(9 a.m. EST) -- Norwegian Cruise Line took the wraps off its newest upcoming cruise ship Wednesday, announcing Norwegian Viva will be the next member of the line's brand-new Prima Class vessels.
A sister to this year's forthcoming Norwegian Prima, the 3,219-passenger Norwegian Viva will be 142,500 gross tons and 965 feet long. Built by Fincantieri in Marghera, Italy, the ship will debut in June 2023 in the Mediterranean before spending the 2023-2024 winter season sailing roundtrip from San Juan, Puerto Rico to the warmth of the Southern Caribbean.
"We had a tremendous success with Norwegian Prima," said Norwegian Cruise Line president and CEO Harry Sommer in an interview with Cruise Critic. "She broke our all-time sales record. Our guests have spoken; they like what we've done on Norwegian Prima.
"We might change entertainment, or one or two food concepts, but overall, it would be not so dissimilar from what we've done on our Jewel-class ships," said Sommer. "You can sail any of the four Jewel class ships and they'll be broadly similar. We're going to stick to something that is working for us, and that our customers seem to be enjoying."
To that end, passengers onboard Norwegian Viva can find more of what has made Norwegian Prima such a hot ticket, from the 44,000-square feet of outdoor space on Ocean Boulevard (a re-imagining of the traditional promenade deck arrangement, and the next evolution of Norwegian's trendsetting Waterfront promenade), to the onboard outdoor sculpture garden and dual infinity pools.
Norwegian Viva will also deliver the thrills for cruisers, continuing the tradition of Prima-class-only features such as the fastest freefall drop slides at sea; the largest three-level racetrack at sea (an expanded version of the current racetrack found aboard Norwegian Encore), and other fun top-deck diversions.
Passengers will also find an expanded version of The Haven, Norwegian's highly-popular luxury ship-within-a-ship concept. A total of 107 suites will be offered, along with private dining experiences and lounges, an exclusive sun deck, and an aft deck area with an outdoor spa, glass-walled sauna and cold room, and an aft-facing infinity pool.
Interior design for the ship will still be headed up by the same creative team that developed the innovative spaces aboard Norwegian Prima, including striking hull art by Italian graffiti and sculpture artist Manuel Di Rita, commonly known as "Peeta", who also created the hull art for Norwegian Prima.
"This is what guests want, so we haven't really changed all that much," says Sommer on the subject of differences between Norwegian Prima and the new Norwegian Viva. "At this point, we're really focused on itineraries."
When Norwegian Viva debuts in 2023, it will offer homeport cruises from Lisbon, Venice (Trieste), Rome (Civitavecchia), and Athens (Piraeus). Sailings will be more port-intensive than other itineraries, with the option for passengers to book multiple sailings in a row with very little port repetition. Itineraries in the Mediterranean will run between eight, nine and ten days in length.
In the Caribbean, Norwegian Viva will embark on its maiden voyage from San Juan on December 15, 2023, calling on Tortola, St. Maarten, Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, and St Thomas -- all in a single week. Other ports of call will also be visited on voyages spanning seven to nine days in duration.
Upon its arrival in San Juan, Norwegian Viva will become the largest cruise ship to ever homeport in the city.
Expect Norwegian Viva's initial sailings in the Mediterranean and the Caribbean to sell out quickly, and for Norwegian to continue to tease out new information in the run up to Norwegian Prima's launch in August of this year, and Norwegian Viva's debut in June 2023.
For Norwegian, the decision to announce Norwegian Viva also offers a glimmer of positivity in an uncertain time.
"We debated that a lot internally," Sommer tells Cruise Critic. "But I think people are very hungry to look to the future, to something they can enjoy and appreciate.
"We're not pushing hard for people to cruise this month or next month. We're happy if people are making their plans for the summertime and beyond."