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Ken Trock

Age: 48

Occupation:Computers

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Gem

Sailing Date: 02-22-2009

Itinerary: Bahamas

My in-laws setup this cruise for 10 of us. She's a teacher and this was teacher's week in NY. The Gem was packed with 2900 people, 930 of whom were kids! Nevertheless, the ship handled it pretty well. You could still find short lines in certain places. Our assistant cruise director told me the average for this ship is 2500. The food was wonderful. I read where someone was disappointed with Cagney's restaurant but our group loved it. The meats were tender and delicious. French restaurant Le Bistro was excellent too. Each of the eateries gave you a 4 or 5 course meal with manageable portion sizes. As you might imagine the buffet was a madhouse. Given the option to do freestyle cruising it's much better to relax with a sit down meal where possible. Our room was large enough for 2 and included a large picture window. We purposely booked a room close to the center of the ship for purposes of stability, but when the seas are rough there's nowhere to hide. A couple nights the ship was rocky and for us it was the hangers in the closet hitting each other or the adjacent wall that made noise. An easy fix was found. One thing we noticed was that the TV seemed far away from the headboard where you're likely to be watching from (like I said, it's a decent size room). On another cruise line the TV was off at an angle to the bed so it was closer to the viewers. But hey, we weren't there to watch TV now. There was plenty to do onboard. Between the gym, pool, hot tubs, water slide, lounge, library, card room, rock wall, shuffleboard courts, giant built-in chess boards, golf practice, casino, lounges, bowling, parlor games, and entertainment we could find a way to stay amused. They have an exceptionally good magician/entertainer named Bob Trunell who's been working cruise ships since 1988. There was a good program for kids too that kept them busy. As I guess is the case on most warm weather cruises, don't even think about getting a deck lounge near the pool on a sea day unless you get to one early. The Dolphin Swim on Grand Bahama Island for sure is expensive but not something you get to do too often. For us it was a great experience. Great Stirrup Cay has a gorgeous beach that you tender into. The stops along the way were at Port Canaveral Florida, NCL's private island Great Stirrup Cay, Nassau on Paradise Island, and Freeport on Grand Bahama Island. It was cool and sunny at each destination, about 10 degrees cooler than usual. I think it never got warmer than 72F. That's still preferable to not being able to reach the beach due to high winds; something that ships encountered in late January 2009 due to all the bad weather.

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