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OnTheGoMom921

Gem Review with pictures 6/23-6/30/12

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US: Family of 3 from Long Island, this is our 4th cruise, 2nd with NCL.

 

EMBARKATION:

We took car service to the pier, so our vacation mindset begins from the time we close the door to our home. Arrived at NYC pier by 11:30 and our driver placed the luggage curbside and a porter immediately placed it on a cart. We were quickly ushered to the VIP line for suite passengers. After a very quick check in, we were escorted to the waiting room, where there were refreshments available. I barely had one sip of my tea, then, we were escorted onto the ship. The whole process took about 25 minutes from the time we left the car. We went directly to Cagney’s and enjoyed our lunch and were then able to go to our room. Outside Cagney’s we met up with Ryan, our Concierge and made specialty reservations for later in the week. We also purchased spa passes at that time.

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The Gem

 

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Lunch in Cagney's on Embarkation Day

 

We were in PH suite 10666, and the room was ample for the 3 of us. Myself DH and 14 year old DD. The balcony was extra deep and afforded us 2 lounge chairs as well as 2 regular chairs and 2 small tables. Our butler, Fernando, showed us around the room and immediately brought us any requested items. Fernando showed DH how to work the espresso machine in the room. Daughter picked DVD’s to watch late nights. Our wonderful stewardess, Gigi, brought us robes and slippers as they were missing from our closet.

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PH Suite 10666

 

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Balcony for Suite 10666

 

We enjoyed sail away from the aft deck in the Great Outdoors and met friends from our roll call there for an informal M&G. Great place for sail away and the weather was spectacular.

 

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Sail away at the Great Outdoors

 

We ate in Magenta the first night, as it was the least crowded and we made no reservation for that evening. We were seated immediately and dinner was fine. Nothing special about dinner, but server did allow us to order a second lobster tail in lieu of the red snapper.

We opted for the Welcome aboard show, which was the standard cruise ship fare, and also included the nickelodeon characters. We signed DD14 up for the teen club (teen welcome night at Bliss) and she met some kids immediately. We never actually saw the inside of the Leopard Lounge (teen club) as the door was always locked EVERY TIME she/we tried to go there. So she stopped trying, and spent more time with us (very disappointing, as she really enjoyed the teen club on a different cruise line last year).

 

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Off to a good start....Enjoying the Suite Life from our aft balcony

 

Any questions, feel free to ask....next up, Day 2....

Enjoy,

~Michele

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DAY 2:

Fernando, our butler, brought our breakfast (just some fruit, tea, and muffins) and still set up the whole table with the white linens and china. We usually do this so we can enjoy some coffee and a quick bite while showering and getting ready in the morning. Off to the sport deck for some OSA (organized staff activity) to walk a mile on Deck 13 at 8:30 am. Never saw a staff member! So we walked anyway and finished our walk in Cagney’s for breakfast.

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Room service breakfast

 

Our M&G was at 11:00 am in Bliss, and it was fabulous to put the faces to all the names we had seen for months (we had a fairly large roll call). I highly recommend joining your CC roll call! The entire senior staff and Captain were there as well and it was just one of the many times we would encounter them throughout the cruise. They were always smiling, attentive and greeted you anywhere you passed them on the ship! Excellent!

1:30 pm, Off to the Latitudes Cocktail Party at Spinnaker Lounge, and the Captain & Senior Staff again. The Captain actually sings with the band! Very personable staff!!

We enjoyed many activities with the crew, including progressive trivia with Aaron. Funny guy! Had sushi at the sushi bar, then, went to meet Ryan for our VIP Cocktail party in the Haven. Again, the Captain and Senior Staff were there, greeting everyone and posing for photos. The captain warned us that we were in for a bumpy ride after midnight until we docked at Port Canaveral the next morning.

