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NCL Gem Review - With Pictures! 6/15 to 6/22

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Review Post #1

Introduction

This will be my first review I will have done on Cruise Critic. I very new in the community here and my experience has been great. My name is Jerry and I am 15 years old, so no review on the drinks on board :p. I was supposed to sail on the RCCL Grandeur of the Seas but due to the unfortunate fire I quickly found this cruise out of NYC instead. It was only one day later than the one I was supposed to sail on. This was my first cruise on Norwegian and I will do a comparison between the three lines and ships I have now sailed on at the end.(And I will tell you which was my favorite too :D) Hopefully it will be informative and I'll try and choose the best photos from the 1000 photos from the trip. I wasn't planning on doing a review like this until I was inspired by Gambee to do this. While the Gem sure isn't as new or hyped as the Breakaway, I thought I would do it anyway. Enough of the chit-chat with my laptop lets get started.

 

So the cruise was booked on May 31st, and I had planned a Bermuda Itinerary and this cruise went to the Bahamas so I had little time to plan everything. We(My mother, my twin(named Tom), and I) had already done a Bahamas and Florida cruise on Carnival and gone to Disney World and the Atlantis so we decided to do some other things this time, and admittedly less costly things. I started planning(I'm not the most spontaneous one) what we would do and we choose some very enjoyable things. But for Florida I did not know what to do so we decided to take the Cocoa Beach Shuttle, which was extremely disappointing.

 

Embarkation: Day 1

So it was a beautiful early morning that we awoken to on June 15th. We dropped our 4 pups at the kennel and came home to get ready to leave. We were on the road by about 9:15 in the morning. This was our first driving into the City. We decided to go up to the George Washington Bridge and down the Hudson River Parkway to the ship instead of using the Lincoln Tunnel and 12th Ave. It went very smoothly. The coolest part of this was going down the ramp that connects the Parkway with 12th ave and seeing the ship. You can see that in the photo below.

1001335_533466650046627_1839675244_n.jpg

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Day 1: Embarkation - Continued

Parking was expensive ($245) but it is NYC. We went down the elevator to the ground floor where we dropped our luggage off and went up to the second floor where the terminal is, you can easily see the ship from the huge windows that line the terminal. It seemed large enough(maybe not for Breakaway) and there was not a long line for security at around 11:30 when we arrived. We breezed through security and check-in within 1 hour and was on board the ship just before 12:30. The Crystal Atrium is the first thing you see and is beautiful even if it is not the grand 7 or 8 story atriums on other lines'. We went straight up to the buffet for lunch, unbelievably it was not a chaotic mess. It was immediately clear that the food area of Garden was laid out much better than other ships. There were some open tables inside and plenty at the Great Outdoors where we would go on to eat breakfast and lunch at everyday. After sailing out of Baltimore twice, sailing out of NYC gave us quite the view. I got so many photos of the skyline, it was about all I was doing as we sailed away. My photos are not currently uploaded to Flickr yet. I will upload some from sailaway asap. I will also upload my photos from my previous two cruises, incase you would like to see them. I'll link it in my signature as soon as it is finished.

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15? Really?

 

 

Sent using the Cruise Critic forums app

 

I thought the same thing! Maybe a typo? :) Or a very mature teenager:D

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Great review so far...better than some reviews I've read!

I'm on the Gem in 46 days!!:o

Keep the information coming!!:cool:

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I totally imagine this becoming a powerpoint that gets presented the first week back at school. "How I spent my summer vacation, the social media edition."

 

Also, gotta start 'em young.

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@boopsahoy - thanks! its just getting started! I have some great photos for this review.

 

@luvtheships - yupp!

 

@BritChickBN1 - Thanks. I'm hoping to get it done this week, but it may take until next week.

 

@boopsahoy - definitely not a typo :D

 

@NayRN - Thanks! I definitely have some things to share in the review

 

@KJPG - I'd probably put all my peers to sleep. lol! :D

 

@dachengdao - Thanks! I'm glad your impressed!

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Thanks for the review! I am on the Gem in 12 days and cannot read enough about the Gem. Hoping you finish before I go! Great start.

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Day 1: Embarkation/lunch/muster drill

Sorry It took so long to get this started, been having some technical problems.

