Children have a ball on Norwegian Gem. The hub of the line's "Splash Academy" program is Deck 12's Tree Tops Kids Club (conveniently close to the Garden Cafe buffet). Children are separated into four groups for scheduled activities: Guppies (6 months to 3 years, with parent), Turtles (3 - 5), Seals (6 - 9) and Dolphins (10 - 12).
All groups feature age-appropriate activities. For instance, Turtles might participate in activities that draw from Nickelodeon characters like Dora the Explorer (Dora's Dance Party). There's family LEGO-building, crafts and traditional fun stuff like "duck, duck, goose" and "musical chairs." Seals might take part in more recreational play, with games like dodgeball, soccer, Astroball and Nintendo Wii, but it also incorporates more learning-oriented activities like rocket science programs and environmental "fun."
Teens have their own dedicated space, the Leopard Lounge (open until 1 a.m.), but activities take place all over the ship. There might be a "make a pizza" cooking lesson at La Cucina, the ship's Italian restaurant, or bowling at the Bliss Lounge. There's could also be a "murder mystery dinner," air hockey tournaments and a "hot tub social." Much of the program really gives the kids time to hang out, and in the evenings, they bring their iPods to the Leopard Lounge and download music to dance to. The facility has Wii, Playstation, foosball and air hockey. In the evenings, a bar serves up for-fee nonalcoholic beverages.
The younger kids have their own dining area in the Garden Cafe with a small buffet of child-friendly favorites. (See the Dining section.)
A Deck 12 arcade offers the usual games.
Partner Nickelodeon, aboard Gem since February 2012 (also on Jewel, Epic and Breakaway), hosts interactive games, dance parties and other activities like a (for-fee) character breakfast.
Norwegian does not charge young passengers to participate in its program on sea days. However, on days when the ship is in port, the cost for kids, ages 3 to 12, to stay onboard in the program is $6 per hour for the first child and $4 for each additional child. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Evening group baby-sitting is also available at the same rates from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m.