Good times in Western Med: Norwegian Gem Cruise Review by MJ from PA

Norwegian Gem 5
MJ from PA
Member Since 2009

Overall Member Rating

Good times in Western Med

Sail Date: May 2009
Destination: Europe - Western Mediterranean
Embarkation: Barcelona
My sister had previously done two land tours of Europe and this Norwegian Western Med cruise.  She recommended the cruise for a few reasons:  most traveling is done while sleeping during the night (instead of during the day on a bus), food is included on the cruise, and chances of finding clean public restrooms are much better!  This was our first cruise, my boyfriend and I.  We're in our early 50s.  We booked our airfare on our own, but booked a pre-night stay in Barcelona with the cruiseline.  When we arrived in Barcelona, we did the hop-on, hop-off bus tour of the city, which was fun.  When we checked into our hotel, a person from the cruiseline was there to tell us exactly when to be downstairs in the morning for our transfer to the port.  She was there again in the morning. 

Embarking was very easy and fast.  We had a balcony room and luckily had beautiful warm weather and calm seas for the entire More trip.  I was fascinated by the navigation channel and loved trying to figure out what land mass we were seeing.  We did a Norwegian excursion in every port, basically because we didn't know what to expect and didn't want to worry about finding our way around on our own.  In Malta, we did the jeep safari, where we hopped onto the back of a jeep and rode around the island, stopping for pictures of the beautiful cliffs and blue sea.  In Naples, we went to Pompeii, on a guided tour that I found very interesting. 

In Rome, we took the Vatican and Rome tour, where most of the day was dedicated to the Vatican, lunch at a restaurant in Rome, then a short drive around Rome with a stop at the coliseum. Always wanted to see the Vatican and our tour guide, Giuseppi, did not disappoint - he knew every detail.  At the port for Florence, we did the Pisa/Tuscany tour, which was and not as "educational" and more relaxing.  Would have loved to have seen Florence - maybe next time.  At Nice, we went to an ancient village fortress in the mountains overlooking the sea - another relaxing trip.  I was amazed at how smoothly the excursions were handled by the ship's crew and the tour contractors.  It's a no-brainer - they give you a ticket with a time and place to show up, put a sticker on you, send you to your bus and take care of you all day.  There are so many choices for excursions, I  could probably take the same exact cruise three or four times and never get bored. If I do that, I will probably choose tours that include more free time.  In fact, I discovered that I loved cruising so much I could probably have stayed on the ship and been perfectly happy. 

The crew was wonderful.  I thought the food was wonderful - and if you don't like something you can always order something else.  Debarking the ship was simple, we had a transfer but there's no need for one - taxis were lined up early at the port.  Early May is probably a very good time to do this cruise - although the Vatican was crowded, it wasn't really that bad.  Our ship seemed to be full of people our age, so there wasn't any noise at night to deal with.  We were both very happy with the trip and plan to cruise again....maybe Alaska next time. Less

Published 06/05/09

Cabin review: BA9064 Mid-Ship Balcony

Loved our cabin - we had great views of the ports as we pulled in each morning.  Of course it's tiny - but we had everything we needed and for two people it was fine.

Read All Mid-Ship Balcony (BA) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

Pisa was so-so - Tuscany small farm and winery was fun. 

Beautiful scenery - not much else. 

Only saw Pompeii - fascinating but be prepared for a long lecture.

Read 1161 Naples Reviews

Everyone should see the Vatican!

Nice shopping around port - we did tour of St Paul de Vince, an old stone fortress village in the mountains, which included drive along beautiful coastline.

Compare Prices on Norwegian Gem Europe - Western Mediterranean Cruises

Read more Norwegian Gem cruise reviews >>
Read Cruise Critic’s Norwegian Gem Review >>

Compare Prices on Norwegian Gem Europe - Western Mediterranean Cruises

MJ from PA
Member Since 2009
Enrichment Activities
Family & Children
Fitness & Recreation
Onboard Experience
Public Rooms
Shore Excursions
Value for Money
Share feedback
Thank you!  Cruise Critic values your feedback.
How can we improve this page?
Skip X

See Norwegian Gem deals up to 82% off:

September Deals
Norwegian Gem 70% Loved It

7-day Canada & New England From New York
See all Norwegian Gem Deals >>