Recently one of our Boscov’s Travel employees took a cruise on the brand-new Norwegian Prima. Read her incredible experience below.
I’ll be honest with you the thought of cruising made me nervous, neither my boyfriend Matt nor I have gone on a cruise before. My grandparents and my coworkers have all raved about cruising, but I only vicariously lived through their experiences. I wasn’t sure if I ever planned on cruising, but when I was given the opportunity to go on the new Norwegian Prima, I thought ‘how could I possibly not take this incredible opportunity?’ Our cruise was an inaugural sailing on the BRAND NEW Norwegian Prima. The sailing was 4-nights to Halifax, Nova Scotia roundtrip from New York City, NY (no need to fly!).
The morning of our departure was seamless with transportation to the pier and the ease with being able to be dropped off right at the terminal (and right in front of the big and beautiful, Norwegian Prima). Our driver, which happened to be my mother, giggled, got out of the car and asked us to take her photo because that’s the closest she’s ever been to a cruise ship. It was hilarious, but as you can see, none of us have ever cruised before and this was a big deal. My boyfriend and I said our so-longs to her and we went into the terminal. Everybody in the terminal was so friendly and willing to help us navigate where to go and check in. The process was smooth and it only took us approximately ten minutes. We were given a keycard lanyard that would give us access to all things including our room and reservations. We actually found all of this easier and friendlier than the airport. I couldn’t believe I was actually about to step on to a cruise ship for the next five days.
As we walked onboard the Prima, I was amazed. The first area I saw was the atrium which felt like a five-star hotel – three stories tall with a bar on the main level, Starbucks on the next, and a whiskey bar at the top. ‘Am I really on a ship right now?’ I thought. We made our way to our room which was easy to navigate, but there were Norwegian workers to guide the way if assistance was needed. Our room was a balcony stateroom and it was absolutely stunning. The layout was much more spacious than I thought it would be, the bathroom was quaint, the balcony was cozy and the bed was comfy! I was even able to put on my makeup at our room’s makeup stand and hang all our formal attire up in the room’s closet.
Once we got settled in, we went onto the deck and took in the views of the Manhattan skyline and as we sailed away from port we waved to the Statue of Liberty and saw Ellis Island. The view was incredible with the sunset behind Lady Liberty. After this, we knew it was time to explore and make our reservations for dining and entertainment. We wanted to experience every single thing we could to get the most out of our first cruise – and that we did.
My onboard experiences
I cannot begin to tell you how delicious the food was on the Norwegian Prima. Some of our favorites include the Indulge Food Hall (complimentary), The Local Bar & Grill (complimentary), and Cagney’s Steakhouse (specialty). The nicest part about Norwegian Cruise Line is that there are no fixed dining times which means you can eat when you want, with who you want. I enjoyed this because Matt and I never eat at a consistent time – when we’re hungry we’re hungry, so this worked out well for us. We did have to make reservations for our included specialty dining which can be done on the NCL app.
Indulge Food Hall
AMAZING! In an onboard meeting, I learned that Indulge Food Hall is a new dining concept onboard and I truthfully would not want to go without it. You can literally dine around the world from Indian Food to Italian, Latin and more – don’t forget the incredible Coco’s desserts. There are eight dining options and the food hall is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We went here at least once every day. The food choices are endless and I mean it – even if you went here every day for a week-long cruise, you could enjoy something different every single day.
When you order at Indulge, you use a screen to look at all your options and the waiters in your section of the food hall serve your orders and drinks. The staff were super kind and attentive. We even made a friend with our first-day waiter, Bhilly. After our first meeting, he was always ecstatic to see us – he asked us about our day, would recommend food, and just make sure we were having an overall great time. The waiters truly gave exceptional service and I hope to see Bhilly one day again on a cruise.
The Local Bar & Grill
The Local Bar & Grill was a dining option we figured would be more American food as it is a pub option so we waited to go there until our third day for lunch. Boy, were we glad we finally did. I had the fish sandwich the first day and I went back for another the next – that’s how delicious it was. Matt did the same, but with the chicken salad sandwich. All of our appetizers and drinks were perfect. I highly recommend the Local Bar & Grill.
