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Norwegian Gem - NCL Norwegian Cruise Line - cruise ship review and photos.

NCL's '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.

Grand Pacific Dining Room

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. 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.

Magnum's Champagne & Wine Bar

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. 

'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.  

Entrance to the Stardust Theatre

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.

Making an "It" Girl entrance to the Grand Pacific Dining Room

Grand Pacific Dining Room
Grand Pacific Dining Room
Grand Pacific Dining Room
Magenta Dining Room entrance
Magenta Dining Room
Magenta Dining Room
Magnum's Champagne & Wine Bar

Le Bistro French Specialty Restaurant

Le Bistro French Specialty Restaurant
Gem Club Casino
Gem Club Casino
Stardus Theatre

Grand Pacific Dining Room

Grand Pacific Dining Room
Amidships stairwell
Maltings Beer & Whiskey Bar
Maltings Beer & Whiskey Bar
Shakers Martini & Cocktail Bar, seen from Maltings
Magnum's Champagne & Wine Bar
Magnum's Champagne & Wine Bar seen from deck 7
Magnum's Champagne & Wine Bar, seen from deck 7
Stardust Theatre
Stardust Theatre
Stardust Theatre
Showtime at the Stardust Theatre

 

Photos and text: 2007 Bart de Boer - www.ShipParade.com

First published on December 1, 2007

Amenities, charges and services may have changed since this article was written

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