Any getaway featuring gourmet food and wine, crafted cocktails, a sumptuous spa, a casino, and Broadway level entertainment is undoubtedly a winner. When enjoyed on the open sea, these attributes and activities produce a bit of vacation magic. On Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship, the Norwegian Prima, these amusement options and others, offered dawn to dusk and beyond, are awe-inspiring. A three-level racetrack, the Prima Speedway, finds helmeted passengers careening around ocean-jutting corners. A technologically advanced theater transforms post performance into a late night disco. There are shuffleboard tables, a mini-golf course, water slides, and a 44,000 square foot outdoor walkway that wraps around the entire ship. Live music of every genre can be found day and night. Hot tubs and infinity pools line the expansive decks. And the cuisine…Norwegian Prima’s multiple restaurant options tantalize even the most discerning gourmand.
Norwegian Prima’s Prima Speedway
And when the adrenaline rush of all of this proves just a bit too much, the Prima offers the ultimate in spacious and crowd-free lounging. The first of six ships in its groundbreaking class, and the 18th of the brand’s entire fleet, Norwegian Prima’s 965 feet and 143,535 tons (with capacity for 3,100 guests) offer the highest staffing levels and space ratio of any contemporary or premium cruise ship on the sea today. Varied decks feature colorful chaise lounges, day beds, and egg hammocks, as well as private alcoves with elegant screens or partitions. A multi-use observation lounge serves as a quiet retreat, and the Humidor Cigar Lounge provides further refuge for the aficionados on board. The stunning Penrose Atrium, designed by Miami-based Studio Dado, evokes the sense of wonder that the ocean’s earliest explorers must have felt. Three stories high and glass-walled, the focal point atrium spans decks six, seven, and eight and features a large-scale chandelier custom built by the renowned Czech lighting design firm Lasvit. The installation, with its moving light fixtures, was inspired by the constellations.
Norwegian Prima’s Penrose Atrium
And for those who seek additional sanctuary, the Norwegian Prima is home to The Haven. Aptly named, The Haven is exactly that – a ship-within-a-ship experience as luxurious and pampering as any five star hotel or resort. For cruise pros as well as neophytes, Norwegian Prima exceeds expectations for what a cruise ship can be, and yet, The Haven further surpasses those expectations. Tucked away on the ship’s upper aft floors, and accessible only via key-card, The Haven offers calm respite from the Prima’s steady vitality, providing a best-of-both-worlds scenario where guests are free to choose their level of activity and engagement. A private and professionally-staffed indoor/outdoor restaurant, two bars, two private sun decks with infinity pool and two hot tubs, and several casually refined lounge areas are available only to guests of The Haven’s 107 suites, making the experience analogous to a club floor stay at a luxury hotel.
The Haven Bar
The Haven Lounge
The spacious environ extends to The Haven’s varied rooms and suites, each with furnished balconies, and each in elegant neutral shades of grey and green, with plush beds and bedding, cozy bathrobes and slippers, L’Occitane bath amenities, stocked (and re-stocked) mini bars, Nespresso coffee machines, and room-delivered afternoon goodies (some sweet, some savory). But in addition to the posh amenities, it’s The Haven services and staff that fully ‘wow.’ Haven guests skip the lines at embarkation and debarkation; at The Haven bar, the bartender remembers initial cocktail orders. The deck attendant is always ready with a warm blanket when ocean breezes get a bit chilly. A 24-hour butler graciously fills varied requests, and the concierge helpfully schedules reservations (Haven guests receive priority) for the plethora of the ship’s dining venues such as the Mediterranean seafood-focused Palomar, the ‘hibachi-style’ Hasuki, contemporary sushi house Nama, and the Italian-oriented Onda by Scarpetta, a joint collaboration with the restaurant brand Scarpetta. But Haven guests are not faulted for opting for the quietude of The Haven’s bespoke restaurant where white table cloths, smooth jazz, and soft illumination create one of Norwegian Prima’s most alluring dining environments, a vibe that is echoed at the adjacent Haven bar, where cocktails are crafted to guests’ exacting specifications.
The Haven Outdoor Lounge
The Haven Stateroom Master Bedroom
But despite The Haven’s captivating appeal, guests would be remiss not to venture beyond to witness the ship’s array of amusement options, including world-class, Broadway-caliber entertainment. Currently headlining on the Prima is the Tony Award®-nominated “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical,” an immersive production featuring headlining talent and a first-at-sea experience where the theater transforms into a full disco, inviting guests to become part of the show as they dance to Summer’s all-time fan favorite medleys.
Norwegian Prima’s Mandara Spa Pools
Norwegian Prima’s Mandara Spa Relaxation Lounge
Mandara Spa is also a must. Featuring the industry’s first charcoal sauna at sea, Mandara is tranquil and transportive. The immense, bow-located space features salt and steam rooms, an ice room, a flotation salt pool, and infrared sauna. Mandara offers a full menu of therapeutic massage, non-invasive beauty solutions, and hair and nail treatments. And the relaxation lounge with its large picture windows poised towards the prow, provides yet another sanctuary for retreat.
The Norwegian Prima is a ship like none other, offering choice to its guests, be they extroverts, introverts, or something in between. No matter the personality type, few can resist the Prima’s multitude of charms. This writer (a cruise neophyte) included.
Photos courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Lines