Ship Reviews

Ship Preview: Norwegian Prima

Norwegian Prima will have more open deck space and the largest accommodations of any recent newbuild, while also offering a heady mix of new and signature Norwegian Cruise Line food and entertainment options.

norwegian prima stern view with ocean boulevard

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Norwegian Cruise Line waited almost ten years to give us an entirely new class of cruise ship, but the wait has been worth it.

If there’s one thing that really defines Norwegian Prime, it’s that Ocean Boulevard. The outdoor space on Deck 8, the ship’s main social and entertainment level, is inspired by The Waterfront aboard the Breakaway-Plus class ships, but has been expanded to the extent that features usually only available up on the pool and sun decks are now located much closer to sea level.

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infinity beach on the ocean boulevard

Ocean Boulevard will not only offer ocean view outdoor dining, but also infinity pools, sun loungers and art installations in addition to dozens of bars, restaurants and cafes.

This is one of the reasons that Norwegian Prime represents yet another brand evolution for the cruise line, according to Harry Sommer, President &CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line.

“Despite not having sailed in more than a year, we never stopped working and innovating, we never once pressed pause,” he said. “In fact, we doubled down on our brand investment in order to deliver unforgettable guest experiences that go well beyond expectations.”

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norwegian prima will debut in summer, 2022

How Norwegian Prima is different

Norwegian Prima will offer the highest staffing levels and space ratio of any new cruise ship in the contemporary and premium cruise categories

She will offer the largest variety of suite categories available at sea with 13 suite categories as well as the largest three-bedroom suites of any new cruise ship and Norwegian’s largest-ever inside, oceanview and balcony staterooms.

Norwegian Prima will debut Norwegian Cruise Line’s largest-ever bathrooms and showers for standard stateroom categories.

The ship will also offer the most outdoor deck space of any new cruise ship, including more total pool deck space than any other ship in the fleet

Norwegian Cruise Line have only released a few details about Norwegian Prime thus far, but already it’s clear that this new class of ship will be different to anything else in the contemporary cruise sector.

When we sailed aboard the Breakaway-Plus class Norwegian Bliss back in 2018, one of the most striking things about her was the way Norwegian had elevated the onboard experience to feel almost premium.

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Who designed Norwegian Prima?

Norwegian Prima is the result of collaboration among world-class architects, including Italian designer Piero Lissoni and the architectural firms Rockwell Group, SMC Design, Tillberg Design of Sweden, YSA DESIGN and Miami-based Studio Dado, who conceptualized the aesthetic of various restaurants, staterooms and public areas on board.

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Norwegian Prima seems set to strike the same tone. At 965 feet long, 142,500 gross tons and able to accommodate 3,215 guests at double occupancy, she’s smaller than the Breakaway-Plus ships, but enhances the cruise experience in several ways.

She will have larger cabins, larger suites, an expanded Haven, and a whole host of new dining experiences (which are themselves enhanced by the immensity of alfresco dining options thanks to Ocean Boulevard).

For this reason, many have made the comparison between Norwegian Prima and cruise lines operating in the premium sector. Norwegian Cruise Line says it prefers not to be categorized in this way, but Sommer did quip that the new Prima-class ships would “stand up to Celebrity”.

Ocean Boulevard

When Norwegian Escape was launched in 2015 as the first Breakaway-Plus class ship, she marked the beginning of a trend in cruise ship design where the main entertainment, dining and social deck is made part of the outdoors, rather than being separate from it.

The Breakaway-Plus class ships essentially have two promenade decks, the first is a traditional one with the lifeboats and partial sea views, the second sits above that one and features wide open spaces and uninterrupted views – a true seaside promenade.

Yet another way Norwegian Prima is different? Her hull art

Norwegian Prima features striking hull artwork designed by Italian graffiti artist Manuel Di Rita, known commonly as “Peeta.” For the first time on any NCL vessel, the captivating hull art extends to the forward superstructure of the ship.

