When Norwegian Cruise Line was designing its new Norwegian Prima ship, rather than simply going bigger than their last ships, the company took a different approach.
While the first vessel in the new Prima Class – Norwegian's first new class in nearly 10 years – is not much smaller than the line's Breakaway Plus Class ships. Prima can accommodate a quarter fewer guests, Harry Sommer, the cruise line's president and CEO, told USA TODAY. That allows for a higher staff-to-passenger ratio and more space for those on board, from the outdoor decks to the cabins.
"The reason we went smaller is we wanted to be able to provide an even more upscale experience," Sommer said.
Prima set sail on its inaugural voyage from Reykjavik, Iceland, on Aug. 27. Here's what guests can expect from the ship:
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What attractions will Norwegian Prima have?
Even if guests have sailed with Norwegian Cruise Line before, Sommer said Prima's "ambiance is taken up a few steps," starting when guests board and pass through the three-story Penrose Atrium, with a chandelier inspired by constellations.
"It's not glitzy, it's not Vegas-style like you see in other ships, but much, much more refined and elegant and I think that's a theme you see throughout the ship," Sommer said. But there are still plenty of opportunities to have fun.
Sommer noted that the line wanted to continue to attract multigenerational families, something at Norwegian Cruise Line's core.
"So, you know, the upscale, more refined part is great for adults, but the children or the young at heart, if you will, still want to have these incredible activities to do," he said.
The ship boasts live game shows, six pools, and the cruise line's first Tidal Wave water slide, where passengers can ride the surf on inner tubes.
The line will debut other attractions on the ship, as well, including the Prima Speedway, its first three-level go-kart track, where passengers can race at more than 30 miles per hour on more than 1,300 feet of track, and The Drop, a 10-story free fall dry slide.
The ship's headlining show, "Summer: The Donna Summer Musical," will also feature an elevated twist: the three-story theater will transform into a disco where passengers can dance to the singer's music.
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What will the food be like?
Prima will have a range of dining options, from high-end specialty restaurant Palomar, featuring Mediterranean seafood, to more casual offerings at Indulge Food Hall – the first of its kind on a Norwegian Cruise Line ship – with 11 eateries, including a noodle bar, Indian cuisine, and more.
Other new restaurants and bars include sushi house Nama, Hasuki, which offers hibachi-style dining, and the Metropolitan Bar, serving up zero-waste cocktails made with "surplus ingredients," sustainable spirits, and biodynamic wine, according to a news release.
Prima will also feature a number of familiar restaurants, including the line's signature steakhouse Cagney's Steakhouse, and a revamped main dining menu that will launch on the cruise line's other ships in 2023.
What else should travelers know about Norwegian Prima?
Prima can accommodate around 3,100 guests at double occupancy, and a five-night October cruise from New York City to Bermuda and Virginia Beach starts at about $2,168 for four passengers in an interior family stateroom, according to the cruise line's website. That price includes a current 40% discount on all cruises and a "Free 3rd & 4th Guests" deal. The ship will sail a mix of Northern European and Caribbean voyages in its first year of service.
Guests who have disabilities or need special assistance can fill out a Guest Special Needs Request Form. The line can provide accommodations such as sign language interpreting services, and all ships in its fleet have wheelchair-accessible staterooms.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Norwegian Prima: Here's what guests can expect