Norwegian Prima Review

4.5 / 5.0
335 reviews

Lots of little issues add up to big disappointment

Review for the Arctic Cruise on Norwegian Prima
User Avatar
CanuckCruiser604
10+ Cruises • Age 60s

Rating by category

Cabin
Family
Value for Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Fitness & Recreation
Service

Additional details

Sail Date: Jul 2023
Cabin: The Haven Penthouse with Large Balcony

After reading many poor reviews of Prima before I left I was prepared to find some faults but went with an open mind. It is a brand new ship after all. And for the most part, a lot of the ship was pretty good. I was staying in the Haven, so that was a luxury experience and I liked everything about it. I also found that the food quality overall was pretty good even in the main dining rooms, so no real complaints there, and the service was top notch in all areas. But the overall experience was sour due to many minor faults that added up, even more so when you consider the exorbitant cost of this cruise. NCL clearly is out to suck every last nickel out of their guests.

The cruise got off to a bad start right at check in, as Isafjordur was dropped as a port. That wasn’t necessarily NCL’s fault, as Isafjordur hasn’t finished their new dock in time, but NCL’s response was poor. Would we have an extra night in another port? No. Would we sail in one of the UNESCO Norwegian fjords to admire the views? No. We would instead sit in the middle of the North Sea for a day, with winds so harsh outside play was impossible.

I also took issue with another Norwegian port, Geiranger, a UNESCO world heritage sight. The views of the fjord on the sail in and out are supposed to be world class, so why did our ship sail in at 5am and leave at 10pm? There was barely enough light to see anything. And this is from a company that has Norwegian IN IT'S NAME!

Cabin Review

The Haven Penthouse with Large Balcony

I was extremely happy I decided to upgrade to a Haven suite, mostly since it gave access to it's private restaurant. Given how busy all the public restaurants were, it was so nice to use the Haven's for most meals. The quality was very good and it was never too busy, and had great service.

The cabin itself was very comfortable and a good size. It's a costly upgrade though.

Port Reviews

Akureyri

We did an extensive private tour with SAGA Travel for just the six of us in my family. Our tour guide Tom was english and hilarious. He took us to at least seven sites around northern Iceland and we saw some amazing views including both Godafoss and Detafoss waterfalls. Well worth the cost.

We did have some time to wander around the town after. Not a lot to see close to town. Better to take a tour in this port.

Brugge (Bruges)

We took NCL's ship tour Bruges On Your Own, which gave us about 4-5 hours in Bruges. That was perfect. The streets are a little confusing but it's not too hard to find the main two squares, just look for the huge belfry tower! We pre booked a time to climb the 360 steps up the tower for nice views. Bruges was awesome, great shops (mostly chocolate or beer), some nice churches, lively outdoor restaurants, just a pleasure to walk around this town.

Alesund

We quite enjoyed our day in Alesund (nice and sunny). We didn't book anything, it's not necessary here. You can easily walk into town and admire the art deco architecture as well as the canal and marina setting. We also climbed the 400+ steps up to the observatory at Mt Aksla. It's not too hard to find, just follow the crowds, walk up the hill into a park and find the stairwell. Awesome views all the way up!

The ship is docked close enough to be able to go back for lunch and then head out again if you want. Lots of shops and restaurants and we loved the multi coloured buildings. A very pleasant day in Alesund.

Amsterdam

We've been to Amsterdam a few times so instead we took a ship tour to Delft, which I would recommend. Our bus tour drove slowly past some expensive homes and told us about the canals in Holland, we stopped at one of the old windmills for pics, then to a Delft pottery factory where we had a tour. We could watch a lady hand paint one of the larger pots. That was quite interesting and worth a visit. We then headed into Delft for a walking tour then time on our own. Delft was the home of Vermeer and is beautiful. It was richer than Amsterdam at one point and had a massive public square with a church and city hall and beautiful buildings all around. We found another windmill nearby and enjoyed walking the canals of this city.

On the way back we drove through The Hague and had one photo stop, and another at a nearby beach which was quite pleasant. Overall this was a very good tour.

Bergen

We toured Bergen on our own without doing an excursion. We could walk from the ship to the fish market in 15-20 minutes or so, quite easily. The warehouse shops of Bryggen were just across the harbour. From the fish market you could see the station for the funicular up the mountain, so we did that. I had prepaid online for my tickets and we just walked right up to the gate and scanned our ticket, bypassing a fair line. The views at the top were great even in drizzly weather.

Back in town we had an outrageously expensive lunch of fresh seafood in the fish market, then wandered around the shops of old town before heading back to the port. It was a nice town but not the best weather (normal for Bergen though).

Geiranger

By the time we woke up our ship was already docked in Geiranger, so we missed the sail in. We probably wouldn't have seen much anyway as the fog was socked in. I was worried our panorama bus tour would have no view at all. I booked a three hour bus tour with Geiranger Fjordservice that would visit the three main viewpoints. The first stop wasn't too high up in the mountain so the views actually were pretty good. The drive to the second view, Dalsnibba, was quite long, maybe an hour. It was a fascinating drive though through rock formations and mountains and a beautiful lake. Dalsnibba was very foggy and we could barely see our ship or the fjords. There is a skywalk here and a gift shop.

Then we drove all the way back to the port and out the other way to Eagle Bend, a bit further down the fjord. Views here were great. A bit foggy but we could see quite far.

Back to the ship for lunch, then out again to walk up the stairway along the waterfall. Funny, you can't see this at all from the ship, but it's not far. Just keep walking right through the campsite and left up the hill. It's a terrific climb with great views. You end up at the Fjord Museum, which we toured. It was okay, fairly small but interesting. We then walked down the road to the little chapel and cemetery for nice pics of the harbour.

Some quaint shops along the only main street. You could buy whale salami at one, reindeer too. We passed.

Our ship sailed out at 10pm. It was still light out enough to get a few photos of the fjords, which are pretty spectacular, lots of waterfalls. But we didn't have the best weather and it was getting dark. It was a nice port though.

Our ship cruised into the fjord at 5am so we missed that.

Reykjavik

We used SAGA Tours again but in a larger group of 15, and did the Golden Circle tour in about 5-6 hours. It was excellent especially Gullfoss, or Golden Waterfall. We were lucky to be there in the sun with a rainbow. The tour also stopped at Geysir, which was interesting, as was Thingvelir (sic), home of the oldest parliament. All in all it was a good tour. The Icelandic terrain looks like another planet, with steam venting everywhere.

Instead of going to the overhyped and very expensive Blue Lagoon, my wife instead went to the slightly less hyped and expensive Sky Lagoon, which is much closer to Reykjavik. She really enjoyed it and had great views over the ocean. You can pick up brochures nearly everywhere, or book online. You need to book a time, she spent a couple of hours on the basic package with no treatments.

The drive to the airport is surprisingly long (45 minutes!) for such a small city, so factor in lots of time. It's also very expensive! The airport is too small for the number of tourists and there isn't much to do there at all.

10 Helpful Votes
previous reviewnext review

Find a Norwegian Prima Cruise from $699

Any Month

Get special cruise deals, expert advice, insider tips and more.By proceeding, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

© 1995—2024, The Independent Traveler, Inc.