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.
Florence & Pisa (Livorno)
DAY 405 Dec 2023
Time at Port: from 7 AM to 8 PM
Made famous by its sloping bell tower, Pisa was once a simple but noteworthy port town. Over the years Pisa had some involvement in Italy’s military conflicts, and has seen success in matters of trade. Today most visitors come to see the fascinating Leaning Tower; a construction dating back to the 12th century that has been repeatedly repaired and stabilised over the years. As well as this is the neighbouring cathedral and baptistery, and the pretty Square of Miracles which houses them all. Pisa has a brilliant culinary scene, with many inexpensive restaurants serving amazing antipasti, pizzas, pastas, and other hearty Italian dishes.
Things to do in Florence & Pisa (Livorno):
Square of Miracles
Locally referred to as Piazza dei Miracoli, the Square of Miracles is home to the Cathedral of Santa Maria Assunta, which was first built in 1064, the Baptistery, the Campo Santo – a graveyard – and the Campanile – the cathedral’s bell tower which is perhaps better known as the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Today the square has become a popular place to relax and enjoy the warm sun in some beautiful, historic surroundings.
Maria Assunta. Construction of the building began in 1173, and in spite of a detailed, thought-out design it is believed that a slight lean was evident from the building of the second floor. Building was intermittent due to wars and sociological events, and the tower was not completed until roughly the year 1370. Since this time the lean has been stabilised, and tourists are permitted to enter and climb the staircase to the top for a wonderful view.
Cathedral and Baptistery
The cathedral – or Duomo – and baptistery are two important historic sites which are often overlooked in favour of the Leaning Tower. The cathedral itself dates back to 1064, and you can see within there are influences from the Arabic world, with column designs being reminiscent of those often seen in mosques. The neighbouring baptistery is the largest in the country, and was originally designed in 1152, before being remodelled in the mid-13th century.
DAY 506 Dec 2023
Time at Port: from 11 AM to 9 PM
With a history dating back to the 5th century and the accolade of European Capital of Culture 2013, in Marseille you’ll find an old city full of charm to explore and pretty modern districts alike. Tuck into a classic pissaladière at the old port before visiting the famous coves of the Calanques National Park to the south- a stunning sight and only 25 minutes away by car. Before you leave don’t forget to buy a Marseille soap to give your suitcase a delicious holiday scent!
Things to do in Marseille (Provence):
Calanques National Park
Lying just 25 minutes' drive from Marseille, this stunning national park forms a natural harbour on the Mediterranean coastline. Boasting over 8,000 hectares of green landscapes and dramatic coves, don’t forget to keep an eye out for dolphins from the cliff edge.
History Museum of Marseille
With a history spanning over 2,500 years, Marseille History Museum is the ideal way to walk the paths of Marseille’s engrossing past. Covering everything from the ancient Greek founders and Roman traders, to more recent affairs, the museum is a must for those in love with archaeology and French history.
Le Panier District
This old district of Marseille has witnessed many moments of history, from the turbulence of ancient times to the darkness of WW2. Today you’ll find charming narrow streets to wander, dotted with artisan shops, cafés, bars and bistros.
Basilique Notre-Dame de la Garde
Affectionately called the “Good Mother”’ by locals, Notre-Dame de la Garde was built in the 12th century on the site of an old fort and has seen countless renovations. Standing proudly 157 metres above the city, this is the place for unrivalled views of the city.
The Port of Marseille is the cradle not only in terms of location but in bringing trade, culture and wealth to Marseilles. Nowadays you’ll find the famous fish market a scenic waterfront ideal for sipping pastis while watching the world go by.
Renamed in honour of US President John F. Kennedy after his assassination in 1963, this pretty boulevard boasts architecture from many different eras, and is the perfect place to go for a stroll and admire the pretty beaches and coastline of Marseille.
DAY 607 Dec 2023
Time at Port: from 10 AM to 8 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 809 Dec 2023
Time at Port: from 6 AM to 5 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 910 Dec 2023
Time at Port: from 8 AM to 4 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.
