Jump to content

Norwegian Viva - Live and Onboard From August 10

Recommended Posts

Hello Cruise Hive readers!

Tomorrow marks our much-anticipated embarkation day for Norwegian Viva, Norwegian Cruise Line's new Prima Class cruise ship. I'm thrilled to be one of the first to give you a firsthand account as we sail from Trieste to Civitavecchia, Italy.

I have been invited as a guest of Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) to embark on this voyage. That said, Cruise Hive readers can rest assured that my experiences, observations, and thoughts shared will remain impartial, reflecting the genuine quality and service of the ship.

Norwegian Viva, at 142,500 gross tons and with a length of 965 feet, has been constructed at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy. With the capability to host 3,219 guests across 20 decks, this ship is the second in class after Norwegian Prima, which launched last year. 

Despite a slight delay from its original launch date of July 3rd due to global supply chain issues, the excitement surrounding this cruise ship has only intensified. On August 10, 2023, the Norwegian Viva's inaugural Mediterranean voyage will sail to Split, Croatia, and Salerno, Italy, followed by itineraries covering stops in Spain, Italy, and France, just to name a few. 

The ship will transition to the Caribbean as the season progresses, making its winter homeport in sunny San Juan, Puerto Rico.

For our readers curious about the onboard amenities, let's explore what we will cover over the next few days. 

The ship offers five complimentary dining venues, from the laid-back atmosphere of The Local Bar & Grill to the elegant ambiance of The Commodore Room. Guests seeking a more specialized dining experience can choose from venues such as Onda by Scarpetta or Cagney's Steakhouse. Other options include the Mediterranean-inspired Palomar, while the Food Republic offers an eclectic menu inspired by Asian, Mediterranean, and American flavors. While our time onboard will be limited, we will include as many experiences as possible.

Accommodation promises a range of options. From the luxury of The Haven to cozy studio cabins designed for solo travelers, Norwegian Viva boasts the most stateroom categories for the Prima Class. 

While 'Beetlejuice: The Musical' fans may be slightly disappointed with its postponement on this voyage, fear not! The ship offers many entertainment alternatives, including 18 bars and lounges and the Galaxy Pavilion, which promises immersive reality experiences. Further, the ship features a range of musical performances, comedians, and more.

The Viva Speedway race track stretches a staggering 1,400 feet across three decks. For those seeking a thrilling descent, the ten-deck dry slide named "The Drop" and its companion "The Rush" await. For younger guests, a dedicated Kids' Aqua Park and Splash Academy are ready to entertain them.

Each day this week, expect an update packed with insights, personal observations, and pictures to make you feel like you're sailing right beside us. From dining experiences, cabin insights, and premium areas like The Haven to a snapshot of the myriad entertainment options – we've got you covered.

Whether you're curious about particular amenities, dining preferences, cabin specifics, or even the daily entertainment schedule, we're here to provide answers.

Please drop your questions in the comments below. I’ll address them in the daily updates or directly in the comments. 


  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A Small Ship Feel Onboard a Large Cruise Ship

After much anticipation and pre-voyage excitement, yesterday was the day! We finally embarked Norwegian Viva. The embarkation process was nothing short of a dream. With a reservation for the 10:00-10:30 AM slot, our feet were firmly on the ship by 10:30. A delightful surprise was our luggage greeting us outside our cabins by 11:00 AM.


Though this voyage isn’t sailing at full capacity, a crowded sensation might arise if every berth would be occupied. But here’s the catch, the Norwegian Viva effortlessly brings a small-ship vibe to life, albeit being a massive vessel. Past grievances about the Prima class's layout seemed foreign to me. Instead, the ship offers an intuitive and generous spacing, crafted to make numerous ship areas engaging enough to draw in the crowds.

The crew's performance thus far deserves a standing ovation. Their first cruise, and yet they appeared seasoned and synchronized, delivering impeccable service. Everywhere I turned, there was a crew member greeting us with a beaming smile, which genuinely elevated the guest experience. The vast majority of the crew hails from the Philippines, while Muaritius and Central American and South American countries are also well represented. 

On this voyage, the guest composition predominantly includes families with children, young professionals, and couples ranging from their 50s to 60s, with a smaller representation of senior guests. Pretty much what you would expect on a cruise in the summer vacation.

Safety, while paramount, was a slightly audible presence on our first day. The procedures are simple: a quick card scan at the assembly station followed by a safety video viewing. But the recurrent safety announcements throughout the day became a tad overbearing. Understandably, NCL prioritizes our safety, and this occasional sound disruption was a small price to pay.

On to the most delectable part: the food. Our lunch rendezvous was at the Surfside Cafe, offering a plethora of mouthwatering choices. For dinner, we indulged at the specialty restaurant, Le Bistro. The menu took us on a culinary journey across Europe with a French focus. Our choices ranged from Steak Tartare and Scallops to the luxurious Lobster Thermidor and the divine Tournedos Rossini. Each plate was not only a feast for the palate but a visual treat too.

