Tuesday, December 13, 2016

4 weeks until I meet the Carnival Vista #CarnivalVista

How on earth is it mid December already???? This year has flown by. It feels only a few months have passed since my last girls cruise aboard the Carnival Valor with my best friend Keri. When I moved to Tampa in 2011, we started an annual tradition where we go on a cruise in January. January is a great month to cruise as the Caribbean weather is warm and prices are low. Plus kids are in school :)

Next month, we will be celebrating our 30th year of friendship in a big way by keeping our tradition alive on the brand new Carnival Vista! The Vista, who made her first sailing in May 2016, came over to the US last month from Europe (read about her welcoming party from my friend Amanda) and is currently based out of Miami.
We are taking a 5 night, 6 day Western Caribbean Cruise visiting the ports of Ocho Rios Jamaica, Grand Cayman and Cozumel Mexico with two days at sea. Both Ocho Rios and Grand Cayman are new ports to me. We are still planning our excursions but I do believe we will do Dunns River Falls while in Ocho Rios and snorkeling while in Grand Cayman.


This will be the first time I will be on a ship of this size. The only other ship I could slightly compare it to was when my husband and I went on the Carnival Sunshine. This ship offers so much that I fear two days at sea will not be enough time to see everything. Let's talk about a few of the highlights!

SERENITY AT SEA
Carnival is known as the fun ship so sometimes it is great to get away from the fun and get some quiet time to relax at Serenity at Sea.
The Vista's Serenity at Sea is one step above anything I have ever seen in person. Palm trees, a giant bar, plenty of chaise lounges and beds. This is truly paradise at sea. They even have Fresh Creations, a chopped salad station open on sea days, featuring selections that start with a variety of greens and finish with your choice of delicious ingredients. Keri is OBSESSED with salads, so I know this will make her a very happy girl.

FOOD
Speaking of food........I am all about the specialty dining options at sea. It's well worth the value and the versatility is fantastic. I absolutely encourage anyone going on a Carnival Cruise to check out at least one specialty dining restaurant while at sea.
My first stop will be at the Seafood Shack. If you know me, you are well aware of my obsession with Lobster Rolls. When the news started coming out about the Vista a few years ago and the addition to the Seafood Shack was announced, I was ecstatic. For an additional fee, I can eat a Lobster Roll while sailing in the Caribbean. If that isn't my dream world, then I don't know what is. Check out Carnival's Seafood Shack Menu.
Along with Seafood Shack, Carnival Vista offers a few other additional fee dining experiences: Ji Ji Asian Kitchen (my favorite!), Bonsai Sushi, Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse, Cucina del Capitano and a few free extra dining options: Blue Iguana Cantina (hello breakfast burrito!), Guy's Burger Bar, Guy's Pig and Anchor Bar-B-Q. I am all about the dining options on board. Just be sure to book in advance to secure your spot.

FUN AT SEA!
I love a good day at sea. While exploring new destinations are always a highlight, sometimes you need a day full of no itinerary with a ton of things to explore. Thanks to having a job where I do nothing but planning and itineraries, these days are my much needed break and the Vista will have a ton of things for us to do.
I'm a giant kid at heart and on days at sea, heading over to the SportsSquare to test my mad skills at Putt Putt is a must. However on the Vista, there is so much more. I absolutely plan on taking my GoPro on the SkyRide, a bike course in the high sky.
The putt putt course looks like a blast and if we want to still be kids at heart and stay out of the sun, there is Sky Bowl - a bowling alley on a cruise ship and my 5'5" best friend who schools boys in basketball will be seen at the arcade style hoops without a doubt.
For those nights that we want to stay out of the Casino, I see us at the Carnival Multiplex which has 2 big screens: an IMAX and 3D movie theater. Bring on the buttered popcorn, snow caps and gummy bears!!

BARS
I bet you didn't think I would cover this subject last! There is just so much to talk about on the Vista when it comes to adult beverages.
First up, the Red Frog Brewery. I am very familiar with the Red Frog Pub thanks to the Sunshine. However, the Vista stepped up the craft brew game at sea by putting a brewery on board. What the what!? Live music, trivia games and fun times - I see another ship on the stick in my near future.
The Havana Bar looks to be a slice of heaven and those staying in a Havana Staterooms & Suites will be the ones who make everyone else on the ship jealous. I expect to be at this pool deck with a drink in hand when I am not at Serenity.
Lastly, the Alchemy Bar, my favorite spot on any Carnival Cruise ship. This is the place where you will find the best bartenders, the best craft cocktails and as we've learned, make friends.

This is a few of the places I look forward to experiencing on board the Carnival Vista.

If you have been to Ocho Rios or Grand Cayman, I would love to hear about your experiences and what we should do while there!

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