After many years in planning and construction, a short season in Europe, and a transatlantic voyage, Carnival Cruise Line’s newest and biggest ship, the Vista, has made it to the United States. Last week, the Vista finally arrived at Manhattan’s Pier 88 in New York City!
As I have discussed in a prior post, Carnival Cruise Line (CCL) offers a different sort of atmosphere compared to its competitors. While Royal Caribbean is geared towards families, Carnival targets families and adults. You can find every type of demographic when sailing on a CCL ship. For the young ones, Carnival ships offer great kids clubs, water slides, ropes courses, movies, and more. On the other hand, they also offer your old time cruise favorites, bingo and shuffleboard, lots of food, many bars, and a vibrant casino. There are plenty of activities for the kids, relaxing areas for adults, and a great party atmosphere for everyone on board.
Ever since the ship was announced, I have been anxiously following all news about it. Carnival Cruise Line will always hold a special place in my heart, but I find that this ship is more extraordinary than usual. Although other cruise lines may have larger ships, the Vista offers more than I would ever want… and probably for a better price!
This ship offers two new interesting things. To begin, along with the great activities they already have on the older ships, the Vista offers the SkyRide, a bike track in the air. If you think that this is for the kids, you better think again. Even adults will feel an adrenaline rush as they pedal around the top of the ship, hanging from the railing above, looking out at the beautiful views. If adventure isn’t your thing, head to the new RedFrog Pub & Brewery, the first brewery at sea. With their own special, hand-crafted beers, the adults can kick back and relax. As a bonus, the ship also offers an IMAX theater.
New activities are not the only thing that is intriguing about the Vista; the ship is gorgeously created with two new styles of staterooms. Havana staterooms give guests special access to the Havana Bar & Pool, an area at the aft of the ship with incredible views. The cabins offer a different decor and a private piece of deck with a hammock. Another new type of stateroom, the Family Harbor Stateroom & Suites, give guests a family lounge with food, games, and movies. Both of these staterooms operate similarly to the spa cabins found on past ships.
Along with these creative staterooms, new dining options have been created. First, the Horizons Restaurant offers a bar on the lower level, something never before seen on Carnival ships. While you wait for Your Time Dining, you can sip on a nice drink. The dining room offers new decor and longer, rectangular tables. On top of this, the ship offers all restaurants found in the Fun 2.0 upgrade (BlueIguana Cantina, Guy’s Burger Joint, etc.) as well as a few new favorites. The Vista now includes the Seafood Shack, a New-England-inspired seaside seafood restaurant. Another new favorite is Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse, which just like the Burger joint features meals by Guy Fieri. This restaurant is known for its BBQ and sides, while the Burger joint serves passengers their favorite burgers and fries.
The decor and technology on the ship have also improved. First, the Atrium hosts unique LED columns that are larger than you would ever expect. The images change between tropical fish, geometric designs, and everything in between. Another cool technology change is the switch from printed pictures in the photo gallery, to digital. Passengers can now use iPads at Pixels Photo Gallery to see their professionally taken photographs and decide if they want to buy them. The images can also be seen by passengers on cabin TVs or the HUB app on their personal devices. While I cannot name all of the technology advances on this great new ship, the marketing for the ship has been incredibly interactive and avant-garde. Carnival has produced 360 degree panoramic videos and tours and has teamed up with social media all-stars to create videos advertising the ship. For example, Carnival produced a video where Zach King, a social media star, gives a tour of the highlights of the Vista. It utilizes cool special effects while also offering 360 degree tours in the same video.
To match this excellent ship, the naming ceremony had to be extremely great too and it didn’t disappoint!
The Arrival Gala and Naming Ceremony
Carnival Cruise Line hosted an overnight gala event on November 4th to celebrate the arrival of the Vista on the United States shores. The event featured a naming ceremony and a concert for military families involved in Operation Homefront.
The Carnival Vista’s Naming Ceremony featured some exciting faces. Carnival Cruise Line President, Christine Duffy, and Senior Cruise Director and blogger, John Heald were a few of the important Carnival faces at the event. More importantly, the godmother of the Vista, Miss USA Deshauna Barber was there to release the ceremonial bottle of champagne that was then smashed over the hull of the ship. Deshauna Barber is the first Miss USA that is serving in the U.S. Military and is the perfect choice for godmother of the Vista. This year, Carnival has been teaming up with Operation Homefront to help build strong and stable military families.
Carrie Underwood has been partnering with Carnival a lot this past year as they work on Operation Homefront. She performed for the families aboard the Vista at the event on November 4th.
Other than these special events, tours were given around the ship and guests were given overnight accommodations, meals, and other entertainment. The ship was filled with about 2,000 people including military members and their families, Carnival executives, travel agents, and media. Excitement was felt by all aboard.
The Vista has already sailed to many places. The ship was built and then began a season sailing through the Mediterranean. After that, it made its transatlantic voyage, stopping in Bermuda before arriving in New York for the overnight gala. Now, it is finishing up a pair of 11-day sailings from New York before it heads to Miami on November 27th for year-round sailings to the Caribbean. Check out www.carnival.com for more details on the Vista’s itinerary.