It's been a long time since we've seen you here. Looks like you've moved again?
Sorry I can't help on these ports. My Mediterranean cruise last December went to all different ports. Maybe you might find some tips in our Europe Port Chat section here. . Welcome back.
>>It's been a long time since we've seen you here. Looks like you've moved again?
Sorry I can't help on these ports. My Mediterranean cruise last December went to all different ports. Maybe you might find some tips in our Europe Port Chat section<<
First, regarding the cruise: I'm actually just looking for information on the ship more than anything. I've checked the Port Chat section for other stuff.
We're going to be in Italy as I'm doing research for a book, and we decided last week that this cruise was too good to pass up. We've never done NCL, and I'm just a bit weary about their service and all. But!! I love the itinerary.
You asked if we moved . . . .
Yes, we did move last summer from Nashville back to Las Vegas (YAY!!). We luckily sold our house in August and missed the monsoon/floods that hit Nashville in May. Our former street in Bellevue was one of the ones hit hard, although our house was one of three that didn't get water on the inside . . . The crawlspace and garage were both flooded, and water came within 1 inch of the first floor. Many of our neighbors are still not in their homes.
I hesitated to answer because I don't know anything about your itinerary or ports, but I was on the Gem this past March.
The layout is very similar to the Jewel and a little similar to the Dawn. The Blue Lagoon has great wings. The buffet seemed easy to navigate and the dining rooms are lovely. The only thing that we thought was a little odd is the large lounger/bed type things out on the pool deck. There were fake privacy hedges that separated the sitting areas from each other and bamboo furniture.
Is there anything specific you wondered about?
The Gem came out in 2007. As a whole the square footage of her balcony and lower cabins is smaller than the other ships you've been on with Carnival. Sometimes furniture layout in a cabin can make the cabin appear larger, so you may not even notice. NCL is a freestyle cruising with resort style dress. They still do have the dress up nights if you do want to dress up. The Gem has many different choices of dining. Two main restaurants, Garden Cafe, Great Outdoors, Blue Lagoon, two pool grills, and room service all are included. Sushi and six other restaurants all have surcharges. The ship is one of four called the Jewel Class. The ship has a small bowling alley $5 a game. They also have Wii and Second City Comedy troupe on the ship.
mooneydiva......The NCL Gem is a great and comfortable ship and offers a nice cruise ambiance with an attentive and pleasant crew! I have sailed on her twice and will do so againwhen the opportunity presents. Until the NCL Epic entered service the NCL Gem was the Queen of the NCL fleet.
You will definitely enjoy being aboard!!
Thanks, Judy, Jan & Billy. Your replies have helped. I was most concerned about the service, to tell the truth. So many people complain about NCL's service that it made me wonder whether this was a good idea or not. However, I know that most of the problems have been on POA out of Hawaii.
One thing I wonder about the Gem is whether the bathrooms are similar to what I heard they did to the Epic where the shower and commode areas are separate and enclosed only by frosted glass.
The other question I had is about the non-specialty dining. Billy, since you've been on her more than once, can you tell me how the food was? And, I heard they don't have a buffet, but then I heard they *do* have a buffet, but that it's set up more like a lot of the buffets here in Las Vegas where there are separate stations for Italian, Mexican, American, etc. True?
The bathroom is not set up like on the Epic. It's one room with three sections. The shower is a good size for a ship with a sliding door, then the sink area in the middle and a toilet area on the other end. The toilet area also has a sliding door but I think it would make that area pretty claustrophobic to use it.
There definitely is a buffet but as you say, there are many "stations" so you don't have to start at one end and go all the way to the other. You can simply go to the areas of the food you wish to try - - - and then end up at the dessert/ice-cream area. They have both soft serve and scooped in the same general area.
I thought the service in the main dining room was just fine. The blue lagoon service was a little more hit and miss but we never went there when we were in a hurry so it was fine and the food was worth it.
mooneydiva.......The staterooms on the NCL Gem are conventional in layout, design and decor...not similar to the NCL Epic's layouts!! The Service and meals have always been good to outstanding, the buffet set up is excellent allowing for comfortable dining both insidse and out. There are, indeed, multiple stations for whatever you may like to dine on.
The Specialty dining is first class and well worth the added expense.LeBistro is one of the best French Restaurants for dining on land or sea...We have loved NCL cruising for many years....Free Style has crept onto and into the ships of most other cruiselines today!!
Thanks, again, Judy and Billy. After reading your comments, I am quite excited about the Gem.
One of my friends in the neighborhood told me she has never been on a ship where they were so organized in getting people off in port and at debarkation. I was glad to hear that because a few ships have had less-than-adequate organization for docking and debark. Of course, we just take it in stride, but I prefer organization.