A Texas Cruise Out of Galveston: A Norwegian Prima Review

States on the water, like Florida and California, are notorious for their beaches, port cities, and being hot spots for the best cruises. However, if you’re in need of a getaway full of sunshine, ocean views, and amusement park style fun, you don’t have to catch a flight or make a long drive to do so!

It’s true! There is a new Texas cruise sailing out of Galveston! The Norwegian Prima, a cruise ship from Norwegian Cruise Liners, offers everything from entertainment and activities to extensive menus and luxurious accommodations! We had the chance to set sail on the Norwegian Prima, and although we browsed every page of the internet and every square inch of the app before boarding, we didn’t know what to expect. To make it a bit easier if you’re looking to book a cruise aboard this shiny new cruise ship, we wanted to put together a Norwegian Prima review for you to reference when you plan your next Texas cruise.

If You Have Reservations About Going on a Texas Cruise

I was weary at first about being on a cruise ship. The reality is, if you get bored, you don’t have any other options. You’re basically stuck. It turned out, we weren’t prepared for how rich our experience would be! The cool thing about cruises, especially this Texas cruise out of Galveston, is the convenience of having everything you could need (restaurants, bars, recreation, views) steps from your room.

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A Norwegian Prima Review: Our First Impressions

The first thing I noticed about the Norwegian Prima was all of the customization and personality they put into the ship. There were lounge chairs of all colors, different swinging chairs, beds to layout on, and more. They worked with multiple furniture providers so there was always somewhere fun and unique to sit. It sounds silly, but it’s that small attention to detail that stood out to me. 

Pink, table for two

Personally, the best part of a cruise is just being surrounded by the unparalleled views of the rolling sea. There’s a lot of places on land you can go for activities and food, but only one where you can get views like this. When we docked at port one morning, we got the once in a lifetime opportunity to witness dolphins jumping around in the water! 

One of the outdoor decks with the ocean in the background

Another thing, which I don’t know if it was the ship or where we were, but the ride was so smooth. I remember waking up in the middle of the night rocking from other cruises, but I slept soundly every night on the Norwegian Prima.

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A Norwegian Prima Review: The Rooms

We ended up having a Mini Suite with a balcony. While I’ve sailed before, this was my first time with a view of the sea. That natural light coming in every day and waking up to the seemingly infinite ocean reaching over the horizon every morning was the best way to start our day aboard the Norwegian Prima.

The room was bright and modern, and we never felt cramped. I also can’t get over how great the crew was (overall), but the way the man taking care of our room, keeping it nice and tidy throughout the day was such a luxury.

Man watching TV in a luxurious room with natural lighting and modern decor

A Norwegian Prima Review: The Pools

We spent a lot of time at the pool aboard the Norwegian Prima, and what I really enjoyed was the layout. While yes, there was one main pool where everyone congregated, there were also several smaller pools to help even out the crowds. They even had two infinity pools which was amazing. Cruise ships typically have pools where you can look out to sea, but it’s usually partially obstructed by glass. Sitting at the infinity pool gave us the best possible views of the endless ocean.

Additionally, Norwegian Prima provided some thrills with a slide attached to the wave pool that they have on board! It was one of those things I mistakenly saved for the last day and ran out of time for. It looked like such a cool experience!

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A Norwegian Prima Review: The Dining Experience

My husband and I are big foodies, so we knew our dining experience aboard the Norwegian Prima could make or break this Texas cruise for us. This was honestly one of our biggest concerns because we love flavor and trying new things. However, the food on the Norwegian Prima actually completely surprised us. I’m really big into being as detailed as possible about food, so I knew I had to dedicate a whole post just to all that we ate during our Texas cruise.

A Norwegian Prima Review: Live Entertainment

Undoubtedly, there was so much to do on the Norwegian Prima! There were so many things I wanted to do that I didn’t have time for, and the entertainment alone is a reason to rebook this Texas cruise out of Galveston.

