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gem vs. star--a comparison

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i sailed to bermuda on NCL twice last year; once in october on the gem and once in july on the star. i love cruising out of nyc, and i love bermuda--and i love NCL and the whole 'freestyle' concept a lot (i sailed on royal in february and did not love it, at least not as a solo traveler). however, i found the gem and the star to be quite different experiences. so i did what i always do--i took photos and wrote about it. here's my post comparing the two; i feel like the comparison photos of the deck area (both with the nyc skyline in the background) kind of say it all.

 

http://www.suitcasescholar.com/2012/12/03/cruising-comparison-the-norwegian-gem-vs-the-norwegian-star/

 

hope this helps those of you trying to make a trip/ship selection! oh--and if you are thinking about bermuda--go. it is amazing.

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Thank you so much for your comparison / review! We just got off the Star yesterday and plan to sail on the Jewel next fall. After sailing on the Spirit last year, the Star was a bit of a disappointment. However, since the Jewel is a sister ship to the Gem, it looks like she just might make up for it all!

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OP thank you for your review. Very nice comparison. However, we have to agree to disagree. :D Althougth the Gem is a beautiful ship, the Star seems to be much user friendly. The way certain floors just end for the theater on the Gem is confusing. I too was disappointed when NCL decided to move the Spinnaker Lounge to the 7th Floor Aft area of the Dawn and the Star. However, I have to admit they did a nice job and it certainly was not a game changer. The Star also has a much friendlier ship. Keep in mind, I would jump at the chance to go on either ship again. The pool deck is a little dicey on the Star, however, the Gem is newer and NCL apparently rethought this process. The Bliss Lounge is a nice addition as well. Both ships are kept in the usually NCL immaculate condition. However, IMO the Gem will not age as well as the Star. All the velvet plush fun furniture is going to constantly be replaced to keep it looking good. On another note, the Star is almost identical to the her sister ship, the Dawn. Thought I would add that for those that have not had the opportunity to sail on the Dawn. :)

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Thank you so much for your comparison / review! We just got off the Star yesterday and plan to sail on the Jewel next fall. After sailing on the Spirit last year, the Star was a bit of a disappointment. However, since the Jewel is a sister ship to the Gem, it looks like she just might make up for it all!

 

i would love to sail on the jewel for that very reason. where is her home port?

 

i hope you had a great trip!

 

OP thank you for your review. Very nice comparison. However, we have to agree to disagree. :D Althougth the Gem is a beautiful ship, the Star seems to be much user friendly. The way certain floors just end for the theater on the Gem is confusing. I too was disappointed when NCL decided to move the Spinnaker Lounge to the 7th Floor Aft area of the Dawn and the Star. However, I have to admit they did a nice job and it certainly was not a game changer. The Star also has a much friendlier ship. Keep in mind, I would jump at the chance to go on either ship again. The pool deck is a little dicey on the Star, however, the Gem is newer and NCL apparently rethought this process. The Bliss Lounge is a nice addition as well. Both ships are kept in the usually NCL immaculate condition. However, IMO the Gem will not age as well as the Star. All the velvet plush fun furniture is going to constantly be replaced to keep it looking good. On another note, the Star is almost identical to the her sister ship, the Dawn. Thought I would add that for those that have not had the opportunity to sail on the Dawn. :)

 

ah yes--i agree with the confusing part. the placement of one of the MDRs on the gem is super-awkward--i recall having to go up and down steps a lot because of this. thanks for the reminder--i may need to amend my post (ok. i'm going to amend my post.) and VERY good point about the velvet furniture! actually, i found bliss to be the most awkward area on the gem. i will amend my post to reflect that as well. seriously--thank you. those were things i hadn't remembered, and should have included.

