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Almost Live From The Gem NYC To San Francisco


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2 hours ago, Turtles06 said:

Here’s some info about the unlimited internet plans ... does NOT allow WiFi calling, as absurdly expensive as that plan already ... that WiFi calling is blocked unless you have the Premium Unlimited Plan ... was willing to work out a deal on the Premium Plan, but this kind of stuff on NCL makes me nuts. 
 

 

This is, IMHO, pathetic and a disgrace, shame on NCL, period to block WiFi calling unless one is on the Premium Unlimited Plan with the streaming/VPN option - it takes minimal bandwidth to work the audio (non-video) unlike Netflix, Youtube or SlingTV.  Yet, the Social Media package allow FB Messenger, WhatsApp and similar apps to work.  AFAIW - Royal & Princess/Carnival do not block it and their satellite WiFi is superior, faster & less expensive compared to NCL.  

 

I tested in last month on the Gem but wasn't 100% about it, nor did I wanted to waste time to track her down again to discuss ... It was likely BLOCKED back in May, when we're on the Dawn but I didn't really spent much time playing with satellite WiFi on a timed plan.  

 

Two of our VoIP apps continued to work (thus far) and one of them displayed our "known" number when calling - while Google Duo and Google Voice get blocked.  

 

P.S. I guess, we will hear more about LeBistro later on ... Give Moderno a try if it is an option ... we had a great dinner there.  

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@Turtles06 - almost forget, until I booted up my Linux Mint notebook PC ... for other CC'ers onboard that do not have the unlimited premium streaming package but has an active Skype account, I believe they can still use those free P/+ minutes or the 250 free minutes to do Skype audio calling.  Good old tech that worked 10 years ago with Blackberries and Motorola ... I don't believe they can block the tcp/udp ports.  Skype video calling might be a problem.  

 

Should work off an iPhone or Android with the Skype app installed, laptop or even Chromebook via the browser.  Run the built-in Skype test call option to check.  

Edited by mking8288
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We had a really beautiful day at sea today.  Sunny, blue skies, perfect weather. Lots of seabirds following us along the port side most of the afternoon, with the nearly full moon visible high in the sky on the port side well before sundown.  All capped off by golden hour, with some really spectacular light on the starboard side.

 

We are scheduled to dock in Bonaire tomorrow (Wednesday) at noon, our first port of the cruise. 

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Another comment on dining.  We ate at La Cucina last night. On the plus side, my wife said her tenderloin was absolutely excellent. As for the rest — my osso bucco was okay, as was our pasta. But the ricotta cheesecake dessert was a hockey puck, in shape and consistency.  It could have been used in an NHL game, it was that dense and hard (and thus inedible).

 

The service was excruciatingly and inexcusably slow.  We were there for nearly two hours. La Cucina is not the kind of place where I want to spent that amount of time.  So far, our two nights in the MDRs have been much better experiences than our two nights in “specialty” dining.   
 

We are approaching Bonaire. Going to get ready for snorkeling! 😎

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3 hours ago, Turtles06 said:

Another comment on dining.  We ate at La Cucina last night. On the plus side, my wife said her tenderloin was absolutely excellent. As for the rest — my osso bucco was okay, as was our pasta. But the ricotta cheesecake dessert was a hockey puck, in shape and consistency.  It could have been used in an NHL game, it was that dense and hard (and thus inedible).

 

The service was excruciatingly and inexcusably slow.  We were there for nearly two hours. La Cucina is not the kind of place where I want to spent that amount of time.  So far, our two nights in the MDRs have been much better experiences than our two nights in “specialty” dining.   
 

We are approaching Bonaire. Going to get ready for snorkeling! 😎

Recently someone posted a La Cucina menu and did not see Tirimisu on it.  Is it still offered?

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On 1/7/2020 at 1:13 AM, mking8288 said:

 

This is, IMHO, pathetic and a disgrace, shame on NCL, period to block WiFi calling unless one is on the Premium Unlimited Plan with the streaming/VPN option - it takes minimal bandwidth to work the audio (non-video) unlike Netflix, Youtube or SlingTV.  Yet, the Social Media package allow FB Messenger, WhatsApp and similar apps to work.  AFAIW - Royal & Princess/Carnival do not block it and their satellite WiFi is superior, faster & less expensive compared to NCL.  

