I’ve just disembarked a cruise on Norwegian Prima where I took a journey through food that included some seriously impressive cruise ship tech, and some immersive dining experiences that I will never forget.
I even tested a few new cruise food concepts along the way that I’ve never seen before on a ship – or on land for that matter.
Amazing Choice of Food Onboard
Hudson’s – Main Restaurant
As soon as we embarked Norwegian Prima in New York City, we headed straight to the biggest main dining room onboard, Hudson’s.
Hudson’s is a complimentary restaurant meaning that everything here is included and the food is totally unlimited, I’ve been cruising with Norwegian since I was a child and I always loved going to the main dining room for lunch or dinner.
You could, in theory, eat here for every meal of the cruise but as there are lots of other options I wouldn’t recommend just eating in one place for an entire cruise.
The restaurant has amazing floor-to-ceiling windows that wrap right the way around the sides, meaning that whether you’re in a port or at sea, you always have a great view.
I loved the design of the restaurant including the light fittings that I think look like butterflies that flutter slightly when the ship is at sea!
The service was good, there was lots of choice on some of the biggest menus I’ve ever seen and we would end up visiting Hudson’s again for both breakfast and dinner during the cruise.
There is a second main dining room restaurant onboard too which is a great option if Hudson’s is busy.
We always picked Hudson’s because of the amazing views, and we never had to wait for a table as the restaurant is massive.
One of my favourite things about cruising with Norwegian has always been the “Freestyle Dining” which means that there are no set dining times for the main dining rooms and you just show up to eat when you’re hungry.
As well as the included main dining rooms there is included food in the buffet, the local and my personal favourite – The indulge food hall – but more about that later!
There are also eight speciality restaurants onboard, they focus on specific cuisines or themes
These cost a little extra and you can either pay for items on the menu “a la carte” style or you can buy a dining package that means you can have a certain number of speciality meals during your cruise.
I booked the 7 speciality meals package so that I could try as many restaurants as possible.
I knew that I’d never be able to try them all, there was just too much choice for a 7-night cruise, but I knew that I’d try my best!
Each of the speciality restaurants is decorated according to their theme and I had heard that some of the speciality restaurants included show elements too, which I was looking forward to.
I’d also been told by multiple people that I must look out for the Guacamole onboard. At the time I thought that was pretty odd – but when I did find the Guacamole later, I understood!
“Onda” by Scarpetta – Italian Restaurant
The first speciality restaurant that we went to was “Onda” by Scarpetta. It’s an Italian restaurant that serves amazing pasta, pizzas, seafood and so much more.
The restaurant itself felt like being inside a whale, and I loved how intimate the restaurant felt.
The Norwegian Prima holds over 3000 guests but you’d never know that when dining in a restaurant like this one.
Los Lobos – Mexican Restaurant
The Italian food in Onda was fantastic – but my favourite speciality dining restaurant was Mexican.
“Los Lobos” is Prima’s Mexican restaurant, and we sat outside for our meal on the promenade deck as the sun set over Bermuda.
We found the guacamole that was made tableside. It was incredible – and I honestly could have eaten a bowl of this every single day!
I don’t think any guacamole I find at home will live up to this one because you could have it made however you like it – custom guacamole! It was so fun to see how it was made.
I knew that there was another speciality restaurant onboard that I had booked for later in the cruise where we would see all of our food being made – so I was excited about that one. This was like a little preview.
We ordered a mix of Tacos, Burritos and Fajitas all of which were fantastic. I didn’t think I had any room left after eating this but when I saw Churros on the menu, I knew I had to give them a go!
I’m convinced that desserts go into a different stomach – you can be totally full but then see the dessert menu and amazingly, a little space opens up!
Each portion of Churros was a 6-high stack and they came with a chocolate dipping sauce.
I didn’t manage to finish all of the churros, but I really enjoyed the ones I managed to eat.
Palomar – Mediterranean Restaurant
We also ate in Palomar, a Mediterranean restaurant. Norwegian advertise it by saying:
Pre-cruise I wasn’t really too sure how seafood could be an attraction – unless they had fish swimming around in the walls!
When they prepared the fish for two tableside, it made sense. I’ve never had a fish prepared in front of me before.
They had the most amazing roast potatoes here too, and you can actually see into the kitchen where the food is made which I always like. It’s interesting.
Our meals were all paired with wines too – which for somebody like me who knows very little about wine was fantastic.
As well as the speciality restaurants and main dining room there was also a buffet that was included in the cruise fare and open from early in the morning until late at night.
One of my favourite things about cruising with first-time cruisers is their faces when they realise that they can eat anything in the buffet – and as much as they want
I wish I could be there when every first-time cruiser realises that!
At the back of the buffet was a grill that served things like fries and burgers. We would quite often pick something up here if we were sitting outside in the sunshine. Our cruise went to Bermuda and we were very lucky with the weather.
The food in the buffet changes throughout the day and on a lot of cruise ships it’s pretty common to find that the main dining room and buffet are the only included options on the ship.
That is absolutely not the case for the Norwegian Prima, and the included options are some of the best I’ve ever found at sea!
It was a Norwegian cruise that got me hooked on cruise ship cookies and I have to say the cookies on Prima were every bit as good as I remember!
