Xmas/New Years Caribbean Cruise

Norwegian Gem Cruise Review to Caribbean - Southern

Cruises: 7+ cruises
Review: 1
Helpful Votes: 22

Overall rating:

4 out of 5
Verified Review
Norwegian Gem

11 Night Southern Caribbean (New York Roundtrip)

Sail date: December 22, 2018

Ship: Norwegian Gem

Cabin type: Oceanview

Cabin number: 4522

Traveled as: Family (older children)

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Review summary

Overall good ship, not great, although since a smaller ship the crowds never seemed too bad. Overall the energy and vibe of the staff was not up to NCL standards. The ports were all good but the quality of excursion offerings were not as good as other NCL cruises, with most being tailored to very large groups. On board activities were below other NCL standards we have been on, with minimal variety (pretty much just the standard shopping, bingo, and trivia everyday for 11 days). The photo department was much better with several monitors and individualized binders of your photos, which is much easier to find and review photos than other ships we have been on.


5 out of 5
Very quick and efficient

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

4 out of 5
Main dining was good, but service was only ok (Magenta was much better than Grand Pacific for service); the specialty dining was only a bit better than main dining options (with the exception of Moderno and Cagneys, which had food that was clearly elevated above main dining). The energy and interactions with wait staff was hit or miss relative to other Norwegian cruises we have been on which were much better in that regard.

Onboard Activities

3 out of 5
Not as much to do on the ship as others we have been on. Also, the bowling listed on the NCL site no longer exists on the Gem. The energy and vibe of the staff supporting the activities was much lower than other NCL we have been on. The cruise director was just ok adn seemed to be going through the motions vs real engagement with the passengers and building a fun vibe for the entire cruise. The assistant cruise director didn't do much at all. We chose NCL because we had the complete opposite experience on other NCL ships.


4 out of 5
For such a long cruise there was decent variety in the shows. Comedians were good, magician was ok, the singer/dancers were great and better than others we have seen on other NCL ships. The band was amazing and most shows they were the live music, which was impressive given the range and variety.

Service and Staff

3 out of 5
Room stewards were great as usual on NCL. Wait staff and restaurant greeters overall were average to poor. The onboard activities staff was poor, with significant language issues given the level of interactions they need to have with cruisers.

Ship Quality

4 out of 5
Clean and a smaller ship so easier to get around, but was clear it was an older ship, even after refurbished.

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
Excellent and roomy even though an oceanview (we had connecting rooms which helped)

Ports of call

New York, New York

5 out of 5
Very organized embark and disembark (having only one ship docked helped with that)

San Juan, Puerto Rico

3 out of 5
Given it was Christmas there were no excursions offered

Basseterre, St. Kitts

3 out of 5

Castries, St. Lucia

5 out of 5
Beautiful island you can tell has better infrastructure and financial means

Bridgetown, Barbados

4 out of 5
Ship docks far away from shops

St. John's, Antigua

5 out of 5
Port is very convenient to shops and excursions

Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

3 out of 5
Busy island as usual with 6 ships in port; port not convenient to main shopping and hard to get back on ship logisitically


5 out of 5
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