I’m more of an active person, so I sometimes struggle to sit and watch something. Still, I wanted to catch the shows, but there was just not enough time! What we did catch were the live performers that popped up all over the Norwegian Prima and I was bewildered at how talented they were. I am not exaggerating when I say I thought they were celebrities that I was unfamiliar with. One of the singers brought so much energy, I could have spent every night just listening to him sing! 

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A Norwegian Prima Review: Free Activities

There’s no getting bored on the Norwegian Prima with everything that’s included. Of course, as I’ve said, there’s nonstop entertainment: dance nights, live performances, and comedy, but there are so many other activities that make it one of the best Texas cruises out of Galveston.

  • Movies – Want a cozy day in while looking out over the water? The TVs are always playing a long range of TV shows and movies, new and old, that were perfect for us.
  • Slides – With a 10-story, freefall dry slide, the fastest of its kind, and even loopty loop slides, these will make for an exciting view of the sea. You’ll feel like you’re about to plummet straight into it!
Swirly slide off the side of the cruise ship
  • Upstairs Game Lounge – I thought this was so neat! I could have spent so much time up there playing ping pong, tableside soccer, and other games.
  • Entertainment Nights – I go to bed early. I want to make it for breakfast, but the way we had a blast at the club was insane. It only happened because my social husband managed to make friends who dragged us along, but I’m so glad we did. Every night is different! One night we went to Sensoria, which started out as a crazy techno dance show, where we managed to dance the night away under all the lights.

A Norwegian Prima Review: Paid Activities

  • Prima Speedway – Go-Karts at sea? There’s nothing else like it! It was crazy to zip around this three-story racetrack with blue in every direction. All of it just adds to the thrill!
Go-Kart racetrack starting point
  • Tee Time & Bull’s Eye – Opt for a group game of darts in a reserved space. It felt like one of those personal golf lounges, but with darts! Speaking of golf, Norwegian Prima really went big with their photo worthy miniature golf area, with beautiful sets and unique challenges.
  • Virtual Reality – This was probably my all-time favorite activity! It might just be the best virtual reality on sea OR land. There was a virtual roller coaster, VR racing, and games of all kinds!
VR rollercoaster with riders inside of it wearing goggles

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A Norwegian Prima Review: The Spa

If we’re going to book a spa service, we don’t want just a run of the mill experience. The Norwegian Prima wowed again! As soon as you enter, you’ll see two pools with waterfall features. They offer a day pass where you can enjoy thermal pools, as well as a whole array of rooms, such as a sauna, steam room, cold room, infrared room, salt room, an experiential shower, and more! It’s a whole wonderland of wellness.

In addition to that were the treatments themselves. They had several services to choose from that even I hadn’t heard of before, including a zero-gravity massage. The massage I chose included laying on a bunch of tiny beads, so every limb had the whole time to unwind.

Woman inside an indoor whirlpool

Where the Norwegian Prima Sails 

If you’ve ever dreamt of visiting the Western Caribbean, this Texas cruise aboard the Norwegian Prima is for you! Beginning in 2023 through April 2024, you can book everything from 4 to 11-day cruises to the following places with 8 to 9 hours spent in port, meaning plenty of time for exploring:

  • Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico
  • Norwegian Cruise Lines private island, Harvest Caye (Belize)
  • Belize City, Belize
  • Mahogany Bay and Roatan Island, Honduras
  • George Town, Grand Cayman
  • Key West, Florida,
  • Freeport, Half Moon Cay, Nassau, and Castaway Cay in the Bahamas
  • Falmouth, Montego Bay, and Ocho Rios, Jamaica

See their website to book your next Texas cruise aboard the Norwegian Prima!

Dance performers in Mexico wearing traditional outfits

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What to Tip on the Norwegian Prima

Our service was wonderful and even if it wasn’t, it’s important to budget for tips/gratuity fees when you’re doing any kind of traveling. Every service provider on board deserves a fair tip for all they do to make your experience memorable. For this reason, Norwegian Cruise Lines has an automatic service charge that equates to $20 – $25 per person, per day (guests younger than 3 do not pay this service charge).

