Norwegian Gem Cruise Ship: Overview and Things to Do

Everything you need to know about the Norwegian Gem cruise ship operated Norwegian Cruise Line with an overview and things to do.

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While the Norwegian Gem cruise ship isn’t necessarily old, it also isn’t necessarily new. Ordered in 2004 for a cost of $700 million USD and launched in 2007, the ship is now essentially a teenager.

But don’t feel as if this is a teenager that you’ll have a difficult time dealing with — thanks to a few upgrades in 2015, this ship has been brought up to the modern age and it serves its itineraries well with a full range of features. 

If you’re thinking about taking a Norwegian Gem cruise in the near future, you’re going to want to keep reading, because we’ve broken down everything you need to know about this gem of a ship.

We cover the basic stats on things like the number of staterooms and number of crew members, to the more important info, like where to go to get a good drink during a sea day. Here’s everything you need to know about the Norwegian Gem cruise ship.

Ship Statistics and Facts

Norwegian Gem is by no means known for its size. The ship easily sits somewhere in the middle ground. Here’s how it ranks.

  • Norwegian Gem registers at 93,530 GT
  • The ship has an overall length of 965 feet
  • At double occupancy, the ship holds 2,394 guests
  • The ship holds 1,070 crew members
  • A mid-size ship, Norwegian Gem doesn’t even scratch the list of top 65 largest cruise ships in the world, with the 65th largest cruise ship measuring 121,878 GT — well above Norwegian Gem

But while this size may seem small to some seasoned cruisers, it’s worth noting just how enjoyable a cruise on a mid-sized ship can be. The size and range of options, from entertainment to dining, isn’t quite so overwhelming as what you might find on a larger ship, and there aren’t as many crowds to deal with.

After all, when you have a ship with more than 4,000 people on-board, you’re basically just a small sailing town, versus a group of vacationers. 

Jewel-Class Ships

A ship’s class says a lot about it. Norwegian Gem is part of Norwegian Cruise Line’s Jewel class, which includes Norwegian Jewel, Norwegian Jade (previously known as Pride of Hawaii), Norwegian Pearl, and Norwegian Gem

Norwegian Gem, when it debuted in 2007, was the second-to-last Jewel-class ship for Norwegian Cruise Line, followed the next year by Norwegian Jade. It’s the same size as Norwegian Pearl and, in fact, the Jewel class was the largest of the cruise line’s ships for a brief time, until they built Norwegian Epic, which far surpassed all of the Jewel-class ships.

Norwegian Gem Cruise Ship
Photo Credit: Darryl Brooks / Shutterstock.com

During the time of their debut, the Jewel-class ships were state-of-the-art, slightly larger than the cruise line’s Dawn Class. However, over time, these jewels have lost a bit of their luster. Still, they do come with a lot of perks for certain travelers.

If you’re a cruiser who doesn’t necessarily need a lot of flashy tech or the latest entertainment, and you just want to kick back, relax, enjoy some nice food and not be required to make a reservation for every last thing you want to do during your cruise — well, then, Norwegian Gem might just be exactly the ship for you.

Not to mention, most Norwegian Gem cruises are significantly more affordable than cruises on some of the cruise line’s newer ships. 

Staterooms

There is a range of Norwegian Gem staterooms and suites to choose from, depending on what your needs may be. While these staterooms aren’t the flashiest or the most luxurious out of all the cruise ship staterooms you could stay in, they do the job well and they’re pretty true to the average cruising experience. You can choose from…

  • Interior staterooms
  • Ocean-view staterooms
  • Balcony staterooms

There are also suites, including Club Balcony suites and general suites. 

But above and beyond all this, there are also additional Norwegian Gem Haven staterooms. The Haven is like Norwegian Cruise Line’s VIP area and you’ll find Havens across many of the other ships in Norwegian’s fleet.

Balcony Stateroom on Norwegian Gem
Balcony Stateroom on Norwegian Gem (Photo Courtesy: NCL)

Basically, the Haven staterooms and suites are a little more luxurious and upgraded, and they’re located in their own little colony, away from the other cruisers.

