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Iceland, Katy Perry, a brand new $1.5 billion cruise ship and me


You would be forgiven for contemplating {that a} new $1.5 billion, 3215 passenger-strong cruise ship, that includes a three-tiered electrical go-kart racing circuit, a 10-storey, corkscrew slippery dip and an on-board theatre that converts to a discotheque, would in itself be star energy sufficient to mark its launch.

However no. Internationally, the cruise business has by some means, nearly triumphantly, emerged from a pandemic-induced, close-call collective scuttling, even with many liners succumbing to the scrapyards. It is time to have fun, albeit a bit of circumspectly.

Certainly the excited, and little question relieved, custodians of the cruise liner in query, the Norwegian Prima – aboard which I embark on a greater than week-long European cruise – determined that they required their very own prima donna (hopefully within the non-pejorative definition of the time period), aboard to supercharge the vessel’s official launch within the Icelandic capital of Reykjavik.

Enter, stage starboard, Katy Perry, the worldwide American singer-songwriter celebrity whose provocative 2008 hit, I Kissed a Woman, launched her worldwide profession.

She’s been signed, at little question appreciable expense, to function Norwegian Prima’s godmother, or, extra exactly “godparent”.

Perry is to carry out a full live performance on the cruise, and can be accompanied on board by her fiance, British actor Orlando Bloom, to sprinkle but extra stardust round the deck. 

However again to the setting of the ship’s launch – Iceland. It takes me  nearly 30 hours – or, to be extra exact, a lifetime – to achieve Reykjavik. It is my first go to and I’ve flown from Sydney to London, through Singapore and London on to the opposite worldly so-called “Land of Fireplace and Ice”.

From my British Airways jet on its dramatic method to town’s modest Keflavík Airport, there isn’t any signal of the current fiery lively volcano which impressed world headlines.

However I do handle to identify Iceland’s Blue Lagoon, the famed geothermal spa, which from above resembles a spillage of aquamarine-coloured rest room cleaner on a toilet ground.

It is tough to understand that I am arriving in a rustic with a inhabitants that’s smaller than that of the ACT, contemplating Iceland’s cultural weight and its international notoriety for arresting landscapes.

That is the place the 129,274 tonne Norwegian Prima awaits me and some thousand different passengers with Reykjavik being the start line of a week-long cruise to Amsterdam in The Netherlands, with calls to Cork, Eire, Portland in England and Le Havre, France.

However proper now all these locations seem to be afterthoughts after having landed on this (ice) bucket checklist vacation spot. Katy and Orlando apart, there’s a lot to devour the cruise tragics and converts on this voyage, particularly since for a lot of, this represents our first voyage for 2 and a half years, because of you-know-what.

Noticed from a distance en route from the airport, in a low-rise Reykjavik, Prima presents an imposing sight as it’s quickly one of many tallest constructions, competing in top with Hallgrímskirkja, town’s 74-metre Lutheran church which confidently thrusts skywards like a perpetually stalled rocket above town.

Talking of such confidence, there are plans by a by no means extra buoyant Norwegian Cruise Line to provide delivery (berth?) to 5 extra colossal Prima Class ships at its Italian shipyards between now and 2007. Pandemic? What pandemic?

Earlier than I board, there is a evening on terra firma on the metropolis’s boutique Konsulat Resort, proper subsequent to a scorching canine stand the place Invoice Clinton famously paused for a snack (maintain the mustard), together with a efficiency on the dazzling, colored glass-encased Harpa live performance corridor by Iceland’s appreciable cultural expertise (sorry, no Bjork).

Then there’s a typical however nonetheless beautiful “Golden Circle” tour of a few of Iceland’s main pure sights together with the wild, arrow-shaped, Gullfoss Falls, brim-filled by the raging meltwaters from the large Langjokull glacier, the second greatest glacier in Iceland.

As soon as lastly aboard the ship, there appear to be two celebrations taking place: one marking the christening of Norwegian Prima and one other, not devoid of a little bit of nose-thumbing to the doubters, to mark cruising’s comeback.

My light-filled stateroom, my glad house for the following week, consists of an extraordinarily comfy mattress and small balcony and has fetchingly impartial tonings, resembling a set in a compact boutique lodge.

Whereas the ship is tethered to the dock whereas right here in Reykjavik, the starboard facet view from my abode is of attractive Videy Island with its mountain backdrop overlooking Kollafjorour Bay, solely a brief distance from town.