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Thank you for the comparison OP. I have not been on the Star but have been on the Gem last year and will cruise again on the Gem in April. They had the best cc meeting and friendliest/fun officers and staff of any cruise I have experienced. I am sure many have moves to other ships but I hope this next experience is as great as the last one.:o

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Thank you for the comparison OP. I have not been on the Star but have been on the Gem last year and will cruise again on the Gem in April. They had the best cc meeting and friendliest/fun officers and staff of any cruise I have experienced. I am sure many have moves to other ships but I hope this next experience is as great as the last one.:o

 

actually, the one super-fun cruise director (entertainment director? one of the main people who did activities, whatever the title) from the gem was on the star when i sailed in july. it was odd--like running into my favorite bartender at a different bar (which, actually, has also happened to me more than once...)

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actually, the one super-fun cruise director (entertainment director? one of the main people who did activities, whatever the title) from the gem was on the star when i sailed in july. it was odd--like running into my favorite bartender at a different bar (which, actually, has also happened to me more than once...)

 

I so enjoyed the gem cd. Was his name Sinan? He was outside with so many other of the staff the day we were in the Bahamas. He was dressed up in a crazy wig, the officers were doing line dances nonstop, so were cast members and 2 of the dancers were entertaining us with fantastic dance moves while on stilts. They were giving returning passengers cold towels and glasses of ice water. That was the most memorable afternoon of all of the cruises I have enjoyed. I hope there is a near experience this April.

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ah yes--i agree with the confusing part. the placement of one of the MDRs on the gem is super-awkward--i recall having to go up and down steps a lot because of this. thanks for the reminder--i may need to amend my post (ok. i'm going to amend my post.) and VERY good point about the velvet furniture! actually, i found bliss to be the most awkward area on the gem. i will amend my post to reflect that as well. seriously--thank you. those were things i hadn't remembered, and should have included.

 

You are welcome! Thanks for not taking offense to my response, as that was not my intention. You are right "akward" is a good way to describe the Bliss Lounge. Although it's been a couple of years since I have been on the Gem, I do recall the crazy up and down different floors to access different areas. Very crazy floor plan, but a beauty of the ship all the more. :)

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I so enjoyed the gem cd. Was his name Sinan? He was outside with so many other of the staff the day we were in the Bahamas. He was dressed up in a crazy wig, the officers were doing line dances nonstop, so were cast members and 2 of the dancers were entertaining us with fantastic dance moves while on stilts. They were giving returning passengers cold towels and glasses of ice water. That was the most memorable afternoon of all of the cruises I have enjoyed. I hope there is a near experience this April.

 

i don't remember his name, though it is right there...ugh! i hate when i forget things like that! it wasn't sinan, though. and yes, i'd agree that on both ships, the crew was FANTASTIC. i sailed on royal this past februrary--between NCL sailings--and had far less fun.

 

You are welcome! Thanks for not taking offense to my response, as that was not my intention. You are right "akward" is a good way to describe the Bliss Lounge. Although it's been a couple of years since I have been on the Gem, I do recall the crazy up and down different floors to access different areas. Very crazy floor plan, but a beauty of the ship all the more. :)

 

oh no not offended at all! i just need to take the time to amend my post! thanks again!!

 

i haven't been on epic--i wonder if they dealt with this 'awkwardness'. i know NCL is very big on taking input from passengers, so i imagine they did. they also took the input from epic--that it was too 'closed in' feeling--and made changes to the breakaway. which i can't WAIT to see. i'm so glad it will have NYC as a home port!

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i don't remember his name, though it is right there...ugh! i hate when i forget things like that! it wasn't sinan, though. and yes, i'd agree that on both ships, the crew was FANTASTIC. i sailed on royal this past februrary--between NCL sailings--and had far less fun.

 

 

 

oh no not offended at all! i just need to take the time to amend my post! thanks again!!

 

i haven't been on epic--i wonder if they dealt with this 'awkwardness'. i know NCL is very big on taking input from passengers, so i imagine they did. they also took the input from epic--that it was too 'closed in' feeling--and made changes to the breakaway. which i can't WAIT to see. i'm so glad it will have NYC as a home port!

 

Was it Pedro?

