NCL fails again!

Norwegian Gem Cruise Review to Canada, New England, New York

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 34

Overall rating:

3.1 out of 5
Verified Review
Norwegian Gem

10 Night Eastern Canada & Quebec (New York Roundtrip)

Sail date: October 21, 2017

Ship: Norwegian Gem

Cabin type: Balcony

Cabin number: 10526

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 3 years ago

Review summary

Overall, we are glad we went, but NCL really cheated us on this one, failing to deliver the promised itinerary at 3 out of 5 ports. No discount, no apology. If you like cruising, try NCL, but if you're going for the ports, you might want to try a more dependable cruise line.


3 out of 5
The embarkation paperwork went okay, but no one told us at the dock, or boarding the ship, that we would NOT have access to our staterooms for a couple of hours, meaning we had to carry our carry-on bags and heavy coats everywhere we went. Also, as all the scheduling paperwork was in our stateroom, we had to wander the ship trying to find activities and open restaurants.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

3 out of 5
The dining service ran hot and cold. We made reservations all 10 nights, but because of NCL policies had to wait in line each time we ate in the main dining rooms. Once seated we had 2 good meals in the Pacific and 1 good meal in the Magenta, both beautiful rooms. Had a great Teppenyaki experience one night, really competes with Our local restaurants. Had one good meal in Cagney's, the meat is really not as good on the Gem as on the Star and the Epic, and one not good meal in Cagney's.....3 hours is way too long for dinner service for a party of 4, and we missed the show. 2 good meals in La Cucina, very good Italian food, and one very disappointing meal in Le Bistro. This used to be our favorite restaurant, but they have changed the menu since our last cruise and seem to be cutting corners. Plus the wait staff kept changing and they had to guess where the dishes went. There is still plenty of booze on the booze package, but NCL has found a new way to cut corners. Instead of mixing fresh cocktails they have premade cocktails sitting around in jars all day and maybe over night too. Their "Ultimate Margarita" from the jar, is awful. Tastes like fruit juice left out too long. Find a bartender that will make you a fresh drink. Some are very nice about it, some don't want to waste the time.

Onboard Activities

3 out of 5
Same old tired bingo, art sales and trivia quizzes, but this sailing had 2 fantastic shows. Their team of singers and dancers are the best I've seen. One show, swing, was good from start to finish and included a little heartfelt story with the music and dancing. The other was a country and western thing which was mostly just loud, but still, the singing and dancing was great. The other shows were just okay, 2nd City with some funny gags, a terrible juggling act, a so-so singer telling his life story and all about his success......really, singing on a cruise ship does not make you Lady Gaga, but he was likable. And a man and lady gymnast/singing team that were great, but made you feel as if you hit the buffet too many times.

Service and Staff

4 out of 5
They really worked hard, and most of them were seasick the last day. That is a hard job and they really did their best to keep,the ship running.

Ship Quality

3 out of 5
This is an older, smaller ship by today's standards. It's in pretty good shape, the rooms are a little small, but have everything you need, some of the artwork is dated, but it's nice not to have ten million people on board. Except for the main dining rooms, you could avoid lines most the time. ONE big problem is the WIFI. It is a joke. Doesn't work much of the time, and is super slow when it does work. The Internet cafe has two, count them two computers with three more in the library. These sometimes work when you IPad or Smartphone does not, but they are so slow, I kept a book to read while the pages were loading. Meanwhile your computer time is ticking away.....what a rip-off.....even Choice Motels gives you free WIFI, And, it works.

Cabin / Stateroom

3 out of 5
See above. Stateroom had everything you needed, and, unlike our New York Hotel, there was room to walk around the bed.

Ship tip

Make dinner reservations before you get on board, unless you like to eat at 9:30.

Ports of call

New York, New York

4 out of 5
New York is fabulous, no where like it. We stayed near Times Square for a couple of days, could walk or LYFT to everything. Got last minute tickets for "Chicago" which we had seen before, but this was a great cast. Walked to Rockefeller Center, Tiffany's, St. Pat's, Trump Tower, which is still pretty, even with the guards and machine guns, Central Park, and the Metropolitan Museum. Be sure to see the rooftop exhibit at the MET, what a view!!! And don't forget, there is NO entrance fee, that $25 is optional so give what you want.

Halifax, Nova Scotia

4 out of 5
Nice little town that is growing, growing, growing, construction on every street. We caught the leaves just right. Hop on hop off bus is good, if you can't walk, but probably double what it should be based on other cities. The city garden is nice, the Citidel, and the 1800 graveyard.....some fantastic history there.

Quebec City, Quebec

2 out of 5
Fabulous City, like France without the flight. However, this is where NCL screwed us. We were suppose to have an overnight arriving at 1PM the first day. We arrived at 5:30, after dark and after the stores and tourist attractions were closed. NCL was beat out by Princess, who got the downtown dock, so we were further away. PAssengers had to pay $15 for a transfer to town. Usually free with other cruise lines. On our 2nd day we got screwed again. We were supposed to stay until 10PM, giving us time to dine in Fabulous Quebec City, but the schedule was changed and we left at 6Pm. The reason we booked this cruise was for the time in Quebec City and we were cheated both days, with no discount, or even a real apology.

Corner Brook, Newfoundland

4 out of 5
Corner Brook is a friendly little town. They were so glad to see "outsiders", we walked everywhere. The leaves were spectacular. The colors took your breath away. We went to the craft show in The towns square, drank beer and ate Moose Soup at the local Legion Hall, and had some great conversations with the locals who have chosen a slower, quieter life. I think they were more impressed to meet people from Los Angeles than when you go to China, or Europe, or Tierra Del Fuego.

Sydney, Nova Scotia

1 out of 5
Cheated AGAIN! Do to a coming storm, we skipped Sydney. Again, with no discount or credit, or written apology. The night before the Captain just came on the intercom and said, in order for us to reach New York on time we will skip Sydney. Sure, we wouldn't want to get to New York late and screw up the next NCL cruise, they have other committments. So, out of 5 days in ports, we were screwed 3 times. NCL has done this to us on our last three cruises. In Europe they cut out a day and a port and gave everyone 20% back. In Asia, they cut out 2 ports and gave everyone 20% back. But here, we got Nothing. This was not the cruise we booked, and it was shocking, not even an apology. Yes, the fine print allows NCL to change the schedule, but this was handled very badly. We tried to cantact the Hotel Manager on board and got no response. We contacted customer service upon our return and were told it would take 2 weeks for,a response. It is very disappointing. We like their crews, and usually book for the itineraries, but if they don't go to the ports, it boils down to bate and switch. And, I guess they are getting so used to cheating people, they don't even feel, like they need to apologize.


3 out of 5
Not NCL's fault, but not enough people working on shore. Long lines at customs, usual silly questions. Really crazy taxi and Uber drivers coming at you.

Traveler Photos

Before the storm During the storm Leaves Back in the USA
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