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norwegian gem cruise ship photos
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Norwegian Gem Facts & Figures
Owner/Operator:Norwegian Cruise Line
Year built:2007
Builder:Meyer Werft, Papenburg, Germany
Former names:-
Gross Tonnage:93,502
Length:294.1 m (964.9 ft)
Beam:32.2 m (105.6 ft)
Passengers (normal):2,376
Passengers (maximum):4,080
Crew:1,154
Service speed:24.0 kn
Sister Ships:Norwegian Dawn - Norwegian Star - Norwegian Jade - Norwegian Jewel - Norwegian Pearl
Norwegian Gem Photo Gallery
Norwegian Gem Norwegian Cruise Line cruise ship photos Norwegian Gem Norwegian Cruise Line cruise ship photos Norwegian Gem Norwegian Cruise Line cruise ship photos
Norwegian Gem Norwegian Cruise Line cruise ship photos Norwegian Gem Norwegian Cruise Line cruise ship photos norwegian gem cruise ship photos norwegian gem cruise ship photos
Norwegian Cruise Line's new Gem

Text & Photos © 2007 Bart de Boer
Amenities, decor, charges and services may have changed since this article was written

Norwegian Gem was built by Meyer Werft at Papenburg, Germany and is the latest in a series of six sisters for Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL). The ship is pretty much a carbon copy of Norwegian Pearl and Norwegian Jewel, built in 2006 and 2005 respectively. With her in-your-face hull art and squared-off stern, Norwegian Gem looks rather aplomb from the outside, but is all the more innovative on the inside. In keeping with Norwegian's successful 'Freestyle Cruising' concept, Norwegian Gem boasts no less than 12 different restaurants, 11 bars and lounges (one with a four-lane bowling alley) and some of the most spectacular suites on the seven seas.

