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LIVE & EXCLUSIVE: Living it up on Norwegian Viva for a star-studded christening

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has christened its latest star, the Norwegian Viva - and Karryon is in Miami reporting exclusively for the Australian travel industry.

Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) has christened its latest star, the Norwegian Viva – and Karryon is in Miami reporting exclusively for the Australian travel industry.

The idea of christening a ship goes way back. Seafarers of old believed that if a ship was not properly named and blessed, it would not be able to navigate the seas safely. Fast forward to today, and this enduring maritime tradition usually involves a huge party and the odd celebrity or four. And when the ship you’re christening is the Norwegian Viva, you can bet the party is going to be epic. 

Meeting the baby

She’s 965 feet long and weighs 143,535 tonnes. And her name is Norwegian Viva. Proud parent, Norwegian Cruise Line boasts of her unique attractions like the three-story Viva Speedway, Indulge Food Hall and onboard art collection.

Acting like a proud dad, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings president and CEO Harry Sommer was teased for running around and showing pictures of the new baby. 

Norwegian Viva is the second ship in Norwegian’s game-changing Prima Class,” he told media and VIPs before the ship’s christening.

“She’s as bold, stylish and sophisticated as her older sister, Norwegian Prima, and she’s already taken the world by storm entering her exciting inaugural season.”

Harry Sommer, President and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for Norwegian Cruise Line)

After its inaugural sailing and initial voyages from Miami, Norwegian Viva will reposition to San Juan, Puerto Rico, becoming the newest ship to homeport in the destination starting from 15 December 2023.

Offering port-intensive seven-day Caribbean voyages until March 2024, the ship will visit a series of tropical island paradises, including Tortola, St. John’s, Bridgetown, Castries, Philipsburg and St. Thomas.

In April 2024, Norwegian Viva will embark on Mediterranean and Greek Isles itineraries.

Choosing Norwegian Viva’s godfather

For generations, godparents have been designated for new cruise ships, bringing good luck and safe passage to the vessel and all aboard. 

“When we select a godparent at Norwegian Cruise Line, we think about the ship’s energy and personality and in the case of the Norwegian Viva we wanted to find someone who personifies what it means to ‘live it up’,” the cruise line said. 

“We immediately set our sights on a global sensation, someone whose music makes everyone feel alive. 

“When his similarities to Norwegian Viva began to emerge, the choice felt like fate.”

Meet Norwegian Viva’s godfather, the Puerto Rico born and now Miami-based man behind the legendary song Despacito, Luis Fonsi

Luis Fonsi, godfather to the new Norwegian Viva in Miami. (Photo by Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for Norwegian Cruise Line)

He has the most watched video in YouTube’s history and has broken seven Guinness World Records thanks to Despacito. But he’s more than just that one song.

The five-time Latin Grammy award-winner has an easy smile and an energy that, according to NCL, just works.

“Fonsi is the perfect fit for Norwegian Viva,” Norwegian Cruise Line president David J. Herrera said. 

“Like NCL, Miami is his hometown. Norwegian Viva is going to be homeported in San Juan, which is Fonsi’s other hometown. And most importantly, Fonsi has totally figured out the whole ‘live it up’ vibe”.

Fonsi said he was “honoured” when NCL asked him to be Norwegian Viva’s godfather. 

“I’m Latino, I have lots of family but I never knew I could add a ship to my family tree,” he joked.

Breaking the bottle 

In a tradition that brings good luck and safe travels for everyone on board, Fonsi, along with the NCL leaders smashed a champagne bottle on the ship’s hull.

But according to Norwegian Viva captain Giorgio Voussolinos, it’s more than breaking a bottle of champagne. 

“It is a tradition that represents the blessing and protection of the ship and its guests,” he said.

“Our lives are a journey much like a voyage at sea. We encounter challenges navigating through the seas and discovering new horizons.

“Today, we not only honour the dedication and hard work of the people who have been working on Norwegian Viva, but we also celebrate the memories and experiences that will be created within these boundaries.”

The party

“It is so exciting to celebrate the magnificent Norwegian Viva in true Latin-style in Miami and alongside fellow A-list Latino entertainers,” Fonsi said.

“We are giving her a proper despedida before she makes her debut in my hometown of San Juan, Puerto Rico.”

But you can’t have a party in Miami without a lot of music and dancing and that’s just what guests aboard Norwegian Viva got.

Luis Fonsi performs on Norwegian Viva
Photo by Gaya Avery

The event, held at PortMiami, featured a star-studded lineup, with Fonsi leading the festivities.

Other Latin stars like Saturday Night Live cast member and Miami-native Marcello Hernandez, the Queen of Latin Pop Paulina Rubio, and recently announced Grammy award-nominated artist Pedro Capó added to the festive atmosphere, making it a proper send-off for Norwegian Viva.

To celebrate the all-star entertainment lineup at Norwegian Viva’s christening event, NCL has put together a Live it Up! Spotify Playlist inspired by top Latin music superstars.

Stay tuned for more from Norwegian Viva’s christening voyage. In the meantime, to explore NCL’s diverse fleet and itineraries, contact a travel professional, call NCL in Australia on 1300 255 200 or in New Zealand on 0800 969 283 or visit www.ncl.com.