 

I tested in last month on the Gem but wasn't 100% about it, nor did I wanted to waste time to track her down again to discuss ... It was likely BLOCKED back in May, when we're on the Dawn but I didn't really spent much time playing with satellite WiFi on a timed plan.  

 

Two of our VoIP apps continued to work (thus far) and one of them displayed our "known" number when calling - while Google Duo and Google Voice get blocked.  

 

P.S. I guess, we will hear more about LeBistro later on ... Give Moderno a try if it is an option ... we had a great dinner there.  

Is Google Voice the same feature as making domestic phone calls from your Gmail account? I've done that before on NCL WiFi without a problem, but it's been awhile. 

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On 1/6/2020 at 2:13 AM, Turtles06 said:

We had one of our Platinum dinners at Le Bistro last night.  As has been discussed elsewhere in this forum, the voucher says you get one app, one entree up to $35, and one dessert. Folks have reported mixed experiences in being charged for the additional amount if they order an entree that is priced at more than $35; some have been charged, some haven’t. 

 

Rack of lamb, for example, is now $36.  We each ordered the Dover sole, which is now $39. Our server warned us that we’d be charged the additional $4 each and a 20% service charge, and indeed we were.  Can we afford the $9.60?  Yes.  Does it leave a bad taste in our mouths that NCL does this, especially when the prices are absurd and made up?  Absolutely.  I’m a big believer in business goodwill, and this is the antithesis of that. If you give your best customers a “free” dinner for their loyalty, it really tarnishes it imho by this nickel and diming. 

 

Plus, the fish was truly forgettable. Le Bistro used to be a special place.  Excellent food and service.  In our experience, it’s been going downhill.  It’s no longer special, and although we have the SDP promo, which is five dinners on this cruise, we won’t be returning to Le Bistro. 

 

I realize that food is subjective, and that others of course may feel differently about Le Bistro. 

 

I had the Dover Sole on the Gem last month.  I, too, was very  disappointed. Totally not worth the price (or any price!)  .  On another visit that week , I did really enjoy my steak very much. . 

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On 1/6/2020 at 2:13 AM, Turtles06 said:

We had one of our Platinum dinners at Le Bistro last night.  As has been discussed elsewhere in this forum, the voucher says you get one app, one entree up to $35, and one dessert. Folks have reported mixed experiences in being charged for the additional amount if they order an entree that is priced at more than $35; some have been charged, some haven’t. 

 

Rack of lamb, for example, is now $36.  We each ordered the Dover sole, which is now $39. Our server warned us that we’d be charged the additional $4 each and a 20% service charge, and indeed we were.  Can we afford the $9.60?  Yes.  Does it leave a bad taste in our mouths that NCL does this, especially when the prices are absurd and made up?  Absolutely.  I’m a big believer in business goodwill, and this is the antithesis of that. If you give your best customers a “free” dinner for their loyalty, it really tarnishes it imho by this nickel and diming. 

 

Plus, the fish was truly forgettable. Le Bistro used to be a special place.  Excellent food and service.  In our experience, it’s been going downhill.  It’s no longer special, and although we have the SDP promo, which is five dinners on this cruise, we won’t be returning to Le Bistro. 

 

I realize that food is subjective, and that others of course may feel differently about Le Bistro. 

 

I had the Dover Sole on the Gem last month.  I, too, was very  disappointed. Totally not worth the price (or any price!)  .  On another visit that week , I did really enjoy my steak very much. . 

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2 hours ago, PortFees45 said:

Is Google Voice the same feature as making domestic phone calls from your Gmail account? I've done that before on NCL WiFi without a problem, but it's been awhile. 

