Carolyn Spencer Brown
Cruise Critic Chief Content Strategist
5.0 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating: Cabins

As you'd expect from a Norwegian ship, Gem offers cabins to suit just about every preference and comfort strata, from interior cabins outfitted with just the basics to an over-the-top "villa" with enough room to host a party with live music.

Despite limited closet space, the inside and outside cabins are none too shabby space-wise (143 and 161 square feet, respectively). A sea blue and coral pink color scheme is very cruise-appropriate; sea-themed artwork, like photos of reefs teeming with fish, remind the windowless of what lies beyond. Beds are well appointed and brightly hued, and the rooms each have enough space for a small desk and wall-mounted flat-screen television. Although bathrooms wouldn't fit a social make-up session, wash areas and showers are large enough to get the job done.

Bathrooms are stocked with travel-sized bars of soap and bottles of shampoo, conditioner and lotion.

The 204-square-foot balcony rooms feature comfortable walking space, plenty of mirrors and surprisingly roomy bathrooms. Reading lights embedded in the walls directly above the beds are a nice touch, too. The balconies themselves are just large enough for two patio chairs and a small space between for a tray of food or an ice bucket chilling pinot.

Gem has a pretty extensive selection of suites, ranging from those with extra room for couches and larger bathrooms (mini-suites, 285 square feet) to much larger options. Penthouse suites (341-387 square feet and 489-578 square feet) include separate dining areas, queen-size beds, floor-to-ceiling windows, luxury bathrooms with separate bathtubs/showers, powder room areas and large balconies with tables and reclining lounge chairs.

Gem has 27 wheelchair-accessible rooms with options in almost every category, but there are only two accessible suites, a couple of aft-facing penthouses.

Norwegian Gem has Wi-Fi service throughout the ship, and wired Internet is available in rooms, provided you have an Ethernet cable. (There's also an Internet center in the main atrium.) TV programming includes a selection of movies, as well as CNN, TNT, Cartoon Network and ESPN.

There's an old saying in my family that goes something like this: "Oprah is always right." A Norwegian representative told me the queen of all media spent a water-bound sojourn basking in The Haven's three-bedroom Garden Villa on Deck 14, which is centered on a courtyard with a beautiful, Balinese-inspired pool, lounging area and even a private fitness center. And she's right again -- The Haven is really incredible.

The Garden Villa features a separate living and dining room with flat-screen television, mini-grand piano, chandelier, Lavazza coffee maker, dry bar and enormous half-moon sofa. The balcony, though compact, is nicely outfitted with rattan-like chairs with plush cushions. The sumptuous bedroom, tucked away behind purple velvet curtains, overlooks the long bathroom, where the tub is set under a picture window -- bath salts provided. There's a separate shower, a toilet in its own compartment and a double sink.

Most villas are equipped for at least four people via a small, windowless chamber that can sleep two. It comes with a bathroom with shower, drawers, closet and television. A handful of villas don't have the extra bedroom.

Families with as many as four kids can stay together in The Haven's Family Villa (572 square feet), where there are separate master and children's bedrooms, dual bathrooms (the master bathroom is enormous, with a walk-in shower, separate bathtub and two sinks) and ample closet space.

Tucked away in its own cove, complete with an enormous Asian-inspired mural, the dining area in The Haven's Owner's Suite (791-824 square feet) sets the tone for this luxurious living space, complete with two separate balconies and enough room for five to sleep. The master bed is practically smothered in pillows, and the adjoining bathroom includes a huge walk-in closet.

All the way up on Deck 15, the Deluxe Owner's Suite (1,197 square feet) has perhaps the best balcony views of any suite on the ship. It comes with its own outdoor hot tub and an outdoor eating and lounging area. Even the views from the large bathroom windows are impressive, and jars of bath salts on the windowsill are a nice touch.

Owner's Suites, villas and penthouses are part of Norwegian's "ship within a ship" boutique concept, so occupants are entitled to extra services and perks. Cagney's, the ship's evening steakhouse restaurant, is made over for these residents for breakfast and lunch. An on-call concierge can make reservations for dinner, spa appointments and shore excursions; this service particularly alleviates some of the annoying details about sailing on Gem, such as the need to make reservations in advance, particularly when the ship is full. A butler is on tap to provide extra in-cabin services, such as delivering food not just from the regular room service menu, but also from restaurants -- a perk not on offer to other passengers. (You'll still have to pay any restaurant surcharges.)

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