First Look at the Norwegian Gem

| December 19, 2007

The Norwegian Gem is the newest and last vessel in NCL's Jewel Class, which has brought NCL's signature Freestyle Cruising to the next level. Those who have not sailed NCL in a while will see plenty of impressive innovations. The Gem entered service October 1, 2007 at 93,530 tons, with a guest capacity of 2,394. After the inaugural ceremonies in New York, the Gem began seven-day cruises to Florida and the Bahamas.

NCL wants to make the Gem's Crystal Atrium into a destination in itself: The space is well designed, with whimsical furniture and lively colors. The renowned glass sculptor Dale Chihouly has designed a magnificent centerpiece that just glows: an incredible two-story LED screen that displays all sorts of visuals; the big draw is the Wii video game system by Nintendo. Watching it played on this size screen was amazing, and the crowd loved it. Plans are in the works to show the bowl games here. The Java cafe is a destination for coffee or hot chocolate. The Internet cafe is here as well, a small area with 10 computers, open 24 hrs a day.

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Atrium   Bliss Nightclub

Other Innovations The Gem has the second bowling alley at sea, part of the Bliss Ultra Lounge & Nightclub. This is an all-day entertainment area, with four lanes of 10-pin bowling -- something different while at sea. In the evening, Bliss transforms into a high-energy lounge -- think NYC, with a bit of South Beach tossed in. With canopied beds and plasma screens adding video tracks to the nonstop music spun by NCL's DJ, you can dance the night away. There's also a private VIP area and mood-lit bowling.

A rock climbing wall at the back of the ship's funnel stands 30 feet high by 29 feet wide, with five climbing routes of varying difficulty.

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Pool View From Owners Suite   Bowling at Sea   Spinnakers Lounge

Family Diversions The Tree Tops Kids Club, complete with jungle gym, is a bright and lively children's play area. Teens can have their own fun at the arcade, cinema and Leopard Lounge Teen Club. There also is a talent show, scavenger hunt, pool parties, and kids' pool with water slide. While the kids are off enjoying themselves, the adults can go to bingo, enjoy the art auctions, relax in the library, or get a spa treatment at the Yin and Yang Spa and Beauty Salon, which has a calming zen effect.

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Arcade   Tree Tops Kids Club   Tree Tops Kids Club

Cabins NCL's Gem is ahead of the pack with some of the most high-end accommodations afloat. Two impressive Villas each span approximately 5,000 sq. ft. These extravagant Garden Villas offer a spacious living room, with a piano, Bose entertainment center with CD/DVD library, computer access and WiFi Internet connection, refrigerator, wet bar, tea and espresso, cappuccino maker, dining room, and three bedrooms, each with king or queen size beds and private bathrooms. Garden Villa guests also enjoy their own sundeck, with private sun beds, hot tub and steam room in a private courtyard, plus butler and concierge service. All meals from the dining menu can be served in the courtyard.

Another new stateroom category is the Courtyard Villa suite complex. Each villa shares a private courtyard with lap pool, hot tub, male and female steam rooms and a small fitness area.

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Garden Villa Suite   Villa Courtyard Pool   Courtyard Villa Living Room

These 10 villas also share a private sundeck, with sun beds and hammocks -- and a retractable roof. Positioned atop the vessel,the villas offer sweeping ocean views, and have an impressive assortment of five-star amenities.

The Romance Suite has a queen size bed and full bath with tub and shower, as well as a living and dining room, minibar, cappuccino coffee maker, Internet connection and WiFi, plus a private balcony and butler and concierge services, and with access to the concierge lounge. There are four Romance Suites, perfect for honeymooners or romantics.

Standard stateroom amenities include rich cherrywood finishings, flat screen TVs, hair dryers, safes, minibars, tea and coffee makers and a larger bathroom than on may ships. The toilet's sliding doors keep it separate form shower and sink. The closets are extra deep, and there's lots of storage.

For families, the ship has a number of staterooms, including suites and mini-suites, that can be connected, creating a total area of two to five bedrooms. This is a wonderful option for large and extended families!