So once you park your car on the pier or in our case the viaduct you walk to pier 88 and talk the elevator with your luggage down to the ground floor to the porters, they take your luggage(note: they accept tips) and then you head up to the second floor where security and check-in takes place. There are floor-to-ceiling windows in the terminal that allow a great view of the ship. We arrived there just after 11:30 am. There was a line at security but it was moving very well. All you have to do is have your passport and ticket out after security. The personal in the terminal direct you to one of three desks where an port agent will check your passports and cruise ticket. Then you get in line for check-in. The line seemed extremely long, but it did not take very long to get through the line. I like the placement of the check-in desk because the ship was in the background of the desk. Previously sailing out of Baltimore this terminal seemed much newer and much nicer.(less of a converted warehouse) After she takes your photo and gives you the key card you walk past a snack stand to a green screen where the embarkation photo is taken. I have to say that the embarkation photo was one of the nicest photos taken throughout the cruise. This half of the terminal was empty, and just a short walk to the doors out side and then you were right at the midship gangway. Walking on-board(around 12:30) the first thing you see is the promenade on deck 7 and then you walk inside into the Crystal Atrium. It was a little crowded there. We went to the Bliss Lounge which is just aft of the reception desk in the atrium to drop off our carry-on bags. Then we went up to the Garden Cafe for lunch. It was not as chaotic as the Windjammer was on the Enchantment of the Seas.(which was a mess) We quickly grabbed something to eat and headed to the Great Outdoors where there was plenty of seating available. (Tip: If there are no seats inside Garden and you don't want to sit outside head to La Cucina which is open for seating during Breakfast and Lunch) The Garden Cafe had the best layout by far of any ship I've been on. Also the staff there were very quick to clean up the tables. It was open to sit there all day, even when food was not being served. Some passengers used it as a lounge. Food quality was very good. The pizza was much better than Carnival's. Selection was pretty good, though not much varied from day to day. Breakfast was also very good(try the french toast and the pastries) After looking around the ship a little it was almost time for the Muster Drill, we headed to our station, f2, around 2:15. The F muster stations are located by Magnums Bar, in bar central, a second atrium of sorts. The drill was so easy, no standing outside with life jackets, and you could actually hear the instructions from the crew. By the time it was over it was almost time for sail-away.

 

Pictures :)

 

View of the ship from viaduct:

1005272_535170579876234_965273596_n.jpg

 

View of the ship from inside the terminal:

1017606_535170429876249_1266512308_n.jpg

 

Almost at the Gangway!

999308_535170603209565_1020471918_n.jpg

 

 

Great Outdoors:

999313_535170759876216_1148564922_n.jpg

1005257_535170859876206_299124128_n.jpg

 

More pictures coming soon.

You can see all the photos(as soon as they're uploaded) at goo(dot)gl/738W8

Edited by js17
link

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@donnabonna Thanks! I hope I'm finished by then, Enjoy your cruise! its a wonderful ship. My favorite of the 3 I've sailed on.

 

@lenquixote66 I will hopefully be to day 4 or 5 by then

 

@PathfinderEss Thanks!

 

@boopsahoy I think I've figured out most of the problems I was having yesterday and this morning, which should let me move forward a lot quicker.

 

@Nalagh More is coming soon. Keep your eyes peeled

Edited by js17

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Keep the information coming, jS17!!! You're helping me keep my sanity.....I need my cruise fix NOW!!:o

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I am enjoying your review and pictures! Definitely looking forward to reading and viewing more!

 

coka

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Thank you do much for review I will be sailing gem September 21 New England Canada ....want to hear more

 

 

Sent using the Cruise Critic forums app

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The Gem is an amazing ship. I've sailed on her 4xs and I am on my way back in 2014. My 1st time in the 3 bedroom garden villa with 7 other family members. Soooo excited. Can't wait. I've done the Haven on the Gem before & it's everything luxurious that you can imagine. It's really something special. If you ever get the opportunity....go for it. I suggest booking at least a yr to a yr and half ahead of time. If you book smart you can get up to a 50/60 discount if u book when sailings 1st go on sale , and often w/ reduced deposits. I sometimes overbook because I get a good price & then decide who's going over the course of the year. Happy cruising everyone.

 

 

Sent using the Cruise Critic forums app

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What a great review! As a former teacher I appreciate your writing skills. You mentioned parking on the viaduct. Were there no spaces in the lot. I'm concerned about space since the Breakaway cars will also be there.

 

Can't wait to read more

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Hello Jerry, thanks for the shout out :). A friend told me about your review, and I decided to stop by and check it out. Very nice start, your writing is great and so are your pictures! Can't wait to see whats next. Thank you for taking the time to do this, I know just how much reviews like this take to complete.

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You're a better man than I am Jerry, I haven't even downloaded my pictures yet! And here you have them posted already. It was great meeting you and your mom, too bad Tom was still sleeping LOL.

 

Great review, keep it coming.