Those staying in Haven staterooms and suites also enjoy extra amenities, such as concierge service and access to private, Haven guest-only spots. In other words, if it’s luxury you’re after, you’re going to want to book a Haven stateroom.  

What’s Included in the Fare?

If you’re not, on the other hand, looking to splurge, you’ll likely want to know what exactly comes included in your cruise fare. If you’ve yet to cruise with Norwegian Cruise Line, this is what you can expect to be included in your fare when booking a cruise on Norwegian Gem:

  • Meals in the two main dining rooms and buffets, select room service and dining at various other complimentary dining options  
  • Main theater shows
  • Use of the fitness center, sports deck and children’s center

Exclusions apply to some of the above, so keep your eyes peeled for added fees and charges as you go about your cruise. 

Other items that are definitely not included in your Norwegian Gem cruise fare include:

  • Gratuities
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Specialty dining
  • Special experiences, like spa treatments, fitness classes, etc.
  • Any shopping you do at the on-board stores

Restaurants 

So, once you’re aboard your cruise, what can you expect in terms of dining? Well, there’s a range of different dining options for you to choose from when you’re on the ship, both complimentary dining options and those specialty dining options that come with additional fees.

Grand Pacific Dining Room
Grand Pacific Dining Room (Photo Courtesy: NCL)

Across the board, though, Norwegian Gem offers some pretty spectacular culinary experiences and foodies will be pleased. The food overall is great in terms of cruise food, so you may indeed decide that you want to splurge a little on the specialty dining experiences. 

Complimentary Dining

  • O’Sheehan’s Bar & Grill, for 24-hour Irish pub classics and brews
  • Bali Hai Bar, for poolside casual eats
  • The Garden Cafe, for breakfast, lunch and dinner buffets
  • Grand Pacific, one of the main dining rooms, with traditional cuisine and ocean views
  • Magenta, the other main dining room, serving modern cuisine
  • Orchid Garden, an Asian fusion restaurant
  • The Great Outdoors, an outdoor buffet and bar that’s super-casual
  • Topsiders Bar & Grill, for burgers and hot dogs by the pool 

Specialty Dining

Cagney's Steakhouse
Cagney’s Steakhouse (Photo Courtesy: NCL)

As you can see, the complimentary dining options are pretty extensive all on their own, so you’d have no trouble at all enjoying a wide variety of foods without even breaking into your wallet. If, however, you do want to enjoy some of the for-a-fee, specialty dining, here are your options:

  • Moderno Churrascaria, a Brazilian-style steakhouse with a huge salad bar
  • Sushi, an aptly-named sushi bar
  • La Cucina, an Italian, family-style restaurant 
  • Atrium Cafe, a quick spot for coffee and pastries
  • Cagney’s Steakhouse, for American-style steakhouse eats
  • Le Bistro, for a French-style fine dining experience 
  • Teppanyaki, for Japanese grilling

Bars and Lounges 

But after all that food, where will you go to get a drink? There are 15 different spots to grab a drink while on a Norwegian Gem cruise, but a few of those watering holes overlap with the above restaurants, so we’re just listing the bars and lounges that offer dedicated spots for getting a drink or two. These include…

Sugarcane Bar
Sugarcane Bar (Photo Courtesy: NCL)
  • Bliss Ultra Lounge & Night Club, a flashy club for partying well into the night
  • Corona Cigar Club, for when you want a smoke with your fine cognacs and whiskeys
  • Magnum’s Champagne & Wine Bar, for fine wines in an Art Nouveau setting
  • Maltings Beer & Whiskey Bar, for a quiet and laid-back setting 
  • Sugarcane Mojito Bar, for — you guessed it — mojitos
  • Spinnaker Lounge, for great views and an equally great dance floor 
  • Shakers martini & Cocktail Bar, for a vintage-style setting and all the classic cocktails your heart could want  

Beyond these options, you can also find bars by the pool, at the casino, within the theater and throughout all the various restaurants. 

