Blog from Livorno

June 4, 2016 -

John Heald

Good morning from Livorno where guests are exploring the tower that leans and the beauty that is Tuscany and Florence. I only have two days left on the Carnival Vista and will reminisce more tomorrow on why this ship is the ship that every cruiser should be booking.  Today, though, I want to talk about children.  Yesterday I mentioned that we have a children’s menu in the steakhouse and while for many it was of non-concern, some threw their toys out of their stroller saying they would “never eat in there again,” “kids will ruin the atmosphere,” etc., etc.

So I thought I would start today by giving you some facts on this. Here we go:

Fact 1 – We have never NOT allowed children in the steakhouse and that menu I posted has been available for a few months now.

Fact 2  – We have not advertised the children’s steakhouse menu on the ships and, while it is not something we promote, it is available.

Fact 3 – We are a proud family cruise line. We have been and always will be that but the last time you were in the steakhouse were you disturbed by unruly out of control children? My guess is no, you were not and this will still be the case.

Fact 4 – I asked three different ships yesterday that have the children’s steakhouse menus how many complaints they have had from other guests about children in the steakhouse. The answer – none. Not one complaint about other guests having their meal “ruined” by children.

Fact 5  – In the 30-plus days Carnival Vista has been in service we have served a total of seven children from the steakhouse children’s menu and the number of guests who said “this is ridiculous, how dare you let the little bastards in the steakhouse because they ruined my meal and should be flogged”……ummm….. none. Seriously, not one single complaint from anyone at any time.

So there you go. Have we allowed children in the steakhouse always? Yes and we certainly will not have huge flashing neon signs outside saying “bring the kids in” but, if they wish to, families can dine together should they choose.  And if children do dine with us with their parents, grandparents and others, we will welcome them with open arms and a wonderful plate of sliders and fries.  For reunions and family gatherings, the steakhouse is a wonderful place to share wonderful moments together.

So really, nothing has changed and you are as likely to see the National Vegan Society holding their annual convention there as you are likely to see a sudden, massive influx of children.

Now I know there will still be differing opinions when people read this. Some would say no problem children dining in the steakhouse, so long as they are well behaved, while others will say, regardless of the solid facts I have written above, that noisy children in the restaurant easily ruins the experience. It’s an interesting topic, so please let me know what you think.

Most of the children who sail with us are well behaved and those that are not, well, parents, get a grip and control them, please. If you are having trouble in doing so here are some rules that I have raised Kye by, which I hope you will find useful.

Give your child pocket money as early as you like but take a bit of it away for every naughty thing they do. If they are really naughty, dock a whole week’s payment — so they owe you. Then take a favorite toy into custody as security on the loan ………if they don’t pay up……… ………….dress it up in a Cruise Critic T-

  1. Every house should have one, a “naughty spot” where children are exiled for bad behavior. Make sure they can see everyone else enjoying themselves while they sit alone. My naughty spot for Kye is in front of the computer forcing her to read my Facebook page.
  2. If they won’t get dressed in the morning, take them to school in their pajamas. Once should do it. Carry their teddy bear in your arms if you must. Kiss them goodbye, then press your nose against the classroom window while blowing soppy kisses — and also waving a teddy bear. Threaten to do the same each time that they are late getting ready for school………..even if they are 17.
  3. There is a place where you keep valuable or dangerous belongings. The children should be of the firm and unmovable belief that it also contains a child munching troll called The Hog Rider who will eat them for breakfast.

I remember once that Mum and Dad took my sister to a hotel for a holiday in the west of England ……………a very special treat indeed.  However, as an 11-year-old, my overriding memory of that holiday was not the beach or the rollercoaster rides but my Dad’s intense anger of my plan to have some fun with a toilet roll. I went into our hotel bathroom, tucked the end of the toilet paper roll into the back of my underpants and saw how far I could get through the hotel before it snapped…………quite far, actually……………..right up until I was reprimanded by an employee……..and that’s when my Dad had what can only be described as a volcanic eruption.


Cheers and have a brilliant day.





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2 Responses to Blog from Livorno

  1. Carolyn S Smith says:

    I’ve sailed twice with Carnival. Once on the Dream and once on the Glory. I’ve eaten in both Steak Houses and both times there were children present. They were well behaved and had a perfect right to be there. I know sometimes children can be loud or crying, but that’s life. I stand by what you say about Carnival being a family cruise line and I say let the children eat with their parents at all venues. Can it be a bit unpredictable with kids? Sure, but that’s part of life!

  2. Eric says:

    I took the kids onto the Vista Steakkhouse last week. We were allocated a horrible corner seat with no atmosphere. I was facing a window and could see the goings on in the area outside. Perhaps a blind could be installed as I felt I was in a shopping mall. The steaks were excellent, but the service was robotic and my wife’s plate was lifted while I was still eating my onion soup. It was an ok night but certainly not a dining experience. And yep, the kids behaved better than a couple of loud Russians at another table.

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