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Norwegian Viva Mediterranean Cruise Blog – Day 5 – Mykonos

It was day five of our ten-day sailing, and the Norwegian Viva was stopping in Mykonos for our last Greek port before heading to Italy and France. The ship wouldn’t arrive in Mykonos until 1:30 PM, where we’d have until 10 PM to explore the island. 

Norwegian Viva Mediterranean Cruise Day 5 Overview

Norwegian Viva Freestyle Daily – Day 5 – Mykonos

Relaxing Morning Start on the Viva

As I mentioned in our day two cruise blog, we chose a guaranteed balcony for this cruise, and unfortunately, the one assigned to us was directly under the free weights section of the gym. So far, every morning, we were awoken by the thud of weights pounding against the floor at 6 AM sharp. Today, though, the noise waited until 7 AM. I’m not sure if people were just getting late starts or if customer service said something.

The previous day, my room steward asked how the room was, and I mentiond the gym noise. I knew there was nothing they could do about it on this sailing, but I wanted them to know for future sailings, they need to put more padding on the floor) but they must have said something to the early-morning gym-goers.  

Sun Deck Time on the Norwegian Viva

Since we had the morning to relax, we headed out to the sun deck to relax in a lounger with a book. I hadn’t had a chance to do that once yet on this cruise, and I always like making some progress on a book during a cruise (I’m a notoriously slow book reader who can take a year to finish a book). 

The main pool was Deck 17 was already full, but we found a spot on Deck 18, the Sun Deck. On this deck, you had two options. On one side of this area was the kid’s splash area, which has to be one of the worst-designed splash areas I’ve ever seen. There are no slides or buckets, just water falling from structural “art.” It’s like the person who designed it never even met a kid. In the entire 10-day sailing, I never saw it used at all (although, to be fair, this sailing was before US schools let out, so there were very few kids on the ship in general). 

On the other side of Deck 18, we found rows and rows of loungers and couches. The couches had some shade, but the chairs were all in full sun. Umbrellas were available, but they were closed because of the high winds. At the end of this part of the deck was the designated smoking area. They gave this area an awning and windscreen, so we didn’t smell it at all. 

I found a chair in the first row that overlooked the ocean. The intense Mediterranean sun beat down on me, and there was not a cloud in the sky. A gusty sea breeze blew across the deck, keeping me from overheating. There was no music, no loud conversations, just the sound of the roaring ocean as the Viva cut through the deep blue waters. As we relaxed, a waiter came around offering drink service, which was nice because there wasn’t a bar in this area. 

Wave Water Slide on Norwegian Viva

If you ask on social media if the Viva has a waterslide, many people will say, “No, there are only two dry slides.” Sadly, they are mistaken. The main slides that people see when looking at the ship, the Drop and The Rush, are dry slides, but the Viva also has The Wave waterslide. 

The Wave slide is a boomerang-style tube slide tucked away on Decks 17 and 18, so it’s easy for people to overlook. It’s also much more subtle in color than the neon slides on Carnival and Royal Caribbean ships, allowing it to blend in as you look at the ship from the ground. 

I walked up to Deck 19 to enter the slide. At that point, there was no line, just an attendant waiting for someone to try it. Before going down the slide, the attendant will weigh you to make sure you fit within the limits (boomerang slides are very dangerous if you’re over the maximum weight, so they enforce this strictly).

Tip: To ride the Wave slide, guests must be 51″ or taller and have a maximum weight of 265 lbs. Only one guest can ride at a time.

The attendant gave me a tube, and I sat at the top of the slide. The cool water rushed beneath my feet as I tried to position myself properly in the tube. I got the green light and launched myself down the slide. You enter a clear portion of the tube before you drop down. This slide doesn’t have twists and turns. You go straight down and shoot up the wall for a second of zero-g before sliding back down. 

Overall, the slide was quick but refreshing. It cooled me off, and I went back to finish my book. If I had younger kids on the ship, I could see them getting bored, as it is a pretty short ride compared to slides with twists, turns, and lights. 

Viva’s Observation Lounge 

After we spent some time relaxing on the sun deck, I went down to the Observation Deck to meet up with my friends who were playing a game there. The lounge was pretty full, but chairs and couches were still available. I loved the panoramic views from the front, overlooking the expansive ocean as we made our way towards Mykonos. 

norwegian viva observation lounge entrance
The Observation Lounge had lots of nooks and crannies where you could have alone time or play games with friends.

