When it debuts in May 2016, Carnival Vista will be Carnival Cruise Line's newest and largest ship, and the only one of its class. Boasting several first-at-sea attractions, Carnival Vista will allow passengers to catch some Zs in a private hammock, race each other midair on suspended bikes and down a sudsy cold one brewed in the ship's own brewery.
To help you figure out what sets Vista apart from all other cruise ships, Cruise Critic has compiled a list of seven things to do that can only be found onboard Carnival's newest ship.
1. Bike Race on a Suspended Midair Track
Take a recumbent bike, put it 150 feet in the air suspended above a cruise ship deck and set passengers loose to race around an 800-foot dual track, and you've got SkyRide, an adrenaline-pumping open-air aerial ride on Carnival Vista. In order to "win," riders have to pedal faster than the guy on the other track; pedal fast enough and you can get up to 18 miles an hour. Racing isn't a must. You're just as welcome to pedal slower and take in the 360-degree view as you go. Invented by the same guy who came up with roller blades, SkyRide can only be found in two places in the entire world: at the SkyRide Farm in Minnesota and on Carnival Vista.
2. Immerse Yourself in an IMAX Film
While movie screens by the pool are not uncommon on cruise ships, Carnival is taking their film experience to entirely new heights on Vista with a 22-foot tall, 37-foot wide IMAX theater. For a small fee, passengers will be able to see some of the latest Hollywood blockbusters on the big screen, as well as IMAX documentaries and IMAX classics.
3. Raise a Beer Brewed at Sea
Recognizing the growing popularity of craft beers (and IPAs) in North America, Carnival Vista will feature its own craft brewery inside the RedFrog Pub & Brewery. Created in partnership with Miami-based Concrete Beach Brewery, an Alchemy & Science brand (a subsidiary of The Boston Beer Company, which owns Samuel Adams), RedFrog Pub & Brewery will offer up three craft beers brewed onboard: ThirstyFrog Port Hoppin' IPA, ThirstyFrog Caribbean Wheat and FriskyFrog Java Stout. The three beers will be brewed in giant copper-topped glass kettles inside the pub; tours of the space will be available as will tastings.
4. Take a Nap on Your Private Patio
The new Havana Cabana cabins on Carnival Vista fall somewhere between an oceanview room and a balcony. With a gate-accessed patio, they offer more than just a simple view, but the patio leads directly onto the Lanai promenade so it's not entirely private. Standard Havana Cabanas have a patio with two comfy loungers; Havana suites have a hammock, for the ultimate in no-care-in-the-world napping. One of the best perks of the Havana Cabanas is their exclusive access to the aft Havana Pool during the day -- no need for chair hogging here!
5. Meet Other Families in the Dedicated Family Zone
Family Harbor is Carnival Vista's keycard-access-only space for family-specific cabins and a families-only lounge. The 96 family rooms include insides, deluxe oceanviews, balconies and suites, some of which can hold up to five people and have two bathrooms. Families staying in these rooms have access to the Family Harbor Lounge, a hangout space where breakfast is served every morning, snacks are available all day and family-friendly games and movies encouraging bonding time can be found. Other perks for families in the Harbor are access to a family concierge who can help with dining and shore excursion reservations, free meals for kids under age 12 in most specialty restaurants and one free night of late-night Night Owls babysitting in Camp Ocean. Family Harbor is a win/win for everyone cruising on Carnival Vista. Families get an exclusive area where their cabins, play space and breakfast are located, while those without kids don't have to worry about "too many kids running around."
6. Indulge in Lobster Rolls and Crab Cakes at a New England-style Seafood Shack
Carnival Vista will be heaven at sea for seafood lovers. Channeling a New England beach vacation vibe, the indoor/outdoor Seafood Shack will serve up lobster rolls, lobster salad and steamed lobster, along with crab cakes, fried shrimp and clam strips, New England clam chowder, seafood gumbo, lobster bisque and oyster stew, among many other buckets, platters and seafood rolls, cakes and salads. As a bonus, it's located near the ship's aft Tides Pool, for that extra beachy feel. Though the venue will be extra fee, prices start at just $3 with many items under $10, and a maximum price of $16.
7. Go Psychedelic with the Kaleid-O-Slide
Lots of ships have water parks these days and Carnival Vista is no exception, boasting Carnival's largest WaterWorks park in the fleet. You'll find classic spiraling water slides, a giant drenching bucket and an expanded Splash Zone with water toys for kids. The piece de resistance, however, is the Kaleid-O-Slide water tube, on which riders make their way around 455 feet of twists and turns on one- or two-person rafts while the tube's interior lights up with kaleidoscopic effects.