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How the Norwegian Aqua is Different From the Prima and Viva

Norwegian Cruise Line just released details of their newest upcoming cruise ship, the Norwegian Aqua. It’ll be the 3rd in the Prima-class, Norwegian’s newest class of cruise ship that debuted in 2022. The two current ships in the class, the Prima and Viva, are nearly identical and represent a big change for Norwegian. Their reception with cruisers has been mixed, though. With the Aqua, Norwegian made a few changes. 

Norwegian Aqua will be larger but not significantly so

The Prima and Viva were a departure for Norwegian, coming in smaller than their Breakaway-plus class of ship. The Norwegian Aqua will be about 10% larger than the Prima and Viva but still smaller than the Breakaway-plus class ships. Most of that comes from the ship getting slightly longer.

The ship will hold 3,571 guests at double occupancy, a 15% increase in guests from its sister ships. It’ll have 114 more cabins in a variety of categories. 

norwegian aqua head on
Norwegian Aqua will debut in 2025 (Image courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line)

What’s been added to Norwegian Aqua

Aqua Slidecoaster

norwegian aqua slidecoaster
The Aqua Slidecoaster is a cross between a roller coaster and a waterslide (Image courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line)

Taking the place of the Speedway race track is a new feature, the Aqua Slidecoaster. This two-slide attraction goes from Deck 20 to 18, circling around the funnel. It’s a hybrid rollercoaster and waterslide that uses a magnetic lift to propel rafts through the tubes.

Glow Court

glow court on norwegian aqua
The new Glow court has an interactive LED floor. It’ll be full of sports activities during the day and turns into a nightclub at night (Image courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line)

At the top of the ship will be a new Glow Court. It’s a digital sports complex with an interactive LED floor that will be used for sporting events and games during the day, and at night, it transforms into a nightclub. It takes the place of the mostly unused Speedway Observation Area on the other Prima-class ships.

glow court on norwegian aqua

Entourage Teen Club

On other ships, the Entourage Teen Club is a hangout for children 13-17, but Norwegian opted not to include it on the Prima and Viva. With no designated place to go on the ship, teenagers routinely crowd in public spaces on these ships. On the Norwegian Aqua, they’re bringing back Entourage on Deck 14. 

What alterations were made to Norwegian Aqua

Larger kids’ aqua park

On the Norwegian Aqua, they will increase the size of the kid’s splash park. They will remove the Sun Deck area on Deck 18 and put the kid’s aqua park in the middle of the deck. 

aqua splash park
The kid’s splash park gets bigger on Norwegian Aqua, but no slides, tunnels, or dump buckets are to be found. (Image courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line)

Unfortunately, it seems like they’re keeping with the modern design that puts form over function. You won’t find any tunnels, slides, or dump buckets here.

What’s the same on Norwegian Aqua

The Drop Slide

the drop dry thrill slide
The 10-story dry thrill slide, called The Drop, returns on the Aqua (Image courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line)

While Norwegian is removing the dueling dry slides on the Aqua, they kept The Drop, the 10-story slide where the floor drops out from underneath you. You feel your heart beat in your chest as the slide counts down before dropping you down to Deck 8.

Beautiful and Large Staterooms

norwegian aqua balcony cabin
The cabins on Aqua remain large and spacious, with a new decor featuring dark accents. (Image courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line)

The size and layout of many of the staterooms remains the same on the Aqua. The standard cabins on Prima-class ships are some of the largest in the fleet and feature an impressive design. There’s tons of storage and lots of space, and the shower is huge, rivaling the size of your personal shower at home. 

Small Main Pool Area

main pool area on Norwegian Aqua
The main pool area still looks cramped, but they’ve adjusted it a bit. Moving the TV screen to a higher position means more people will be able to see it. (Image courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line)

The main pool area on the Norwegian Aqua looks almost identical in size and function to that of the Prima and Viva. That’s a big downside as it’s one of the most critiqued parts of the ship. Norwegian has made several changes though including dark furniture for a classier look and adding new day beds by the main pool area (a first for Norwegian). We can see they’re also moving the TV screen higher on the back wall so it’s not blocked by performers and people walking by. Hopefully it will feel the space feel more open, even if the size didn’t actually change much.