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Greeting the Captain and Senior Staff at the Haven VIP Cocktail Party

 

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View inside the Haven Courtyard

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The Captain was very personable and took time to talk to each person

 

 

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View of the Haven Courtyard from Deck 15

 

After the VIP Cocktail Party, we had a lot of laughs at the Sing It to Win It Game show, we had a fun group who were not shy and that made it really over the top! We spent the night popping from one venue to the next and checking out all the entertainment. The band Kenosis was pretty good. Off to bed around 1 am, didn’t feel any bumps at all. The beds in the suites are extremely comfortable. The pull out couch, not so much…so Gigi brought DD a foam topper for her bed.

 

 

 

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Sing it to win it game show

 

 

Next, Day 3....

 

~Michele

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DAY 3:

Enjoyed our breakfast at Cagney’s. DH liked his Steak & Eggs.

Port Canaveral was cloudy and rained intermittently as we docked due to Tropical Storm Debby. We planned an excursion to Universal Studios on our own. Ryan handed us some rain ponchos to bring with us to Universal (Thanks, Ryan!) We had priority disembarkation and were escorted off the ship. We had reservations with a limo company round trip to and from Universal Studios. The driver was waiting right outside the tunnel as we got off the ship and we were immediately whisked off. We had contracted for a town car, but the driver showed up in this:

 

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Went directly to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which the DD loved!

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Hogwarts Express

 

 

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Hogwart's Castle

 

 

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waiting on line for Oleanders Wand Shop

 

 

 

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Inside the wand shop

 

The rain actually helped as the park was not very crowded. And the wait time for rides were less than ½ hour. We had plenty of time in the park for things she wanted to see, but not really any extra time to just explore. We stayed strictly on the Islands of Adventure side of the park. When we were ready to leave, about 7 pm, we phoned our driver and he brought the car around to the entrance of Citywalk, took less than 5 minutes. An hour’s drive and we were back on the ship by 8 pm, with plenty of time to spare. DH and I went to the Spa and enjoyed some quiet time (very empty at dinner time) then cleaned up and went to MDR, Grand Pacific, for a late dinner. The park wore her out so DD opted to order from room service and our butler set up the table and served her dinner, while she watched a DVD (Harry Potter, of course) ...

Next up, Day 4...

~Michele

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DAY 4:

Great Stirrup Cay. We woke up to a thick fog. Went to Cagney’s for breakfast, and you couldn’t see the island from the ship, the fog was so thick. More intermittent rain as well. Looked as though the tenders wouldn’t be running. So they delayed them. Weather took a turn for the better, Around 10:30 am we got the clearance and went to our priority tender area. Off the ship in no time to a clearing sky. We reserved a cabana the first day they were offered and received Cabana #5. By the time we were escorted to the cabana, the skies were turning blue! We enjoyed the location (being from NY we prefer “private beach” to “Jones Beach on July 4”) it was nice to be secluded away from the hustle and bustle of the “other side” of the island. We wandered over to the “other side” around 2 pm before the buffet closed. I was so happy to retreat back to my secluded cabana side. Later in the afternoon, cabana service started to wane, which really made my husband angry. We felt very “rushed” even though it was only 4 pm and we had the cabana until 5:30. Around 4:30, we vacated the cabana and walked to the other side, very put out and disappointed to leave, as they literally “cleaned” everything from our cabana as we sat there. Food, drinks, towels, etc. By about 5 pm, we understood why. Sky turned black, thunder roared, and we all sought shelter by the tender area. After a harrowing, bumpy rollercoaster like ride on the tender, we were back on the ship.

 

Again, we took to the spa around 5:30 pm, we had the whole place to ourselves.

 

We enjoyed our dinner in LeBistro, 7 pm that evening, nursing our sunburn from the day. After dinner, we enjoyed the comedy show with Jeff Harms, even though he roasted the heck out of us and our dog, Jules, the Cavalier King Charles! We couldn’t stop laughing! Afterward, we caught the end of the Perfect Couple game show, which also looked entertaining.

