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Old March 15th, 2008, 09:10 PM
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Default NCL Gem: Just off the ship 3/15/08

Very nice ship, Food was great. We had a great time. Any questions????
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Old March 16th, 2008, 05:05 AM
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Default Re: NCL Gem: Just off the ship 3/15/08

Quote:
Originally Posted by genmech1
Very nice ship, Food was great. We had a great time. Any questions????
Glad you had a nice time, It always good to see reports that are positive, that means someone is happy...

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Old March 16th, 2008, 01:55 PM
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I just returned from the same cruise and had a great time as well...although I thought the food was very poor overall. I'd be happy to answer any questions as well.
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Old March 16th, 2008, 02:01 PM
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I'm taking my first NCL cruise this month - leaving 3/29 for Bahamas/Florida. I was just wondering about the dinner dress code. Our travel agent told our group (there are 164 of us) that jeans were allowed in almost all dining rooms, but I was on a website that said no jeans allowed. Can someone let me know what the dress code is? Also, which restaurants do you prefer? What are some of the "must do/see" activities?
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Old March 16th, 2008, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sharon_psu
I'm taking my first NCL cruise this month - leaving 3/29 for Bahamas/Florida. I was just wondering about the dinner dress code. Our travel agent told our group (there are 164 of us) that jeans were allowed in almost all dining rooms, but I was on a website that said no jeans allowed. Can someone let me know what the dress code is? Also, which restaurants do you prefer? What are some of the "must do/see" activities?
You are not supposed to wear jeans in the Grand Pacific, but it is probably fine for all other restaurants. Magenta is the other standard dining room which offers the same menu and food as Grand Pacific, but with a more casual dress code.

My favorite specialty restaurant was probably Tepanyaki. I am not really a fan of hibatchi steak houses, but logistically, that will give you the best food on the ship. There are only 4 tables and the food is cooked right in front of you. That gives the restaurant a huge advantage over all other mass-preparation dining options on the ship. We ate at the specialty restaurants as often as possible; I hate to be harsh, but the main dining room was generally dreadful with a few exceptions.
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Old March 16th, 2008, 03:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sharon_psu
I'm taking my first NCL cruise this month - leaving 3/29 for Bahamas/Florida. I was just wondering about the dinner dress code. Our travel agent told our group (there are 164 of us) that jeans were allowed in almost all dining rooms, but I was on a website that said no jeans allowed. Can someone let me know what the dress code is? Also, which restaurants do you prefer? What are some of the "must do/see" activities?
the website probably has not been changed since the dress code was. There is one restaurant on formal optional night that does not allow jeans. other than that you should be fine. I am just going to add one thing: which is me only, make sure they are nice jeans.

Go and enjoy!!!!!
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Old March 16th, 2008, 05:28 PM
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Default food

the only food we didnt like was the steak house. The japan grill top cooking was the best meal, well worth the 25 per person. They have a coupon book at ncl.com where you can get two meals for the price of one the first night.
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Old March 16th, 2008, 08:16 PM
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I sailed the Gem out of Boston, and thought the ship was just wonderful. I dined at the Tepanyaki, and loved it, the Tex Mex restaurant was not terrific..Next time I will not order ribs on a ship:):)

My fondest memory was all the snow we had on deck, and the crew, who had never seen it before, making snow angels, and taking pix of it with their phones:) Also, on day 2..they were shoveling it over the side, and into the pool:)
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Old March 16th, 2008, 08:40 PM
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My main problem with the ship was their execution of the freestyle cruising system. It sounds amazing...like a resort hotel instead of feeling like cattle on most ships. But it just doesn't work...

1. You have the opportunity to dine at a uniquely themed specialty restaurant every night of the week for $10-$25 per person. But the food at these restaurants was still inferior to the main dining rooms at HAL or Celebrity...where you will get a uniquely themed menu every night. So you are actually paying a cover charge every night for the same variety and lesser quality. Of course, you could just stay in the NCL main dining room for no charge, but that is a different problem unto itself.

2. Overcoming the restrictions of a fixed seating is canceled out by competing for reservations with several thousand other passengers. Some nights we managed to get our time of choice, others we had to wait for over an hour to eat.

