One of the Basque country’s best destinations, Bilbao is a hub of fascinating architecture, contemporary design and artistic flair in almost every direction you look. Start your exploration in Plaza Nueva for the best sightseeing, shopping and cuisine, as well as museums and galleries. You’ll also find many lush parks in the city and rolling hills in the surrounding areas, making this a truly unique experience in comparison to most Spanish city breaks.
Things to do in Bilbao (Getxo):
Built in the 14th and 15th centuries, Bilbao Cathedral has a Gothic style exterior and interior, though with Renaissance and neo-Classical influences. Despite still being a working church, visitors can take a tour with information provided by an audio guide.
Basilica de Begona
Towering from the top of a hill, the 16th-century Basilica de Begoña can be reached on foot or by an elevator from Calle Esperanza. Its imposing Gothic steeple makes a fantastic photo opportunity while, inside the basilica, you’ll find an intricate gold altarpiece.
Bilbao Fine Arts Museum
Displaying works from the 12th century through to the present day, the Museum of Fine Arts of Bilbao is a must visit particularly for traditional art enthusiasts. Visitors will find paintings, sculptures, drawings, engravings and more, organised by topic alphabetically.
One of the largest museums in Spain, the Guggenheim Museum is dedicated to showcasing modern and contemporary art. The building itself is a unique architectural landmark while inside you’ll find countless ever-changing exhibitions.
If you’re in need of some authentic Spanish cuisine after a long day of sightseeing and shopping, Plaza Nueva is the place to be. The square has a reputation as the city’s social gathering spot, hosting markets, bars, cafés and more. This is the place to try a renowned local pinxo!
DAY 321 Sep 2023
Time at Port: from 7 AM to 7 PM
The largest and capital city of Portugal, and one of the oldest cities in the world, Lisbon is an idyllic cruise holiday destination, offering attractions to suit all interests. From ancient forts to artistic neighbourhoods and the breath-taking Jerónimos Monastery, this port of call has plenty to explore. Families will love to discover the many species at the Oceanarium, while couples will love an escape to the charming town of Sintra to explore the castle.
Things to do in Lisbon:
One of the oldest and most vibrant districts of Lisbon, Alfama is the place to be for artisan eateries, quirky boutiques and Fado bars. It’s best explored on foot or by the tram to experience as many of the attractions and highlights as possible.
One of the most visited sites in Lisbon, the Jerónimos Monastery was completed in the seventeenth century. In 1983 UNESCO declared it as a World Heritage Site and it’s certainly a must visit to admire the beautiful architecture both inside and out.
Here visitors will discover over 450 different species of marine life, including sharks, rays, penguins and otters. Cruisers of all ages will love following the route around the central aquarium to learn about the major ecosystems of the ocean.
Torre de Belem
Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983, Torre de Belém was built to protect Lisbon from attackers from the sea. Despite its role, the fort was decorated with lavish carvings and details, which are best viewed from the banks of the Rio Tejo.
Tram 28 is the classic Lisbon mode of transportation – rattling around the narrow streets in a bright yellow tram that dates back to the 1930’s. Hop on and take one of the best tours of Lisbon, passing highlights and attractions along the way.
Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its cultural landscape, Sintra is a romantic destination to escape to for the day. Featuring enchanting palaces and rolling hills, this town is easily accessible from Lisbon via a regular train service.
St George's Castle
Established in 200 BC, Castelo de Sao Jorge is one of the biggest highlights of Lisbon. Get to know the city’s unique and fascinating history, explore the imposing walls, wander the shady gardens and admire the vast views from the Observation Terrace.
DAY 523 Sep 2023
Time at Port: from 6 AM to 8 PM
Considered one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in Europe, Cádiz charms every visitor who sets foot there. It’s 3,000 years of history are just waiting to be discovered through its monuments, museums, and winding streets, with Cadiz Cathedral being a real highlight. Families will love Playa La Caleta which has all the amenities needed to spend a whole day on the sand and in the water, but don’t forget to check out which festivals and celebrations are going on during your visit.
Things to do in Cadiz:
Built between 1722 and 1838, the iconic yellow-domed Cadiz Cathedral is an impressive example of Baroque-neoclassical construction. When taking a look around inside, be sure to check out the wood-carved choir, and listen out for the sound effects in the crypt below.