 

 

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Tendering over to the island

 

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Entering from tender area

 

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Cabana #5

 

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The Gem from Cabana 5

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The beach from Cabana 5

 

**NOTE: There is a special cabana menu along with a $50 island credit you can use toward the menu or toward drinks. The menu must be filled out by the night before, if you wish to use your credit toward the cabana menu. Cabanas each are situated high and away from the beach, each with a staircase that goes up to the raised cabana area. Your neighbors are close but not too close. Much more secluded than the other side. The cabanas also have a shower around back, so you can rinse off before heading back to the ship. Very comfortable,although it needs a refrigerator and some cabinets to stow your belongings. its a longer walk, so its far away from everything, even a bathroom (hope they will be building one closer to the cabanas for the future)...and we didn't even see the hippo slide that day! I'm not sure is was inflated that day, although we had 6 passes for it.

 

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View from Cabana 5 down to beach

 

Next up, Day 5....

 

~Michele

Edited by OnTheGoMom921

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Day 5:

Nassau, Bahamas. As the ship docked that morning, we were thrilled to see they were BACKING in, which gave us Front row seats from our balcony and a fabulous view of the Island!!

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Once docked, we headed to our usual breakfast at Cagney’s and then just walked off the ship, no priority needed, it was quick and efficient. Our group was meeting on the pier at 9:15 am and after a short wait, we walked to the street area and boarded the excursion vans. This walks you past some very funny ladies who will braid your hair. The funniest one told us her name was Marilyn Monroe, and to ask for her upon our return! We did get a few braids for DD upon our return, guess the sales pitch worked!

We opted for NCL’s Aquadventure at Atlantis. This was our 2nd time visiting Atlantis, and we enjoy heading there for the day. Our tour went thru the casino and shopping areas, out to the waterpark before it opened at 10 am. DH and DD got right on the line for the Mayan Temple’s “Leap of Faith” and only had about a 45 minute wait (it’s a lot longer wait later in the day). We enjoyed all the slides and the not so lazy river (very cool).

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DD on Leap of Faith from Mayan Temple, takes you through the shark tank

 

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There is also a gentler drop that goes thru the temple and shark tank, just my speed!

 

 

But even though it was our 2nd time there, we forgot our credit card!! (we know better) I thought hubby had his, he thought I had mine…yikes! So we had to get a bit creative, and we really enjoyed what we discovered! The shops out by the marina take cash, and there were several food venues. We chose Murray’s Deli…we couldn’t have been more pleased with our selection. Last year we spent $65 on sandwiches and soft drinks at a kiosk in the waterpark and then tried to find an empty lounge chair or table to eat at. In Murray’s, we spent $85 but had a fabulous sit down meal (still in our wet bathing suits!) complete with spiked ‘death by chocolate’ shakes!! DD had a regular shake…all in a NYC style diner setting, with waitresses and great service!

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In Murray's Diner - Notice the Chrysler building in the background

 

We retreated back to the ship before the last bus, so we could have some time at the straw market. The Monarch of the Seas was docked next to us, but one would hardly notice. NCL crew was out on deck with music, all their Nickelodeon Characters, handing out drinks and towels for the arrivals. It was great fun and we actually “Danced” our way up the gangplank, while the MOS guests looked on from the other side of the pier!

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The Gem................................................................................................................................... Monarch of the Sea

 

Then we headed to our balcony to wait for any late-comers running down the pier. No one missed the ship that day, but it was fun to toast the arrivals from our balcony. We broke out the champagne flutes and finally opened the complimentary sparkling wine that came with our suite.

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After we watched the ship sail away from our balcony, again, went to the hot tub at the spa. Then, we got ourselves ready for dinner at Cagney’s.

 

I was slightly disappointed with the service (we had a bad waiter) and the food was good. Of course, living in NY, I’ve been to much better steakhouses, but it was what we expected. I didn’t like our table. We were shoved in a corner booth, next to the waiter’s station and behind the grill counter. Bad spot…and we made these reservations of the first day of our cruise! Ruined the ambiance for me…if you ever get that table, ask to be moved. Unless you prefer to eat while several waiters bustle next to you and your only view is of the back of the “kitchen”.

