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Review 2022 JAN NCL Gem b2b


WYB!
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Jan 9th - 29th 10 day voyage x 2 b2b

 

So as I write this for me it’s day 15 and I’m currently having dinner in the grand pacific dining room. 

 

The short version is that I’ve enjoyed these past 15 days, I haven’t caught COVID and I would do this trip again.

 

The longer version…

 

I had booked this B2B voyage in December of 2020. As many other, my voyage for Jan 2021 had also been cancelled and I was on the fence about cancelling my voyage the day before it was suppose to sail from NY. I had sailed previously on the NCL Gem (2018, 2019 & 2020). I also sail with other cruise lines too but nothing since 2 years ago, but I’ve spent the most time at sea onboard the NCL Gem.

 

96 hours before departure I took and received a PCR COVID test and it came back negative. I also usually book with 3rd party travel insurance and if it had come back positive, my insurance would have engaged.

 

This voyage departs from NYC’s west side pier 88 (48th & 12th Ave) but a rapid test was offered and required at pier 90. If as requested you preregistered with eurofins, you will be notified by text message to your phone with your results if you are negative. If you test positive you will hear people calling out your test number. If you didn’t register you cell phone number with eurofins you will need to pay attention to the TV’s in the room to see your number flash by when ready.

 

Upon completion of the COVID testing phase you will then receive a wrist band and proceed to pier 88 for the normal Checkin process.

 

Boarding the ship will begin once the previous voyage’s passenger count reaches “0” with border protection (which was around 10:30AM). The crew has been wearing masks while on board and are also not allowed to leave the ship for shore leave. I myself have been a mask when indoors and remove it when I’m either in my cabin, eating or off the ship and alone in a public space. When using the gym on sea days I will keep my mask on when I’m exercising or in the steam room. I will also using the cleaning wipes available in the gym to wipe the machine both before and after use.

 

I believe the current cruise loop the Gem is doing is the “10 day Caribbean” from 2022 Jan - April or May. The Jan 09th voyage was the 1st in the loop. The normal stops would be: Grand Turk, St Thomas, St Martin,Tortola & Puerto Plata along with 4 sea days. There were around 850 passengers sailing on this voyage.

 

It was in the afternoon on day 2 that the CD “J” announced that Grank Turk and Tortola would be skipped and out new destination would be St Marteen, where we would now arrive on day 05 (a day before we were scheduled to arrive). So we would have at least 4 sea days and 2 less ports. I believe it was at this time that “Amiee F” contacted USA today to report the “nightmare experience”. I’m really sure what she was thinking at that time but I had a totally opposite experience.

 

The crew on board continues to work hard cleaning the ship continuously as well as keeping guests entertained and safe. While there haven’t been many menu changes in the regular restaurants the quality and presentation has increased. There have been changes to the speciality dining restaurant menus (both items and pricing) but anywhere you eat will still be an enjoyable experience. Prices in the speciality restaurants have increased for all items but that will only effect a la cart dining and the free meal for platinum latitude members. I enjoyed the lobster Thermidor more in Le Bistro when it was only a $10 up charge before it was a $30 up charge.

 

In the Orchid Garden restaurant, I do like the appetizers and desserts offered but not the entrees. So what I like to do for this restaurant is order several appetizers and then complete my dinner in the garden cafe when it’s Asian night there.

 

The evening shows have been entertaining. There is only 1 main show instead of the previous 2. I believe that is due to attendance size. The comedian from the 1st voyage remained on for the 2nd voyage but there haven’t been any main cast production shows on the 2nd voyage. I believe that is also due to attendance which on the 2nd voyage is around 600.

 

The 2 days that we had in St Marteen were great. The 1st day we did the open top bus St Marteen tour which made 4 stops (2 highlights, 1 rum factory & 1 cheese shop) with recorded narration along the way and was covered using the shore excursion credit. I had spent 2 weeks in St Marteen before the hurricane stuck the island 3 years ago so I knew my way around fairly well. When the excursion returned to the ship I brought my

bicycle out and rode around Phillipsburg. Im glad to see that the Yoda guy was open and has rebuilt shop after the hurricane but even though there were 6 ships on port there were few people walking along Front street. But there was also street construction going on, on front street too.

