Last month, Sam and I were lucky enough to take a trip on Carnival Vista, Carnival’s brand new cruise ship, taking only its second sailing. We boarded on a beautiful sunny day in Barcelona and travelled down the coast to Marseilles, then Livorno, Civitavecchia and Naples, with a fun day at sea before disembarking in Heraklion, Greece. So come with me for a tour around bella Vista – I’ve got everything you need to know!
The first thing you notice when boarding is the absolutely gorgeous DreamScape – an ever-moving and changing column, which stretches up three whole decks and produces beautiful LCD images. One minute you’ll be mesmerised by tropical fish floating near a coral reef, and the next it will transform into a beach with bright blue sky and waving palms.
We made our way to our room (all of the time thinking ‘how will we ever find our way around?’) to discover a cheerful balcony cabin with twin beds, plus extra sofa bed, plenty of cupboard and hanging space, and a jaunty blue and yellow colour scheme. The bathroom, with single (blue!) sink and lots of storage, was roomy too (my only gripe is the shower curtain – I hate them – I don’t want to be fighting off a clingy, cold curtain every time I shower):
If you want to splash out on your accommodation there are some really lovely options, including the quirky, nautical-themed Family Harbor staterooms, with loads of benefits, including their own Family Harbor Lounge, an exclusive 24-hour area with breakfast, snacks, games, movies, even concierge service.
I loved the idea of the Havana Staterooms and suites. It’s like having your own little private resort. You get exclusive access to the Havana Bar & Pool during the day (guests have to be 12 or over), and the rooms are seriously funky, with extra large outdoor spaces, perfect for chilling in the sun.
All the fun stuff
Dumping our stuff and heading out into the sunshine to explore, we were dazzled by all the gorgeous bright colours. It really is a beautifully designed ship, with loads of zingy, funky places to sit and relax.
This is the Serenity adult-only retreat. It’s even got a lovely, healthy salad bar:
The WaterWorks area is amazing, with waterslides, a fabulous SplashZone, and the fab Kaleid-O-Slide, which you can whizz down on just on your own or seated on an inflatable ring – it has mesmerising whirling light show inside. Here’s a quick demo (complete with classic tumble at the end – excuse the delightful spare tyre or two as I bend over:
And here’s Sam demonstrating the giant bucket, with slightly more dignity:
As well as the main beach pool (with that enormous screen – top), there’s the lovely (and mostly deserted when we were on board) Tides pool:
Another attraction we were dying to get on was the SkyRide. Carnival Vista is so named because the aim is to really connect guests to the sea, and the panoramic views from this incredible, suspended cycle ride are second to none – fabulous in port but even more amazing at sea (as long as it’s not too windy):
As well as the SkyRide, SportSquare features SkyCourse, the high ropes course, as well as The Clubhouse, with loads of indoor activities like mini-bowling and arcade-style basketball, plus there’s a football pitch, volleyball, table tennis, oh and SkyGreens, which is both fun and ridiculously pretty:
Dining on board
Another thing you’ll find on board, with the same spirit of connecting guests to the ocean, is a much larger choice of al fresco dining options – available in both speciality and normal dining. The Lido Marketplace is huge and includes a deli, Guy’s Burger Joint, pizzeria (open 24 hours!) and a salad bar…
And we ADORED the happy guys in the Seafood Shack (and their lobster BLTs):
Main dining is fine, but there are so many amazing dining options on board, including the INCREDIBLE Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse:
And our absolute favourite, JiJi Asian Kitchen:
And the bars are so much fun too. Red Frog Pub and Brewery actually brew their own beer on site:
And the Havana Club is THE place to be when the sun goes down, with amazing drinks and a fantastic band where you can dance the night away to Cuban rhythms until the early hours. I love the decor in there too:
And I haven’t even got started on the advanced WiFi coverage (and the very clever social plan that allows you to get on all your social media for just $5 a day), the internet cafés, the great Carnival Hub app, the Cloud 9 Spa, the fabulous Alchemy Bar where mixologists prepare drinks based on your mood, the sushi bar, the jaw-dropping shows, including Amor Cubano, which is based on the music and nightlife of Cuba; America Rocks, a tribute to classic American rock bands; Thrill Theater with 5D sensory movies, plus the Piano Bar where lovely, talented Ben had us in stitches every night, the IMAX theatre, the amazing kids’ clubs, the casino, the great ports of call and excursions…. I think you’ll just have to get on board and discover it all.
We absolutely loved it, and one of the things that we still talk about is that Vista is a genuinely happy ship. Over and over again we saw the staff having a proper giggle with each other (and the guests) and at every turn we were welcomed with a smile and a chat, with every single person going above and beyond to make sure we had a fabulous time.
Some might think that this sort of ship is just for families with little kids, but with places like the Serenity area and the fabulous Havana staterooms and suites, I can totally see the appeal for adults too. Interestingly, statistics have just shown that Carnival Vista is a huge hit with couples, with over 4,000 couples booked on board during the ship’s time throughout the Med this summer – that’s an an 86% increase on 2015 bookings.
Massive thanks to everyone at Carnival. Tell Bella Vista we’ll see her very soon.
Example price: Carnival Vista 1st October 2016 – 10 night Mediterranean Cruise Only from £629pp
Barcelona, Spain> Marseilles (Provence), France> Livorno (Florence/Pisa), Italy> Rome (Civitavecchia), Italy> Naples (Capri/Pompeii), Italy> Crete (Heraklion), Greece> Rhodes, Greece> Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey> Athens, Greece
$200 ONBOARD CREDIT PER STATEROOM
*Cruise only prices are per person based on two people sharing an Inside Stateroom and subject to availability