REVIEW: The popular saying, “It’s just like riding a bike,” has new meaning with the launch of Carnival Cruises newest ship, the 4,000-passenger Vista.
The Vista has SkyRide which is an oval track of bicycles that are suspended high above the top deck.
As you pedal along in your recumbent bike, you’ll enjoy magnificent views and an ego-boosting thrill at your own pace. This fun feature is just one of many ways the new Vista was designed specifically to put passengers in closer proximity to the sea to enjoy the glorious views.
When you want to cool off, go for a swim in one of the three pools and for the young, or young at heart, try the new Kaleid-o-slide, another cruise industry first. The 455-long waterslide starts from deck 12 and has lights inside to make you feel like you’re inside a kaleidoscope.You’ll feel like a kid again as you sit on the inner tube and swirl to the bottom.
Another way the Vista ship has you enjoying water views is while dining. The ship has more outdoor dining spaces than any of their other ships.
Seven of the 14 restaurants have outdoor seating such as Bonsai Sushi and Seafood Shack which fish lovers like, especially for tasty lobster rolls and raw oysters.
Guy Fieri, the famous TV chef, restauranteur and author, has created two restaurants on board with outdoor seating — Guy’s Burger Joint and Guy’s Pig and Anchor Bar-B-Que, for possibly the juiciest burgers and succulent pulled pork at sea.
If fine dining inside in upscale surroundings is more your style, book reservations at the Chef’s Table which is an intimate dining experience for 16 guests with meals that are carefully crafted based on the destinations visited.
For top-quality American-style steaks choose the Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse. If you enjoy Italian food in a vibrant family atmosphere, you’ll like Cucina del Capitano. Or JiJi Asian Kitchen serves exotic cuisine inspired from China, Mongolia, the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam with each choice noted on a map as to its origin.
There are also more than dozen bars on board with the RedFrog Pub & Brewery being a star since it also represents the first hand-crafted beer brewery at sea.
In the evenings, Carnival’s entertainment, led by Canadian entertainment director Ryan McQuarrie, has never been better since they recently added more dancers and singers to their Broadway-style shows called Amor Cubano, America Rocks! and Flick: The Power of Motion Pictures.
The Punchliner Comedy Club also has top comedians. For something completely different, participate in the “Clue” mystery experience which has you cracking a murder case with the whole cruise ship as your game board.
If you are in the mood for a movie, the Vista also has the first IMAX theatre at sea. As with all IMAX movies, you’ll feel like you’re in the movie, not just watching it.
The company partnered with Carnival to build the 187-seat theatre and offer a five-dimensional (5D) movie experience where the seats rock and you get gently sprayed with bubbles for some movies.
The Vista ship has a new breed of cabins with the Cuban-style Havana suites. Some of these have patios instead of balconies. Step out your sliding doors and you’ll have a deck space that features a swinging hammock and patio furniture. The space has a low white fence and gate with access to a semi-private walkway that overlooks the ocean. The suites are part of a private neighbourhood with its own pool, hot tub, lounge areas and bars. The public has access to the area, but only after 6 p.m.
The Family Harbor Suites are designed for families with brightly coloured, nautical-style decor and cabins that sleep five people. These suites have dedicated lounges with special areas for kids to use computers, play games, watch movies and enjoy snacks.
While Carnival is well-known for its fun activities and deck parties, if you want quiet time, head to the Serenity deck with its private cabanas and palm trees to read a book. Only those over 21 are allowed so you can enjoy the soothing sights and sounds of the sea in solitude. The Cloud 9 Spa is another place for serenity and offers 22,000 square feet of spa, salon and exercise facilities.
As the 25th cruise ship in the Carnival fleet, the Vista surpasses its Fun Ship reputation of exciting activities and features without losing sight of capitalizing on sea views.
The Vista is based in Miami for year-round Caribbean cruising. For more information call 1-800-CARNIVAL.