Norwegian Prima Takes Off: Sailing with Frank del Rio, Katy Perry and Too Many Travel Advisors to Fit in the Haven | Travel Research Online


Norwegian Prima Takes Off: Sailing with Frank del Rio, Katy Perry and Too Many Travel Advisors to Fit in the Haven

NCL Prima Inaugural

“Clowns to the left of me, jokers to the right, here I am,” the song goes. “It’s so hard to keep the smile from my face.” Ok it’s not a Katy Perry song, but that’s how we all were feeling, I think, aboard the elegant new Norwegian Prima in Reykjavik on Saturday evening, where 2,500 international press, NCL executives and business partners, and top sellers of travel gathered for the ship’s official christening ceremony. Everyone was smiling; none of the travel advisors complained about being bounced from The Haven by the Katy Perry entourage; and even the Northern Lights turned out to celebrate.

Twenty decks tall and 965 feet long, with a top capacity of 3,100 guests in 1,600 staterooms, this first of six Prima-class ships offers a higher staffing level than any contemporary cruise ship, as well as the largest variety of suite categories, NCL says. There are 18 dining venues and 17 bars and lounges, a 44,000-square-foot outdoor walkway; a multi-million-dollar outdoor sculpture garden; expansive pool decks, and infinity pools surrounded by inviting spaces and beautiful touches.

And indeed, the group seems to have delivered a beautiful and timely new class of ship. While many familiar elements, from the restaurants to The Haven, make guests feel at home, they appear sleeker and more upscale, more a part of the sea and sky around us. Big areas like the Observation Deck have been divided up and broken down, leaving inviting and intimate spaces that encourage conversation. The décor is understated; art elements abound; even the menu seems to have taken a step upscale.

At the christening ceremony, the amazing NCL PR team and the ship’s godmother, Katy Perry, were on hand, along with NCL president Harry Sommer and his boss, the visionary NCL Holdings Corp. president, and CEO Frank Del Rio. Sommer noted that the ship offers the most space per guest of any ship in the contemporary cruise industry; a beaming Del Rio invited the crowd to return for the launch of Norwegian Viva in August next year (plus four more after that), as well as Oceania Vista and Regent Seven Seas Grandeur—a $9 billion investment in new builds underway.

“It’s a wonderful and almost surreal experience to see so many familiar faces,” Del Rio said, coming out of “one of the most difficult periods in our lifetimes.” Travel advisors, Norwegian partners, and the trade press all have one thing in common, he noted, “you never ever gave up. I hope we all realize how much we all mean to each other. When travel advisors win, we win.”

The ever-buoyant joker Perry fit right into the general mood, performing her top hits for a full hour. “It was so much fun to sprinkle some fairy godmother dust on Norwegian Prima and send her on her way to sail the high seas,” she said.

Sailing now from Reykjavik to Amsterdam for a trial run with invited guests only, Prima will next depart on inaugural voyages to Northern Europe from the Netherlands, Denmark, and England beginning next week and then host another reception for travel advisors in New York in October. She will then sail from New York, Galveston, and Miami to the Caribbean in October and November before settling into her homeports of Port Canaveral, FL, and Galveston for the 2023 and 2024 cruise seasons.

(Please stay tuned for a longer review on Norwegian Prima next week in The Rosen Report next week. I’m too busy having fun to write it right now, but I’m taking notes! If you’re on board, please find me and tell me what you think.)

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