In today’s cruising climate, four years feel like an eternity. Although Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Breeze introduced a considerable number of innovations when it debuted in 2012, guests were looking for something new by 2016.
The new Carnival Vista offers travelers just that. The ship, which was launched in early May, is an ambitious next chapter for the Carnival brand. While the layout of the ship will feel familiar to Carnival loyalists, innovation will hit guests everywhere they turn – from a 455-foot kaleidoscope water slide to modern carpet designs to new room categories, next-generation technology and the re-imagining of spaces into vibrant new social hubs.
Fanciest and Most Common Accommodations: The most prevalent accommodations are oceanview Balcony/Lanai staterooms, of which there are 877 that measure up to 230 square feet.
The highest level of accommodations are Grand Suites, which measure 345 square feet and are equipped with generously sized balconies of 85 square feet.
Carnival has turned Deck 2 into family central with 96 Family Harbour staterooms that feature a kids’ bed nook and TV that can be curtained off from the parents. Family Harbour guests have 24-hour access to an exclusive family lounge with TVs and video game consoles, board games, snacks and beverages. Plus, all Family Harbour kids eat for free at the ship’s specialty restaurants.
Sixty-one Havana accommodations play off the enhanced Cuban presence on the ship, and guests booking these cabins have exclusive access to the Havana Bar and Pool. Oceanview Havana cabins are equipped with patios.
What’s Included: Rates include buffet dining on the Lido deck, featuring everything from chicken fingers to prime rib, as well as deli sandwiches. Evening dining is also included with assigned seating or an Anytime Dining pass. Room service is available 24 hours, with an array of free items and a new selection of paid items, including pizzas, quesadillas and cheesesteaks for $5 each.
Best Entertainment: The new SkyRide has guests pedaling a cycle 15 stories above the sea. Ideally suited for kids and families, it’s from the creator of Rollerblades – and it is amazing and addictive. The ship’s new IMAX theater is the first of its kind at sea. Tickets range $5.50 to $12.95. For late night adult fun, Ben at the piano bar is potty-mouthed but top notch. And then there’s the endless flow of trivia at Ocean Plaza, always fun for all ages.
Favorite Excursion: While the ship is in Europe, recommend that your clients do the Zorba style Greek night out in Athens.
The dining room is crowded and not for the claustrophobic, but the singing, dancing and breaking plates make for a wonderful crash course on Greek culture.
Who Goes on This Ship? The ship boasts a diverse passenger base, both in age and in ethnicity, but it’s not for the kid-averse luxury set. It is already popular with gay couples and family reunions and is an elixir for the introvert looking to be more social.
Best Eats: The new Seafood Shack serves fish and chips, lobster rolls and New England clam chowder. It’s an extra charge but well worth it. Your clients can order a fish in the morning that is picked up fresh in port and served to you that evening at market prices. Plus, there are more al fresco dining options than ever, a huge improvement over the Breeze.
READ MORE: Customer-First Tech a Big Hit on Carnival Vista
Best drink: Recommend that your clients sample the Caribbean-inspired brews at the Red Frog Pub & Brewery, the first-ever brewery aboard a U.S. ship. There’s the aromatic and citrusy Port Hoppin’ IPA, spicy ThirstyFrog Caribbean Wheat unfiltered lager and a rich and creamy FriskyFrog Java Stout.
Key Selling Points: It’s really about bang for the buck. More than ever, Carnival aspires to offer a premium experience at a middle-class price. Everything from the adult getaways on the Serenity deck to the Dreamscape LED-lit centerpieces in the main atrium bar areas to the newly developed photo gallery software (browse photos taken on your cabin TV; no more sifting through hundreds of proofs) deliver on the promise of the Vista being the next step forward for the brand.
JUST THE FACTS
Cruise line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Vista
Size: Capacity of 4,716 guests in 1,965 cabins; 133,500 gross registered tons
Entered Service: May 1,2016
Itinerary: Carnival’s inaugural itinerary is the cruise line’s first foray into Europe in three years. with calls in ports in Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Makta,Gibraltar and Turkey. The ship will spend the summer on eight to 13-day itineraries in Europe before embarking on a 13-day transatlantic cruise, arriving in New York on Nov.3. It will operate an 11-day Eastern Caribbean cruise roundtrip from New York and an 11-day South Caribbean itinerary from New York to Miami before entering service on year-round six- and eight-day Caribbean itineraries out of Miami starting in late November.
Price: A 10-day European itinerary runs from $679 to $2,600 per person double occupancy. A typical seven-day Caribbean cruise will cost between $729 to $2,222 per 2016. Winter 2017 rates on Western Caribbean journeys from Miami range from $429 to $1,149 per person double occupancy.