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Norwegian Gem Review

Norwegian Gem
Norwegian Gem

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Norwegian Gem
4.0 / 5.0 Cruise Critic Editor Rating
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Passengers 2,394
Crew 1,070
Passenger to Crew 2.24:1
Launched 2007
Shore Excursions 762
Kim Foley MacKinnon
Cruise Critic Contributor

Norwegian Gem Overview

While not one of Norwegian Cruise Line's newest or largest vessels, Norwegian Gem nonetheless has a fierce fan base. It has a large number of repeat passengers who love this particular ship, Norwegian's casual Freestyle Cruising concept, its excellently produced Las Vegas-style shows and its wide variety of dining options.

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The fun starts as soon as you board Gem via the Atrium on Deck 7, which serves as a busy hub of activities, from live musical performances to trivia contests to movies. Overhead, an eye-catching custom chandelier features color-changing lights, and the centrally located Java Cafe & Bar is usually packed from morning to night.

Flexibility and a casual vibe are hallmarks of Norwegian's Freestyle Cruising, which means that almost 2,400 passengers can enjoy the freedom to dine where, when and with whom they wish (other than at the specialty restaurants, which usually need reservations) and only have to dress up for dinner if they want to. Many passengers come prepared for the ship's theme nights, one of which is the popular Glow Party, an amped-up version of the ship's former White Hot Party, where passengers are encouraged to wear white or neon clothing.

Perusing the Freestyle Daily newsletter reveals a staggering amount of activities to choose from, some of which cost extra but many of which are free, such as the always-popular scavenger hunt, silly pool contests, card lessons and food demonstrations.

Norwegian Gem's wide variety of onboard activities offers something for every type of traveler, from gambling through the night to meeting other passengers in friendly competitions to simply lounging by the pool. It would be a challenge to do everything, but trying is a fun occupation at sea.


Included with your cruise fare:

  • Meals in two main dining rooms and the Garden Cafe/Great Outdoors buffets, plus meals and snacks at O'Sheehan's, Orchid Garden and Topsiders Bar & Grill; also continental breakfast room service
  • Production shows in the main theater
  • Most onboard activities, except where noted
  • Use of the Pulse Fitness Center (excluding most classes)
  • Use of the sports deck
  • Programs at the Splash Academy kids club (fees apply for late-night activities, mealtime supervision)

Not included with your cruise fare:

  • Gratuities ($15 per person, per day for standard staterooms; $18 per person, per day for anyone staying in The Haven or in Concierge-category rooms, and all non-The Haven suites)
  • Drinks, except water, tea, basic coffee and select juices from the buffet
  • Room service ($9.95 surcharge per order, waived for suites and continental breakfast orders)
  • Specialty dining
  • Auto-gratuities of 20 percent for all beverage, spa, salon and specialty dining purchases
  • Mandara Spa & Salon services
  • Most fitness classes and all personal training
  • Access to the Mandara Spa Thermal Suite
  • Select daily activities, including alcohol tastings, arts and crafts classes, bingo and game shows ("Deal or No Deal")
  • After-hours Splash Academy supervision
  • Shore excursions
  • Wi-Fi
  • Photos and artwork sold onboard
  • If you choose to bring wine onboard, there is a $15 corkage fee (no hard liquor permitted)

Fellow Passengers

Passengers are predominantly from the U.S. and Canada. The average age varies. On longer cruises, the ship appeals to older passengers. On seven-night trips, and especially during school holiday seasons, it's dominated by families.

More so than other ships we've cruised on, we found our fellow Gem passengers loved to talk to strangers, making for a very convivial atmosphere onboard.

Norwegian Gem Dress Code

Daytime: Pretty much anything goes during the day, which means summer and casual dresses, skirts, regular or capri pants, shorts, jeans and tops for women and khakis, jeans, shorts and casual shirts for men. Swimwear is OK at the buffet and outdoor restaurant, but a shirt or a cover-up and shoes are required.

Evening: At night, smart-casual is preferred in the dining rooms and specialty restaurants. For women, this means slacks or jeans, dresses, skirts and tops. For men, jeans or slacks with a collared shirt and closed-toed shoes are ideal. That isn't to say we didn't see plenty of people sporting T-shirts, though.

Not permitted: Tank tops (for men), flip-flops, baseball caps, visors or jeans that are overly faded, with holes or tears are a no-no in the main dining rooms and specialty restaurants.

For more information, visit Cruise Line Dress Code: Norwegian.

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More about Norwegian Gem

Where does Norwegian Gem sail from?
How much does it cost to go on Norwegian Gem?
Cruises on Norwegian Gem start from $319 per person.
Is Norwegian Gem a good ship to cruise on?
Norwegian Gem won 5 awards over the years.

Awards and Recognition

Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice

  • 2016 Best for Entertainment
  • 2016 Best for First Timers
  • 2015 Best for Entertainment
  • 2014 Best for Entertainment
  • 2013 Best for Entertainment

Norwegian Gem Member Reviews

Norwegian Gem
Sail Date: Aug 2019
We chose this cruise because frankly, we live by Cruise Port Boston, love Bermuda and spent our honeymoon on the Norwegian Gem on its transatlantic portion of its maiden voyage back in 2007 and wanted...Read More
Norwegian Gem
Sail Date: Jun 2019
Norwegian Gem is a beautiful ship.The staff are friendly and accommodating....Read More
Norwegian Gem
Sail Date: Mar 2019
Everything was top notch- fabulous Norwegian Gem and her crew. We enjoyed the specialty dining venues and the entertainment. Our cabin steward Lincey Mitchell was outstanding!...Read More
Norwegian Gem
Sail Date: May 2019
Suffice to say, that the Norwegian Gem, is furlong's ahead, of the Norwegian Dawn, …. In both FORM & FUNCTION …. The service, albeit NOT cruising of old, was POLITE & ACCURATE, …....Read More

Norwegian Cruise Line Fleet