ONBOARD THE NORWEGIAN PRIMA — Surrounded by flashing lights and giant, red-capped mushrooms — while wearing one on her head with red, fringed chaps — Katy Perry rang in the naming of the Norwegian Prima, the inaugural ship in Norwegian Cruise Line’s first new class of ships in nearly a decade.
As the railings throughout the Prima Theater and Club shook and roughly 700 people took to their feet waving their hands to “California Girls,” Norwegian Cruise Line Holding’s CEO Frank Del Rio turned around from the front row and gazed at the people who could feel the sound of the music deep in their chests, and then he smiled.
This was the first festive celebration for the NCL brand after more than two years marked by pandemic-related hardship, and it marks the brand’s first serious push toward the premium market.
With 2,600 travel agents, partners and media on board, the christening was emotional for Del Rio, who thanked everyone in attendance for supporting them through that rocky time.
“Just like you, the person next to you, in front of you, behind you, that person faced the same challenges, the same uncertainties that you faced the last two years,” Del Rio said. “Just like, you, just like every person in this room, you have one thing in common: You never, ever, ever, gave up.”
‘Striving for what’s next’
With elevated designs, a specialty food court, a three-deck go-kart track and other new toys for kids and adults, Del Rio said the Prima is just the beginning. He urged the crowd to clear their calendars for this time next year, when the line plans to introduce the class’s second ship, the Norwegian Viva. Four more ships are planned in the following four years.
Norwegian Cruise Line CEO Harry Sommer, who stressed the ship’s spaciousness by repeatedly pointing out that cabins on the Prima are larger than his first New York apartment, celebrated the ship as an evolution for the brand.
“We’re forever striving for what’s next… What’s in the future after a ship so beautiful than this?” He, too, pointed to the Viva.
Katy Perry on the Prima
For a cruise line that emphasizes entertainment, that prowess was on display on Saturday night in a fully equipped theater filled with blue crushed-velvet seats, which converts to a large dance floor.
Before triggering a bottle of champagne to crash into the bow, Perry — who has 13 Grammy Award nominations under her belt — said this was her first experience on a ship like this and said she had spent hours dancing with her daughter earlier and creating memories she won’t forget. She added she planned to hit up the go-karts later Saturday night.
When Perry said she wouldn’t sail on any other line, Del Rio quipped, “You’re not allowed to;” she immediately wrapped her arm around his shoulder to reassure him.
Before Perry took the stage, NCL brought out Islandic pop sensation Dadi Freyr for several songs performed before a Nintendo-like backdrop. Perry’s hourlong set included the classics that propelled her to fame like “I Kissed a Girl” and “Hot and Cold.” She dedicated “Teenage Dream” to Del Rio and his wife, who met when they were 16.
“Let’s get honest, how many of you are going to get black-out drunk tonight?” Perry said in the middle of her set, which was met with cheers. She later asked people to pull out their phone flashlight, adding they could light up the theater for the first time as she sang “Wide Awake.”
Perry didn’t just come on to sing and depart. A spokesman said she would stay on the cruise for the next few days.
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