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Review: Norwegian Prima

The first of six ships from the Prima Class, which is the brand’s first new class of ships in nearly ten years. 
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What is the line? Norwegian Cruise Line

Name of ship? Prima

Passenger occupancy? 3,099

Itinerary? Christening: Reykjavik, Iceland  > Cobh, Ireland > Le Havre, France >  Weymouth, U.K. > Amsterdam, Netherlands

Start out with the big picture—what is this cruise line known for? 

Norwegian is known as an easy-going cruise line. Their tagline, “freestyle cruising” means that there are no set itineraries for each day, but instead, a wide array of options to choose from. There are also no strict dress codes aboard, so you can leave that tux at home. 

Tell us about the ship in general 

When describing the Norwegian Prima, President and CEO Harry Sommer stated that he envisioned creating something “that didn’t look like a cruise ship.” He wanted it to feel upscale, as if you’re at a luxury resort. And often, while strolling the wide halls of the ship, or viewing a Broadway show at the Prima Theatre, you forget that you’re in the middle of the ocean and truly do feel like you are on the firm ground of a luxury all-inclusive. 

Built in 2022, The Prima is the first of six ships from the Prima Class, which is the brand’s first new class of ships in nearly ten years. The design of the Prima class feels more elevated and modern than the brand’s other ships, from the subtle wave graphics on the outside of the ship to the trendy neutral decor on the inside (excluding the casino and recreational areas, where no neon light has been spared). As the youngest ship in a young fleet, there are many shiny—and innovative—bells and whistles throughout, from a virtual reality arcade room to a three-tiered go-kart racing track. 

Who is onboard? 

Norwegian is a multigenerational cruise line, catering to everyone “from 2-92.” The Prima in particular is very family-friendly, offering a wide range of experiences that can be enjoyed by any age group.

Describe the cabins 

There are 1,586 total suites onboard—107 of them are located in the ship’s exclusive section named The Haven. I stayed in a spacious Balcony suite (of which there are 946) that was designated as accessible. However, a peek into a standard Balcony Suite showed much tighter quarters, though I’m told they’re slightly more spacious than the average cruise line’s. All rooms are decorated in a calm, neutral color palette with modern wall art and plenty of lights, plugs, and a large TV. The subtle decor lets the balcony view really shine.

Tell us about the crew 

You’ll find the Prima crew to be super friendly, casual, and conversational. Everyone is incredibly attentive—put an empty glass down and expect someone at your side in seconds to take it away and offer you a fresh one. Our dedicated steward for our room, Michael, transformed our room each time we left it and kept us smiling with a booming “Hello!” each time we crossed paths.

What food and drink options are available on board?

You’ll have a hard time sampling all of the food available onboard. There are eight specialty dining options that require reservations, six regular restaurants, and room service (available 24 hours a day). During the ship’s christening, reservations to the specialty dining restaurants were hard to come by due to technical issues and scheduling errors, which will hopefully be ironed out when the next group sets sail. 

A highlight among the complimentary dining options is the Indulge Food Hall—a first for NCL—which features eight stalls focusing on different global cuisines. Tamara, featuring Indian cuisine cooked by tandoor, is a can’t-miss. 

From the selection of non-specialty restaurants, I found myself drifting back to The Surfside Café & Grill again and again throughout the day—the options on the buffet are vast and genuinely tasty, and the ocean views from any seat are superb.  

Is there a spa on board and is it worth visiting?

Make sure to plan a visit to the ship’s Mandara Spa. The Thermal Suite features sauna experiences ranging from hot salt steams and infrared lights, to refreshingly cold, experiential showers. There are also two shallow soaking pools to enjoy—one acts as a wave pool, emulating the rocking of the ship. But possibly the best part of the spa comes after you’ve finished your soak and sauna. Grab a robe and a cup of tea and head to the relaxation room, where you can recline on heated loungers, all angled towards the front of the ship with floor-to-ceiling windows so there’s nothing but blue ocean views wherever you look.

There is also a wide menu of treatments, from massages to nail salon services. There’s even a barber, should you need a clean-up at sea. 

Activities and entertainment 

You’ll have to work hard to become bored on this ship, which has entertainment stuffed into every corner. On the 18th floor you’ll find The Stadium, which has everything from mini golf to the Prima Speedway, a three-level race track. Draped down the sides of the ship are two giant slides. For those less interested in that kind of adrenaline rush, there’s also a large Virtual Reality game room. At the Prima Theatre, you can catch the Broadway musical Summer: The Donna Summer Story, or a live version of The Price is Right. At night, the theater transforms into a nightclub featuring various DJs. There’s also a large casino on board, if you’re feeling lucky. 

How was the experience for families?

The ship’s accommodations are varying and offer different set ups that accommodate the entire family. For the kids, there is an aqua park on Deck 18, and the indoor “Splash Academy” where they can enjoy creative play, including newly developed hands-on science and arts programs available only aboard the Norwegian Prima. 

Where did it sail and how were the excursions? Did anything stand out?

Prima destinations include Bermuda, the Caribbean, the Greek Isles, the Mediterranean, and Northern Europe departing from her home ports of Port Canaveral, Florida, and Galveston, Texas. The christening journey took us from Reykjavik to Amsterdam, porting in Cobh, Ireland; Le Havre, France; and Weymouth, U.K.

Are there any stand-out sustainability or green initiatives about this cruise?

One of The Prima’s cooler sustainable initiatives is The Metropolitan bar where they create “zero waste cocktails” utilizing ingredients from the ship that might otherwise be wasted. For example, oddly shaped croissants get turned into syrup used in a creative Mai Tai drink, and watermelon tequila spritzs are infused with leftover rinds. 

Other green initiatives include becoming the first cruise line to stop using plastic straws and plastic water bottles, with the goal of completely eliminating plastic in the future. On the ship, you can purchase boxed water cartons, but strangely, they ask guests not to refill their reusable water bottles in any of the dining hall drink stations. 

Anything we missed?

Some of my favorite parts of the ship could be lost amongst the flashier amenities—but shouldn’t be. Take a stroll along Ocean Boulevard, a walkway that wraps around the entire ship. Along the way, you can peer through viewfinders to spot birds and incoming ports, pass by the sculpture garden, and glide over the Oceanwalk: a glass walkway where you can observe the sea rolling beneath your feet. 

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