On our first day in Split, we opted for breakfast at the Surfside Cafe. Although it was bustling with activity, the experience was decent, if not slightly underwhelming. However, choices were plentiful. For Lunch, and if the bustling ambiance of the Surfside Cafe  isn’t your scene, the Local Bar and Grill offers a tranquil alternative with classic bar favorites, spanning burgers to salads.

For entertainment seekers, the Galaxy Pavilion promises a universe of amusement. The virtual reality games and the escape room were definite crowd-pleasers, even though they do carry an additional charge. And if you're in for a dose of adrenaline, make sure to experience the heady rush of The Drop & The Rush slides. Fans of Go-karts shouldn't miss the Viva Speedway, priced at 15 dollars a go. Their speed might not give Formula 1 a run for its money, but the joy of zipping around, especially with younger guests, is unmatchable.

For those looking for a great Waterpark, Norwegian Viva is not the best in my opinion. Carnival and Royal Caribbean do better. There is one tube slide, which is fun, but short, the main pool is adequate but on the small side, especially if the ship would be at full capacity. For the youngest guests, the Kids' Aqua Park is definitely fun for the youngest of guests, although kids over 7-8 years of age will likely look for more exciting options.

That wraps up our Day 1 recap onboard the Norwegian Viva. Stay tuned as we unravel more hidden gems and experiences in the days to come. And don’t forget to drop your questions or curiosities in the comments!

Smooth sailings until our next update! 🚢












  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Robert Mcgillivray Wow, I love seeing the photos of the gorgeous Norwegian Viva! This ship is going to be a popular addition to the list of ships sailing the Caribbean. The homeport of San Juan will surely be an attractive spot for cruise guests around the world. As a person who doesn't enjoy the virtual reality world, the Viva Speedway is so much more appealing than the Formula 1 option. What type of stateroom is this? Are you staying in a basic balcony stateroom or is this a suite? I love how spacious and well-designed this stateroom is. It has so much elegance! Is there a water park onboard? Norwegian Viva seems to be geared toward the adult crowd. Also, will you get the opportunity to spend time in the spa?

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 hours ago, 3Sisters said:

@Robert Mcgillivray Wow, I love seeing the photos of the gorgeous Norwegian Viva! This ship is going to be a popular addition to the list of ships sailing the Caribbean. The homeport of San Juan will surely be an attractive spot for cruise guests around the world. As a person who doesn't enjoy the virtual reality world, the Viva Speedway is so much more appealing than the Formula 1 option. What type of stateroom is this? Are you staying in a basic balcony stateroom or is this a suite? I love how spacious and well-designed this stateroom is. It has so much elegance! Is there a water park onboard? Norwegian Viva seems to be geared toward the adult crowd. Also, will you get the opportunity to spend time in the spa?


To answer your questions:

  1. Stateroom Type: We're staying in a balcony stateroom. It's not a suite, but it's incredibly cozy. The thoughtful design includes ample storage, and the bathroom, particularly the shower, stands out as one of the best I've encountered on a cruise ship. As someone who's quite picky about mattresses, I was pleasantly surprised by the comfort of the bed here; I slept without interruptions! The balcony is a nice touch, with comfortable chairs perfect for relaxation. There are ample plugs hroughout the room and the bedside lamps are fitted with USB outlets (both USB 2 and C)

  2. Waterpark: The ship doesn't have a traditional waterpark like you'd find on the Breakaway class, Royal Caribbean, or Carnival ships. However, there's an impressive pool and a spectacular wet-slide. Younger kids will certainly enjoy the splash zone.

  3. Activities: While the ship leans more towards the upscale adult audience, kids have plenty of entertainment on decks 18-19 and in the Galaxy Pavillion on deck 17. Plus, there's a kids' club catering mainly to the under-10 age group.

  4. Spa Experience: The spa onboard is exceptional! I highly recommend trying out a thermal spa pass. It offers access to various facilities including a thermal pool, steam room, different types of saunas, a salt room, and even an ice room. Don't miss out on the experiential showers!

Hope this helps and offers a glimpse into our experience onboard!

  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Norwegian Viva, Access All Areas

Deck 18 & 19: The Epicenter of Fun and Premium Access Areas

Tee Time & Thrilling Slides The aft section of Deck 18 and 19 on Norwegian Viva promises boundless entertainment. For those looking for a more laid-back experience, Tee Time mini-golf has you covered. Navigate your ball through the amusing and intricate obstacles and take a break from the sun and sea.

Now, if you're more in the mood for some adrenaline-pumping fun, these decks won't disappoint either. 'The Drop' and 'The Rush' slides provide the thrill-seekers onboard with that much-needed rush of excitement. As the names suggest, expect heart-pounding moments as you slide through them!

The Stadium Adjacent to these slides, you'll find 'The Stadium.' Whether you're into padel, table tennis, or just looking to compete in some fun games, this is your arena. A little heads up – you might want to book a slot for the Viva Speedway. It's a race worth taking, but it comes at a price of 15 dollars a run. Speed, fun, and thrill – the trio awaits you at this Speedway.

