Europe - Western Mediterranean
Service: great, no complaints. Our steward, Michael, was s sweet. On the first day we asked for 2 extra towels and he made sure we had extra towels every day. He was always around, and was glad to help us in every way possible. The servers at the Italian Restaurant were also very nice, we had a great time dining there. And I can't forget to mention the "washy washy" guy at the Garden Cafe. It was so fun!
Entertainment: the 3 shows by the Norwegian Gem singers and dancers cast were excellent. A must see!!! Second city was funny and the magic show was also very nice. The Strings Quartet played almost everyday in different places of the ship. I recommend it!!!
Dining: we ate at the Garden Cafe, Magenta, Sushi Bar, and La Cucina. Sushi Bar and La Cucina had a cover charge, but it so worth it. The food at La Cucina was amazing (for only $10 pp). Sushi was also great and the charge was $15 pp.
Cabin: we could not have asked for more. We had a balcony at More
starboard, fwd.The only downside of having a balcony on the front was that on 2 of the 7 nights the weather was terrible. On the first bad night(leaving Malta), our balcony door kept opening due to the wind. On the second bad night they locked all the balconies and we were not able to go outside in any place of the ship due to strong winds (hurricane force winds, actually). It went on from 7 PM to 1 AM (and it was advised by the captain prior to leaving the port (Cannes). But that has nothing to do with the cabin,it was the weather that was not good. Note: The bed is extremely comfortable!
Spa: we bought a spa package and we were able to use the relaxation facilities at any time. Steam bath, jacuzzis, warm beds,etc. It was nice to relax after a day walking!!
Embarkation and Disembarkation were very smooth, we were able to leave the ship at 6:30 AM, in time for our early flight.
Public rooms: very clean, well maintained, beautiful ,and comfortable. Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
We arrived in Barcelona a day before the cruise. We booked a hotel near the port (Tryp Apolo). As soon as we got there, we walked to the metro station and took metro to La Sagrada Familia (beautiful church by Gaudi). The metro is easy to use and very clean! At night we walked to La Rambla. The next day we took the metro to Passeig de Gracia and walked to Casa Mila and Casa Batlo (both by Gaudi). We took bus # 24 to Park Guell( a must see!!!). Make sure you take the bus, because if you take the metro it will stop 1,5 Km away from the park and the walk is uphill!! Before we knew it, it was time to board Norwegian Gem!
My favorite port and excursion!!! We booked "Highlights of Monaco and Nice". We were at the meeting point at 6:45 AM to get the tender to Cannes. We left Cannes and the way to Nice was amazing. We took the coastline way, and were able to see the Côte d'Azur. We got to Nice early in the morning and walked to the beach and to a flower, fruits street market. We enjoyed eating apple tarts, fresh French breads and raspberries. After that we went to Monte Carlo/Monaco. We walked to the Monte Carlo Casino and visited the Formula 1 circuit (street). After that we went to Monaco Ville (old city), and we were able to see the changing of guard at the Prince's Palace (everyday at 11:55 AM). I loved Monaco. It is clean, organized, beautiful.Our guide was very nice and made sure we saw the changing of guard (we were the only bus that got a chance to see it!!). After Monaco, it took us one hour to get back to Cannes, and it was time to get the last tender to the ship (we left Cannes at 3 PM).
In Livorno we booked an excursion to Pisa. Tuscany is beautiful and our guide (Lisa) was very knowledgeable. The Miracle Square was breathtaking. The day was beautiful, and the cathedral/baptistery and campanile (leaning tower) are beautiful sights. We didn't visit the inside of the monuments, but we had a nice time there.There are cute Pinocchio souvenirs everywhere in Pisa, once Pinocchio was created in 1883 by Carlo Collodi (from Florence).The name Pinocchio is a Tuscan word meaning "pine nut" (and we saw lots of pine trees)!!
We didn't book any shore excursions in Malta, we walked to the city centre and spent some time there.The walk is pretty much uphill and up stairs,so I don't recommend for people that has difficulty walking. We took some nice pictures, but there is not a lot to do in Valletta.
The port is in Civitavecchia,and it takes 1 hr or more to get to Rome. Due to the expensive rates, but the lack of time to take the public transportation, we decided to book "Rome on your own". Compared to the other shore excursions, I thought it was very expensive (U$ 119 pp). The bus took us to the Vatican City and the tour guide gave us some tips and a map. We walked from the Vatican to the Colosseum, stopping at Piazza Navona, Pantheon,Trevi Fountain,and National Monument of Victor Emmanuel II. Then we took a taxi (it was 18 Euros, expensive, but we wanted to have time for the Vatican). We got to the VAtican and visited St Peter's Basilica and the Vatican Museum. The Vatican Museum would take a whole day, but we wanted to see the Sistine Chapel (so worth it). We had some time for buying some souvenirs and it was time to go back to the meeting point. It was a full day, we were so tired, but we were able to see everything we wanted.