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News about Norwegian’s new ship

The Norwegian Gem is stretching its sea legs for the first time this week, as [% 12025 | | NCL’s %] newest ship begins sea trials. The ship has left its home at the Meyer Werft shipyards in Germany, and is now proving to the world that it’s fit to carry passengers. The Gem makes its public debut in Europe with inaugural events and special Mediterranean sailings in October and November. The ship will arrive in the U.S. in time for its New York christening on December 18.

NCL fans can follow the progress of the Norwegian Gem on the ship’s very own website. features a blog written in the ship’s voice, virtual bowling, details about the ship, and a space for fans to create their own virtual characters to become the Gem’s entourage. Apparently, the Norwegian Gem has a persona akin to Paris Hilton.

If the Gem is hoping for more sisters to share her limelight, she will have to wait a little longer. According to a report in Travel Weekly (registration required), Norwegian has chosen not to exercise its options for a third F3-class ship with Aker Yards. The cruise line has committed to building two ships (to debut in 2009 and 2010) in this new class. These megaships will carry 4,200 guests and be as long as the Eiffel Tower is high. Apparently, the Gem will have to curb its tendencies to spend gobs of money at the shops and clubs of Europe so its parent company can afford to raise more children.

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