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Overall Rating
Family Friendliness
Shore Excursions

Age: 45

Occupation:home maker

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Gem

Sailing Date: 2009-12-26

Itinerary: bahamas

We traveled in a group of 15 family members, all were accommodated in the same hallway. The rooms were spacious enough and clean, beds were comfortable, but that's all I can say positive about the experience. The staff are bored/rude/indifferent/slow/, most likely because an 18% gratuity is included in every surcharge. Freestyle dining is a joke, because there was nothing free about it. The food - which is usually the highlight of a cruise -was disappointing at best. Another unpleasant surprise is the $12 per person per day room surcharge. Excuse me????

The food was mostly terrible, with hamburgers pretty good and some steaks being a little better than ok. The fish was generally bad, portions in the premium restaurants small, and all was overly salty. Sauce at the Italian premium restaurant tasted like it came out of a can - not even a jar! The restaurants included in the cost of the ticket are cafeteria style with food to match - beverages besides coffee and orange juice cost extra - plus built in gratuity!!!!. After you stand in line for your meal, then stand in line for a drink, and the meal gets cold, good luck finding a place to sit. The tables are very slow to be cleared if at all, being served on the cafeteria line takes so long tables are being "saved" by one person every where you look. The premium restaurants apply between a $10 and a $25 cover surcharge per person. My son ordered a steak which NCL considered dinner for 2 and we were charged double. My daughter ordered an appetizer from one menu and an entree from another at the sushi restaurant so they charged us 2 cover surcharges! Bottled water and sodas are extra throughout the ship. Alcohol drinks are $12 each. Remember, 18% gratuity is added to even a bottle of water and can of soda!

The staterooms were very clean, plenty of room to move around and store belongings. The shower was great, the bed was VERY comfortable. The woman assigned to tend to our staterooms was extremely courteous, quick and discreet.

Most of the onboard activities ranged from lame to embarrassing. The Newlywed Show and Dance Contest became raunchy and insulting, and this was predominantly a family cruise. Name That Tune was just bad. Dance reviews were pretty good. The bands playing poolside and in the main 7th floor bar/lounge/ lobby area were very good.

Plan to find your own way to activities. In Nassau we looked for a taxi on our own and paid only $4 each to Atlantis and managed to find roughly half price admission tickets with a lunch voucher. Paid $70 each rather than $147 onboard.
The line to get a numbered ticket to get off the boat at Stirrup Cay rivaled that of any Disney attraction. Very poor system for disembarking in ports.
We had a friend rent us a car so we could take the kids to Universal Studios. In order to see the sights in the time allotted we needed to purchase speed passes for $60 extra. Some family members went to the space center at Cape Canaveral. It took forever to get there then were met with a series of lines to wait for transportation around different attractions while there. They gave up and stayed on the bus for 2 hours and made it back to Orlando in time to meet us for dinner at a restaurant of our choice.

15 of us traveled together to celebrate a 50th anniversary. Despite the overpriced and underwhelming food, service and excursions, we managed to have a great time because that's what we do as a family, and no thanks at all to NCL Gem and staff. We could be happy in a cardboard box, but will NEVER use this cruise line again.

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