What better way to see Iceland than by cruise ship? Here is what you need to know when you cruise Iceland on the Norwegian Prima.
What a thrill to embark on a new ship in Reykjavik. Iceland seemed like an old friend since I had been there just a month prior. I was excited to sail on Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship, Prima. Come along as we cruise Iceland on the New Norwegian Prima.
Boarding Norwegian Prima in Reykjavik
On this particular cruise, guests were welcome to spend the day before departure on Prima.
I took advantage of this offer as my stress levels dropped when I arrived a day early at a port. I flew into Iceland on schedule and headed to the port where Prima was docked. Although not in the center of the city, like the dock for smaller ships, this dock is on the Hop-On, Hop-Off bus route making it a good option for exploring Reykjavik. I tried adjusting to this new time zone on that first day. It was a perfect opportunity to get a closer look at Prima.
On my second day, I chose to explore an area of Iceland that I hadn’t yet visited. Easy to access from Reykjavik, the popular Golden Circle tour includes waterfalls, geysers, and tectonic plates.
The tour passed quickly, with stops that were too short to enjoy the attractions thoroughly. I recalled why I prefer touring on my own. Running to see something that I may never see again because other passengers didn’t abide by time constraints annoys me.
Getting to Know Prima
Having sailed on all but one Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) ship, I wondered how different Prima would be. It’s the first ship in the new Prima class. I anticipated many changes as I kept track of the construction, float-out, and other Prima milestones. But plans often change, and renditions don’t always do justice.
When I first set foot on Prima, I immediately noticed the openness of the three-story Penrose Atrium.
With its subtle décor and modern effect, Prima made a provocative first impression. What else would be different? Were the changes practical? Would I feel at home here?
I admit that I felt frustrated that I didn’t immediately know my way around this ship as I did around others in the fleet. It took a bit longer for my inner compass to reboot and send me in the right direction. After boarding the ship, I proceeded to my stateroom.
My Balcony Stateroom
My eyes widened as I entered my cabin. Wowed by what seemed like an excessively large space, I realized that much of that impression was created by the design concepts in this room. All of the balcony cabins have a bed near the exterior sliding doors. That gave a direct sightline to the outside. In addition, the high bed with no bed skirt allowed for a long unobstructed view to the far side of the room. A coffee table in front of the sofa was missing, allowing a continuous open view.
The naturally dyed carpets with a tinge of color contributed to the neutral tone. Behind the bed and sofa, large colorful artwork added a touch of elegance. Plenty of USB ports and electrical outlets made recharging batteries and electronics a simple matter. A small desk provided adequate space for laptops, chargers, and other essentials.
Whether it was the vibrant backsplash or the neutral colors, the bathroom seemed to have more space than most. I often find that some ship bathrooms with exceptionally small doorways to get into equally small spaces can turn some passengers into contortion artists. This bathroom seemed wider, with more floor space area to move around. The glass-enclosed shower gave the illusion of openness and elegance.
Initially, I didn’t notice that the towel rack for hand towels also functioned as a drawer pull, I almost thought there should be more storage space for toiletries. The vanity seemed quite stylish with its striking backsplash.
A New Look for The Haven
The Haven appeals to those looking for a more upscale and inclusive experience on Prima. Spread out over several decks, this luxurious enclave is restricted to Haven guests. Those guests enjoy the use of a private elevator. This retreat includes bars, a private restaurant, a sundeck, a butler and concierge service, and plenty of cozy lounges.
Dining on the Norwegian Prima
Always an innovator, Norwegian Cruise Line created some new dining options on Prima. Old favorites like Cagney’s, Le Bistro, Surfside Café, two main dining rooms, and others remain on Prima. Norwegian’s first Mediterranean restaurant, Palomar, specializes in seafood. Meat lovers need not worry as there are several choices for them. Pricing is à la carte.
One of my favorite new dining venues on Prima is Indulge Food Hall. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, 11 different spots offer a variety of options to choose from. Indian, Latin, Rotisserie, BBQ, and Tapas are just a few choices. Selections vary depending on which meal you choose. I frequented Tamara, the Indian option, because it was tasty and had the added advantage of providing entertainment by watching the chefs and the servers interact.
Some of the restaurant choices copy those on other ships. For example, the Seaside Rotisserie is much like Moderno, the meat fest on other ships. Q Texas Smokehouse offers some of the same foods that cost extra on other vessels. Except for Starbucks and Coco‘s (fancy desserts and ice cream), the restaurants are included in your cruise fare.
Entertainment on the Norwegian Prima
The headliner show on Prima, “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical,” certainly attracted my attention. More than 20 of her songs were performed, and the musical engagingly told her life story.
In addition to this show, others featured the music of Kool & The Gang and Chaka Khan. If you have plans to see any of the shows, be sure to make your reservations early. The same is true for the comedy club, Improv at Sea, and the new game shows on Prima.
Passengers can win prizes on shows like “The Price is Right LIVE on NCL.” It mimics the television show, as I remember it. Other shows that are coming soon are “Supermarket Sweep LIVE on NCL,” “Press Your Luck LIVE on NCL,” and “Beat the Clock LIVE on NCL.”
Even More Entertainment
Prima upgraded the Speedway found on its other ships by making the course longer while racing along three decks. The Galaxy Pavilion provides enough virtual reality experiences to keep the dedicated fan happy. For puzzle solvers, there are two Escape Rooms on the ship. If all of that is not enough, Bull’s Eye offers a suite of parlor rooms for playing darts and other games. Tee Time is the interactive golf game next to the darts action. All of the above come with a fee.
Try The Drop, which takes riders 10 stories down on a fast dry slide for free thrills. The Rush is a duo-racing dry slide if you are the competitive type. And if you prefer waterslides, The Wave, with its wave action, is the place to go.
Final Thoughts About Cruising on the Norwegian Prima
Honestly, I wasn’t sure I would like Prima, but in the end, I enjoyed most of the changes. Some spaces, like the comedy club, were small, so I never could get a seat. The music venue, Syd Norman’s Pour House, was standing-room only whenever I tried to enjoy that venue.
I loved the new outdoor deck now known as Ocean Boulevard. A connection to the sea ranks high on my cruising requirements. That expectation was exceeded. I appreciated the thought put into this new design.
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My Thoughts on Prima
As much as I worried that I was a creature of habit, who felt so comfortable on other NCL ships, I realized that change could be a good thing. Prima belongs in the premium category of ships. Let Wander With Wonder be your guide when planning your next exciting trip to Iceland or a cruise on one of Norwegian Cruise Line’s ships.
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