Thursday, January 4, 2024

Cruising the light fantastic on Viva, a floating city with so much to do

NCL's Viva has it all -- inviting open spaces, welcoming dining options, top shows, intriguing art in
cabins and public spaces and diversions for all ages ranging from a fun ice bar to 3-level race track.


Set your sights on something new, daring and exciting for
the new year.  Here we are on NCL's new cruise ship
Viva. The Speedway is a three-level race track. 



EACH TIME we book a ship, we research the architecture, art and design. It's important for us to be surrounded by intriguing artwork and inviting spaces to explore on these floating resorts.

We also look for fun shows and for activities that stretch our minds and bodies. And we avoid noisy "party ships" or those with lots of children.
Norwegian Cruise Line's newest floating palace, Viva, fills our bill. She's one of cruising's prettiest ships,  an artful wonder on the water. Like her sister ship, Prima, Viva doesn't feel huge or overwhelming.  Her ambiance is relaxed, understated, with the intimate spaces of a small ship -- despite 3,900 guests.  We seldom saw the same people twice, and felt quickly in control of our space in this thoughtfully designed vessel, the latest of NCL's 19-ship fleet.  

Viva's artful design includes inviting promenades, pools,
artwork, pools and many places to relax and view the sea. 

IF YOU'RE bored on Viva, you lack imagination and have no one to blame but yourself. There is truly something for every taste. I challenged myself on the three-level race track, where young hotshots vie for top scores each day.  We enjoyed trivia contests about movies, music and geography, and explored the state-of-the-art gym -- but not nearly enough.   A huge thermal spa boasts inviting steam rooms and saunas. The roster of activities is staggering.

The open, airy Indulge Food Hall is a favorite
dining option in a wide range on the Viva.

VIVA  SPORTS both a waterslide
and a dry slide, VR games, mini-golf, darts, and a three-level race track.
Four swimming pools welcome water buffs. And the ship's sculpture-lined promenade is one of the most attractive we've strolled in our 138 cruises.
Viva's Ice Bar was a fun place for a visit -- giving new meaning to "chill out." We donned warm insulated coats and grabbed an icy beverage. Cliché, perhaps, but there's something for all on this lovely, small city/ship.

Inside the Vibe, enjoy your own cabana.
AS ON MANY other lines -- unless you're splurging for an all inclusive cruise -- you pay extra for boxed water, sodas, alcohol, specialty restaurants, and shore excursions. Various packages allow flexibility in booking. One option is the adults-only Vibe Beach Club.  For an additional fee, you'll enjoy access to this delightful area. It became a favorite haunt, where we enjoyed morning coffee, lunch and sunset cocktails as an option to our balcony which wasn't always in the sun.
ONE OF our favorites of the ship's 14 varied restaurants is its popular Indulge Food Hall, where we ordered tasty ethnic, made-to-order items on an electronic menu. It's an appealing, innovative place with a menu at each table. 
Other fun Viva options: A saltwater pool on the sun deck allows relaxation while happily floating, trading your pale skin for a tan.
And for solo travelers, a variety of studio suites offers options for single travelers -- avoiding the usual single supplement charge.

IF YOU WANT even more luxury, try The Haven, an exclusive enclave with larger  
The Viva offers a choice of slides -- both water and dry.
There are beautiful sea views from almost everywhere.
Here, Bruce Keller and Christene "Cookie" Meyers enjoy.

accommodations, 24-hour butler service and world-class amenities, exclusively for Haven guests. You'll have a separate elevator and restricted space, much like Cunard's exclusive  "Grills" accommodations.
IF YOU BOOK this option, it's within a centralized all-suite complex on Viva, easy distance to the private elevators. Its elegant  public areas and suites are by famed Italian designer Piero Lissoni. Every Haven locale offers stunning sea views.
We didn't stay in Haven, but were invited by the amiable French born general manager Nelson Martins to dine there. Martins is a "hands on" manager, well liked by the staff and a steady presence on the ship, chatting clients up, seeing what they like. We enjoyed our time with him immensely. 
You don't need Haven to be in heaven on Viva. We were happy on back-to-back Viva cruises, to enjoy our large veranda stateroom on deck 15. In fact, we've booked Viva for another pair of cruises in 2024, a trans-Atlantic crossing from San Juan to Lisbon to and a Mediterranean cruise.

Bruce Keller and Christene "Cookie" Meyers spent a recent day
admiring "Lady Liberty" and touring with a CityPASS.

UP NEXT: CityPASS is a wonderful, money saving way to enjoy U.S. cities and their major sights and attractions.  We've enjoyed it in several cities because it saves time and money. If you want to move to the front of the line and spend more time enjoying rather than planning, it's the ticket.  We explore New York City this time with CityPASS, which also goes to Chicago, Toronto, Seattle, Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Houston and a total of 14 U.S. cities plus Toronto in Canada. The program offers a packet of discount tickets to many of each city's major attractions. In New York, we explored on the city's famous ferry system, took in Rockefeller Center's "Top of the Rock," toured the Empire State Building, and Ellis Island, plus more adventures. Check us out next time, remembering to explore, learn and live.




  1. Cruising ColoradansJanuary 6, 2024 at 8:35 AM

    Fun story. We booked Viva in May.. perhaps will see you.

  2. We have cruised on several NCL ships. Really enjoy the line and just booked Viva!

  3. Pittsburgh TravelersJanuary 9, 2024 at 2:03 PM

    We love NCL. Bliss regulars. Excited to try Viva next fall!