A look at the first sustainable cocktail bar at sea aboard Norwegian Prima
Many travelers have flocked to cruises this year – some experienced cruisers and some newbies. And since the pandemic and their return to the world, many travelers have shown with their dollars that they are ready to splurge.
Norwegian Cruise Line has upped its game among luxury cruise competitors with The Haven, which not only consists of better staterooms, but a completely improved end-to-end experience from embarkation to disembarkation.
Guests of The Haven can cherish their exclusivity even before accessing their suites, which are isolated from other staterooms on the office with an electronically locking door that opens with a key card. Behind those doors, hallways are lined with dark wood paneling and mood lighting reminiscent of an urban luxury hotel, and that’s by design.
NCL President and CEO Harry Sommer recalled that when NCL approached designers, the company wanted a cruise ship that didn’t “depreciate,” a ship that looked like “a beautiful hotel high-end, or even to a type of residential area”.
“We use a lot of different architects to design the space, and they all have different visions, and then you try to do your best to make sure that when you leave a room that an architect has designed and then move on to the next piece that a different architect designed, there’s a certain continuity that doesn’t feel like you’re in two different places,” Sommer explained at a press conference in New York earlier this month. So I think there are a few pieces where we do a better job with those transitions.”
Completed this year, NCL’s newest vessel, Prima, measures 965 feet (294 meters) from stern to bow, accommodating more than 3,100 guests in double occupancy with more than 1,500 crew members. The first of a new class of six ships from NCL slated to deploy from 2022 to 2027, NCL touts the Prima as pushing the boundaries of cruise design, service and sustainability.
NCL has assembled a consortium of leading design firms for the Prima class, including Piero Lissoni, Rockwell Group, SMC Design and Studio Dado. The cruise line has also invested more than $6 million in art, with works by more than 50 world-renowned artists, which are organized and spread throughout the ship in various lounges, hallways and even an open-air sculpture garden. air.
The Haven’s cabins are considerably larger, with dedicated living and bar areas, separate bedrooms, bathrooms large enough to accommodate a bathtub, at least double the deck space. Guests have dedicated concierges to access anything they might need as well as help making reservations at any of the specialty restaurants, shore excursions or any of the ship’s entertainment programs, such as an off-Broadway musical or improv show.
The Haven is also particularly appealing to digital nomads, and it’s not just for the extra living space in the bedrooms (as well as Wi-Fi throughout the ship). Guests of The Haven have access to a special lounge, with its own bar and restaurant, but also plenty of sofas and a quiet space to work. The Haven Lounge also has its own private deck at the rear of the ship with an infinity pool.
Sommer also told reporters that The Haven has opened up NCL to more “multi-generational travel.”
“I think it appeals to a slightly different demographic, a slightly more affluent demographic, and to some extent a slightly older demographic,” Sommer said, describing how guests of these suites will often want to bring their children and grandchildren, but are hard-pressed to find a suitable experience that offers both family time with a premium brand. “So here you get the best of both worlds, where the more affluent get concierge, key card access, private restaurant, their own pool, but their kids and grandkids” can visit the waterslides and the three-story race track.
The Haven accounts for more than 100 of the 1,600 cabins, or about 6% of occupancy, and Sommer estimated The Haven accounts for at least 3% of the cabins in its fleet so far.
Sustainable cocktails at sea
Sustainability is no longer just a metric or goal for small science-based expedition cruises. Cruise operators, large or small, economy or luxury, have embarked on renovating their ships or building them from the sea to be more respectful of the environment and the natural ecosystems of their destinations.
Of course, when you’re cruising, there’s fun to be had, and there can also be fun while promoting sustainability.
For example, NCL boasts that the Prima will host the first sustainable cocktail bar at sea. The Metropolitan Bar is a concept space that uses food scraps to make its own liqueurs and syrups for specialty cocktails. The drink menu includes the “Primadonna”, which looks like an Old Fashioned but is made with Flor de Caña ECO rum, homemade banana peel syrup, nut bitters and orange zest; and the Sustainable Spritz, which looks like an Aperol Spritz but is made with rosemary stem-infused vodka, excess champagne, soda water, and half a wheel of orange.
The cocktail bar is part of NCL’s broader ESG strategy, Sail and Sustain, which is focused on reducing environmental impact (waste minimization, freshwater conservation, ocean protection, etc.) , investment in local communities and disaster relief (especially areas most affected by climate change-induced disasters), personal data and privacy protection, empowerment and well- be employees.
Among some of the ship’s most notable sustainability features: Onboard food digesters use air, water and microbiology to safely turn food waste into liquid, reducing overall food waste. And for onboard water production, evaporators and reverse osmosis plants use seawater as a source, reducing the need for freshwater bunkering. The ballast water treatment system has been designed to ensure that no invasive species are inadvertently introduced into new waters.
Overall, NCL aims to have zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, which Sommer acknowledged is an “aggressive path.”
“But we absolutely plan to stick with it and work on it,” Sommer said. He identified two “promising” areas that NCL is considering to achieve this. The first is biodiesel fuel, which NCL is already testing on some ships in its fleet, and which is already compatible with onboard fuel tanks and engines. Biodiesel is more widely available in Europe, although, as Sommer noted, it is mainly used by trucking companies.
The second domain is methanol; Sommer said NCL is looking to test some ships, but is also eager to build ships with methanol support from day one rather than having to convert existing engineering later. Sommer added that NCL has looked into hydrogen fuel, but there aren’t enough readily green supplies available. He said he expects more progress on that front in the second half of the decade that begins in the 2030s.
“We can be well on the way to doing that,” Sommer said, “with the technology that either exists today or appears to be on the verge of being available on a commercial basis for cruise ships.”
This story was originally featured on Fortune.com