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She was built following the freestyle cruising concept, and is a modern resort ship, in which NCL has taken such an idea a step or two further than on previous ships
Arturo Paniagua Mazorra (July 18, 2006)
The 92,000 grt Norwegian Jewel is the latest development of the owners NCL Panamax design which was first introduced with Norwegian Star and continued with Norwegian Dawn.
All vessels of this design were built at the German shipyard Meyer Werft and the Norwegian Jewel was delivered on August 5, 2005. Purpose-built for Freestyle Cruising, Norwegian Jewel comfortably transports 2,400 guests and over 1,000 crew.
Combining speed, restaurant options, and family friendly accommodation, the ship also offers guests a wide array of public bars and lounges, extensive sport and fitness activities, and staterooms designed with rich cherry wood finishing.
The External Profile
Her external profile is dominated by the Garden Villas block forward of the funnel, which gives the ship a square appearance. Also, the gracious slope of the forward edge of the superstructure is partly hampered by the top vertical elements (the straight windows in both the Observation lounge and Spa area.).
Her profile from astern is easily not the best feature of the vessel.
The Norwegian Jewel has a duck tail in her stern, which gives an impression of power and speed, and the slope of the duck tail stern leads the eye very easily to the wake and then further astern. Although the external paintwork of any cruise ship is hardly enjoyable from an aesthetic point of view, the Norwegian Jewel's is rather discreet and mild to the eye if compared to Aida ships.
When I saw the ship in early August 2005, one of the biggest surprises was that the Norwegian Jewel was truly finished and her first passengers could enjoy the entire vessel without being negatively surprised. This is to the credit of both the builder and the owner.
Also, in terms of fixtures and fittings, her 60's and 70's theme gives her a warm and cosy atmosphere, especially when compare to other ships I visited in 2005.
Freestyle Cruising Concept
The Norwegian Jewel was built following the freestyle cruising concept, and is a modern resort ship, in which NCL has taken such an idea a step or two further than on older ships, with many restaurants & themed bars.
However it may be argued that a vast majority of her passengers (mainly in her European based cruises with a lot of Europeans on board) may find hard to adapt to this whole new concept as opposed to the traditional seating arrangements.
Theoretically, I think Freestyle Cruising with NCL is a good idea. When I am on a cruise I do not want to be on a continuous schedule.
I enjoy the flexibility of dining when I want and, after several years of experience, NCL say they never had a bad experience in respect of complaints about the dining arrangements, and people increasingly enjoyed the leisurely approach to dining . The NCL slogan emphasizes the flexibility of dining when you want. But this is not easy. Some people made their dinner reservation for the premium restaurants on the day of embarkation.
The Reservation Process
NCL is trying to ease the reservation process with an innovative information system, through a TV system with screens available in key points of the ship to inform the passengers as to the restaurants' seat availability. As a consequence, you could decide whether or not to proceed to the restaurant of your choice, or go for an alternative.
The next "phase" of Freestyle will enable customers to make restaurant bookings before they even leave home. They will be able to go to the redesigned NCL website (making its debut in early 2006) and pre-book their seats.
Also, with the interactive screens appearing on all the new NCL ships, I see no reason why reservations can't be made and confirmed right from cabin TVs.
Why could you reserve a shore excursion and not a dinner?
Furthermore, should passengers have to wait to be seated, they will usually find a bar or lounge nearby to enjoy a pre dinner drink.
As mentioned before, though, for some people, Freestyle Dining does not suit all sorts of customers.
The traditional cruise passengers want to be assured that, at the end of the day, they will have no
worries about dinner. Will we get in? Or how long will we have to wait? Or who will we end up sitting with? These were all questions that these people do ask themselves, and such small uncertainties can prove enough to put the more 'traditional' passengers right off the concept.
Some passengers prefer to lose the personal touch and to know what the arrangements for dinner are, and happily plan their day accordingly.
With Freestyle you might have a different waiter every night, and this fact may not be pleasant for those in favour of reliability and fixed schedules and arrangements.
