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Norwegian Viva Review

4.5 / 5.0
107 reviews

Giving NCL a second try as a long-time Princess & Celebrity cruiser

Review for the Western Caribbean Cruise on Norwegian Viva
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macusr
10+ Cruises • Age 50s

Rating by category

Cabin
Value for Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Fitness & Recreation
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Additional details

Sail Date: Feb 2024
Cabin: Balcony

Background Information

This was our 2nd Norwegian cruise (31st overall for me, 32nd overall for my husband) - we'd previously sailed separately on Norwegian Sky more than 10 years ago. When the Prima class was announced, we decided that this was a ship design very much to our liking. So we thought it was time to give Norwegian another try with a new ship more in keeping with the ships we've been sailing on recently - Princess' Royal class, Celebrity's Edge class, MSC's Seaside class.

Travel to Embarkation Port

Cabin Review

Balcony

-Cabin décor & size - ~231 sq ft plus 69 sq ft veranda. Modern gray color scheme with blue accent colors. Cabin fixtures felt very premium for a mainstream cruise line.

-Cabin location & proximity to ship features - Our cabin was on starboard side of deck 11 aft. Convenient for access to aft dining venues on decks 6-8. However our cabin overlooked the outside dining area for Indulge Food Hall and even though dining ends at 9:30, people were out there until after 10 being quite loud - thankfully this held true just on night 1. Crew seemed to address this issue for subsequent nights as we didn't experience this problem again.

Cabin steward was Jocelyn.

-Cabin features -

Comfortable king bed with plush linens

Sitting area with sofa

Desk/mini fridge with a fabric stool that slid under the desk. Chair would have been more comfortable. Had two wall-mounted shelves above the desk.

Mirror above the desk had one set of plugs - 1 European power outlet, 1 US power outlet, and 2 USB ports (A & C). Second set of plugs on the wall underneath the shelves.

Suitcases fit under the bed. Each side of the bed has a nightstand with one shelf. Each side has a lamp with 2 USB ports (A & C). Clearly NCL recognized modern cruiser needs and has more than enough charging features for devices.

Three closets: Full-length hanging with safe on shelf below and two pullout wire bins. Second hanging closet can be full-length or split into upper and lower sections with two pullout wire bins below. Third hanging closet has lower shelf and area on bottom for shoes. This cabin category does not provide bathrobes.

Bathroom was well designed with a large glass door shower (no tub) and plenty of storage along the side and below of the large sink/vanity, under the mirror, and under the sink.

Four heavy duty mounted hooks on the wall outside the bath.

Interactive large flat screen TV - didn't really explore what kind of movie selection there was - usual limited selection of live TV channels.

Port Reviews

Tortola

Ship excursion: Escape to Jost Van Dyke 4.5 hrs $149pp 7:15am

Rebel Yell catamaran ride to JVD takes ~60 min. Pull up to White Bay Beach and you get off in the water (ankle deep for us). We were the first group to arrive so we could claim prime beach chairs in front of the legendary Soggy Dollar Bar. We tried both the original ($8) and the frozen ($12) versions of the painkiller - original is best. Water was clear but a bit chilly at first entry - more so since it was mostly overcast with occasional rain spritzes. Enjoyed JVD for about 3 hrs before the return catamaran ride where rum punch was served.

St. Lucia

Ship excursion: Touch the Iconic Pitons 6 hrs $109pp 11:30am

Minibus drive to Tet Paul Nature Trail - took about 2 hrs total with a few stops for photos & bathroom breaks. Roads are bumpy and winding.

Nature trail is a 45 min hike - moderate intensity for physically fit, challenging for non fit. Rocks, tree roots, steps - not suitable for mobility challenged. Trail offers several scenic vista points and the top observation deck gives the closest proximity to the Pitons. At the end of the loop trail, we enjoyed some fruit juice, fresh fruits, and little snacks.

Next we visited the Toraille waterfall - optional swimming which we didn’t do. Just took some photos and enjoyed the cool breeze.

Next we had a buffet lunch at the Old Mill Restaurant. Buffet had salad, green bananas in garlic sauce (tasted like mofongo), rice, noodles, black beans, and chicken bites in a sweet sauce. Dessert was a banana/vanilla ice cream cake.

Return drive took about 90 minutes since we didn’t make stops.

Barbados

On our own, we went to the FourSquare Rum Distillery for the Exclusive Rum Tour. Took a taxi (ordered thru Pick Up Barbados app - cost $39) to arrive about 10:40am for an 11am tour. Tour was good - amazing rebuild of an abandoned sugar factory and their complete approach to environmental sustainability is impressive. Two versions of tastings: General Rum Tour $46bds per person - sampling Foursquare’s eponymous brands - 6 Barbados classics. Exclusive Rum Tour $70bds per person - sampling Foursquare's Exceptional Cask Selection - 6 ECS or a combination of ECS and Classics.

Scott had the Exclusive and I had the General. Plus we each got a free cocktail courtesy of the guy Scott contacted to reserve our tours! We purchased 3 bottles - 2 of the Crisma crème liquor - heavenly! - and 1 of the 10 yr R.L. Seale’s.

Tried to get a taxi back via the Pick Up Barbados app but drivers kept canceling on us. So we asked the distillery staff to call us a taxi (cost $50). Picked up at 1pm and we were back at the cruise port by 1:30pm, in plenty of time before all aboard at 3:30pm.

Antigua

We actually arrived into port around 8:30am. Used private tour operator Lawrence of Antigua for a beach tour. Met our driver/guide Samuel around 9:30am.

Started with Darkwood Beach. Stayed here for about 1.5 hrs. Sand was nearly powder soft and no rocks along the shoreline. This was definitely our favorite of the three beaches we went to so would plan to stay longer here in retrospect.

Then went to Ffryes Beach for lunch. Dennis Restaurant/Beach Bar looked like a good option. It was a bit pricey but was absolutely delicious and worth it. After lunch we spent about an hour enjoying the beach - it was nice but not as nice as Darkwood.

Finished at Valley Church Beach. Biggest beach of the three but had the coarsest sand. Spent about 1.5 hrs here.

We wanted to be back to the ship by 5pm or so, and we were back to the port by 4:30pm.

Samuel was very good, giving us insight into the island's past and present political history, culture, and climate.

We were unable to find another couple to join us for this tour, but Lawrence honored the price per person we had been quoted. We appreciated that gesture.

St. Maarten

Once again, we arrived into port 1.5 hrs early. In 30+ cruises, I’ve never had a cruise line arrive into port so much ahead of the published arrival time as we have on this cruise.

Did a quick shopping trip to Juggie’s Place for the Magic Spice seasoning.

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