Right after the shipyard officially delivered Norwegian Gem to NCL, the ship sailed for Rotterdam where some 2,000 media and travel professionals boarded the ship for for an overnight cruise to nowhere. ShipParade sailed along and got along with the "Gem Girl" right away.
Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos
Norwegians 'Freestyle Cruising' concept means you need not return to the same table in the same dining room night after night. Instead you can choose a different dining venue every night. For some meals you pay extra, others are included in the cruise fare. We start our ShipTour of Norwegian Gem on deck 6 aft, where you will find one of two main restaurants. The gorgeous Grand Pacific Dining Room seats 558 passengers for open seating breakfast, lunch and dinner. All the food served here is included in the cruise fare and dinner menus change daily. Themed after the Matson ocean liners that plied the Pacific many decades ago, this extra high room has a grand entrance, rich wood paneling and intriguing murals that depict the heydays of the California to Hawaii trade. Aft, a wall of glass looks out over sea and sky.
Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos
Separated by the galley from the Grand Pacific Dining Room is Norwegian Gem's other main restaurant, the more contemporary Magenta Dining Room. Seating 304 passengers, the food served here is included in the cruise fare and focuses on light and healthy cuisine. Despite the colorful artwork, the room itself feels dark and cramped with only a few windows and a relatively low ceiling.
Next up is the line's successful 'Bar City' concept; catering to fans of beer, whiskey, martini wine, champagne. And pretty much any other alcoholic beverage. First up is the masculine look of Maltings, specializing in beer and whiskies and done in yellows and browns. Then, there is the long bar counter of the Shakers Martini & Cocktail Bar with its bright green neon ornaments.
Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos
Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos
'Bar City' culminates in the stylish Magnum's Champagne & Wine Bar, a two deck high atrium space that is the natural pre-dinner meeting place for guests dining in the adjacent Bistro. The bar counter here is filled with thousands of bubbles and Magnum's is perhaps the best place on the ship to see and be seen - perfect for spotting "It" Girls. After a glass of French bubbly, a superb French meal is only steps away. Le Bistro is the  ship's French restaurant, serving top-notch food in elegant surroundings. With a colorful decor that can best be described as "Art Nouveau meets French Polynesia", this is where you can order lobster, Tarte Tatin and a fine Creme Brulee. And pay at least $20 for the privilege.
No NCL ship is complete with a huge casino and Norwegian Gem is no different. The Gem Club Casino is colorful, upbeat and has a happy-go-lucky atmosphere. It features an electronic poker table and more gaming gadgets, perfect for a quick flutter before the show starts in the huge three-deck high Stardust Theatre. With comfortable seating for 1,042 guests, this is where you will come to see Norwegian Gem's evening entertainment. Back in the eighties, NCL was the first cruise line to offer full-scale musical shows, but these days the line offers more traditional production shows that are more in line with other cruise lines.
Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos
Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos
If the decks on Norwegian Gem had names instead of just numbers, deck 7 would most probably have been called Promenade Deck. The wraparound open deck here is a perfect place to go for a stroll, lie in the sun ... or jump in a lifeboat in case of emergency of course! If you think Norwegian Gem's hull art is a little over the top, you haven't seen the Promenade Deck yet! The cartoon-like paintings on the bulkheads actually represent the action that is taking place inside. So if you see shopping bags, you know you've come to The Trade Routes - the ship's emporium. This mini shopping mall is just that - a rather bland shopping area that sells the usual cruise ship trinkets.
