Shell Patterson, travel agent, travel blogger and first-time cruise passenger, recently spent seven nights on Carnival Cruise Line‘s latest Fun Ship, Carnival Vista. Here, she explains how one trip has changed her mind about cruise
There are a lot of misconceptions about cruising and, I must admit, before I went on my first cruise I was well and truly on that bandwagon. I thought that cruises were for old people, or for families wanting a contained space for their unruly children. But after joining Carnival Cruise Line’s new ship Carnival Vista for a sailing from Rome to Athens, all that changed.
Every single day on board this Fun Ship, I found myself pleasantly surprised by how every type of guest is catered for. Although there were only 100 kids on board compared to the 1,000 expected during school holidays, we barely saw a child the entire time we were on board the ship. They were no doubt way too busy playing mini-golf, competing in video-game tournaments, making ‘volcanoes’ at kids’ club, and going down the waterslides until their fingers resembled prunes. Even so we found ourselves relaxing in the adults-only paradise that was Serenity with its hammocks, sun beds, hot tubs and a bar that served frozen cocktails so good I still find myself daydreaming about them now.
We spent the whole first day of the cruise exploring the ship’s numerous facilities. We were delighted to find that the ship housed everything we didn’t know we needed on holiday: a Skyride for us to enjoy a bird-eye view of each port, hot tubs, walk-in and select restaurants with food delicious enough to make a food blogger cry with joy and a varying schedule of poolside movies complete with blankets and popcorn. Carnival Vista’s best asset though is its staff – we simply couldn’t pass a single one without them offering a cheery greeting and checking in to see if they could make our experience any better. From the waitress in Jii Jii’s restaurant recommending a green tea cocktail – the best drink I’ve ever tasted – to the brewmaster taking time to discuss his favourite beers over a pint of IPA he brewed on board, the staff were all personable and genuinely seemed to love their jobs.
To be honest, when I first saw the itinerary I was dreading the day at sea day – surely, I thought, there would be nothing worse than being stuck on board a ship. But with many extra activities planned for sea days, there was more than enough to keep us entertained. We used the time to take a brewery tour, do a bit of sunbathing, have a hearty pasta lunch, play some board games in the afternoon, and watch a film in the IMAX. In fact, we even forewent one of the port days so we could stay on board the ship and make use of some of the facilities we hadn’t yet tried. This day was spent largely in the spa, accidentally, where we made the rounds of the three steam rooms, (infrared, aromatherapy, and dry steam) the whirlpool, and promptly fell asleep in the heated chiropractic chairs – being pampered is so tiring!
Carnival Vista encapsulated so much of what we enjoy about travelling: we got to flood Instagram with sunrise and sunset photos every day, we could select exciting and unique excursions, there was the choice to participate in activities and meet people or just chill out on the deck by ourselves and, at the end of the day, there were plenty of places we could sit with a drink and talk about the amazing day we had. As someone who has worked largely in selling holidays, I could see many holiday styles fitting the Carnival Vista: flop and drops could chill out by the pool, visit the spa, eat at the restaurants on the ship, or even take the excursions, which drop you at a local beach for the day. Adventure types could hit the gym for a spin class or morning yoga before exploring the port on a choice of excursions to historical sites or even scuba diving and enjoy some entertainment in the piano bar in the evening. Families with children could play mini golf, visit the arcade, take a dip in the pool, and drop the kids off at kids’ club for that all important alone time. With all that Carnival Vista has to offer it is easy to make your holiday your own.