NCL Unveils Its Next Ship — Norwegian Aqua — And It’s a Must-See

When Norwegian Prima was introduced as the first of the new Prima-class ships from Norwegian Cruise Line, it made waves as something completely different from the rest of the industry and even the rest of the fleet.

Now NCL is doing it again with its first Prima-Plus class ship, Norwegian Aqua, which it just revealed.

NCL Aqua rendering
The all-new Norwegian Aqua is the first of the Prima-Plus class. It will set sail with passengers starting in 2025. Images courtesy of NCL.

In an unveiling released today of renderings and details about what’s onboard, NCL teased cruise fans with a ship that not only is head-turning but also builds on the popularity of its Prima-class ships.

Norwegian Aqua will debut at 1,056 feet long, 156,300 gross tons and hold 3,571 guests at double occupancy. That’s about 10% larger than the current Prima vessels. But it’s not just that Aqua is larger that makes it special. There are a number of changes the cruise line is making as well.

For one, NCL says it will have the “highest staffing levels of any new contemporary cruise ship.” Its new webpage dedicated to the ship goes as far as to say “Never wait a second for that second round — or anything else. Revel in the highest staff levels of any new ship and always feel prioritized.”

Perhaps the most visible change is that the famous go-kart track that’s been a fixture on recent NCL ships isn’t on Norwegian Aqua. Instead, the cruise line is putting in an all-new Aqua Slidecoaster.

Slidecoaster on NCL Aqua
The new Aqua Slidecoaster wraps around the top deck, taking riders both up and down as they circle the ship.

This feature is a three story “hybrid” between a roller coaster and a waterslide that wraps around the top of the ship. A magnetic lift carries you up and then sends you flying down dual slides.

There’s also a new Glow Court that features an interactive LED floor on a sport court… and then turns into a nightclub at night. (No, we’re not sure how that exactly works either!)

To be sure, there’s a lot that will be familiar to those that have sailed Norwegian Prima or Viva. First, NCL continues to push toward a more upscale environment onboard (what the cruise line refers to as “elevated”) with design and décor that is more high-end hotel than traditional cruise ship. Luxury areas like The Haven get special attention, with the largest area yet that has more than 120 suites, along with its own sundeck, infinity pool, and spa.

The wraparound Ocean Boulevard is featured on Aqua, with lounge spots to relax and take in stunning views.

Other design features like Ocean Boulevard (an outdoor walkway around the entire ship that brings you closer to the water) and the adults-only Vibe Beach Club also make an appearance on Aqua. Of course, with the larger ship, NCL is able to make these areas larger.

If you’re looking at the images of Norwegian Aqua for the first time, however, it’s likely the massive hull art that will catch your eye. NCL is known for painting the hull of its ships, but this is by far the most bold design we’ve seen since Norwegian Encore.

Hull art on NCL Aqua
Aqua will feature some of the most colorful and boldest hull artwork of any ship in the fleet.

The artist behind the work is Allison Hueman, the first-ever female hull artist for the line. The work’s official name is “Where the Sky Meets the Sea,” and is said to evoke “modern mythology through colorful mashups of abstract and figurative representations of sea and sky, ruled by ancient goddesses.”

No matter what you see in the art, it’s no doubt going to make the ship stand out.

Norwegian Aqua won’t welcome its first passengers for some time yet. The ship is scheduled to debut in April 2025. Its first voyages will be from Port Canaveral, followed by sailings from New York City and then Miami.

Bookings are available starting now if you want to be among the first to sail the new ship.

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