In Italy's Emilia-Romagna region sits the beautiful and historic city of Ravenna. It is well-known for the vibrant mosaics that cover many of its key structures, including the cross-shaped Mausoleo di Galla Placidia, the sixth-century Basilica di Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, and the octagonal Basilica di San Vitale. Located in the centre of the city is the Mausoleo di Teodorico, a circular Gothic stone tomb that was constructed in the sixth century for King Theodoric the Great.
Things to do in Ravenna:
Basilica di San Vitale
Italy's Ravenna is home to the Basilica of San Vitale, which houses Christian Byzantine art and architecture. Dating back to the sixth-century church, it's one of eight Ravenna buildings that have been included as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Ravenna Art Museum
This museum is one of the hubs of the city's cultural life, hosting festivals, exhibits, and collections of both modern and ancient art. It is housed in a 16th-century monastery in the Public Gardens and is responsible for resuming cultural and recreational activities in addition to significant conservation and research projects.
Basilica di Sant' Apollinare Nuovo
In Ravenna, Italy, there is a basilica church called the Basilica of Sant'Apollinare Nuovo. Theodoric the Great, the Ostrogothic ruler, built it as his royal chapel in the first half of the sixth century and it was originally consecrated to "Christ the Redeemer" in 504 AD.
DAY 218 Jul 2023
The ‘floating city’ of Venice has romantic connotations all over the world. Known for picturesque canals, colourful buildings, gentle gondola rides, good food, and an ample supply of history, this is one Italian destination that sits on many a bucket list. See magnificent architecture in St Mark’s Square, the fascinating Doge’s Palace, St Mark’s Basilica, and the famous Bridge of Sighs. After soaking in centuries of history, be sure to make time to simply watch the world go by with a world-class cup of coffee and a piece of tiramisu, or indeed an indulgent glass of wine and pasta dish.
Things to do in Venice:
Located in the Venetian lagoon, Giudecca Island is a small, attractive resort offering some lovely cafes, bars, and restaurants as well as pretty architecture. Over the years it has had a varied history, having been the home to some grand palaces and gardens, before becoming a centre of industry in the 20th century, particularly during World War II. One 16th century mansion has been converted into a beautiful luxury villa.
St. Mark's Square
Piazza San Marco – or St Mark’s Square – is the main square in Venice. It is one of the main attractions, and has had a vibrant role in Venetian history, having been a centre of politics, commerce, and religion over the years. Today it is one of Venice’s main attractions, being surrounded by beautiful architecture on all sides – including the magnificent Basilica di San Marco.
Bridge of Sighs
This well-known, historic piece of architecture joins Venice’s prisons to Doge’s Palace – or more accurately, the interrogation rooms in the palace. Legend says that when prisoners of the 17th century crossed the bridge into the prison, they sighed at their last view of Venice – hence the name. Today the bridge also has romantic significance, with local lore saying that lovers who kiss beneath the bridge in a gondola will have a love that lasts forever.
From the late 7th century until the late 18th, Venice had a system of doges, who acted as elected leaders of the region. Doge’s Palace – now known as Palazzo Ducale – was built in the 14th century as a residence for the doge, and for other political bodies. It was a venue used for debates, a court of law, grand events such as balls, and even had prison cells on the ground floor. The beautiful palace is located in Piazza San Marco, and was opened to visitors in 1923.
Island of Burano
Within Venice’s lagoon is the picturesque island of Burano, well known for its colourful buildings and pretty canals. First inhabited in the 6th century, Burano has long been a small fishing community, which rose in prominence with the production of lace in the 16th century – a tradition it is still known for today. Burano is a gorgeous spot to wander around, enjoy a gelato, and browse the fabulous range of intricate lace work which is available to purchase in varying forms.
DAY 319 Jul 2023
Although the largest town in Coastal Slovenia, Koper is a hidden gem that, at first glance, may seem like a simple port city. But at the heart of this destination is fascinating medieval history just waiting to be unravelled, with the Praetorian Palace being a real highlight. Easily covered on foot, a simple stroll around the city will take you to ancient architecture, traditional taverns, shopping and wine cellars.
Things to do in Koper:
For a quaint, peaceful escape from the city, Hrastovlje Village is home to scenic views of rolling hills, vineyards and traditional Istrian architecture. Here, you’ll find the 13th-century Church of the Holy Trinity, as well as art galleries, hiking and cycling.
This pebble beach is located just a short distance from the cruise terminal, making it an easy place to visit and soak up the sun. With plenty of lounging chairs available as well as a restaurant, café and showers, Koper City Beach has everything you need for a relaxed day out.