 

Most probably, it was GV - it's been around and I used it for close to a decade before it evolve into Duo & Hangouts, works on iPhone/iOS platform along with Android and desktop/PC - while abroad too (for free, when calling back to USA numbers or at very, very low rates - with a decent 3G WiFi connection.)  Used to do it readily on occassions while cruising on NCL - not anymore with the latest blocking (noticed that last May on the Dawn, but not 99% sure)

 

Skye users - I believe audio calling isn't affected, those that continued to use it - could / should check to make sure.  WhatsApp, FB Messenger, IG, WeChat and Ooma (another VoIP app) should work, maybe not - as these are supported by the social media plan sold.  Shore-based WiFi and cellular roaming call prices are coming down - super inexpensive on our Google Fi's plan, NCL not getting extra dollars from us.  

 

Bob, sorry for sidetracking, my apologies ... this is your thread/post/almost live Gem.  Now, back to regular photos and wonderful details about this crossing ... excellent pictures, and I am assuming you found WiFi or using cellular data.  

Edited by mking8288
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15 hours ago, mking8288 said:

Bob, sorry for sidetracking, my apologies ... this is your thread/post/almost live Gem.  Now, back to regular photos and wonderful details about this crossing ... excellent pictures, and I am assuming you found WiFi or using cellular data.  

Don’t be sorry....we all benefit from your great info!

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Thanks, Bob.  Great pictures of the poolside BBQ - watching it, made us hungry ... must be lunch time, everywhere.  

 

Very nice & big turnout for the M&G inside Magneta, I see virtually the same group of senior officers in attendance.  A new "master of the vessel" pictured on the wall for the crossing ?  He must be just back from vacation and/or taking command.  

 

You like those new chairs,  more space saving.  Have you tried slipping into one of those semi-circular sofa with the high back in the buffet.  Getting out of them is, fun.  They also replaced the furniture in the atrium lobby with new slimmer, low-back sofa chairs - packing more in that space.  

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On 1/8/2020 at 9:28 AM, Turtles06 said:

We are approaching Bonaire. Going to get ready for snorkeling! 😎

Turtles06-Sorry about your experience at LaCucina. That's disappointing.  I had a question about Bonaire. How was your snorkeling? Did you go on an excursion offered by the ship or a private one? Have a great time in Aruba! Holding our breath until the turnaround on Jan. 24!

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6 hours ago, sullyd said:

how's the  gem looking these days .cabins and public areas showing wear tear?

Looking pretty much “shipshape”.  If you really look hard, you can find some signs of age, like a bit of rust in bottom of bathroom door... but overall, very nice.

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4 hours ago, pattymchugh1212 said:

Carole’s Kings are back?  😀

Tonight was their second show.  They said they will be aboard for ten of our twenty days...not sure if they will do one more.

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8 hours ago, mking8288 said:

Thanks, Bob.  Great pictures of the poolside BBQ - 

What surprised me, was them cooking on a charcoal fire, with open flames.

I was under the impression that it was “illegal” under SOLAS regulation.  Clearly, it isn’t in this case.🙂

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1 hour ago, MsMaybelline said:

Turtles06-Sorry about your experience at LaCucina. That's disappointing.  I had a question about Bonaire. How was your snorkeling? Did you go on an excursion offered by the ship or a private one? Have a great time in Aruba! Holding our breath until the turnaround on Jan. 24!


We did a private snorkeling excursion with Woodwind, which we picked because they get really great reviews.  They use a catamaran to take you to Klein Bonaire for drift snorkeling along the reef in two different spots, about 40 minutes in the water at each spot. Excellent crew, and there’s a guide in the water with each group (of about nine) the whole time you are snorkeling.   They served a fabulous lunch on the way back, and there were plenty of beverages (including the adult kind) available the entire time.

 

I had read that snorkeling in Bonaire isn’t what it once was, and to be sure we have seen more fish elsewhere, but the reef was interesting (although colorless) and we even saw turtles, including one that swam right up alongside us. 😃   I had never drift snorkeled before, and liked it a lot. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, bob brown said:

Alongside, Santa Marta, Colombia.

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Very interesting report so far, because we will do the next cruise from San Francisco to New York. Is it possible to get a list of the ships officers, because on the picture of the officers the names cannot be read. Another question for me: is there still a self-service laudrette onbord of Norwegian Gem? According to Douglas Ward it should be. I have been on sisterships of the Norwegian Gem, and the laudrette was closed.

Have a nice cruising to Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Nice greetings from Germany, Matthias and Manuela

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