 

Still it was a great day in St Marteen. Around the time we were scheduled to depart St Marteen (7:15PM) the captain announced that we would be spending the night docked here. Then around 9:00PM we received notification that the remained of the cruise was cancelled and we would be returning to NYC after departing from St Marteen but at the time we didn’t know when we would be arriving back to NYC. It turned out that also due to a storm we would be arriving back on the same date as planned (Jan 19th). We were also informed that we would be getting a full refund as well as 50% off our next booked voyage as well as more onboard credit.

 

Making friends while on board was easy. Both with my fellow passengers as well as the crew. The crew in every department really has gone out of the way to remember my first name and greet me by Mr (first name) where ever I walk by. I’ve been trying to remember their names as well but it’s difficult to keep everyone’s names in my head especially when they are all wearing similar uniforms.

 

On the way back to NYC we stopped in the Bahamas to do a crew exchange. There have been several rumors that they were transferring crew that had COVID to another ship however I don’t believe that to be the case. In order for the crew to begin working on a ship they will need to spend at least 7 days in quarantine. This means that the crew who comes on spends their first 7 days isolated in an inside cabin without the ability to leave the cabin and still require to be tested negative before they can leave quarantine. Rather then do crew exchange in a port it was easier and more economical to do it at sea or in this case in the Bahamas which is also closer to Miami. The next voyage on the Gem (on the 19) has 200 less passengers then the voyage on the 09th. End of contract and crew allocation makes more sense to do and since we also had the blown schedule seemed like a logical move. The people that were operating the tender were most likely residents of the Bahamas and are required to wear that protective gear in order to make this transfer possible. While you may want a full complement of crew on board, you don’t need to if your passenger complement is around 25% of capacity.

 

The day before we arrived back in NYC (18th), those that were doing either a B2B or requested or required a COVID antigen test for travel reported for the test on the afternoon. There were about 40 people that were in line that included the performers who were staying onboard for the next voyage. Results were then available for pickup on a document after 5PM from sick bay.

 

On the day of the 19th, US customs and border protection met those that were sailing B2B onboard to just check our passport information. There were about 25 of us and the check took only a few moments to complete once the e process began.

 

Once the disembarkation process began those doing the B2B had the option to stay onboard or get off. If you got off the ship you would need to get another COVID rapid test at pier 90 before getting back on the ship. If you opted to stay onboard you didn’t have to get another COVID rapid test.

 

I opted to get off the ship and run some errands. Before leaving I asked my cabin steward if he wanted anything while I was out and he said chips and pork rinds, so that’s what I got him. Note that (while I’ve done it in the past) you can bring food in factory sealed bags onboard but due to “maritime law” you can not bring cooked foods from say jolliebee (40th & 8th Ave). But I had brought onboard food from McDonalds before. Also remember the crew can’t leave the ship. If you are looking to get your cabin steward a gift bring an assortment of potato chips and you will also have room to bring stuff back home.

 

There are QR codes on the table which let you view the menu on your phone. I’ve been using the free app called “Big” to place my orders in the MDR and speciality restaurants. Basically it makes texts big on your phone. I leave the message up and the waiter comes by to read it.

 

Examples are:

2 grapefruit juice, 1 cranberry juice, 1 orange juice

 

Yogurt Parfait, Smoked salmon bagel, eggs Benedict, bacon, hash brown potatoes

 

Thai spring rolls, New England clam chowder, Cobb salad, Parmesan crusted pork chop

 

Water refill, same glass is fine. Thank you

 

ahi tuna tartare, oysters Rockefeller, lobster bisque, porterhouse (medium rare), garlic mushrooms, Parmesan dusted truffle fries

 

Lunch was great. Thanks!

 

In closing, we still haven’t made it to Turks and Caicos or St Thomas. But we did make it to Puerto Plata and Catalina island in the Dominican Republic. I’m looking forward to the remaining 5 days, which includes our return to St Marteen and our visit to Tortola.

 

My advise is if you have any concerns at all you should cancel but I don’t think you should be afraid as you might miss one awesome low capacity cruise. Be adaptable, patient, prepared, cautious & aware but not afraid and you’ll have a great time. Also treat the crew well and don’t be like Aimee. 

 

For additional information check out the roll calls for the Gem 2022 Jan (09th or 19th) for stuff written by me.

 

Stay well & Safe travels,

 

Who’sYourBuddy?