Apparently, a lot of people like Cagney’s Steakhouse and you can add us to that list. Matt really wanted to go here and we had one specialty dining package to use. For our inaugural sailing, specialty restaurants required reservations so our first day on board we snagged our Cagney’s reservation.
Matt and I ordered an abundance of food to try and there was not a single thing we didn’t enjoy. For starters we ordered the black tiger shrimp trio and the lobster bisque, which had big pieces of lobster in it. I’m getting hungry again just talking about it. For our entrees, I got filet mignon and Matt got the ribeye. Our waiter, Cloyd (fun side note, he said the way you remember his name is either Pink CLOYD or CLOYD Mayweather) came to our table with a box of knives to choose to use with our steaks. Cloyd explained what each knife was good for and what he recommended. Then our steaks came out and I have to tell you, I am not the biggest steak eater, but I’ve never had a better steak in my life. I crave Cagney’s filet mignon all the time now, that’s how good it was!
For our sides we took Bhilly from Indulge Food Hall’s recommendation of parmesan dusted truffle fries and Cloyd’s recommendation of potatoes au gratin, plus some broccoli. I can’t express enough how delicious our food was. For dessert we got the seven-layer chocolate cake and the “omg” caramel-butterscotch cheesecake, both were incredible. If you are a steak-lover or a good-food lover (who isn’t?), I am confident you will LOVE this specialty dining restaurant.
Side note on specialty dining: A few of my fellow coworkers tried out some of the other specialty restaurants including Le Bistro, Palomar, and Los Lobos. Everyone enjoyed their food and recommended their specific choice in specialty dining. I have a feeling you can’t go wrong with any of the specialty dining options.
Bars and Lounges
The bars and lounges on the Prima were so neat and diverse. I’ll touch on some of them.
The Belvedere Bar was tucked away behind the casino. They had fun cocktails and the bartenders were very kind and informative to us as we were new to cruising. The Belvedere Bar was nice for a quiet cocktail during the day and a bit livelier with a small crowd in the evening.
Waves Pool Bar
We visited the Waves Pool Bar as we waited for the ship to sail. My favorite cocktail was the frozen Pina Colada. The drinks were delicious and it was nice to watch all the activity on deck.
The Observation Lounge is beautiful because its wide-open windows allow you a beautiful panoramic view of the ocean. We were here for two cocktail hours and the time spent was great and the bartenders were very attentive. My favorite part of this bar and lounge was definitely watching the moon come into view over the ocean as the sun went down.
The Penrose Bar is so fun and pretty as it is on the lowest level of the atrium. Plus, being in the atrium it’s a great place to people watch. After one of the entertainment shows, we went there with a fellow colleague and her husband, had some drinks and listened to the live band. They were phenomenal! Every evening there was a band that played here so don’t miss out as they did not disappoint.
The good ole morning friend, Starbucks. There’s not much to say other than every morning my coffee was great and the lounge was cozy. Keep in mind, there’s a Starbucks in Indulge Food Hall if the line in the atrium Starbucks is too long.
The activities and entertainment on the Prima were top tier. From the games, slides, experiences and more, there was always something fun to do!
I have to tell you the Prima Speedway was so impressive. How can a three-level go-kart race track on top of a cruise ship not be impressive? This had to be one of the most fun activities on board. Zipping around a race track on top of a cruise ship at almost thirty miles per hour is loads of fun. The track had many turns, dips, and brought you up to the top where you could see amazing views of the ocean. All of us got at least fourteen laps in!
The Speedway also has an observation deck where you can shoot lasers at the go-karts in play to give them a speed boost. On the deck there is a winner’s circle where you can pose for a photo op and see the leader boards for your sailing. The Prima Speedway is great for anyone who likes to have fun, is adventurous and competitive. Even better, get off the track and turn the corner and you’ll be at the Speedway Bar for a drink. The Prima Speedway was incredible and you have to try it out at least once!