Entertainment

Even though Norwegian Gem is a somewhat older ship, and you won’t necessarily find a ton of the flashiest entertainment options that you might on a brand-new ship, you will still find plenty of the classic cruiser-style entertainment that you already know and love, like theatrical shows and casino gambling.

Stardust Theater
Stardust Theater (Photo Courtesy: NCL)

Live performances include musicals, concerts paying tribute to some of music’s biggest stars, and variety shows. 

If you’re looking for daytime entertainment, though, or activities that’ll get your blood pumping, you’ll find plenty of that as well.

Take a stroll through the art gallery. Play a quick sports game on the basketball, volleyball or tennis court. Take a spin around the jogging track. Stop in the video arcade or library. Enjoy the main pool and hot tubs.

Open Decks Pools
Open Decks Pools (Photo Courtesy: NCL)

Yes, it’s all pretty standard, but there’s a reason that these types of activities are found on just about every single cruise ship — it’s because cruisers reliably love them.

Children’s Programming

The children’s programming on Norwegian Gem may seem a little limited compared to what’s available on some other ships, but it’s still worth checking out if you’re traveling with the kids. 

The teen space, for those ages 13 to 17, is called “Entourage” and it offers complimentary activities for kids both day and night.

Kid's Pool
Kid’s Pool (Photo Courtesy: NCL)

For smaller kids, a kiddy pool is located on Deck 12, with just enough water for plenty of splashing fun. Splash Academy is also a hit with younger kids, with tons of games and activities, and kids entertainment planned for nearly all day, every day. 

Spa & Fitness Facilities 

While the kids are enjoying that children’s programming, it’s the perfect opportunity for mom and dad to check out the ship’s spa and fitness facilities. The Mandara Spa & Salon offers a range of traditional treatments, and a thermal suite offers a thalasso therapy pool, a steam room, hot tub and sauna, for the ultimate in relaxation.

Norwegian Gem Spa
Norwegian Gem Spa (Photo Courtesy: NCL)

You can book both individual therapies or simply book a thermal suite pass that gives you unlimited access to the thermal suite.

A fitness center is open from early morning to late at night on Deck 12, with fitness and aerobics classes offered daily, alongside a full gym outfitted with all your favorite workout equipment.

Also Read: Things to Do on a Norwegian Encore Cruise

Shopping

And, lastly, just like every good cruise ship, Norwegian Gem offers a fair amount of shopping options. Trade Routes Boutiques is a large department store with a wide range of your favorite brands, while Tradewinds offers great deals on duty-free items.

You can also find jewelry stores and even a discount store in the ship’s atrium, where you can buy gifts and luxury items at up to 70% off the list price.

Ready to Book Your Norwegian Gem Cruise?

While, yes, Norwegian Gem doesn’t have it all, there’s a reason that it’s so popular with longtime cruisers. It offers the basic cruising experience for a great price, with everything you need to keep the entire family happy.

Norwegian Gem FAQ:

How large is the Norwegian Gem?

Norwegian Gem weighs in at a gross tonnage of 93,530 GT. The ship is 965 feet long and, at double occupancy, holds 2,394 guests and 1,070 crew members. At this size, it’s firmly a mid-size ship and doesn’t even compare to some of the world’s largest cruise ships, some of which can be more than twice its size. 

How many pools are on Norwegian Gem?

The pool area on Norwegian Gem is relatively basic, with two pools, six hot tubs and one water slide. There are many, many loungers, though, to serve the thousands of cruisers that sail on the ship at one time.

How many passengers are on Norwegian Gem?

At double occupancy, Norwegian Gem holds 2,394 guests and 1,070 crew members.

Norwegian Gem Cruise Ship
Holly Riddlehttps://hollyriddle.org/
Holly Riddle is a travel and food freelance writer whose work can be found in print and digital publications all around the world. She is additionally an entrepreneur specializing in content and marketing services. Beyond frequent travel, Riddle enjoys cooking, reading, camping and spending time with her husband and two dogs. Her favorite travel destinations include Chicago, Amsterdam, Edinburgh and just about anywhere in the Caribbean. Find out more about us here.

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Norwegian Gem Cruise Ship
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