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I too was on this cruise and thoroughly enjoyed every minute. 

The Gem being my favorite ship (my 1st cruise was on the Gem) It is my 15th cruise on this ship.

I have found the crew of the Gem to be the Most (IMHO) courteous, attentive, considerate, helpful and generally upbeat and pleasant.

This enhances the cruise immensely. A pleaseure for me to  be aboard.  

 

  

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Really appreciate your thoughts so far! I'll be on the Gem in a few weeks and I'm looking forward to being back onboard NCL! Are you traveling solo? If so, how have the nightly solo meetups been if you've gone to them? Also, can you sit at a bar indoors? I love sitting at the bar and chatting with the bartenders and missed that on Royal Caribbean. 

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1 hour ago, natefish95 said:

Really appreciate your thoughts so far! I'll be on the Gem in a few weeks and I'm looking forward to being back onboard NCL! Are you traveling solo? If so, how have the nightly solo meetups been if you've gone to them? Also, can you sit at a bar indoors? I love sitting at the bar and chatting with the bartenders and missed that on Royal Caribbean. 

So just briefly the solo meetings that occur at 5:30PM are/were also used for additional CC meet ups and are relatively well attended.

 

safe travels,

 

wyb

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On 1/23/2022 at 9:48 PM, WYB! said:

Jan 9th - 29th 10 day voyage x 2 b2b

 

So as I write this for me it’s day 15 and I’m currently having dinner in the grand pacific dining room. 

 

The short version is that I’ve enjoyed these past 15 days, I haven’t caught COVID and I would do this trip again.

 

The longer version…

 

I had booked this B2B voyage in December of 2020. As many other, my voyage for Jan 2021 had also been cancelled and I was on the fence about cancelling my voyage the day before it was suppose to sail from NY. I had sailed previously on the NCL Gem (2018, 2019 & 2020). I also sail with other cruise lines too but nothing since 2 years ago, but I’ve spent the most time at sea onboard the NCL Gem.

 

96 hours before departure I took and received a PCR COVID test and it came back negative. I also usually book with 3rd party travel insurance and if it had come back positive, my insurance would have engaged.

 

This voyage departs from NYC’s west side pier 88 (48th & 12th Ave) but a rapid test was offered and required at pier 90. If as requested you preregistered with eurofins, you will be notified by text message to your phone with your results if you are negative. If you test positive you will hear people calling out your test number. If you didn’t register you cell phone number with eurofins you will need to pay attention to the TV’s in the room to see your number flash by when ready.

 

Upon completion of the COVID testing phase you will then receive a wrist band and proceed to pier 88 for the normal Checkin process.

 

Boarding the ship will begin once the previous voyage’s passenger count reaches “0” with border protection (which was around 10:30AM). The crew has been wearing masks while on board and are also not allowed to leave the ship for shore leave. I myself have been a mask when indoors and remove it when I’m either in my cabin, eating or off the ship and alone in a public space. When using the gym on sea days I will keep my mask on when I’m exercising or in the steam room. I will also using the cleaning wipes available in the gym to wipe the machine both before and after use.

 

I believe the current cruise loop the Gem is doing is the “10 day Caribbean” from 2022 Jan - April or May. The Jan 09th voyage was the 1st in the loop. The normal stops would be: Grand Turk, St Thomas, St Martin,Tortola & Puerto Plata along with 4 sea days. There were around 850 passengers sailing on this voyage.

 

It was in the afternoon on day 2 that the CD “J” announced that Grank Turk and Tortola would be skipped and out new destination would be St Marteen, where we would now arrive on day 05 (a day before we were scheduled to arrive). So we would have at least 4 sea days and 2 less ports. I believe it was at this time that “Amiee F” contacted USA today to report the “nightmare experience”. I’m really sure what she was thinking at that time but I had a totally opposite experience.

 

The crew on board continues to work hard cleaning the ship continuously as well as keeping guests entertained and safe. While there haven’t been many menu changes in the regular restaurants the quality and presentation has increased. There have been changes to the speciality dining restaurant menus (both items and pricing) but anywhere you eat will still be an enjoyable experience. Prices in the speciality restaurants have increased for all items but that will only effect a la cart dining and the free meal for platinum latitude members. I enjoyed the lobster Thermidor more in Le Bistro when it was only a $10 up charge before it was a $30 up charge.

