NCL Logo Links & Other Cruises NCL Logo E-mail NCL Logo
NCL LogoPhotographsNCL LogoVideo ClipsNCL LogoPart IINCL Logo

Norwegian Gem departs Amsterdam

M/S Norwegian Gem
Where Time Does not Matter
Part I
Click for Part II

Dover to Amsterdam
NCL LogoInaugural CelebrationsNCL Logo
6 - 8 October 2007

Norwegian Gem Bow

NCL Logo

Visit NCL's Official UK Website

NCL Logo

Click here for the Norwegian Gem Pocket Guide

Places to Eat

Bars, Lounges, Entertainment & the Rest

Deck 4

Medical Center

Deck 6

Grand Pacific Main Dining Room, Magenta Main Dining Room, Le Bistro French Restaurant

Stardust Theater, Meeting Rooms, Gem Club Casino, Magnum's Champagne & Wine Bar, Maltings Beer & Whiskey Bar, Shakers Martini & Cocktail Bar, Corona Cigar Club

Deck 7

Orchid Garden Asian Restaurant, Teppanyaki Room, Sushi Bar

Stardust Theater, Bliss Ultra Lounge & Night Club [inc Bowling Alleys], Java Café, Reception, Excursion & Cruise Consultant Desks, Art Gallery, Trade Routes Boutiques and Port 'O Call Gift Shop, Photo Gallery, Internet Café

Deck 8

Blue Lagoon, Tequila Latin/Tapas Restaurant.

Deck 11

Bridge Viewing Area, port fwd

Deck 12

Garden Café & Kids Café, La Cucina Italian Restaurant, The Great Outdoors & Topsiders Grill.

Topsiders Bar, Great Outdoors Bar, Body Waves Fitness Center, Yin & Yang Spa & Beauty Salon, Hot Tubs, Kid's Pool, Tahitian Pool, Leopard Lounge Teens Club, Tree Tops Kid's Club, Video Arcade, Library

Deck 13

Cagney's Steakhouse, Bali Hai Grill.

Bali Hai Bar, Star Bar, Spinnaker Lounge, Basketball/Volleyball/Tennis Court, Jogging Walking Track, The Chapel, Shuffleboard, Deck Games, Golf Nets

Deck 14

Rock Climbing Wall, Sundeck

Deck 15

'Freestyle' Sundeck fwd, Sundeck & Villa Sundecks mid

NCL LogoView My Photos of Norwegian GemNCL Logo

Norwegian Gem Amsterdam
Norwegian Gem
Passenger Terminal Amsterdam

"There's our Beautiful ship!" announced my travelling companion as we walked across Tosaristraat Bridge in Amsterdam, to take some photographs of the newest member of Norwegian Cruise Line's Fleet, Norwegian Gem. Not an unusual statement you may think, but quite something coming from someone who literally got headaches looking at photos of her fleetmates and felt the interior decor would be far too bright with all the colours clashing. That was apart from the 'indignity' of sailing a ship with its hull covered in the now distinctive NCL decorations.

Norwegian Gem is the 4th and last of NCL's Jewel Class vessels, after Norwegian Jewel, Pride of Hawaii [to be Norwegian Jade w.e.f. early 2008] and Norwegian Pearl. Norwegian Dawn & Norwegian Star referred to as 'Dawn Class' are also usually included to form the NCL sextuplets. None of the ships are identical to each other, but all have similarities in their layouts and style.

Norwegian Gem was built at Meyer Werft, Papenburg and handed over to NCL at the beginning of October 2007 at a ceremony in Eemshaven. After a quick visit to Rotterdam she sailed to Dover for some pre-inaugural celebrations, press, media & travel industry trips etc. This short 2 night cruise to Amsterdam was her first with fare paying passengers. At 93,530gt, 294.13m long, 32.2m wide and with a draft of 8.3m she is not the largest of today's newbuilds, but certainly quite different in many ways, not least of all because she is an "It" Girl.