Mini-golf on a cruise ship, but not your usual mini-golf, this is an interactive course and tech-immersive! There are nine holes mapped out in a Vegas-style backdrop (out of this world). You will receive your golf ball that has technology in it so every time you place your ball on the green, it syncs up to the hole. The course knows it’s you, knows how many times you’ve hit your ball for par, and at the end you can even win a prize – including a free cruise!
The Bull’s Eye
The Bull’s Eye is your classic game of darts with a twist! The game has a video tracking system that automatically calculates each person’s score. There are multiple types of dart games you can play and the technology keeps your game light-hearted, but competitive. So fun!
The Stadium is a fun place to play it up with tabletop shuffleboard, pickleball, subsoccer (our favorite), beer pong and more! Some of these classic games even have a few twists. Matt and I found our competitive sides yet again, and had such a fun time testing out each game.
If you enjoy virtual reality, top golf, and simulators – this is for you! The Galaxy Pavilion has a flying, interactive theater, a TopGolf “driving range,” racing simulators and more. The high-tech world of the Galaxy Pavilion is fun for everyone and I can tell you, we definitely had fun here.
Intimidating? Kind of. Fun? YES! We stood on the top deck watching people free-fall down this 10-story slide and it was a bit nerve-wracking. I kept reminding myself that I sky-dived before so I could handle a slide. But this was a free-fall slide that went over the side of a ship. Oh well! We gave it a go and it was SUPER FUN! Once it’s your turn, you get in at the top of the slide and the Norwegian employee will explain how to lay for the ride. Then the door closes over, the countdown begins… woosh – The Drop! The slide was fun with turns and at one part there is a window section of the slide where you can see down to the ocean. If you can overcome the nerves – do try this, it’s worth it.
While it was a bit to chilly for the pool, we did enjoy the pool deck on our first day since it was a bit warmer than the rest of the sailing. If you like to people-watch like I do, this is a great place for you. The pool deck is definitely the hub area for people to gather, hangout and lounge. The scenery of the ocean was stunning and the pool is fabulous. Don’t forget about the infinity hot tubs (super relaxing with stunning views) and waterslides or get a drink at Waves Pool Bar!
Oceanwalk and The Concourse
The Oceanwalk was beautiful and thrilling. Take a walk and you’ll be impressed as you’ll find the first glass walkway at sea! The ocean is right under your feet and the views are incredible! Right next to Oceanwalk is the The Concourse where beautiful interactive artwork is displayed. We took a lot of fun photos and videos here.
Casinos aren’t necessarily our thing, but it was really neat to see a full-running casino on the cruise chip. If you enjoy casinos, you’ll love this!
Mandara Spa & Thermal Suite
We decided we wanted to have a nice relaxing day here and we’re both glad we did. If you enjoy spas, you’re going to love this. We bought a day pass to the Mandara Spa & Thermal Suite which allowed us access to robes, towels, refreshments, and some of the spa’s neatest features including: the Vitality Pool & Salt Flotation Pool which has a multi-story waterfall, a relaxation area with hot stone loungers and a beautiful ocean view, a charcoal sauna, a Finnish sauna, an infrared sauna, a salt room, an ice room, a steam room, an experiential shower! The spa also offers massages, acupuncture, manicures/pedicures, facials and more. Plus, there is the Pulse Fitness Center attached to the spa for all to use. The fitness center also has panoramic views of the ocean too. The spa was definitely the place to unwind and feel good so do try it if you like that kind of thing!
I cannot say enough how incredible the onboard entertainment was. For each show you need to reserve your spot to the theater on the NCL app, but if you can’t get a reservation there’s no need to worry! Every night before the show begins you can join a standby que on the NCL app and if someone does not show up for their reservation ten minutes prior to showtime, you’ll get notified that you are able to go in to the show! So get there early and all you have to do is show your notification or reservation and you’ll be on your way to enjoy the entertainment. We were able to get into every show by doing this which was so worth it! Keep reading for our favorite entertainment on board.
