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Gem Transatlantic 29 November 2009


CrasyLynne

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First some background -

We received one of those "too good to pass up(TGTPU)" deals on the repositioning cruise from Barcelona to New York in November and decided to go for it (and convinced another couple to join us). Several years ago (2003) we did the east-bound transatlantic on Celebrity and loved it and we had always said we would do the reverse trip one day.

 

We have done our last 3 cruises on the QMII - the first as a right becfore Christmas 7 day because of another TGTPU and then a 10 day out of NY with a group of 40 dancers and then a 10 Med with another couple that heard how much fun we had and invited us to join them. The dance group is going on thr QMII again this year and frankly we are ready to mix it up a little.

 

Four years ago we did a 7 day to Bermuda on NCL (small ship) and enjoyed ourselves - but frankly it was our engagement cruise and we would have been happy no matter what.

 

I know that the east-bound version of the cruise is happening now so certainly that should be the best gauge of what might happen in November. I have read alot of complaining about the food and service but my optimistic side says that people with a complaint tend to vent while people perfectly happy keep it to themselves. Also, hopefully a cruise works out the kinks over time.

 

So now for the questions. :

 

1. I know that the alternate restaurants have a surcharge for dinner, but how about breakfast and lunch? I am not a buffet person so greatly prefer sit-down service.

2. Do they really search your checked bags for wine? We plan to spend a few days in Barcelona first and am sure we will find some Rioja we will want to bring with us. We were realy spoiled on Cunard - they had no problems with bringing liquor on board for your stateroom.

3. Are there any dancing opportunities? I know that it will not compare to the QMII but hopefully there will be some bands or recorded music. I am not talking about the shuffle around in a smokey bar but rather a proper foxtrot or salsa.

4. There were some reports in the past of special deals during transatlantics on the specialty restaurants - anything like that going on now?

5. We have booked mini-suites (just because the price was so good) - mid ship 11th deck. Was this a good choice?

6. We loved our day in Barcelona last September so are looking forward to a few days there in November. Any suggestions?

 

That is all I can think of for now - Thanks.

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So now for the questions. :

1. I know that the alternate restaurants have a surcharge for dinner, but how about breakfast and lunch? I am not a buffet person so greatly prefer sit-down service.

2. Do they really search your checked bags for wine? We plan to spend a few days in Barcelona first and am sure we will find some Rioja we will want to bring with us. We were realy spoiled on Cunard - they had no problems with bringing liquor on board for your stateroom.

3. Are there any dancing opportunities? I know that it will not compare to the QMII but hopefully there will be some bands or recorded music. I am not talking about the shuffle around in a smokey bar but rather a proper foxtrot or salsa.

4. There were some reports in the past of special deals during transatlantics on the specialty restaurants - anything like that going on now?

5. We have booked mini-suites (just because the price was so good) - mid ship 11th deck. Was this a good choice?

6. We loved our day in Barcelona last September so are looking forward to a few days there in November. Any suggestions?

 

I hope you enjoy your cruise. Now for your answers.

1. Alternate sit down surcharge restaurants aren't normally open for breakfast and lunch for mini-suite and below passengers. If you had booked a suite, Cagney's would be open for you. All the other free restaurants will be open sometime during the day.

2. Yes, they do. They will confiscate hard liquor and beer they discovered. The good news for you is that if you pay a $15 corkage fee per bottle they will allow you to bring wine aboard, whether you use it in your cabin or at the restaurants. If you wish to save a trip to the naughty room, just announce that you have so many bottles of wine and pay the corkage fee when you board the ship.

3. Yes, there will be plenty of dancing activities aboard the ship.

4. Special opportunties/sales at restaurants often vary per cruise. Read your Freestyle Dalies or ask at the reservations counter after you board your ship to learn what's available on your cruise.

5. If you think it is, it is a good choice. There's a reason there are so many cabin choices available on cruise ships, everyone has a personal opinion what's best for them.

