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A Gem Of An Experience On Ncl. by Lacey, Durham

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Norwegian Gem

OVERVIEW: A multitude of choices, including many dining options, add up to a very attractive vacation package, highly suitable for families with children, in a floating leisure center that provides ample facilities for enjoyment.

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A Gem Of An Experience On Ncl.

Overall Rating: 5

Cruise Line:
NCL Cruises
Cruise Ship:
Norwegian Gem

Reviewed By: on
Fresh back from our first NCL cruise, the Gem out of Barcelona. Before I write about the cruise experience can anyone explain to me why the taxi fare from the airport has risen so steeply since last year (when we paid about 25 euros) to nearly 40 euros each way? The metered fare was 30 euros or so, to which a mysterious 9 euros was added as we exited the cab. Has a new tax been introduced? With the exchange rate at virtual parity, it's an expensive way to get to and from your ship.

Now to the Gem. And what an appropriate name it is for a gem of a product. We had a so-called penthouse suite on the stern and VIP status, all booked via Flights we arranged ourselves with Easyjet from Newcastle. The cabin was huge with a vast queen sized bed, separate bath and toilet, dining area, walk through wardrobe and a balcony big enough for 2 comfy wicker chairs, a table and a sun lounger. The attention we got from Ryan, the concierge, was special. He arranged for us to have cocktails with the captain and later in the week for us to attend a cocktail party in the Courtyard where the "owners suites" are located on deck 14. At this point I realised how much I was missing!!!

Meals were mostly taken in the Magenta dining room but as part of the deal we could have breakfast and lunch in Cagney's steakhouse. The amount of food defeated us and we opted out of lunch completely. Wine was expensive as were all other alcoholic drinks. The quality of the food was very good and varied.

Our itinerary took us to Malta where we did our own thing - an open top bus tour. Then Naples where an 11 euro each way jet foil took us across to our favourite spot - Sorrento. After that we went to Rome from Civitavecchia on the train and walked to all the famous sites. At Livorno fatigue beat our planned trip by rail to Florence so we stayed on board. The final stop at Cannes and a tender to shore enabled us to walk around those wonderful little streets, savour the sights and smells before we left for the overnight cruise back to Barcelona.

We failed dismally to attend any of the headline shows in the theatre as they seemed to clash with our preferred dinner time.

NCL have a great product, well packaged and have enlisted an enthusiastic and happy crew. Compared with Celebrity Solstice (January) they are miles ahead in every way.

Times cruised before: 6-10
Sailed: September, 2009
Age: 56-65
Cabin: Suite
Occasion: Wedding anniversary

Quality of Food
Magenta Restaurant, Cagney's steakhouse and the Garden Restaurant.


Shore Excursions
Did our own thing

Our attendant Corazon

Children's Facilities

Onboard Activities


Overall Rating
Review useful?
Irving - , GRAVESEND - Commented about this Review
Did you have any trouble to get on the hydrofoil to sorrento or did you go early to miss the crowds. Do they go quite frequently and how long does it take. Glad you had an enjoyable cruise we are going on 11th October 2009 and havent sailed on the Norwegian Gem before.
07 Oct 09 00:13 - Reply - Was this comment useful?
Lacey -
, Durham - Commented to a Question by Irving (07 Oct 09 00:13)
The jetfoil leaves at 9:00am and the return is at 1:40pm so you get about 4 hours to savour the delights of Sorrento. The boats are very INFREQUENT and if you miss the early one the next is at 11:00am so you are snookered. It's 11 euros each person each way. Please don't miss the FOREIGNERS CLUB. It's 50 yards down the road which you have to walk down leading to the little dock so you can't miss it (on the right through a wide gateway and nice garden). The terrace is simply wonderful with views for which to DIE! I'll post some photos on the site right now. Your bottle of Sorrento limoncello will be snaffled on your return to the Gem and you get it back on the last night of the cruise. Have great time and please report back via this site.
08 Oct 09 11:47 - Reply - Was this comment useful?
Opinion: Agree
R -
, Watford - Commented about this Review
Agree but hey the marKeting is working " I realised how much I was missing!!!" that is exactly what the cocktail party is all about Next time you go for deck 14.
06 Oct 09 06:56 - Reply - Was this comment useful?
Lacey -
, Durham - Commented about a Comment by R (06 Oct 09 06:56)
You are right and wrong. Yes - it's a marketing ploy and no - I won't be going up there next time because it's far too expensive for me. But it was a nice touch and I appreciated the opportunity.
06 Oct 09 07:33 - Reply - Was this comment useful?
McBride -
, ALEXANDRIA - Commented about this Review
Had a similar taxi experience. The metered fare from our hotel was just under 13 euros. When I gave the driver 15 euros he informed me that the fare was 20 euros! When I protested he explained that there were surcharges to enter and exit the cruise terminal. The term 'rip-off' comes to mind!
05 Oct 09 20:43 - Reply - Was this comment useful?
powell -
, luton - Commented about this Review
We paid 32 euros each way from the airport to the port and back,but there were only 2 of us,how many of youmthey charge extra for 4 or more.
05 Oct 09 16:06 - Reply - Was this comment useful?
White -
, NORWICH - Commented about this Review
Re your comment about the mysterious extras on your taxi trip in Barcelona. We have recently done a similar journey and they add on an extra charge for each piece of luggage! So be warned for the future.
05 Oct 09 15:17 - Reply - Was this comment useful?

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