As one of the most integral structures in Koper, the Praetorian Palace is an impressive landmark that will take visitors on a journey of the town’s history. Built in the 15th century, it represents a Venetian Gothic style and serves as a Tourist Information Centre from where you can take tours.
DAY 420 Jul 2023
As Croatia’s second-largest city, Split is an integral tourist hotspot in the Adriatic Sea. The unique setting of coastal mountains and bright blue ocean makes for the perfect backdrop to a cruise holiday, while the city itself has a very homely, local feel. Stroll past high-rise, rustic apartments and discover the many hidden gems and highlights such as Diocletian’s Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that will leave you in awe.
Things to do in Split:
As one of the most well-preserved sites of Roman architecture in the world, it’s no wonder this fortress is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Now home to many shops, restaurants and apartments, the palace is a beautiful place to wander, day or night.
Krka National Park
Home to breath-taking waterfalls and lush, thriving forest, Krka National Park is a must visit for lovers of the outdoors. Discover over 800 species of plant life, over 200 species of bird and 18 species of bat, as well as the tiny island of Visovac.
The central square of the palace, Peristil Square was once the perfect space for opera theatre and now provides the scenery for a delicious cup of coffee. Towering above is the 57-metre belfry where, once climbing the steps, visitors will find gorgeous views across town.
St Duje's Cathedral
This excellent example of beautifully-preserved ancient Roman architecture is where you’ll find the bell tower, treasury and even a crypt. Built in the 4th century, it houses many artefacts, sculptures , carvings and murals.
For breath-taking views out across the city, Marjan Park is the place to be. The walk up from Old Town Split is fairly easy, and visitors will find a café as well as the lookout point. From here, you can continue the hike to the Church of St Nicholas, a beautiful, small stone church.
Campanile Bell Tower
Built in 1100 AD, this beautiful Romanesque bell tower stands at 60 metres tall with sweeping views of the city and mountains. Though this landmark may not be for the faint of heart, climbing the many steps is well worth it to admire the landscape at the top.
A must visit for fans of the hit series, Game of Thrones, Klis Fortress is well worth a visit just for the spectacular views alone. With over two thousand years of history, the ruins are fascinating to explore for all ages and provide fantastic photo opportunities.
DAY 521 Jul 2023
Nestled among the mountains, Kotor provides the setting for a picturesque cruise holiday. A walk around Old Town Budva will take you past timeless architecture, while San Giovanni Castle has the best photo opportunities. Kotor is not just for relaxing and scenic strolls though, with Aquapark Budva providing a fun-filled day for all the family. Don’t forget to stop by the many charming eateries in between for an authentic taste of Kotor cuisine too.
Things to do in Kotor:
If you are looking for a secluded beach tucked away in serenity by beautiful rock coves, head to Jaz Beach where you’ll be able to sunbathe and relax.
St Tryphon’s Cathedral
After being restored numerous times following earthquakes, St Tryphon’s Cathedral continues to represent the expertise of Roman architecture. With many stunning artefacts and decorations, this cathedral is well worth exploring.
Lovćen National Park
A short drive from Kotor, Lovćen National Park is home to imposing mountains including the spectacular Mount Lovćen standing 1,749 metres high. With no shortage of outdoor adventures to discover, visitors will love quad biking and zip lining in particular.
With countless boutiques, authentic eateries, and bars as well as a quaint museum teeming with ancient artefacts, Old Town Budva is a delightful place to explore. Enjoy dessert from a charming bakery, admire the view from the citadel and bask in the peace and quiet.
San Giovanni Castle
After climbing 1,350 stairs to a height of 1,200 metres you’ll find this impressive fortress built between the 9th and 19th centuries. With Byzantine and Venetian roots, this structure is beautifully preserved and teeming with fascinating history to discover.
Nestled in lush surroundings with views over the town nearby, Aquapark Budva is perfect for spending a hot afternoon cooling off. The park features multiple pools and waterslides to suit a range of ages, as well as a restaurant, bars, shops and lockers.
DAY 622 Jul 2023
Found on the southeast edge of Italy, Bari has long been a large and bustling port town which boasts some fascinating history. There are plenty of religious buildings to see which house the relics of various saints – including those of St Nicholas (Santa Claus), and Saint Columba of Ireland. It’s also worth exploring the Old Town and Piazza Mercantile, to get a flavour of traditional Bari life complete with fresh Italian cooking, children playing football, and of course plenty of wine. In the piazza is also the ‘colonna infame’, which dates back to the first century AD. It’s here where criminals were held in years gone by to be ridiculed and punished.