A major element of NCL's Freestyle cruising concept is an array of dining options where you can make reservations to dine at a time and table size of your choice. There will be ten restaurants in all, including two main restaurants, a number of specialty restaurants and premium restaurants.
Mama's Italian Kitchen
Mama's Italian Kitchen, located on deck 12 aft, port side, resembles a village trattoria and has the feel of a traditional farmhouse kitchen. This is one of the better decorated areas on board, through the use of traditional wood furniture and brick made walls. The arches dug into the walls contain shelves with old kitchen tools and accessories.
There is a bar close to the main entrance door, bearing the same decoration as the Great Outdoors' one. Mama's Kitchen is the toughest reservation on the ship, a great spot for breakfast. Many also used it as a calm games room during the day. I think its aspect would improve a lot with a more suited ceiling (perhaps a mirrored ceiling is not the best match for an old fashioned authentic trattoria), and more brick walls. But I enjoyed its robust wood made tables, its long benches and its brown ceramic floor.
The French Restaurant
Close to the Bar Central, on deck 6, is located the French Restaurant. NCL's signature, Le Bistro, has a superb cuisine, but also costs $30 extra. In fact, if you buy a bottle of wine, which costs at least $40, plus the 15% added to the drinks bill, a dinner will cost almost $80. Also, drinks' prices are very high. It is hard to find a glass of wine at dinner for less than $6.50; most are $7.50 and upwards. Le Bistro is the second most decoreated place on board, shortly after the Tsar Palace.
In the foyer, a wine cellar and a "Liberte" sculpture capture the eye. The main part of the dining room is located close to the port side, in an oblong room with a lot of space between tables.
The tapestry is mustard, with green walls that also house mirrors, pictures of Paris, and small niches which contain China pieces. The passengers are seated in semicircular red sofas around circular tables, with brown upholstery chairs.
The ceiling is plain, with only blue details above the tables. The tables close to the ship's port side, seat two people each, and the inside ones are for 2, 4, 6 or 8 passengers. The lighting devices on the ceiling and the walls are of traditional design, but there is scope for arguing that the whole venue is a bit dark.
The Azura and Le Bistro are separated by a metal wall which can be moved very easily, so the crew are able to change the capacity of both dining rooms very easily. There is a similar arrangement between the Star Bar and Cagnies. The possibility to increase the capacity of Cagney's and Le Bistro is also a sign that NCL is able to benefit from the extra on board revenue that both the popular restaurants could generate.
Tsar's Palace is one of the two main restaurants, in which the decor is inspired by the palaces of St. Petersburg and the era of Russian Tsars.
It is located aft on deck six, and has a "T" shape, with two escalators on both sides, which connect the dining room with the galley, below. Because of this lay out, the Tsar's dining room is darker than the dining rooms with windows on three sides found on other ships. Its big aft picture windows are clearly influenced by the Norwegian Spirit, the former class of Panamax cruise ship of the NCL parent company, Star Cruises, and allow natural light into this room.
This area has more headroom than the other spaces on this deck and the passengers gain access through a heavily decorated stair forward, with a golden balustrade and a red and green carpet. This room has only one level, with green and golden painted pillars. The ceiling is painted in gold and white.
A few paintings, the only ones on board, are also present. The tapestry is mainly green, with hexagonal details. The chairs are over decorated as well: white painted wood structure, garnet upholstery and the Russian Imperial eagle in the back. Also, 24-carat gold coated chandeliers and Russian Tsars' portraits and red curtains highlight the very detailed room. In this brand new ship, one of the top features is the Tsar's Palace main dining room because of its ornate decoration and its headroom.
The main restaurant, Tsar's Palace, evokes the grandeur of St. Petersburg with gold ceilings, shining chandeliers, and decorated balustrades reminiscent of Faberge eggs and it is also open for lunch and breakfast.
Azura is the other main restaurant aboard Norwegian Jewel. It is much smaller than the Tsar's Palace, but the menus are the same. It is probably the only feature those two areas have in common: Tsar Palace is very traditional whereas Azura has a pop, modern design. Tsar Palace is large, and Azura has a seating capacity of only 310 passengers and a surface of 530 square meters.
