- I was invited to attend the inaugural crusing of Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest Prima cruise ship.
- I’m a cruise journey cynic, however I’m shocked to say I genuinely loved my time aboard the Norwegian Prima.
- The nice meals, household pleasant actions, and spectacular reside leisure saved me amused all 4 nights.
Norwegian Cruise Line invited me to sail on its newest cruise ship — the Norwegian Prima — throughout its roundtrip four-night inaugural crusing from New York City to Halifax, Nova Scotia in early October.
And regardless of being a cruise cynic, I’m humbly shocked to say I really loved crusing on the Norwegian Prima.
I make a residing out of writing about journey, which incorporates taking cruise ships. But satirically, I’ve by no means been a fan of cruises.
I perceive why some vacationers gravitate towards the sluggish, enjoyable type of vacationing.
But as somebody who prefers extra thrilling types of journey, the concept of being seasick, bored, and caught on a cruise ship for a number of days is way from interesting. And I’ve been pretty public about this.
In December 2021, I introduced the cruise life-style was not for me after I was invited to attend the two-night naming ceremony of Celebrity Cruises’ then-new Celebrity Apex, which was constructed to focus on an older demographic.
Five months later, I stated I in all probability would not sail on Margaritaville at Sea’s Paradise cruise ship once more after attending its one-night inaugural crusing.
Now, I’m shocked to report I really discovered myself having fun with my prolonged weekend aboard the Norwegian Prima.
And this got here regardless of the unsteady web that saved me away from what might have been my most important supply of leisure: my telephone and laptop computer.
Norwegian Cruise Line’s ships are designed to enchantment to multi-generational vacationers and households.
To do that, a lot of the Norwegian Prima’s onboard actions have been age-inclusive.
There have been nonetheless sections of the cruise ship devoted to vacationers of particular ages …
… like the youngsters’s water park and adults solely out of doors lounge.
But for the most half, I imagine Norwegian did a nice job of making areas for households to get pleasure from collectively.
Activities like the waterslide, freefall dry slides, and go-karts stereotypically enchantment to youngsters.
But as I walked round the cruise ship, I discovered loads of adults leisurely having fun with these actions …
… though it needs to be famous most of the passengers on the inaugural crusing have been already adults. (I attended as a member of the press for free of charge, as the cruise was not accessible to the public.)
Tech evolves shortly: The “Galaxy Pavilion” indoor digital actuality arcade felt extra superior than the first VR arcade I visited in New York City simply three years in the past.
Wearing a VR headset turned an in any other case easy shooter sport into a absolutely immersive heart-pounding combat for my life …
… whereas a digital stroll by a haunted mansion shortly grew to become a scary expertise that left me nauseous.
Some video games, like the multiplayer racing sport, did not require a headset. In retrospect, these choices are greatest for people who find themselves simply nauseated (me).
Back exterior, a number of holes at the flashy mini-golf course weren’t working as promised.
But that did not cease me from having a enjoyable time trying to navigate every spherical.
Despite the heavy wind, I was nonetheless in a position to get a few rounds of darts in. If anybody was questioning, I did handle to drag off one stunning bulls-eye.
I performed alone, however the stylized darts “court” made the expertise — bolstered by dart-tracking expertise — virtually as enjoyable as taking part in with another person.
Of all the actions, I was most trying ahead to making an attempt the go-kart course.
But when I tried to enroll on our third day at sea, the journey operators instructed me the solely instances that have been nonetheless accessible would overlap with my dinner reservation.
And the following day, the go-kart track would solely be working dual-passenger automobiles. I was out of luck.
I left defeated. But not less than I might stand on the viewing deck and watch all the different drivers joyously taking their rounds on the track.
And not less than I additionally was in a position to strive the “Drop,” a freefall dry slide that plummeted me down ten decks in simply a few seconds.
The flip in my abdomen and urge to scream made the slide really feel like an exhilarating seconds-long rollercoaster.
Was it the greatest concept to go on this after lunch? No.
Did I need to go once more? Yes.
Because I traveled alone I could not benefit from the “Stadium,” a massive out of doors house with actions like shuffleboard, pickle ball, and ping pong.
But for income cruise goers, this space is certainly one of the solely complimentary leisure sections aboard the cruise ship. Activities like mini golf and the VR arcade come at an extra price. It’s $10 per particular person for mini golf and $28 a la carte or $29 for one-hour at the Galaxy Pavilion.
I anticipated all of those onboard actions to be enjoyable.
I imply, who would not need to throw darts in a high-wind surroundings only for most of them to land on the floor as an alternative of sticking to the board?
But what I did not anticipate was for the onboard reveals to be simply as strong and well-planned.
For many cruise goers, attending the reside reveals are a must-do.
But as a resident cruise ship cynic, I had but to be entertained by any cruise ship present.
Yet by some means, as soon as once more, Norwegian Prima’s nighttime leisure was shockingly spectacular.
The Prima’s rendition of “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical” — which ended its stint on Broadway in 2018 — carried out like a true high-production musical with nostalgic throwbacks that had viewers members singing alongside. Unfortunately, pictures weren’t allowed.
And “Noise Boys” was a surprisingly cohesive up to date faucet dancing and beat boxing mashup not like any present I’ve seen earlier than.
