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North Plainfield...
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Trip Report: 1 night cruise to nowhere on NCL Gem

My companion and I recently attended the one night cruise to nowhere on January 23rd, 2010 out of NYC cruise port. We are both regular NCL cruise customers and even attended the one night cruise to nowhere last year. This year, though, we were both extremely unsatisfied.

To begin, the line was extra long this year. We waited about an hour and 20 minutes to board. We arrived at 1pm. After we were aboard, we went to get lunch. The buffet was too crowded and there were no seats. It was like this last year so we expected it. We then abandoned the buffet and headed to the Blue Lagoon. I ordered tomato soup and a grilled chicken sandwich. My companion ordered buffalo wings and chicken fingers. I also ordered a Mai Tai to drink. After 25 minutes, the food arrived except for the chicken fingers. We were told they were still cooking. In short, the food was terrible. Everything was cold. The chicken sandwich was very small and the bread was stale. The chicken wings were actually rotten. There was a wing that had disintegrated black bone parts in it. We showed it to the server. She shrugged and walked away. We then waited another 25 minutes for the chicken fingers to arrive. I laughed out loud when I saw the portion size. There were literally six bites of food on the plate. We are not large people at all. This plate portion would not have filled a 7 year old child.

While waiting so long, I decided on another Mai Tai. The second drink arrived but this time it was in a shorter glass of the same proportion. My guess is it was about 4 ounces less than the first one. When I inquired about it, I was told that the bar ran out of glasses. I was charged the same price.

After the so called lunch, we went to our room. As we were putting clothes away, the crew came to turn down our beds. This was about 5pm. Naturally, we were not ready for that so I asked him for two extra towels and sent him on his way.

Because of the late lunch, we decided to do a later dinner. Mistake- the dining room had a wait so we decided to eat at the buffet. Out of all my cruises including NCL and other cruise lines, this was the worst buffet I had ever eaten at. All the hot food was cold. All of the desserts were bland and all the bread tasted as if it was a day or more old. I felt as though we were eating left overs from the previous cruise. Breakfast buffet was the same way. Example-watered down cold eggs, ice cold pancakes, double reheated greasy potatoes and a broken coffee machine. I am very troubled by this as we have a cruise booked on March 20th on this very same ship. I am hoping that there will be a different chef aboard!

As for the evening entertainment, we attended karaoke which was poorly run. I came on this cruise with specific intentions; to sing karaoke and to dance at the night club. The karaoke lady lost my ticket and I had to go to her twice to see when I could finally sing. Bingo ran late so karaoke was shortened. I was one of the first to submit a song and next to last to sing. After heading to the club, well, the music was a mix of seventies and eighties even though it wasn’t supposed to be. We were in Bliss lounge. I could have dealt with it but the real problem was the temperature. It was so hot you couldn’t dance without sweating up a storm. The air conditioning on the entire ship was obsolete. Usually I am wearing a sweater indoors on a cruise. Not this one.

Finally, it was morning and I received the bill. I noticed the $12 per person service charge on it. I did not think that we deserved a service charge since we did not have any turn down in our room and we did not eat in the dining room or specialty restaurant nor was the service worthy at the Blue Lagoon. I went to the front desk and asked for a partial amount to be removed. I was told that this can’t happen on the one night cruise.

In conclusion, I believe that NCL should make this mandatory charge known to the customer before the ticket is purchased. We paid $460 plus the $24 service charge plus $30 to park the car and then the high prices of liquor where I even was ripped off on that. If I were able to, I would cancel my March 20th cruise on the Gem and if I were able, I might even think about canceling the booked cruise we have on October 20th on the Epic.

In my opinion, I feel that NCL takes advantage of the customers on the one night cruise and does not give the service and attention that is normally given on a longer cruise. Overall, we were very disappointed and may resort to booking with Royal Caribbean for future cruises.

wirral
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1. Re: Trip Report: 1 night cruise to nowhere on NCL Gem

Thank you for posting this comprehensive and very well-constructed report.I agree $500 for 24 hours of that is a major disappointment.Although I have been on quite a few cruises now (8 I think and still counting with 2 more to come in 2010) I have never been even tempted to book a cruise with NCL/MSC or Costa.Why? Because I don't like most of what I read about these cruise lines on Cruise Critic and,particularly,TA Cruises Forum.But then I am fortunate to have the time to follow both sites regularly and I realise that for some folks research time is limited.

Just out of interest tecknik-why are you seemingly wedded to NCL?

North Plainfield...
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903 posts
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2. Re: Trip Report: 1 night cruise to nowhere on NCL Gem

Well, I never had a problem on the NCL Dawn and quite frankly, I like NCL because they are not cheap on the liquor. If you ask them to make a strong drink, they will. They also have wine tastings, martini tastings and even a fun and interactive pub crawl. Yes, there is a fee but it is worth it and NCL is cheaper to book in the first place. (hence the reason for all the 'nickel and diming'. This particular one night cruise to nowhere was an exception.. I would never do it again.

One another note-

I've sailed Royal Caribbean and also Carnival.. food much SURPASSED NCL but I gained weight! lol As for drinks, Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas actually WATERS down their alcohol. I am very sure of it. I watched the bartender make me a vodka and cranberry. He filled that glass almost half way with vodka. I was scared to drink it.. well, I hardly tasted the alcohol and did not feel any effect what-so-ever.. was that way the entire cruise for the entire party I traveled with. I stuck to wine or beer.

Gee, I'm sounding like a big lush here but when I am on vacation, I like to enjoy cocktails and food.

In a nut shell-

NCL for booze and more of a party crowd

Royal Caribbean for FOOD

And the main reason I book more NCL is because there are more trip options from the port that is within driving distance of my home. Royal Caribbean leaves out of NJ and NCL out of NYC but there are far more cruises for NCL.

Take note- This is just MY opinion.. ;)

wirral
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3. Re: Trip Report: 1 night cruise to nowhere on NCL Gem

Thanks tecknik.I understand.

Chatham, Ontario
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4. Re: Trip Report: 1 night cruise to nowhere on NCL Gem

Tecknik, I haven't cruised NCL for many of the same reasons as Wirral.

I keep thinking I need to expand my horizons, be able to answer NCL questions here from 1st hand experience....then I run into another review that holds me back.

And - lol - I *am* a lush on cruises, but my favourite drink is wine, especially Spanish Cava. Hard to water down a corked bottle of wine!

Unsolicited plug ;-) Holland America Line lets you carry on unlimited amounts of wine. Unlimited, as in multiple cases. No corkage fee unless you take it to the dining room to drink.

PLEASE - keep coming back to this forum and sharing your NCL and NYC/east coast departures knowledge!

5. Re: Trip Report: 1 night cruise to nowhere on NCL Gem

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