I have just returned from a fantastic cruise on board the latest addition to the Carnival Cruise Line fleet – the Carnival Vista. She is jam packed with so many facilities for all the family! There are itineraries available right up until October 2016 around the Mediterranean as she is based here for the summer season so plenty of opportunities to get on board.
My 5 must do’s whilst you are on board the Carnival Vista:
After you have picked the itinerary & date, the next thing to do is to pick the type of cabin you want. The main types of staterooms are inside, ocean view, balcony and suites. If you are travelling with the family, you may wish to consider the Havana cabins with their own terrace which leads onto the promenade deck. I opted for a balcony, I think when you are cruising with Med on itineraries like this, which are so port intensive, there is no better way to see the destinations then by docking or departing from your own balcony. The accommodation is well appointed with an ensuite shower room, your own living area in your stateroom, your own balcony, comfortable bedroom and plenty of storage and wardrobe space. There is a safe to lock valuables away, an interactive TV to watch the news, check your account or read about the ports ahead and also a fridge to keep bottles cool. One of my favourite features is the USB sockets, this is ideal if you are using a tablet device or iphone and if you forget your charger you can just charge using the USB!
The heart of the ship is the atrium with its impressive centrepiece that is changing throughout the day. You can access guest services, excursions and the shops from here and in the evening there is live entertainment to enjoy as well. Talking of shops, there is a choice of fantastic shopping opportunities, from souvenirs to essentials. There is also Cherry On Top which is the best sweet shop at sea and has a very impressive pick n mix – I was there for hours!
On top deck the choice of facilities for all the family continue! The Carnival Waterworks has a choice of fun waterslides where you can race your friends, and the Power Drencher will ensure that you get very wet! There is a jogging track that you can utilise early in the morning to burn off the previous day’s calories. The Clubhouse is the place to head for some fun, you will find table football, mini-golf and much more here, and just above you will find the rope works course and also the brand new skyride, where you can pedal your way around top deck, racing your friends! If you want to keep active there is also an outdoor fitness centre! After all the adventure, why not chill out in Serenity, the adult only area. With hot tubs, Jacuzzis and plenty of cabanas and loungers to just chill out! Or you can be pampered in Cloud 9 spa, here a range of treatments and massages are available. You will also find the gym and sauna here; I liked nothing more than just chilling out in the sauna!
If you are cruising with the family, the kids will be entertained in Camp Ocean, where they are separated into groups of kids with their own ages, so there is plenty for them to do and new friends to make. There are interactive games, computer games, books, hands-on crafting and so much more!
When it comes to dining there is no shortage of choice available, with 19 different places to eat on board, some of them have a cover charge but the majority is included in the price. The main restaurant spans over two decks and offers a different menu every evening, there is the Lido Marketplace which is the help yourself buffet option with Swirls. The 24 hour help yourself ice cream station! Other dining venues include Bonsai Sushi, Pizzeria del Capitano, the Seafood Shack, Blue Iguana Catina, Guy’s Burger Joint, Fahrenheit 555, Cucina del Capitano and Ji Ji Asian Kitchen. When you have eaten, there are plenty of places to have a drink and enjoy some live entertainment including the Alchemy Bar, the Piano Bar 88, Havana Bar, The Sky Box Sports Bar, the Liquid Lounge with the Punchliner Comedy Club and the Red Frog Pub, Brewery and Rum Bar
Before going to bed, don’t forget to visit top deck to enjoy ‘Dive in Movies’ where you can watch a movie with your loved one with a blanket and popcorn! Some nights during your cruise there will be pool parties and top deck parties which are also great fun! If you are seeking the latest blockbuster or thrill movie, head to the Carnival Multiplex at sea, where you will find the only IMAX cinema at sea! Charges apply for this, but go on try it, it’s amazing!
If you’ve never cruised before, the Carnival Vista is great for a first time cruise experience. You don’t need to dress up every evening for your meal, its relaxed and casual. There is fun for all the family from the moment you wake up until your head hits the pillow again, you can be as active or as relaxed as you want to be. The staff go that extra mile to make sure you have a great cruise experience. After the first day, members of staff were remembering my name, what I liked to drink and how I liked my steak cooking. It’s service like this and with so much included in the price of your holiday, cruising is fantastic value for money.
Wow – with so much choice there really has never been a better time to take a cruise holiday. And if your spoilt for choice and not sure if there’s enough for you out there – then there are a plethora of new ships launching over the next few years…
Royal Caribbean International are launching the Quantum of the Seas in Autumn 2014, this will be the first of three next generation ships for the fleet. Quantum of the Seas really is packed with the latest innovations at sea including; the North Star (360 degree view viewing capsule that extends over the ship), bumper cars, the Two70 lounge that is a fantastic venue both day and night and the first for cruising ‘Virtual balconies’ essentially an inside stateroom with a TV screen floor to ceiling that shows a live link of the outside.
P&O Cruises will be launching their new Britannia ship in February 2015, it will be the biggest in the fleet, carrying over 3,600 passengers and built especially for the UK market. With lots of new features, and designed on 5* boutique hotels, she will still carry the traditional British cruising elements, with one of the largest spa at sea and a new giant union jack along the side of the ship, something that will be introduced across the whole fleet over the next few years.
