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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.
70% of cruisers loved it
1095 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
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 $12.95 per person(including kids ages 3 and up), per day in all cabin categories up to and including a mini suite. Suite guests will be charged $14.95 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). 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

03/15
This was our 4th cruise and our 3rd on Norwegian. We took the train to New York and a cab to the terminal. In all it took less than 2 hrs.of travel for us. The cab ride took about 15 mins since it was a weekday morning. Once we arrived we were ... Read more
The cruise was fantastic! The staff on the Gem was the best - always friendly and helpful, the food was tasty, the excursions were interesting and fun (toured the fort in San Juan, snorkeling in St. Thomas, Orient Beach in St. Martin (ooh la la), ... Read more
03/15
This was only my second cruise with my first being on Royal Caribbean last year. Boy was I disappointed. I was shocked firstly that the ship did not have a large promenade with shops and fun stuff going on. One small duty free store and then the ... Read more
1 - 3 of 1,095 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
3.6
Enrichment
4.0
3.4
Service
4.0
4.1
Value-for-Money
5.0
3.9

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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