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Dina LaMagdelaine

Age: 34

Occupation:Nuclear Medicine Technologist

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Norwegian

Ship: Gem

Sailing Date: 2011-03-5

Itinerary: Bahamas

Our family thought the overall experience of the cruise is fantastic. I was nervous given the other reviews but we really have nothing to complain about. Yes if you want to spend all your time nit-picking then I guess you could complain about things. But seriously, people who complain about toilet paper? or hearing neighboring toilet flushing? I hear all these things when I go to a hotel too! You are on vacation and when you are on vacation you are not staying at your own home. All these types of complaints could occur at a hotel too. Maybe these people just don't know how to have fun and should just stay home if they are not able to adapt to a few changes.

There are so many dining options on the Gem. We mostly ate at the buffet due to the age of our children. There is a dining area for children with smaller tables and they play Dora/Blue's Clues. The buffet did have a lot of the same things each day but the variety was quite large. We ate dinner at Magenta's two nights and one time at Grand Pacific. Also lunch at Grand Pacific once and Breakfast once at the Blue Lagoon. The service was always quick at each of these places and all the staff was eager to please in terms of requests and also VERY friendly. We didn't try any of the specialty restaurants, again due to the age of our children (4 yr old twins). We particularly liked the "Freestyle" aspect. You could dress formal or not. And being able to go to dinner when you wanted instead of a certain time was great especially with children.

Our stateroom was fantastic. We had a mini suite on the 11th deck. it had a full bathroom including a tub, queen bed and a couch that folded into a double bed. Different than a typical fold out couch thicker cushion, more comfortable. Our Steward staff kept our room VERY clean, I don't think that i have ever stayed in such clean accommodations. They cleaned the room twice a day. If you can afford a room with a balcony I would suggest it. It was nice to be able to get some fresh air even if you didn't feel like wandering to a public area. Some nights we slept with the balcony door open.

There are activities for every personality including resting in your stateroom. Yes that is a way to enjoy vacation too! Shows of every type -our favorites - Man from Mars, Second City, Newly wed or not so Newly wed game show and crew talent show. Bars of every type (didn't have any alcohol so can't comment on that, but the drink of the day looked delicious!) Nintendo Wii, seminars about future cruises. We found the Q&A with captain and other director staff very interesting.

We didn't book any excursions with NCL Here is what we did: Port Canaveral: When you get off the ship there will be somebody holding a sign pointing you to the left toward shore excursion buses. Behind that person there is a small tunnel. Walk through and there are all kinds of taxi's. Also FREE shuttle that will take you to the beach and return. It is from the Raddisson. we took this and gave a tip and all set. Very nice and they drop you off for about a two block walk to the beach also right where you get picked up. Next to Ron John's and Cocco Beach Surf Shop. Great Stirrup Cay: My personal favorite! Nothing to do here except enjoy the beach. it was a beautiful day, plenty of lounge chairs, crystal blue waters. Swam all day! Nassau: We walked into the straw market and a man helped us get a group taxi (15 or so passenger van). Just be sure you have change because our cab driver miraculously didn't have change for a twenty. Also the man getting passengers together said our children would be free and then the cab driver "knew nothing about that" so essentially we spent $20 for a fare that should have been $8. Oh well still way cheaper that the NCL excursion. We went to Atlantis, Paradise Island. WE had always wanted to see that and we are happy that we had the opportunity.

Spa: Fantastic. If you like massage you should book your massage with Cherryl Cruz. I had the hot stone massage with her twice. Best massage I have ever had. Look for the $149 for 50 minutes but on embarkation they add 15 minutes and later in the cruise they have the same price for 75 minutes. Over all WAY more than I would ever pay for a massage but so worth it. As for disembarkation I would suggest getting the earlier colored luggage tags. If you aren't ready when they call your color, no problem, just go later. But if you pick a later colored tag than you have to wait until your color is called. You have to be out of your stateroom by 9 which I thought was pretty generous then you can wait in one of the public lounges, have breakfast. Sinan our cruise director was hilarious, hopefully he will still be on this ship when you go! All of the staff was friendly and we enjoyed getting to know them and learn about their experience in the cruise industry.We felt like they had a way of making us feel like a special group of cruisers not just then next week of travelers. One of the room stewardess' (not even ours) was so friendly she remembered our boys names from the first night and she was always asking about them! The whole ship was kept really clean and showed little signs of wear. We loved our trip and have already picked the next trip we are going to take next Feb on the Gem. Enjoy sailing away and the opportunity to see the Statue of Liberty.

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