One Last Day at Sea: Reflecting on Carnival Vista

Wrapping up my journey aboard Carnival Vista with one last Fun Day at Sea! Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Friday, May 5, 2017
Today is my last day aboard Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Vista, after a six-day sailing that has taken us from Miami to Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, along with featuring a special Carnival LIVE performance by comedian Jay Leno last night.
Our full voyage:

Carnival Vista – 6 Night Western Caribbean

Sunday, April 30, 2017 Miami Embarkation 4:30 PM
Monday, May 1 At Sea
Tuesday, May 2 Ocho Rios, Jamaica 8:00 AM 4:00 PM
Wednesday, May 3 Georgetown, Grand Cayman 8:00 AM 4:00 PM
Thursday, May 4 Cozumel, Mexico / Carnival LIVE performance with Jay Leno 10:00 AM 11:00 PM
Friday, May 5 At Sea
Saturday, May 7, 2017 Miami 7:00 AM Disembark

So with nothing ahead of us but the calm waters of the Caribbean Sea, it only seems appropriate to look back on this voyage, and the trendsetting Carnival Vista.

Four Carnival Voyages On, What Carnival Means to Me

Enjoying a bowl of ramen…Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

…at Bonsai Sushi, Deck 5. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

I have an embarrassing admission: despite cruising since 1998, I’d avoided Carnival until 2014, when I sailed aboard Carnival Breeze to the Eastern Caribbean. My reasons for avoiding the line were simple: I’m an introverted bookworm; someone more likely to be found swirling a glass of scotch in a quiet shipboard lounge than participating in the Hairy Chest Contest by the pool. I pick my cruises very carefully: I don’t want to have a bad experience. Carnival, I thought, had the potential to be a bad experience.
The reality couldn’t be further from the truth. Yes, there are people who come on a Carnival cruise to eat and drink a lot – but show me the mainstream cruise line where that doesn’t happen.

Listening to the abundant live music across Carnival Vista became one of my favourite nightly activities. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

Today’s Carnival, however, is more suitable for families, couples and singles from all walks of life than ever before. I have never once felt uncomfortable on a Carnival cruise ship. I’ve even been shocked to find that Carnival has become one of my most favorite lines to cruise on, period. A Carnival cruise is just good, plain fun. And while some of the line’s alcohol-fueled past has certainly followed it, the all-out-frat-parties are a thing of the past. The vast majority of my fellow guests on Carnival Vista were families taking that rare cruise vacation together and wanting to have a good time. Some may have never left the United States before, while others are experienced world travellers. That’s what’s special about Carnival, and what Carnival Vista is great at: offering up something for everyone, from every walk of life.

There’s something for everyone on Carnival, from full-blown deck parties…Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

…to quiet places to relax. Photo © 2017 Aaron Saunders

One of the things I try to impress upon people – and what I’ve found once again here aboard Carnival Vista – is that Carnival gives you more than you expect. I don’t mean that as a pejorative, rather as a quantifier: would you expect a very reasonably-priced cruise like Carnival to offer up three different craft beers brewed right onboard, or a high-end cocktail bar with bartenders so talented they’ve developed their own unique concoctions that won’t appear on any menu?
The fact is that this affordable cruise line gives you a tremendous amount of entertainment and shipboard opportunities. Carnival Vista takes that experience to a new level. The cuisine in Ji Ji’s Asian Kitchen, for example, is quite possibly the best Asian cuisine I’ve had on any mainstream ship. Fahrenheit 555 gives people the chance to have a steakhouse meal that would cost hundreds of dollars on land, for $35 per person. Guests can dine on Italian, Southeast Asian, Japanese, Mexican or American cuisines. They can enjoy free gourmet hamburgers, and free Mexican dishes at the BlueIguana Cantina. Carnival Vista even adds an authentic smokehouse on the Promenade Deck (Deck 5) that’s open only on sea days. And – you guessed it – it’s free, too.

Guy’s Burger Joint is s

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