NCL says its clean lines and rich elements were inspired by modern boutique hotels. The artwork that can be seen on the walls in this rendering is this room's signature element, with combinations of blues and purples with a shot of orange as an accent. The tapestry is a combination of those colours and it is the best designed one on board.
The sleek chairs are particularly stylish too. The decorations also include pop art, backlit in glass that glows and sets the mood for intimate dining. I enjoyed the clean lines of this room, its rich timber on walls and pillars, and its sleek and modern appearance and design.
Chin Chin is one of the Norwegian Jewel's premium restaurants and it is dedicated to Asian food . It is located on deck 7, a short walk forward from the reception desk.
The decoration is inspired by the traditional female costumes and dances of the Far East. It is located in the second Atrio, the Bar Central, and has a brown and garnet decoration.
The carpet is brown, with garnet flower ornaments. It has circular and square black tables, some with integrated grill, and the chairs bear green and garnet upholstery. The ceiling, too, has garnet ornaments, and the walls have clear tones. By contrast, the curtains' green appear very bright.
There are some vertical screens between this room and the Bar Central, in order to lower the noise from the bar zone. Close to Chin Chin, in the Asian food area, is located Teppanyaki, a Sushi restaurant with a window overlooking the corridor. It has two "U" shaped grill fitted tables, which share some chairs with the Chin Chin Restaurant. This room is one of the darkest on board, mainly due to its dark wood walls and black carpet.
Cagney's Steak House
Cagney's Steak House is located on deck 13, appearing as one of NCL's signature restaurants. It will be one of the premium restaurants serving steak (filet mignon, black Angus steak, ribs). It isn't a small place, with a seating capacity of 176 people. It is named after the infamous Cagney, a gangster who lived through and during the roaring 20's in America.
It works together with the Star Bar, and has a decoration mainly in red tones, used in the carpet, sofas (with red leather upholstery) and curtains. The chairs have a cow skin and black leather upholstery. The waiter stations are made out of cherry wood, as well as the pillars.
The ceiling features copper sections. There are certain cowboy details, such as the forged steel balustrade with horn on its ends, traditional wheel as light devices, and portraits with far west themes. The distance between tables is generous, and there are a lot of grills aft. The passengers can see how their beef is cooked.
Bars And Lounges
Norwegian Jewel presents a host of places where passengers can relax and be entertained.
Bars and public lounges are spread throughout the ship, ensuring that a favourite cocktail is never too far away.
Just aft of the higher level of the theatre is located Fyzz Lounge and Bar, the Norwegian Jewel cabaret venue, whose main theme is represented by circles, spheres, orbits and outer space.
The carpet is very original: a lot of white circles leaning on a violet background.
The walls show a lot of galaxies and star photos.
The Fyzz Bar has an asymmetrical lay out.
The circular dance floor is located at the centre of the bar, in front of the stage.
There are also three karaoke rooms, which have a large bull eye overlooking the bar.
Each one of them can seat 30 people and has a surface of 54 square meters.
The glass tables are circular as well, and the blue and violet chairs are of spherical shape.
The stainless steel counter gives a futuristic touch to the room.
Also, the wall behind it is also made of glass.
The multicoloured pillar (which also houses a lighting device), and ? some spherical lights complete the decoration.
An interesting detail is represented by several red sculptures, which resemble sails and circles, spread along the bar.
The starboard corridor is separated from Fyzz bar by a long and sinuous blue and red sofa.
Opposite this sofa there are large bulls eyes under which more blue sofas are installed.
Art auctions are also held on board during the first cruises sailed of the vessel.
A new concept that will debut on the ship is called "Bar Central", where three bars with distinct personalities will be connected and share some common space (at the bottom of this staircase), which works well as a meeting point for drinking and Azura, Le Bistro and Chin Chin pre/post dining drinking and coffees.
The open bar idea is new and may work well, but it may get crowded from time to time since, as well as drinkers, it also serves some of the restaurants.
This space also acts as a second atrio, a welcome reference point in a ship with a complicated layout.
At Bar Central, varying drinking pleasures come together in the form of the side-by-side Shaker's Martini & Cocktail Bar, Magnum's Champagne and Wine Bar, and Maltings Beer & Whisky Pub.
