My husband and I would like to take a cruise in November for our aniversary(big number) Both in our 50's. We are so overwhelmed by all the information provided by the cruise lines and travel agents. The NCL Gem has the itinery we want but the picture of the ship look gaudy, food reviews are poor and people say they nickel and dime you with extra's. Can anyone with experience with this ship give us some advice.
I'll give you our usual advice for first time cruisers - find an accredited cruise specialist and tell them what you want to do on a cruise. Someone with CLIA accreditation can help fit you to a cruise which meets your expectations. Too many people book something on their own, not knowing the realities, and they end up being disappointed because they simply picked the "wrong" line for their tastes.
All the mainstream cruise lines are into the nickel-and-diming routine. Some do it more than others, but really, it isn't much different. NCL has many extra-fee restaurants on their ships - more than the other lines - although NCL also has many "included" dining rooms too. NCL ships may be gaudy on the outside, with "hull art", but the interiors are very nice. Food is always subjective. Don't believe every review you read. Too many people cop an attitude during a cruise and then set out to find fault with everything. They then write reviews that make the cruise sound like a week of hell as a galley slave on a Viking ship. NCL has good food.
I edited the above message because after re-reading it, I was rambling and not making total sense.
Mediterranean cruises are about the ports more than the ship, but the cruise line is still a consideration. Find out which cruise lines fit your style and then look for the best price within those lines.
Hi Flgal, I came off the GEM last Nov. Our 14th cruise but first European. I had reservations regarding some bad reviews about freestyle but I have to say IT WAS WONDERFUL!! Yes they have a great deal of specialty eateries but we stuck to the inclusive ones and enjoyed each evenings selections. The ship was clean, staff was kind and I would certianly go again on NCL. Not sure of your itinerary but if you are going to Barcelona, Malta, Rome, etc...you are welcome to eamil me @ firstname.lastname@example.org for a spreadsheet we put together before traveling. We chose Not to use their excursions and did very well on our own. We actually met another couple through this forum and have become great friends. I would suggest doing a roll call.
All the mainstream lines are really pretty similar. They are in the business of making money so "hence, the nickel and diming". I have tried NCL (actually on Jewel, sister of Gem three times). Fabulous entertainment!! Food is cruise food - really, you are not going on a cruise to savour Michelin dining are you?? For me, it is the entire experience. Someone waiting on you really, hand and foot - best advice - get a balcony cabin, take cruise line tours only if you cannot safely get there - read read read guidebooks for this advice) and enjoy the experience. You will always find people who complain about food, service, etc. Really, all lines pretty similar unless you are looking at Costa where they make annoucements in 10 different languages and allow smoking). Don't forget to budget tour money for yourself.
We did the cruise in the Mediterranean in the early june this year. It was our 25th wedding anniversary and our birthday. We can recommend this ship. In november this year our son (he was on the Gem with us) will go back to the Gem with his girl friend. He loves this ship. Two years ago we ravelled with the NCL Jewel. Same recommandation.
Have a nice trip on board the NCL Gem