 

In the Orchid Garden restaurant, I do like the appetizers and desserts offered but not the entrees. So what I like to do for this restaurant is order several appetizers and then complete my dinner in the garden cafe when it’s Asian night there.

 

The evening shows have been entertaining. There is only 1 main show instead of the previous 2. I believe that is due to attendance size. The comedian from the 1st voyage remained on for the 2nd voyage but there haven’t been any main cast production shows on the 2nd voyage. I believe that is also due to attendance which on the 2nd voyage is around 600.

 

The 2 days that we had in St Marteen were great. The 1st day we did the open top bus St Marteen tour which made 4 stops (2 highlights, 1 rum factory & 1 cheese shop) with recorded narration along the way and was covered using the shore excursion credit. I had spent 2 weeks in St Marteen before the hurricane stuck the island 3 years ago so I knew my way around fairly well. When the excursion returned to the ship I brought my

bicycle out and rode around Phillipsburg. Im glad to see that the Yoda guy was open and has rebuilt shop after the hurricane but even though there were 6 ships on port there were few people walking along Front street. But there was also street construction going on, on front street too.

 

Still it was a great day in St Marteen. Around the time we were scheduled to depart St Marteen (7:15PM) the captain announced that we would be spending the night docked here. Then around 9:00PM we received notification that the remained of the cruise was cancelled and we would be returning to NYC after departing from St Marteen but at the time we didn’t know when we would be arriving back to NYC. It turned out that also due to a storm we would be arriving back on the same date as planned (Jan 19th). We were also informed that we would be getting a full refund as well as 50% off our next booked voyage as well as more onboard credit.

 

Making friends while on board was easy. Both with my fellow passengers as well as the crew. The crew in every department really has gone out of the way to remember my first name and greet me by Mr (first name) where ever I walk by. I’ve been trying to remember their names as well but it’s difficult to keep everyone’s names in my head especially when they are all wearing similar uniforms.

 

On the way back to NYC we stopped in the Bahamas to do a crew exchange. There have been several rumors that they were transferring crew that had COVID to another ship however I don’t believe that to be the case. In order for the crew to begin working on a ship they will need to spend at least 7 days in quarantine. This means that the crew who comes on spends their first 7 days isolated in an inside cabin without the ability to leave the cabin and still require to be tested negative before they can leave quarantine. Rather then do crew exchange in a port it was easier and more economical to do it at sea or in this case in the Bahamas which is also closer to Miami. The next voyage on the Gem (on the 19) has 200 less passengers then the voyage on the 09th. End of contract and crew allocation makes more sense to do and since we also had the blown schedule seemed like a logical move. The people that were operating the tender were most likely residents of the Bahamas and are required to wear that protective gear in order to make this transfer possible. While you may want a full complement of crew on board, you don’t need to if your passenger complement is around 25% of capacity.

 

The day before we arrived back in NYC (18th), those that were doing either a B2B or requested or required a COVID antigen test for travel reported for the test on the afternoon. There were about 40 people that were in line that included the performers who were staying onboard for the next voyage. Results were then available for pickup on a document after 5PM from sick bay.

 

On the day of the 19th, US customs and border protection met those that were sailing B2B onboard to just check our passport information. There were about 25 of us and the check took only a few moments to complete once the e process began.

 

Once the disembarkation process began those doing the B2B had the option to stay onboard or get off. If you got off the ship you would need to get another COVID rapid test at pier 90 before getting back on the ship. If you opted to stay onboard you didn’t have to get another COVID rapid test.

 

I opted to get off the ship and run some errands. Before leaving I asked my cabin steward if he wanted anything while I was out and he said chips and pork rinds, so that’s what I got him. Note that (while I’ve done it in the past) you can bring food in factory sealed bags onboard but due to “maritime law” you can not bring cooked foods from say jolliebee (40th & 8th Ave). But I had brought onboard food from McDonalds before. Also remember the crew can’t leave the ship. If you are looking to get your cabin steward a gift bring an assortment of potato chips and you will also have room to bring stuff back home.

 

There are QR codes on the table which let you view the menu on your phone. I’ve been using the free app called “Big” to place my orders in the MDR and speciality restaurants. Basically it makes texts big on your phone. I leave the message up and the waiter comes by to read it.

