PHOTO: Authors Jason and Heidi Leppert and their Carnival Vista "ship-on-a-stick" trivia trophies. (Photo by Jason Leppert)
My wife, Heidi Leppert, and I are back to finish our take on Carnival Cruise Line’s latest Carnival Vista from a millennial point-of-view. Here, we tackle our thoughts on the “fun ship’s” entertainment and activities.
IMAX Theater and Liquid Lounge
Not only am I a cinephile, but I’m a major AV geek. When I’m on land, I’m all about our 4K television-based home theater, and when we’re out, it’s IMAX or nothing. So, when I heard that the Vista had a genuine IMAX Theater onboard, I was intrigued.
Upon experiencing it, I’m sold. It’s the real deal, and for viewing first-run films at sea, there’s no better format to watch them in. Plus, they are very reasonably priced since the cost is subsidized by the cruise. Tickets are way cheaper than at home. This is a must try onboard! (She said: True story: we recently came across an adorable house we dream about someday buying in our San Diego neighborhood, and it has a massive RV garage on the property. Jason thinks he’s going to turn it into a private IMAX theater. Thanks a lot, Carnival!)
Decorated in fun fabrics of aqua polka dots and modern wall panels—reminiscent of the pattern a raindrop makes in a puddle—there’s a lot to love about the Liquid Lounge aesthetically. The combination theater/nightclub also boasts a fantastic sound system that really kicks shows up a notch. But if you’ve been on the Vista, you know what I’m going to say next.
What is with the sight-lines?! The way the room is designed, there is very little slope in both the main level and the balcony. If you are seated anywhere other than the front row, your view will be majorly blocked by someone’s head. It’s a big problem, and I’m curious to see how they will attempt to fix it on the next Carnival Horizon. My advice? Line up early for shows and get a front row seat.
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I agree on all counts. The theater layout is a major fail, but the production shows are stellar. While I do still prefer musicals with a narrative, the revues presented here are standouts. One benefit of the flat main floor is the ability for the stage to be drawn farther out into the venue for performances more in the round. Some of the cloth and confetti wind effects achieved here were mesmerizing, and the lasers bouncing throughout the theater are equally astounding. Of course, the singers and dancers themselves are super talented as they bring everything to life. (She said: I have really high standards for production shows. Give me Broadway quality or scaled-down amazing singers in a small lounge—nothing in between. Carnival passed the test!)
If you enjoy risqué fun, then “Quest” is the interactive show for you. Set in the Liquid Lounge, players gather on the main floor, and spectators can watch from the balcony level. Players are divided into teams and asked to come up with items that range from the tame to the oh-so-naughty. For example, teams were asked to gather six Carnival logo items, four women’s bras or one dirty photo. And then somehow it turned into a grandpa giving a lap dance for bonus points. You know what, never mind. What happens at “Quest,” stays at “Quest.”
While “Quest” certainly pushes the boundaries, it is all in good fun. (She said: True, but I’m never taking my folks or the in-laws!) Still, for more family-friendly fun in the show lounge, there is “Hasbro, The Game Show” and “Clue.”
Of the two, the game show is the most delightful for reimagining board games in larger stage scale—Connect 4 basketball, for instance—but the latter is interesting for those wanting to play a cruise-long game to find out whodunit by first listening to alibis given in the theater and other clues provided during more daily activities.
Jason and I caught trivia fever on this cruise. The prize for winning is a “24-karat solid gold ship-on-a-stick” trophy. (Shhhh, it’s plastic.) You guys, people go NUTS for these trophies! We tried our hand at several trivia sessions but finally struck gold (er, plastic) at TV theme song trivia and then again at movie trivia.
It’s a fun way to spend time with loved ones, and it’s cheaper than bingo or the casino for the low, low price of free. You never know, you might also bring home a ship-on-a-stick! Here’s a little tip: if you want a better shot at winning, go to trivia on a port day. You’ll have fewer competitors.
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Yes, I must admit I am rather proud of our trivia accomplishments! It would seem all of our television show and film watching is paying off nicely. (She said: Still not an argument to put an IMAX theater in the garage!)
Another fun thing to do onboard (but that requires a bit more exertion): the SkyRide. I was very interested in this attraction prior to boarding, but I wasn't entirely sure what to make of it until I first tried it.
It turns out it’s remarkably thrilling. I mean, it’s no roller coaster at sea, but it’s the closest something has ever come to it. It is self-propelled, so your speed is dependent on your bicycling skills, but it’s super easy. Once you’re uphill, the descents and curves are pretty swift thanks to gravity, and the views are spectacular.
The Punchliner Comedy Club is officially one of my favorite things to do at sea! Jason and I enjoyed both the family friendly and adult shows. Carnival does a stellar job at finding the best talent out there to entertain their guests. There were at least four different comedians scheduled on our 8-night voyage, so the material is always fresh and hilarious. I recommend showing up about 15 minutes early to get a spot in line for a good seat.
If you want to see back-to-back shows, grab a seat on an aisle for the first show. Then, when you can tell the show is wrapping up, sneak out and grab a spot in line for the next show. We did this several times, and it worked like a charm. Hey, maybe it’s cheating a little, but it’s not like I’m waking up at 6 am to put my stuff on fourteen deck chairs to save them for my entire extended family!
Ha, right?! Besides, we’re still laughing about several of the jokes we heard that have made their way into our own rotation of daily humor.
Finally, Havana Bar and Pool are wonderful for a more relaxing activity to end the day with. In fact, the pool deck off the back of the promenade is available exclusively to those in Havana staterooms during the day, opening up to everyone later at night once the sun is down. It’s pretty cool to have a pool and two whirlpools right at the back of the ship for great views during the day and a nice respite at night, especially since it tends to be quieter than the busy adults-only Serenity deck.