ֱ

Skip to content

Travel |
With Puerto Rico market in mind, Norwegian Cruise Line christens new ship Viva

The Norwegian Viva is docked at PortMiami’s Terminal B ahead of its christening ceremony on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2023. (Richard Tribou/Orlando Sentinel)
The Norwegian Viva is docked at PortMiami’s Terminal B ahead of its christening ceremony on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2023. (Richard Tribou/Orlando Sentinel)
Author
PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

MIAMI — Norwegian Cruise Line dropped the balloons and smashed the champagne to christen its newest ship Norwegian Viva with the help of ship godfather and Latin music star Luis Fonsi, who as a Puerto Rican native praised the company’s decision to send its new ship to the island for its first winter season.

“Viva is homeporting in San Juan, where I was born and where I spent my early childhood,” Fonsi said during the ceremony held at NCL’s new terminal at PortMiami. “And, of course, she’s now being christened here in Miami where NCL and myself call home, so I feel connected to this great vessel in two ways.”

The “Despacito” singer embraced his role joining the likes of Kelly Clarkson, Pitbull and Katy Perry among musicians taking on godparent duties for NCL ships.

  • Luis Fonsi gets set to christen Norwegian Viva while it...

    Luis Fonsi gets set to christen Norwegian Viva while it was docked at PortMiami Terminal B on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2023. (Richard Tribou/Orlando Sentinel)

  • Luis Fonsi performs on board Norwegian Viva while docked at...

    Luis Fonsi performs on board Norwegian Viva while docked at PortMiami after he led its christening ceremony as its godfather on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2023. (Richard Tribou/Orlando Sentinel)

  • Luis Fonsi performs on board Norwegian Viva while docked at...

    Luis Fonsi performs on board Norwegian Viva while docked at PortMiami after he led its christening ceremony as its godfather on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2023. (Richard Tribou/Orlando Sentinel)

  • Luis Fonsi gets set to christen Norwegian Viva while it...

    Luis Fonsi gets set to christen Norwegian Viva while it was docked at PortMiami Terminal B on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2023. (Richard Tribou/Orlando Sentinel)

  • Norwegian Viva docked at PortMiami on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2023....

    Norwegian Viva docked at PortMiami on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2023. (Richard Tribou)

  • Norwegian Viva docked at PortMiami on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2023....

    Norwegian Viva docked at PortMiami on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2023. (Richard Tribou)

  • Norwegian Viva docked at PortMiami on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2023....

    Norwegian Viva docked at PortMiami on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2023. (Richard Tribou)

  • Norwegian Viva docked at PortMiami on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2023....

    Norwegian Viva docked at PortMiami on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2023. (Richard Tribou)

  • The Goodyear Blimp flies over Norwegian Viva as it was...

    The Goodyear Blimp flies over Norwegian Viva as it was docked at PortMiami on Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2023. (Richard Tribou)

of

Expand

“I was so honored NCL asked me to be Norwegian Viva’s godfather. You know, I’m Latino. I have lots of family but I never knew I could add a ship to my family tree. I’m proud of that.”

He stayed late on board the ship to perform for 1,500 invited guests, running through a pair of sets that culminated with his megahit “Despacito,” which spent 16 weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 2017.

Fonsi said Puerto Rico’s population, who call themselves “Boricuas,” were the perfect fit for the line’s tagline for the ship — “Live it up.”

Earlier this year, Fonsi, who also spent some of his childhood in Orlando, told the Orlando Sentinel that bringing such a new ship to sail from San Juan is a boon to the island that has suffered through a series of calamities over the past several years including the devastation of Hurricane Maria in 2017.

“I’m always promoting to visit San Juan. We’ve been through a lot, a lot of hurricanes, a lot of crazy things and the fact that this gorgeous, massive, perfect ship can be docked there, I think it’s going to be good for her,” he said.

Norwegian’s choice to take its newest ship and keep it for four months sailing from Puerto Rico as opposed to Miami and Port Canaveral, where it parked sister ship Prima last winter, shows the commitment from the line to island. It’s a bet that the clientele will be willing to make the flight south during its extended run there.

“One of the benefits we have in having a smaller fleet than some of the other players out there is we have a tremendous number of unserved and underserved markets,” said Harry Sommer, now president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, the parent company to NCL, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas. “San Juan was another example of a market that we think has great potential and we saw other cruise lines actually pull out.”

Puerto Rico offers a great launching point for cruise lines trying to visit the Southern Caribbean, something that normally takes longer than a seven-night trip can afford sailing from Florida.

While it does have a pair of Miami sailings in December and will be back next winter to PortMiami, it will begin Puerto Rico service on Dec. 15 and sail through March on seven-night trips to destinations such as Tortola, British Virgin Islands; St. John’s, Antigua; Bridgetown, Barbados; Castries, St. Lucia; Philipsburg, St. Maarten; and St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.

The voyages play up the Caribbean island destinations so that there are no days at sea without a port of call.

Viva is very similar to Prima, with both coming in at 142,500 gross tons with a 3,100-passenger capacity based on double occupancy. That’s smaller than the ships NCL rolled out in the last decade.

It has once again a three-story go-kart track and a pair of 10-deck twisting dry slides, the Indulge Food Hall market and the wide open Deck 8 that wraps around the ship featuring a sculpture garden, hot tubs and in-pool lounges.

One of the unique offerings on board is Broadway’s “Beetlejuice” on the main stage along with an interactive game show based on “Press Your Luck.”

NCL has been mixing up where it deploys its new ships of late, including parsing out Prima’s first season among Port Canaveral, Galveston, New York and Miami. Port Canaveral is back on the table for its next new ship as well, a supersized sister ship to Viva and Prima called Norwegian Aqua, which will arrive in 2025.

“So this is really about where are the opportunities existing,” Sommer said. “We’re super committed.”

More in Travel