 

Examples are:

2 grapefruit juice, 1 cranberry juice, 1 orange juice

 

Yogurt Parfait, Smoked salmon bagel, eggs Benedict, bacon, hash brown potatoes

 

Thai spring rolls, New England clam chowder, Cobb salad, Parmesan crusted pork chop

 

Water refill, same glass is fine. Thank you

 

ahi tuna tartare, oysters Rockefeller, lobster bisque, porterhouse (medium rare), garlic mushrooms, Parmesan dusted truffle fries

 

Lunch was great. Thanks!

 

In closing, we still haven’t made it to Turks and Caicos or St Thomas. But we did make it to Puerto Plata and Catalina island in the Dominican Republic. I’m looking forward to the remaining 5 days, which includes our return to St Marteen and our visit to Tortola.

 

My advise is if you have any concerns at all you should cancel but I don’t think you should be afraid as you might miss one awesome low capacity cruise. Be adaptable, patient, prepared, cautious & aware but not afraid and you’ll have a great time. Also treat the crew well and don’t be like Aimee. 

 

For additional information check out the roll calls for the Gem 2022 Jan (09th or 19th) for stuff written by me.

 

Stay well & Safe travels,

 

Who’sYourBuddy?

Thank you for a great review.  We had booked Feb 28th, but cancelled due to Covid concerns.  We are triple boosted, but walking over to anther pier to get tested and waiting for another test would be a little much for me.  I have problem walking, so we cancelled and booked for next year.  We love the Gem and have sailed her often.  Maybe we'll see you next year!

 

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Wow. Comprehensive review of the Gem. I posted mine from our August trip on the Gem, first NCL cruise out of Port Miami after the Covid layoff and my first time on the GEM (previously I have cruised NCL twice). The ship is a good size for me. I think I really appreciated the layout and the third staircase/elevator tower in the middle of the ship.

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I hope to post a review of the last 5 days of the cruise soon.

 

The short version is: yeah, I would do that all over again.

 

Meanwhile my CoVid tests all came back negative (2022: Jan 05th, 09th, 18th, 19th & 31st)

 

If there was something I was going to do differently it would have been maybe to bring my gravel bike instead of my folding bike, however it also might have been an issue for disembarkation during the winter storm in NYC on the 29th...

2022_01_05 CoVid Negative Quest.jpg

2022_01_09 eurofins.jpg

2022_01_18 Antigen NCL.jpg

2022_01_19 eurofins.jpg

2022_01_31 Quest PCR Negative.jpg

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So checking my CC transactions today (5 days after disembarkation) and upon review, all charges for both (B2B) voyages have been refunded.

 

This includes all expenditures for speciality dining and cabin gratuities, ship excursions and shop purchases.

 

The only "purchase" that remains from these voyages were my cabin charge in the casino. That being said even the 5% charge for the casino  cabin charge was refunded.

 

For those that were in the CC meeting on board (1/9 or 1/19) I did that thing that I said I was going to do and somehow my overall charges came out $100 less then what I actually took out.

 

- WYB 

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So it’s now (2022, Feb 03rd) 5 days after I disembarked from the NCL Gem in NYC (Jan 29th).

 

This is my review of the the remaining 5 days on board the NCL Gem.

 

The short version is that this was an excellent trip which arrived back to a snow storm in NYC as scheduled on the 29th of January. I did have the opportunity and a really good deal to stay on for another 10 days, however I wouldn’t be able to keep the same cabin so I decided to disembark. I would do this voyage again without hesitation and look forward to my next voyage with NCL.

 

The long version, our ports on this 2nd voyage included Puerto Plata & Catalina Island in the Dominican Republic, St Marteen and Road Town, Tortola.

 

For both St Marteen and Road Town, Tortola  I booked excursions through the ship, I booked a different St Marteen excursion then the previous weeks visit to St Marteen. We found both excursions informative, safe & entertaining. I do wish I had planned my time better in Puerto Plata, DR as I could only manage a really short bike ride. In Puerto Plata they actually have bike lanes, and I also found a bike shop in the center of the city that rents bicycles too.

 

This being my first time to Road Town, Tortola, I found the island and area to have a higher standard of living then the other ports that we visited. However, most of the roads in Tortola were very steep and would make for very challenging cycling going west could be accomplished with flat roads for miles.

