Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
Cobra1365

Gem 2/25/2019 Review

Recommended Posts

First time on Gem.  And other than the Pride of America out of Honolulu, the first time on NCL.

 

I’m a firm believer that all the main stream cruise lines are similar.  Each has its own plusses and minuses. I’ll try to keep this objective.

 

My wife and I travelled with two other couples for this cruise.  One drove to NY with us from Delaware and one met us at the port, as they are from FL.  We left the Sunday before and spent the night in Rahway, NJ so we’d have an easy drive in the next AM.  When we arrived to pickup our friends, they asked if we’d recd the message that the ship was going to be late due to the weather.  We recd nothing.  They had been told it would leave at 6:00PM.  So, we headed out and figured we’d just take our time the next morning.  As, Murphy was present quite a bit this trip, he also made his presence known on Monday morning...there was hardly any traffic driving into the city and we arrived at the port by 10:30AM...go figure!  No sweat, we checked our bags and we made ourselves comfy.

Then came the announcement!  The Gem would not be arriving until after 6:00PM if then, and the terminal staff recommended we leave the terminal and return between 7 and 10 PM!  We just looked at each other dumbfounded.  Where were we going to go, having parked the car at the terminal and in temps below freezing (considering 40+ mph winds).  So, we chose to hang out longer.  THEN, the next announcement...The Gem would not be in until Tuesday morning.  Luckily, our friend found us hotel accommodations close by.  We chose to let them keep our bags and we headed for the hotel.  Can’t control Mother Nature!  

BUT.....the indecision among the terminal staff was unreal!  Everyone you asked had a different answer or different directions.  This can’t be the first time there was a delay!  They really need to work on their contingency planning.

The next day was really quite uneventful.   The other two couple took their time heading for the term8nal.  So, my wife and I told them we’d meet them on board.  We were on board by approx 1130 and they joined us closer to 1:30.  We then recd the announcement there would be a slight delay as there was a medical emergency that required passengers to debark.  Again...stuff happens.  We were also informed that, due to the late ship arrival, we would be reimbursed for a day of the cruise...but, the itinerary would be altered and San Juan and St Kitts eliminated.  So, on a now 10 day cruise, 5 days would be sea days.  That became monotonous on the Gem.

 

The next bit of excitement came on our second sea day when there was a fire on Deck 13 in one of the heaters.  Crew performed flawlessly and the situation was controlled quickly.  But, that Murphy guy.....

 

We found the ship layout did not flow easily and all of the public areas seemed to be overly noisy with some sort of activity or sales pitch going on at all times.  Again, all lines have those ships that seemed to be hodge podged together to maximize room.  It was the nois3 levels that bothered us most.  With that many sea days so close together, it started to wear on us.  Additionally, they had entertainment functions in the main Atrium area...it was just too congested for that.

 

We found the Garden Buffet very chaotic!  There was no orderly flow and people just went every which way.  Add to that the people that were unaware of anyone but themselves....(again, those folks are on all cruises, I suppose).  The food in the Buffet was mediocre.

 

We ate our breakfasts in O’Sheehans Pub.  That’s a great secret!  Very few people took advantage of it.  So, we had nice meals there each morning.

 

Lunch, we braved the chaos in the buffet...needless to say, my least favorite meal.

 

Dinners were in Magenta dining room, unless we had reservations at the specialty restaurants. Vladimir took great care of us and the environment again was not as chaotic. 

 

As as for the specialties....Carney’s and Le Bistro we our favorites.  La Cucina and Modernos were flops for our whole crowd.  None of us enjoyed our meals.

 

Entertainment....we’ve been on quite a few cruises and the production cast on this ship were some of the best we’ve seen!  Blazing Boots...Wow!  Guys, if you have a weak heart, take a defibrillator! 😉.   The lead female singer was amazing...lead male...not so much.  But, he left the ship after this cruise.  So, not sure who will replace him.

The other non production shows .....Yulia and Alan Reva....Amazing!  YouTube them!  Flip, the comedian was entertaining.  The other three I could do without (singer, juggler and hypnotist).

 

Entertainments staff...we had great fun playing trivia with Zee and Aris.  The two girls from China had such thick accents it was difficult to understand them.

 

our room Steward, Ricardo was very good!

 

overall, we enjoyed ourselves.  But, honestly, we can get to Baltimore a lot easier and since we are Platinum on Carnival, it will likely be our go to line.  We like to try others every now and then and who knows...if NCL puts a boat close by (other than NY) we might try again.  But, right now, I didn’t see enough to sway us away.

 

I should also add that, you have to WORK to make me mad on a cruise!  So, was I upset...not at all.  We enjoyed ourselves.  But, we’ll have to weigh future cruises.

