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Norwegian Gem Review

2016 Best for Entertainment
2016 Best for First Timers
2015 Best for Entertainment
View More

Find a Norwegian Gem Cruise from £585

Norwegian Gem
4.0 / 5.0
2530 reviews

Pros
Cons
Bottom Line

About

Passengers
2,394

Crew
1,070

Passenger to Crew
2.24:1

Launched
2007

Shore Excursions
730
Sails To
Canada & New England, Bermuda, Caribbean, Europe, Bahamas, Eastern Caribbean
Norwegian (NCL) Cruise Deals
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.

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.

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Inclusions

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)

Top Norwegian Gem Itineraries

Norwegian Gem
12 night southern caribbean - new york (nyc/nyc)

New York (Manhattan), St. Thomas, Antigua, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts (Port Zante), San Juan, New York (Manhattan)

View All Norwegian Gem Itineraries (25)

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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Norwegian Gem Ratings

CategoryEditorMember
Cabins4.04
Dining4.03.7
Entertainment4.53.9
Public Rooms3.54.1
Fitness Recreation3.53.9
Family4.03.6
Enrichment3.03.4
Service5.04.1
Value For Money5.03.7

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More about Norwegian Gem

Where does Norwegian Gem sail from?

Norwegian Gem departs from Boston, Quebec City, Manhattan, Rome, Civitavecchia and Venice

How much does it cost to go on Norwegian Gem?

Cruises on Norwegian Gem start from £585 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
froglaps
Sail Date: Dec 2019
Apparently a new Norwegian or Gem policy is no towel animals, unless requested.... Read More
Norwegian Gem
CCaldwell
Sail Date: Nov 2019
We'll see you soon, Norwegian team!... Read More
Norwegian Gem
karen.olevitz001
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
EH Tommy
Sail Date: Aug 2019
This is my fifth Norwegian Cruise, and the Gem is my favorite ship. My first cruise with Norwegian was on the S.S. Norway in July 1993.... Read More

Norwegian Cruise Line Fleet

Norwegian Sky
3.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating

2195 reviews

One of Norwegian's oldest, smallest ships; main attractions are the 24/7 open bar on its three-night Bahamas cruises and four-night sailings to Cuba.

Norwegian Sky Cruises to the Bahamas Norwegian Sky Cruises to the Eastern Caribbean View All Norwegian Sky Cruises
Norwegian Sun
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


One of the smaller ships in the Norwegian fleet, Norwegian Sun offers 1,936 passengers 14 dining options, nine bars, five hot tubs, golf driving net, Mandara Spa and a walking/jogging track.

Norwegian Star
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Launched in 2001, 2,348-passenger Norwegian Star was the first Norwegian ship custom built for Freestyle Cruising, which touts a plethora of dining, cabin and entertainment options.

Norwegian Dawn
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Freestyle cruising means lots of choice for free and for-fee dining, drinking and entertainment, and no set dining times; holds some 3,000 cruisers.

Norwegian Spirit
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Mid-sized family-friendly cruise ship carries 2,018 passengers; offers 17 dining venues, Buccaneer's Wet & Wild Kids’ Pool, Bollywood-style nightclub and large theatre

Pride of America

The year-round, all-Hawaiian island itineraries are the ship's main draw; also offers nearly a dozen free and for-fee dining options; can hold near 3,000.

Norwegian Jewel
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Freestyle cruising means two dozen free and for-fee restaurants and bars to choose from, plus no set dining times or assigned tables; holds about 3,000 cruisers.

Norwegian Pearl
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Plenty of eateries, bars and daily activities keep this 3,000-passenger ship hopping; often chartered for music and pop culture theme cruises.

Norwegian Gem
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


More than 10 restaurants offer everything from a traditional steakhouse to Brazilian and Japanese; entertainment includes big stage shows; holds some 3,000 cruisers.

Norwegian Jade
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Family-friendly and carries 2,402 passengers; offers nine dining options, casino, Haven Courtyard, large pool deck with two pools and the Wipe Out Teens Club.

Norwegian Epic
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating


19-deck mega-ship carrying about 4,500 people; features "Priscilla, Queen of the Desert" stage show, the Beatle's-inspired Cavern Club lounge and solo cabins.

Norwegian Breakaway
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating


An NYC-themed mega-ship, carrying some 4,500 cruisers; highlights include outdoor restaurant seating, a ropes course, multistory water slides and 18 dining venues.

Norwegian Getaway
4.5 / 5.0
Editor Rating


A Miami-themed megaship, holding some 4,500 cruisers; features outdoor restaurant seating, a ropes course, multistory waterslides and 18 dining venues.

Norwegian Escape
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Carries some 4,500 people; features Broadway-style entertainment, an expansive ropes course and 17 restaurants including the first at-sea Margaritaville.

Norwegian Joy
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Norwegian Joy is packed with engaging activities and spaces, and while there's no doubt it has quiet areas -- such as the gorgeous and serene Observation Lounge -- the ship's character is driven more by all there is to do than anything else.

Norwegian Bliss
4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating


Norwegian's newest ship, which will sail in Alaska and Caribbean, launches June 2018; highlights include 82 solo cabins with virtual ocean views and a massive observation lounge.

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