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Great review of both ships. I agree with just about everything. I love the gem way more than the star. I felt like there was more places to go on the gem. I felt the spinnaker on then star was not large enought to accomadate the amount of people who showed up for events. And the pool deck was crazy with stairs. It may have looked like there were plenty of loungers but really there was not in my opinion.

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Was it Pedro?

 

no. and i JUST had a conversation about this the other day. and my (cruise critic) friend reminded me of his name. and i lost it again! grr!

 

Great review of both ships. I agree with just about everything. I love the gem way more than the star. I felt like there was more places to go on the gem. I felt the spinnaker on then star was not large enought to accomadate the amount of people who showed up for events. And the pool deck was crazy with stairs. It may have looked like there were plenty of loungers but really there was not in my opinion.

 

yeah--the pool deck was INSANE on the star. but i can see what they were thinking; you could see the pool from every level (which i guess would be good if you were watching children).

 

i'll be on board the breakaway in less than two weeks--i'm looking forward to seeing the layout. the gem really won my heard, and each NCL ship is an improvement on the last--so i have HIGH hopes! :D

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We have sailed the Gem two times within four months....and we liked it a lot. I have read form other posts that the Star is the bottom of the NCL. As you mentioned in your blog, the Gem hasn't gone through a refurbishment, but will need one soon. Areas of the ship appear tired and worn. However, this past cruise in March 2013, the Gem was immaculately clean.

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Having sailed on Celebrity and NCL, I prefer NCL's freestyle cruising and the many restaurant options. We look forward to going on the Breakaway next January 2014!

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I have been on the Star twice and Jewel once...

 

On the Star before and after the changes, and I agree with OP on what he said..

 

The first time on the Star, I liked the Spinmaker lounge when it was on the front of the ship with great views.. Also had a theater which was removed too..

 

The second time on the Star, I was disappointed that they were removed, but still enjoyed the trip..

 

Next was the Jewel, and what a difference... Loved the layout of that ship and planning on taking my next vacation on the Jewel or Pearl, both going to Alaska this year out of Seattle..

Star will be in Vancouver, but I prefer the other ships..

 

Trying to work out a few things before booking, hopefully within a week.. Will try for late May or early June..

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We have sailed the Gem two times within four months....and we liked it a lot. I have read form other posts that the Star is the bottom of the NCL. As you mentioned in your blog, the Gem hasn't gone through a refurbishment, but will need one soon. Areas of the ship appear tired and worn. However, this past cruise in March 2013, the Gem was immaculately clean.

-

Having sailed on Celebrity and NCL, I prefer NCL's freestyle cruising and the many restaurant options. We look forward to going on the Breakaway next January 2014!

 

see, i didn't notice any wear and tear--but then i sailed a little more than a year and a half ago. those ships are in CONSTANT use; thus, i'm forced to be impressed when they remain spotless. NCL's crew is amazing.

 

i've also sailed on celebrity (and on royal) and i prefer NCL for the dining options as well. enjoy your january breakaway cruise!

 

I have been on the Star twice and Jewel once...

 

On the Star before and after the changes, and I agree with OP on what he said..

 

The first time on the Star, I liked the Spinmaker lounge when it was on the front of the ship with great views.. Also had a theater which was removed too..

 

The second time on the Star, I was disappointed that they were removed, but still enjoyed the trip..

 

Next was the Jewel, and what a difference... Loved the layout of that ship and planning on taking my next vacation on the Jewel or Pearl, both going to Alaska this year out of Seattle..

Star will be in Vancouver, but I prefer the other ships..

 

Trying to work out a few things before booking, hopefully within a week.. Will try for late May or early June..

 

what a great perspective from someone who sailed pre and post renovation!!!

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"Star will be in Vancouver"

 

Incorrect - it's the Sun that is home porting in Vancouver this summer.

 

Cheers

 

Dennis

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"Star will be in Vancouver"

 

Incorrect - it's the Sun that is home porting in Vancouver this summer.

 

Cheers

 

Dennis

Star is on way to Copenhagen as we speak.

 

Suzanne

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