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puddles99

Review: 11.16.2013 Gem 9-Day Eastern Caribbean Adventure

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Misc. Info / Observations Part II

 

Our Orchid Garden experience was a bit odd . . . we attempted to walk in because they were "green" on the seating boards but they told us they had no tables available. We could see that only about four tables were in use, so we called the concierge who escorted us back. I felt really bad about it at first because I feared we might be bumping someone who had a reservation but the entire time we ate, only two other tables were seated and the restaurant remained more than half empty. It was very odd - but at least the food was good!

 

:D

 

What they do is take reservations based on wait staff not tables to ensure good service.

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What they do is take reservations based on wait staff not tables to ensure good service.

 

Fair point, but then the restuarant wouldn't (or shouldn't) have been green on the boards. Also, they had plenty of servers doting on all customers dining that evening. I think it may have been am issue of a hostess in training, but obviously I don't know for sure.

 

To all: I'm still working on this review - sorry it's taking me so long; stay tuned for the dailies, thoughts on our final sea days, and more!

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Staying tuned in! Thanks for taking time to review and show pics!

 

coka

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Our final stop was in Samana, Dominican Republic. I had done a lot of reading about this stop (which is a the only tender port on this cruise) and took the advice of booking an excursion in advance. I can understand why folks don't recommend "winging it" in Samana. We booked with Tour Samana With Terry (http://www.toursamanawithterry.com/) and selected Excursion#3a: Quad ATV+Walk the Plank Zip Line.

 

I had never driven an ATV before, but after a little while (and only briefly scaring other drivers!), I caught on. The zip line was fantastic & long and the local food served for lunch was delicious. We also enjoyed learning about the foods, medicines, and local artistry of the Dominican Republic. For some, the poverty of this area may be shocking, but seeing how the locals lived provided an opportunity to discuss cultural and economic disparity with my kids. I'm glad we spent the day in a less touristy destination & expressed our gratitude to the local community by purchasing wares from local vendors who partner with Terry. This is another excursion that we would absolutely book again.

 

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Small world, I was on this tour with you guys, I've a few videos with ur daughter on the zip line. I shall upload to YouTube for you to see.

 

As you can see, my first post on CC, I found this by chance and to stumble over this post even more so. Had a great time on this trip, shame NCL have left Samana in 2014.

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Our final stop was in Samana, Dominican Republic. I had done a lot of reading about this stop (which is a the only tender port on this cruise) and took the advice of booking an excursion in advance. I can understand why folks don't recommend "winging it" in Samana. We booked with Tour Samana With Terry (http://www.toursamanawithterry.com/) and selected Excursion#3a: Quad ATV+Walk the Plank Zip Line.

 

I had never driven an ATV before, but after a little while (and only briefly scaring other drivers!), I caught on. The zip line was fantastic & long and the local food served for lunch was delicious. We also enjoyed learning about the foods, medicines, and local artistry of the Dominican Republic. For some, the poverty of this area may be shocking, but seeing how the locals lived provided an opportunity to discuss cultural and economic disparity with my kids. I'm glad we spent the day in a less touristy destination & expressed our gratitude to the local community by purchasing wares from local vendors who partner with Terry. This is another excursion that we would absolutely book again.

 

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Thanks for sharing. I'm getting ready to go on this same cruise very soon. I wanted to ask you about the tav & zip-line tour you took. I booked this same tour with Terry and was just wondering how long the actual zip-line portion of the tour was? I read on his website that the zip-line only tour has 12 different zip-lines but couldn't find out how many this tour will do. Thanks for any additional info you remember.:D

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Small world, I was on this tour with you guys, I've a few videos with ur daughter on the zip line. I shall upload to YouTube for you to see.

 

As you can see, my first post on CC, I found this by chance and to stumble over this post even more so. Had a great time on this trip, shame NCL have left Samana in 2014.

 

Oh how funny! Thanks for posting the video - further proof of what fun this adventure was :D

 

Thanks for sharing. I'm getting ready to go on this same cruise very soon. I wanted to ask you about the tav & zip-line tour you took. I booked this same tour with Terry and was just wondering how long the actual zip-line portion of the tour was? I read on his website that the zip-line only tour has 12 different zip-lines but couldn't find out how many this tour will do. Thanks for any additional info you remember.:D

 

I can't recall exactly, but I'd guess 30-45 minutes? It really depends whether folks keep moving or dally a bit at the line changes. I will say that we got held up at one point and our girls got a bit ahead of us which got me a bit nervous. Thankfully another Cruise Critic couple were in front of our girls and waited for them (and then with them for us) at the bottom. If I had it to do over again, I would have insisted on going first so I was waiting for them at the bottom but they were so excited to go that I didn't think about it at the top. Hopefully that makes sense!

