Dispatch, Norwegian Gem: Nick at sea

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Travel Weekly's Jerry Limone and his family are on a Norwegian Gem cruise to Florida and the Bahamas, experiencing Norwegian Cruise Line's program for kids. His dispatch follows.

In the weeks leading up to our departure out of New York, my 6-year-old son, Alex, was referring to the Norwegian Gem sailing as "the Nickelodeon cruise." After we get home, he'll be telling friends about "the Nickelodeon cruise" at summer camp and at school in September.

Norwegian Gem Dora Dance Party

When you partner with a giant in children's programming, you hope for this kind of word-of-mouth advertising.

But here's some truth in advertising: It's not a "Nickelodeon cruise." Nickelodeon is a big selling point for families but a very small part of Norwegian's onboard activities.

While I believe that there is the potential for more Nickelodeon-themed activities, Norwegian Cruise Line appears to be playing it conservatively, ensuring that the events it currently offers are executed well.

Norwegian Gem Fairly Odd Parents

On Sunday morning, my family attended the first Nickelodeon event of the cruise, Dora's Dance Party.

Dora the Explorer and the Nick crew invited kids and their parents to the dance floor of the Spinnaker Lounge to move and groove to kids' favorites such as "Old MacDonald" and, of course, the "Dora the Explorer" theme song.

The next morning, Dora and the Nick crew were back in the Spinnaker Lounge, this time in their pajamas for Nickelodeon's Pajama Jam. They were joined on the dance floor by several other Nickelodeon characters in their pajamas, including SpongeBob SquarePants, Patrick Star and Sandy the Squirrel.

There is a cover charge of $15 per person for the character breakfast, which gives families the opportunity to pose for photos with the characters.

While the ship could have offered a better buffet selection for adults (there were a lot of sweet items like doughnuts, multicolored waffles and French toast sticks), the character breakfast is mainly about entertaining the kids, and the Norwegian Gem succeeded in doing that.

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