 

On both voyages I found the crew of the NCL Gem to be extremely hard working with the priority being passenger safety, but everyone on board seem to also have a very good time. There was no department or employee that was slacking. I was constantly being greeting by my first name through out the ship. Front desk knew me, cabin stewards from other parts of the ship knew me, the waiters and waitresses knew me. The AV technician knew me. Even the bar staff knew me and I didn’t drink or have a drink package. Everyone was friendly and hard working. The F&B director would stop by when ever he saw me to check on how I was doing as he remembered me from 2 years ago. “J’s” Cruise Director Staff were also very accommodating and friendly. Raven (from the Youth Staff), Morne and JC all were doing double and triple duty working above an d beyond their normal job descriptions.

 

You should be aware of the updated pricing in the speciality dining restaurants. For us pricing changed between voyages, (ie the Lobster Thermidor went from a $10 additional supplement to $25 additional supplement (but still worth it)). Keep this in mind especially if you are using the Platinum dining certificates as you are limited to 1 appetizer, 1 entree and 1 dessert. But if you are using a speciality dining package you can order 1 entree but as many appetizers and sides as you want.

 

Close to the end of the voyage, there was a Q&A session with the Captain on the 27th. I believe it was a friendly exchange and also informative. I had random questions in my head that I got to ask him and this session lasted over an hour.

 

We all were not sure if we would be able to get back to NYC by the 29th because of the snow storm, but the evening before the captain announced that we would be increasing speed to make it back to NYC before the storm forced the closure of the port of NYC.

 

Disembarkation went smoothly for me. As planned I left my mom, bicycle and luggage in the waiting area upstairs in Port 88 and then picked up a rental car from Avis @ 43rd and 9th ave, then drove back to the port to pick up mom, bicycle and luggage. The drive back home took a little longer then usual but given the amount of snow falling, I’m glad we made it back safely. Along the way there were several cars that were either stuck or spun out along the west side.

 

My advise is, if you have any concerns at all you should cancel but I don’t think you should be afraid as you might miss one awesome low capacity cruise. Be adaptable, patient, prepared, cautious & aware but not afraid and you’ll have a great time. Also treat the crew well and don’t be like Aimee.

 

In my opinion, right now would also be an excellent time to cruise single and build up your latitude points as I believe many last minute bookings can offer the single supplement waved. Check online or with your TA.

 

And yes, as of the time of this writing (Feb 03rd) on my cc statement I have been reimbursed for all onboard charges (including speciality dining) for both voyages (1/9 & 1/19) which I booked as 1 reservation and also received back the 4 CNC’s that I use to book this voyage. I do not know why or how that happened and I’m keeping an eye on this. I’m looking to see if anyone had something similar on their cc statement that was either on the 1/09 voyage or did the B2B (1/9 & 1/19) also as 1 reservation. Let me know.

 

For additional information check out the roll calls for the Gem 2022 Jan (09th or 19th) or other postings for stuff written by me.

 

In closing, as our CD “J” would always say, don’t forget to “worry less and smile more”.

 

Stay well & Safe travels,

 

Who’sYourBuddy!

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19 hours ago, WYB! said:

So it’s now (2022, Feb 03rd) 5 days after I disembarked from the NCL Gem in NYC (Jan 29th).

 

This is my review of the the remaining 5 days on board the NCL Gem.

 

The short version is that this was an excellent trip which arrived back to a snow storm in NYC as scheduled on the 29th of January. I did have the opportunity and a really good deal to stay on for another 10 days, however I wouldn’t be able to keep the same cabin so I decided to disembark. I would do this voyage again without hesitation and look forward to my next voyage with NCL.

 

The long version, our ports on this 2nd voyage included Puerto Plata & Catalina Island in the Dominican Republic, St Marteen and Road Town, Tortola.

 

For both St Marteen and Road Town, Tortola  I booked excursions through the ship, I booked a different St Marteen excursion then the previous weeks visit to St Marteen. We found both excursions informative, safe & entertaining. I do wish I had planned my time better in Puerto Plata, DR as I could only manage a really short bike ride. In Puerto Plata they actually have bike lanes, and I also found a bike shop in the center of the city that rents bicycles too.

 

This being my first time to Road Town, Tortola, I found the island and area to have a higher standard of living then the other ports that we visited. However, most of the roads in Tortola were very steep and would make for very challenging cycling going west could be accomplished with flat roads for miles.