It gets more exciting next door. The Orchid Garden Asian Restaurant is one of Norwegian Gem's most popular eateries - and not without reason. This is heaven on earth for Oriental food aficionados. First, there is the Sake & Sushi Bar, then there is the actual restaurant part which serves up a dazzling array of oriental dishes (albeit at a surcharge). Only 34 lucky ones can go one door further and sit down at one of two large Teppanyaki tables. Delicious food is prepared in true Japanese style here. Be sure to reserve early!
Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos
A very Oriental looking Gallery (with intimate seating and discrete background music) brings us to the Crystal Atrium. In cruise ship terms, this 2-deck high atrium is of modest size, but it combines many shipboard functions in a very clever way. With its upbeat colors, comfortable seating areas, inviting Java Café and nearby Reception and Shore Excursion desk, the Crystal Atrium has it all. Unfortunately it also has an oversized and overpowering LCD screen that spoils the area. Imagine sipping your latte in the morning blinded by the NCL commercial that is being shown over and over again! With a real Monet displayed behind the reception desk, the combination of colors and styles seems weird at first, but I must admit it grows on you and after I while I could see the touch of genius that Tillberg Architects have displayed right here in the Crystal Atrium.
Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos
From the Crystal Atrium, two galleries run aft. On port side, you will find a spiffy Art Gallery - actually a very nice space that is so unlike the cluttered rooms found on other ships. On the starboard side, the Photo Gallery comes with sea views and friendly staff. That said, the quality and price level of the photos on board is quite disappointing. Final public room on deck 7 is the much-heralded Bliss Ultra Lounge. On Norwegian Pearl, Norwegian Cruise Line introduced the first seagoing bowling alley and apparently it was a success, so the "It" Girl boasts a 4-lane bowling alley as well. The basic design of the room is similar to Gem's older sister, including the over the top decor with double lounge beds and flat screen TV's in the ceiling.
Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos
Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos
Decks 8 to 11 are filled to the brim with staterooms in all shapes and sizes. Endless corridors, done in an attractive combination of wood paneling and colorful carpeting run the entire length of the ship. On this ship, there is music everywhere. Even in the cabin corridors! The only public rooms located on these decks are two casual restaurants located at the upper level of the Crystal Atrium on deck 8. On the starboard side is Tequila, a 98-seat restaurant serving up spicy Latin dishes and small tapas. The bright green carpet, wooden tables and dark shutters make this a very inviting spot for a tortilla or two. And a Corona. Or two! On port side is one of my favorite casual dining areas. The Blue Lagoon is open around the clock and has a simple but intriguing 'comfort food' menu with dishes like macaroni & cheese or a bowl of chili. Blue Lagoon also is an excellent spot to have breakfast, served on beautiful china.
Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos
So, let's now discover the best place to hold a pajama party. The "It" Girl has no less than 1,188 staterooms in 33 categories, ranging from well-appointed inside cabins to ome of the most extravagant suites on the high seas. All cabins are equipped with flat screen TV, telephone, safe, tea & coffee making facilities, and a tiled bathroom with shower.
The standard inside and outside staterooms, though compact at 13 sq m / 161 sq ft are remarkably well designed and come in the latest fashion colors. The beds are very comfortable, can be converted to a queen-size bed and it's good to know you'll be sleeping under crisp white duvets. Almost half of all staterooms on Norwegian Gem have their own balcony, done in bright green (hardly fashionable...). Although the standard balcony cabin is nice, the so-called 'Mini Suite' is definitely worth the extra Dollar. The Mini Suite's large bathroom has a full-sized tub and a separate toilet (with sliding door), while the living area is much larger. We also had a look at a Penthouse Suite and a Romance Suite, both superbly equipped with lots of luxury touches like hi-tech espresso machines and walk-in bathrooms with panoramic views of the sea from the shower stall.
Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos
Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos

Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos
Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos
The dull and dreary October weather pretty much prevented us from enjoying Norwegian Gem 's Pool Deck to the fullest. Still, when compared to slightly older sister Norwegian Pearl the latest NCL sibling has some cool new gadgets. One is the Poolside Casino; the other an ultra-trendy poolside lie-down lounge area. Norwegian Gem's Tahitian Pool complex is a colorful combination of two good-sized swimming pools, one waterfall, four Jacuzzis, one yellow waterslide and one gazebo which doubles as a stage. On the starboard side you will find the Poolside Casino and the trendy open-air lounge area. With all these amenities, the pool deck is a beehive of activities during the day.
Forward of the Pool Deck you will find the Library. The room doesn't look very spectacular at first glance (it is decorated rather uninspiring with green carpeting, blonde wooden paneling and blue chairs - so nineties!), but once inside you should really have a look at the artwork. Original ocean liner menus and daily programs line the walls and make the room very unique.
Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos
Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos
The Yin and Yang Beauty Salon is located all the way forward on deck 12 and is one of the most elaborate shipboard spas ever found. There's the hydrotherapy pool, the relaxation area with gorgeous views forward, the window-walled saunas and many treatment rooms. And of course you will find a hairdressing salon, aerobics room and large fitness center. Aft of the Tahitian Pool is a large Kid's Club with playground, disco and cinema, further proof that NCL tries hard to attract young families with kids.
The aft part of deck 12 is completely given over to the joys of ... eating. As if we needed more food! A very spacious self-service area leads the way to the Garden Café, seating 390 guests in cramped conditions. On a damp day like this it becomes clear that there are simply not enough seats inside. Thankfully, Norwegian Gem will spend most of her time in warmer weather. So in comes the Great Outdoors Restaurant, a great bar and buffet set up on the aft deck. And last but not least, there is La Cucina Italian Restaurant with the look and feel of an Italian country kitchen. During the day, this is where the overflow from the Garden Cafe congregates. At night, many come in for pizza, pasta and more Italian culinary treats from an open kitchen. A great place!
Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos
Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos
It is time to introduce you to the last of Norwegian Gem's eleven dining venues. High up on deck 13 is Cagney's Steakhouse, home to beef, beef. And more beef!. A cover charge applies for this very popular restaurant that is cleverly divided in two parts. The forward part of Cagney's Steakhouse is accessed by means of the 56-seat Star Bar. From the forward section, you have fantastic views of the pool deck below. But don't rule out the aft part of Cagney's Steakhouse, which is arguably more intimate, more classy and has an open kitchen. With 176 seats, Cagney's Steakhouse fills up easily on many nights, so reserve early.
All the way aft on deck 13 is an outdoor seating area, a complete sporting arena and a rock climbing wall. A wide outdoor walkway leads forward, overlooking the Tahitian Pool Deck one deck down. Rows of lounge chairs line the decks, with many more forward to be found on decks 14 and 15. A colorful surfer's look sets the mood in the Bali Hai outdoor Bar. On sunny days at sea this is a prime location from where to check out the action on the Pool Deck below. For a little more peace and quiet, climb up a deck and lie down on one of the oversized sun beds. Or visit the Freestyle Deck for some private sunbathing.
Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos
Forward of the Bali Hai Bar is Norwegian Gem's secondary show, doubling up as observation lounge during the day. At the port side entrance you'll first stumble across a small chapel that is used for renewal of the wedding vows (NCL doesn't offer on-board wedding service). And then ... you will lay eyes on a foosball table and four outrageously large yellow lounge chairs.
Welcome to the Spinnaker Lounge! Here is where the ship's design team went all out. Furniture comes in green, purple, yellow, silver(!) and blue. The carpeting most resembles a scene from Finding Nemo and the brushed velour 'funny chairs' that are scattered across the room don't help in giving the room a unified style. The idea is not too complicated: a forward-facing, window-walled observation lounge that doubles as nightclub after dark. Unfortunately the result is less satisfactory and the room definitely lacks atmosphere.
Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos
Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos
We've saved the best of Norwegian Gem for last. Decks 14 and 15 are the playground of the rich and famous, with no less than 10 Courtyard Villas, 2 Owner's Suites and a pair of extravagant Garden Villas that surround a private courtyard sundeck. Measuring a whopping 4,390 sq ft (408 sq m), the two Garden Villas on deck 14 are probably the most extravagant living quarters on the Seven Seas. Each Villa consists of a large living room (with coffee bar, grand piano, dining table and panoramic views of the pool deck below) and a huge master bathroom with sliding glass door leading to a patio with lounge couch and Jacuzzi.
The villas have three bedrooms with luxury bathroom each and two bedrooms have a private balcony. To top it all off, there is also a large private sundeck with hammocks. If you have bad luck and both Garden Villas happen to be fully booked, why not choose one of the two superb Owner's Suites that are situated like crow's nests on deck 15 and are accessible by a wood paneled 'stairway to heaven'. Both suites are very charming and offer exquisite views of the Pool Deck from a private corner balcony with hot tub. And let's not forget the fab bright blue bathroom here!
Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos
Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos Norwegian Gem NCL cruise ship review interior photos
Villa occupants also have access to the Courtyard, a small open deck space that is covered by a sliding glass roof in bad weather. Surrounding the courtyard are ten Courtyard Villas. Perhaps the term 'villa' is a little exaggerated - they are suites, really. But still, they are very comfortable. And with a courtyard and private sundeck nearby - who will ever want to venture to the lower decks?
Norwegian Gem Interior Photos (2007)

  Norwegian Gem - Crystal Atrium. Photo © 2007 Bart de Boer

  Norwegian Gem - Mini Suite. Photo © 2007 Bart de Boer

  Norwegian Gem - Spinnaker Lounge. Photo © 2007 Bart de Boer

  Norwegian Gem - Grand Pacific Dining Room. Photo © 2007 Bart de Boer

  Norwegian Gem - Pool Side Casino. Photo © 2007 Bart de Boer

  Norwegian Gem - Bliss Ultra Lounge. Photo © Bart de Boer

  Norwegian Gem - Garden Café. Photo © Bart de Boer

  Norwegian Gem - Courtyard. Photo © Bart de Boer

  Norwegian Gem - Cagney's Steakhouse. Photo © Bart de Boer

  Norwegian Gem - Pool Deck. Photo © Bart de Boer

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