FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.

Norwegian Cruise Line Review

by Brandon Schultz

May 29, 2024

© Norwegian Cruise Line

eFlyer Reviews

Some ships are designed for relaxation and reflection. Norwegian Viva is not. That isn’t to say there aren’t plenty of spaces for tranquility on board, like the flotation salt pool in the thermal suite oasis or even the plush sofas of the indoor observation lounge, but this ship was truly built for the curious and excited. If the boat’s life-affirming name wasn’t clue enough, interactive art installations, go-karts and the world’s first free-fall dry slide should quickly set the tone. Last fall, I joined Norwegian Viva for its christening in Miami and sailed to Great Stirrup Cay, the brand’s private island in the Bahamas, to experience the energy of this ship firsthand. Here are some highlights of the elevated experiences aboard the line’s newest ship:

© Norwegian Cruise Line

© Norwegian Cruise Line

Upgraded Activities
There’s no shortage of adrenaline-inducing activities aboard Norwegian Viva, and that means families traveling together have bountiful options for keeping kids not just occupied, but also intrigued. You don’t have to have a kid to enjoy any of these, though; when I sailed, I almost always saw more adults than children lining up for these attractions. That’s likely because Viva takes most activities to new levels, eschewing run-of-the-mill entertainment. There’s a series of waterslides, but one of them is The Drop — a free-fall slide that drops the floor out from below riders wrapped in a padded mat before twisting to a landing 10 decks below. There’s a three-story go-kart track with more than a dozen turns at The Speedway on the top of the ship, and there’s the Galaxy Pavilion, a futuristic arcade outfitted with epic virtual reality games and rides, escape rooms, and a Topgolf Swing Suite.

© Norwegian Cruise Line

© Norwegian Cruise Line

Inspiring Outdoor Spaces
Every ship has its promenades for exercise or leisurely strolls, but Norwegian Viva has the Oceanwalk. This glass-bottom passage on Deck 8 looks straight down to the ocean and may not be for the faintest of heart when at sea, but is invigorating for those who appreciate the rush of water below. Pro tip for photos: The thick glass floor is highly reflective, so aim to take your best daredevil pics when the sun is on the other side of the ship, and not at midday. There’s also an outdoor sculpture garden of intriguing modern pieces and Infinity Beach, a mid-deck lounge and pool area about as close to the side of the ship as you can get and offering the best views for this vibe. If you aim to score a spot here, you’ll need to come early, though. It’s intimate.

© Norwegian Cruise Line

© Norwegian Cruise Line

Enticing Bars
For my crew, most evenings included at least one visit to Metropolitan Bar. It’s hardly the only bar onboard (there are well more than a dozen), but the chic space always drew evening crowds for craft cocktails in the many lounge vignettes along the 52-foot, interactive digital art piece lining Metropolitan. The immersive experience is a signature feature of Norwegian’s commitment to art integration in the design of its new Prima class ships. If Metropolitan Bar is a place to begin your after-dinner evening, The Local is the place to end it. This indoor/outdoor bar and grill is the perfect pub-style spot for comfort snacks and a pint before turning in.

© Norwegian Cruise Line

© Norwegian Cruise Line

Enhanced Entertainment
Cruise ship entertainment may once have been the punchline of many sour reviews, and it hasn’t necessarily improved industry-wide, but Norwegian Viva’s theater is a far cry from this sad cliché. When I sailed, Viva Theater was home to Beetlejuice: The Musical. Having seen and reviewed the show on Broadway myself, I was curious to compare the talent and production value of both. I was shocked to find them comparable, with minor script changes to include some clever ship humor. And, after an afternoon of auditioning, I also found myself selected to compete in a production of Press Your Luck Live, with a full stage complete with the famous Big Board, pop-up Whammies, and all the bells and whistles of the popular gameshow (actual prizes, too). The chance to pop into professional entertainment like Broadway shows and currently airing game shows was an unexpected thrill, and a cut above the musical revues and comedy found on ships worldwide. Of course, those are available, too.

© Norwegian Cruise Line

© Norwegian Cruise Line

Indulging
Once infamous for bad buffets and gluttony, it’s still true almost no one loses weight on a cruise. But today, that’s less to do with all-inclusive access to junk and more to do with the caliber of diverse cuisine available. Still, easy access to variety is a staple of the industry, and Norwegian Viva’s Indulge Food Hall strikes the ideal balance between variety and quality. This inspired food hall features live cooking from a host of international stations scattered among scores of uniquely designed seating areas that make the 400-plus-capacity hall seem somehow cozy. And, though the options are many and servings are unlimited, like a buffet, ordering from tablets means table service and dishes are properly prepared and plated by chefs. If you can score one, there are select counter seats available at each open kitchen so you can enjoy the spectacle of this fast-paced production while eating. If you do sidle up to one these stools, know you can only order from that specific kitchen if using the tablets found there. And don’t worry, there’s still a proper buffet available on Viva for all the comfort foods you could want, serving all three daily meals at Surfside Café, to say nothing of the many specialty restaurants throughout the ship.

Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Viva

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