Tip: The Observation Lounge offers light pastries, coffee, juices, and snacks throughout the day. If you just need a quick bite for breakfast, it’s an excellent place to avoid crowds in other parts of the ship.

The design of the Observation Lounge really makes it feel more intimate. They use dividers and architecture to split up the space, so the area where my friends were playing a card game felt cut off from the rest of the space. The space was about half full this morning, but was still pretty quiet. The views were amazing as we slowly approached Mykonos.

Surfside Cafe for Lunch

We had an excursion to start our day in Mykonos, so we wanted to grab lunch on the ship before heading out. We headed to the Surfside Cafe to grab a bite. It wasn’t overly crowded to the point where it felt oppressive, but it was crowded, again compounded by the fact that the buffet area also serves as a main walkway in the ship. 

I couldn’t find seating inside but could grab a table at the outdoor area of the buffet (seating was also available in Food Republic and the outside portion of Palomar). The food for lunch was decent, and, again, it was probably some of the better buffet food I’ve had on a cruise ship. It was frustrating that they didn’t have soda dispensers in the buffet. You either need to go to the Wave Pool Bar or the small makeshift bar area they set up at the end of the buffet (most people didn’t know about this bar). 

Getting off the ship in Mykonos

Mykonos has two different options for cruise ships: they can dock at a pier, usually referred to as New Port, or they can drop anchor and tender guests to Old Port. In this case, the old port with a tender is actually the better option. The new dock is a 20-minute bus ride or a 10-minute water taxi away from the main town. 

Thankfully, MSC took the new dock, so we got to tender (they kept switching what we were doing at this port before the cruise, so don’t take what you see on your cruise booking as final). 

Tip: To get an early tender to shore, you must request one using the touch screens in the elevator lobbies. This opened two days before we arrived in Mykonos. If you have an excursion, you don’t need to; your ticket will tell you where onboard to meet. 

We had an excursion booked, so we headed to the Commodore Room to meet again. As we saw on Day 2, this venue doesn’t have enough room for all guests going ashore. Staff announced, “We don’t have enough room in the commodore room, so wait in the bar” as the Belvedere Bar next door filled us. In the dining room, the tables made narrow walkways, slowing down people as they tried to get out. 

Thankfully, the tender process was much more efficient in Mykonos than in Santorini. Rather than one big tender, they had many smaller ones, which meant people were constantly moving, and we got off the ship relatively quickly. 

Delos: Birthplace of Artemis & Apollo Excursion

We took the tender to the Mykonos dock and got in a queue to meet up with our group. For this port, we went with an official Norwegian Cruise Line excursion, called “Delos: Birthplace of Artemis & Apollo.” The cost was $129 per person (with a $50 discount off the first person because of the Free at Sea promo we booked under). 

Delos was a large religious town located on an island a short distance from Mykonos. In the old Greek religion, it was where the gods Artemis and Apollo were born. This tour would take us to the site, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to tour the ruins with a guide. 

Our tour group was about 40 people. Tour size is usually the biggest downside of doing an excursion from the cruise line. At the port, our guide gave us wireless headsets so she could talk to us throughout the site. It made it much more manageable for such a large group because we didn’t have to be right next to her to hear everything. 

From the tender dock, we had to get on a water taxi for a 3-minute ride to the pier and then get on a larger boat to Delos. The distance to the pier was walkable, but with a group our size, they were afraid they’d lose someone. Our excursion was scheduled to start at 1:30, and we were finally situated on the large boat and heading towards Delos at 2:15. 

The boat we took over was fairly large, holding a few hundred people. The Delos excursion was popular, and several other tour groups were on the Delos boat with it. We made our way over to the Island. The inside didn’t have air conditioning, so we sat outside to enjoy the sea breeze. This ride was pure transportation; there were no talks or information given during this 30-minute ride. 

When we arrived, we regrouped with our tour guide and began the excursion. Overall, it was a 1 hour and 50-minute tour, where we walked about 1 ⅓ miles. Not a cloud was in the sky, and the harsh Mediterranean sun was beating down on us. Our tour guide tried to find shade where she could gather the group and explain the history to us. 

