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Norwegian Gem Review

4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating
2,534 reviews

Upgrade Bid to a Haven Suite

Review for Norwegian Gem to the Panama Canal & Central America
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10+ Cruises • Age 70s

Rating by category

Value for Money
Public Rooms
Fitness & Recreation

Additional details

Sail Date: Jan 2020
Cabin: Deluxe Owner's Suite with Large Balcony
Cabin 1550 - View across Deck 12
Cabin 15500 - Jacuzzi
Cabin 15500 - Deck
Cabin 15500 - Deck
Cabin 15500 - Deck

We chose this cruise for the itinerary and the time of year. This was our first cruise in many years and our first on the NCL line. We originally booked a mini suite and put a bid on an upgrade about 30 days before the cruise. We won the bid and were excited to have been placed in the Deluxe Owner's Suite #15500. The service there was wonderful and we had a delightful time. The Butler, Concierge, Room Steward and the Deck Steward were exceptionally friendly and helpful. More information about the room is the cabin section.

Here are a few other observations:

The Haven menus for breakfast and lunch do not change so toward the end of the cruise we tended to float around the ship to pick up food at the buffet or the grill on the pool deck area. But the service was so attentive that you could order anything at all and it would be there in a flash.

Cabin Review

Deluxe Owner's Suite with Large Balcony

There are two cabins in this category and only two on Deck 15. Both are identical and both are reached by a 19 step staircase. These cabins are not accessible and if you have any hip or knee issues you will be challenged. I would not have been able to walk up those steps prior to my hip replacement last year. I don't remember seeing anything about this in the descriptions of this suite so I was surprised when I saw those stairs. I also think that the advertised square footage includes the deck because the interior was definitely not the 1100 SF by itself.

The cabin faces forward and has a panoramic view over the Deck 12 pool area. A previous reviewer commented on the noise from the band that plays in the pool area but we only noticed it on one night and it stopped by 11:00.

The best part of this cabin is the large deck that contains a jacuzzi (cleaned and filled daily) plus two lounge chairs, a table and two chairs for eating, a couch and a 4 chair seating area with a coffee table. You could easily have 10 people on this deck and all have seating. The views from the deck were better than anywhere on the ship so we stayed there when coming and going from the ports.

The bathroom is large with double sinks, a full separate bathtub and a large stall shower with a rainfall shower head and a hand-held shower nozzle, and separate toilet area. Plenty of storage for clothing.

King size bed was very comfortable. Room included a small table and two chairs for eating, an easy chair for watching TV and a couch. There is a large desk area and the room has a Bose sound system with a CD changer. There is a way to connect up devices to play your own music but we didn't do that. There is no charge for movies in the Haven suites.

There is a very nice bar with glasses, cups and space for making drinks and coffee. Wonderful Nespresso machine. Butler brings snacks every afternoon. Telll him what you like and he'll tailor the snacks. We nixed the sandwiches and asked for fruit and vegies.

The walls are not mettalic so magnets don't work.

We will not likely have a cabin like this again so it was a treat for us.

Port Reviews


We took the excursion to see the equestrian show and it was excellent.

Puntarenas (Puerto Caldera)

We hired a driver from the Thumbs Up tour company and he took us on a leisurely drive to see many places. We enjoy having the freedom to stay longer or skip places that are on other organized tours.

Cartagena (Colombia)

We walked around a bit. We had been here before.

Santa Marta

We only visited the bird aviary at the port. It was wonderful. One of the best parts of the trip.


We rented a off-road vehicle and went to a beach. Unfortunately the rental company steered us to a beach that was supposed to be non-touristy but in fact it was where all the tour buses were letting off loads of people. Area was beautiful though and we would like to return with more time to explore. Had a nice lunch on our way back to the ship.


We visited with friends who live in Bonaire.

Puerto Quetzal (Antigua)

Walked around the port only.

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