Norwegian Gem - Barcelona 7 day Cruise

Norwegian Gem Cruise Review to Europe - Western Mediterranean

Cruises: 4-6 cruises
Reviews: 6
Helpful Votes: 116

Overall rating:

4 out of 5
Norwegian Gem

7 Night Western Mediterranean (Barcelona Roundtrip)

Sail date: June 22, 2008

Ship: Norwegian Gem

Cabin type: Inside

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 4 years ago

Review summary

This was our first cruise. Had thought of cruising before, but hadn’t looked at it in much detail as our pre-conceived expectation was that life on board would pander to slightly old fashioned styles of yesteryear and we’d be captive in a stuffy/foisty old ship with mostly pensionable co-cruisers who’s idea of a good time was a tea dance and tiffin.

We’re neither of us ‘beach bunnies’, we can happily spend ½ day here or there lounging about on a beautiful beach or by a pool, but when on holiday we are much more inclined to be out and about seeing the sites, activities, tours etc.

After a little more investigation on the various cruise company’s operating in the Mediterranean and itineraries offered, we settled on NCL as our choice for our first cruise, departing from Barcelona on the Norwegian Gem.

We decided to arrive in Barcelona a few days before the cruise to have time to explore and so pleased we did. If you have the time beforehand or possibly after your cruise ends, can thoroughly recommend spending a few days in Barcelona. It’s a great city, so much to see and do. A ¾ day trip won’t really do it justice.

Once we’d boarded and explored the ship, we were so delighted with our choice. It totally swept away any of our misconceptions. I can describe the ship and its amenities/atmos etc as fundamentally targeting the family/fun and young at heart holidaymakers. As a consequence, children and teens were plentiful, particularly daytime around the pool and slides. But there were plenty of other areas to sit and sunbathe slightly away from the play areas.

Dinning arrangements were very easy going, albeit the buffet at breakfast (whilst plentiful and full of choice) can be rather hectic at peak times…. The evening dinning choices were also comprehensive. We choose to eat in the main dining room often, normally before 7pm if we could. At that time waiting was minimal (if at all) and we’d normally be seated at a typical two person table (a little more personal/romantic than being seated at a group table of strangers at a fixed time every night). Food choices feature 3 or 4 daily specials supported by regular favourites available each day. Steaks are almost always well cooked, and obviously good quality.

Entertainment on board was varied. As the ship sails in and out of Barcelona, there’s a real mix of mostly European nationalities on board, Spanish obviously, us ‘Brits’ of course, but a good number of Italians, Germans, French and some Americans too. As a consequence, the entertainment has to try to cater for a wide selection of nationalities and ages.

The choice of the cruise itinerary (on this or any other cruise) provides the great opportunity of waking each morning in another fantastic location. The assorted tours and day trips offered allow you to take a whistle-stop ‘taster’ visit. Enough time to enjoy where you go, and sometimes to leave you wanting more…… so you can plan to go again ;-)

If you want a very quiet, gentile old fashioned style of cruise holiday harking back to the days of the luxury liners, then I don’t think NCL is for you. But if you like an active holiday with plenty of life then perhaps NCL may be worth considering.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

5 out of 5

Onboard Activities

5 out of 5


3 out of 5

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
Tip the pool bar waiter(s) early on..... they'll clock you face for rest of the cruise and you'll not wait long for another refreshment!

Ship Quality

3 out of 5

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5

Ship tip

Avoid peak times at breakfast buffet if you can

Ports of call

Barcelona, Spain

3 out of 5
If time allows, try to get a couple days before or after you cruise to really explore.

Valletta, Malta

2 out of 5
immediate area around the port and drive through Valletta showed its a little run down and depressed

Naples, Italy

3 out of 5

Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy

3 out of 5
If time allows, try to get a couple days before or after you cruise to really explore but avoid weekends if you can as main sites are very busy those days.

Livorno (Florence & Pisa), Italy

3 out of 5

Villefranche-Sur-Mer, France

2 out of 5
If you moor in the bay the view of the town and scenery of the hills surrounding the area is terrific

Traveler Photos

Barcelona Rome Coliseum Malta Valetta La Sagrada Família Gaudi Mosaic Valletta Harbour Valletta Pool & Sun Deck Pantheon Rome Atrium Towel Heffalump
Was this review helpful? 21

Be the first to comment

Leave a comment

Remember: Be polite and respectful. Our diverse community is home to members with different opinions and a broad range of cruise experiences.