Five Things to Know About Norwegian Cruise Line's Gem Cruise Ship
Best for: Families, stimulation-craving adults, and anyone who likes a ship with lots of action
Sails: The Caribbean, New England & Canada
At a Glance: After undergoing a stem-to-stern refurbishment in 2015, Norwegian Gem, built in 2007, looks far fresher than its years. You’ll also find many of the same restaurants and bars you’d see on Norwegian’s larger ships.
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There’s a Ship Within the Ship
If you’re looking for extra privacy and perks and don’t mind a splurge, reserve a stateroom in The Haven, an exclusive suites-only area with its own restaurant, lounge, courtyard, and pool. The largest Haven cabins are the sprawling, 4,252-square-foot three-bedroom Garden Villas, which come with a living room, dining room, and private garden with a hot tub. Don’t need a suite? Staterooms range in size from a 138-square-foot inside cabin to a 272-square-foot Mini-Suite with a balcony.
It’s Great If You’re Active
Unlike on Norwegian’s newer ships, you won’t find a single water slide or ropes course onboard. But between the buzzing main pool deck, arcade, spa, fitness center, and basketball/tennis/volleyball court, you’ll find plenty to keep you active on sea days. Traveling with kids? The ship’s Splash Academy children’s program will entertain them with arts and crafts and games.
The Spa Is a Sanctuary
With dozens of treatments on offer from hot stone massages to facials, the Mandara Spa might be the most relaxing spot on the ship. One of the biggest draws is the Thermal Suite, where passengers come to take a dip in the thalassotherapy pool, then bliss out in heated lounge chairs.
The Restaurants Are Abundant
There are more than a dozen restaurants onboard, including the two main dining rooms and buffet restaurant. But those aren’t the only places to eat for free. O’Sheehan’s serves up complimentary pub grub like fish ‘n’ chips, while Orchid Garden dishes out Asian-fusion. But if you really want to treat yourself, make a reservation at one of the for-fee restaurants, most of which are à la carte. For oysters Rockefeller and bone-in rib eye, try Cagney’s, Norwegian’s signature steakhouse. Other for-fee options include the Sushi Bar, Brazilian steakhouse Moderno Churrascaria, Italian eatery La Cucina, Japanese eatery Teppanyaki, and traditional French restaurant Le Bistro.
The Nightlife Is a Major Draw
Sip bubbly at Magnum’s Champagne and Wine Bar, order an appletini at Shakers Martini and Cocktail Bar, hit the disco at Bliss Ultra Lounge, or try a rum drink at Sugarcane Mojito Bar. As for entertainment, passengers can head to the Stardust Theater to check out Broadway-level productions like Swing! The Musical or improv from Second City.