Out of NY the GEM is far superior to the Breakaway.
Norwegian Gem Cruise Review to Caribbean - Eastern
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.
Food and Dining
Service and Staff
Cabin / Stateroom
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