It’s tough not to love that new ship smell! And there’s plenty to love on the newest Norwegian Cruise Line ship, the Norwegian Prima.
More than just a new ship, the Prima is the first of a new class of ships for NCL. The Prima class ships — there will be six altogether — offer more wide-open spaces, tastefully designed (and quite roomy) staterooms, a special area for solo travelers, a wide array of dining options included in the price and several first-of-their-kind experiences, such as the heart-stopping slide called, appropriately, The Drop.
Here’s a look at this new ship.
Highlights of the Norwegian Prima
New is nice. Onboard the Prima, the new things include:
- Larger-than-average staterooms that can accommodate a family more comfortably.
- A studio stateroom section with gathering spots and smaller accommodations for single travelers who don’t want to pay a single supplement upcharge.
- The Prima Speedway, a three-level go-kart racetrack
- Three heart-revving slides
- The Indulge Food Hall with 11 different dining options
- The Mandara Spa’s charcoal sauna, ice room, salt room, experiential showers and infrared sauna.
- The Metropolitan Bar, the cruise industry’s first sustainable cocktail bar that serves cocktails crafted with surplus ingredients from the ship’s kitchen
- Ocean Boulevard, a 44,000-square-foot outdoor walkway that wraps around the ship and includes infinity pools, a peaceful sculpture garden and a not-so-peaceful see-through walkway 8 stories above the sea.
- Incredible artwork throughout
My family stateroom with a balcony was roomy and comfortable with a couch that turns into a second bed. While I would have preferred to have the couch next to the balcony doors to be closer to the ocean, I understood why it wasn’t after I asked the cabin steward to open the sofa bed. It was a very tight squeeze between the end of the bed and the desk.
Still, the room was welcoming with a sleek modern design. The bathroom was larger than any I have seen in similar class staterooms on any other ship. And the balcony was outfitted with very comfy chairs.
SheBuysTravel Tip: My stateroom did not have conditioner or body lotion, two things I rarely travel with anymore because I expect to find both in my accommodations. If, like me, you regularly use those two products, bring them along.
Studio Staterooms for Solo Travelers
The 94-square-foot studio staterooms are made for just one. They include a full size bed (not a twin), a nice sized bathroom, plenty of storage area and a decent-sized bathroom.
Booking into one of the 73 studio staterooms includes access to a private Studio Lounge where solo travelers can gather, meet one another, play board games, grab a drink and a snack.
This is Norwegian’s ship-within-a-ship concept. It’s not new to the Norwegian Prima cruise ship, but it has been expanded. There are 107 Haven suites in eight room categories. Haven guests get access to a private elevator, infinity pool, bar, thickly-padded lounge chairs, private dining area, Finnish sauna and ice room and elevated concierge services.
What is There to Do On the Norwegian Prima?
So much! From the thrill-inducing water slide and dry slides to the kiddie splash area to the high quality evening entertainment, it would be tough to get bored onboard.
For Thrill Seekers
Prima Speedway. Norwegian has go-kart tracks on other ships, but this is the first, three-level racetrack at sea. It’s more than a quarter-mile long and the go-karts can reach speeds of more than 30 miles per hour — assuming the drivers ahead of you will put the pedal to the metal or get out of the way so you can. There is a per-person upcharge for the speedway.
The Drop. The heart-pounding thrills of this dry slide start as you climb in, wrap the tarp around you, watch the glass enclosure shut and listen to the resounding count-down to the moment the bottom drops away and you go sliding 10 stories down.
The Rush. A slightly tamer dry slide, this one features dueling side-by-side slides so you can race your significant other.
Tidal Wave Waterslide. A fun, over-too-fast inner tube water slide with great views of the open ocean.
The Galaxy Pavilion. This area is filled with virtual reality fun. You can drive racecars, go off roading, run with dinosaurs, kick a soccer goal and more.
SheBuysTravel Tip: Buy a pass for the Galaxy Pavilion vs. paying ala carte. You’ll thank me later.
More Laid Back Experiences
Head to Deck 18 for Tee Time mini golf course and Bull’s Eye darts, both with a high-tech twist, foosball and other games.
Pools on the Prima
Lounging by the pool, a perfectly acceptable way to spend time on a cruise ship, works a little differently on the Prima. Rather than a pool deck with a large pool surrounded by a sea of lounge chairs, the pools and hot tubs are smaller and spread around the ship. Each pool has a small number of lounge chairs on the sundeck.
The idea is to make the spaces feel more intimate. It does that, but my kids would have been disappointed in the small size of the pool offerings.
Norwegian Prima Entertainment
The impressive three-story Prima Theater & Club is the place to see the hot Broadway-style show, “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical.” The Tony Award-nominated show is headlining the ship’s first season and it’s a winner.
