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Norwegian Gem Cruise Review
4.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
2,530 Reviews

Disappointed

Norwegian Gem Cruise Review by KathnBri

0 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Jan 2020
  • Destination: the Panama Canal & Central America

The Panama Canal transit was something I rely wanted to do and as a bonus this cruise sailed from San Francisco. We booked with a 2 night stay there before we sailed and that was well worth it.

Embarkation was quick and the luggage was soon delivered to the cabin. It is probably the smallest cabin we have had compared to other cruise companies though we look on it as just somewhere to sleep. There was a surprising amount of storage for a small space.

The ports of call were frequent and an interesting mix of sights. We mostly booked excursions through the ship and they were reasonably priced. The organisation of getting cruisers out on excursions was shambolic.

Daytime entertainment seemed to be aimed at selling you something on the whole. Craft sessions (origami) were timed just as you got back from an excursion with no time to eat and were not available on sea days. The evening shows were excellent. Praise must go to the ships dance company and it was a pity they only did a once a week show.

We dine mainly in the buffet and it was good that we could also go to the "Irish" pub and the Asian restaurant to ring the changes. The main dining rooms only offered the same menu and this didn't seem to change throughout the 3 weeks. The buffet had a good and varied choice with themed evenings on occasion.

Disembarkation was not well organised. Timed colour bands for luggage had been issued but the allocated times were ignored. We ended the cruise in New York and having had a slow and disorganised exit from the ship we then had a long wait to go through immigration. This involved a queue outside in 0 degree temperatures for 30 minutes or more then still more queuing in a cold and drafty shed that took about 1 hour.

We would be reluctant to go with NCL again unless they were sailing somewhere different to other cruise lines.


KathnBri's Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review


Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

LA is too big and spread out. The choice of excursions was limited.The Long Beach trip was rely to the aquarium though there was a free shuttle bus from there to the Queen Mary Hotel.

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Whale Watching

The operator used a speed boat which meant we could go out beyond the boats used by the ship. It also meant a much more personal service.

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City Tour

The ships description of the tour was inaccurate.

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Muir Woods

Booked with a local office the day before the cruise.

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Santa Barbara

A lovely walk from the port through the town to the Court House.

Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo

Another inaccurate tour description. There was a visit to a coconut plantation and then on to the archaeological site.

Puerto Quetzal (Antigua)

We visited the coffee plantation. A very informative visit ending in coffee and amazing biscuits.

Corinto

We did a trip out to Chnandega. We visited the towns church and went on to a ranch to see local artisans at work. We were able to have a go at some of the crafts too.

The train took us through the countryside and out to the river inhabited by crocodiles and a variety of bird life.

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City Tour

The bus for the tour was unsuitable because the view from the windows was obscured by sun-shading. The guide was disorganised and the streets are packed with sellers all selling the same things. The dungeon visit is a shopping stop.

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We saw much of the island with a very informative guide before boarding the part submerged boat to see the sea life and ship wreck.

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