Norwegian Gem Cruise Review to Caribbean - Eastern

Contributor Level: Cruise Director

2-3 cruises


Helpful Votes

5 out of 5

Out of NY the GEM is far superior to the Breakaway.

Sail Date: March 27, 2015

Reviewed: 2 years ago

Traveled As: Couple

Room Type: Balcony

Well this is my third cruise. the first being on the gem, the second being on the Breakaway.  We loved the gem on our first ever cruise and were very disappointed with Breakaway on the second, so we went back to the Gem to see if it was just the new experience of cruising that was so attractive or was it the ship.  It was the ship that was all the difference. 

The level of luxury on the Gem far exceeds that of the Breakaway in just about every character that is not listed on any of the brochures or media.  I'm talking about the little attention to details that make the Gem a grand experience and spectacle in itself, a destination a grandeur and sophistication rather than just an ordinary run of the mill experience.   The first thing that grabs your attention is the theater with looks and feels like a grand opera house and not a movie theater.  Complete with balconies, not just one, but FOUR (yes 4!) grand entrances complete with murals and statues.  I bring attention to this no so much as a must see but as an example of the attention to detail that exists in the ship throughout that I sorely missed in the breakaway.  

The main dining room was of similar grandness, complete with curved staircases and statues on its entranceway, Fine mahagony chairs overlooking the seas and even booths with full luxury sofa seating vs benches for tables of 8 or more. The bars had quiet nooks with huge sofas and laydown areas for private informal groups, just the thing for friends to get together.  

The other thing that I noticed as an engineer is how much better the Gem was able to distribute the 2000+ guests throughout the ship without ever feeling crowded.   I was pleasantly surprised about this on my first experience on the Gem with some 2200 guests, Was VERY aware of the crowds on the Breakaway (reservations for everything are required) and on this cruise I was again treated to open spaces wonderful ocean views, pocket sitting areas for ocean views all over the ship and never a need for a reservation and always open seating in the grand theater.   Imagine my surprise when I found out that this cruise didn't have 2200 passengers but 2800!!!!   This ship is just laid out so well it naturally sends different groups of people to different areas of the ship so they are not tripping all over each other.   With 3 banks of elevators servicing some 10 levels, there was never a crowded elevator or a wait for one. On the Breakaway they had 2 banks of elevators to service 14 levels with twice as many people. the result of the 4 extra decks and 1/3 less boarding areas of  elevators was horrible on the Breakaway.  

In conclusion on returning on our 3rd cruise back to the Gem after a disappointing cruise on the Breakaway, I am happy to report that the Gem is everything a luxury cruise should be.    



Cruise Photos

Ship Quality
I cannot give this ship enough praise, It amazed me how much better this ship is to the other I have cruised on
Food and Dining
Ate mostly at the grand pacific main dining room. Suit and tie dining for me adds to the enjoyment of a cruise.
Service and Staff
I was amazed how many of the staff remembered me after the first meeting and always addressed me by name.
Was great, but the Breakaway had better. That is of the ones on the breakaway I got to see and wasn't shut out of.
Destinations and Excursions
I give this only an ok because I wished we had more time in port. leaving at 5:00pm is too early. 8-9:00pm would be nicer.
Cabin / Stateroom
sleeping with the doors open on and listening to the waves alone is worth the money of a balcony. also breakfast of coffee and cinnamon rolls delivered to the balcony is wonderful.
New York, New York
40 minutes from my kitchen vacation starts. NO flights, transfers issues. Will always sail from NY
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Rain forest excursion: really cool.
Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas
snokeling excursion to the turtles and then the afternoon at Meagan's bay.
Philipsburg, St. Maarten
3rd party excursion on 2 masted schooner and snorkeling. great.
Tortola, British Virgin Islands
the hi-light of the trip: the baths caves. only regret too short a stop wish we had 2 days here alone instead of 1/2 a day.


Spinnaker lounge gives you beautiful views of the ocean and a great place for drinks, seating, lying down and snoozing indoors if its cold.
The garden cafe is the only buffet style dining we used on the back of the ship. Great for lunches

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