May 3, 2016 -
Good morning. It’s 8:30am here on your Carnival Vista and the sun is pushing through the clouds as we spend the day at sea as Captain Rocco Lubrano takes us to Dubrovnik, Croatia, tomorrow. “So how was the first night on board?” I hear you cry. Well, it was brilliant, it really was. Now straight away, I know Hog Rider, Je Souflet and the Cruise Critic boards will be sitting in their parent’s basement saying, “Stop spinning the truth, Heald, you fat useless idiot, no way was it perfect.” And you know what, they are right – nothing is ever perfect, especially for a brand new, first-of-its-kind ship. But I will always tell you about everything — the brilliant and the not so brilliant — so let’s crack on, shall we?
I want to start with the brilliant because let me tell you that I spoke personally to many, many guests — some of whom will be reading this now and their first impression of the ship was that she is “AMAZING, BEAUTIFUL, OMG WOW.” And you know what? She absolutely is all of those things — and then some. And the other comment that I heard over and over again from our regular cruisers was that she was like no other Carnival ship they had been on because of the layout and the décor. She really is jaw-droppingly good and makes me dribble slightly when I walk around her.
The Dreamscape Atrium, the dining rooms, the massive amount of seating inside and outside of Promenade Deck 5 and the sheer number of food choices were the collective winners of the most talked about areas followed closely by the Havana Bar and the new suites and cabins both there and in the Family Harbor section on Deck 2. And, oh yes, the RedFrog Pub & Brewery is already proving to be the place to be.
But as I mentioned yesterday, it’s not until you put 4,000 people on a ship that you know how things are going to work. We have smart TVs in every cabin and, as always with new technology, there are challenges which the chaps with many pens in their top pockets worked on and went cabin to cabin to get this taken care of.
Then there was the fact that we had the safety briefing later than we wanted because we had to make sure all guests were on board and were able to take part in the mandatory life saving procedures we teach our guests in the safety briefing. We started at 5 pm and, by 5:40 pm, it was over. The problem was that the dining rooms are used as a muster area and, once the guests had left, it gave the waiters so little time to get the dining room open for early seating and Your Time Dining. So we opened 15 minutes late, which had a 15-minute effect to late seating, obviously, with us opening at 8:30 pm instead of 8:15pm. Now this is something that won’t happen again as we have earlier sailing times from Barcelona, our home port for most of the European season, but the waiters and Maitre D’s Ken and Chris, as well as the chef and his staff, all dealt with the problem in the professional and fun way that you would all expect from a Carnival crew.
As for Your Time Dining, well, with so many of the guests choosing this option, the time most people had to wait for a table was minimal and that is brilliant news, indeed. The best times according to Chris, the maître d’ in the Horizons dining room, was (were) opening time until around 7pm and, then again, from 7:30pm – 8:30pm. Guests need to check in on Deck 5 by the Java Blue Café and then they get a pager. But for many, they were able to go straight to the dining room and be seated. And having the Diamond and Platinum and suite guests who booked Your Time Dining go straight to the dining room on Deck 3 was a great idea and really helped speed the process along.
The other challenges in the dining room were all based around language. You may have seen that we have lots of nationalities on board, so communication is a challenge for sure. This was proven by a group of Italian guests waving their arms around, like a demented windmill, demanding an Italian waiter……..we don’t have a single one, so they had the next best thing, a waiter called Wayan, from Indonesia……Indonesia, Italy, same thing really. Then we had four guests from the Ukraine who thought it would be OK to come to the dining room in their bathrobes…..it wasn’t.
But the comments I heard from guests who all know me were that the food was “delicious” and that the dining rooms were “Carnival’s best.” I will have much more about food later today.
We had a few noise concerns which, again. You only find out about when you put actual guests on the ship and the team here will work diligently to get these concerns sorted out. There is so much to celebrate with this ship and I haven’t even told you about the Cloud Nine 9 Spa which, as soon as you enter it, it’s as though you’ve stepped into a world of whale song and candles on water lilies.
So there will be more video today and, technology permitting, a live thing from me as I show you more of this spectacular flag ship.
I see that these past seven days, we had over 1,500 new likes here and so I have a message to those who may have never cruised with Carnival. If by chance you are talking to a travel agent or a friend who is talking about cruising and is telling you that Carnival is not for you, please stick your fingers in your ears and sing “la-la-la-la,” as loudly as you can till their mouth stops moving.
Carnival Vista then is a triumph — she really is — and can’t wait to share more about her with you.
Wish you were here?