Cruise Ships

Norwegian Prima and Viva Atrium and Bars Detailed

Over the past few months, Norwegian Cruise Line has been slowly releasing information to the public about their upcoming ships, the Prima and the Viva. First, they started with the beautiful outdoor spaces. Then, we found out more about the attractions like the race track and 10-story thrill slides, as well as entertainment like “The Price is Right LIVE” game show. Last week, we got more details about all the dining options. Now, we’ll look at some of the bars and public spaces that’ll be on board. 

The new, 3-story Penrose Atrium

The heart of the Prima and Viva will be a three-story, glass-walled venue called Penrose Atrium. Located mid-ship on Decks 6, 7, and 8, the Penrose Atrium will be a grand space that pulls together the interior spaces on the ships. 

The three-story, floor-to-ceiling windows are a first for Norwegian but becoming relatively common on other ships. Earlier this year, Carnival’s Mardi Gras debuted with a 3-story venue called Grand Central, and Celebrity debuted their 3-story glass-walled Eden venue on the Edge. Royal Caribbean even has a 2-story venue with amazing views on their Quantum-class ships called Two70. Large glass walls with expansive ocean views are the new trend, and Norwegian is buying in. 

2nd level of penrose atrium
The 3-story Penrose Atrium has massive windows, although they’re hard to appreciate due to the structure of the design

The Penrose Atrium has a different look than those other spaces, though. For the other cruise lines, those spaces also serve double-duty as a performance space, with seating and technology available to convert the space. The Penrose Atrium, though, seems focused on providing easy access to restaurants and lounges…a place to come together. In fact, Norwegian stated that they took inspiration for this space from various squares worldwide like St. Peters in the Vatican and St Mark’s Square in Venice.

The stairs become an architectural focus in this space, with their curves and elevations drawing the eye higher and higher until it reaches the custom-made chandelier in the ceiling. The space has a futuristic feel, but the warm wood tones and yellow lights give it a needed warmth.

The stairs provide both form and function here

Overall, it’s a significant upgrade from the central atriums seen on the Breakaway-class ships. The atriums on those ships featured impressive large-scale LED chandeliers, but the spaces felt very transitional to get you from one place to the next. It was almost reminiscent of a mall concourse. On the Prima and Viva, the Penrose Atrium invites you to say. 

That being said, from the renders, it looks like the Penrose Arium really wastes a lot of the natural light and beautiful views that 3-story windows provide. The stairs and levels break it up, and it looks like the only place that really takes advantage of the view is the Starbucks that’s right next to the windows. In most renders, the windows play very little role at all in the overall feel of the space. But, of course, it’s hard to judge until actual first-hand pictures are available. 

windows by starbucks on norwegian viva
The only place to really take advantage of the huge windows is the Starbucks

Observation Lounge

observation lounge on cruise ship
The Observation Lounge wraps around Deck 17 with many types of comfortable seating

The Observation Lounge is a favorite of many passengers on Norwegian’s Breakaway-class ships, offering beautiful and expansive views in an open space. The tradition will continue on these ships, with a large Observation lounge at the front of Deck 17. It’s a great place to enjoy the beautiful vista, especially in colder weather. 

bar on observation lounge on cruise ship
The Observation Lounge bar has an old-world meets new-world elegance

The darker tones used here let the natural environment outside through and become the main focus. The whole space has a very elevated feeling with a trendy bar featuring unique LED lighting. Guests will find a ton of different seating options in the Observation Lounge, which make it great for reading a book or just grabbing a cocktail with some friends. 

Penrose Bar

bar with video poker machines

Penrose Bar is a smaller bar tucked away on Deck 6, or the ground floor of the Penrose Atrium. It’s just outside the casino and has video poker machines built into the bar top. Norwegian has yet to confirm whether or not the casino will have a dedicated bar. 


monte carlo styled casino

The Prima and Viva will have Monte Carlo-inspired casinos located on Deck 8, right off the Penrose Atrium. We’re excited to see that Norwegian is continuing its tradition of having a closed-off smoking section. It’s a great trend that, for some reason, other cruise lines aren’t copying which is a huge disappointment to non-smokers.  

