In mid-2005 Norwegian Cruise Line Corporation (NCL) placed a further new ship order with Meyer Werft, in Germany, for delivery in October 2007 to the Norwegian Cruise Line brand.
The 93,500grt vessel, which is called ‘Norwegian Gem’ (hull S.670), has a capacity of 2,400 lower berths (1,200 cabins) and 15 decks. The Norwegian Gem is the sister ship to Norwegian Jewel, which was delivered in August 2006.
The contract price for the ship was approximately $513m. The Norwegian Gem is the tenth big new ship to join the NCL fleet since the fleet modernisation began in late 1999. The ship was delivered in October 2007, making over 75% of NCL’s inventory of beds on ships less than eight years old.
Purpose-built for freestyle cruising, Norwegian Gem can comfortably transport 2,400 guests and over 1,000 crew at a speed of 25 knots.
The ship has over ten restaurant options, from steakhouse to sushi, and family-friendly accommodations with a full range of kids and teen facilities and clubs on-board.
The ship also offers guests a wide array of public bars and lounges, extensive sports and fitness activities, and staterooms designed with rich cherry wood finishing.
The Bora Bora Health Spa and Beauty Salon is operated by Mandara Spa, which fuses eastern and western-style treatments. The sports deck is open for basketball, volleyball, and tennis, and the onboard Body Waves Fitness Centre features state-of-the-art equipment, a hydrotherapy pool, and classes. The ship features a wired Internet Cafe and a Photo Gallery with special kiosks for making digital prints. The ship also features a rock wall climbing facility and a bowling alley.
Passengers can use any of the restaurants including Cagney’s Steak House, Blue Lagoon, and the signature restaurant Le Bistro, Mama’s Italian Kitchen, Tangos (tapas bar). The main restaurant, Tsar’s Palace, has a Russian theme with gold ceilings, shining chandeliers, and ornate balustrades reminiscent of Faberge eggs.
Dancers add to the ambiance at the Asian-inspired Chin Chin, and pop art punctuates the scene at Azura. Bars and public lounges are available throughout the ship; these include Bar Central, Shaker’s Martini & Cocktail Bar, Magnum’s Champagne and Wine Bar, and the Maltings Beer and Whisky Pub. The ship also features the unique Sky High Bar (a beer garden that looks like a hot air balloon).
Staterooms feature a vast array of amenities, including rich cherry wood finishing, television, refrigerator, safe, duvet, and bathroom with shower and hair dryer. Suites and penthouses feature floor-to-ceiling glass doors with private balcony.
The ship also features the unique garden villa accommodation (570ft²) and a new category of staterooms called courtyard villas, featuring private butler service and concierge lounge. The Courtyard Villa features floor-to-ceiling glass doors opening to a private balcony, separate bedroom with a queen-size bed, duvet, a living and dining area, CD/DVD library, TV, safe, refrigerator, coffee maker, hair dryer and a luxury bath with separate shower. There is access to a private courtyard area with pool, hot tub and sundeck.
The Garden Villa features a living room, dining room, and three separate bedrooms, each with king- or queen-size bed, private luxury bath and CD/DVD library. One bedroom also features a full bath with whirlpool tub and separate shower. There is a private courtyard area with pool, hot tub and sundeck.
The two deluxe Owner’s Suites (pearl suites) (685ft²) feature a private balcony, living room, and dining room, separate bedroom with a king-size bed, duvet, mini bar, CD/DVD library, TV, safe, refrigerator, coffee maker, hair dryer and a luxury bath with separate shower.
Again there is a private courtyard area with pool, hot tub and sundeck. The ship features a range of exclusive decks and cabins, which is in effect a restoration of the ‘class’ system on cruise ships. There is a total of 540 staterooms and suites with private balconies.
In June 2006 at the Papenburg ship yard in the covered building dock one of a total of 67 steel blocks of the Norwegian Gem was put into place on the keel blocks. Mr Loui Keong Hui, son of Tan Sri Lim, Chairman of Norwegian Cruise Line was at the ceremony to lay the traditional ‘lucky penny’, before the 350t, 20m long, 27m wide and 9m high block was laid.
The ship’s length overall is 295m, the breadth is 33m. The ship can reach a speed of more than 25kt. The latest laser welding and laser cutting technologies were used in the construction of the ship.