I also caught the Noise Boys show. It’s a hip, high enery mash up of hip hop, beat box, tap dancing, rap and screaming rock guitar. I know. It’s a lot. And it shouldn’t all work together. But it does. They had the audience on their feet for a standing ovation when it was all over.
Other entertainment options include Improv at Sea and a selection of live gameshows including The Price is Right, Supermarket Sweep, Press Your Luck and Beat the Clock.
And the theater is designed so the seats can be moved out of the way — just like the bleachers in a high school gymnasium — to turn the space into an after-hours nightclub.
Mandara Spa and Fitness Center
Do not miss the chance to spend a day in this incredible, calming space. There’s a charcoal sauna (loved it), an ice room (I don’t like to be cold, so I didn’t try it), experiential showers (thought it was a little weird never knowing where the water was going to hit me next), a floatation salt pool (loved it), salt room (really loved it) and an infrared sauna (it was so popular that I never got a chance to slip inside and try it).
Just as wonderful as the spa experiences is the relaxation area with its heated stone chairs and expansive ocean views.
For a real indulgence, book one of the 28 spa balcony staterooms that include unlimited access to the thermal spa.
Dining Aboard the Norwegian Prima
Like just about all cruise lines these days, the best dining onboard the Prima is an upcharge. But the dining that is included in the cruise price is quite good. And there are a host of options.
Of those, my hands-down favorite is the Indulge Food Hall. Set up much like a mall food court, the food hall has 11 different offerings. All but the Starbuck’s and Coco’s (a sweet shop) are included in the cruise price.
At Indulge, you sit at a table and scroll through an iPad to choose your food, which is then delivered to your table. I liked that it was smaller bites, which made it easy to try a wider variety of foods, tapas style.
I sampled the guacamole from The Latin Quarter, lamb chops from Seaside Rotisserie and pad Thai from Nudls. They were all tasty.
In addition to Starbucks, Coco’s and two dessert places that are included in your fare, the food options at Indulge Food Hall are:
- Nudls – pasta of all types
- Q – BBQ dishes such as pulled pork sandwiches.
- Seaside Rotisserie – a variety of meat dishes, such as beef shish kebab
- Tamara – Indian dishes
- Tapas – meat and cheese bites
- The Garden – soup and salad choices
- The Latin Quarter – guacamole and tostadas, among other dishes, served from a restaurant desgned to look like a food truck
Other Restaurants on the Prima
The sit-down restaurants included in your fare are Hudson’s and the Commodore Room. At both, the food is good and the view is better.
Plus, the Local Bar & Grill serves pub-style food and beers 24 hours a day and The Surfside Cafe and Surfside Grill have casual eats such as burgers, fries and hot dogs.
The specialty restaurants that charge an additional fee are:
- Palomar, the line’s new Mediterranean seafood restaurant
- Hasuki, a new take on the classic cruise line hibachi restaurant
- Nama, a new sushi house
- Cagney’s Steakhouse
- Food Republic, serving international cuisine
- Le Bistro, NCL’s signature French restaurant
- Los Lobos, a new Mexican restaurant
- Onda by Scarpetta, an upscale Italian restaurant
Drinking Aboard the Norwegian Prima
I was only aboard for two nights, with a stop at NCL’s private island, Grand Stirrup Cay. So I did not have time to hit most of the bars onboard. But I did check out The Metropolitan Bar, which features zero-waste cocktails and sustainable wines.
This brilliant concept is all about reducing and reusing food waste. All of the drinks are ingenious concoctions made from things like watermelon rinds and banana peels. The Watermelon Twist I sampled was sweet and fruity with a cayenne and salt mixture on the glass rim that added depth to the drink. The almond croissant Mai Tai tasted just like a fruity and fun island drink.
Even if you don’t fancy drinks made from food waste, you can feel environmentally responsible when you order at the Metropolitan. Every brand used at the bar is certified sustainable. And there are no single use plastics or straws.
Other places to get a drink onboard include the three-story glass-walled Penrose Atrium, the Observation Lounge, the adults-only Vibe Beach Club and Syd Norman’s Pour House, where you’ll find music along with the drinks.
Norwegian Prima Itineraries
In 2023, the Prima will sail a variety of itineraries, including from Port Canaveral to the Caribbean, New York to Bermuda, London to Northern Europe, Iceland, Norway and Belgium, Rome to the Mediterranean and from Galveston to the Caribbean.
Norwegian Prima FAQs
Norwegian Prima measures 965 feet long with a gross tonnage of 142,500.
It can carry up to 3,100 guests at double occupancy and a crew of 1506, for a 2:1 passenger to crew ratio.