 

After dinner, we went to watch the dating game, which was really lame. I guess it depends on the guests…bachelor #2 was MARRIED, but volunteered to go up there because they didn’t have enough players. (PS, HE was a riot! WTG SantaBob!)

We stayed to watch the jokers wild with Jeff, the comedian and Sinan, the cruise director…that was okay. We remained in Spinnaker for the rest of the night and danced a bit.

Coming up next, day 6....

~Michele

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Enjoying your detailed review and photos. Thanks for sharing your experience.

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Thank you for your wonderful review and the pictures. I have sail with the Captain on The Gem and with the Staff Captain when he was assigned to The Pearl.

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Day 6:

Sea Day. We really just enjoyed the amenities the ship had to offer. After breakfast at Cagney’s (crabcake eggs benedict, pretty good, btw) we opted to do some OSA arts and crafts, a trivia game (Gustav is hilarious, we Americans can’t understand his South African accent!!) We enjoyed a game of Name That Tune. We finally went in the Casino (this is my 4th cruise and the first time I’ve bothered). I signed up online before our trip at slotplaycoupons.com and purchased $50 worth of slot play for $25. You then need to sign up at the casino for a CAS card, bring the slot play coupon, and they load up your casino card (I did this before we left NYC on embarkation). We played in the casino for a while, and I cashed out with $14. So it only cost me $11 to play in the casino for a few hours. It cost my DH a bit more, unfortunately!

 

After lunch, you guessed it, at Cagney’s, we went up to Bali Hai, the pool bar on deck 13 to listen to the calypso band play. Then we enjoyed a sun bed on deck 13 forward. We were pleased to find empty sunbeds (large round, wicker with cushions) and hopped on.

We are never fans of the pool deck, as there are always chair hogs abound, so we bypass that area the entire cruise (we have a large pool to sit by at home). Do take note that the area around the pool on deck 12 is extremely slippery when wet, btw.

 

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DD hopped on a saved chair poolside, then hid! As you can see, the towels are a plenty!

 

 

The weather was terrific, as the captain had explained he was taking a more westerly route home to avoid the bad weather affecting the east coast. I can’t say enough good things about the Gem’s crew!! We experienced good weather the remainder of the trip!

 

We did some alcohol tasting and purchased a few bottles to take home from the duty free shops. DH was pleased with the prices aboard, and if you don’t buy too many, usually not a problem at customs.

 

We did a fun Nickelodeon Trivia with the DD at Spinnaker. Loads of parents & kids played. The kids loved it. The winners went on stage and were awarded with….a pie in the face, nickelodeon style!

 

We went back to our suite to prepare for our evening festivities, including a special invitation to the chocolate buffet. Suite guests visit the buffet prior to the opening time.

 

We figured we would have dinner at La Cucina, as it is located just outside of where we were to meet our concierge for the chocolate buffet. But the hostess said there weren’t any available tables. After asking our room number, she asked us to wait, went to check something, and came back out moments later with a table for our party of 3. Gotta love the Suite Life! We ended up sitting the next table over from the captain’s table, as he was entertaining a few families with a special dinner. The meal was good, worth the $10 surcharge pp.

 

We finished dinner and met our concierge just outside the restaurant, and then entered the chocolate buffet. Took several photos and added a few chocolate goodies to my plate, then the crowds filed in.

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After the chocolate is Norwegian’s White Hot Party. We started with the family party at 10 pm at Bliss, then moved over to the Adult’s only WHP at Spinnaker. Purchased the drinks in the blinky glasses and danced, danced, danced! Got a picture with Sinan, our CD, with his angel wings on…that guy has tons of energy…he is EVERYWHERE! Morning, Noon & Night. And always HAPPY, and SMILING…his face must hurt by the end of the day! Great CD, enjoyed his energy!

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After the WHP, I went back to the room and slept really well…

 

coming up...day 7...

~Michele

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Two more week-ends then I will be on the Gem!!! Thank you so very much for this awesome review with pictures!!!! This has really brought joy to my heart!!! :) it is so nice to be able to learn about a ship before actually boarding! Thanks again!!!