Observation Lounge Buffet
I found cookies in the Observation Lounge, which had a small buffet. I would often come here to grab breakfast in the morning.
I’m not much of a breakfast person so being able to just grab “something to go” suited me perfectly.
I did go to Hudson’s for breakfast too and that was great. They had a HUGE menu, and I decided to go for pancakes and some fruit.
It might sound like an odd thing to point out, but I was very impressed with the variety of fruit onboard.
Sometimes you’ll find that the fruit on a cruise is melon, melon and more melon, but on Prima, they had strawberries, blueberries, kiwis – you name it they seemed to have it!
The Local – Fast Food
When I cruised with Norwegian as a child you’d usually find me in the sports bar which was called “Blue Lagoon” back then.
It served things like Chicken Wings and Burgers – which really was a dream come true for teenage me!
I knew that Prima had a new updated version of the Blue Lagoon, so I hoped that I’d enjoy it as much as I used to!
I used to spend time in there playing the “Cha-Cha Slide” on the jukebox, and jumping around with my cousins!
In hindsight, that might have been annoying – so I’m sorry to anybody who was on a cruise with childhood me playing “The Cha-Cha Slide” on repeat!
On the Prima, the new version of the venue is called “The Local” and it is split into two sides with the restaurant side on one side and the bar on the other.
We would order things here like Nachos and Burgers. It was a great, fast meal.
Everything in The Local is included in your cruise fare. You’re always welcome to mix and match things on the menu. You can combine different dishes or ask for things without certain ingredients too.
There’s no limit on how much you can order either. The Local is open until 3 am – which is perfect for those late-night snacks when you’ve been partying in the ship’s nightclub – which interestingly is also the theatre. That was seriously cool!
Room service is available 24 hours a day at a charge.
We used it one afternoon to order a pizza and burger. It was great to relax on our balcony in the very comfortable balcony chairs and look out over Bermuda – which is beautiful.
Cagney’s Steak House
Next, we visited Cagney’s steak house which is a classic on all Norwegian cruise ships. They serve a variety of steaks and seafood.
As a side, the onion rings are always my recommendation with the amazing 7-layer chocolate cake for dessert. (I had this 7-layer chocolate cake on a cruise last year on the Norwegian Sun, and I hoped that they’d still have it on Prima – luckily they did!)
Hasuki – Japanese Grill
During the cruise, I’d often walked by the restaurant “Hasuki” and I had seen the chefs singing and throwing and catching food.
I couldn’t really work out what was happening from the door so I’m glad that we managed to book a table there.
Hasuki is particularly popular – so make sure you book a table as soon as possible!
Our meal started with our chef preparing a massive pile of rice and then cooking the steak, chicken, tofu and seafood options. While the food was being cooked we were given a salad, soup and Edamame beans to eat.
I’m so glad they gave us snacks because the smell of the food cooking did make me very hungry!
I knew that I had to go to dinner hungry because I’d heard previously that the portion sizes were big. But I wasn’t prepared enough – and didn’t manage to finish my main!
Our chef was so funny and got everybody involved in the meal by singing funny songs and cracking jokes.
In Hasuki It felt more like a show than a meal – but with the added bonus that we were all given a big plate of food to eat at the end!
I loved looking around the restaurant and seeing how much fun everybody was having, the atmosphere in the restaurant was great and it really bought us together as a group.
On the other side of the restaurant was a big family group all with custom T-shirts on.
A lot of cruise lines have strict dress codes but Norwegian don’t – and I love that.
If you want to meet new friends on a Norwegian cruise, this restaurant would be a great option. It’s definitely an icebreaker!
Nama Sushi – Sushi Restaurant
Opposite Hasuki is another restaurant called “Nama Sushi.” We didn’t have a chance to try that one during this cruise because there were so many other speciality restaurants to try.
I’d often see other guests in here, and their food always looked good. They do Sake flights here too, which is where you test teeny tiny glasses of Sake.
Indulge Food Hall
By far my favourite place onboard the ship to eat was the indulge food hall. This is a totally new concept that I’ve never seen on a cruise ship before, and I’d find myself coming back here lots of times during the cruise.
To me, Indulge felt like being in a big market hall, the type where you never really know what is around the corner.
The Indulge Food Hall is split up into different sections, and every section has its own theme with unique decor that matched the food themes.
When you sit down you order the food that you’d like on an iPad that is on each of the tables and as the food is freshly made from each section it is bought over to you.
It usually only took a couple of minutes but sometimes the food would arrive within 30 seconds – which I’m still amazed about!
I suppose it’s because it’s all designed as “fast food” so each section is making food constantly and sending it out when it’s ordered.
It was incredibly fast but despite being fast in terms of speed it definitely didn’t taste like “fast food” in terms of quality. If these dishes had been served in the speciality restaurants I wouldn’t have questioned it at all!
We ordered sandwiches, nachos, curries, rotisserie meats, noodles, pasta and so much more. The best thing was you could order all kinds of strange things together – like you might in a buffet – but so much better.
If you’d like to find out what the rest of the ship is like, including the spa, adult-only area, and music venues, check out my full ship tour video below:
I ate a lot on this cruise but I needed to because I was doing lots of exciting and slightly scary things like drop slides and go-karts!
To find out how I got on with these exciting activities, watch the video below:
To look at future cruises on Prima, check out Norwegian’s website here:
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