Norwegian Gem

Norwegian Gem Stern


Norwegian Gem has a capacity of 2,466 passengers [double] with a maximum occupancy of 2,846 passengers, 1,154 crew and a service speed of 24 knots. "She's Hot, She's Hit, She's the Ultimate Trip". She appears to be 'Licensed to Thrill', has her own "It Girl Entourage" and a BFF [but seemingly only for a week at a time]. Even with a huge stretch of the imagination, neither my cruising companion or myself can pass as "It" Girls, but sobeit, and we boarded at Dover's Cruise Terminal 2, just after 2pm, following a somewhat delayed journey, for a very enjoyable 2 nights.

Norwegian Gem 9012
Norwegian Gem - Cabin 9012

Anti-bacterial hand-gel was squirted on the hands of all those boarding and indeed was everywhere throughout the trip. The gangway entered on Deck 6, midships outside the Magenta Main Dining Room and from there we made our way straight to our cabin, 9012, Deck 9 fwd to starboard. First impressions were good. The balcony was nice, being within the hull and not just separated with a glass partition from those 'next door'. It offered both privacy and acted as a wind break; 2 chairs and small table. The beds had to be separated, even though the table placed between was probably only about 10" wide. The colours were bright and cheerful but not overbearing; blue wave patterned carpet with seashells. A nice bathroom, with the toilet and shower partitioned with glass screens from the basin in the middle, but this area remained a bit cramped with the towel rails hanging on the back of the door. Soap & shampoo in dispensers with body lotion, shoe shine and shower cap also provided. Double wardrobe, shelves, mini-bar, ice bucket, flat screen TV, Tea/Coffee maker, 2 x US pin 110v outlet, hairdryer, safe [PIN operated], rock hard mini-sofa, stool and table. Enough storage room for a week, but not a lot more. The beds were the most comfortable I have ever slept in.

Norwegian Gem, nor NCL, nor her Captain are British, but as most of her passengers on this trip were, muster was delayed by 15 minutes due to an all important World Cup Rugby Match [don't ask me who won, or who was playing who!] Finally we set sail just before 16:30 and then hove to off the White Cliffs, both stern in and then bow in, for a photo shoot. A helicopter buzzed around for a good 45 minutes with all passengers waving like mad, presumably hoping to be in a photo or film clip:) It was a beautiful day even if a bit chilly and windy on deck, with those cocktail umbrellas flying off, so I am sure some lovely pictures were taken. Now to explore Norwegian Gem.

Starting on deck. The topmost accessible area is the 'Freestyle' Sundeck behind the mast. A small stepped area with opaque screens around so those below cannot see in. Not for the youngsters. Discreet with loungers and double sunbeds. Also makes for a nice viewpoint on leaving or arriving in port. Midships there is another Sundeck with loungers above the Courtyard Villas although portside is a private area for the Villa occupants.

Norwegian Gem Mast
Passengers using the Freestyle Sundeck
as a viewing point on departure from Dover

Norwegian Gem Rock Climbing
Rock Climbing Wall

Stepping down to Deck 14 fwd is a Sundeck full off loungers extending around the mast with lovely forward views over the bow. Sheltered from the wind with screens. and a 'fun shower' area. Deck 14 aft is the Rock Climbing wall [complete with a Dr Zeuss type character] & more sundeck space. Here we learn for the first of many occasions that "Time does not Matter", except perhaps if you miss the ship! The after areas are tiered down to the basketball/volleyball/tennis court nets, Deck 13, and then below under a canopy is The Great Outdoors; stern eating [buffet] area Deck 12.