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Day 7:

Sea Day. Our vacation started to catch up with us, and we actually slept in a bit. Woke too late to have breakfast at Cagney’s so we opted for the Great Outdoors, in lieu of room service. It’s a nice place to sit and enjoy a meal, although I am not a fan of the buffet, and usually avoid it.

 

We made plans with fellow CC roll call members to have a small cabin crawl. After our late breakfast we went to start the crawl. Our crawl was just an assortment of suites (which was great). We started off with an OS on deck 10 (beautiful room, Mark & Melody!!) then an SE on Deck 10 (Thanks, Dennis & Judy!!) Then our SF, on Deck 10. Very anti-climatic, as we started with the biggest cabin first and worked our way down! All were lovely accommodations. I will be Suite Spoiled from now on!!

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The Deck 10 OS

 

After our cabin crawl, it was too late to have lunch in Cagney’s, so we had Fernando, our butler, deliver our Cagney’s lunch to our room, Suite take-out! After setting up the linens and dishes in our room, he served our lunch (Boy, I am really getting used to this!!)

 

The afternoon, we did a great scavenger hunt with Aaron, Made a origami bird with Ruby, and then went to our final game of Progressive Trivia with Aaron again!

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The bowling alley in Bliss was included in part of our scavenger hunt

 

Went to our last dinner in the MDR, then, went to the farewell variety show. DON’T MISS THIS! Donovan & Rebecca performed (they are really good acrobats) and Jeff, the comedian came out for a bit. Mostly a variety show with a bit of everything. It ends with the Sinan and the staff doing their “Fountains” routine. If you have never seen this on an NCL ship, I HIGHLY recommend this, as it is a Hoot! You will ROFL!

 

After the show, we went to the photo gallery and collected all our pictures, picked a few and purchased. We were all set to go to play Quest…But the exhaustion of the week finally caught up with us, and we dragged ourselves back to our room to get our suitcases packed and outside our door by midnight.

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DISEMBARKATION DAY:

 

Went to our final breakfast at Cagney’s and opted to hang around there for a while. We were in no rush to get off the ship, as our car service was picking us up at 10 am.

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Our Sweet, Suite friends, at Cagney's

 

 

Ryan, our concierge, had asked us if we wanted priority disembarkation by 8:30 am, but we chose to hang around. He told us to contact him at any time via phone, and he would escort us to priority disembarkation any time we wished to leave.

 

We went back to our room and said our goodbyes to our Stewardess, Gigi, and our butler, Fernando.

 

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Our stewardess, the wonderful Gigi!

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Fernando, our Butler

 

 

We found a small glitch in our final bill, which I’m glad we caught before we left the ship. Our $50 credit from GSC was charged back to us, because we didn’t purchase food from the cabana menu, but opted to use it for drinks from the bar on the island. Took the customer service agent a few minutes, but she fixed it and reprinted a corrected bill for us. Ryan spotted us, and asked if we required the escort to the front of the disembarkation line. OF COURSE, We would!! We bypassed the line of passengers leaving the ship and were off to customs.

 

Found our luggage in the priority section, as there were only a few pieces left there. Then we had a choice of porter to the left or walk off with our luggage to the right, we chose to walk, and we were wrong. Last trip, we used the porter and were through customs in less than 1 minute. This time we were on that long queue snaking back and forth. Took at least 10 minutes, while my DH phoned the limo driver. With 3 ships docked that day, the port was hopping, and limo took a few minutes to find us anyway. So we would have been waiting outside for the car…so not a big deal.

 

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We were back home within 1 hour! And so the end of our wonderful Suite Life!

 

After we returned home, we tossed the laundry on the floor…but no one picked it up….:eek:

 

Until next time,

Michele

 

If anyone has any specific questions they would like answered, just ask!!!

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Two more week-ends then I will be on the Gem!!! Thank you so very much for this awesome review with pictures!!!! This has really brought joy to my heart!!! :) it is so nice to be able to learn about a ship before actually boarding! Thanks again!!!

