The pressure is on, it’s finally your turn to pick the next group holiday. Last years’ didn’t go as planned; there were some surprise fees, the hotel didn’t look like it did online and they greatly exaggerated the proximity to the beach. The all-inclusive you did the year before wasn’t up to scratch either and the only amenity available was a pool with a surge of sun-beds surrounding it, all already reserved via towel method too. You’re thinking to yourself ‘No, this year will be different’ but you don’t even know where to start. Online comparison sites are daunting and you have everyone’s deposit now so you can’t screw it up. Well, luckily for you Verge has your back and we’re here to tell you that there is a way for you to actually enjoy a carefree, easy breezy holiday. The answer is the Norwegian Viva Cruise Ship.
Thanks to our wonderful pals at Norwegian Cruise Line, we were able to set sail on they’re latest, and possibly greatest, cruise ship for its maiden voyage- as soon as we set foot on board we never looked back. Think of it this way- imagine a premium hotel, with all bells and whistles attached, floating in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea. Constant epic views, a new location on the agenda almost daily, plus food and drink options that could put the worlds’ leading package holiday to shame. ‘We thought cruises were just for families or grandparents’ we hear you say – well you’re entirely wrong, as were we! We will admit, the thought of going on a cruise did nerve us a bit; what if the only thing to do is play bingo? Words cannot describe how wrong we actually were.
Norwegian is one of the worlds’ leading cruise line providers and after spending a few days aboard we finally realised why. Not only were we spoiled for choice of entertainment, dining experiences and all-round luxury, but we were also treated like royalty by all staff at all times.
As the ship becomes your adopted home for a while, each member of the crew aim to make life as easy as possible, creating a calming bubble of happiness for each passenger – which was abruptly popped once we got back on the Piccadilly line home. The crew aboard Viva were one of a kind; speaking multiple languages, constant enthusiasm for their jobs and always aiming for perfection. There isn’t a passenger we spoke to that didn’t feel attended to and valued and there was always someone ready and waiting to answer any questions.
Let’s get into the thick of how equipped this ship is for all ages and tastes. We have to mention that this is largest vessel we’ve ever seen- but in order to include a Starbucks, 14 unique dining experiences, an actual theatre, water slides (yep, plural), more pools than we even realised and a massive go-kart track we guess the size of Viva is warranted. Not only is this ship never-ending, it’s also refreshingly modern and consistently stylish.
With a clean and bright decor, unique and abstract chandeliers, tasteful art on almost each and every corner (including a wonderful interactive piece by London based digital artist Dominic Harris), stylish lounge areas and panoramic views, we found it increasingly difficult to come to terms with disembarking.
One of our biggest worries as first time cruisers was connectivity; how can we stay connected with the real world if we’re surrounded by water? NCL had us completely covered with seamless Wi-Fi connectivity across multiple devices throughout the entire ship, a wide variety of TV channels (on a lovely flatscreen too) including US, UK and global news, as well as a nice stock of complimentary movies and shows to get stuck into. But who needs real life when you can dine, wine and snooze at your leisure on one of the ship’s multiple decks? A bar is never too far on Viva and there’s a delectable variety of drinks, soft or hard, to suit all tastes. From Prosecco to Viva’s one of a kind sustainable cocktails, there was always something new to try onboard. If you’re not just looking to expand your drink preferences, but also find yourself wanting to try something different each night, Viva’s speciality dining and complimentary food-halls have an array of international cuisines to get you in the exploring mood. Fancy sushi one night and Mexican the next? No worries, Viva has a melting pot of delicious multicultural food experiences to sink your teeth into. We particularly enjoyed slicing into juicy steaks at Cagney’s and catching shrimp in our mouths at Hasuki.
If you get itchy feet and need to be on the move Viva’s excursion experiences really blew us away. There’s always an adventure to be had on each port day, and we had a smooth time organising how active we wanted our get-away to be with the help of NCL staff throughout our stay.
Explore the fascinating ruins of Pompeii, experience tantalising food and wine in Croatia or set sail across the Amalfi Coast for views fit for timeline spamming. If group travel isn’t really your style, feel free to wander around the streets of each stop solo, just remember to keep an eye on the time so you’re not left behind! If you don’t fancy getting suited and booted for excursions of any kind, we have one word for you- spa. Viva has a state of the art spa that could put any previous pampering day you’ve ever had to shame. Massages, specialised treatments, sauna and hot tubs are all available if you fancy giving pure bliss a try. Or perhaps you’d like to use that time having a look through Viva’s bespoke shopping options? You can get everything from brand new designer handbags, jewellery to sparkle with the night stars, to photo prints or mugs to take home for mum- perfect for souvenirs for you or the family back home.
Throughout our stay, we could tell that safety is a huge priority across all NCL voyages. To ensure maximum security at all times, Viva staff require you to check in and out when venturing off the ship. This is done by an ID-like card that is connected to your amenity package, your room and your registered card for onboard purchases. Meaning, not only are you not having to fumble around trying to find a million different cards, but you can rest easy knowing that your valuables can be left in your room throughout your time on Viva. You can also track all your purchases, orders and credits via the NCL mobile app or on your TV- when we checked ours we realised how deep our Starbucks obsession goes.
We didn’t think a perfect holiday was possible, that there was always going to be something that doesn’t go our way. Our stay on NCL’s Viva proved to us that holiday happiness does exist outside of movies and it is possible to completely unwind in multiple ways. If you’re looking for a new way to keep every member of the group smiling from ear to ear, Viva is your best bet yet. If we could marry this ship we really would, but unfortunately our stay had to end eventually, despite how hard we tried to time travel. We can happily admit that Viva has our hearts completely, and we can assure you that NCL will be seeing more of us for many summer holidays to come.
More information can be found here.