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Great review !!!! I cant wait to read more. I havent been on the Gem yet, but with what you have wrote so far, I think the Gem is in my future...:D

 

Thanks so much.:)

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Day 1: Sailaway

 

Sailing away from NYC was simply stunning. It takes about 1 hour. Below are some of the photos taken.

 

View of Empire State Building:

1045053_535701169823175_626372942_n.jpg

 

View of the Standard Hotel and the NYC High Line:

1044615_535701446489814_628672457_n.jpg

 

View of Lower Manhattan and the new WTC:

424531_535702146489744_896802202_n.jpg

 

The Statue of Liberty:

1011158_535702493156376_350590569_n.jpg

 

Going under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge:

8451_535702679823024_1709467404_n.jpg

 

The Pool with a Sailaway Party and a outdoor bbq buffet:

1044526_535702683156357_48846518_n.jpg

 

More to come in about 30 mins.

Edited by js17

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A few more sailaway photos.

 

I find this so interesting. The way you can see straight through to the otherside of Manhattan:

1010033_535707373155888_1454194776_n.jpg

 

The wake of NCL Gem in the Hudson:

1011181_535707386489220_1684167357_n.jpg

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@NayRN - Glad I could keep you sane :p

 

@coka - Thanks. I hope I won't disappoint!

 

@Donna March - The Gem is a great ship! I always thought it would be interesting to do a Canada cruise. Especially to see the tides in St. John.

 

@kylenyc - Thanks! I miss the Gem already. Really a wonderful ship

 

@lalise - Thanks for the tips! I will have to sail in the Haven at some point in time.

 

@lenquixote66 - Thanks! I was worried about how they would come out because I was still getting to know my new camera at the time.

 

@Squangirl25 - We were worried about this too. When we got to the parking area they said Pier 88 was already filled, but there were plenty of spaces on the viaduct still. I don't know how they have spaces for both the Breakaway and the Gem. I know they say it is first come first serve, there is a half-valet parking company near by.(I think it was called "park right") The best idea is to get there as early as possible.

 

@Gambee - Thanks for taking the time to stop by and look at my little review here! I am really enjoying doing this, but it is very time consuming.(but I have a light work schedule so I have time! :D)

 

@auntierobin - Thanks again for holding the Meet & Greet. (I think I have one or two photos of it for the review) It was nice meeting you and the others that were on the roll call! Yeah well Tom did get up, but then fell asleep on a sun lounger(lol)

 

@YankeeFan4Ever - Thanks, I sure will!

 

@Brighton Line - I love Great Outdoors, personally I think they should have had it on the Breakaway.

 

@1witchydiva - Thanks! The Gem is a great ship, Its smaller than Epic and Breakaway, which I bet has its advantages. I definitely will be a repeat cruiser on the Gem.

 

@Fins2theleft - Thanks! Sure will.

 

@1stimecruiser - Thanks, have a great trip!

Edited by js17

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Enjoyed your review and hope there is more to follow. Going on the Gem for the second time in Oct and can't wait.:)

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A few more sailaway photos.

 

I find this so interesting. The way you can see straight through to the otherside of Manhattan:

1010033_535707373155888_1454194776_n.jpg

Cool! Great shot!

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I found myself in the picture by the pool. I was sitting watching my kids play on the water slide during sail away. How I wish could still be on board!

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@boopsahoy - Thanks! I've got plenty of pictures and information to share

 

@BSR - There sure is, enjoy your cruise!

 

@klyenyc - It's one of my favorites. I have one of WTC with a yellow water taxi in the foreground that I like. That one had the sunlight just perfect, but I can't find the digital file of it on my skydrive, I'll share when I find it.

 

@callmebetty - I am using an Olympus E-P3 compact mirrorless camera. I have two lenses a 14-42mm kit zoom lens and a 17mm prime lens. Overall I really enjoy the camera, it actually has a OLED touchscreen on the back that can assist in autofocus(Which is the fastest I have seen - like point and tap and the photo is already recorded - no lag in focusing or taking the photo. But the manual focus works very well as well.) It has more physical controls than the newer mirrorless cameras, which I like, but some may not. So if you don't you could look into the similar Olympus E-PM1 or E-PM2. With the prime lens attached it is a very slim camera. The four-thirds system has a lot of choices, lens-wise. I believe I paid 374 for the camera and kit lens, and then 299 for the prime lens. Check out Adorama camera, I bought my camera and lens, a laptop, and my mother bought a point-and-shoot camera(Olympus VR-370) from there. We received it the day after the order, the items ship really quickly.

 

@andmad - In my photo? How funny!

Edited by js17

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