6. I have no personal suggestions for what to do in Barcelona. But I suggest you join the Roll Call for your cruise and ask fellow passengers what they plan to do. You might even set up a pre-cruise meet and greet. Here's the link of the Roll Call for your cruise, and it is already very active.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=808408

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Crasylynne- Glad to see your posting, I always have questions & will be on the same sailing so the answers will be interesting to both of us & probably many more interested cruisers. Please come on over to the rollcall that's already been up & going for awhile for the Nov. TA back to NY. It's a great group of people with alot of posted info.

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To add to Electricron's comments concerning your question #1...

 

There is a regular sit-down restaurant for breakfast in addition to the buffet. I've even heard that there may be a separate sit-down restaurant for breakfast for balcony & mini-suite passengers, but someone else would have to confirm that.

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I hope you enjoy your cruise. Now for your answers.

1. Alternate sit down surcharge restaurants aren't normally open for breakfast and lunch for mini-suite and below passengers. If you had booked a suite, Cagney's would be open for you. All the other free restaurants will be open sometime during the day.

2. Yes, they do. They will confiscate hard liquor and beer they discovered. The good news for you is that if you pay a $15 corkage fee per bottle they will allow you to bring wine aboard, whether you use it in your cabin or at the restaurants. If you wish to save a trip to the naughty room, just announce that you have so many bottles of wine and pay the corkage fee when you board the ship.

3. Yes, there will be plenty of dancing activities aboard the ship.

4. Special opportunties/sales at restaurants often vary per cruise. Read your Freestyle Dalies or ask at the reservations counter after you board your ship to learn what's available on your cruise.

5. If you think it is, it is a good choice. There's a reason there are so many cabin choices available on cruise ships, everyone has a personal opinion what's best for them.

6. I have no personal suggestions for what to do in Barcelona. But I suggest you join the Roll Call for your cruise and ask fellow passengers what they plan to do. You might even set up a pre-cruise meet and greet. Here's the link of the Roll Call for your cruise, and it is already very active.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=808408

 

Thanks for the info so far - I am quite new to this board thing and it has already helped. I have joined the roll call and it has also helped to start thinking about things like hotel in Barcelona and what to do in each port. A couple of come-back for further discussion inputs (boy these sure fall down the list quick):

 

Other boards have indicated that minisuties are part of the suites category? Anyone else have some experience?

 

Everywhere else I have seen that the corkage fee is $10 - has it gone up to $15? Is the wine list extensive enough and reasonable enough that it would just be silly to bring our Spanish Rioja finds onboard?

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Other boards have indicated that minisuties are part of the suites category? Anyone else have some experience?

 

Everywhere else I have seen that the corkage fee is $10 - has it gone up to $15? Is the wine list extensive enough and reasonable enough that it would just be silly to bring our Spanish Rioja finds onboard?

 

1. Originally they had some Suite perks. But not no more. Consider a Mini-suite like a Superior Balcony when it comes to perks. They are around 50-60 square feet larger, and they do have a bathtub vs a shower in the bathroom.

 

2. The wine list has changed so much over the years, I'll admit I haven't kept track. The corkage fee has been $15 per bottle for many years.

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  • 3 weeks later...

I was hoping to hear some more good news after the Gem moved from NY to Barcelona. I found one posting that was very negative (in a minisuite which is what we have in November) and one (in the huge suite) that was good. Of course one issue is that people tend not to log right in after having a great time. In general people also seem to log in alot before the cruise and no so much after.

 

Given that I am getting worried about the cruise and have some questions:

 

1. There seems to be a problem with service on the ship - is it universal, just what gets posted, or a crap-shoot?

2. It appears that NCL is cutting things - like the fact that they discontinued amenities. Is it true that things like bathrobes are discontinued - even though freestyle 2.0 says otherwise?

3. It looks like getting the minisuite was a waste of money - that it is just a balcony room with the small bathtub. Is this true - are there any amenties for the extra cost?

 

I would appreciate any other insights from sailing in the last month or so on NCL - especially the Gem.

 

Thanks

Lynne and Murray

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