It’s a design that has won the hearts and minds of cruise passengers, and has been incorporated into the design of several cruise ships since, including the Seaside-class from MSC Cruises, the Excel-class cruise ships from Carnival Corporation, and Virgin Voyages’ Lady Ships.

Those cruise lines have focused on providing an oceanfront dining and social space around the aft end of their ships, rather than having a wrap-around promenade.

Norwegian Prima takes the concept to the next level with Ocean Boulevard, which combines the best elements of both.

norwegianprima aerial stern

the ocean boulevard aboard norwegian prima will wrap around both the aft and bow of the ship

The 44,000-square foot Ocean Boulevard will go right round Norwegian Prima, from bow to stern and starboard to port. There’ll be swimming pools, sun loungers, art installations, and at least 14 dining venues with outdoor and indoor seating.

infinity pools at infinity beach on the ocean boulevard

infinity pools at infinity beach on the ocean boulevard

The swimming pools will be found at Infinity Beach, which sits on both the port and starboard sides of the ship. There’ll be two infinity swimming pools surrounded by sun loungers, each with bar service naturally.

infinity beach area aboard norwegian prima

infinity beach

The innovative design brings the pool deck down to the ship’s main entertainment deck, rather than it being tucked away up top (but Norwegian Prima will still provide ample pool and sun deck space on her upper decks, as well as new cruise ship attractions that Norwegian will announce at a later date).

Ocean Boulevard will also be home to The Concourse, an outdoor sculpture garden with an art wall designed by famed artist David Harber and six installations designed by Alexander Krivosheiw, featuring immersive art inspired by ancient mythology and contemporary abstract forms.

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the concourse on the ocean boulevard

The seven sculptures, valued at over US $2 million, offer stunning effects that change as the sun sets, essentially making this the ship’s prime Instagram spot.

Ocean Boulevard will also feature Oceanwalk glass bridges. These are new to Norwegian Cruise Line and are similar to the Seawalk found aboard Princess Cruises’ Royal-class ships and the Bridge of Sighs aboard MSC Cruises’ Seaside-class.

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oceanwalk

All the way up forward on Ocean Boulevard, La Terraza is an open-air lounge intended to be a quaint retreat for visitors to catch stellar forward-facing sea views.

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la terraza

Dining aboard Norwegian Prima

The Ocean Boulevard isn’t just an outdoor space, it seamlessly connects the interior of Deck 8 with the sea.

And Deck 8 is where the ship’s many bars, restaurants and cafes are to be found. Norwegian Cruise Line hasn’t revealed all the dining and social spaces aboard the ship yet, but it has revealed at least 14 of her restaurants.

Norwegian Prima will have an Indulge Food Hall, another new concept for the cruise line, where all the main dining venues are grouped together around the stern of the ship.

Like other new ships in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet, there isn’t a ‘main dining room’ per se, because of the line’s freestyle dining concept – instead, most ships offer several main dining rooms and passengers can dine at any they like.

Indulge Food Hall is intended to be an upscale open-air marketplace with both indoor and outdoor seating at the 11 restaurants located within it. There will be a mix of signature Norwegian Cruise Line eateries, as well as all-new experiences.

Coco’s, serving artisan sweet treats, is a Norwegian Cruise Line staple that will return aboard Norwegian Prima, along with Q Texas Smokehouse, serving American Southern comfort food and barbecue; and a full-size Starbucks cafe.

New to the line dining options will include Seaside Rotisserie, offering a wide array of rotisserie-cooked dishes; Nudls, an emporium serving Italian and Thai noodle dishes; and Tamara, featuring classic Indian dishes and multiple vegetarian food options.

tapas food trucks at indulge food hall

tapas food trucks at indulge food hall

There’s also The Latin Quarter, serving classic Latin food with a twist. It will feature a Tapas Food Truck, cooking elevated Spanish-inspired street food.

