Just this week, Norwegian Cruise Line is offering an advance peek into its still-under-construction Norwegian Jewel. The 92,000-ton, 2,376-passenger ship (now berthed at Meyer Werft in Papenburg, Germany) is a sort-of sister to the line's popular Norwegian Dawn and Norwegian Star, but there are some innovative new developments:
NCL has added 10 new penthouses in addition to its two "largest in the industry" Garden Villas (also found on Star and Dawn). These suites share a private courtayard complete with a small gym, a Jacuzzi and a swimming pool -- all located under a glass roof.
The restaurant selection again offers 10 evening alternatives, but there are some changes:
- Le Bistro, NCL's hallmark elegant French restaurant, and the uber-casual 24-hour Blue Lagoon Cafe have both been allotted more space.
- Meanwhile, NCL has abandoned the Garden Cafe's cafeteria-style buffet lines, instead incorporating "free flowing" stations such as those pioneered by Princess and Royal Caribbean.
- Trattoria, Norwegian Dawn and Star's weak nod to an Italian restaurant, gets new life on Norwegian Jewel. The restaurant not only gets a new name -- Mama's Italian Kitchen -- but also a new bit of real estate (it will no longer be attached to the buffet restaurant but will instead be a free-standing eatery).
As we reported in the initial design announcement for Norwegian Jewel, the ship will introduce a new bar concept -- but we've got additional details. The so-called "Bar Central" concept, which overtakes the former piano bar and Le Bistro area on Deck 6, will include four distinctive areas: Corona Cigar Club, Magnums Champagne & Wine Bar, Shakers Martini & Cocktail Bar and Maltings Beer and Whiskey Bar. All are connnected to each other. "Bar Central" represents a new evening entertainment concept for the industry.
One of the most exciting expansions is that of the spa. While we lament the elimination of the indoor lap pool found on Star and Dawn, The Bora Bora Health Spa will offer a more expansive treatment room area and fitness facility. And the sun deck is improved as well. The elimination of the terraced sun deck offers room for two large pools -- both complemented with Jacuzzis.
Norwegian Jewel will enter service next September with 10- and 11-night Canada & New England cruises from New York; afterward it will move to seven-night itineraries from Miami to the Eastern and Western Caribbean.