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Age: 41


Number of Cruises: 3

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Gem

Sailing Date: 2009-06-7

Itinerary: Western Europe

This was our second time to this very ship and the same ports of destination as our last trip. Couple of things were different from the one which we took earlier. First, the enthusiasm level of the staff was not as great as it had been in 2008. Something was missing. It seemed recession had hit them too. Case in point was the Monte Carlo they have in their Gem Casino. Last year there were at least 12 people in costumes, this year could not even count 3. Major major difference was the food. The quality of the food had gone down tremendously, especially in the main dining rooms. The Garden Cafe which was our hot favorite last time around had the worst food this time around. Overall, NCL remains a nice product due to its free styling concept but being a loyal customer, I am concerned at the overall deterioration of the quality levels of the ship and the cruise. i think definitely we will be trying out one of the other cruise lines.

Bad. One word it sums it up. Last year it was wow and this year it was bad. The best speciality restaurant was Cagneys but the others can easily be avoided. The Chinese restaurant was very bad (no improvement from last year) and Japanese one is over hyped. The only enjoyable food was like last time on the German lunch they have.

We stayed in the Garden Villa suite so had our own little swimming pool shared with 7 other suites and our own jacuzzi also shared by others. The stateroom is for sure superior to the premier staterooms as far as I can see on the internet. It was a beautiful room with a separate room and shower for kids. We had the most amazing bathtub next to the window so one could definitely soak it up as the ship went through the beautiful waters of the Mediterranean.

They were good and had something for each member of the family.

Stay away from excursions. They are expensive. Genuine advice is that go out in the port, hire a cab, pay him a fraction of the cost of the excursion and voila, you are done.

Being our second trip on this ship and with the same ports, we had learnt our lessons well from the last cruise. This was a 7 day cruise and with the ship stopping at Malta, Rome, Florence, Naples and Nice, there was loads to see. On the first cruise, we had been very stressed as we ran from the Vatican to the Spanish Steps to the Leaning tower of Pisa etc and returning back to the ship everyday tired and exhausted. This time around, the only place where was got off was at Naples from where we took a boat to Capri and had the most amazing relaxing lunch there. We never ventured out anywhere else. NCL Gem remains an awesome ship but the quality has deteriorated in terms of food and on board entertainment. If only Royal Caribbean etc offered a somewhat free style cruising, it would be great fun. On the whole, I would advice families to take this cruise and try out NCL at least once. The crowd on the ship was young and not too old and it was a good diverse crowd.

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