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Norwegian Gem Review

Norwegian Gem
Norwegian Gem - The Garden Cafe now offers action-station-only dining. Norwegian Gem - Kids have plenty of places to play onboard. Norwegian Gem - The bowling alley in Bliss. Norwegian Gem - Nintendo Wii takes over the atrium.
72% of cruisers loved it
1221 reviews | Write a Review
  • Excellent value for the money
  • 13 restaurants, featuring worldwide cuisine
  • Expansive health club and spa
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Norwegian Gem Overview

By Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief, and Graham Kates, Cruise Critic Contributor
Editor Rating
4.5

Editor's Note: As of January 2016, the Nickelodeon program will no longer be offered on Norwegian Gem.

Norwegian takes a one-ship-fits-all approach to cruising with Gem, where rock climbing meets shuffleboard and hot-stone massages meet Guitar Hero and chess played with comically large game pieces.

Gem launched in 2007, and on it, Norwegian Cruise Line continues to refine its Freestyle Cruising concept, which focuses on flexibility and a casual atmosphere. On Gem, more than 2,300 passengers enjoy the freedom to dine where, when and with whom they wish (except for when reservations require otherwise). The dress code is relaxed, with an optional formal night for those looking to get all dolled up. In spring 2008, the ship underwent the company's Freestyle 2.0 upgrade program, receiving several enhancements to its menus, new beds throughout and service tweaks at all levels.

If casual is the goal, entertainment is the modus operandi. As passengers board Gem, they're greeted in the main atrium with blaring beats spun by a D.J. whose ruby red turntable is almost as flashy as the glowing space itself. Thirteen bars, an enormous 1,115-seat theater -- featuring Second City and Broadway-esque productions -- and a dozen restaurants keep the ship hopping throughout the trip.

The ship also accommodates those in need of quiet time; from the spacious and serene spa, with armchairs overlooking a vast ocean expanse, to a variety of lounges and a library, there are nooks aplenty for relaxation.

The ability to shift between active and restful, party and calm, at a moment's notice is Norwegian's calling card. With so many options, Gem ensures that you can find time to do what you want onboard -- whatever that may be.

Norwegian Gem Fellow Passengers

Passengers are predominately from the U.S. and Canada. The average age varies; on longer cruises, the ship appeals to older passengers. On seven-night trips during school holiday seasons, it's dominated by families.

Norwegian Gem Dress Code

Just about anything goes, wardrobe-wise, with most passengers wearing casual, poolside garb during the day and resort casual-style clothing -- including jeans -- at night. (Shorts and tank tops are only permitted in the Garden Cafe and Blue Lagoon after hours.) Grand Pacific is the ship's dress-up restaurant in the evenings.

Norwegian Gem Gratuity

Passengers are charged $13.50 per person(including kids ages 3 and up), per day in all cabin categories up to and including a minisuite. Suite guests will be charged $15.50 per person, per day. A 15 percent gratuity is automatically added to orders for drinks (from sodas and juices to bottles of wine and cocktails). All specialty and entertainment dining carries an 18 percent auto-gratuity. The Yin & Yang Spa automatically adds an 18 percent tip on all spa and salon services and, oddly enough, on fitness programs at its Body Waves facility. There's no gratuity expected to counselors of the kids programs, but tips are gratefully accepted. (Aim for about $3 per day, per child.) Passengers in suites that come with butlers tip at their own discretion. (Plan to pay $3 to $5 per day, per person -- more if you made a lot of extra requests.)

The onboard currency is the U.S. dollar.
Next: Norwegian Gem Cabins
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Norwegian Gem Member Reviews

08/15
If you are thinking of cruising on the Norwegian Gems, please do not be put off by negative comments on this site. My husband and I have cruised on the RCl, P and O, Thomson and Cruise and Maritime an decided to give NCL a try. We were pleasantly ... Read more
Just back from our 7 day cruise out of NYC to Florida and the Bahamas to celebrate our 20th anniversary. Parking wasn't cheap ($210) but easy to get to and very close to ship. Food-very good but nothing that was outstanding, very difficult to find ... Read more
08/15
This was my first cruise and I expected more for the price I paid. Overcrowding throughout much of the boat was an issue, the free activities were minimal and crappy, some of the restaurants had good food, but limited food options, also many of ... Read more
1 - 3 of 1,221 Reviews
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Norwegian Gem Ratings

Editor Rating 4.5 Member Rating
Category
Editor
Member
Dining
4.0
3.8
Public Rooms
5.0
4.3
Cabins
5.0
4.1
Entertainment
5.0
4.0
Spa & Fitness
4.0
4.1
Family & Children
4.0
3.5
Shore Excursions
3.0
3.7
Enrichment
4.0
3.4
Service
4.0
4.1
Value-for-Money
5.0
3.9

Sailing From

New York (Manhattan) San Juan

Cruises To

Bahamas Canada & New England Caribbean - All

Explore This Ship

Norwegian Gem Deck Plans Norwegian Gem Cabin Reviews
Ship Stats
Crew:
1,101
Launched:
2007
Decks:
15
Tonnage:
93,530
Passengers:
2,394
Registry:
Bahamas
CDC Score:
95
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