Even the acquainted “The Price Is Right Live” sport present was well-executed.
And not like the earlier two reveals, “The Price Is Right” was as a lot a present as it was an interactive viewers expertise with a splash of comedy.
According to Peter Grant, Norwegian’s director of leisure operations, the set items on this reside sport present are the identical as the ones on tv.
I’m not used to being wowed by the typically kitschy reside reveals aboard cruise ships.
But these three high-caliber productions have been so entertaining, I solely discovered myself checking the time a few times throughout “Donna” and “Noise Boys.”
I know I’ll sound like a stereotypical cruise goer when I say this, however the reside reveals have been the excellent method to finish my lengthy days at sea.
And what can be a cruise assessment with out mentioning the Prima’s meals and beverage choices?
Like any cruise ship, there was a large number of bars and lounges.
I skipped out on the cowl band bar, cigar lounge, whiskey bar, and comedy membership …
… though the bartender at the whiskey bar did get a good jab at me for ordering a very thrilling water. Let’s not neglect I was on this cruise for work.
In my opinion, the Metropolitan bar was the ship’s most fascinating idea.
Here, the cocktail and wine bar used a few of the ship’s meals scraps — like banana peels and imperfect croissants — to make liqueurs and syrups.
The bar prides itself on having zero-waste cocktails.
But let’s be trustworthy with ourselves: Cruise ships aren’t recognized for being sustainable and low-waste.
And Wesley Cort — Norwegian’s vp of meals and beverage operations — was unable to inform me simply how a lot meals waste was saved by implementing the Metropolitan bar, though he did say it was “not a large percentage.”
Having one bar that makes use of a small amount of meals waste does not masks simply how wasteful cruise ships could be.
But not less than the bartenders made stable drinks.
Alcohol apart, Norwegian Prima additionally had a number of new-to-brand eating choices like the Indulge Food Hall, a Mediterranean restaurant, and a teppanyaki idea. The latter two come at an extra price.
Of all the eating choices, I discovered the indoor-outdoor meals corridor with 11 eating places and a touchpad ordering system the most spectacular idea.
I was in a position to strive a number of small dishes from a number of “restaurants” by ordering on the touchpad …
… permitting me to eat iberico and pad thai at the identical time. Unfortunately, the pad thai wasn’t nice.
The a number of kitchens and two meals vans made Indulge Food Hall Prima’s costliest and tough eating idea to drag off, Cort instructed Insider throughout a media panel.
But in my view, it was value the effort. The meals corridor was so fashionable throughout peak hours, I had a laborious time discovering a seat. It put the ship’s all-day buffet to disgrace.
Indulge Food Hall’s rooster korma was higher than any meal I had at Prima’s specialty eating places …
… however who am I to disparage the wealthy pappardelle bolognese I ordered at Onda by Scarpetta?
After persistently nostril diving into back-to-back meals comas, I tried to revive myself in the ship’s small gymnasium.
The Prima’s gymnasium had nice views of the water and I by no means struggled to search out an open treadmill, even when the health middle was busy.
Prima’s massive spa was situated simply down the corridor from the gymnasium.
Here, there have been a number of saunas, two kinds of swimming pools, an ice room, and heated chairs. It was the excellent retreat from the crowded cruise ship.
There have been additionally loads of out of doors rest areas, together with 4 sizzling tubs, the major out of doors pool, and a 0.33-mile strip of swimming pools, lounge chairs, and daybeds.
But our chilly cruise to Canada meant it was too chilly to benefit from these out of doors lounges.
I’ll preserve my complaints about the climate to a minimal. At least I might loosen up with views of the ocean on my very own balcony.
I stayed in the ship’s household balcony stateroom throughout my time aboard the inaugural crusing.
Like I famous in my assessment of the stateroom, I was pleasantly shocked by the well-designed 230-square-foot stateroom.
From the touchscreen that changed the “do not disturb” door hanger …
… to the conveniently designed storage areas that saved me clutter-free…
… to the garments line in the bathe that helped dry off my bathing go well with …
… my household balcony stateroom was the excellent retreat from the activity-packed cruise ship.
However, this lodge room at sea comes at a steep worth.
In 2023, the Norwegian Prima will at $780 per particular person for seven-day roundtrip sailings from Orlando, Florida to the Caribbean.
Compared to Norwegian’s cheaper 2023 itineraries crusing for below $80 day by day, a practically $800 cruise journey could look like an unreasonable funding.
Source: Cruise Sheet
But in a large flip of occasions, I’m going to argue that crusing on the Norwegian Prima is value this worth …
… as long as you’ve got the price range to pay for the speciality eating and extra onboard actions like the digital actuality arcade (which begins at $8) and go-kart track (which can run you not less than $15).
Unfortunately, the onboard Starbucks is not complimentary both.
But the distinctive meals, enjoyable actions, and plethora of out of doors lounges might make this cruise value the worth, particularly if you happen to plan on touring to a heat weathered vacation spot.
And whereas I will not soar at the alternative to go on a cruise, if my cruise-loving mom determined to plan a household journey on the Norwegian Prima, I will not say no.
And that will be a first.
Read the unique article on Business Insider