Norwegian Cruise Lines Prima a Class into Itself

Earlier this month, I was invited to be among 2,400 guests on Norwegian Cruise Lines’ first United States sailing of Norwegian Prima, on October 6, visiting Halifax, Nova Scotia, and returning to New York City on October 10.  The Fam Tour’s maiden voyage offered us a rare treat and sneak peak into what is being touted as an over-the-top novelty experience for cruise enthusiasts, offering many first-of-its-kind venues and attractions.

With a guest capacity of 3,099 passengers and 1,506 ship crew, Prima is the first of six ships in the cruise line’s groundbreaking Prima class. Under development since 2017, it’s being called one of the most luxurious ships in its class.


As a designer and builder, the first thing I noticed about Prima is its innovative bow design. As it cuts through the water, it almost looks like it’s a beluga whale compared to a sharp edge like we’ve seen in the past in ship design. It has more outdoor deck space than any of its previous vessels and this is a very different approach. While the width of most ships is generally 185 feet, the Prima’s decks overhang its beam.

On deck eight, there is a 44,000-square foot Ocean Boulevard that wraps around the full ship and offers an enchanting outdoor sculpture garden with six art installations.  As you make the loop of the Boulevard, you come upon two infinity pools on each side of the ship, an open air lounge as well as two Oceanwalk glass bridges.

The inside space is uniquely designed as well. Typically, cruise ships’ port side and starboard side are mirror images of each other. Ships over the past 20 years have all generally had the Lido deck and the bars, restaurants and nightclubs on one floor. They’ve been pretty consistently configured and easy to navigate. The Prima breaks this mold. Like pirates who leave behind treasures in the sea, the Prima has created nooks and crannies, tiny gems of special spaces tucked away all over the ship.  They’re delightful to discover, but for guests accustomed to learning a cruise boat after a few days, they may need a little more patience as they meander about (and get lost a bit) in this newly designed cruise ship.

Also, I noticed right away the ceiling height in the corridors is lower, but not so much that you feel constrained. They’ve reconfigured their real estate and have decided to allow more space at the top of the ship for the tall features of the Aqua Park and Main Pool and the cruise industry’s first three-level race track at sea, the Prima Speedway, that offers go kart racing.  Similarly, the beautiful area where you enter the ship,The Primrose Atrium, spans three decks and feels as expansive as an upmarket resort hotel. It serves as a gateway to every area of the ship and its sleek, modern look sets the tone for the design elements that you’ll experience throughout the ship.

Pure Indulgence

It’s always exciting to see how the cruise industry evolves its food options. One of my favorite areas of the ship was the Indulge Food Hall. I believe Norwegian’s executives led by CEO and President Frank J. Del Rio brought a new level of excellence with this re-imagined food hall. The multioutlet venue boasts 11 food eateries and you can either order at the table via a tablet or place your order at the outlet. Airstream food trucks dot this space and add a fun design element. Who doesn’t love a food truck?!


Post-pandemic, we all think about the amount of “private space” we want in a new way. We desire it more now and that’s why travelers wanting a semi-private space to call their own will continue to grow.  The Prima gives consumers an easy way to upgrade the cruise experience and delivers on its promise for luxury, private accommodations with “The Haven.” Hidden at the top of the ship, The Haven offers some of the largest suites ever designed.  When not admiring stunning sea views from every public area, guests use private elevators to their staterooms where they can enjoy the personalized service of a 24-hour butler. Guests also enjoy their own pools, restaurant and deck space.

Haven’s Infinity Pool

Specialty Restaurants and Bars Elevate Experience to a New Level

The cruise industry continues to move away from the one price pays all concept. On this ship, in addition to its complimentary dining venues, you have the opportunity to dine at specialty restaurants Palomar, Food Republic, Onda by Scarpetta, Los Lobos, Le Bistro, Hasuki, Nama Sushi and Cagney’s Steakhouse. My favorite was Le Bistro where I dined with Cruise Expert Tina Lorusso of CruisesOnly. We had succulent lamb and pork tender loin  and were wowed by the French Interiors. Tina has been securing my cruises for years and if you ever need a travel agent with exceptional customer service skills, you should contact Tina at 1-800-278-4737, extension 77389.

Specialty bars also abound on Prima and offer everything from the cruise industry’s first sustainable cocktail bar, The Metropolitan, to the quaint La Tarozzo, an open-air lounge with forward-facing sea views.  The front-runner in my opinion was the Whiskey Bar on Deck Eight. It offered me the opportunity to explore a new dynamic ship layout and experience a very enjoyable personal experience on board. 

Whiskey Bar

Whether you’re cruising with multi generations, as a couple, or solo as I did, the Prima will not disappoint. “Walking Good and inspiring others to Dream!”