Edited by puddles99
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Days 8 & 9: A Wild Ride Back to NYC

 

Early during the cruise, Laurabegorrah had told Hotel Director Jenny that we had brought charms for the Gem Mermaid and she said that she'd let the Captain know as the Mermaid technically belongs to him and he should accept the charms on her behalf. A few days later, we received an invitation to a bridge tour on Saturday at 10am. It was absolutely fabulous to meet the Captain, learn how the ship was controlled, be given an early warning of the rough seas that lay ahead, and give the Mermaid her charms.

 

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Here are pictures of the Gem Mermaid mentioned in the last post & the two new charms we gave her.

 

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Laurabegorrah and I also participated in the Murder Mystery Luncheon on Saturday . . . it was fun, but there was limited audience participation (and not for the actors' lack of trying!), which definitely could have made it more interesting. I know folks periodically ask about this event and the menus, so I thought I'd post those as well.

 

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The White Hot Party was held on Saturday evening in Spinnaker's due to the high winds & rain. This venue was entirely too small and the party was extremely crowded. My youngest did have a lot of fun dressing up and dancing, but we retired pretty early as my oldest started feeling the effects of the storm.

 

On Sunday, we laid low. Some of us were feeling a bit queasy, but in general we just wanted to be lazy and savor the last day of vacation. We did attend the cake decorating "show" which was good fun and full of laughs and played one last round of Bingo, however - and thank goodness we did! We won the Snowball Jackpot and took home just over $1,800! WOOT!

 

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Have I mentioned how awesome this birthday vacation was? My kids sealed the deal by taking all of the chocolates that we hadn't eaten over the course of the 9-days and leaving me this message on my bed the last night. Yeah, I think I'll keep 'em!

 

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The storm delayed our return trip to NYC which allowed for some gorgeous pictures as we pulled into the harbor mid-morning. It was nice to be able to "drag our feet" a bit as our vacation came to a close.

 

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And then we were docked . . . it took a bit for the ship to be cleared (I heard a number of different rumors as to why this might be, but don't know the real reason) but we were escorted off, had claimed our bags, and were in the car on our way home by about 12:30pm. It was an exhausting, whirlwind, absolutely fabulous adventure and thank goodness I have a few more countdowns already underway!

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Great review!

 

Congrats on the Bingo Jackpot! I was there for that round, cool to hear that it was you!

 

That last day was something else, wasn't it??

 

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Thanks, for such a wonderful review. I really enjoyed it. We will be sailing on the Gem this Sat.

 

Hope you had an easy sail-away and have a wonderful vacation!

 

Great review!

 

Congrats on the Bingo Jackpot! I was there for that round, cool to hear that it was you!

 

That last day was something else, wasn't it??

 

Oh yes, what a ride! You got a great picture of the swells!

Edited by puddles99

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Soooooooo, you bring the mermaid some charms for her tower...you get an invite to the bridge...your kids write I love you in chocolate...and you win an 1800 dollar jackpot...the luck of the mermaid lives on! Obviously, She was pleased with your gifts to her!

 

coka:D

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Soooooooo, you bring the mermaid some charms for her tower...you get an invite to the bridge...your kids write I love you in chocolate...and you win an 1800 dollar jackpot...the luck of the mermaid lives on! Obviously, She was pleased with your gifts to her!

 

coka:D

 

So, so true! Now who knows the trick for getting some extra luck on the other ships in the fleet? :D

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Legend has it that her luck will be with you all year long!

 

Coka;)

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I really enjoyed your review! It was lovely to meet you and your family and friends at the M&G. It was really fun reliving the cruise although it seems so long ago. We loved the rough seas on the way home and had a wonderful time. We are on the Breakaway soon, but loved the Gem enough to be planning to book her again soon!

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I really enjoyed your review! It was lovely to meet you and your family and friends at the M&G. It was really fun reliving the cruise although it seems so long ago. We loved the rough seas on the way home and had a wonderful time. We are on the Breakaway soon, but loved the Gem enough to be planning to book her again soon!

 

Looks like you're getting on Breakaway the day we get back (we're on the C2N) - fun! Like you, we loved the Gem and hope to sail her again sometime soon. Happy Sailing!

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I'm curious as to what the fellow passengers were like on this cruise the time of year you went. Lot of families, young kids?

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I'm curious as to what the fellow passengers were like on this cruise the time of year you went. Lot of families, young kids?

 

 

It was a pretty good mix of ages & both of my girls made friends at Splash Academy. It certainly wasn't "over run" with kids like I'm sure some sailings may be!

 

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums mobile app

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Fabulous review! Thank you for taking the time to share it with us.

It really brightened up my cold snowy day.

Looked like you and your family had a great adventure. Lovely pictures as well.

 

It was very nice to see that the Gem has a Mermaid and that you can bring her gifts. That is very cool.

 

Happy Cruising!!

 

 

 

Robin

Norwegian Breakaway July 2014

Carnival Miracle 2010

Carnival Legend 2006

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puddles99...great photos...wonderful review...great information...Freestyle Daily...Kids Crew...Tweens Crew. :):):):)

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