 

On both voyages I found the crew of the NCL Gem to be extremely hard working with the priority being passenger safety, but everyone on board seem to also have a very good time. There was no department or employee that was slacking. I was constantly being greeting by my first name through out the ship. Front desk knew me, cabin stewards from other parts of the ship knew me, the waiters and waitresses knew me. The AV technician knew me. Even the bar staff knew me and I didn’t drink or have a drink package. Everyone was friendly and hard working. The F&B director would stop by when ever he saw me to check on how I was doing as he remembered me from 2 years ago. “J’s” Cruise Director Staff were also very accommodating and friendly. Raven (from the Youth Staff), Morne and JC all were doing double and triple duty working above an d beyond their normal job descriptions.

 

You should be aware of the updated pricing in the speciality dining restaurants. For us pricing changed between voyages, (ie the Lobster Thermidor went from a $10 additional supplement to $25 additional supplement (but still worth it)). Keep this in mind especially if you are using the Platinum dining certificates as you are limited to 1 appetizer, 1 entree and 1 dessert. But if you are using a speciality dining package you can order 1 entree but as many appetizers and sides as you want.

 

Close to the end of the voyage, there was a Q&A session with the Captain on the 27th. I believe it was a friendly exchange and also informative. I had random questions in my head that I got to ask him and this session lasted over an hour.

 

We all were not sure if we would be able to get back to NYC by the 29th because of the snow storm, but the evening before the captain announced that we would be increasing speed to make it back to NYC before the storm forced the closure of the port of NYC.

 

Disembarkation went smoothly for me. As planned I left my mom, bicycle and luggage in the waiting area upstairs in Port 88 and then picked up a rental car from Avis @ 43rd and 9th ave, then drove back to the port to pick up mom, bicycle and luggage. The drive back home took a little longer then usual but given the amount of snow falling, I’m glad we made it back safely. Along the way there were several cars that were either stuck or spun out along the west side.

 

My advise is, if you have any concerns at all you should cancel but I don’t think you should be afraid as you might miss one awesome low capacity cruise. Be adaptable, patient, prepared, cautious & aware but not afraid and you’ll have a great time. Also treat the crew well and don’t be like Aimee.

 

In my opinion, right now would also be an excellent time to cruise single and build up your latitude points as I believe many last minute bookings can offer the single supplement waved. Check online or with your TA.

 

And yes, as of the time of this writing (Feb 03rd) on my cc statement I have been reimbursed for all onboard charges (including speciality dining) for both voyages (1/9 & 1/19) which I booked as 1 reservation and also received back the 4 CNC’s that I use to book this voyage. I do not know why or how that happened and I’m keeping an eye on this. I’m looking to see if anyone had something similar on their cc statement that was either on the 1/09 voyage or did the B2B (1/9 & 1/19) also as 1 reservation. Let me know.

 

For additional information check out the roll calls for the Gem 2022 Jan (09th or 19th) or other postings for stuff written by me.

 

In closing, as our CD “J” would always say, don’t forget to “worry less and smile more”.

 

Stay well & Safe travels,

 

Who’sYourBuddy!

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Thank you WYB!. It's been great to read your reports. They have certainly put a lot of us at ease about our upcoming trips. We leave on Tuesday for the the same 10 day trip which will be whatever it ends up being in terms of port stops (or lack there of). I'll try and report back for those traveling after us since this type of positive information is not what is normally reported on by mainstream media.

 

Glad you and your mom got home safe from the the Manhattan terminal last Saturday.

 

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Forgot to mention that during the Q&A with the captain, he mentioned that the Gem will be dry docked in France in November 2022 and after 3 weeks and 60 million dollars return to sail again.

 

Safe travels,

 

- WYB

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For those visiting Philipsburg, in St Marteen, I hope this gives you some idea of the distance to Phillipsburg from the Marina where the ship docks if you decide to walk there.

 

There is a dedicated walking path from the Marina (that is also ADA compliant), and if you make a left in to the parking lot just before reaching the gas station you'll find a small area with a foot bridge that will connect to the boardwalk.

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Edited by WYB!
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  • 5 months later...

I know you are long back off your holiday, but I was really interested in your post. I will be onboard the Gem next month, but struggling to find an up to date food menu for anywhere, you didn't take any pictures of the menu, did you? 

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