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Garden Villa Bathroom Double Sinks   Garden Villa Bathroom Tub Area

Cabin Sizes Here's a quick peek at some various cabin sizes on the Norwegian Gem:

Romance Suite: 460 sq. ft.

Mini Suites: 284 sq. ft.

Balcony: 205 sq. ft.

Oceanview: 161 sq. ft.

Inside: 143 sq. ft.

Entertainment The Gem Club Casino on Deck 6 has a carnival theme, decorated in brilliant purples, greens and gold. Featured games include blackjack, roulette, Texas Hold'em and craps. For slot lovers, the Gem has 200 of the newest video and traditional machines. Penny and nickel slots are available. Less traditional games are offered as well, like Pai-Gow Poker, Pai-Gow Tiles, and even a mini Baccarat Table. Guests can join the NCLS's Casino at Sea Players Club, the most rewarding players program at sea.

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Bowling at Sea   Bliss Ultra Lounge   Club Style Bed At Bliss Ultra Lounge

The Corona Cigar Club is an art deco-style room with hand rolled premium cigars, cognacs and spirits. This small sip & smoke room accommodates 11.

A hip bar/lounge area with three bars is sure to be the center of pre-dining frivolity. The Shakers and Martini Cocktail Bar has a large screen behind the bar silhouetting dancing beauties.

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Cagney's Steakhouse   Cappucino & Beverage Bar   Grand Pacific Dining Room

The Magnum Beer and Whiskey Bar is French art deco-inspired with elements reflecting the grand liner Normandie and Paris of the 1920s. The bar has a bubbling, back-lit water feature designed to look like champagne.

The Maltings Beer and Whiskey Bar is a contemporary bar/lounge with low seating and mood lighting that compliments the artwork; it includes a small stage for live performances. There is an extensive whiskey menu including 60 varieties from Scotland, Ireland, Canada, and the U.S. In all, the ship has 11 bars and lounges.

Dining Options All restaurants offer Freestyle Cruising dining with open seating and flexible, extended hours. By the elevators, NCL has screens that list the restaurants and their respective waiting times to help you choose your best options.

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Orchid Garden Restaurant Area   Teppanyaki Restaurant   Sushi Bar

Like her sister ships, Gem offers 10 dining options, including favorites such as Le Bistro, Cagney's Steak House, and the Blue Lagoon. Additionally, the Gem offers:

  • Grand Pacific Main Dining Room on Deck 6 -- Old world inspired, with art deco touches, this grand room can accommodate 558 guests.

  • Magenta Main Dining Room on Deck 6 -- With floral backlit art work in hues of blue and magenta, this contemporary dining room uses lighting to enhance the ambiance. Accommodates 304.

  • Tequila, Tapas, and Salsa Restaurant on Deck 8 -- A Southwestern desert themed restaurant with a colorful mural depicting horses, cacti, and the exotic agave plant. Features a hot and cold tapas bar, serving Tex-Mex cuisine and sangria. Accommodates 95.

  • Orchid Garden on Deck 7 -- Guests experience Japanese, Thai, and Chinese dishes, as well as a Teppanyaki room where the chef cooks right at your table, and a sushi/sashimi bar in this courtyard area.

  • La Cucina on Deck 12 -- A Tuscan style eatery with grapevine covered columns and traditional Italian furniture. Fresh salads, pizza, made to order pasta, authentic Italian desserts, fine wines and espresso will make for a satisfying dinner. Accommodates 96.

  • The Garden Cafe/The Great Outdoors, on Deck 12 -- This is a casual restaurant where chefs cook prepared-to-order food as guests watch. Enjoy seafood, pizza, fruits, soups, ethnic specialties, burgers, a deli and desserts. Accommodates 390. This is a great place for breakfast. The cafe is brightly lit and has little crowding. My only gripe was that unless you ask, there are no trays available.

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    Fabulous site lines in the Stardust Theater   Whimsical Atrium Furniture   Photo Gallery

    The Gem will be doing New York to Bahamas cruises continuing until January 2008, followed by some 10/11-day Caribbean sailings; then the Gem heads to Europe for seven-day Western Med cruises until November.

    Look for NCL to debut the F3 series, a new generation of ships, in 2010.

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