The Whiskey Bar

whiskey bar
The Whiskey Bar has some great natural light, but doesn’t really look like a typical whiskey bar

The Whiskey Bar is tucked away off of the third level of the Penrose Atrium. It is a take on the Maltings Beer & Whiskey Bar, a popular venue on many Norwegian ships. This bar will just focus on whiskeys, though, with a selection from around the world. Here, guests can sample American bourbons, ryes, and Tennessee whiskeys. 

The design of the space feels a bit disjointed; it doesn’t seem to match that of a traditional whiskey bar. The Maltings Bar on other ships has a lot of dark wood tones and a conventional bar shape. The Whiskey Bar on the Prima and Viva is a round bar with a much more contemporary feel. 

The Humidor Cigar Lounge

humidor cigar lounge with leather couches

Smoking indoors on a cruise ship has become less and less popular. Luckily, cigar fans have a place to go on the Prima and Viva. Like the Bliss, Joy, Escape, Getaway, Epic, and Encore, these ships feature a designated cigar lounge. Here you can relax and try a variety of cigars. This area is limited to cigar smoking only; cigarettes and vape smoking are not permitted in this venue. 

Metropolitan Bar

metropolitan bar on norwegian viva
Cocktails at the Metropolitan Bar will focus on sustainability

The Metropolitan Bar is a new concept by Norwegian. It builds upon its “Sail & Sustain” program, which is dedicated to minimizing Norwegian’s environmental impact. The drinks at this bar are called “zero-waste cocktails,” using surplus ingredients and a fully sustainable spirits menu with 20 biodynamic wines (if you don’t know what that means, think organic wine but taken to the next level). The Metropolitan Bar’s signature sustainably made cocktail is called the “Primadonna.” It’s a new take on an Old Fashion and is crafted using surplus banana peels with Flor De Cana rum that is produced with 100% renewable energy.

The space itself also seems to take a lot of inspiration from nature. For example, the bar and backsplash look to be made of a natural stone with a constant of dark and light stones. 

Its location on Deck 7 between Le Bistro, Nama, Hasuki, and The Hudson dining room, makes it an excellent stop for pre- or post-dinner cocktails. 

Belvedere Bar 

belvedere bar on norwegian prima and viva cruise ship
The Belvedere Bar is an evolution of the A-list Bar serving high-end cocktails

Norwegian billed the Belvedere Bar as an evolution of The A-List Bar found on their other ships. It’ll feature modern takes on classic cocktails. It’s located on Deck 6 between Cangey’s Steakhouse and the Commodore Room, the fancier main dining room. Being between the two fancier restaurants suits this venue’s more trendy cocktail list. 


shopping jewelry kiosk on a cruise ship

The Prima and Viva will have plenty of high-end retail spaces for guests who like to shop duty-free while onboard. The shops will be along Penrose Atrium, where guests can browse through jewelry, watches, and souvenirs. 


starbucks counter on cruise ship
One of two Starbucks on the Norwegian Prima and Viva. This one is right in Penrose Atrium

For guess addicted to Starbucks, the Prima and Viva will have two prime locations. One is on the second floor of the Penrose Bar, right next to the beautiful, expansive view. The second Starbucks is conveniently located on the Indulge Food Hall at the back of the ship. Just remember, Starbucks is not included in the Premium Beverage Package that comes as part of the “Free at Sea” promotions. However, it is included if you upgrade to the Premium Plus Beverage Package. You can see the differences here

Two beautiful, contemporary ships with lots of venues

With this last release of news from Norwegian, the direction they’re going in for the Prima and Viva is clear. The ships are sleek, modern, and have a very classy design. As a result, they feel very elevated without feeling pretentious or stuffy. Norwegian is trying to walk the line between mainstream and premium cruise brands, which makes sense considering these ships have such large, high-end, Haven Suite areas. When you combine this design with the fact that these ships will have best-in-class passenger space, they will be hard to beat. 

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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.