Shak bar, on deck 7, is the natural entrance to the Asian restaurant and, logically, both share a lot of ornate details.
It has a wood and marble counter that ends up in the sushi bar, which has a lower height.
The seats have garnet upholstery.
Magnum is located on the Bar Center lower level, on deck 6, close to the entrance of Le Bistro.
It has a red tone decoration, with carpet, upholstery and ceiling of this colour.
The stairs of the Bar Central has a Chinese mural, mainly in red tones as well, red covered pillars, and red vertical Luminaries, resembling those you may spot on board of the Normandie.
All this red ornate is augmented with the atrium ceiling red indirect lighting, and the reflected ceiling of the lower level of the atrium.
Opposite Magnum is located the Corona cigar bar, the smallest public room on board: only 30 square meters and 11 seats.
The carpet is pink, violet and yellow, and has big chairs with garnet upholstery.
It has a special air conditioning and ventilation system, and offers hand-rolled cigars, cognacs and spirit.
Also, it has an outdoor section, in the lower level of Bar Central, decorated in orange & pink tones, with a small stage with a black piano.
The walls have a beige and brown section, with Picasso portraits.
The carpet has circular details and has pink and orange decoration.
The chairs aren't as big as the ones indoor, and the tables are wooden.
This section is separated by a glass screen from the starboard corridor.
The Martini bar, Shakers, also has an art deco look, but features artwork of debonair people from the '60's and '70's dressed for cocktails.
It is located aft Bar Central, in the starboard corridor, which splits it in two halves.
The brown marble counter is on the port side.
The floor is of blue marble as well.
A blue neon light is installed against the ceiling.
In the starboard sitting area, there are large blue sofas below the windows, with a very high back, and large grey chairs.
The carpet, too, is blue.
There are some sculptures close to the counter, and the lighting is different from the other bar.
The pub Maltings is inspired by the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in London.
It is located aft of Shakers, and is the last bar of Bar Central, near the main lift tower.
The circulation here is close to the ship side and, as consequence; the locale is a whole unit.
The decoration here is not as rich as in the other public rooms.
Dark wood on tables and counter, zebra skin on chairs, beige walls, some plasma monitors, and niches with bottles.
The carpet is garnet, with brown rectangles.
The counter has a "U" shape, whose purpose is to generate an exclusive ambience.
Far from Bar Central, on deck 13, below the Garden Villas, is located the Star Bar, whose decorations are similar to the ones in the Cagney Steak House.
The chairs are of conical design, made of dark wood and black upholstery.
The bar has a counter with red decoration; it, too, has red seats.
The walls are of dark wood, and a piano is played every night.
It is a splendid place to await your turn at the Beef restaurant.
The ship also features the unique Spinnaker Bar, the observation lounge on board located on deck 13, above the Spa rooms. It has picture windows around 270 ?, with a slope in the forward section and red blinds for sun protection.
This room has other maritime motifs: the carpet is blue, with shells and waves. The lay out here is annular, around the dance floor, with a semicircular section and a riveted stainless steel band against the ceiling. There are three sofas of semicircular shape, whose upholstery is orange, and also has another two nautical details: a typical protected nautical light device located on the ends of the sofas, and a rope, which strengthens the sofa edges.
The furniture of the perimeter is very different, of a modern style: blue 'W' shaped sofas, white 'O' shaped tables, white pubs, etc. Again, the designer tried to create a contrast in the same room: the nautical tradition, close to furniture elements which spell minimalism and modernism. Aft is located the control room (with an enormous bulls eye) and the bar.
The latter has a blue counter with white seats which resemble champagne glasses.. This room features a slope leading to the stage, which is wheelchair friendly. At night, this dual space is utilised as a disco.
Stardust Theatre is the ship's main showroom and home to the lavish production shows passengers will see throughout the cruise. As the ship lacks an atrium, this is the only space where the true size of the vessel can be wholly appreciated.
The central section, in between the balconies, is impressive. This point has the highest headroom I have ever seen on a theatre afloat. The layout is more of a concert hall than a theatre, with a huge lower seat stalls, which has a notable slope, and two side balconies, each including three sections, providing a much better sight lines than in other ships.