With that being said, you can choose to prepay for gratuity fees when you book your tickets or 24 hours prior to your trip. In reality, it’s a convenience so you don’t have to travel with large amounts of cash. You might even notice, if you prepay your gratuity fees, you get a cheaper rate, depending on what is offered by the cruise line. You can, of course, choose to pay these fees aboard the cruise ship after you’ve received service, like you would on land.

Four bartenders working with rows of cocktails in front of them

However, there are pluses to prepaying your gratuity fees: if rates happen to go up in between the time you book and the actual cruise, you don’t have to pay to meet the new rates. You can also choose to pay your service provider more than the pre-set gratuity fee by giving them cash, or if you happen to receive poor service, simply go to Guest Services and let them know the reason you’d like your gratuity fees reduced.

Be aware that you may see gratuity charges on receipts for paid services, like at the spa, the bar, or restaurants, which are separate from any pre-paid gratuity charges you paid during booking. Additionally, if you purchase a free beverage package, a gratuity charge will also be added to the cost when you book. It is encouraged that you also tip employees that deliver your room service aboard the Norwegian Prima.

You may also encounter baggage handlers or tour guides at port. Be sure to bring extra cash with you so you can tip them, since they are not associated with Norwegian Cruise Lines.

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Tips to Make This Your Best Texas Cruise

  •  Bring a large, refillable water bottle – I wish I had done this. Water seemed to be a hot commodity aboard this Texas cruise ship, and with all the drinking there is to do, it’s so easy to end the day dehydrated. The waiters will happily give you water, but it never seems like enough. However, if you have a refillable water bottle (or two – one to carry with you and one to fill and leave in your cabin), they will gladly fill it up for you to help keep you hydrated.
  • Pack vitamin C and hydration – This was another thing I am so glad I brought. With all that drinking, make sure you’re getting lots of electrolytes. It was a nice change to water and really helped with not feeling hungover. 
  • Bring other liquid packets – I know, I’m really into all things related to drinks! But if you aren’t going to buy a drink package (and even if you are), it’s an easy way to add a little more flavor to what they offer. Tea, lemonade, fruit flavored mixes, etc. It just really helps, and since water is free, you can mix it up. Same thing with coffee. I am a Starbucks addict, but if you’re trying to save money on this Texas cruise and like your lattes, pick up a cappuccino mix or something similar. 
  • Carry hand sanitizer – They had so many stations with hand sanitizer available, but it was such a convenience to have it when it’s not easy to get to.
  • Cash for reasons mentioned above.

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Our Favorite Cruise Looks

Of course, we want to look cute on this Texas cruise, which is why I’m sharing some of my favorite swimsuits, easy cover ups, and of course, cute dresses for the evening. Be sure to pack a long sleeve swimming option for when you are slacking on your sunscreen application. Always check your cruise itinerary, especially for dinner, as many have dress codes. You don’t want to end up being limited to the buffet meals or having to splurge on a shirt if you don’t have a collared shirts (for the men, as an example).

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A Norwegian Prima Review: Final Thoughts

I loved how unique the Norwegian Prima was. I was never bored! Norwegian Prima also managed to find the best staff. Cruise ship customer service is unlike anywhere else. I truly appreciate how everyone aboard this Texas cruise ship worked so hard to make sure we had the best experience possible. They truly went above and beyond our expectations! We received first-class service everywhere we went! It’s things like that that make a vacation one you’ll remember forever.

There were a few things I thought could have been better. For instance, the specialty dining. I just didn’t find it worth the extra cost, and I was really looking forward to trying out different restaurants. However, I enjoyed the normal complimentary dining so much, I wasn’t concerned about the specialty dining in the end. The other thing would be the wait at Hudson’s for breakfast and dinner.