I really do like NCL. I would use them again but I would not necessarily choose the Gem. The destinations were nice though...Not much for holiday décor on the ship. A few Christmas trees and music. Tastefully done.
4 out of 5
Getting on the ship was very easy. We paid for the new service of priority status for non suite and above rooms at a cost of $250. This put us in a separate embarkation section, but that is the only advantage. There was no perks to easy dembarkation at the stops or an advantage at the end of the cruise to locate our luggage easier. The staff had no idea what the PRTY was on our cards and our room attendant was of no help with the services this supplied. Not worth the extra money
Food and Dining
3 out of 5
The food was only fair at the steakhouse and Italian restuarants. The food was cold in both locations and the crabcakes (with an additional upcharge) was not worth the extra money. You could order ones at the dining hall for free. The main dining rooms had very good options for dinner. The buffet options were also good for breakfast and lunch. The breaksfast at the dining hall came to us cold compared to the buffet options.
5 out of 5
excellent food, service and experience. shrimp and steak were delish.
Maltings Whiskey Bar
4 out of 5
great place for a predinner drink. Nice location on the ship to relax and listen to music or to talk with friends
Great Outdoors Bar
4 out of 5
great location for breakfast.
1 out of 5
food was cold. would not recommend to pay the price if not in the meal package. Don't pay for the crabcake upcharge. Can get it for free elsewhere on the ship. Steak was either over cooked or undercooked for our party.
3 out of 5
Compared to other NCL ships, this one wasn't as nice for activities. The bands/musical options were not great. Their playlists were not well organized nor were they played at appropriate locations/times. (ie. mid afternoon poolside should have upbeat music covering several decades. This did not. They played Adele and then heavy metal.)
Bingo = they had budget bingo but that was $20 for one game instead of the usual 3 for 39.99. Not a budget option! The shows were pretty good. The family games could have been executed better to include more people/families. The ideas were good, just not executed well. The cruise director and staff were not as good or entertaining as in other cruises we have done. The bar options were nice. The Spinniker Lounge and the Great outdoors areas ended up being our favorite spots. The gym was clean and we used often. Make sure you clean the equipment before you use. I didn't see anyone do a courtesy clean on their way out.
4 out of 5
I wish they would not allow smoking. The dealer were pleasant.
Basketball / Volleyball Court
2 out of 5
closed at 5pm every night. disappointing that they did that.
3 out of 5
See comments above.
5 out of 5
great meeting place. We spent a lot of time there. Gary the bartender is fantastic. It is busy with ship activities so if you want totally quiet this isn't the place all the time.
Did the Boss Underwater Adventure. Owner is fantastic and the folks directing traffic off the ship did a great job. One of the best run excursions we've been on. Could have been cheaper if we were able to book outside of NCL. Priceline did not offer, but if you can book it without NCL it would be cheaper and it is right off the ship in walking distance. 5 stars. And it was a fun experience.
Did the Harrison's Cave excursion on our through priceline. Thankfully we did not buy the beach package as well. The caves were delayed 1 hour 45 minutes. I would buy tickets direct. I believe they were $25/person and we paid $79/person. Take a taxi from the port and save some money, but plan for delays at the caves.
We did the water park. https://www.saintluciawaterpark.com/about. We had a family of 10 with only 4 kids that would do this activity. We took a taxi and paid for a 1/2 day pass for $35/participant. This came with one chair! Go early. It opens at 10, we got there at 9:30. Limited chairs. Great beach for swimming, very clean and some food options down the beach (although the restaurant next to the chairs doesn't open until 12 and only has a buffet.) Would highly recommend this excursion. Easy to get to and much cheaper to organize yourself.
We purchased the Vibes Beach Excursion through priceline. Totally oversold what we paid for. Horrible experience! They did not have our 10 chairs reserved and we were told that it was a first come first serve seating and that we needed to just find a chair. We requested to sit together so they had to barter chairs and umbrellas from other beach vendors and set us up in a 3rd row in the back of the beach. There was a guy with a monkey that was suspicious and would put the monkey on your lap, take a picture and ask for money. The beach area was no clean and the bar area was less than stellar. It was also advertise as Reggae vibe/music but there was none. We were also told that we would get umbrellas for $5 and the gentleman that set them up was very upset with us when that is what we wanted to pay. He ended up getting the manager to speak to us and they needed to know what company brought us to their location. The water was nice though.
Luggage was not put in any order at disembarkation. I would have expected to have my luggage under the priority status due to the package we purchased but it would have been nice if they sorted by floor. Tip: take the early time slot for your luggage. The latest slot ends up beign a cluster! Got off the ship quickly though.
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