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Chihuly Sculpture

Norwegian Gem
December 2007 Preview

by Linda Coffman

The Art of the Gem  (part 2)

Public Areas
All that gleams aboard Norwegian Gem isn't a precious stone—her artwork is worthy of the world's finest museums and she sports the latest in gaming fun. Not only does a piece created by famed glass sculptor Dale Chihuly grace the Crystal Atrium, you'll also find Wii on the large screen located there.

The Crystal Atrium is the bustling hub of activity where you can enjoy specialty coffee at the Java Café, shop in a boutique, and discuss tour options with the Shore Excursion staff while background music fills the air and a floor to ceiling big screen television shows not only events onboard, but important sporting events as well. A second, and smaller atrium is surrounded by Orchid Garden on deck seven, while a deck below, Magnum's Champagne & Wine Bar, Shakers Martini & Cocktail Bar, and Maltings Beer & Whiskey Bar comprise "Bar Central"—a concept introduced by NCL on the Jewel-class vessels. The three distinctive areas flow nicely into one another and are anchored by generous seating, a piano-bar atmosphere, and the adjacent Corona Cigar Club (for cigar aficionados). Bar Central also serves as a pre-dinner gathering spot for the nearby Magenta Restaurant and Le Bistro French Restaurant

Spinnaker Lounge: Funky seating, darts, foosball and even a pool table

Other places to freestyle the nights away should appeal to a wide array of tastes... the hip South Beach meets Vegas-style Bliss Ultra Lounge, which houses the bowling lanes ($5 per player, per game, including shoes), the stylish Star Bar (our choice for a nightcap accompanied by piano melodies), and the Spinnaker Lounge for cabaret entertainment and dancing. Hip additions to Norwegian Gem's Spinnaker Lounge are dart boards, a shuffleboard table, pool table, foosball, and some of the funkiest seating I've seen afloat. Think silvery Star Wars-type chairs, plush velvet "beds" and sofas, and pink pillows on acid green sofas. All that and more is located around the stage and dance floor. 

Tempting "lady luck" in the Gem Club Casino is a popular pastime for onlookers as well as gamblers. I was mesmerized by a "Village People" slot machine when figures on the screen broke into a spirited song and dance to YMCA.

Stardust Theater continues the Jewel-class tradition of theater style seating offering good sightlines throughout, with the exception of the last row of the top balcony. It's a grand setting for the lavish production shows presented on its proscenium stage. A don't-miss-it show by Second City is a hilarious way to end an evening.

Finally, there are meeting rooms, a nicely appointed library, card room, reading room, small chapel, cinema, and a Bridge Viewing Room—a treat for anyone who relishes the chance to check out the navigational bridge and try their hand at "back seat driving" the ship. For those of us who can't leave home behind, the Internet Cafe has a per-minute, pay-as-you-go plan or time plan packages offering discounted per-minute rates. Complimentary laptop "rentals" are available with the purchase of a time plan and WiFi is available ship-wide,

For Active Lifestyles
Once again I'm impressed by facilities aboard NCL ships. Styled in a Japanese zen motif and staffed by Mandara Spa, the Yin & Yang Spa & Salon boasts a full menu of salon treatments and spa indulgences, including couples treatment rooms, but that's the ordinary part. What's extraordinary are the facilities. Separate areas for men and women each feature a thermal suite with sauna, steam room, and hot tubs. For sheer serenity, there is a huge unisex hydrotherapy pool and heated thermal chaises. Access to this blissful personal pampering is priced per person, per day or package pricing is available for the entire cruise. 

Norwegian Gem's 24-hour fitness center boasts state-of-the art equipment and a wide range of classes taught by certified instructors. For a freebie, locker rooms adjacent to the gym have complimentary steam rooms. If joggers slow down long enough, they are sure to appreciate the wide, uncluttered Promenade Deck. And high atop the ship is a rock climbing wall with five climbing routes that test varying degrees of skill. There is no charge for attempting to scale the wall.

For sun worshipers, the Tahitian Pool has ample padded deck loungers. In the shade you'll find additional seating and chic double "Tahitian" lounge beds. For players who simply can't leave the gaming tables, there are those by the pool as well. In a first, Norwegian Gem has a mini-casino poolside.

Kid Stuff
Parents can relax while their children are entertained with fun and educational activities in the "Kid's Crew" Program at the Tree Top Kids Club. Their own special menus are designed to suit even the finickiest junior passengers.

Teens can hang out in the Leopard Lounge, the teen disco, or in a video arcade with dozens of the latest machines.

Families have the flexibility to dine together at their own table or mom and dad can indulge in a "Night Out" while their youngsters are having a pillow fight at a pajama party. Teenagers, always difficult to please, can opt to participate in a wide range of sports, dance parties, and entertainment options or simply "do their own thing" with new-found pals.

What You WILL Find:

  • Abundant choices
  • Tasty meals, creatively presented
  • Service by an attentive staff
  • Activities to suit a wide range of interests for all ages
  • Freestyle Cruising lifestyle & enrichment programs, including personal finance seminars, cooking, mountain biking and computer classes, and genealogy discussions
  • Well stocked duty free shops
  • A chapel for weddings, marriage renewal of vows ceremonies, and religious celebrations
  • Numerous connecting staterooms and suites for families
  • Huge, well-equipped areas for children and teens, including Tree Top Kid's Club and their own Kid's Pool with water slide
  • An adult-free Leopard Lounge Teen's Club
  • Duvets on supremely comfortable beds
  • Children under two sail at no charge with two or more paying guests
  • Concierge and butler service for suite guests
  • The very best entertainment afloat, presented by the ship's company, Second City, and guest performers
  • Self-service laundry rooms
  • Service charges are automatically added to all accounts

What You WON'T Find:

  • Structured dress codes
  • Rigid dining schedules
  • Boredom

Fast Stats

  • 93,530 tons
  • 965 feet long
  • 125 feet wide
  • Speed 25 knots
  • 2,394 guests, double occupancy

The Norwegian Gem Experience
From the sophistication of Magnum's Champagne & Wine Bar to the rattan casual of the Bali Hai Bar, Norwegian Gem's Freestyle Cruising should satisfy the tastes of even the most discriminating passenger. Whether you choose to do it all, or nothing at all, there's a little something to tempt everyone. When you're not ashore exploring the ports of call, if scheduled activities don't appeal to you, there's always your private balcony, a quiet corner to read a book from the library, or a deck chair from which to contemplate the sea. Freestyle Cruising is whatever you make of it... leave your watch at home, it's your cruise vacation.

Norwegian Gem sails Caribbean cruises from New York City in spring and winter months and offers European itineraries during summer seasons. 

Back to Norwegian Gem Preview (Part 1)

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