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Old 03-23-2008, 09:22 AM
Cortney's Avatar  
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I've been reading some reviews of the Gem on another site and as usual, there are some rave reviews, some dubbing the cruise so-so, and others saying it's terrible (including on review that called the Gem "the ship from hell.")

I know by now to take a lot of reviews with a grain of salt, but based on some of the comments made, I have some questions.

One person said they had to get up at like 6:30 every morning to call in to make reservations for that night's dinner, and even then, sometimes they couldn't get through right away or had to make the reservation for late, like 9 pm. Is that true? This is one of my main concerns, as I want to relax - I don't want to have to worry about whether I'm going to be able to get reservations. Also, I like to eat sometime between 6 and 7 (on "traditional cruises" we always do first seating)... I don't want to wait until late to eat.

People also said that the Gem nickeled and dimed them to death and that EVERYTHING seemed to cost extra, including coffee. Is this true?

What other things had extra costs attached?

We're planning to book soon for next March, so I want to make sure I'm well-informed before we do!

Thanks in advance!
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Cort

Booked on NCL Breakaway, Feb. 2014
Carnival Conquest, Feb. 2012
NCL Gem, Sept. 2011
NCL Jewel, Feb. 2011
NCL Dawn, Sept. 2010
NCL Spirit, Feb. 2010
NCL Gem, March 2009
RCCL Explorer of the Seas, Feb. 2008
Carnival Miracle, May 2007
Carnival Conquest, April 2006
Caribbean Princess, Feb. 2005
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 03-24-2008, 05:22 AM
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Hi Cortney. Yes, some reviews are certainly easily discounted due to some of the remarks made by the writers, and how they're made.

As to your questions, I'll help as best I can, but will need to leave some up to those who have been onboard N. Gem.

Dining - I was told several years ago by an NCL maitre d' that the best times for going to the dining rooms are before 6:00 or after 8:30. I tried this myself on the little Norwegian Majesty several times, and it worked! As you are an early diner (as am I), this may be useful to you, too. So, even if you make a reservation, the earlier times may be easier to get and you won't have to wake up at dawn to make a phone call. Actually, the one issue I have heard about dining on N. Gem and her sisters is that the Teppanyaki Room fills up quickly due to its limited capacity and that seating isn't continuous.

Nickel-and-diming happens on almost every line these days. I spent a small fortune on tea on our Celebrity cruise this past summer. In many cases, coffee/tea are complimentary in the dining rooms and buffets, but not necessarily so in the small cafes.

Good questions -- some of our Gem veterans should be along soon with more specifics.
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Old 03-24-2008, 03:09 PM
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Thanks, Lisa!
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Cort

Booked on NCL Breakaway, Feb. 2014
Carnival Conquest, Feb. 2012
NCL Gem, Sept. 2011
NCL Jewel, Feb. 2011
NCL Dawn, Sept. 2010
NCL Spirit, Feb. 2010
NCL Gem, March 2009
RCCL Explorer of the Seas, Feb. 2008
Carnival Miracle, May 2007
Carnival Conquest, April 2006
Caribbean Princess, Feb. 2005
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Old 03-24-2008, 05:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cortney:
One person said they had to get up at like 6:30 every morning to call in to make reservations for that night's dinner, and even then, sometimes they couldn't get through right away or had to make the reservation for late, like 9 pm. Is that true? This is one of my main concerns, as I want to relax - I don't want to have to worry about whether I'm going to be able to get reservations. Also, I like to eat sometime between 6 and 7 (on "traditional cruises" we always do first seating)... I don't want to wait until late to eat.

People also said that the Gem nickeled and dimed them to death and that EVERYTHING seemed to cost extra, including coffee. Is this true?

What other things had extra costs attached?

Thanks in advance!
You only hsve to make reservations for the Specialty restaurants, the included with the fare Main restauarants and Buffet don't require reservations. Whereas the food in the Specialty restaurants is better than what's at the Main restaurants, it's not that much better to wish to dine in one every night. So don't sweat not being able to make a reservation in a Specialty restaurant that much, you will not go hungry from lack of free food.

