Norwegian Gem Review
The fourth and final Jewel-class ship, Norwegian Gem was launched in 2008. Although it's almost identical to its classmates, the Jewel-class was evolutionary, so each ship tweaked until all the elements came together in Norwegian Gem. Norwegian Gem is based
in New York City and offers Caribbean and Bahamas itineraries for much of the year, with some New England and Canada cruises primarily in the summer and fall.
Jewel-class ships are the next step in the continuing evolution of Freestyle ship design: the interior location of some public rooms and restaurants has been tweaked since the introduction of Freestyle cruising vessels, and new categories of deluxe accommodations have been added.
These ships have more than a dozen dining alternatives, a variety of entertainment options, and expansive areas reserved for children and teens. Pools have waterslides and a plethora of lounge chairs, although when your ship is full, it can be difficult to find one in a prime location. Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Gem introduced the line's first rock-climbing walls, as well as Bliss Lounge, which has trendy South Beach decor, and the first full-size 10-pin bowling alleys on modern cruise ships.
Norwegian Cruise Line (originally known as Norwegian Caribbean Line) set sail in 1966 with an entirely new concept: regularly scheduled Caribbean cruises from the then-obscure port of Miami. Good food and friendly service combined with value fares established Norwegian as a winner for active adults and families. With the introduction of the now-retired SS Norway in 1979, Norwegian ushered in the era of cruises on megasize ships. Innovative and forward-looking, Norwegian has been a cruise-industry leader for four decades, and is as much at home in Europe as it is in the Caribbean.
Noted for top-quality, high-energy entertainment and emphasis on fitness facilities and programs, Norwegian combines action, activities, and a variety of dining options in a casual, free-flowing atmosphere. Freestyle cruising signaled an end to rigid dining schedules and dress codes. Norwegian ships now offer a host of flexible dining options that allow passengers to eat in the main dining rooms or any of a number of à la carte and specialty restaurants at any time and with whom they please. Now co-owned by Genting Hong Kong Limited and Apollo Management, a private equity company, Norwegian continues to be an industry innovator.
From a distance, most cruise ships look so similar that it's often difficult to tell them apart, but Norwegian's largest, modern ships stand out with their distinctive use of hull art. Each new ship is distinguished by murals extending from bow to midship.
What You Should Know
- There are both main-stage and nightclub performances by Second City
- The ship's tranquil library offers a quiet escape with a sea view
- Courtyard Villa accommodations are like a ship within a ship and have a private pool area
- There is a fee for use of the thermal suites in the spa
- Freestyle dining doesn't mean you can get to eat precisely when you want to
- For such a large ship, the Internet center is tiny
- Crew Members 1,092
- Entered Service 2007
- Gross Tons 93,530
- Length 965 feet
- Number of Cabins 1,197
- Passenger Capacity 2,394
- Width 105 feet