I had the pleasure this month to sail on the brand new Norwegian Cruise Line Prima! What a great ship that has really changed the concept of cruising by not just building another bigger ship and the usual things that go along with those monsters! This ship was redesigned with the passenger in mind by creating a lot more public space than ever before. NCL boasts that is more than any other cruise ship in the world; mostly by creating the Ocean Boulevard on Deck 8 with 44,000 square feet of outdoor spaces as it wraps around the entire ship. Featuring 2 infinity pools, outdoor dining for all of the specialty restaurants located on that deck, an art sculpture walk (The Concourse), two glass ocean walks, and just tons of lounge chairs, benches, and funky swings!
One of my favorite spots on Deck 8 Aft was the Indulge Food Hall where there are 11 culinary venues to choose from. You simply go to a table inside or outside and use the wireless tablet provided at each table to browse the selections by venue and their menus. Even certain alcoholic beverages can be ordered by swiping your keycard to pay for them or get them free as a part of any beverage package. Self Serve beverage station similar to what is offered in the Buffet restaurant is available, however, the staff was more than accommodating to bring you anything from that area.
This is still a large ship with a capacity of over 3000 passengers, but we only had about 2000 passengers on board during the first paid inaugural cruise from Amsterdam, Netherland to Copenhagen, Denmark visiting various Baltic Ports. Where to start with the amenities on this 19 decks large ship………..
Since I started with the Indulge Food Hall, we should continue along those lines and mention that the 24-hour restaurant, The Local Bar and Grill and is similar in style and menu to O’Sheehans on other NCL ships. The bar area has some nice seating along the windows and features a large floor-to-ceiling big-screen TV for watching sporting events. As mentioned before, just outside The Local is the new Mexican food concept called Los Lobos which is a very good restaurant featuring authentic dishes like guacamole, mole, and arranchera; very typical Mexican foods. The margaritas were also very tasty and the unique presentation of the Churros finished up the excellent meal! The usual favorite Specialty Restaurants, like Le Bristro and Cagneys are always a hit and are located on other decks of the ship.
Moving forward on Deck 8 it continues with another specialty restaurant, Onda by Scarpetta the upscale NCL Italian restaurant, the photo gallery, and you end up in the 3-story Penrose atrium at the top of Decks 8, 7, and 6. Finally, at the bow you also enter the 3-story Prima Theater & Club; also on Decks 8,7, and 6. The Penrose Atrium is the main hub of the ship with the Whiskey Bar on Deck 8, one of 2 Starbucks on Deck 7, and the Penrose/Casino Bar on Deck 6. It is the place where the Guest services, internet cafe, cruise next, shops, and shore excursions are located across the various decks.
The Prima Theater & Club is named as such because the front 10 rows of seats can be moved to create a large disco nightclub type of dance floor. With the lighting and sound package installed there, they definitely have the ability to create quite a club scene! I enjoyed the side views from the 7th deck where there were comfortable couch benches, not the usual theater stadium type of seating.
The upper decks from Deck 9 to 16 mostly feature the cabins, with the Mandarin Spa located on 16 forward and the gym is actually part of the Spa entrance now. Not sure if I like this, but the views from the gym to the front of the ship are fantastic. The Mandarin Spa has the usual Thermal Suite with passes sold at the beginning of the cruise for full access to the indoor pool, whirlpool, and various rooms like sauna, steam, salt, and ice rooms.
Deck 17 is the main pool deck and only some elevators go past this floor to 18 where the other outdoor activities are located. This deck also features more of the specialty restaurants like Palomar, Food Republic as well as the new reduced-sized buffet called Surfside Cafe. I am pleased to report that during my 10-day cruise, I never enjoyed a meal here because there were just too many better options. Nice oversized whirlpools on each side of the main pool were nice and there was a large TV screen at one end with the Waves Pool Bar at the other. This deck is much smaller than on other ships because of the other options given on Deck 8.
Last, but certainly not least on Deck 17 is the great Observation Lounge. Smaller than I saw on the Encore, but still has very nice loungers, a bar, and snacks throughout the day. The Observation Lounge surrounds the Galaxy Pavilion with lots of virtual reality experiences, with fees associated with each one.
Deck 18 accessible by limited aft elevators features the 3-level Go Cart track, now the 2nd NCL ship to have this fun amenity for $15 per drive. Next to and below this area, there are outdoor games such as a 9-hole mini golf course, shuffleboard table, darts, pickle ball court, table tennis, table soccer, foosball table, and even a beer pong game. Some of these games are charged, and some are free. Access to the 10-story dry slides is from this area as well. I should mention the elevator setup; 2 sets of them forward and aft with 8 elevators each. Then Haven guests had their own 2 private elevators, needless to say, we never waited for an elevator!
Then down and back up to get to the other end of the ship Deck 18 and Deck 19 where there is a children’s water park, lots and lots of deck seating and chairs, and The Wave water slide.
Would I cruise this particular ship again? ABSOLUTELY! Good Job NCL for bringing us this new ship and making us new wonderful memories.