An inaugural sailing aboard Norwegian Prima.
The Norwegian Prima (Photo courtesy of NCL)

I can still smell the fresh paint. The china had never been used. The sheets had never been slept in. *

Alright, not exactly but close. 

In October, my boyfriend and I joined an inaugural sailing of the Norwegian Prima-–a brand new class of ships for Norwegian Cruise Line and their first new ship in nearly 10 years. Officially, the Norwegian Prima was christened this past August in Iceland and had completed a handful of trips before we boarded. But other than that, she was fresh out of the port. 

Our sailing from Galveston was the first (hence, inaugural) time Norwegian had ever sailed from this Texan port, where it will be based next winter after sailing from Florida’s Port Canaveral, England’s Southampton, Iceland and New York City (among others) in 2023. Our sailing was also a celebration for 100 teachers who’d won trips as part of Norwegian’s Giving Joy campaign. And in their honor (and luckily by extension, ours) Norwegian treated us to a Kelly Clarkson concert before even leaving the Port of Galveston.

Needless to say, the innovations of the Prima are plentiful–with 20 decks, 18 dining venues, 17 bars and lounges, and a three-story theater featuring “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical” that also transforms into the ship’s nightclub. 

Our days alternated from eating, drinking and dipping in one of their multiple pools to more adventurous moments on the Prima Speedway, a three-level go-kart racetrack on the top of the ship, or rushing down one of their crazy slides: “The Drop” and “The Rush.” Oh yes, the thrills are also plentiful on the Prima. 

As is space. This new concept for Norwegian spreads the primary leisure spaces over two decks. Deck 17 is home to the more traditional main pool and lounge area, with a bar and adjoining restaurant. On Deck 8 the plunging possibilities consist of smaller infinity pools that overlook the open sea. 

Though initial plans for this ship preceded the pandemic, the multiple social spaces outside work extremely well for travelers who are still wary of overcrowded spaces. Our sailing was at about two-thirds occupancy and crowding was never an issue. In fact, the Norwegian Prima offers the highest staffing levels and space ration of any contemporary or premium cruise ship, according to NCL. 

Gay couple on Norwegian Prima

Queer Eye for the Straight Cruise? 

I must admit I was hesitant about how comfortable we’d feel on board as a gay couple. Our last cruising experience had been an all LGBTQ+ charter with VACAYA, so we’d been a bit spoiled.  I’m happy to report that not only were the other passengers lovely and diverse, but we even came out of the Prima with some very fun new friends. (The gays–and our allies–always find each other!)

Related: Cruising as a Community

Most of the Norwegian Cruise Line sailings feature LGBTQ+ meetups to help you build your community on board, if that’s important to you. On this cruise, the shorter swimsuits and the caps with the Nasty Pig logo were more than enough indicators. Let’s just say the Friends of Dorothy found the rainbow quite easily over the Gulf of Mexico.  

Should you want the full LGBTQ+ cruise experience on the Prima, Atlantis will be chartering a Caribbean cruise aboard the Norwegian Prima in January 2023. Otherwise, check out Norwegian Cruise Line to book all the beauty that is the Norwegian Prima

(*dialogue from the movie Titanic)

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