Norwegian Gem Cruise Review to Canada, New England, New York
Review summaryWe left from NYC to a Canada and New England cruise. We made two stops in Canada: Halifax, Nova Scotia and St. John, New Brunswick. Then we made two stops in Maine: Bar Harbor and Portland. We didn't take any excursions, since we did not see any of real interest. In place of excursions, we went for more upgrades on the ship, which was a penthouse suite in the AFT. Overall, food was a letdown. We had the package for 3 specialty restaurants and went to La Cucina, Le Bistro and Teppanyaki. La Cucina was terrible! Worse Italian food ever. Le Bistro and Teppanyaki were the only 2 dinning meals we enjoyed the entire 7 day cruise. We tried the Grand Pacific twice and O ‘Sheehan’s once for dinner and twice for lunch. O ‘Sheehan’s is overall subpar. Far as you can get from being an Irish Pub as far as the taste of the food and food selections. Only good thing we had at O’ Sheehan’s was their wings. A big thing we noticed is on excursion days, lunch selections we pretty much limited to one buffet. Formal dining rooms were closed as well as the Great Outdoors buffet and the one by the pool. The one by the pool was noted on the daily cruise newsletter they handed out every day, was listed as to be open on these days, but it was never opened on excursions days. I would assume if something is listed to be open, it should be open. In all, we were very disappointed in the food we had on the cruise. The sections and taste were both lacking. Same menu every day for breakfast and lunch. We were never offered lobster, and any other seafood except maybe shrimp. You would think being in the New England area, we would have some kind of lobster dish offered daily. We did not get the great food you here about on cruises. We will never take a cruise on this ship again. Service as all eating places were average at best. Mostly below average. The only 2 places that were great at service was where we had our best meals, Le Bistro and Teppanyaki. The best service we had otherwise was at the Martini bar. The staff there were very pleasant and were always checking on you and keeping your glass full. We also had the Ultimate drinking package. This is also a joke. It is supposed to cover up to $15 per drink. Well, Bourbon and Scotch drinkers always had an up change, since these drinks were more than $15. Really, $18 for 1 shot of Knob Creek bourbon. The bottle retail is $35, so only 2 shots, the bottle is paid for. They can’t change $15 for this so, it would be included with the drink package. This is ridiculous. No Complaints on Embarkation and Disembarkation. Both went pretty smooth. We decided to self-Disembark and carried our own luggage off. This definitely saves time and highly suggest doing that if you can.
Food and Dining
Great Outdoors Bar
Same food everyday. Nothing special to note. most times, bar was not open to get drinks much later in the day.
Topsiders Bar and Grill
2 days during excursion times, this place was suppose to have a buffet going on according to the daily newsletter. However the buffet was not open forcing you to the the garden buffet. Another example of nothing ever changes for lunch, since the Garden buffet was the only place to get lunch food on excursion days.
2nd best meal we had on the ship. It was entertaining and very tasteful. Service was excellent.
Shaker's Martini Bar
Best bar on the ship. The service was excellent and the bartenders were very pleasant.
Orchid Garden Asian Restaurant
Was very disappointed at the taste of the food here. It was really bad.
Maltings Whiskey Bar
All bourbon and Scotch had an up charge. This is crazy! $15 limit per drink and I had to pay a $2.34 up charge for Knobb Creek. The bottle cost around $35 retail. You make you profit back on 2 shots! I think you can afford to include this items at the $15 included price for drinks.
Best meal we had on the cruise. Food and service was at the top on this specialty restaurant.
La Cucina Italian Restaurant
Worse food of the trip. Was very disappointed in the taste of the food from a specialty restaurant.
Grand Pacific Main Dining Room
Food and service was terrible. Very disappointed in formal dinning sections and quality.
Same food everyday.
Nothing special about the casino. It was very smokey.
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom