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Norwegian Gem - NCL Norwegian Cruise Line - cruise ship review and 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!  

Trade Routes Boutiques

If you think Norwegian Gem's hull art is tacky, 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. Food is prepared in true Japanese style here. Be sure to reserve early!

Crystal Atrium

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.  

The epitome of tackiness: Bliss Ultra Lounge

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, NCL 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.

Promenade Deck

Promenade Deck
Gallery leading to the Orchid Garden Restaurant
Teppanyaki Room
Java Café
Java Café
Crystal Atrium
Crystal Atrium
Photo Gallery
Art Gallery
Bliss Ultra Lounge - double bed overlooking the bowling alley

Sushi Bar at the Orchid Garden Restaurant

Orchid Garden Restaurant
Orchid Garden Restaurant
Orchid Garden Restaurant
Crystal Atrium - Reception Desk
Crystal Atrium
Crystal Atrium with the all-mighty LCD wall
Ports O'Call boutique in the Crystal Atrium
Bliss Ultra Lounge bowling alley
Bliss Ultra Lounge
Bliss Ultra Lounge

 

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

First published on December 1, 2007

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