Things to do in Bari:
St. Nichola's Basilica
Dating back to the 12th century, Basilica di San Nicola, was originally built to house the remains and relics of St Nicholas (popularly known as Santa Claus), which were stolen around that time from Myra in Turkey. The arrival of the important relics is re-enacted every year in May, when locals arrive to the port by boat with an icon-style painting of the saint. This basilica is an important pilgrimage among Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians.
Although less famous, many say that Bari Cathedral is actually a more important building than Basilica di San Nicola in Bari. It was built in the 12th-13th centuries, on the site of another cathedral that was destroyed by King William I of Sicily in the mid-12th century. It is dedicated to San Sabino, whose relics were brought to the area in the 9th century and are now stored in the cathedral. Some relics of Saint Columba of Ireland are also kept here.
It’s believed that the original castle structure was built around 1130-1135, by the Norman King Roger II of Sicily, only to be destroyed by William I of Sicily in 1156. Then King Frederick II of Sicily rebuilt it in the 13th century. Today visitors can explore some of the castle, where art exhibitions and events are often held. There is also a permanent collection of plaster cast replicas of 11th to 17th century artefacts.
Bari Old Town
Known locally as Bari Vecchia, the old part of the city is full of quaint streets and charming architecture. It provides the quintessential Italian atmosphere of narrow roads, children playing football, laundry hanging overhead, and the smells of delicious food being prepared. The streets of Old Bari can lead you to or away from the main square (Piazza Mercantile), where attractions such as the Basilica di San Nicola are located.
The main square of the old town, Piazza Mercantile is a vibrant social hub of eateries and bars and has been since medieval times. In around the 14th century traders came here to sell their wares – although today’s marketplace is not located here – and it quickly became the place to eat, drink, and be merry. There is some important architecture surrounding the square too, such as the 13th Colonna Infame, and the 16th century Palazzo del Sedile (old town hall and clock tower).
Column of Justice
Otherwise known as the Colonna Infame – or infamous column – this menacing lion statue and column are situated in one corner of Piazza Mercantile. The lion wears an inscribed collar reading ‘Custos Iusticiae’ – or ‘Keeper of Justice’, and represents law and order, and protection of the city. The lion dates back to around the first century AD, but the column was not installed until the 16th century. It is believed that debtors and other small-time criminals were once tied to the column to be publicly shamed and ridiculed.
DAY 723 Jul 2023
One of Greece’s most verdant islands and perfect for a family holiday with charming architecture, an impressive fort and a 16th century church, Agios Spyridhon. Mount Pantokrantor rears up in the north of the island and all around the edges are sandy beaches and small villages. Whether you’re here to top up a tan on the stunning Loggas Beach or eager to discover the gorgeous monuments, Corfu has something for everyone.
Things to do in Corfu:
This hidden gem will provide the perfect getaway from bustling crowds. If you’re looking to relax in a quaint fishing village, enjoy traditional Corfiot cuisine on the waterfront and take a dip in the vibrant waters, Agni Bay is the place for you.
Surrounded by imposing cliffs, Loggas Beach – otherwise known as Sunset Beach – is one of the most beautiful spots in Corfu. You won’t find wild water sports here, instead you’ll witness breath-taking sunsets and take a dip in the warm, gentle water.
Saint George Church
Built in 1840 for British troops serving in Corfu, the Church of St George now hosts only two services each year, as well as occasional exhibitions. With views out over Garitsa Bay, this church resembles an ancient Greek temple and provides great photo opportunities.
Found on a tiny islet close by to the airport of Corfu, Vlacherna Monastery dates back to around the 17th and 18th centuries. The beautifully preserved building is a great photo opportunity particularly at sunset, and the perfect place to take a romantic stroll.
DAY 824 Jul 2023
Known for unrivalled views, sparkling blue sea and iconic bleached-white architecture, Santorini is a truly unforgettable destination. A stroll down one of the many cobbled streets and along the volcanic-sand beaches is the perfect way to spend a romantic evening, while kids and families will love taking the plunge from a caldera cruise and exploring the colourful markets. Finally, don’t forget to delve into Santorini’s past at the many museums on offer.
Things to do in Thira, Santorini:
Located in the centre of Fira, the Archaeological Museum of Thera is a must visit for insight into the civilizations that came before present day, featuring artefacts from the Archaic, Roman, Geometric and Hellenistic periods, including Byzantine works of art.
Thira, as the capital of Santorini, is the gem of the area and boasts fantastic nightlife and restaurants with mouthwatering food. Here you can feel and be part of the action as it all takes place.