Not that it matters [Norwegian Gem Clock]
Time does not Matter

Norwegian Gem, Tiered Decks
Tiered Decks to watch the Game

Norwegian Gem, Basketball

Norwegian Gem, The Great Outdoors
Looking down to The Great Outdoors


Norwegian Gem - Bali Hai
Bali Hai Bar

N Gem, Tahitian Pool - Adults Only
Adults Only - Tahitian Pool

N gem, outdoor seating area by Tahitian Pools
Outdoor Sitting Area

Norwegian Gem "Normandie"

Also on Deck 13 is the Walking/Jogging track around the Funnel, beside which are loungers in the shade with various Deck Games [Chess], Shuffleboard & Golf Nets. Yet more sundeck areas with masses of loungers, surrounded by "Palm Trees", above the Tahitian Pool area and forward of these is the Bali Hai Bar & Grill. Surf's Up? Here one is required to ride the waves I think, depending on the Cocktail of the Day - a rather brightly decorated area, but fun.

Norwegian Gem, around the Tahitian Pool
Above the Tahitian Pool

The Tahitian Pool area, mid Deck 12, Contains 2 pools. The fwd one with waterfall and 2 hot tubs is for the adults. Between the pools is a bandstand. The 2nd main pool has a waterslide and another 2 hot tubs, with a small kid's pool in the corner to port. To starboard is a poolside casino and a smart outdoor sitting area. With all the loungers around the pools, Topsiders Bar & Grill, Casino and seating area, this is a busy area and can become somewhat crowded.

Norwegian Gem Tahitian Pool
Topsiders Grill, Hot Tubs, Tahitian Pool, Slide

Fwd of the Pool Area to stb are the Library, Card and Lifestyle Rooms. Compared to the rest of Norwegian Gem, these rooms are conservative in their furnishings and have some lovely maritime pictures, past menus and daily activity sheets from a number of ships, such as ss United States, Queen Mary, Nieuw Amsterdam etc

Table Tennis is available to stb in the passageway to the mid elevator lobby. The kid's pool also leads directly in the Tree Tops Kid's Club [2 - 12 years]. Both Pools are heated.

Norwegian Gem Library

A walk around the Promenade on any of NCL's latest ships is an interesting exercise as the artwork depicts the lounges/restaurants within at any given point. The Promenade on Deck 7 of Norwegian Gem is not quite as elaborately decorated as some of her sisters, but just as fun to walk around.

Norwegian Gem promenade
Orchid Garden Asian Restaurant is inside here

Norwegian Gem promenade - photo gallery within
Photo Gallery is inside here

There are loungers and tables too, along with shuffleboard, for those who may wish to stay longer. One may also get a chance to peek into the forward mooring deck and watch the winches at work. Jogging is not permitted on the Prom, and walking only between 9am & 9pm.


Dining is 'Freestyle' with Norwegian Cruise Lines. There are no set dining times and one is able to choose to eat in a number of different types of restaurants. There are 12 aboard Norwegian Gem. The two main Dining Rooms are The Grand Pacific [Deck 7, aft] and Magenta [Deck 6, mid]. Both lovely rooms, the former themed on ocean liners of the past and the latter serving a lighter & 'healthier' cuisine is more contemporary. The menus which change daily offer a number of choices for each course including vegetarian options. No reservation is necessary for these dining rooms, although they may become busy at peak periods requiring one to wait a while before seating. Both will be open in the evening, but may be only one or the other for lunch depending on if it is a day at sea or a day in port. There are various electronic boards around Norwegian Gem which indicates the seating availability of the various restaurants at the time.

More casual restaurants include the Garden Café, with a separate Kid's Café within [Deck 12, mid], a buffet area with many varieties of food on different serving stations, from salads to a carvery, subs to curries, cereals to fresh fruit, open most of the day serving breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, evening meal and 'midnight' snacks. The Great Outdoors aft of the Garden Café serves mostly the same foods outside, weather permitting, for shorter hours. Topsider's Grill [Deck 12, mid] and Bali Hai Grill [Deck 13, Mid] serve the usual grill foods, burgers, hot dogs, chicken etc most of the afternoon until 'close'; weather permitting. Blue Lagoon [Deck 8, mid] is a fast food area open 24/7. One will never go hungry on this ship.