Stardust also has a novel colour scheme concept.
The yellow tapestry has a flower motif, bearing insects with blue wings, whereas the seats have vibrant green upholstery, and the curtain is violet, which makes a big contrast. The ceiling is mainly black, as well as the sides of the scenery, without any ornamentation: it only houses light and sound equipment, and the walls are of polished cherry wood.
The whole concept is impressive, but also minimalist and cold. The only concession to the decoration is represented by the upper ends of the cherry wood pillars, which have a green decoration. The use of this space is mainly for theatre related purposes, differing from a show lounge owing to the lack of a center or side aisle on the main level.
Also, there isn't a bar and some rows are only accessible from one end, as for certain aircrafts. The chairs are equipped with an air con system, hence giving the possibility to get cool air from the chair in front.
The Stardust Theatre is a great seating for Broadway type production shows, such as "Band on the Run" and "Cirque Bijou", the two shows running in the first cruises.
The Norwegian Jewel has only one pool area, on deck 12, the Sapphire Pool, located between the funnel and the radar mast, in the forward part of the superstructure. It looks big and spacious, more like a water centre than a mere pool. The Norwegian Jewel has two pools on her lido deck, each with two Jacuzzis, and the forward one also features a yellow water slide. Between the two pools there is a small stage or band stand (the only part of this deck with teak floor), covered with a green and blue canopy.
The most pre-eminent feature, here, is represented by the lighting devices, two rows of tall palm tree-like devices (one on each side), and a forged steel hand rail. A reminiscence of a circus ambience is created with the chromatic abundance in this space.
This pool area, unlike those found on Dawn and Star, is not terraced -- which actually creates a more expansive sense of space. There are two bars: close to the pools, on the aft port side on deck 12, is located Topsiders Bar , fitted with a curved multi coloured (mainly yellow, brown and green) counter.
Ahead of the pools, on deck 13, is located the Sky High Bar, furnished with a wooden counter, and a green canopy, the same colour scheme found in the marble and plastic floor.
Another wooden counter is located opposite the main one, with good view over the pool area. The solarium areas both sides on deck 13 are ample, capable of housing two rows of lounge chairs and a corridor is situated on the left.
The freestyle sundeck on deck 15 could easily be used for "clothing optional" for the European market: it is impossible to get there by accident. There is also another sunning area at the stern which is not marked on the deck plans.
Aft of the pools, on the port side, the Kid's Splash Pool with an underground sea theme is located, as are the video arcade and other teen exclusive spaces.
Teens have their own club for socializing activities at their disposal. Aft of the funnel a full size sports court is located, offering rows of spectator seats, making even a pick-up game of basketball an event in its own right.
The court can also be converted for volleyball and tennis. There are more outdoor facilities, such as a giant size chessboard and a jogging track around the funnel on deck 13.
Aft of the pool area is situated the Norwegian Jewel's Garden Cafe, the ship's buffet venue, which has been designed in the now-trendy "food court" style that, in contrast to a traditional cafeteria format, eliminates or at least cuts down on queues. The layout of this area could be better, considering that the customers have to walk a relatively long distance, in order to reach a table after having collected their food.
The headroom is low, and does not have any sky light and, as a consequence, this wide area lacks a sense of spaciousness.
The lighting devices, mainly down lights, don't help solve this problem. The designer tried to correct this mistake with a sky like ceiling, with painted clouds, with a lot of plants, and the use of clear tones in furniture, walls, etc. but the result is a cold and dark room, unless the sun enters through the starboard side picture windows.
On a positive side, the tapestry presents an enjoyable motif, bearing flowers and geometric shapes. The brown marble in the corridors also helps strike a good balance with the rest of the area. There is an outdoor section located aft, called Great Outdoors, with an annular layout round a counter made of china and tile pieces, mainly in garnet and blue tones.
The floor is blue around the counter, and plastic buff elsewhere. Like many cruise ships, this aft casual buffet has plastic canvas for sun protection, as well as a forged handrail. Aft, the wall has coastal themed painting, mainly in blue tones, and a buffet decorated in the same way as the bar counter.