 

 

Enjoy your cruise!!

Also, thank you to all...this is my first review, hope you all enjoyed it!

~Michele:cool:

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Thanks for the review. I sure hope Donovan & Revecca don't win America's Got Talent or they will never be on the Gem next year for us to see. They looked great last night.

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Thanks for the great review! We can't wait to go on the GEM for the first time in September, although we will not be living the suite life.

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Do you have a picture of your suite with the sofa-bed open by any chance?

 

My parents and I (33 yo daughter) will be in one of those (deck 9, I think the rooms are a bit smaller than deck 10 but it gives me a good idea).

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Do you have a picture of your suite with the sofa-bed open by any chance?

 

My parents and I (33 yo daughter) will be in one of those (deck 9, I think the rooms are a bit smaller than deck 10 but it gives me a good idea).

I just uploaded 2 pictures to the thread you started! :D

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Michele -

 

Thanks SO much for taking the time to write a detailed review including pictures. It was like reliving the experience once home. We have sailed on many cruise lines, but the SUITE life with NCL is really sweet. The service was the best, and we loved Cagney's for breakfast and lunch - what a nice perk. It was great meeting you and your family at our CC meeting and then spending time with each other when we saw each other on board.

 

Enjoy the rest of your summer - and keep cool in your pool (lucky you).

 

Best wishes for smooth sailing in the future.

 

Dennis & Judy

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I just uploaded 2 pictures to the thread you started! :D

 

Thank you so much (unfortunately the ''open'' picture does not show but I still appreciate the gesture very much).

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Thank you so much (unfortunately the ''open'' picture does not show but I still appreciate the gesture very much).

554066_3888004171480_219503734_n.jpg

 

Hope you can see it now!!

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Thanks for the great review and pictures! It feels like our cruise was a million years ago!

 

It was great to meet everyone from the forums at the Meet and Greet! :)

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Loved the photos you included with your review! Wow, we really underutilized our butler...so glad you had such a great time. We thought tropical storm debby might have ruined that trip. Obviously not!!!:)

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To the OP thanks for the well written review do you remember what time Cagney's opened up for breakfast?

I'm sorry, I cannot remember, as we are not really early risers, maybe 7 am? But Cagney's was always in full swing when we arrived by 8-8:30 am. However, I can tell you they STOP serving breakfast at 10 am!

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Great pictures and review, we will be staying in the same suite 10666 on the Gem in 2 weeks. I will tell Gigi and Fernando that they are superstars on cruisecritic.:)

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Hi Michele! It was so nice meeting you am your family on the Gem! Your review was fabulous and brought back some great memories! I still think we got cheated out of winning name that tune! We should have exchange email addresses or something! Already looking at our planning for next year! Have you begun? Thanks again for the great review and for causing me to relive a fantastic week! Give my best to Robert and Sam!

 

Laurie, Steve and the boys

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Hi Michele! It was so nice meeting you am your family on the Gem! Your review was fabulous and brought back some great memories! I still think we got cheated out of winning name that tune! We should have exchange email addresses or something! Already looking at our planning for next year! Have you begun? Thanks again for the great review and for causing me to relive a fantastic week! Give my best to Robert and Sam!

 

Laurie, Steve and the boys

 

Laurie,

It was such a pleasure meeting you on this cruise, hope you saw my message to you back on our cruise thread.

Please feel free to email me at sprintelectric at mindspring dotcom

We are definitely planning another cruise, we also purchased a future cruise credit, and I'm itching to put it to good use right away! Thinking about a Bermuda trip possibly next June/July. But I think our only option will be on the Breakaway...looking into prices. Of course, we are suite spoiled now and Breakaway is so much more than the other ships. We'll see how that goes!

Email me and we'll talk!

~Michele:D

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Thanks for your review and pics! We sail NCL for the first time next May. Great tip about the slots coupon. I will definitely get that!

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Thank you for sharing your beautiful pictures and great review :)

 

First time NCL Cruiser, in 2013, on the GEM. The ship looks beautiful. I can't wait!

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