The gem is a good starter cruise for most people — I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who has sailed NCL mega ships like breakaway or bliss or epic ... classism onboard becomes clear as NCLs all inclusive isn’t so inclusive as there are a ton of add ons and buy ins as soon as you get onboard —
Yes you will get free food — the buffet food is — passable — nothing to rave about.... the main dining halls make you feel fancy while eating slightly more Passable food (mainly cause of presentation, food isn’t really higher quality).... so this leave you with having to buy into their specialty dinning packages if you want quality food —
They play the same game with booze —
Yup, your unlimited drinking package is limited to drinks under 13$ — which in the overpriced vacation land ... every drink is basically 13 and up ... if you like beer and cheap wine, drinking package of great — if you like the finer things in life ... pay up
Out of all the buy ins — I strongly suggest the spa buy in — once you explore the 4 main decks of the ship (that are not cabins) you will get bored pretty quick — the spa is a GREAT place to escape to and makes you feel like you’ve upgraded to “the haven” for about 100-150 per person (split that up for 7-8 days and it’s a fair price) — NOTE if the sea gets rough they will shut down the main spa / hot tub
Over all — this is a great starter ship or budget ship to go on — it’s not gonna blow your away, but it’s just enough to have a good time at a reasonable price.
5 out of 5
2 out of 5
Grade C performances — performers even use self deprecating humor of “what do you expect on a cruise”
Note: NCLs mega ships do generally have quality performers
Cabin / Stateroom
3 out of 5
SMALL — small cabin, small tv, small in general — again get the spa package so you have somewhere nice to escape when you get bored with the ship
Get spa package... only sail when there is super good deals — if you’re an experienced cruiser you will be underwhelmed — if it’s your first cruise this is a good starter ship till you can afford to do their mega ships
I’m not even sure why any cruise liners beside Disney use this port, you never have enough time to do the activities you want in Orlando — and if you catch a taxi or Uber to Orlando your looking at 150$ each way — just for the ride — then you can get a 1/2 day at Disney or universal where you get on like 3-4 rides before you have to rush back to the ship so that they don’t leave you behind ...
This is a perfect stop for a cruise — the tendering sucks, but the island escape is perfect — the food on the island is all inclusive with the ship, and if you have the drinking package so is the booze ...
We went to Atlantis — and man ... I gotta tell yah ... it’s in my top 5 WORST water parks I’ve ever been to — they have a total of 8 slides in two areas 3 of which weren’t functioning (mechanical rollercoaster like ones) which only left two “Ok” tube slides — and 2 “peel the skin off your back” free fall ones ... yeah it’s cool going through a shark tank ... but on the free fall one you’re too busy getting water in your eyes .. and the the novelty of the shark tank wears off quickly after the second run of tube one ...
They have a bunch of pools ... ummm and a beach ... just really wasn’t impressed — especially at 180$ a person via the ship ... we paid 130$ a person by booking the tickets from “resort for a day” and still kinda feel ripped off — it’s clear by the shopping area and the price range on everything there that Atlantis is meant for the rich and not middle American income earners.
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