the biggest tragedy of the Norway’s “progress” is the reformation
of the Checkers Cabaret. It is now
known as “The Sports Bar” and features neon lighting, sports action photos,
and a less-than-appealing façade. With
a watchful eye, however, you’ll notice some of the original features which
were untouched from the original layout such as ceiling structure and the tile
flooring. It is still a popular
area for daytime activities, the Latin band, watching sport events on
television, and enjoying a drink or two.
Alternately, I would now like to report on one of my favourite areas on board the Norway. Understated elegance and appeal are the feelings that the Club Internationale tends to evoke. Simply looking around at her graceful statues and draping curtains, you feel as if you are truly back in her days as the France. It is so easy to sit back, relax, enjoy a drink, and watch the world go by and feel as if you are on top of it at the same time. She is relatively untouched save for small modifications such as a darkening of her ceiling paint. As mentioned above, high tea is one of the most elegant activities to take place in here along with her fabulous nightlife. Club Internationale simply takes on a new aura in the evening with intimate lighting and beautiful music. Looking around at my fellow shipmates, I could only get the feeling that we all knew we were someone special being there to experience it. Lower key events also took place in Club Internationale such as Friends of Bill W. and Friends of Dorothy.
|The port side entrance to Club Internationale on International Deck.|
|One of the beautiful statues adorning this corner of Club Internationale.|
|My family and I greeting Captain Hans Meeg before proceeding to the North Cape Lounge for cocktails and music.|
|One view of the shopping arcade just forward of the Club Internationale. This area used to be properly known as "The Upstairs at the Downstairs".|
charming area on the Norway is the Windjammer Bar. Being dimly lit and intimate, the Windjammer Bar is a perfect
place to share good company and conversation with your fellow shipmates.
Pianist Tom Theobold performed in here nightly and always seemed to add a
little comic value just when you least expected it.
Just beyond the Windjammer proceeding forward is the Internet Café /
Library. This is a relatively new feature for many cruise ships today
and the NCL fleet is serviced by Digital Seas
One may check mail on an existing account, create a new account, or check
mail from their “cruise mail” provided in the NCL boarding documents, all
for seventy-five cents per minute.
The promenade itself around International Deck (Champs Elysées and Fifth Avenue) is a beautiful site itself. Serving as street sidewalks, guests can window-shop or people-watch. An even more striking appearance is by evening when the classic lighting reflects on the “street” just as the moon on the ocean. Strolling the avenues by evening is a magnificent opportunity to admire (or disapprove of) others’ eveningwear. I particularly enjoy hearing the mélange of music from each of the venues and deciding just what I may be in the mood for that evening. Of course, I was normally lured to Club Internationale – and for good reasons!
|A model of sister ship Norwegian Sky on the starboard side of International Deck.|
|A beautiful view of International Deck standing aft looking forward. There are no expansive walkways quite like this at sea.|
Fitness buffs definitely find their way up to Olympic Deck which houses the Fitness Center and a wrap-around walking/jogging deck. I have always said that the 360-degree deck is my favourite feature of a cruise ship. To me, it is a great way to get exercise, enjoy the sea, and examine the ship’s outer workings as well. Unfortunately, outside of “day hours” on Olympic Deck, a gate would close off the forward portion of the walking deck that would wrap around to the opposite side. Friends and family mentioned that the Fitness Center was very well equipped and easy to use. I, however, didn’t happen to make it in there this voyage!
|During regular maintenance, a lifeboat is lowered out of its cradle position.|
|The forward bow access to the wrap-around promenade walk on Olympic Deck.|
|A view of Olympic deck standing forward, looking aft.|
Proceeding higher on the ship, you’ll begin to notice the architectural differences that took place upon the addition of her upper two decks. Many critics claim that the new decks have destroyed her profile. I believe that it has changed her image of being a taller ship with soaring funnels but, in my mind, she will never lose her image of class and tradition. One of the best places to get an idea of her sheer size is by strolling along Star Deck and gazing up at her graceful mast and towering funnels. I noticed that they have replaced her previous “Norway” lettering which was formerly internally lit. She now sports new letters (same typeface) that are externally lit by floodlights. No ship at sea truly can imitate the sight of seeing her beautiful letters lit up at night with a striking reflection on the water.
|Standing on Sky Deck, admiring the grace of the wing-tipped funnels.|
The final morning of a cruise vacation is always very solemn. On this, the 15th of April, 2001, it was certainly hard-hitting. At various points throughout the evening I would wake up and notice the bow thrusters generating and small glimpses of light approach, reminding me that Miami was just around the corner. There wasn’t very much “night” for me to rest through considering that I always like to enjoy as much of the last evening as possible. It was a glum experience walking around the ship the final morning and mentally preparing myself to disembark. Walking around the ship and recalling all of the wonderful experiences from the week certainly added a bright spot to the moment. Having my final breakfast aboard and looking aft toward the Voyager of the Seas, I realized how lucky I was to have sailed on the Norway this week and relish in her glory.
|A view of the Voyager of the Seas while having breakfast on disembarkation morning.|
|Just a quick glance behind as I walk from the gangway to the luggage holding area below.|
Having been quite tired
from my last evening aboard ship, I took some rest in at the Hotel
Intercontinental to prepare
myself for the ships’ departures beginning at around 4:00 PM. Over the past years, I have experimented with different
locations from which to view the ships sailing out. I originally started near the end of Government Cut where the ships
turn in the basin but have now moved to the complete opposite end on Miami Beach on a small pier. Among beach goers
and young people diving off of the pier, I took my spot to bid farewell to the day’s line-up. It took longer than I had
anticipated for even the first ship to set sail but it was the Paradise and she made a 180 degree turn prior to sailing out of
Government Cut. Perhaps of significance, the Norway was the final ship to set sail and was not until nearly 7:00 PM.
A very emotional and heart warming gesture was that all of the ships in Miami that day saluted the Grand Dame Norway
with the 3 blasts of the whistle followed by one more blast. Despite the size and new age of today’s standard of ships, they
still realize what significance the Norway had in developing what cruising is all about.
My Views of the Ship's Sailaway on April 15th, 2001
As stated previously, this trip on the Norway turned out to be much more than just a cruise. She served various purposes for me this time around : a wonderful reunion from December 1993, a time to meet valuable new friends, a chance to take in the beauty and history that the ship offers, and a reinforcement of my passion for cruising and cruise ships. I owe much to the legendary Norway and can only hope that she will be handed over to respecting hands upon her departure from the NCL proper fleet. Perhaps I shall see her again somewhere in the world wherever she may end up but, until then, she is going to have a part of my heart indefinitely.
|Here I stand on the lookout for the breathtaking Norway. I shall always be on the lookout for her.|
Some Miscellaneous / Final Views Out and About on the S/S Norway
|A beautiful painting of the Norway's life as the France taken by John on staff decks.|
|One of my favourite works of art aboard. This is a tapestry depicting the image of the Norway in her early years with Norwegian Caribbean Line.|
|A partial view of the former patio that is located on Fjord Deck. This used to be open to the air with small tables and chairs where staterooms opened up to it. Once the pool was added, this quaint patio area turned into a small walkway that can be accessed by one of two doors in the cabin corridors.|
|A photo of myself, John, and Assistant Hotel Director Frank Hasenwinkel at a V.I.P. party in the captain's suite.|
|A partial view of the Caribbean deck party that took place on Pool Deck aft with the Cruise Staff.|
|On the plane, ready, and set to head back to Chicago, IL.|
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