Ponta Delgada, Azores
DAY 1112 Dec 2023
Time at Port: from 9 AM to 7 PM
Ponta Delgada offers unspoilt, lush landscapes and terracotta rooftops, as well as a truly stunning coastline. It has quickly become popular for the breathtaking scenery and for its hot springs, though you won't find massive crowds flocking to the Azores, making it perfect for unrivalled relaxation. Take a stroll around the Old Town centre, or enjoy a romantic tour by horse-drawn carriage. During the summer, you may also spot whales off the coast.
Things to do in Ponta Delgada, Azores:
A historic garden dating back to the mid-19th century, the Jardim Botânico António Borges botanical garden features a variety of walkways, along with a selection of rare and exotic plants.
Gruta do Carvão
A fascinating cave that you can take a tour around, it's filled with stalactites and rugged surfaces. A unique attraction to explore, you can spend hours discovering its natural beauty.
If you're looking for something a little different to explore, head to the Plantação de Ananás dos Açores. A pineapple plantation, you can taste delicious pineapple liquour, jams and juice, whilst seeing where this mouth-watering fruit is grown.
DAY 1819 Dec 2023
Time at Port: from 7 AM to 6 PM
There are simply too many places to mention when it comes to the Big Apple but highlights have to be: the Statue of liberty, Empire State Building, Central Park, Times Square, Brooklyn Bridge, the Natural History Museum and the Met art museum- not to mention all the cool sights of downtown Brooklyn, swanky Manhattan and the classic skyline from Rhode Island. New York is a bucket-list destination that just cannot be missed.
Things to do in New York:
Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is an essential part of any trip to New York, providing fascinating insights into the history of this vibrant city. Given to the US from France in 1886, Lady Liberty is situated on Liberty Island, a short and scenic ferry ride from Battery Park, New York.
Located in Manhattan, New York, Central Park is a classic part of the city’s history after first being approved in 1853. There’s no shortage of sightseeing and events to do all the family will love, from Central Park Zoo to the Alice in Wonderland sculpture.
Rockefeller Center has a plethora of attractions and events to discover that will suit all ages. Explore NBC Studios where entertainment and news come together and soak up the fantastic performances of The Music Hall featuring The Radio City Rockettes.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
As the third most visited art museum in the world, the Met is a must for lovers of art, history and culture. Featuring works from early Europe, ancient Egypt and modern art, this museum also contains vast collections of clothing and weaponry.
Empire State Building
The Empire State Building is a quintessential landmark of New York City and provides an immersive insight into the history of this stunning building. Visitors can marvel at the views from the observation deck, before enjoying exhibits, shopping and dining.
Renovated in 2016, what began as a small square in the 1880s has flourished into an iconic tourist destination filled with fantastic eateries, dazzling musical theatre and designer shopping, not to mention the famous advertising board.
As the world’s first steel-wire suspension bridge, the Brooklyn Bridge is a fantastic feat of the hard-work carried out in the late 1880s. A walk along this bridge takes approximately 25 minutes and is particularly stunning at sunset and sunrise.
Saint Patrick’s Cathedral
After first opening its doors in 1879, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral sees over five million visitors each year. The classic Gothic architecture is truly magnificent and features an organ with 9,000 pipes, over 4,000 stained-glass panels and beautiful sculptures.
Located in Manhattan, Fifth Avenue boasts Museum Mile where visitors find the African Art Museum, Guggenheim Museum, the Met and more, while other landmarks include the Empire State building, the Rockefeller Observation Deck and Flatiron Building.
National September 11 Memorial and Museum
Located at the World Trade Centre site, the 9/11 Memorial and Museum commemorates the lives lost during the terrorist attacks in 1993 and 2001. The memorial consists of two reflecting pools, while the museum offers tours, exhibitions and multimedia displays.
New York Public Library
With nearly 6 million items (including books, e-books, audiobooks, music and films), the New York Public Library has no shortage of fascinating materials to discover. The main branch itself in Manhattan is a stunning New York landmark and a perfect photo opportunity.
The Finger Lakes are an area of tranquil natural beauty famous for its vineyards and being the home of prestigious Cornell University. The eleven lakes which bear this region’s name present fantastic hiking locations in pleasant weather regularly throughout the year.
Hotel stay included
Rome Hotel Stay - 2 Nights
We don't know the hotel yet but it will be centrally located, a minimum of 4 stars, selected from our list of preferred hotels & based on a 'room only' board basis. Local government city taxes & local resort fees may be payable.
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.