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About letsgomets

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    Cool Cruiser
  1. Gem wasn't late last Saturday. Was a foggy morning, but we docked at 8:30. Sailed under the Verrazano at 7:30, the precise time the captain predicted the night before, and from there it's an hour to the dock. Took forever to off-load everyone so that probably delayed boarding (we didn't get off til around 11:30 and there were still lots behind us), but slow off-loading wasn't due to fog. On our cruise, boarding began around noon-1pm and cabins were ready at 1:30pm.
  2. I just got off the Gem this past weekend. Package was $100 for 250 minutes, plus 20 bonus minutes for signing up first day. Was very pleasantly surprised at the speed on my ipad. Emails downloaded pretty quickly -- was able to get on and off just a few minutes at a time and get my emails, download the NY Times onto my app, perhaps check a web page or two. Obviously wouldn't consider serious browsing or video at those prices or speed, but it was much better than I anticipated.
  3. Yes, we docked around 8:30am this past Saturday and people started getting off shortly after 9am. It was a couple of hour process in total. Immigration (done on the ship) was just slow -- no Sandy-related problems at the port. Personally, I wish they'd have the 10am arrival be real and stay in Samana an extra hour rather than have the last tenders go back at 3pm!
  4. 3 people in my group seem to caught a stomach virus (not flu). I had the chills and an inability to sleep the last two nights.
  5. Very pleasantly surprised about the taxi situation last Saturday. We arrived to a dreary, rainy morning and I figured we might have a long wait but in fact, there was a long line of taxis and we got in one immediately. Anyone on the 2/14 Gem feeling sick since getting off? Four members of my extended family have developed varying degrees of flu-like symptoms over the weekend.
  6. I thought disembarkation took a really long time. Docked at 8:30, ship was cleared just after 9, we got on line to disembark around 11 (it took a long time to call our tags) and we got out of the terminal around 11:45. By the way, nothing to do with Hurricane Sandy damage. Rumors to the contrary, I know with certainty that the terminal didn't suffer any. The Gem's beds were much more comfy than I realized. Had my worst night sleep in ages back in my own bed last night. Gotta go back on vacation!
  7. Just got off today as well. Went with extended family and everyone had a terrific time, but to be candid, there were a bunch of negatives. As pp said, pool area simply not big enough -- I went to gym at 8am a couple of days ago and couldn't see an empty pool chair (actually, they were virtually all devoid of people, but covered with towels, books, etc. and nobody ever enforced the 45-minute rule). 700+ kids made the kids club unusable by my 9 and 11 year olds, along with NCL's rigid rule that even if you miss an age cutoff by one day, you can't join your sibling in an adjacent age group (groups are 6-9 and 10-12). Our first cruise on NCL and first cruise where they never used the kids club. Dining service extremely slow -- I wonder how much that's due to freestyle cruising (which I liked) and the fact that they don't need to adhere to a schedule. Bowling alley looks great on paper (and in reality) but don't actually expect to use it during the day -- it was open before 7:30pm only the first day or two of the cruise. Very friendly crew. I actually found Sinan's morning singing over the loudspeaker and Dizzy Lizzy's constant bingo huckstering to be incredibly annoying. Made me long for my HAL cruise (my last one out of NYC) where they weren't constantly pushing things to buy or drink over the loudspeaker. All that said, we did enjoy the cruise very much. And sailing out of NYC can't be beat. For more details, I did post a review this afternoon.
  8. Just returned (to a pretty dreary day in NYC). Thought I'd post a report about my internet experience for those who read this post. I did not sign up for any Verizon plan given the mixed reports people had. Instead, I signed up for the Gem's $100 plan for 250 minutes (plus 20 bonus minutes for signing up during the first sea day). I was VERY pleasantly surprised by the speed of the connection. I was often able to log on and download a lot of work emails (some with attachments) within a minute or two, then log off and review them offline. So while $100 wasn't cheap, the speed was fast enough that it lasted the entire 9 days for me and my brother to check emails several times/day (although didn't need the ship's connection in San Juan or St. Thomas), plus download the NY Times and check the internet a bit each day.
  9. Then isn't Verizon selling any package that specifies the Norwegian Gem rather deceptive? If all that it means is that I can use it when I'm in port, then why list what ships it supposedly works on? It would work the exact same for my bathtub if I could sail that to St. Maarten!
  10. My brother, wife and infant are traveling with us on the Gem this Thursday. I never sailed NCL before, but my recollection is that we always put our suitcases under the bed. They were wondering if they have suitcases that don't fit under the bed, would the cabin steward store the suitcases for them? Their cabin will already be pretty cramped because of the pack-and-play. Thanks.
  11. Do people commonly bring their own case of water or soda or would we look out of place doing that? Cruising from our home port this week so easy to do it if we want. Thanks.
  12. Thanks for all of the responses. Seems clear I will need to buy the NCL data package. But I am still left with no idea as to what Verizon claims to be selling with an international package that lists the Norwegian Gem. It seems to be absolutely nothing (sure I can use it when I'm on land, but that has nothing to do with the Gem).
  13. Now I'm more confused -- what does it mean that Verizon offers service on the Gem if you have to pay for the ship's wifi anyway? What is Verizon offering at all in that circumstance? I'm mostly interested in the times we'll be at sea far from land because we have 2+ days each way cruising from NYC to the Caribbean (all of which are work days and I'll unfortunately need to be in touch at least a little bit).
  14. We leave on the Gem in two days! New York to the Caribbean. I've been searching for information in this forum and also generally on the web (including Verizon's web site) but it's a little vague or conflicting so I'm hoping people with specific experience can guide me to the right answer. I have a Verizon iPad that I plan to take with me. It seems like it would be much more economical if I could get a connection with Verizon's international data package ($25 for 100MB or so) than the exorbitant per minute cruise ship rates (double whammy because they are so slow so you use more minutes). Has anyone done this recently and has it been successful? Do they use the same network as the ship but you pay less because Verizon has some deal with them, or is it a different network? Verizon's website seems to indicate that it works on cruise ships, but when you use their interactive planner, it only gives iPhone options, not iPads, which doesn't make sense to me. I don't want to pay for a plan that doesn't work or find out that the cost is something else after-the-fact. Thanks. [by the way, I also have an AT&T iPhone 5 so I'd welcome any information about AT&T data options as well]
  15. We leave on the Gem in 3 days. Enjoying your review -- I had been wondering what it was like on the Hurricane Sandy cruise. Can't say that I share your baseball affections, although I think this year I need to switch my allegiances to the Jays given that they have my favorite ex-Mets! Too bad you couldn't tender over the Nantucket to wait out the storm! Fantastic island (and lots of Red Sox fans).
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