The furniture is composed of wicker and imitation forged steel chairs, and white circular tables. There is a sense of spaciousness everywhere, and a festive ambience. Its small size, though, implicates some issues of overcrowding during sunny days, when most customers please to enjoy the area.
As far as relaxation in concerned, the ship's Bora Bora Health Spa & Beauty Salon is operated by Mandara Spa, which blends eastern and western-style treatments for optimized massage, facials, and more. The Body Waves Fitness Center, located port side, features state-of-the-art equipment, each with its own TV, in three long rows.
A lot of cruise ships have their own gym equipment bow facing, and the side layout on Norwegian Jewel is, at first, a less brilliant proposition. But the port side large windows, fitted with sun protection, also provide light and view. The forward part of the Spa is a wet room with a thalassotherapy pool and heated tile loungers.
Aft is located the aerobics room, with two picture windows close to the forward cascade of the pools. The wooden floor is the main feature of this big room, which also houses plenty of mirrors and exercise cycles.
A glass wall with doors links this room with the port side located fitness center. Also, a lot of massage rooms to provide the latest relaxation in a South Pacific ambience are located in the fitness center. The entire complex has a surface of 855 square meters. Also, a beauty salon is located starboard side.
Norwegian Jewel is a bit larger than Norwegian Dawn having 1.188 cabins and suites overall, with an extensive choice of categories: 25 ranging for ultra spacious Garden Villas to the smaller inside cabin. Like its older sisters, there is an abundant number of interconnecting cabins and suites to create 2, 3, 4 or 5 bedroom accommodation for families.
All cabins have TV, safe, refrigerator, hair dryer, and lower beds convertible to queen size beds. The most luxurious accommodation is the Courtyard Villa complex on deck 14. The two 310 square meter Garden Villas are the biggest cabins on board, each with living room, dining room and three bedrooms with private bath.
The main bedroom has a bath with Jacuzzi. This main bedroom and the main living area both opened on to the small deck area on deck 14 with the covered tub and the steam room.
A spiral stairway leads up to the above open deck. Also, the living room windows overlook the main pool. The ten penthouse suites (a new concept for NCL) are also located in the aft part of Courtyard Villas complex, and have a living area with private balcony, dining area and separate bedroom and a small room with beds for children.
This whole area has its own concierge lounge and is accessible only by room card to the lift or access door for Deck 14. For each of the two Garden Villas and the Penthouse suites there is a private seating/sunning area on deck 15.
The Courtyard Villa complex has its own pool, Jacuzzi, steam room and some real enjoyable seating areas. This shared area is wonderful and has a great feel to it, creating an intimate and exclusive ambience for the privileged who can afford it.
The area also is equipped with a retractable roof. Those enormous cabins seem to have been geared for large multi generation family groups. NCL says it could accommodate 8+3 people and, if a family group is capable to fill this space, it is possible to get the average cost down to something reasonable.
These rooms are well equipped, with plasma TV, portable phones, CD/DVD library, etc. Butler service is also available. Norwegian Jewel will have four owner's suites, located in the forward part of deck 9 and 10, port and starboard.
This accommodation also has access to the Courtyard Villas complex, so it may get a bit crowded if everyone wants to use it. These 73 square meter cabins also have a living area with private balcony, dining area and separate bedroom and a small room with beds for children.
In between one owner's suite and the other are located eight penthouse cabins, a type of accommodation also found on deck 11, which features separate living and bed areas, with butler service and concierge available. Even the standard accommodations, which are located throughout decks 8, 9, 10 and 11, are spacious and well fitted.
An ocean view balcony stateroom is almost 16 square metres large and feature a sitting area and two lower beds. There is a $10 per night per person service charge added to each cabin account. This replaces the conventional tip in the envelope for the waiter & cabin steward.
The casino Jewel is located forward on deck 6. But in this ship full of novelties, the casino isn't a surprise. It is the same concept found in all new ships of all owners. It is decorated in red and green tones, and the passengers can access it through a wide corridor on the starboard side. The carpet is green, with stars and musical notes depicted, and the ceiling also share this design, which is integrated by a red stripe motif.
