It’s Carnival LIVE in Cozumel: Jay Leno Comes to Carnival Vista

Jay Leno performs in concert aboard Carnival Vista during Carnival Live on May 4, 2017 in Cozumel, Mexico. Photo courtesy of Gary Miller/Carnival Cruise Line.

Thursday, May 4, 2017
Today is a big day aboard Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Vista. We came alongside this morning around 9:30 am for a 13-hour stay as part of Carnival’s Cozumel Plus sailings that feature enough time in Cozumel, Mexico for guests to take part in the line’s longer journeys to the ruins of Tulum and Chichen Itza on the Mexican mainland.

Guests file into the Liquid Lounge on Decks 4 and 5 to see Jay Leno perform. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

But my six-day cruise to the Western Caribbean is also part of Carnival’s Carnival LIVE performance series. Featuring onboard performances by artists, musicians and comedians, the headliner on this sailing is none other than former talk show host, Comedian and classic car enthusiast Jay Leno. Tonight, he performed a sold-out show in the Liquid Lounge on Decks 4 and 5.
Now, tickets to these Carnival LIVE performances can be purchased online on My Carnival prior to sailing – and it’s a good idea to do so, as they always sell out. General Admission tickets can be purchased, as well as VIP tickets that come with a number of perks, like backstage access for a quick meet-and-greet and a photo opportunity. Prices vary by artist, but General Admission tickets typically start around $30 per person, and work their way up from there. VIP tickets start at $100 per person, again depending on the artist.

Reserved seating is set aside for those who purchase VIP admission tickets, which start at $100 USD per person, depending on artist. General Admission tickets typically start at $30 per person. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Doors to the Liquid Lounge opened just after 7:30 pm, and people filed in according to their ticket status. Is it worth spending the extra money on VIP tickets? Maybe if you’re a superfan and really prize the meet-and-greet opportunity; otherwise, general admission is just fine. The theatre is far more intimate than most land-based venues, so there really isn’t a bad seat in the house.

Building anticipation for tonight’s show…Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

…outside the Liquid Lounge on Decks 4 and 5. With few exceptions, not a bad seat in the house. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Leno was in good form, and performed a 90-minute show with topics that varied from current politics to more observational humour. At one point, he went to take a drink of water and noticed it had the Carnival logo on the side.
“Oh, look – Carnival water,” he joked. “Looks like Carnival makes their own water now. You know how they fill these? They just hold the bottles over the side of the boat. And the boat’s already moving.” He takes a swig. “Mmm. Salty.”

Jay Leno performing aboard Carnival Vista. Photo courtesy of Gary Miller/Carnival Cruise Line.

There’s hardly a bad seat in the house in the theatre, and the experience of seeing Jay Leno perform was a real treat. This was particularly true during sets when he was imitating his Italian father and Scottish mother; the accents and personalities he gave his parents were hysterical – and all-too easy to relate to.
Of course, all this fun and frivolity makes for a very big day. Which is why I didn’t go ashore today at all in Cozumel. Instead, I made my own Fun Day at Sea – in port – aboard Carnival Vista. What could be better than having the run of the ship to yourself?

Creating the Vista – And Why The Ship Matters

Carnival Vista arrives in Cozumel…Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

…on a picture-perfect morning. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

I’m very much into the design of things, and for me, Carnival Vista pushes all the right buttons. This didn’t happen accidentally, however. Carnival’s newest flagship is largely the product of Carnival’s in-house design team, and Hamburg-based Partner Ship Design.
Carnival’s in-house design team created the interior design work for the Havana Cabanas and Suites, the Havana Bar and Pool, the RedFrog Rum Bar, BlueIguana Tequila Bar, and the Blue Iguana Cantina, to name a few.
Partner Ship Design, on the other hand, was responsible for much of the overall look and feel of the Carnival Vista. The German group came up with the designs for some of the ship’s most iconic spaces, including the atrium, elevator lobbies, staircases, passenger corridors, outdoor deck spaces, and the Cloud 9 Spa.

This morning, Carnival prepared its traditional towel animal display. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

They look like a happy bunch. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

But two other companies were also involved heavily in the construction of the ship. Big Time Design created both of the ship’s main restaurants, while Launch by Design created all of the kids clubs and teen spaces onboard. The work that Big Time Design did on the restaurants is nothing short of incredible; the aft Reflections Restaurant is, in my humble view, the grandest dining venue outside of the Britannia Restaurant aboard Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2.
Ordered in February 2013, the first steel for Carnival Vista was cut one year later, in February of 2014. The ship was floated out in June of 2015, and her interior design work was completed between July of that year and April of 2016, when she was officially handed over to Carnival. Her birthplace: the Fincantieri Monfalcone Shipyard in Italy.

After we’d come alongside in Cozumel…Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

…I stayed onboard to ride the SkyRide again (twice)…Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

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