Museum of Prehistoric Thera
Home to the artefacts found at multiple archaeological sites such as Akrotiri, some of these excavations were discovered as early as 1867. Visitors will find numerous temporary and permanent exhibitions offering insight into the prehistoric age of Thira.
Santorini Cable Car
Before the cable car, tourists to Santorini would have to climb the winding stairs to the capital or ride by mule. Now, this mode of transport offers stunning sights of the land and sea on the way up, as well as access to the volcano.
If you are looking to get a better look at the local geography, Santorini Volcano is a fantastic place to start with regular boat trips to look at the powerful effects that a volcano can have on the local environment.
Mykonos Town, Mykonos
DAY 925 Jul 2023
Whether you’re in the mood for stretching out on an idyllic beach, itching to explore the maze of streets in search of seafood, or even looking to dance the night away at a seaside superclub, Mykonos has something for everyone. History buffs will be fascinated by the archaeological site of Delos, while Mykonos Windmills provide the perfect holiday snap. A romantic dinner along Little Venice is a must for couples- especially at sunset.
Things to do in Mykonos Town, Mykonos:
This row of 18th century fishing houses looks out onto the crystal clear sea, providing beautiful views both day and night. Though they aren’t fishing houses anymore, the shops, restaurants and bars that have replaced them still give a very enchanting waterfront experience.
Boasting plenty of sun-kissed beaches, including Fokos and Kapari beaches, there's plenty of space and options for a relaxing day on the sand by the blue sea.
Paraportiani Church is one of the most photographed churches in the world, and it’s easy to see why. The whitewashed structure stands out vibrantly against the ocean backdrop, creating fantastic photo opportunities and a romantic place to take a stroll.
Featured on many postcards you’ll find in Greece, the Mykonos Windmills are an iconic sight of the island. Once vital to the economy, the seven windmills are now a beautiful spot to take photos and explore- particularly at sunset.
Day or night, Matoyianni Street is bustling with shopping, dining and bars. It’s the perfect place to find handmade souvenirs, such as jewellery and even sandals, as well as other designer boutiques. Visitors will also love the live music here!
Delos Archaeological Site
This small island is one of the most prominent archaeological sites in Greece, and is simply teeming with mythological and historical insights. Visitors will marvel at the artefacts exhibited here, including sculptures of Apollo and Artemis.
DAY 1026 Jul 2023
Just a short distance from Athens, Piraeus is the biggest port in the Mediterranean and sees over 20 million cruisers each year. This port city is a perfect example of life by the sea, boasting an impressive harbour and authentic seafood dining, as well as the rich and fascinating history of ancient Greece. Whether you’re looking to discover archaeological findings or just want to relax in the sun at a friendly café, Piraeus is the place to be.
Things to do in Athens (Piraeus):
Agia Triada Church
Despite being a modern construction, Agia Triada features Byzantine architecture as well as an impressive dome that is visible from every spot within the church. Overlooking the port of Piraeus, Agia Triada is a must visit to discover the history of the town and take in the tranquillity.
This vibrant and colourful district is nestled on top of a hill with views out over the bay. A walk around this neighbourhood will take you to quaint cafes, neoclassical architecture, Prophet Elias church and the Veakeion outdoor theatre.
Covering the Mycenaean period to the Roman era, the Piraeus Archaeological Museum offers artefacts excavated from Piraeus’ landscape, as well as collections donated from other sites. Visitors will discover monuments, statues, artwork and more.
One of only three surviving Liberty ships, the SS Hellas Liberty is a fascinating vessel to explore. This floating maritime museum was presented to the public in 2010 and covers a range of exhibits people of all ages will enjoy.
With stunning views of the Saronic Gulf and the beautiful vessels moored in the harbour, the bay of Zea is the perfect place to go for a walk, enjoy a delicious coffee and take in the sunshine. You’ll find many hidden gems here, including ancient walls.
Customer reviews for Norwegian Gem
Based on 10 reviews
Value for money
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.
21 Jan 2019
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!
18 Mar 2017
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.
19 Feb 2017
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.
All offers and prices are subject to change and availability at time of enquiry. Prices are based on two passengers sharing unless otherwise stated and are subject to the Tour Operator's terms and conditions. Cabin and Flight supplements may apply. Other supplements may apply in addition to the price shown above. Flight details, timings and routing may be subject to alteration. Other tour operator charges may also apply. Any Onboard Spending money or drinks package value shown will be per cabin, again based on two sharing.
Note: On 13 January 2018, new European legislation is being adopted in the UK which as result will mean that we may change our required method of payment at our discretion, irrespective of how any deposit or prior payment was made.