All upholsteries are red, as well as the games tables. The pillars are painted in red and yellow, like a circus. Close to the corridor, on the starboard side, there are torch like light devices, with an inside fan that reflects yellow stripes to imitate flames. Surprisingly, the casino is quiet, but a lot of guests are very keen to use it.
It has the usual slot machines, a couple of craps and roulette tables, 5 card, 3 card, black jack, etc. It is located between the theatre and the central bar, a busy circulation area, but the starboard corridor makes the layout unobtrusive.
The Crystal Atrium of the Norwegian Jewel is not the typical new generation cruise ship open vertical and usually cavernous site of space. It is only two deck high, spread along decks 7 & 8. The main feature of this nice and novel space of eclectic design is a large colour changing, fibre optic and glass ceiling light located in the center of the room that gives this area a totally different appearance according to the colours utilized.
The rest of the ceiling is blue and white, possibly due to the designer's idea of making the passengers think of the sky, when drawing on this combination of white colour and glass.
The lower level of the atrium has a large amount of natural light through large windows port and starboard. Aft, it contains a spacious curved information desk in between two corridors, running aft from the atrium to the photo studio (with special kiosks for digital printing), art auction, a wired internet café (port side) and shops areas aft.
In the forward part of the atrium is located a stairway, with violet steps, glass and stainless steel handrail and wood.
Above, a screen is installed to show call information.
Aft of the stairs, is located the Java Café' , just below the colour changing lighting, which presents the same shape as the atrium well. It has rather colourful furniture of its own, with a lovely white grand piano and big blue sofas close the two marble corridors port and starboard side. Pink chairs, blue pubs and stainless steel tables add a futuristic touch.
Either side of the reception desk are situated the wooden Shore Excursion Office port side, and Port O'Call Shop, with crystal, china, and jewellery, on the starboard side. The reception area is spacious, a handy spot while waiting to meet people ready to go ashore or to the dining room. Above the reception area, on deck 8, are located the Blue Lagoon restaurant (port side) and Tango (starboard side).
This layout means that a single entertainer at the white piano could serve all three areas at once. These rooms are the only public areas on deck 8. Tango, the Norwegian Jewel tapas' restaurant, has big picture windows over the starboard side and, as a consequence, has a lot of natural illumination.
The lower forward section has a wooden floor, whereas the bigger aft section has a tapestry with the tango's steps. This upper section could be halved by means of a curtain. Once again, the ceilings are very plain: only brown painted. The tables are chessboard themed and the wood chairs have garnet upholstery.
A key point of the Tango decoration is represented by the glass balustrades close to the atrium, and the forged steel and wood balustrades that separate the sections. Blue Lagoon shares the same layout as Tango, with two curtain separated sections, but is located on the port side. The tapestry here is blue, with coffee grains depicted. These sections (as on Tango) are also separated by a long curved brown sofa.
The chairs are of a special design, with stainless steel legs and back covers. The tables are square and wooden and the balustrades are of stainless steel, with an "A" shape, in heavy contrast with the traditional ones in Tango. The wall houses photos depicting different varieties of food. Just above the reception desk there is a small stage with two counters, one for each dining venue, which only operate at night.
The Cruise Program
After some European based cruises, the Norwegian Jewel crossed the Atlantic to begin sailings from American ports. On early November 2005, she was christened by Melania Trump in Miami. After inaugural festivities, Norwegian Jewel began a winter season of seven-day Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries.
The Eastern cruise visits San Juan, Antigua, St. Thomas and Great Stirrup Cay, while the Western route includes Great Stirrup Cay, Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman and Roatán. Last spring, the Norwegian Jewel crossed the Atlantic to be based in Barcelona, offering seven night cruises from the Spanish port, departing every Sunday. To finish my review, I emphasize some highlights.
The Jewel is a lovely bright ship, which is nothing like as tacky as I expected given the hull art. In fact with the exception of the casino and maybe the Tsar's Palace I'd say she is a very well appointed ship.
For further information: NCL - Norwegian Cruise Line