Anthem of the Seas, the second of Royal Caribbean International’s Quantum class of ships will be launching in Spring 2015. During the summer she will be based out of Southampton offering itineraries in Europe before moving over to the Caribbean for Winter. All the facilities from Quantum of the Seas can be found on board Anthem of the Seas too.
Viking River Cruises are stepping into Ocean travel with the launch of Viking Star, the first ship to enter the fleet specifically for Ocean Cruising. Some of the old riverboat favourites from the lines other vessels will be included on board – the alfresco dining for example. A promenade will full circle the ship
Norwegian Cruise Line’s latest offering Norwegian Escape will launch in October 2015, she will be the first in the Norwegian Cruise Line’s Breakaway-Plus class, carrying 4,200 passengers. If you’ve sampled the lines latest editions – the Norwegian Breakaway or Getaway and thought they were impressive! Prepare to be amazed as Escape will have an additional deck of cabins and facilities! Two more ships are on order for Spring 2018 and Winter 2019 as part of the Breakaway-Plus class of ship, both unnamed and again, are expected to carry 4,200 passengers.
Holland America Line will launch their next vessel in February 2016, named as the ms Koningsdam, this will reflects the company’s roots in the Netherlands. ‘Koning’ meaning King in Dutch and ‘dam’ has been used in every Holland America passenger vessel name since 1883. This will be the companies first new ship since 2010.
In mid-2016 Royal Caribbean International will add the third ship to the Quantum Class fleet, the Ovation of the Seas. Joining her sisters Quantum & Anthem of the Seas she will include all the new features, North Star, Virtual balconies and lots more! Meanwhile a new ship will join the Oasis class fleet, with the possibility of a fourth launching mid-2018.
Ultra luxury line, Regent Seven Seas cruises will launch the Explorer in Summer 2016, it will be the largest in the fleet, growing its capacity by 40 percent. With 369 suites, six open seating restaurants, a stunning 9 deck atrium and two tier theatre.
Looking further ahead, Seabourn Cruise Line will add a further as-yet-unnamed ship to the fleet in the second half of 2016 and sister brand Carnival Cruise Lines will launch the Carnival Vista in Winter 2016. This will be the line’s first new ship since the Carnival Breeze in 2012, she will feature the line’s 2.0 enhancements and will be the 25th fun ship for Carnival.
Following on from the success of the Royal Princess and Regal Princess, Princess Cruises will build a third ship in its Royal Class of Ships. Currently little information has been released, but it is expected to cost in the region of 600 million euros! She will, however, feature the Princess favourites including the adult-only Sanctuary, Movie’s Under the Stars and lots of balcony staterooms.
MSC Cruises are adding a further ships to the fleet in 2017, 2018 & 2019, all are currently unnamed but are expected to hold a large number of passengers, become one of the biggest ships in the World, behind the Oasis and Allure of the Seas from Royal Caribbean
Cruising really is popular not only with Brits but around the World, over the next 5 years there are thousands of new cabins that will appear on innovate and ground-breaking ships. And as the popularity of cruising continues to grow, so will the number of ships…
I switched on the fun with Carnival Cruise Lines & their latest refurbishment – the Carnival Sunshine for a Mediterranean short cruise. Originally the Carnival Destiny, she entered serviced in 1996 and went a massive regeneration in early 2013.
The ship is excellent for everyone, whether you are aged 8 or 88! Kids are kept entertained at Camp Carnival throughout the day with special kids clubs depending on the age.
Although I thought the deck space was tight, there was still ample room to get around the ship and even relax in the adult only serenity, enjoying the fine weather whilst in the port of Civitavecchia – in fact, I enjoyed it so much I stayed on board all day and didn’t go to Rome!
There was so much to do on top deck, from the water parks, to the climbing frames, to the table football & pool! And for the adventurous why not try the water slides – and they are long! At 60m, a staircase leads to the high platform, before you're decent down the tunnel into the pool – and if you're with a group, there’s two tunnels, so have a race! At night time, you can watch a movie under the stars, a great concept that many ships now have and with nice weather, it would seem the perfect end to a summer evening.
When it comes to dining, the Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse serves some of the best steaks at sea – and the deserts – wow! The cheesecakes were so big, even our party of 4 couldn’t finish off the one slice! The ultimate choice is Guys Burger joint, with super calorie burgers served out on deck, freshly cooking in front of your very eyes. There are plenty more dining options including the Asian cuisine, BlueIguana Cantina Mexican-style eatery, Cucina del Capitano and the relaxed JavaBlue Café. Some of the dining options have a cover charge, but well worth it, you are on holiday after all!
At night the ship came alive, the great shows and bars! The piano bar was a relaxed subdued setting, with a pianist on board and the RedFrog Pub was your local on board. Alchemy Bar was an excellent choice for cocktails and never miss a sporting fixture in the EA Sports Bar – even with bowling!
I was quite surprised at the number of on board amenities, there were three decks full of lounges, bars, and areas to relax. Fancy a tipple? Well the on board Casino has every slot machine imaginable!
I was booked into a standard outside cabin, it was located quite low down on the ship, but it didn’t bother me, after all its only a place to sleep at night! It was fairly bright and airy and had plenty of storage for clothes too.
My cruise was around the Mediterranean, the ship has since gone to the Caribbean (without me!) and is now enjoying some fantastic itineraries over there.