 

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That about sums it up in a nutshell. I was completely unimpressed by the gem and found it very frustrating that Norwegian Cruise line employees at the port were completely confused by the delay and kept giving different answers to confused cruisers.  They really need to step up their game.  I have sailed both Norwegian and Carnival.  At this point Carnival is way in the lead.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was also on this sailing. It was very frustrating the way Norwegian handled the delay. Even when we got to the ship on Tuesday Guest Services was saying they couldn't give an answer on refunds for the day lost. 

 

There were too many sea days and it became tiring. While I enjoyed the things like Jamaican language class and African Dance class they just didn't have enough fun activities. I heard people of all ages complain about the lack of fun things to do.

 

I too enjoyed the Blazing Boots productions as well as Get Down Tonight and actually the entire cast was done after this sailing. We spoke with them briefly the final night. Really talented group of performers. 

 

I agree the Garden Cafe was very chaotic and lacked seating to accommodate. One of the people I traveled wit is vegetarian and their were few options for her dining period let alone in the buffet. As far as specialty dining I enjoyed Sushi and Le Bistro. O Sheehans menu was very basic but they did the wings so well. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was also disheartened (though not totally surprised) to see that NCL was quick to ensure all of our charges were quickly added to our credit card.  But, still no credit for the missed day!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Has anyone received the reimbursement yet?  I understood it would be given immediately.  I used 2 cards to make the payments over several months and I have not received reimbursement on either card.  And the staff at the terminal were terrible.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, really rotten about all the delays on embarkation!  

One thing we have noticed at different ports is that the shore side staff really doesn't know what's going on.  NCL needs to have someone experienced over-seeing their part-time shore staff. 

We will be looking to see Blazing Boots if it's still on the ship in August.  Sounds fun!

Did you try the casino on Gem?  How was it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, hurriedh said:

Has anyone received the reimbursement yet?  I understood it would be given immediately.  I used 2 cards to make the payments over several months and I have not received reimbursement on either card.  And the staff at the terminal were terrible.  

I'm going to call them this upcoming week about it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I did have the trip insurance and its says it will pay up to $500 for hotel and meals if the trip is delayed.  I submitted my hotel bill today.  It would be wonderful to get that back.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, hurriedh said:

I did have the trip insurance and its says it will pay up to $500 for hotel and meals if the trip is delayed.  I submitted my hotel bill today.  It would be wonderful to get that back.

I purchased travel protection through Expedia where I did my booking. I'm going to reach out to them as well.

Edited by newbiecruiser25

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I tried calling them for 2 days but I kept getting message about high volume of calls.  I emailed them and got a response that it could take up to 15 days for them to get back to me.  I bet I wouldnt have to wait 15 days to get help booking a new cruise. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, terrik said:

I tried calling them for 2 days but I kept getting message about high volume of calls.  I emailed them and got a response that it could take up to 15 days for them to get back to me.  I bet I wouldnt have to wait 15 days to get help booking a new cruise. 

Yep! I emailed too and was shocked they said it could take 15 days to get a response. Terrible customer service!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, hurriedh said:

Has anyone received the reimbursement yet?  I understood it would be given immediately.  I used 2 cards to make the payments over several months and I have not received reimbursement on either card.  And the staff at the terminal were terrible.  

The staff isn’t employed by NCL, and I’m guessing they were almost as clueless as the passengers. I remember that day (doing a college campus tour, brrr). The winds lasted longer than originally forecasted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that employees in the terminal work for the port of New York, not NCL, I could be wrong.

 

Isn't the main MDR open for lunch on sea days, eliminating the need to go to the buffet?  I have eaten there on sea days.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, Barb Nahoumi said:

I think that employees in the terminal work for the port of New York, not NCL, I could be wrong.

 

Isn't the main MDR open for lunch on sea days, eliminating the need to go to the buffet?  I have eaten there on sea days.

Yes, we always head to the MDR for lunch the first day. We only eat breakfast in the buffet, the trick is to eat in La Cucina, plenty of empty tables and the Great Outdoors is right outside with more food options.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We recd our first day refund from NCL.  But, haven’t seen anything from the trip insurance for the hotel stay and meals in NYC.  Has anyone recd anything yet?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Cobra1365 said:

We recd our first day refund from NCL.  But, haven’t seen anything from the trip insurance for the hotel stay and meals in NYC.  Has anyone recd anything yet?

I received my first day refund.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We were on the delayed cruise and also had confusion over when we would dock.  But NCL was wonderful opening a conference room and providing internet and phones for people to change flights, etc.  the captain kept us aware of the changes. It was the harbor master who made the decision we couldn’t dock, not NCL.  We felt very sorry for all of you waiting to board and know we got the better end of that problem.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just got an email today from the trip insurance.  They said they will be sending our reimbursement for the hotel we stayed in that first night n the next 2 business days. Glad to be getting that back.  I hope others had good luck in getting their expenses from that first night reimbursed.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Forum Assistance
      • SPECIAL EVENT: Q&A with the Quark Expeditions Team!
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...