CARNIVAL VISTA- SHIP REVIEW:
This past December, my son Austin and I had the opportunity to check out Carnival's Top Ship- VISTA.
Well, it was absolutely incredible. There was so much to do. The time flew by. There were a few places I loved, as well as my son, so we'll share these experiences with you below:
Last year Austin (my son) and I took a cruise with my sister and her son to Bermuda. It was an amazing time. The only downside to this trip was me wanting a little bit more "adult time." My son was by my side 24/7. And while I thoroughly enjoyed quality time with my teenage son, I also wanted some time to enjoy solo, to take in a show, etc.
So this cruise in December on VISTA, I mentioned to him that I'd like some time for "me" and could he check out the kids club (Club O2) for a few minutes to see if he'd enjoy himself with some kids his age. So, he took my advice and was off...the rest of the cruise I rarely saw him (which made this Mom sad). So, for our next cruise, we'll need to establish a few more ground rules, with a better balance of our time together.
THE SERENITY AREA- For adults only- this area was ultra relaxing, quiet, peaceful and full of wonderful lounging couches with room for two to stretch out. They had soothing music, a separate bar for the Serenity Area and even a salad station (which rocked) and while it had very limited hours, it was worth knowing the hours so you could make your own salad. I loved the fresh, chilled shrimp and delicious dressings offered. Needless to say I packed my large bowl super high with yummy offerings. On a side note, The Serenity Area offered killer views of the ocean, each port and some amazing sunsets. It's not crowded at night and is a nice, quiet place to relax.
SO MANY POOLS- There were four pools to choose from (if my memory serves me correctly) and while the main pool (on the lido deck) was the most crowded and noisiest (with all the action occurring there in the center) I much preferred the quieter pools. The one in the rear of the ship had nice music, ample lounge chairs (where you didn't have to fight for a seat) a nice area to sit in the water to not be fully immersed, and a spot inside the pool where you could get completely soaked, with a nice, tropical drink in your hand. Bar staff was always on hand to replenish your drinks, when necessary. Since we went near Christmas Time (the second week in December) the Christmas music became a bit overwhelming to me personally...so I just brought my headphones and chilled to my playlist of special vacation music.
HOT TUBS- I only got into one of the various hot tubs offered on board. While it was nice, it seemed the hot tubs were always crowded, morning, noon and night. I didn't stay longer than 20 minutes, a group of 20 something's jumped in...and it became full at that point, so I decided to move on.
RED FROG PUB & BREWERY- I loved that the ship had it's very own brewery. I enjoy a beer on occasion, and these specialties were on tap at the bar only. BONUS- The cost per beer was cheaper than the fruity drinks, and even bottled beer. The bar snacks were delicious: frog balls! The staff was friendly and the music was tropical and soothing. In fact, this was where I frequented each day, so much so that they knew my name when I sat down!! I had a lot of fun here, but must admit it was humbling to walk in here solo (since my son was off with his new friends). One day they had karaoke music here and the place was absolutely packed. I met many nice people at the Red Frog Bar.
THE BUFFET AREAS- Honestly, I don't like all the lines, so I avoided the buffet as much as possible. I enjoyed the Burritos on the Ship (at the Blue Iguana Cantina), Fresh Salad Bar, The Dining Room and whatever else I could find.
IN SUMMARY- The overall music on the ship was good (aside from the Christmas Music that seemed a bit much), I loved the live reggae music, the piano bar singer, the cruisin' beach vibes, and overall feel of the VISTA ship. It was a very large, modern, fun ship and the only time it felt crowded to me was those dang buffet lines, which I mentioned that I avoided. I thoroughly enjoyed the My Time dining experience (you go anytime you feel like eating dinner) even if I was solo many of the evenings! My son and I enjoyed the pool tables, although many of the balls were missing and the sticks needed some major upgrades (tips were broken off of them). Matt Mitcham, the Cruise Director is TOP NOTCH! The shows were fun (especially the Love and Marriage Show & the Lip Sync Battles) and the comedy (at the PunchLiner Comedy Club- My buddy "Red" ROCKS as the host) was something I didn't miss. There were so many activities on the ship that I simply never got around to trying. My son enjoyed the SkyRide all over the top of the ship, he probably spent 90% of his time at the SkyCourt (shooting hoops with his new friends), the interactive 4-D Thrill Theater and the IMAX movie theater.
If you've not yet checked out Carnival's New VISTA ship, you really need to! It's truly top notch!!
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