Our guide had been working at historical sites for over 20 years, and you could tell. She would paint a picture of what life was like back then and then relate it to how life is today. I didn’t know it, but tour guides at official historical sites in Greece are government trained and have to be ready to go to any Greece historical site at a moment’s notice. They have to do two and a half years of training, with over 1,000 hours of classroom time and 100 trips to sites. 

We had already seen a lot of ruins on this trip, but the story here is what really stood out to me. It wasn’t just seeing the old ruins, but understanding what was there and the importance to the people at the time. It made the excursion so much more interesting to me. You could also download an app for iOS and Android to see what it used to look like in ancient times.

Exploring Mykonos Town

We arrived back in port around 5:30 and still had four hours before we had to be in the tender line for the Viva, so we explored the town of Mykonos. We wandered through the maze-like passageways, passing shops and restaurants. At this point, the walkways were shaded by the buildings, and the vibrant whites and blues made the space feel cooler.

Mykonos was everything I wanted Santorini to be. It was relaxing, beautiful, and not crowded. It probably helped that crowds had already dissipated since the ship initially docked at 1 PM, but also there was only one other ship compared to the four ships we had, Santorini. It surprised me because on the last cruise I took here in 2008, I wasn’t at all impressed with Mykonos; now, it is one of my favorite ports.

We started by walking through Little Venice, a line of buildings built right over the water. They used to be expensive houses, but now they are mostly bars and cafes. We headed over to the famous Mykonos windmills to take in the view. Years ago, they were used to be used to mill wheat, taking advantage of Mykonos’ windy climate (which wasn’t with us today), but now they’re just historical. 

Sakis Grill House

After that, we walked along the streets. We wanted a quick bite, which is hard because most Europeans don’t like grab-and-go food; they prefer sitting at a restaurant or cafe for a couple of hours, but we didn’t have time for that. So we headed to Sakis, a place known for great gyros and souvlaki. The gyro was top-notch and hit the spot. It made me sad that we had completed the Greek part of our trip because the food in all our stops was really outstanding. 

Giroas Pastry Cafe

After our food, we went to Giroas Pastry Cafe for dessert. They’ve been around since 1420 making classic Greek desserts and pastries using a wood-fired oven. We put it in Google Maps, and the GPS had a difficult time finding it with the way the narrow streets winded, but we eventually found it. The shop seems like a cave cut into a building, with us having to descend dark stone steps into the warm shop. 

Because of its long-standing history, I thought it’d be packed full of tourists, but we were the only ones there. The desserts all looked delicious, but the signage wasn’t the best, so we just pointed at the stuff we wanted. Then we headed outside to sit in a beautiful alley and try the food. The desserts were all amazing. We tried an assortment of goodies, not knowing what they were or what they were called, but all were impressive. As an American, the lack of huge amounts of added sugar really stuck out to me; Greek desserts prefer using honey as a sweetener when possible, leaving a much less sweet dessert. I instantly regretted not getting more (someone in our group had the right idea, and she stock-piled quite a bit of the desserts from her to enjoy over the rest of the cruise). 

Tendering Back to the Norwegian Viva

Around 7:15, we finished up and headed to the port to take the tender back to the ship. We passed a cute little beach on the way, but it’s small and I couldn’t see spending the whole day there.

Tip: Mykonos is known for its beach clubs, but you’ll have to leave Mykonos town and go to the South or North to visit those.

Tendering back to the ship was a breeze. We had no lines and were back onboard by 7:30. Again, it was such a better tender experience than Santorini. 

Dinner in the Main Dining Room

Since we had our Greek food at around 6 PM, we skipped dinner on board. Our friends who didn’t do an excursion and explored the city on their own were already back on the ship went to the Hudsons dining room. Here’s the menu for the evening. 

Rumors Show at Syd Norman’s

Tonight, we wanted to see the Rumors show on Syd Norman’s. If you’ve read anything about the entertainment on the Viva (or the Prima), you’ve heard this is the best show on the ship, so we had it on our list. Unfortunately,  everyone else did too. The first guests got on line 1.5 hour hours early. We got there an hour before showtime, and when they let us in 30 minutes before, we still couldn’t get seats. We could find space around a standing bar table at least to stand. Standing room was still available until about 15 minutes before the show started. 

Norwegian says Sid Norman’s holds 70 guests; I’m guessing it probably can accommodate up to 100 if you include standing room. For a ship that holds over 3,000 people, that’s ridiculous. The band performed Rumors three times during the 10-day cruise, so only 10% of the ship got to see a show that many say is the best on board. 