Galaxy Pavilion

galaxy pavilion entrance
Galaxy Pavilion virtual reality arcade

The interactive VR lounge, Galaxy Pavilion, returned to the Norwegian Aqua in the same spot. 

The Stadium

While Norwegian removed the darts and minigolf from the Aqua, they kept the Stadium, the popular game area on the other Prima-class ships. Norwegian indicates that this space is now expanded with more complimentary activities for guests of all ages.

Infinity Beach and Ocean Boulevard

The beautiful wrap-around exterior promenade returns on the Aqua. This area has plenty of comfortable seating and two infinity pools. 

ocean boulevard on norwegian aqua
The Aqua keeps the beautiful exterior promenade called Ocean Boulevard (Image courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line)

Observation Lounge

The Observation Lounge returns to the Aqua, looking to be the same size and layout as its sister ships. 

What’s gone on Norwegian Aqua

Tee Time Mini Golf

Unlike other cruise lines, Norwegian doesn’t typically have mini golf courses on their ship. When they introduced the Norwegian Prima, they added a mini golf course but made the polarizing decision to make it a paid attraction. This Vegas-style minigolf course had lights, sounds, and the chance to win prizes, but the $10 per person charge was widely panned. On top of that, the technology in the Prima version rarely worked, so guests would play for free, but most of the features that were supposed to make it special weren’t working. 

The Dueling Dry Slides (The Rush)

The Prima and Viva have three dry slides going from Deck 18 to Deck 8. On one side was The Rush, a dueling slide where you could race against a friend down to the promenade. They removed The Rush slide from the Aqua.   

Race track

Ever since the debut of the Joy in 2017, Norwegian has had a race track on all of its new ships. In fact, the race tracks on the Prima and Viva were their largest yet, coming in at three stories. The Aqua will not have a race track but instead a new attraction (see below). 

Bullseye Dart Lounge

The Prima and Viva have interactive dart lounges where guests can pay $20 for six people to play for one hour. According to deck plans for the Norwegian Aqua, there’s no Bullseye Dart Lounge in sight. 

What’s unknown about the Norwegian Aqua

norwegian aqua side

Norwegian’s keeping a few things under wraps about the Aqua. We still don’t know what restaurants will be coming to the ship; on the deck plans, they’re currently marked as “to come.” We can assume the Indulge Food Hall will be back, the popular new addition to Prima-class ships with different food stations located throughout the area. While it’s not listed on the deck plans, the NCL website highlights the outdoor Indulge area, implying the food-hall will return.

We also don’t know if Norwegian will fix the grossly undersized comedy and music venues on the ship or the poor flow in the Atrium. 

Norwegian Aqua will debut in 2025

la terazza seating area
La Terazza seating area on Deck 8 (Image courtesy of Norwegian Cruise Line)

The Norwegian Aqua will launch in August 2025 where it will offer 5- and 7-day cruises to Bermuda from New York City. In October, it will move to Miami to offer 5- and 7- day Eastern Caribbean sailings.

Sailings are currently open for booking, visit for more details.

Our take: a solid successor to the Prima-class

The Prima-class introduction has been highly polarizing. Personally, I liked my time on the Prima (read here), and I’m excited to sail on the Viva this May, but I would never recommend it to a family or those with children. The Aqua seems to bring in many more family attractions and hopefully addresses some of the pain points of the original ships. 

It was puzzling that Norwegian made almost no changes to the Viva after the criticisms the Prima received. Thankfully, with the Aqua, we see them making adjustments. Unfortunately, with much of the cruise ship design locked in 5 years ahead of time, there’s not much structurally they could do in terms of the main pool area and some of the restaurants and lounges. 

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Randy Young

Randy Young is the founder and editor-in-chief at Cruise Spotlight. He has been in marketing for 19 years and has been cruising for just as long. Over the years, he's worked with products like TVs, copiers, light bulbs, and EV chargers, but cruising has always been his passion. There's nothing Randy likes more than the first couple of hours on a ship, exploring every nook and cranny and seeing how it's different from everything else out there. He's known for providing detailed and analytical coverage of cruising to help cruisers get a comprehensive picture of a ship's offerings.