For the health-conscious there’s Garden Kitchen, where guest can order customized salads with more than two dozen ingredients to choose from.

the garden kitchen at indulge food hall on norwegian prima

the garden kitchen

And for those wanting something sweet, there’s Just Desserts, featuring classic dessert items such as pies and cakes and Just Ice Cream serving all guest favorite ice cream flavors and over-the-top decadent creations.

In addition to the Indulge Food Hall, Ocean Boulevard will also be home to Onda By Scarpetta, Los Lobos and The Local Bar & Grill – all with indoor and outdoor seating.

Onda by Scarpetta, which debuted on Norwegian Encore in 2019 and is now also available on Norwegian Spirit following her refit, will showcase the rich and bold flavors for which the modern Italian land-based, award-winning Scarpetta restaurants are recognized.

onda by scarpetta outdoor seating aboard norwegian prima

onda by scarpetta outdoor seating

Designed by esteemed design firm Studio Dado, the restaurant features an elegant atmosphere, modern design and expansive indoor and outdoor ocean views.

Los Lobos, Norwegian Cruise Line’s premium Mexican restaurant, returns on Norwegian Prima to boast traditional Mexican flavors with modern flair set in a contemporary atmosphere also designed by Studio Dado.

The revamped Local Bar & Grill, meanwhile, will be more like an upscale beach club aboard Norwegian Prima, with live music where guests can relax and enjoy cocktails and classic Americana cuisine.

The Haven aboard Norwegian Prima

The Haven, Norwegian Cruise Line’s ship-within-a-ship luxury space for suite guests only, will be the largest in the fleet aboard Norwegian Prima and was designed by Piero Lissoni, one of Italy’s preeminent designers.

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aboard norwegian prima, some haven suites will feature a hot tub on the balcony

The keycard only access area will be eight decks (instead of two or three as on most other NCL ships), with 107 Haven Suites, The Haven Sundeck, The Haven Restaurant, The Haven Lounge & Bar and the Outdoor Spa: Sauna and Cold Room.

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aft facing infinity pool in the haven

For the first time, The Haven complex will be located at the aft of the ship, rather than the bow.

It will have its own dedicated elevators for Haven guests only. These elevators rise directly into The Haven public areas on decks 16 and 17.

These Haven public areas have been designed to be more open to the sea than ever before, with ocean views now available in every public area in The Haven.

The traditional Haven Courtyard on Norwegian Prima has been transformed into an expansive Haven Sundeck, with an infinity pool overlooking the ship’s wake and a new outdoor spa with a glass-walled sauna and cold room.

Accommodation aboard Norwegian Prima

Beyond The Haven, Norwegian Prima will have the largest variety of suite categories available at sea, the largest-ever inside, oceanview and balcony staterooms, and the cruise line’s largest-ever bathrooms and showers for standard stateroom categories.

Norwegian Prima’s suites are 24 to 32 sqm and sleep up to four guests, while the Club Balcony Suites are 21 to 33sqm and sleep up to four guests.

She will also offer Balcony cabins, Oceanview cabins and Inside category cabins. In keeping with Norwegian Cruise Line’s focus on solo travellers, Norwegian Prima will also offer Studio cabins, a 9sqm space for those cruising alone.

Norwegian Prima itineraries

Norwegian Prima will have one of the most eclectic inaugural cruise seasons of any new cruise ship.

She will sail initially in Northern Europe and the United Kingdom after her summer, 2022 delivery, beforecrossing the Atlantic to sail short cruises from New York, Galveston, and Miami.

She’ll then homeport in Port Canaveral from December 11th, 2022 for the winter, sailing 15 roundtrip Western Caribbean cruises of five-, seven- and nine-nights through March 19th, 2023.

Port calls include Cozumel, Mexico; Ocho Rios, Jamaica; Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, and NCL’s private island, Great Stirrup Cay, in the Bahamas.

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