If you're looking for a freestyle cruise experience that takes you to breathtaking destinations everywhere from North America to the Greek Isles, Norwegian Gem, sister ship to Norwegian Pearl, is the perfect choice. Giving you the freedom you really want from a cruise, including unfixed dining times and dressing up as and when you feel like it, enjoy your time onboard and ashore at your own pace courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line. Whether you're savouring the flavours of Japanese Teppanyaki or Italian dishes at La Cucina, trying your hand at bungee trampolining or singing your heart out in a karaoke session, Norwegian Gem has everything you need to embark on an exceptional cruise holiday.
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With 11 bars and lounges to explore, topped with 12 restaurants to dine in, Norwegian Gem excels itself in offering all the drinking and eating options you could wish for. Rather than offering just several places to eat, Gem's strength is that everywhere offers something a little different. If you fancy some light Tapas dishes to share with a group, head to the Tequila Latin restaurant. If you're more in the mood for a great American steak, Cagney's Steakhouse will curb your hunger perfectly in a brilliant 1930’s-style dining venue.
Just as with the array of dining options to suit every palate, there is also a bar and lounge serving drinks to please every guest. Care for a specialist malt whiskey to cap off the night? Then you'll do well to find yourself in the Maltings Beer & Whiskey Bar where you can really let the flavours swirl in this relaxing and cosy atmosphere. Everything from cocktails to coffee and fine wines are all taken care of too, adding to the stream of choice on offer during your cruise.
If you’d prefer to not spend your evening in a bar, head to the Stardust Theatre and catch one of the amazing live performances. Alternatively, if your holiday has got you feeling lucky, try your hand at a slot machine or table game at the onboard casino.
Norwegian Gem also remains a brilliant choice for family cruises, with excellent facilities and activities to please guests of every age. If you want to spend time together as a family, try your hand at some putting practice at the golf driving nets or see who can reach the highest point on the climbing wall. Alternatively, the mix of retro and modern games at the video arcade is bound to be a crowd pleaser.
There are also a range of kids clubs on the ship, with dedicated spaces providing the chance for younger cruisers to learn, play and make new friends.
The leisure and entertainment onboard excels in every way on NCL Gem. The jogging track lets you fit in your morning run with ease whilst offering you gorgeous views of the ocean. The outdoor courts allow for a spot of tennis, volleyball or basketball for even more of a sports kick. If you’d like a more thorough workout, the fitness centre is perfect for you. With everything from free weights to exercise machines and group classes, all you need to work up a sweat is right there.
However, heavy exercise isn’t everyone’s idea of a holiday. If this sounds like you, check out the onboard spa and beauty salon where you can expect an extensive menu of treatments, expertly carried out by experienced professionals.
With two pools and six hot tubs, the pool deck on Norwegian Gem is always a hit. Whether you like lounging in the sun or doing lengths of the pool, you’re guaranteed to be in amongst the hustle and bustle of cruise ship life in this area. However, if you’re looking for a quieter afternoon, the library, card room and art gallery are all peaceful spaces available for guests enjoyment. While you’re inside, head to the shops and have a browse to see if there are any duty-free treats that take your fancy as a holiday memento.
The ship was clean and comfortable but a bit cramped and noisy. The Stateroom was on the small size and very little room to get comfortable, furniture was badly laid out and for example, there was no bedside table on one side of the bed. The carpet fitted very badly around the room and very little desk space to do anything. Too stay less than 5 hours in Port on a number of occasions was totally unacceptable and managing embarkation and disembarkation at times were at best chaotic. The entertainment was not up to the required standard and the board games were quite often missing pieces. The Steam room was inefficient and was not switched on early enough for maximum efficiency However, I found the staff to be helpful and courteous and they should be congratulated for that.
We did the 2 nights Niagara, 3 nights New York, 10 days cruising on the Gem in February. This was our first visit to North America and our first ever cruise (so cannot compare to other lines), and we had a great time, although wouldn't go to Niagara again now we have seen the falls. We stayed at the Sheraton, which, according to reviews, is just about the best mainstream hotel available and ate in the buffet restaurant (1 dinner & 2 breakfasts) - a bit pricey but good and with fantastic views. The area around the hotel is very tacky with amusement arcades etc and not to our liking. Included transfer to train station to catch the Amtrak to NYC was fine, luckily got there early as within 1/2 hour was absolutely packed with Brits doing the same itinerary. Yes, the train was slow (total journey around 11 hrs) but we didn't mind as seats were comfortable. Husband queued for 2 hrs for coffee but, as he said, he didn't have anything else to do! Took taxi from Penn station to our hotel - The Marcel at Gramercy, which was fine for us, although compact, with a view of the Empire State Building. Had great 2 full days in NY - did 9/11 museum, Top of the Rock, brunch at Grand Central etc. Thoroughly recommend Bluebell Cafe near hotel, especially Sunday brunch. Included transfer to Gem very disorganised, our 'private' car was booked for 11.30 but we didn't get one until about 1pm and then had to share it. The same happened with included transfer from Gem to JFK at the end of cruise. Anyway, on to the Gem. We loved it. Yes it is geared up for the American customer but there were quite a lot of Brits and other nationalities on board and, believe me, obnoxious and loud individuals come from a variety of countries including the UK. Luckily the ship is big enough to get away from them! We ate in the MDR most of the time and found the food and service very good. We had bought the 3 nights speciality dining package but really didn't think it worth it or necessary. Always good choice available in buffet, especially at breakfast time. The drinks package was included in the deal and it was great not having to worry about the final bill. Our balcony cabin was midships on Deck 9 and very comfortable, especially the bed. We took 3 excursions with NCL as rookie cruisers, which were a bit pricey but very enjoyable. We loved the musician Leo who played guitar and sang in the evenings but didn't go to entertainment in the theatre once, so can't comment. A great first cruise and we are definitely hooked, having booked another one, this time sailing from Southampton, within 2 weeks of our return!
Just returned from a ten day Caribbean cruise on the Gem. A great cruise and a superb experience overall. Only criticism is that because NCL is American owned we had to pay gratuities on everything we bought from the bar (we didn't have full drinks package). I don't mind tipping people that I choose to tip but resent that it is compulsory.
Just returned from 3days Niagara, 3 days New York. No complaints. Joined Gem for 10 days cruise. Ship was fine, cabin was very good. Food was geared mainly to Asian cuisine, rice and noodles, lentils and spicy foods, OK burgers and french fries always available. The Grand Pacific - service was appalling and food not up to usual cruise ship restaurant standard. Garden Cafe had a special Asian Night - no change there as the food was very repetitive and Asian based for 10 days. As a frequent cruiser, will not be joining this line again as my personal experience is better served with other lines.