Onsite: Aboard the Norwegian Gem

AT SEA-Travel Agent's cruise editor David Eisen filed this report from the Norwegian Gem: Our first full day aboard Norwegian Gem was chock full of education and even a little fun. We first met the captain of Norwegian Gem, Mikael Hilden, on the ship's bridge, and I can now say that I feel that much more safe aboard. I didn't understand much of the technology and equipment, but I did spot a wheel, so I know someone's driving.After checking out the ship's hardware, it was time for an activity that takes less brainpower: bowling. Yes, bowling. Norwegian Gem has a four-lane bowling alley housed in its Bliss Ultra Lounge, which, undoubtedly, is the swankiest spot on the ship-and the loudest. Video screens adorn the walls, while the floor is decorated with hip furniture and even two beds. The entire room gives off a warm orange glow and there are two VIP rooms, which offer bottle service and need to be reserved.Now, back to the bowling, because this is where I get to toot my horn. Of all the journalists aboard, yours truly grabbed the top spot with a score of 144. (Not bad for not having rolled a bowling ball in more than a year.) Since there are only four lanes, I asked if getting a lane is difficult when the ship is full. I was told it's not too bad, especially easier on days when the ship is in port. Bowling carries a $5 fee per person, which includes bowling shoes.In the evening we dined at the Asian fusion restaurant Orchid Garden, which has everything from sushi to popular Thai and Chinese dishes. There also is a teppanyaki room off to the side (think Benihana).From first glance, Norwegian Gem is a good-looking ship that offers fun and excitement at every turn. The ship also has trendy and modern furnishings, and its colors are bright and bold without being tacky. (DE)

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