Tip: Grab a drink before you get in line. Syd Norman’s has a bar, and the bartenders are very quick, but you risk losing your spot if you get up to get a drink. Also, don’t bring bags and purses. My friend noted that it would have been nice to have purse hooks or someplace to put things while stuck in the standing-room area.

Rumors is a “sonic experience,” where the Syd Normans’ band takes on Fleetwood Mac characters and tells the story of the famous Rumors album. It’s kind of a cross between VH1’s “Behind the Music” and MTV’s “Unplugged.” If you love the album, you’ll love the show, of course, but I was impressed even as someone who just knew a handful of songs. The performers were incredibly talented, with tight harmonies and lots of energy. The crowd really seemed to enjoy it and I saw why I heard so much about it before we set sail. 

90s Party in the Viva Theater

After the show, we headed to the Viva Theater for a 90s party. After all the shows are done for the night, this space turns into a dance club, each night with a different theme. All of the seats are folded back, and the massive multi-million dollar LED chandelier lowers to try to make the space feel more intimate. It works to some degree, but you can still tell you’re in an all-purpose room instead of an actual nightclub.

The 90s Party probably had the best attendance of any party I saw on board. The crowd was full of energy, and the entertainment staff did a great job engaging with the audience. The lighting and LED screens really made the space come alive and feel dynamic. 

They rolled out a bar cart for beers and seltzers, but one of the theater’s bars was also open for other cocktails. 

Checking Out Karaoke 

This evening was the night before a sea day (our only sea day), so the whole ship was abuzz with activity. We didn’t want to head to bed already, so we checked out the karaoke, which usually is some good people-watching. 

On the Viva, karaoke is held in the Improv Comedy Club, and this event is the only time this space actually makes sense. Behind the performer is a big LED screen with graphics, and there’s a DJ booth in the back for the karaoke host. Unfortunately, the talent on this cruise was a little lacking. It was around 11 PM at this point, and it was pretty much a drunken mess, as you could expect, and the performances were getting worse and worse. 

Light Night Dining at The Local

We gave up on karaoke pretty quickly, but I was craving some food at that point. If you’ve cruised before, you know finding food after 9 PM can be a challenge on many ships. Cruise lines just don’t prioritize it. Usually, you’ll at least be able to find late-night pizza, but Norwegian does it better and has The Local Bar open for a “late night” menu until 3 AM. It’s basically like going to a diner back at home after a night out drinking with friends. 

At this point, the restaurant was about ¾ full; I was surprised it wasn’t more packed. The late-night menu is a bit more limited than their daytime menu, but you still have quite a few options to try. I really wanted the pretzel bites, but we also got some wings for the table and some chili. Overall, it hit the spot. I just wish the hot fudge sundae was on that late-night menu. 

I don’t know why more cruise lines don’t offer an option like this restaurant for late-night snacks. Norwegian is one of the few lines that offer sit-down options for late-night food. That being said, I did notice several times later in the cruise that I wished they had late-night pizza. I wanted a grab-and-go food option rather than waiting for sit-down service. 

By the end of the meal, we were all losing steam. Still, we made it until 12:30 AM. Tomorrow would be a sea day, our only one on the trip, so we were ready for a nice day of complete relaxation.

Follow along on our Mediterranean Adventure

Norwegian Viva – Cruise Blog - Pre-cruise – Athens

Norwegian Viva – Cruise Blog - Day 1 – Athens

Norwegian Viva – Cruise Blog - Day 2 – Santorini

Norwegian Viva – Cruise Blog - Day 3 – Kusadasi

Norwegian Viva – Cruise Blog - Day 4 – Istanbul

Norwegian Viva – Cruise Blog - Day 5 – Mykonos

Norwegian Viva – Cruise Blog - Day 6 – Sea Day (coming soon)

Norwegian Viva – Cruise Blog - Day 7 – Messina (coming soon)

Norwegian Viva – Cruise Blog - Day 8 – Naples (coming soon)

Norwegian Viva – Cruise Blog - Day 9 – Florence (coming soon)

Norwegian Viva – Cruise Blog - Day 10 – Nice (coming soon)

Norwegian Viva – Cruise Blog - Day 11 – Rome (coming soon)

5 Hits and Misses on Norwegian Viva (coming soon)

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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.