Kid’s Aqua Park & The Wave Waterslide Moving to the forward section of Deck 18, the scene shifts slightly. Here, the youngest guests have their paradise – the Kid’s Aqua Park. Though not vast, it's a delightful and safe haven for kids to splash and play.

 As you move up to Deck 19, you'll be greeted by 'The Wave Waterslide.' This tube slide, though not the longest at sea, is quite the ride. Expect a heart-dropping plunge into the wave section, which seamlessly leads to the end section. The Wave might not boast length, but it surely promises fun in abundance.

Our Two Cents What truly stood out for us aboard the Norwegian Viva was the efficient handling of guest entertainment. Though there's so much happening, it never felt congested or overwhelmingly crowded. The wait times for the four slides, both the wet and three dry slides, were short. However, keep in mind that the ship is sailing with 2200 guests, so with another 1000 guests onboard, this will likely change. As I've said before, both Carnival and Royal Caribbean do the waterpark vibe better, but, that doesn't mean that Norwegian Viva is no fun, far from it.








  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Deck 17: Pool, Observation Lounge, Surfside Cafe, Specialty Restaurants

The Observation Lounge: Starting at the front, Deck 17's 180-degree Observation Lounge is an oasis of calm and luxury. With an all-day bar, cozy coffee corner, and a light breakfast setup, it's the ideal place for those who want to savor a lazy morning. It’s an excellent spot to escape the bustle and find solace on a sea day.

Galaxy Pavilion: A bit further back, the Galaxy Pavilion emerges as the technological playground of the ship. Some have called it an "arcade on steroids," and it's hard to disagree. Packed with advanced virtual reality rides, it promises excitement and adventure to guests of all ages. From what we’ve heard, the Viva version of this playground has surpassed the experiences on other NCL ships.

Pool Deck: Venturing aft, the expansive Pool Deck beckons. No worries about battling for a sunbed here; the Norwegian Viva generously provides ample lounging options. As the sun gleams and the pool beckons, there's a well-stocked pool bar ensuring guests are always hydrated. However, a small wrinkle in this sunny setting is the one-time-use plastic cups. Though NCL explained the logistical reasons behind it, the eco-conscious guest can't help but wish for a more sustainable solution.

Surfside Cafe & Grill: Next door, the Surfside Cafe offers a buffet for all meals. Whether you crave a continental breakfast or a sumptuous lunch, this eatery won't disappoint. And for those in the mood for grills? The adjoining Surfside Cafe Grill stands ready with classics like burgers and hot dogs.

Specialty Restaurants - Palomar & Food Republic: From here, we transition into a gourmand’s delight: the specialty restaurants. While we couldn't sample them this trip, Palomar tempts with Mediterranean seafood, and the Food Republic whisks you on a culinary world tour, from dim sum to tacos.

Premium Access Areas: As Deck 17 winds down, the exclusivity ramps up. At the stern, we find the Vibe Beach Bar and the coveted Haven sun area with the very cool infinity pool. While Vibe offers an added luxury for those who book it, the Haven remains an exclusive realm for those in the Haven suites.













Edited by Robert Mcgillivray
  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@Robert Mcgillivray I love seeing all of these photos of the gorgeous Norwegian Viva! The Vibe beach club looks absolutely stunning and is the ultimate stop for relations. I really love all of the shade options too. Many sun decks are all about the sun and no shade it provided. It can be overwhelmingly hot and uncomfortable for anything more than 15 minutes. 

I'm so impressed by the amount of child-friendly amenities onboard from the Aqua Park to the waterslide! The minigolf onboard is nice and shaded too with such a fun theme! I'm very glad you shared these photos because I have a completely different perspective on the line. 

I'm so glad you got some time in the spa. How much was the daily thermal spa rate onboard? Does NCL offer a thermal access package rate for the entirety of the cruise? I recently took a cruise and had an excellent one-hour included in the thermal suites. I wanted more after that. I think that was actually my favorite part of my whole trip, or maybe it was just being alone for an hour!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 4 weeks later...

@SuiteCruisin That's a great question. I think @Robert Mcgillivray may know the answer to this one. 

I noticed that Diet Coke is an option onboard, but I'm not sure if the caffeine-free type is available on Norwegian Viva. 

Congratulations on your 2025 booking! Which NCL ships have you cruised on in the past?  After seeing all of these photos, I have a desire to book an itinerary onboard too! Norwegian Viva seems to have all of the best amenities and then some. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@SuiteCruisin Since caffeine-free Diet Coke isn't as popular, it may be harder to find onboard. I would try reaching out to the cruise line and ask if this option is included in any of the beverage packages onboard. You have quite the history of cruising with NCL! I think NCL Viva may be one of the best yet. Congratulations on your 60th anniversary! That is absolutely worth celebrating! Did you book joining staterooms, or staterooms that were all located on the same deck? I hope all friends and family will tag along to celebrate alongside you. I'm not sure I could resist a cruise onboard NCL Vivia. @Robert Mcgillivray's photos just say it all! 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Unfortunately, your content contains terms that we do not allow. Please edit your content to remove the highlighted words below.
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

  • Create New...