Also, the removal of a true midnight buffet was a big disappointment. They did have one late night chocolate buffet and a 24 hour restaurant (Blue Lagoon, which essentially is not edible). The freestyle dining was a great idea, but there are certain limitations on a ship that will prevent you from truly attaining a resort style dining environment. We felt that it actually limited both the quality and freedom of our dining options. We truly enjoyed our cruise, but I don't think we will ever cruise NCL again because of the food.
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Old March 16th, 2008, 08:57 PM
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Thank you all for your comments and suggestions - I really appreciate your input.
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Old March 16th, 2008, 09:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sharon_psu
Thank you all for your comments and suggestions - I really appreciate your input.
Also, if you do want to eat at a premium restaurant, be sure to reserve it one day ahead of time (especially for Tepanyaki). You may have some trouble with same day reservations, so it is best to be safe.
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Old March 17th, 2008, 06:57 PM
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Default food on cruise

I must be low class, I liked the food and would go on NCL again. The only thing that I didnt like was after paying 50.00 for a dinner for 2 was I still had to buy the cokes, when you go for the extra bucks they could give you a drink for free.
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Old March 17th, 2008, 07:28 PM
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I'm a big fan on NCLs newer Freestyle ships.

The KEY to enjoying them is partaking in several of the alternate restaurants.... so when you price out an NCL cruise automatically add perhaps $100 Per Person to the costs. If it still compares favorably to the prices of other lines you're looking at, go for it!
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Old March 17th, 2008, 08:04 PM
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Kuki, I agree... kind of

On our Pearl cruise a few months ago, we came away with good reports on the food and service (except for Blue Lagoon, hostile, slow staff, all tables were dirty with dishes left over from breakfast at 11:15 A.M. and trays lined up full of more dirty dishes that had been bussed off the breakfast tables , but left to sit in the restaurant)
Other people who were on that cruise had less than glowing reports about the food. I asked them questions and they ate at none of the speciality restaurants and only ate in the main dining room, which is basically reinforcing what you are saying.

The only hitch in my giddy up about this whole thing is an issue that was created when they instituted the new (not so new now) reservation policy about a year ago allowing you to only make reservations in the speciality restaurants no more than 24 hours in advance unless you are a suite passenger. When we were on the Sun right after they instituted this new policy, it was a huge problem, we had a heck of a time. We never got to Teppanyaki, and a few of the other restaurants on board. It was a big pain in the butt, because the only way we could get a seat is if we wanted to eat very late at night. My father is diabetic, so that was not an option.
The last cruise on the Pearl we were in a mini-suite, luckily for us they were still offering Concierge service, shortly after that they discontinued that for mini suite passengers. But even then with Concierge Services we still were unable to get into La Cuccina and the Spanish place (can't remember the name of it).

Before they implemented this new policy we would get on board and make our reservations for the entire week, it was a piece of cake. One last thing, you probably need to increase the dollars you budget by about a third or more, since they are in the process of raising the prices in the speciality restaurants and starting to charge for the previously free speciality restaurants like La Cuccina.

We did have dinner a time or two in the dining room, it was fine, not horrible, but not earth shattering either.
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Old March 18th, 2008, 09:31 AM
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It seems there is no right answer for this reservation method. When Freestyle was introduced the policy for making reservations was as it is now, but guests complained about not being able to get the restaurants they wanted anywhere near the time they choose so the policy was changed to allow booking as soon as you boarded the ship (I love that plan). After this plan went into affect too many suggested this wasn't freestyle at all as they didn't want to decide in advance where and when they would dine, so NCL went back to plan one. Now we are hearing how so many don't like it. I don't either, I wish they would revert back, but we can be ready to hear complaints if they do. It seems to be a no win situation.

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Old March 19th, 2008, 01:49 PM
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What did you guys do when you docked in
FLORIDA....Did you take any of the GEM's excursions?
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Old March 19th, 2008, 10:38 PM
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Default Re: NCL Gem: Just off the ship 3/15/08

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Originally Posted by genmech1
Very nice ship, Food was great. We had a great time. Any questions????
I AM SAILING ON THE GEM ON AUGUST 3 OUT OF BARCELONA...ANY WORDS OF WISDOM THAT YOU CAN SHARE? ANY ROOMS TO AVOID OR TO SEEK?