There are 7 speciality restaurants for which reservations are required, although only 5 command an additional cover charge [half-price if one sits down to eat before 6.30pm]. Cagney's Steakhouse $20 [Deck 13, Mid], a traditional American Steakhouse of the 1930's serving Beef & Seafood. La Cucina Italian Restaurant, no cover charge [Deck 12 aft], which was very good. Le Bistro French Restaurant $15 [Deck 6, mid], complete with original Matisse "Nude in a Turban". The Orchid Garden Asian Restaurant $10 [Deck 7, mid], a Japanese/Thai/Chinese restaurant complex including Teppanyaki $20 and a Sushi/Sashimi & Sake Bar $15. Finally there is Tequila, no cover charge [Deck 8, mid], serving hot and spicy latin/tapas foods.

Norwegian Gem, Magenta Main Dining Room
Magenta Main Dining Room

Norwegian Gem, Le Bistro
Le Bistro

Norwegian Gem, Grand Pacific Main Dining Room
Grand Pacific Main Dining Room

Down on Deck 4 amongst the cabins is the Medical Center, which I know nothing about as thankfully did not have to make a visit here. Deck 5 has no public areas; although the lower level of the Stardust Theater, there is no access here.

Norwegian Gem Hallway art to Stardust Theater
Venetian 'Art' along the Hallways to the Theater

Stardust Theater, Norwegian Gem
Stardust Theater

The Stardust Theater spans 3 decks fwd and accommodates 1042. A quite spectacular theater with seating in heavy shades of blue and bright carpets patterned with 'Venetian Masks'. The entrances on both decks 6 & 7 are lined with painted scenes of Venice. 2 shows a night are held, but we didn't get a chance to see "Get Down Tonight" although prop rehearsals were underway when taking some photographs.

'Accademia' and 'Scalzi Bridge' Conference Rooms, which can be combined into one [20 guests each] along with Rialto Bridge [20 Guests Boardroom Style] are to port on Deck 6. Moving aft next is the huge Gem Club Casino, full of every type of game it seems including Texas Hold 'Em and lined with slots. Free gaming lessons and rum punch before the casino opens. Players Club cards, tournaments and offers. One has to walk through here to get to Bar Central.

Scalzi Bridge Conference Room, Norwegian Gem
'Scalzi Bridge' Conference Room

Bar Central [Deck 6, mid] is aptly named. The 'hub' for cocktails, wine, beer, whiskey, that cigar etc, all around the lower level of a two-storey atrium with Le Bistro to port and the Orchid Garden above connected by a Normandiesque staircase.

Corona Cigar Club - "Choose from a selection of hand-rolled premium cigars. Go ahead, light one up and enjoy." Art Deco inspired artwork; Fine cognacs and spirits - 14 Guests

Bar Central Staircase from Orchid Garden to Magnum's
Orchid Garden to Magnum's

Magnum's Champagne & Wine Bar, Shakers Martini & Cocktail Bar and Maltings Beer & Whiskey Bar make up Bar Central.

Magnum's - "Some moments just call for champagne. And this is the place to enjoy it." 80 Guests, with pianists, Julio Urbina & Stacy Ward McAdams during the late afternoon and evenings.

Shakers Martini & Cocktail Bar

Shakers - "Shaken or stirred, what will it be? Sip on all of them, how else are you going to pick a favourite." James Bond theme. 32 Guests.

Maltings - "Beer or Whiskey? Why not both, you're on holiday, remember?" Famed Whiskey of the world theme. 49 Guests. Evening entertainment included Kim Doolittle - "Pops & Blues & Guitar Strings".

Shakers - Norwegian Gem
Shakers Martini & Cocktail Bar

Maltings Beer & Whiskey Bar

Magnum's Champagne & Wine Bar

Corona CIgar Club
Corona Cigar Club

NCL LogoClick for Part IINCL Logo

NCL LogoClick here for the Video ClipsNCL LogoPart IINCL LogoView My Photos of Norwegian GemNCL Logo

Click here for reviews of some of our other recent cruises