With the tremendous success of Norwegian Prima, many cruise travelers are looking forward to her upcoming sister ship, Norwegian Viva, set to debut in August 2023.
The ship’s first transatlantic crossing to bring her to North America, however, will now be dramatically different than originally scheduled, with new ports of call and a new destination as well.
Norwegian Viva Transatlantic Changes
Norwegian Viva will spend her first season sailing from various Mediterranean homeports, including Trieste and Rome in Italy; Lisbon, Portugal; and Piraeus (Athens), Greece. The ship’s first transatlantic sailing, however, is of particular interest, and is set to depart from Lisbon on November 16, 2023.
That departure date is just about the only item on the original itinerary remaining the same, however – that and the fact that the ship will indeed be crossing the Atlantic Ocean for the first time.
While several days at sea will remain the same (as many days at sea are part of crossing voyages), all but one of the ports of call and even the ship’s first destination in North America have been changed.
Norwegian Cruise Line has reached out to travel partners and impacted guests with news of the itinerary change.
“We are committed to delivering exceptional vacation experiences around the world. While it is always our intention to maintain original itineraries, at times unforeseen circumstances require us to make modifications,” the letter explained. “As a result of fleet redeployment, your itinerary has changed and your voyage will now end in Miami, FL.”
The ship will still depart Lisbon on Thursday, November 16, 2023, but will now visit Ponta Delgada in the Azores of Portugal on Saturday, November 18, instead of the following Monday.
Originally, the ship was to spend four days at sea after two ports of call in Portugal. Now, Ponta Delgada will be the only Portuguese port visit, followed by five days at sea.
The original itinerary then had the ship visiting Bermuda on Saturday, November 25, before arriving in New York City on Monday, November 27.
Now, Norwegian Viva will visit two Caribbean ports of call – St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands on Friday, November 24 and Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic on Saturday, November 25 – before arriving in Miami, not New York, on Monday.
This dramatic shift of destination port is sure to be a surprise to booked travelers, who will now need to adjust their travel plans to accommodate a completely different North American arrival point. Fortunately, because this itinerary change is being announced nearly 11 months in advance, travelers have plenty of time to make changes with minimal penalties or inconvenience.
Why Miami and Not New York?
No explanation has been given for the extreme change of North American ports, other than “fleet redeployment” changes. It is likely, however, that because Norwegian Viva is scheduled to set sail from Miami for a single 7-night voyage on December 6, 2023, this ensures the ship is not sailing without guests between New York and Miami.
This may also be a window when the ship could have her official naming ceremony or offer non-revenue sailings to travel partners, members of the media, and various dignitaries prior to beginning passenger sailings from her official winter homeport, San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Norwegian Viva will begin sailings from San Juan from December 15, 2023, offering primarily 7-night cruises to Barbados, Antigua, and St. Lucia.
In April 2024, the new ship will return to the Mediterranean for the summer and fall seasons, after which she will return to San Juan to homeport from mid-December 2024 through April 2025.
Norwegian Viva is the second Prima-class ship, with a projected gross tonnage of approximately 142,500 gross tons and the capacity to welcome 3,215 guests at double occupancy. She is currently under construction at the Fincantieri shipyard in Marghera, Italy.
Four additional Prima-class vessels have already been ordered and are set for delivery in from 2025 to 2027, though shipyard constraints have already delayed the delivery of the third and fourth vessels in the class, even before their construction has begun.