Several Specialty restaurants are hard to get reservations for, mainly because they are so popular. Others are easy. The hardest ones are the "free" Italian restaurant, get my drift, and the Teppanyaki which has very limited seating. You might wish to get up early to reserve them. But the other Specialty restaurants shouldn't be difficult, as you can reserve a table that night and the next night.

The person you quoted waited to the day of, no wonder they discovered their Specialty restaurant of choice fully booked until 9 pm. My simple solution is to book a day in advance.

The cruise lines are in a business, where profit is the primary goal. Of course everything that's available on a cruise ship isn't free. It's easier to list what is included with your fares. Main dining rooms and other free restaurants food and beverages, but not sodas, beer, wine, and alcohol. A book at the ship's library. A swim in the main pools. Sun on deck. A seat in the main theatre, a seat in the bars and lounges.

Just about everything else costs more, including coffee at the coffee bar, which can be found free in your cabin or in the restaurants.

But you can find free champaign and discounted alcohol drinks if you attend certain events. Yes, you'll have to listen to the sales pitch, so in a way it isn't free.
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Old 03-27-2008, 10:12 PM
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Cortney-Relax, you are on vacation-what does it matter if once in awhile you dine late? We cruised aboard the Gem in late January and...yes reservations for the specialty restaurants did take some doing-but -if you made them the day before there was little or no problem! La Cuccina, the Italian Restaurant was the hardest (but it is free)-We did Teppanyaki twice-no problems-Be flexible!

Bon Voyage,

BillyBuzzy
  #6 (permalink)  
Old 03-28-2008, 04:35 AM
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Hi Billy,

Both my husband and I are hypoglycemic, so we need to eat (at least small meals) every few hours or we feel sick and shaky. We do eat snacks throughout the day, but I'm not going to want to eat a bunch of stuff just to hold me off for a late dinner...I don't enjoy eating a big meal so late at night.

For me, vacation is being able to do what I want - which means eating when I want! I happen to like having a schedule, etc., which is why I'm not sure about the whole freestyle dining thing.

Thanks for the info on the restaurants!
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Booked on NCL Breakaway, Feb. 2014
Carnival Conquest, Feb. 2012
NCL Gem, Sept. 2011
NCL Jewel, Feb. 2011
NCL Dawn, Sept. 2010
NCL Spirit, Feb. 2010
NCL Gem, March 2009
RCCL Explorer of the Seas, Feb. 2008
Carnival Miracle, May 2007
Carnival Conquest, April 2006
Caribbean Princess, Feb. 2005
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Old 03-28-2008, 08:12 AM
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I don't know what time you like to eat Corney, but I've found if you try making reservations earlier, it's usually easier to get. Most everyone likes to eat between 6:15 and 7:30, but if you make them for 5:45 or 6:00, it's usually a little easier. Best wishes and have a wonderful cruise!
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Old 03-28-2008, 09:28 AM
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Cortney-Besides the 24 hour room service,the Blue Lagoon on Deck 8 and the Buffet will always have plenty of offerings to help you thru your low sugar moments!

Bon Voyage,

BillyBuzzy
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Old 03-28-2008, 10:45 AM
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Yes Cortney, there's free food available somewhere on NCL ships 24 hours a day.

And you don't have to eat a full meal every time.

I would reserve a table at a surcharge Specialty restaurant only when I wanted a full meal to get the most from my money.

Have a great cruise.
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Old 03-28-2008, 03:46 PM
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Thanks, guys! I knew I could trust you to give me "real" feedback without the overdramatization of some people's reviews.
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Cort

Booked on NCL Breakaway, Feb. 2014
Carnival Conquest, Feb. 2012
NCL Gem, Sept. 2011
NCL Jewel, Feb. 2011
NCL Dawn, Sept. 2010
NCL Spirit, Feb. 2010
NCL Gem, March 2009
RCCL Explorer of the Seas, Feb. 2008
Carnival Miracle, May 2007
Carnival Conquest, April 2006
Caribbean Princess, Feb. 2005
 
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