venture water ride park. The draw back, a Credit Card was needed to purchase anything including lockers, chairs, and food. We were not told this. To purchase food with cash we had to walked back to guest center which again was not an easy walk. We were lucky and blessed to meet a single parent with her daughter who happened to joined with my niece and daughter. That trio bond was excellent. They had an excellent time. The mom offered to pay for my locker. I gave her the cash payment. She paid for our food and I gave her the cash payment. If it was not for her we would not have been able to eat or have fun. We exchanged numbers. We spoke recently. Returning to the ship from Atlantis was excellent. The van driver bought us a bag of Guineps as I wanted him to stop to pick all the fruits I could not have in New York. I miss Jamaica. I demonstrated how to eat a guinep to my fellow Cruisers. One young lady said the guinep tasted like a grape. Everyone enjoyed it. I was very happy to introduced a bit of the Caribbean to my fellow Cruisers.
Onboard Activities
Alvin the Cruise Director kept was too busy. The activities were over lapping. We were in different activities at different times. Each Evening a News letter was left in our Stateroom for the next day. I had practically circled off everything. My favorite was Bingo. I always wanted to attend a Bingo get together. To my dismay, Bingo was not free. Laughing, I thought it was free. It was $20.00 dollars a game and they had different packages. The prizes were excellent. On the last day, there was a drawing for a Cruise trip for two. Well, I did not win any of thee Bingo Prizes but I had fun and got my Bingo fun in. I loved it. My next activities was the Art Auction. This is a new interest which I developed last year. I always wanted to attend an Auction. There was an Art Introduction class which I attended on board before the Auction later that afternoon. Excellent for a new-be like me. I learned everything and took notes. I went to the Auction and won a few bids that I later purchased. It was very nice. The Staff was excellent! The girls had an ice cream spa night which includes getting their nails and toes done with ice cream flavors. They had a canvasing art class. It was beautiful. A trip for them to remember. A trip for all of us to remember.
Children's Programs
The Children's Program was excellent. I was Cruising with my 12 year old niece and 11 year old daughter. They were part of the Dolphins Group. They were allowed to leave after two hours but I informed the staff that were not allowed to leave without my mom or me picking them up. The girls had a blast. They made new friends while exchanging numbers. The Staff were very professional. The security was very tight. We had to hand in our Room ID which has our picture on it when scanned. We had to hand in our Room ID to check the children in and to check them out. At the end of the Cruise we had to pay for the service as the Staff was not paid via the service fee. I asked the girls what do they feel the Staff should be paid. The amount they gave was very reasonable and fair as they were taught about money from our family. I had them do a Thank You note and draw a picture. Well, we took the kids menu from the dinning room and cut out the pictures to tape on the letter. The scissor and tape we got from the guest service center.
The Entertainment was very good. The Sail-away Party was excellent. I did not attend many and there were many. The Splash Academy Circus was excellent. This occurred the last day at sea, which was Friday, the 19th. The children had fun at the Circus as they were beaming from ear to ear with their performances.
Service and Staff
I cannot stop commenting about the Staff! Their professionalism was on point with nothing lacking for me. They did an excellent job. I gave them 500 Stars. They were friendly. Always asking if we were okay. Always asking if we were having fun. Professionalism all the way, I loved it!
Food and Dining
The food and Dinning experiences were excellent. We did not have to dress up for dinner but we did. The eating was a big problem for me as I am going through my fourth year of on going chemotherapy. I have not been eating much. My taste buds are diminished and my appetite is none existence. I had chemotherapy on Tuesday, July 26, 2016, and my body need two weeks to fully recover. The food had my taste buds dancing. I tasted and ate everything. When I returned to have chemotherapy this past Wednesday, August 24th, 2016, all of my blood levels were up. There was no need to have a red blood cell shot. Yes, one less shot for me. They had my favorite scald milk. A childhood favorite growing-up in Jamaica, West Indies. I did not attend the Specialty Dining Rooms. I did not purchase the beverages packages. One draw back was we needed to bring our own cups for frequent water fill ups. The cups that were provided were about 12 ounces. My daughter is a water drinker as she does not drink juices or sodas. I called Norwegian to asked if we could bring a case of water since we were parking at the Terminal. i was told no as the policy for bringing water onto the ship was recently changed. We already had 32 ounces water containers by bubba. I filled up our cups each night and placed in our room refrigerator. We also walked with an empty store bought water bottle which we drank the water before reaching the Terminal. This empty bottle was our walk around bottle which we filled up throughout the day. There were ice tea, fruit juices, lemonade, kiwi strawberry flavored water, and mango flavored water available all day. We would mix the ice tea with the lemonade and the kiwi strawberry with the lemonade. A separate water bottle would be needed as you can have one bottle filled with water and one filled with juice. If you do not have a water bottle there were courtesy cups at each beverage counter. There was no lacking of anything food or hydration.
New York, New York
I am from New York.
Port Canaveral, Florida
Ask a Staff which entrance you will need to use to return to the ship. Carry cash to purchase beach chairs and umbrella. There is no food to purchase on the beach. If there was one it is a good walking distance.
Great Stirrup Cay (Cruiseline Private Island), Bahamas
Leave your cabin early to pick up a color band as the color band has the time slot that you will be leaving the ship. Order your chairs and cover up chairs before you reach the Bahamas.
Nassau, Bahamas
Walk with a Credit Card as it is needed to purchase everything from food to lockers at Atlantis. Order chairs and cabin before you reach the Bahamas as these items are not available for purchase as they are all have been purchased prior. Also, there will be five more Cruise Ship at the dock. Those passengers will be purchasing these items also. It is best to purchase when you are purchasing your Excursions.


Wear comfortable shoe. The ship is huge. You will be walking all over. If you decide to sleep in late, when you go to the 12 Fl for the buffet be prepared to not find a seat or table to sit together. The same with the beach chairs and tables. I saw people holding these things at 6:30AM.

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