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Norwegian Gem Review

4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating
2522 reviews
9 Awards

Fantastic itinerary & great experience overall

Review for Norwegian Gem to the Mediterranean
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sherrihall128
2-5 Cruises • Age 40s

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Additional details

Sail Date: Nov 2022
Cabin: Aft-Facing Balcony

We chose this cruise for the itinerary and dates. The small cruise ship exceeded our expectations. It was not a full cruise, so we never waited in line for anything. The balcony room was a decent size with adequate storage for 2 people. The bathroom had a separate shower and toilet, which was nice. We used most of the facilities, including the gym. The dining facilities were always available. I liked having many different options for dining. The entertainment was different every night. The staff was very helpful. The cruise director and activities staff were fun and inviting. I haven't been on any NCL cruises before, and my previous cruising experiences were over 10 years before, so I can't compare to other cruise lines. My husband was a novice cruiser, and he loved the experience as well. The ship was very clean, and we had no complaints about the ship itself. Embarkation and disembarkation were both a breeze (we did self-disembarkation as we wanted to hurry to Rome).

The food was ok in the main dining room--there was only 1 meal that I actually didn't like. The buffet was good as well, with changing themes every night. The desserts were lackluster in the main dining room and NOT good in the buffet. We ate at 1 specialty dining room: Le Bistro. The food and desserts were very good. Ironically enough, my husband said his favorite meal was the fresh grilled fish from Topsiders at the poolside grill. My favorite was definitely Le Bistro. The most underwhelming meal was the Asian restaurant, but the spring rolls were very good.

We did not do any NCL excursions, so I can't comment on that. We did TourGuy, Viator, and ItalyTours for all of our excursions. The value was definitely better than NCL excursions. We lucked out on the weather in every single port. It was sunny and pleasant at every single stop.

Cabin Review

Aft-Facing Balcony

The balcony room was a decent size with adequate storage for 2 people. The bathroom had a separate shower and toilet, which was nice.

Port Reviews

Corfu

Easy port, close to town, has a shuttle from the ship to the port facility. The island has a very good variety of activities, like 4x4, bike rides, tour bus, boat ride, etc. It also had a good amount of shopping for Greek goods for a good price.

Dubrovnik

We did a Dubrovnik pass, which included the walls, the fort, and several museums. It also included a bus pass; however, you can only use it to validate a bus pass at certain spots (consider yourself warned). The bus station right outside the port doesn't validate the pass, so we had to buy a bus pass for the ride into town (wasn't expensive, just annoying). Anyways, the Dubrovnik pass was a really good value. We absolutely loved walking the walls and into the town. However, there wasn't much to do within the town itself. We also wished afterwards that we had downloaded some sort of audio guide to learn more about the town while we walked. We spent 4-5 hours walking around the town and fort, and that was a perfect amount of time. If I traveled at a different time of year (not November), I would consider a boat ride to an island or a kayak trip around the walls.

Florence (Livorno)

Livorno was a good size port with a lot of tour options from the port facilities. The drive to Florence was definitely long, but was well worth it as it was our first time visiting. We did an ItalyTours tour with a walking guide in Florence, and it was great. We roamed the cities, enjoyed the architecture and outdoor art, walked around the indoor market, and bought some leather goods. I'm glad we skipped Pisa.

Malta (Valletta)

We loved the sail-in to the grand harbor. The architecture is very eclectic from all of the various cultures. It was great that the port was right next to the town. We did a private tour from the port through Viator. We did a southern Malta loop, so we visited the Fort, Marsasloxxk, and the Blue Grotto. We did Valletta on our own, but we didn't scratch the surface on all of the available sightseeing activities.

Naples

There was absolutely too much to see around Naples! It was nice that the port was close into town. We did an ItalyTours tour to the Amalfi Coast and Pompeii. The coast was stunning, Sorrento was beautiful, and Pompeii was ginormous. Every single one of us on the tour said we'd come back to Naples for several days.

Rome (Civitavecchia)

It was easy to get to the train to Rome from the port if you were prepared (which I was). I bought a ticket online that included the shuttle bus and train ride. However, space on the train was tight from all of us cruise passengers traveling to Rome and locals. If holding your own luggage bothers you, consider a different mode of transportation. Rome is beyond amazing. 2 days was just barely enough to see all of the basic sites. We loved it, and we would totally go back.

Taormina (Messina)

We didn't see anything in Messina, and we took an ItalyTours tour to Mt Etna and Taormina. To be honest, I don't know if the Mt Etna portion was worth it. We live close to volcanoes, so while it was cool, it wasn't mind blowing. However, we did buy local goods on the way back from Mt Etna, which we did love. I wish we had spent all day in Castelmola and Taormina. There was enough to see and do in those places that I'd go back.

Venice

We stayed in Venice prior to the cruise, and we took the train from Venice to Trieste. It was super easy to do. We did a TourGuy tour of Venice, which showed and explained many of the big landmarks in Venice and included a gondola ride. We also attended a Vivaldi concert in Vivaldi church. The food was ok, and not as good as other parts of Italy. However, the scenery was stunning, and I think 2-3 days would be adequate to see and experience all that Venice has to offer.

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