Back from my bestie cruise — AND probably my favorite cruise so far.
We had the opportunity to sail on Carnival Vista, the newest ship of the Carnival fleet. This was my first cruise with Carnival– read on for my thoughts.
So first things first — New Year’s Eve. My favorite holiday. I was excited that the Bestie planned for us to be on the cruise December 31.
We left from Miami in the afternoon, and by the early evening we had party hats and favors delivered to our room for the night’s festivities.
I had a tad bit of alcohol in celebration of this cruise, so there are a few gaps in my memory of this night. I apparently passed out around 22:00. The Bestie knew how determined I was to make it to midnight (as I am every year), and woke me up in time for the dropping of the New Year’s Wish balloons (basically we wrote our wish for the new year on paper we stuffed into balloons, which were then dropped into the 3rd floor atrium). After managing to not vomit on the people in their fancy outfits at the balloon drop, I ran with the Bestie up to the pool deck for the big New Year’s party. We ended up dancing the night away with random guests (and an adorable old man who knew how to boogie) and I didn’t puke on anyone.
I really liked the ship itself. It’s really hard to be bored, which I found true on my previous cruises as well. What sets Vista apart from so many others (in my opinion) was the sheer size and amount of things to do. First off, there are several shops on board — including the regular souvenir/general store, a candy shop/ice cream parlor, and a liquor store. There’s also an Effy jewelry store on board, and they had a big blowout sale the last day. PRO TIP: If you see an Effy sales associate wearing a piece of jewelry you like, ask them if it’s an Effy piece. If it is and they don’t have it in their shop, they might be able to help you with a custom order, still tax and duty free.
My favorite pasttime is eating, which accounts for my new 5-lb weight gain. You will never go hungry on this ship. Besides the two regular dining restaurants (both the buffet and table-service), there’s also a Guy Fieri’s burger joint (I LOVED their burgers), a taco/burrito/tostada bar, a 24-hour pizza place, seafood restaurant, a Guy’s BBQ restaurant, sushi bar, steakhouse, Italian, and Asian cuisine. Most food on the room service menu is also free — so feel free to order room service if you’re too lazy to get up. PRO TIP: The pizza on the room service menu is made at the 24-hour pizza place, but costs $5. If you get it from the actual takeout place by the pool, it’s no added charge. Blow your $5 elsewhere and get in some cardio. There are also several bars on board, so alcohol is plenty, but learn from my mistakes and don’t get too sauced too early.
There are plenty of activities for the kids (and the inner children) as well. I liked the Skyride. If you pedal really hard at the beginning, you can go fast enough to speed through the dip and whip around the back of the ship. There’s also a water slide and mini water park on board, but it was always overrun with children when I tried to go. There’s also mini golf, an obstacle course, and even a two-lane mini bowling alley. Mom or Dad don’t want to deal with the little ones? Drop them off at the daycare. Each parent is supplied with a cell phone and will be notified by staff if there are any issues. Enjoy your time in the ship’s spa!
There’s also an IMAX theater on board. It’s an additional charge, but it costs less than an IMAX movie where I live (about $13-$14). Of course, they don’t have the brand-new releases, but they played recent movies. We watched Inferno and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.
Punchline Comedy Club is also a great place to go after dinner. They have different comedians on each cruise, and offer both “family friendly” and adult only shows. The club manager, Fluffy, is super friendly, so make sure to say hi to her. I also heard her talk to this annoying girl who was upset that she was getting carded at an adult-only show, and I liked how Fluffy stood up for her staff. PRO TIP: While you usually only need your room card on you, it might be a good idea to keep your ID around, especially if you look under 18 but are actually over 21. And don’t be annoying if they ask to see your ID strictly because they doubt your age — just take it as a compliment that you look young. Or just go to the PG shows, whatever.
Of course, no cruise would be complete without an awesome cruise director and staff. Our cruise director, Matt, and his assistant (I think) Cookie, were the best combination in entertainment on board. Matt dressed in leggings and an off-shoulder shirt to lip-sync to some Olivia Newton-John. Cookie once greeted a group of passengers leaving the ship with a cheery “Welcome to Alaska!” I had paid to go to the Caribbean, but I appreciated the happy greeting.
More to come on my cruise stops, but I was just so excited about being on board a new ship for the New Year! Have any of you cruised on Carnival? What did you think? Questions about this new ship? Any recommendations for future cruise destinations? Let me know!