Prima Theater turned Nightclub
To begin on the entertainment, the Prima Theater was spectacular because not only were there incredible shows, but it is the first venue in the world that transforms from a three-story theater to a spectacular Vegas-Style nightclub. We watched the theater transform in a matter of minutes. After the transformation, the seats were gone and the dance floor was open – AMAZING! Our favorite theme night at the nightclub was the 80’s Flashback night. The music, lights and vibes were all set as we danced the night away!
Summer: The Donna Summer Musical
This Tony Award-nominated Broadway show did not disappoint. I thought it was spectacular. You’ll be immersed in Donna Summer’s incredible life journey all while singing along and dancing to the Disco Queen’s hits. Even though I was not alive during the disco era, I can tell you this Prima Theater show is incredible no matter your age!
The Price is Right Live
Yes, this is exactly what you think it is. The Price is Right brought right to the Prima Theater. Seriously, they brought the real traveling Price is Right Live replication right to the ship. When you arrive at the Prima Theater you will get your name tag and hope you are one of the lucky players to hear “come on down” to the stage to play. We weren’t called down, but the entire experience was super fun.
Syd Norman’s Pour House
At Syd Norman’s you’ll have drinks and sing along to your favorite rock hits. We had so much fun here that went more than one night. The house band was comical, fun, and interactive all while rocking out. It’s one of those things where I will say you have to see it for yourself.
The Improv At Sea
We went to both the family show and the late-night adult show, both of which were hilarious! We really were laughing the night away. Comedy at its finest.
Destination and Excursion – Peggy’s Cove, Halifax, Nova Scotia
I was actually fairly nervous to do an excursion as I did not know what to expect or how it worked. We made our reservations for the excursion on Norwegian’s website and were told to meet in the Prima Theater prior to our excursion start time. Once at the theater, Norwegian employees called the excursion names and when your excursion was called you met with your tour group. We met our group and followed our guide off of the ship. We immediately got into our excursion van and were on our way!
Our ship docked in Halifax, Nova Scotia and we chose the beautiful Peggy’s Cove and Arcadian Maple Syrup excursion. Throughout our ride to Peggy’s Cove our guide told us about the area and pointed out popular sites and attractions that we passed. When we finally arrived to Peggy’s Cove and fishing village, our guide explained what we could do and see as well as told us what time we needed to be back at the van. After that, we took off exploring the entire village. We viewed the lighthouse, tried a lobster roll (YUM), took photos, went into the fishing village shops and more. The area was stunning and if you ever go on a cruise to Canada, I highly recommend Peggy’s Cove!
Once it was time to meet back up with the group, we had a head count to make sure everyone was there and moved on to the Arcadian Maple Syrup store to taste the maple syrup and shop. After this stop we made our way back to the Prima. To get back on the ship all we had to do was scan ourselves in with our keycard lanyard and then be double-checked with facial recognition. Going on an excursion was much simpler and exciting than I expected it to be. I’m so glad we went on one!
I’ve officially filled you in on all of our favorite highlights and experiences from the Norwegian Prima inaugural sailing. The morning the ship arrived back in New York City, I was sad to leave. Thankfully, the process to unload was as easy as the process to board. The Norwegian crew announced on the ship’s overhead speakers when it was each group’s time to load off. We waited in a line and the process was simple to go through customs. Then we found my Mom in the pickup area and as soon as Matt and I got in her car we told her she needs to go on a cruise! We do hope to take her on one someday as she would absolutely love it.
Soooo…. To answer your question, yes, I would cruise again! And yes, the Norwegian Prima is really this incredible. I never thought that I’d be on a cruise ship, let alone something as magnificent as this. What I am going to leave you with is if you have the opportunity to go on the brand-new Norwegian Prima, do it! Explore everything you possibly can, relax and have fun! I really hope to go back on a cruise ship soon and by soon, I mean, like yesterday.
I recommend cruising on the Norwegian Prima as soon as you can, and with our wealth of knowledge, your local Boscov’s Travel Advisor can help you plan your next cruise too! Contact your local Boscov’s Travel or call 800-755-8020, boscovstravel.com.