Norwegian Gem Cruise Ship, Norwegian Cruise Line
The ship is great with good food, in sumptuous surroundings, with great facilities and activities. The drawback is that there is a hard sell culture for everything, even from the waiters. The ship's crew are all smiles and happiness if you buy but if you don't, their faces drop and they start treating you like second class citizens.
My wife and I are both teetotal and only ever drink water with our meals. We thought this would be fine but it wasn't. The food is included in the price of your booking but you have to pay for all your drinks apart from water. The first time we dined, the waitress came to take our orders but when we asked for water with our food, her face dropped and she looked very aggrieved. She returned with bottles of water which are $6 dollars each so I told her that we just wanted a jug of water which is free. From then on her face looked like thunder when she served us. She ignored us when we tried to get her attention, it seemed that she deliberately took the longest time possible to serve us and with other tables that were buying wine and suchlike, she was all sweetness and light. This was our experience with virtually all the waiters during every mealtime.
On the first day when I went out on deck and sat on a lounger, a waiter approached me jovially and asked if I would like something to drink. When I asked for a regular glass of water he pretended not to hear me and just walked away. My wife was shocked and the next time he walked passed us she asked him for two glasses of water. He rolled his eyes in disgust and muttered "Oh my God" before walking away and returning with just one glass of water. I would have reported him to management but due to the fact that all staff treated us in this manner if we did not spend money, I assumed it was ship's policy.
It seems that it is the ship's policy to treat you so badly if you don't spend money that you feel obliged to eventually buy from them, however with me it had the opposite effect. It made me determined to dig my heels in and spend as little money with them as possible...I refuse to be bullied into spending money with them.
On top of the constant barrage of hard selling techniques for their various products, activities, tours and excursions, etc, we were billed $12 per person per day for service charges. This extra was not mentioned in any of the literature when booking and considering the service that we got, I did begrudge paying it.
It is such a shame that they have this culture on board because everything else about the cruise was great but to be honest this ruined the whole experience for me. I could not relax on board because I was made to feel like a second class citizen
14 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
I agree with all that DebsG has written about the Gem as it is a beautiful ship that gave us everything we had expected of a first big ship cruise. We also picked the ship up in Barcelona and from the minute we got off the coach from the airport to going onto the ship we felt like and were treated as first class passengers even though we did not have a balcony room. We entered our room which was spotless to find a rabbit sitting on the bed made out of towels with small chocolates as the eyes and this went on every night with others like an elephant, snake and swan plus others, it was a thing to go back each night and see what the next one would be. (Pity I cannot put pictures on here.) We did not eat at any of the different restaurants simply because a small charge was made to eat in most of them so we used the Grand Pacific restaurant (Deck 7Aft) every night as we found the menu suited us to a tee and it was nice to have the restaurant manager come around to the tables every night asking if everything was alright, which it was. The restaurant is absolutely beautiful in decoration and plushness so even if you want to eat in all the others at least give it a try. As for the coach trips ashore we only did three which were the Rome, Pisa and Cannes/Nice ones because we walked off ship for the Malta and Naples ones, I did try through the web to find prices for hiring taxis against the ship coaches but because we were only two it was cheaper to use the ship tours, if there are four or more together then try the private taxis that can be found by using the web and just putting in say Naples Taxis or the other ports and it will bring back sites that you can e-mail. May I state here that those taxis will not rip you off because a fixed price is given and even if you leave the taxi to do some shopping they wait because you do not pay them until you are returned to the ship, there is NO upfront payment.
Now for a word of warning because the minute you leave the ship to tour there are pick pockets every where, but do not expect them to look like down and outs but tourists like yourselves. They try all sorts of different tactics to get your wallet or handbag by perhaps knocking you down either on foot or by cycle then pinch your wallet while they help you up, or when walking under trees you may feel as if a bird has done something nasty to your clothes or hair and suddenly a packet of tissues and some water to rub it off appears with one hand while the other is in your bag, we had this happen to us but we had one hand on our money.
The only thing we got fed up with were some of the Americans who use cruising just to be able to say that "this" was better on that ship or "that" was nicer on this ship and when in Cannes and had to wait for the tenders to go back to the ship queueing more than five minutes brought massive numbers of moans saying the tenders should be there waiting for them and not the other way around even though the tenders were out and back in no time.
Now we start saving for another cruise as we have found that is the holiday we want to try as long as possible.
11 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
This was our first ever cruise, and I had picked the Gem, because she was "Brand New" only been launched a few months before.
The cruise started in Barcelona, and our first glimpse of the shop as we flew in from Heathrow was amazing.
The ship was amazing, clean, spacious, and the gordy colours you think you are going to see, just seem to go, and you hardly notice them.
Our cabin an outside cabin, was small, but perfectly formed, with a large bed, safe, mini fridge, dressing table and compact but big enough bath room.
The choice of restaurants was amazing, and we tended to eat in the Magenta restaurant most evenings, and use the buffet restaurant for lunch sitting out on deck under the huge umbrellas.
The theatre was huge, with shows on twice a night, but as the week went on I have got to say the shows did lose their sparkle a little bit, and we were disappointed that on the last night of the cruise they had a chap playing a guitar, rather then a all singing dancing show, which we would expect on the last night.
The pool areas, were great, plenty of beds, and pool side entertainment, and our first and last days on board, it was a great party atmosphere.
The trips were expensive, but the fact that everything was in dollars, did make it a bit sweeter on the purse.
The highlight of the cruise was Rome, we choose just to pay for the bus, and get around ourselves, and because all the major sites are all within walking distance from each other this worked out fantastic.
This was a cruise around the med, starting and finishing in Barcelona, and I would seriously recommend it, the crew are fantastic, can't do enough for you, and the ship is so good, I am finding it hard to book my next cruise as I don't want to go a smaller, older ship again.
7 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
Great new ship but facilities inadequate for the number of passengers. The cabins were small but functional apart from the TV and safe. Breakfast was horrendous with only one self service restaurant unable to cope with the number of passengers.
Dinner was ok but nothing special and, again very busy. We ate Mexican one evening and were given two small pieces of chicken and steak, 4 small pieces of peppers and 1 small mushroom between 2 people. No rice and the food was cold despite having waited around 40 minutes for it to be cooked.
Embarking was organised and strictly controlled with military precision. If you were a regular NCL passenger you received privileged treatment and non-regulars were made to wait in a rather off-handed manner (second class citizens). Dis-embarking was chaotic and totally disorganised.
Having only cruised with Thomsons previously I was hoping for luxury but alas NCL paled against Thomsons who provided great service and better food.
9 readers found this review helpful. Did you? Yes
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