Castle of Santa Catalina
This free-to-enter monument is a real hidden gem on La Caleta beach. The exterior of this 17th-century fortress is impressive itself, and visitors will find art exhibitions inside as well as craft workshops and concerts.
Filled with swaying palm trees, blooming flora and lush, green fauna, Genovés Park is a brilliant place to escape the faster pace of the city. Boasting plants from all over the world as well as waterfalls and wildlife, people of all ages will love this tranquil garden.
Playa la Caleta
It’s no wonder Playa La Caleta is Cadiz’ most popular beach. Visitors will find everything they need close to the golden sand, including restaurants, bars and flamenco clubs, as well as toilets and showers.
On a small islet at the end of La Caleta beach sits the Castle of San Sebastian. Construction began in 1706 to fortify the bays defence, and in 1985 the structure was declared a cultural landmark. Explore the grounds and discover the long, rich history of this well-preserved fortress.
DAY 624 Sep 2023
Time at Port: from 7 AM to 10 PM
Nestled between Spain and Morocco, this small piece of Britain offers a warmer climate and Europe’s only wild apes. Visitors of all ages will love watching these primates at play, as well as hiking the trails through the Upper Rock Nature Reserve where you’ll find Saint Michael’s Cave. Finally, don’t forget to leave time to enjoy your favourite British classics at the numerous pubs, or try traditional Spanish tapas.
Things to do in Gibraltar:
One especially for the animal-lovers, a trip to Apes Den is a must to get up close to the only free-roaming primates in Europe. Located at two cable-car stations, these monkeys are inquisitive, playful and curious and will keep you entertained for hours.
Upper Rock Nature Reserve
1,400 feet above the sea, this is one of the best attractions of Gibraltar and a must visit to spot its fascinating wildlife, such as the Barbary Macaques. Take a walk, admire the views and get up close with nature – but keep an eye on your belongings!
Great Siege Tunnels
The Great Siege Tunnels are a must visit for history enthusiasts for their vital role played during the Great Siege on Gibraltar by Spain and France. Taking a tour of these impressive tunnels is a great way to get to know the history of this territory.
For the adventurous and determined, the Mediterranean Steps is a challenging hike that rewards you with stunning views at 421 metres above sea level. Admire the many species of flora and fauna, as well as the wildlife, such as Barbary Macaques and Barbary Partridges.
Saint Michael's Cave
After being linked to numerous myths and legends throughout time, Saint Michael’s Cave is teeming with fascinating history. Found within the Upper Rock Nature Reserve, it houses an auditorium for shows, drama, music and spectacular light shows.
Ibiza Town, Ibiza
DAY 826 Sep 2023
Time at Port: from 12 PM to 10 PM
Renowned for its legendary nightlife scene and stylish shopping, Ibiza will introduce you to not only some of the best clubs in the world, but also to its intricate architecture and delicious seafood cuisine. By day, shop until you drop, wander through museums, and get lost in the narrow cobbled streets, then, as the sun begins to go down, dance the night away.
Things to do in Ibiza Town, Ibiza:
Translated to ‘Upper Town’, Dalt Vila sits atop a small mountain with views across the town and out to sea. Recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999 for its cultural and historic importance and impressive architecture, Dalt Vila is well worth exploring.
While Ibiza is known for its thriving nightlife, Pacha is the original club, first created in 1973. Its unrivalled reputation for throwing the biggest, best parties makes it a must visit, and thanks to its roster of talented DJs, you’re sure to have the time of your life.
Platja d'en Bossa
Famous for its countless bars, restaurants and shops, as well as the longest beach on the island, Platja d’en Bossa is the place to be to top up your tan. Lounge in the sun, take a jet ski for a spin or enjoy a boat party – this resort has something for everyone.
Palma De Mallorca
DAY 927 Sep 2023
Time at Port: from 8 AM to 7 PM
On the coast of the largest Balearic island, this sun-soaked seaside city dates back to the 13th-century and is a must visit for any adventurer. A simple stroll will take you on a journey back in time, past breath-taking architecture, medieval history, bustling markets and to an endless array of authentic eateries. With so many hidden gems amongst iconic landmarks, places like Casa Antiguo are the best bet for a true taste of Palma culture.
