Norwegian Gem Review

Editor Rating:  4.5
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Norwegian Gem Ratings

  • Category
    Member
    Editor
  • Dining
    3.8
    4.0
  • Public Rooms
    4.2
    5.0
  • Cabins
    4.1
    5.0
  • Entertainment
    3.9
    5.0
  • Spa & Fitness
    4.0
    4.0
  • Family & Children
    3.5
    4.0
  • Shore Excursions
    3.6
    3.0
  • Enrichment
    3.4
    4.0
  • Service
    4.1
    4.0
  • Value-for-Money
    3.8
    5.0
Editor Rating
4.5
Member Rating
Why Choose Norwegian Gem?
  • Pro: Easy layout, lots of choice, refitted Haven
  • Con: Longer itineraries make cruises less family friendly
  • Bottom Line: New York base makes Gem a convenient choice for adults and couples.

Norwegian Gem Overview

By Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief; Graham Kates, Cruise Critic Contributor

Norwegian takes a one-ship-fits-all approach to cruising with Gem, where rock climbing meets shuffleboard and hot-stone massages meet Guitar Hero and chess played with comically large game pieces.

Gem launched in 2007, and on it, Norwegian Cruise Line continues to refine its Freestyle Cruising concept, which focuses on flexibility and a casual atmosphere. On Gem, more than 2,300 passengers enjoy the freedom to dine where, when and with whom they wish (except for when reservations require otherwise). The dress code is relaxed, with an optional formal night for those looking to get all dolled up. In spring 2008, the ship underwent the company's Freestyle 2.0 upgrade program, receiving several enhancements to its menus, new beds throughout and service tweaks at all levels.

If casual is the goal, entertainment is the modus operandi. As passengers board Gem, they're greeted in the main atrium with blaring beats spun by a D.J. whose ruby red turntable is almost as flashy as the glowing space itself. Thirteen bars, an enormous 1,115-seat theater -- featuring Second City and Broadway-esque productions -- and a dozen restaurants keep the ship hopping throughout the trip.

The ship also accommodates those in need of quiet time; from the spacious and serene spa, with armchairs overlooking a vast ocean expanse, to a variety of lounges and a library, there are nooks aplenty for relaxation.

The ability to shift between active and restful, party and calm, at a moment's notice is Norwegian's calling card. With so many options, Gem ensures that you can find time to do what you want onboard -- whatever that may be.

Norwegian Gem Fellow Passengers

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

Norwegian Gem Dress Code

Just about anything goes, wardrobe-wise, with most passengers wearing casual, poolside garb during the day and resort casual-style clothing -- including jeans -- at night. (Shorts and tank tops are only permitted in the Garden Cafe and Blue Lagoon after hours.) Grand Pacific is the ship's dress-up restaurant in the evenings.

Norwegian Gem Gratuity

Norwegian charges a "service fee" of $13.99 per person, per day, for passengers booked in standard cabins and mini-suites. Those in suites are charged $16.99 per person, per day. Cruisers wishing to adjust or remove the charges must fill out a form post-cruise to request a refund.

Norwegian recommends that suite passengers who use butler and concierge services tip according to the level of service rendered.

An 18 percent gratuity will be added to all bar purchases and services in the spa and salon.

The onboard currency is the U.S. dollar.

Next:  Norwegian Gem Cabins

By Carolyn Spencer Brown, Editor in Chief; Graham Kates, Cruise Critic Contributor

1,757 Norwegian Gem Reviews from our Cruise Critic Community

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Petel809
Member Since 2017
1 review
0 forum posts
0 helpful votes
Sailed four weeks ago
I have been on several different ships, and for me the GEM is my favorite so far. Sailed on the GEM twice already and will be sailing on her again this September. I couldn't say anything bad about this ship, the service staff, ... Read more
MB12
Member Since 2017
1 review
0 forum posts
0 helpful votes
Sailed four weeks ago
Kids Camp - only open at certain times - check in and pick up were disorganized and took a while - evening hours started at exact same time as show (poor planning) - child enjoyed activities / on prior cruise much more flexibility ... Read more
Helpful? Thank MB12
MKMNYC
Member Since 2017
1 review
0 forum posts
0 helpful votes
We will strongly consider Norwegian for our next cruise. Here's why... Flexible dining was great. Specialty dining options were excellent, especially Cagney's. O'Sheahan's Irish Pub was great -- open 24 hours! Leaving from our home ... Read more
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2,164 Professional Norwegian Gem Photos

We spent almost a full week on board the Norwegian Gem with multiple photographers and took 2,164 pictures of the ship.  When you visit our new photo galleries you can be assured that what you see is what you get!

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