Apart from being a puffin habitat within the chilly Iceland summer time, the island’s additionally the positioning of the Think about Peace Tower, a memorial to John Lennon by his widow, Yoko Ono.

Nearer to town centre is one other memorial of types, one to peace. It is the location of the Reykjavík Summit between US President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Chief Mikhail Gorbachev, held on October 11 and 12, 1986, on the quaint, whitewashed Hofdi Home.

I discover myself torn between Reykjavik and the ship itself, however I am right here for a cruise and, on a nearer inspection of Prima between shore forays, it is clear it is one thing of a hybrid affair.

In addition to “The Drop” the aforementioned slippery dip to finish all slippery dips and the Prima Speedway, these looking for a extra intimate expertise can go to The Haven, an aptly-named personal sanctuary with superior staterooms inside the principle ship, for these keen to pay a premium.

The moderately refined inside design of The Haven, in addition to the whole lot of the ship for that matter, represents a significant step-up for the Norwegian model with the road having engaged main worldwide design expertise for Prima’s creation. Daring hull paintings by an Italian street-artist balances the brand new look.

All of it attracts Norwegian Prima nearer alongside different extra upscale although decrease capability and extra intimate manufacturers in the remainder of the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet, specifically Regent Seven Seas and Oceania.

Charting a extra luxurious course additionally necessitates a better vary of meals choices, from Norwegian Prima’s “speciality” prime finish eating decisions, which include a surcharge, proper all the way down to its extra relaxed up to date and all inclusive Indulge Meals Corridor.

After our few memorable days in Reykjavík, Prima units to sea, the ship formally launched. Competitors is fierce for a restaurant reservation with the Perry-Blooms, their brood and entourage reserving out the whole lot of Nama, one among two Japanese eating places aboard Norwegian Prima.

Hmmm. Perhaps they’ve connections or one thing. I get bumped however I am hardly perturbed. Solely nights earlier than Perry handled these aboard to a knockout efficiency. Pathetic gratitude would not describe it.

And with a plethora of top-class consuming venues aboard this ship you’ll, with or with out reservation, not starve.

In the end, you can be relieved to be taught, that me and my imaginary Japanese cuisine-adoring entourage, handle to snare a spot not solely on the sushi-themed Nama but in addition on the teppanyaki-based Hasuki. Completely satisfied days.

Certainly, it is arduous to imagine that, after such an action-packed and star-studded few days aboard the largely moored Prima, that we nonetheless have a lot of our sea-going itinerary forward of us. Now, in spite of everything that is occurred these previous, sorry few years, that is certainly trigger for celebration.

Anthony Dennis travelled as a visitor of Norwegian Cruise Line and British Airways.

THE DETAILS

CRUISE

A ten-day Northern Europe cruise from Reykjavik, Iceland, to London on Norwegian Prima departs in September, 2024. From $3420 a particular person (primarily based on an inside cabin). The associated fee consists of beverage and eating packages, Wi-Fi, shore tour credit score, third and fourth company at a decreased fee plus as much as 40 per cent financial savings.

BOOK

Contact a journey agent or name Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) 1300 255 200 or go to ncl.com

FLY

British Airways operates every day flights to London Heathrow from Sydney through Singapore. From Heathrow’s Terminal 5, join with BA’s three hour and 10 minute direct service to Reykjavik. See britishairways.com

MORE

traveller.com.au/iceland

visiticeland.com

FIVE MORE THINGS TO DO AND SEE ABOARD

MARVEL AT THE ARTWORK

Norwegian Prima is a fully-fledged shifting artwork gallery with $US6 million of works by greater than 50 famend artists from around the globe adorning the ship.

SEE A STAGE SHOW

They cannot promise a Katy Perry on each cruise however Norwegian Prima operators can assure Broadway and West Finish-calibre leisure inside its three-level multi-purpose theatre.

ENJOY THE WIDE OPEN SPACES

Norwegian Prima boasts nearly 40 per cent extra space a visitor in contrast with different up to date ships and has extra outside deck house and extra spacious lodging.

GET INTO THE SWING

The indoors Galaxy Pavilion consists of 4 “hyper-immersive simulator experiences”, escape rooms and the one Topgolf Swing Suite at sea, powered by the identical simulator utilized by {golfing} legend Tiger Woods.

TREAT YOURSELF

The beautiful Mandara Spa is billed because the place “the place the ocean meets the therapeutic waters inside” and options the whole lot from detoxifying saunas to a two-storey waterfall.



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