Things to do in Palma De Mallorca:
Le Seu Cathedral
Found in the heart of Palma, La Seu is a stunning Catalan Gothic style cathedral, with renowned architect Antoni Gaudí contributing to its intricate design. Featuring 61 stained-glass windows, the building flooding with coloured light inside is simply a must.
Castell de Bellver
Built in the 14th century, Bellver Castle is surrounded by lush pine woods and houses an insightful museum of Palma’s municipal history. Visitors will love taking a walk around the moat before admiring the view out over the city and bay from the rooftop.
The quaint, winding cobbled streets of Casco Antiguo are the perfect place to lose yourself in the culture of Palma. Discover gothic bookshops, antique boutiques and must-see tourist sites such as La Seu and Es Baluard Contemporary Art Museum.
Es Baluard Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art
Showcasing a wide range of art throughout history, Es Baluard Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art is a must visit to discover the cultural heritage of Mallorca. With works by Picasso, Magritte and more, you’re bound to find your new favourite piece.
DAY 1028 Sep 2023
Time at Port: from 7 AM to 6 PM
This vibrant seaside city is home to unforgettable architecture and creative scenes from renowned artists. The buildings you’ll find here are unlike anything you’ve ever seen, such as Park Güell and Casa Batllo, while foodies will be spoilt for choice with 20 different Michelin-star restaurants. At the end of a busy day of shopping, enjoy the energetic nightlife, or relax on the beach with newfound friends. Whatever your interests, Barcelona has the perfect itinerary for you.
Things to do in Barcelona:
Visiting Las Ramblas is an absolute must when in Barcelona. Visitors can experience the weird and the wonderful, from the Museu de l’Erotica to the Miró Mural, in between trying a range of authentic tapas bars and cafes before a much needed siesta.
Although the Sagrada Familia is not technically complete, it’s still an impressive sight to behold. Designed by the renowned architect Antoni Gaudí, this spectacular Basilica hosts many masses, events and a place to simply marvel at in wonder.
Barcelona City History Museum
Home of the cultural heritage of Barcelona, the Barcelona City History Museum manages several sites of interest including archaeological sites and historic houses. Visitors will discover the Roman colony, prehistoric Spain, Barcelona’s Jewish community and more.
Comprising of vibrant gardens and beautiful architecture, Park Güell was designed by Antoni Gaudí and officially opened in 1926. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its outstanding showcase of Gaudí’s genius design, Park Güell makes a wonderful place to go for a walk.
Another one of Antoni Gaudí’s masterpieces, Casa Batllo is a truly eye-catching building to explore. Visitors are able to explore this fantastic showcase of the designer’s work, and even enjoy live music and other events on the roof terrace.
This modernist building was the last residence to be designed by Antoni Gaudí and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Visitors can explore the building with an audio guide, and even enjoy rooftop shows on a romantic evening.
One of Barcelona’s oldest beaches, Sant Sebastià Beach features everything you need for a fantastic day in the sun. With indoor and outdoor pools, changing rooms and amenities for lounging, visitors can go for a dip, enjoy an ice cream and find dinner all in one area.
Camp Nou Stadium
With capacity for over 99,000 people, Camp Nou is the largest stadium in Spain and cathedral to the Catalans’ second religion- the beautiful game! Visitors can catch an exciting game of football here or take a guided or un-guided tour of the grounds.
DAY 1230 Sep 2023
Time at Port: from 6 AM to 6 PM
La Spezia is the second largest municipality in Liguria after Genoa and is located a few tens of kilometres from the border with Tuscany. It overlooks the eponymous gulf, which is also known as the Gulf of Poets. In the city you can visit the Technical Naval Museum, the Church of Santa Maria Assunta, the Church of Nostra Signora della Neve, and the medieval Castle of San Giorgio. It is also an excellent starting point for discovering the island of Palmaria and the Cinque Terre.
Things to do in La Spezia:
Basilica of Santa Maria Assunta
Situated in the centre of La Spezia's ancient Old Town and dating to the 14th century, the Church of Santa Maria, La Spezia has a variety of works of art and functioned as a cathedral from 1929 until the current La Spezia cathedral was built in 1975.
