Just got off the Gem. I traveled with my husband, two sons (7 and 10), sister and brother in law. We all had a great time. I originally booked a balcony cabin on deck 10. Five days before our cruise, Norwegian offered me an upgrade to a penthouse. I paid for the upgrade. WOW! The penthouse included 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a living area and a dining area. If you have the means, I would definitely suggest if traveling with 4 people. It was absolutely amazing. The penthouse also comes with a butler and concierge service. Each afternoon, the butler arrived with snacks! We also received priority embarkation and debarkation as well as many other priority services.
Ship was great and a lot of fun. My boys did not join the kids club (unfortunate for me!) but I did hear good things about it. We mostly ate at the buffets since it was quicker. We did try the dining room for one dinner and one breakfast. Food was good - but the service was extremely slow. We also ate at the hibachi restaurant which was fabulous. Entertainment was ok - don't bother going to the farewell show, it was not good. Entertainment on the pool deck during the day was fun.
Did the dolphin swim in St. Maarten. The experience was once in a lifetime and swimming with the dolphins was fantastic! Although, I don't really think it was worth the money. Again, if you have the means, I would suggest it, but it is expensive! A little tip if you do go ... the pictures are extremely expensive - but they will barter with you. Don't even plan on eating the lunch provided on the excursion! It was really that bad!!! Took a tour bus around San Juan since we did not arrive until 3:00. We enjoyed that very much, but it depends on your tour guide. Went to Megans Bay and then shopping in St Thomas. Nice beach day! Took the excursion to Cay Levantado in Dominican Republic. Beautiful beach!! We really enjoyed that beach day. I would suggest that and it is not very expensive. Just bring some money with you for shopping and drinks and don't pay full price for anything!!!
This was my first 9 day cruise and I may never sail on a 7 day cruise again!! Nine days was perfect; although I did not want to get off!! Again, if you can afford the penthouse, I would suggest it for 4 people. Don't really need all that room for 2 people. Staff was always friendly and attentive. They all knew my son's name by day 2!! Also went on the bridge tour which was very interesting! My husband went to the casino fairly often. The other reviews are correct, it is very smokey and I am a smoker! It even bothered me. All in all, great cruise which I would gladly do again!! I have no complaints!