TEXAS Z
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Old March 21st, 2008, 05:48 PM
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We stayed in 10660, a really nice room. Its far back in the ship so lots of walking but we didnt mind. as far as FL we got off the ship and my wife draged me to wal mart. We are on vacation and she takes me to wal mart.......
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Old March 22nd, 2008, 09:48 AM
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I've never had a bad meal in a main dining room. The Prime Rib was wonderful. I've eaten in 3 specialty resturants, just to see whhat they were like, not for better food. I never had an issue making reservations. I also don't fo in with the idea that the food will be bad. I am, obviously, too easy to please
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Old March 22nd, 2008, 10:46 PM
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Food for us was fine, and the ship wonderful but hate the constant noise of the big screene, internet location becomes far to noisey to even think, should move art auctions some where else and put internet room there like was origionally planned............Ate at Cagneys and personally I WOULD NOT spend the extra money for these places to eat, the dinning room for us was excellent, the food was fine, and all of us agreed ( 10 in the party for dinner ) that we were surprised that we actually prefered the meal ion Pacific than we did in Cagneys, but food is personal I guess, just odd that all ten of us ( ages ranging from 18 to 70 ) comented that it was not better in cagneys and for several the foad was not well liked. The pool area is wonderful, staff helpful, friendly, decor, I like abit of fun and it is fun, shows were kind of stale, the water show by staff gets stale and if you take more than one NCL, you get tired of seeing it, Ice carving was done at night this time, a shame as the kids like it and many could not go as it was at 11 PM. The rooms are small but very well appointed, we enjoyed the cruise a great deal and especially that it leaves out of New York. We specifically look for cruises with this departure point now, it is just so much easier.
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Old March 24th, 2008, 10:07 AM
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I am leaving on the Gem this saturday. I booked a guarantee room and they stuck us on the 4th deck, any comments?

any suggestions on things to do in the Bahamas?
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Old March 24th, 2008, 11:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimmic
I am leaving on the Gem this saturday. I booked a guarantee room and they stuck us on the 4th deck, any comments?

any suggestions on things to do in the Bahamas?
If you are traveling with kids (and possibly even if you are not), I would highly recommend visiting the Atlantis resort when the ship stops in Nassau. It takes some maneuvering to acquire a day pass to the resort, but it can be done and it should not cost much more than your average shore excursion.
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Old March 25th, 2008, 02:59 PM
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[quote="jimmic"]I am leaving on the Gem this saturday. I booked a guarantee room and they stuck us on the 4th deck, any comments?
quote]

Maybe I'm misunderstanding you, but did NCL do something wrong with the assignment? Was there a downgrade? It just seems that you are upset about it, which is why I'm asking.
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Old March 25th, 2008, 06:45 PM
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Twice recently we have decided on guaranteed cabins, once on Princess, once on HAL, both times we ended up on deck 4, but on the HAL cruise we had a great cabin, aft, no noise and a little larger than other outside cabins, on the Princess we had a great location. When you book a guaranteed cabin you are gambling. You may be one of those who get a super upgrade or you may get the catagory you booked. This is something that really needs to be explained to anyone who chooses to go this way.

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Old April 9th, 2008, 10:26 PM
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One thing I have learned about cruise reviews is not to listen to anyone about food. Food is very subjective (as is everything else). What are people comparing the food to? Applebees, home cooking, Ruth's Chris or a 5 star restaurant? Remember, the ship is serving meals to over 3000 people. The only ships you're going to get 5 star dining on is the high end luxury ships.

We were on the Gem for Christmas and it was the BEST in the NCL fleet. The food in every restaurant (and we tried them all) was great. My DH is the pickest eater out there and he loved everything. Even the buffet was very appetizing (which I usually turn up my nose to).

You either love or hate Freestyle Cruising. We love the flexibility! That's what vacas are all about.
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Old April 9th, 2008, 11:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vacaqn
One thing I have learned about cruise reviews is not to listen to anyone about food. Food is very subjective (as is everything else). What are people comparing the food to? Applebees, home cooking, Ruth's Chris or a 5 star restaurant? Remember, the ship is serving meals to over 3000 people. The only ships you're going to get 5 star dining on is the high end luxury ships.

We were on the Gem for Christmas and it was the BEST in the NCL fleet. The food in every restaurant (and we tried them all) was great. My DH is the pickest eater out there and he loved everything. Even the buffet was very appetizing (which I usually turn up my nose to).

You either love or hate Freestyle Cruising. We love the flexibility! That's what vacas are all about.
Great point... the food and bev director on the Star befriended us on our recent trip -- he said that on that run they were serving 14,000 meals a day!
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