Cinque Terre (Five Lands), is a collection of five historic fishing towns situated high on the Italian Riviera in the province of Liguria. Until recently, the towns were only reachable by rail or sea. The largest of the five settlements in Cinque Terre is Monterosso., where you'll find a large, sandy beach, as well as bars and restaurants.
At the westernmost point of the Gulf of La Spezia, nestled next to the Ligurian Sea, is the beautiful Italian island of Palmaria. It is the biggest island in an archipelago of three smaller islands and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
San Giorgio Castle
The 13th-century Castle of San Giorgio in La Spezia offers fantastic views of the city. Additionally, it has an archaeological museum with a sizable collection of Roman artefacts that features La Spezia-related Neolithic artefacts. The earliest fortress on the site, which now stands as the fortress of San Giorgio and overlooks the city of La Spezia, was constructed in 1262.
The Church of our Lady of the Snow
Situated in the centre of the city’s main shopping street, Via Garibaldi, the Church of our Lady of the Snow was designed by architect, Ferrari d’Orsara. The church, which was constructed to hold a remarkable picture of the Madonna, has three aisles that are covered in neo-byzantine murals and feature Verona red marble, which gives the entire setting a lovely sunset-like hue.
The Naval Technical Museum
In the 1860s, the Italian navy constructed a base in La Spezia, which later developed into one of its main dockyards and arsenals. The museum got its start in the 18th century with an exhibition of objects from the Savoy royal family's navy at Villafranca and subsequently in Genoa. In 1870, it was moved to La Spezia. Ship figureheads from the 18th and 19th centuries are among the collection's various models of ships.
DAY 1301 Oct 2023
Time at Port: from 6 AM to 5 PM
One of the most famous cities in the world, Rome has been an epicentre of politics, art, architecture, and food for thousands of years. It is home to some of the most well-known historic sites such as the Colosseum, the pantheon, and Vatican City. It’s easy to spend a day in a hundred different ways in Rome, whether you’re looking to sip on incredible wine and people-watch, indulge in decadent pasta, pizza, risotto, and gelato, or if you’re eager to wander around the streets soaking in all the history you can. Rome is one capital city which will always leave you wanting more.
Things to do in Rome (Civitavecchia):
Found in the heart of Rome, Vatican City is the smallest independent state in Europe at just 0.44km² with a population of 1,000 people. It acts as headquarters to the Roman Catholic Church and is home to The Apostolic Palace - the Pope’s residence –the Vatican Museums, St Peter’s Basilica, and the Sistine Chapel.
St Peter's Basilica
Within Vatican City is one of the biggest churches in the world; St. Peter’s Basilica. Accommodating up to 20,000 people, this is where the Pope delivers services. Its 136 metre high dome was designed by Michelangelo, and was completed in 1614.
The colosseum was opened in 80 A.D. with 100 days of exciting games. It was mostly used for gladiatorial combat and fights with animals until around the 6th century when it began to fall into disrepair. It was then used to store building materials until the 18th century, when the papacy decided it should be preserved. As it stands now, however, more than two-thirds of the structure has been destroyed.
Known the world-over for its elaborate, 15th century artwork courtesy of Michelangelo, Botticelli, Luca, and Perugino, the Sistine Chapel is where new Popes are elected and ordained. It is located within Vatican City, inside The Apostolic Palace.
This Michelangelo sculpture is located inside St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City. It depicts the body of Jesus after he has been crucified, being held by the Virgin Mary. The statue was originally commissioned by Jean de Billheres – a French cardinal – as a memorial for his tomb.
This is one of the most iconic buildings in Rome. There are myths surrounding the building of the original Pantheon, but the structure we see today was built in 120 A.D. by Emperor Hadrian. It was created as a Pagan temple to “honour all Gods” – which is the translation of “Pantheon”. In the year 609 it was converted to a Christian church, although it is still widely known as the Pantheon.
This popular public square is located where the (now fallen) Stadium of Domitian once stood, in 86 A.D. Since then it has been developed into a social gathering spot, adorned by three magnificent fountains that were commissioned in the 16 and 17th centuries. These are Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, Fontana del Moro, and Fontana del Nettuno.
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.