Norwegian Gem Ship Review
In the year 2000, NCL decided that cruising had become too stuffy, so it began redesigning its onboard programs and its ships to be more casual, down-to-earth, and just plain fun. The 93,558-ton, 2,380-guest Norwegian Gem and her Jewel-class sister ships are the direct result of that makeover. Launched in 2007, Gem is everything a mainstream American megaship should be, offering a festive atmosphere, great entertainment, a slew of restaurants, awesome children’s centers, fun decor, fantastic suites, and comfortable standard staterooms, all at a fair price.
On Gem’s bow, paintings of bright gem stones flow back like a scarf — a playful touch that was designed to say, “Hey! Come aboard. We have fun in here. ”
Public Rooms & Entertainment On Norwegian Gem
Inside, the mood continues from the moment you come aboard, with fantasy furniture and artwork in the atrium lobby, an explosion of bright island colors in both the public rooms and accommodations, and a dash of contemporary and art deco styling in some of her fancier restaurants and lounges. Top of the wow pyramid is the Bliss Ultra Lounge, which juxtaposes Indian Bollywood themes, velvety fashion-world curtains and daybeds, dozens of TV screens for visual mood-setting, and four 10-pin bowling lanes to create one of the most modern hipster night spots at sea. Farther forward, the multi-deck Stardust Theater seats 1,000 guests for some of the best production shows in the cruise world, as well as performances by the great Second City comedy troupe.
Up on Deck 13, the Spinnaker observation lounge hosts late-night music and dancing. More intimate, low-volume socializing takes place at midships on Deck 6, where three themed bars are clustered together, one specializing in beer and whiskey, one in martinis and cocktails, and one in champagne. Other public rooms include a large casino, a reading room, a library, an Internet center, a wedding chapel, and a coffee bar.
Just For Kids On Norwegian Gem
Kids get a huge, bright play area outfitted with cozy TV rooms, a huge climbing maze, and great crafts, play, and computer areas. There’s also a small play area outdoors. Teens get their own hangout space called the Leopard Lounge.
Dining On Norwegian Gem
A dinnertime, guests can choose among 12 different restaurants:
- The main Grand Pacific and Magenta dining rooms
- Le Bistro, the most formal restaurant onboard, serving French and continental cuisine
- The Orchid Garden, for Asian food
- The Teppanyaki Room, where chefs prepare your meal at a tableside grill, Japanese style
- A sushi bar
- Cagney’s, a classic steakhouse with an attached, 1930s-style bar for cocktails before or after dinner
- La Cucina, serving casual, family-style Italian meals at long tables
- The Tequila Tapas Bar
- The Garden Cafe buffet restaurant
- The casual Blue Lagoon, serving comfort food 24 hours a day
- And, added in 2011, a new South American–style steakhouse called Moderno Churrascaria, where servers circulate among the tables with a huge selection of grilled meats
There are also the usual outdoor grills and indoor snack spots during the day, plus room service, and you can even order pizza 24 hours a day for $5 per pie, delivered to you anywhere on the ship.
Pools, Fitness & Fun On Norwegian Gem
Outdoors, Gem’s resort-like pool deck is hedged to port and starboard by a row of palm-tree-shaped street lamps, while a large, Bermuda-style gazebo bandstand sits in the center, among two pools, four hot tubs, and a two-story corkscrew waterslide. Up in the bow on that same deck is the ship’s amazing spa, with its multiple treatment rooms, saunas, beauty salon, and calming relaxation center with its own aquatherapy pool. A large fitness center is next door, and there’s a jogging track and a basketball/volleyball court outside.
Staterooms & Suites On Norwegian Gem
Standard staterooms are comfortable if not plush, decorated in bright fabrics and woody paneling and accents. Furniture tends to be a bit spindly and insubstantial, but overall the rooms are pleasant and livable, with TVs, minibars, well-designed bathrooms, and, in about half the outside cabins, smallish but acceptable private balconies. Outsides range from about 160 to 205 square feet.
At the high end, Gem offers 11 different categories of suites, many of them in its “The Haven by Norwegian” first-class section. Top of the heap is the incredible Garden Villa, with its three separate bedrooms, living room, dining room, and private garden. Most distinctive are the two-bedroom, 572-square-foot Family Villas and 440-square-foot Courtyard Penthouses, all arrayed around a private courtyard with its own small swimming pool, hot tub, and plush sun beds. There’s also a private sun deck upstairs and a dedicated concierge lounge, all for the use of Haven guests only.
Norwegian Cruise ReviewsTo read a review of a particular ship, click the link under "Read the Review." If applicable, our Live Voyage Reports offer a day-by-day overview of an actual cruise onboard. In some cases, there may be more than one report, to be sure to see if your favorite destination is represented.
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