Norwegian Cruise Line is gearing up to launch an entirely new class of ships that will redefine the line’s luxurious, contemporary offerings, including numerous firsts not previously found on other ships. In August, pop superstar Katy Perry, who loves cruising herself, will godmother Norwegian Prima in Reykjavik, Iceland. This is the first of six ships in the Prima class. Norwegian is the first major cruise line to hold a christening ceremony in the country.
The company officially took delivery of the vessel this week in final preparations for its inaugural service at the end of August. Norwegian Prima has space for 3,100 passengers plus the highest crew-to-passenger ratio in the Norwegian fleet.
Other exciting features on the ship include the largest and first-of-its-kind three-level marine racing track (dubbed the Prima Speedway) and ‘The Drop’, the world’s first free-fall dry slide, which takes you to a 10-storey plunge. on the side of the ship that achieves more G-forces than an accelerating F1 race car.
According to Fincantieri, this is the “most impressive and complex” ship it has ever built, given its onboard amenities and soaring skyline. It is the first Norwegian ship to be built at the Italian shipyard.
By 2027, the company will add five new Prima class ships to its fleet. Norwegian Cruise Line President and CEO Harry Sommer explains what this new class of ships will offer and why now is the right time to introduce this new product.
What makes Prima different, and why launch now?
There are some exciting new features on board the ship that will really delight regulars. This includes a new dining room, a completely redesigned theater, new entertainment offerings such as live game shows and a host of glamorous interior details. Another feature is Ocean Boulevard, a 44,000-square-foot deck that wraps around the entire ship, putting passengers front and center with the ocean at all times.
Norwegian Prima will feature the cruise line’s first outdoor sculpture garden, as well as $6 million worth of onboard artwork, including a collection of NFT pieces for guests to view online before, during and after their sailing trip.
These ships will also be larger than our other ships, offering more space for each passenger and more crew members on board to look after them. Now is the time as the world reopens and the demand for cruising is on the rise. In its debut week, sales for Norwegian Prima sailings broke records with the best sales day and best first booking week sales in the company’s 55-year history.
What kind of entertainment is on board?
Entertainment is a big part of Norwegian Prima (and the brand in general), and many of the onboard shows are developed in-house. Norwegian is rare because it has its own wardrobe department that also makes costumes and design materials for shows.
The three-storey theater has special seating that can easily transition from a multi-storey theater to a completely flat space to become a nightclub. The setup also gives performers the opportunity to spend more time interacting with the audience.
Unlike most other cruise ships that only use the theater space for evening entertainment, Norwegian Prima will host large-scale, well-known game shows, including “The Price is Right,” “Supermarket Sweeps” and “Press Your Luck.” These aren’t just any cruise ship remakes; instead, they offer the full experience, including a full-size money wheel from “The Price is Right” and a large-scale supermarket layout for “Supermarket Sweeps”. Prizes for winners include cars and appliances, as well as the TV shows.
Will the cabins be the same as other ships?
The Prima class ships will have the largest cabins in the fleet, both indoor and balcony or ocean cabins. It will also have a variety of suites spanning 13 different categories, including the largest three-bedroom suite on a new cruise ship right now.
Nearly 20 percent of bookings are for Haven suites, reflecting the desire for premium experiences.
The suites are located in The Haven, which spans eight decks at the back of the ship and offers epic views of the ocean and the destination the ship is calling at. Guests at The Haven dine at a dedicated restaurant, have access to their own panoramic spa facilities, and have access to their own club lounge for all-day refreshments.
In the standard stateroom category, Norwegian Prima will feature the largest ever interior, ocean view and balcony cabins, as well as the largest bathrooms and showers ever.
The focus is on making this class of ships more luxurious and premium in every way, from the food and drinks to accommodations and entertainment. It will be noticeable throughout the ship. Renowned designers are responsible for the look with dynamic lighting fixtures and art throughout, including a 7,300-pound custom chandelier hanging in the main atrium.
What’s new for the food culture on board?
This is especially exciting as there will be more alfresco dining options on the sides of the ship. Norwegian Prima is home to the company’s first food hall, which will feature a variety of international food stations. This includes a Texas roadhouse style barbecue with rotisserie prepared meats and brisket, seafood grill, ramen and noodle bar, and tapas truck. These are all free and in addition to the traditional buffet and a la carte options on board. There will also be two full-service Starbucks on the ship.
Passengers can visit the various food stalls or enjoy table service by ordering via tablets, just like you see in many airport terminals these days. New restaurants include a Mediterranean outlet called Palomar, a Hibachi-style Japanese location, and a new sushi house. The menus in the main dining rooms are also getting a facelift, including a homemade pasta option where diners can customize their meal with their choice of pasta, sauce and toppings.
In the same dining room, Norwegian has built its first Indian bistro, including two tandoor ovens. Indian cuisine has always been popular at buffets and wanted to test the line with a distinct Indian eatery.
At Le Bistro, guests can dine among three floor-to-ceiling Austrian chandeliers, each worth €70,000, and gold leaf wall coverings. It is one of the many specialty dining options on the ship. Later this winter, the company will launch a new initiative that will invest more than $100 million annually in the food and beverage experience on all of its ships.
The ship will feature the world’s first sustainability-focused cocktail and wine bar with zero-waste preparation for every drink. Beverage ingredients use materials that are normally thrown away, such as coffee grounds and banana peels. There is even a “croissant Mai Tai” cocktail. Norwegian will also start bottling its own onboard cocktails for on the go. Later this year, the company’s first private label, biodynamic and sustainable gin will come on board.
Are there any new attractions on board?
It’s hard to miss The Drop, the twisting slide that dangles from the side of the ship. Many guests also enjoy walking around the perimeter of the ship, and Ocean Boulevard wraps around the ship giving them up-close views of the ocean. There is also a three-level race track for adventurers to zoom around the ship.
Spa visitors will find new onboard fitness and spa amenities, including the first sea-based charcoal sauna to boost circulation and metabolism, as well as a two-story waterfall cascade. Like other ships, the thermal spa will also feature heated loungers, an ice room and a floating salt pool. This space is at the front of the ship and offers a panoramic view; the fitness center has also been moved to the front of the ship.
New to the spa menu is the Welnamis bed, which uses computerized acoustic and vibration therapy to bring the brain into deep relaxation. Norwegian Prima is a game changer for the company and the industry, and now is the right time to launch such an exciting product as the travel rebound begins.