Norwegian Prima delivers on expectations


Built in Marghera, Italy, by Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri, she is 965 feet long, 143,535 gross tons and accommodates 3,100 guests at double occupancy.

We speak to Nick Wilkinson, Regional Vice President, Business Development, MEA, for more information on Norwegian Cruise Line’s latest vessel.

“Listening carefully to the customer, the feedback we had was they wanted more space – the bedrooms, the bathrooms. Norwegian Prima is the most spacious new contemporary cruise ship. She has the most outdoor space of any contemporary cruise ship. She has the highest staffing levels of any cruise ship and the largest-ever state rooms for NCL.

“Many of our competitors talk about building bigger and bigger ships. Norwegian Prima, while she is similar in size to, say, Norwegian Breakaway that can have over 4,000 guests, the Prima only accommodates 3,099 guests.”

Norwegian is about the experience, Wilkinson tells us. “We have created so many experiences on board. We have a dry slide, which go across 10 decks, we have a go-kart track, which is 420 metres in length. The go karts, they are fast - I can attest to that. There are so many new areas on board, from the golf to different sports facilities, right through to the Galaxy Pavilion, which is bringing interactive activities in a new way, all the way through to the dining.

“I have to talk about the entertainment - The Donna Summer show is spectacular. When you go to a show on a cruise, you often sit down and enjoy it. Not with Norwegian. The dance floor is there - you’re up, you’re dancing!”

Food and beverage are also an important element of any cruise vacation. The cruise line announced a beverage partnership with global iconic drink brand Coca-Cola, making Norwegian Prima the first vessel in NCL’s 18-ship fleet to carry Coca-Cola as its official soft drink, with the remaining ships to carry Coca-Cola by the end of the year.

“One of the new things we brought into Norwegian Prima is the Indulge Food Hall. To me, when you are sat in there, you just go ‘wow, why have we never done this before?’ It is not an open plan area, it’s all about small areas going off in different directions.

“We don’t build ships. We build resorts.”

The Haven by Norwegian, is home to the most luxurious, well-appointed and spacious accommodations within Norwegian vessels. “The Haven is always spectacular, and very important to GCC guests because it gives them the ability to have multiple Haven suites next to each other for multi-generational guests. On the Prima, the Haven is right down the back of the ship providing a deeper connect with the sea and just spectacular views.

“This is where we really have elevated the experience there for the customer.”

Norwegian Prima offers guests exciting itineraries, the highest staffing levels and space ratio of any new cruise ship in the contemporary and premium cruise categories, and brand-first experiences with Ocean Boulevard, Indulge Food Hall, The Concourse, Infinity Beach, and Oceanwalk. The ship also features multiple first-at-sea innovations, including a three-story transformational theatre-nightclub, the Prima Theater & Club; its three-level racetrack with the Prima Speedway; the fastest slides at sea, The Drop and Rush; and the cruise industry’s first sustainable cocktail bar with The Metropolitan Bar.

“As I always like to say, our competition is not the other cruise lines but land-based resorts,” says Wilkinson, with a smile.

Joining Norwegian Prima at end of the third quarter in 2023 will be Norwegian Viva, Norwegian Viva, the next stunning ship in the Prima Class, and she’ll be offering some incredible itineraries across the Mediterranean, he informs our readers. “This is really important to the GCC customer - we know they always want the newest, brightest, and a ship with a real resort feel. What particularly resonates well with the GCC market is Norwegian Prima out of Southampton and Reykjavik, Norwegian Viva on the Mediterranean, Norwegian Epic in the Mediterranean.

“Norwegian Viva is going to be very important to the GCC markets but the Prima is where I feel the largest number of guests will go for in 2023.

For 2023, Norwegian Prima will be based out of Southampton, London, and Reykjavik, Iceland doing live voyages between the two. “We know the number one destination for the GCC is London. To me this just matches the requests of the GCC marketplace where they can have their London fix, relax and cruise to Brussels and Bruges (Belgium), on to Geiranger and Bergen (Norway), going a top of Iceland and finishing in Reykjavik or start from Reykjavik and do end up in London.

“It all goes back to listening to what the consumer wants.”