Set sail for delight with Norwegian Prima and The Haven.
My invitation to sail on Norwegian Cruise Line’s newest ship, Norwegian Prima, was received with a bit of trepidation. I’d never cruised on the open sea, much less within a 3,100 passenger vessel. Yet, the visuals and videos highlighting Prima’s accommodations and amenities proved enticing. And so, I boarded the Prima in New York City for a venture to Halifax, Nova Scotia.
My home for the following several days was within The Haven, Prima’s ship-within-a-ship concept, akin to the concierge floor at a luxury resort. As a cruise neophyte, I had no idea what to expect. To say that I was surprised, delighted and pampered is an understatement. Here’s what I loved about the Prima, and The Haven:
Of Norwegian Prima’s 1,586 staterooms, 107 of them are in The Haven’s keycard accessible-only complex, meaning that at any given time, only these Haven passengers enjoy this luxurious retreat that features a bespoke restaurant, two bars, sumptuous indoor lounges and two aft, chaise lounge-strewn sundecks on the ship’s upper levels where two hot tubs and an infinity pool overlook the ship’s wake.
The Haven staterooms and suites comprise nine different categories of varying sizes, the largest being the 2100 sq. ft. Premier Owner’s Suite, featuring spacious and luxurious accommodations that include separate living and dining areas, three bedrooms with king beds, three bathrooms, a half-bath and an outdoor hot tub on the large balcony. No matter the size, each Haven stateroom or suite is elegant, in neutral shades of gray and green, with plush beds and bedding, cozy bathrobes and slippers, L’Occitane bath amenities, stocked (and re-stocked) mini bars, and Nespresso coffee machines.
Haven guests are treated like VIPs. I skipped the lines at embarkation and debarkation. A bowl of fresh fruit and a bottle of champagne awaited my suite arrival. The Haven concierge helped me schedule priority reservations for the plethora of the ship’s specialty dining venues such as the Mediterranean seafood-focused Palomar, the ‘hibachi-style’ Hasuki, contemporary sushi house Nama and the Italian-oriented Onda by Scarpetta. My butler (on call 24/7) kept my suite stocked with sweet and savory goodies. And my initial order at The Haven bar was committed to memory by the attentive bartender who nodded knowingly each successive evening as I approached.
Though Prima offers innumerable gourmet restaurants, as well as Indulge, a new food hall concept featuring 11 different dining venues, I more often than not opted for The Haven’s own restaurant where white table cloths, smooth jazz, and soft illumination create one of the ship’s most alluring dining environments. With menu items such as Lobster Deviled Eggs, Pan Seared Steelhead Trout and Roasted Prime Rib Au Jus, I found all I desired within this tasteful and peaceful enclave where professional and thoughtful service was provided for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Though Prima offers innumerable gourmet restaurants, as well as Indulge, a new food hall concept featuring 11 different dining venues, I more often than not opted for The Haven’s own restaurant where white table cloths, smooth jazz, and soft illumination create one of the ship’s most alluring dining environments
Prima is home to Broadway level entertainment, live music of every genre, a casino, a VR game pavilion, boutique shopping, water slides, pee-wee golf, Mandara Spa and a three-level racetrack, the Prima Speedway, that finds helmeted passengers careening around ocean-jutting corners.
While The Haven offered calm respite from such steady vitality, it provided a best-of-both-worlds scenario where I was free to choose my level of activity and engagement. A highlight was the Tony Award®-nominated production of “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical,” as fabulous as any live show seen on the world’s greatest stages. And the 44,000 square foot outdoor walkway that wraps around the entire ship helped me achieve my daily step goal.
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As an art lover, I was drawn to the Prima’s curated and commissioned pieces – specifically The Haven’s black and white photography and the abstract paintings gracing the walls of The Haven Bar & Lounge. Norwegian invested more than $6.3 million in the Prima’s collection which spans multiple mediums from a variety of artists including Italian graffiti extraordinaire Peeta, Spanish abstract painter Eduardo Arranz Bravo, and famed ceramicist Fanella Elms. Additionally, the ship’s stunning Penrose Atrium 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.
Despite my initial apprehension, the Norwegian Prima’s charms were impossible to deny. And The Haven? It was enchanting. For both cruise pros and amateurs, the Prima exceeds expectations for what a cruise ship can be, and The Haven further surpasses those expectations. This cruise neophyte is now a new and faithful fan.