primed for cool cruisers
Norwegian's over-the-top new liner launches Caribbean cruises from Galveston
Cruise fans, start packing for an elevated, over-the-top tropical getaway.
Norwegian Cruise Line has launched the inaugural season of its game-changing Prima Class Class cruise out of Galveston for the 2023 and 2024 seasons. One of Norwegian’s newest — and buzziest — new ships, the Prima Class vessel will embark on seven-day, round-trip cruises from Galveston to hot island getaways.
That means locals can head to Harvest Caye in Belize; Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico; and Roatán (Bay Islands), Honduras. Norwegian’s newest liner, the Norwegian Viva, will now homeport in Galveston for the first time ever from December 2025 to April 2026, the company announced.
Designed for a more discriminating cruiser — and to go head-to-head with other big cruise brands’ top-tier boats — Norwegian’s Prima is a floating resort and entertainment destination with modern design and over-the-top amenities and experiences. The massive ship towers with 20 decks and can accommodate up to 3,100 guests with 1500 staterooms, 18 dining venues, and 17 bars and lounges.
While on-board cruise entertainment is hardly new, Norwegian revs things up with the Prima Speedway, which marks the first three-level racetrack ever to hit the seas. Water park thrills come via the Prima’s 10-story tall slides, which Norwegian claims are the fastest at sea.
The Primna pushes the G forces with The Drop, which the company says is “the first free-fall slide in the world.”
After voyagers get their floating F1 fun and dizzying drops on, they can dine at various specialty restaurant concepts and the Indulge Food Hall, with 11 different cuisines including Q, a Texas-style BBQ joint. Described as the cruise industry’s “first sustainable cocktail bar at sea,” the Metropolitan Bar offers a chance to pregame or postgame.
Resort chic, stunning spaces, and nightlife vibes
Adult-themed entertainment is a key Prima offering, perhaps nowhere more obvious than the Prima Theater & Club. Operating as a standard theater/entertainment destination during the say for shows, the venue drops the seats and literally transforms into an adult nightclub at night, with DJs, dancers, and nightlife vibes.
Cruisers will obviously want to take in sea and island views, and the Prima Class makes it easier with Ocean Boulevard, the 44,000 square-foot, wrap-around outdoor walkway; and Oceanwalk, a glass bridge that boasts Instagram-ready photo ops and striking views.
More outdoor chill comes via the infinity beach — think of this as a floating beach resort with cabanas, lounge beds and chairs, and sea-facing infinity pools. Read a book or catch up with friends at La Terrazza, a sunny, al fresco lounge area, or take in a moment of zen at The Concourse, the ship’s open-air sculpture garden.
Singles, couples, families, and groups can all enjoy targeted accommodations. Solo staterooms are priced and designed for the single cruiser in mind, couples can enjoy upscale, comfy rooms, and large families can stay apart, and together, via connecting balcony staterooms.
Primed for cruisers
Speaking of upscale, travelers can upgrade to a more private experience via The Haven by Norwegian. This luxe complex is accessed only via keycard and offers 107 suites, a private restaurant, bar, lounge and sundeck, plus a concierge and 24- hour butler service.
Given its newer status, the Prima is design-focused; the interior harks to a modern hotel aesthetic. Outdoor amenities are reminiscent of posh sea resorts, while the bars, dining, and club reflect an urbane, metropolitan chic. Such focus on design and entertainment helped the Prima win industry publication Cruise Critic’s Best Ocean Cruise Ship in 2022.
“We’re extremely excited to have Norwegian Prima officially sail out of Galveston, Texas this season, providing our guests with more opportunities to cruise from popular, easily accessible ports,” said David J. Herrera, president of Norwegian Cruise Line. “We recognize the strong cruise opportunity in Texas and are focused on strengthening our presence in that market. We are proud to bring two of our most innovative ships in the fleet to this great state for two back-to back winter seasons to offer dream cruise vacations to not only the immediate market, but the surrounding areas as well.”
Current Prima cruises from Galveston start at $749 per traveler, starting in January 2024. Find more information on cruise dates, itineraries, and more here.
As savvy local travelers are aware, this is prime time for Galveston cruising. Princess cruises just ported its largest ship ever in Texas for Galveston-based Caribbean cruises. And Royal Caribbean's massive liner is enough to wow even our staunchest cruise snob.