Hollywood's Show Lounge spreads across decks 7 and 8. It's cleverly laid out with a mix of standard theatre seating, tables and sofas. The main evening show is staged twice -- at 7.30pm and 9.30pm -- and is usually based on a theme such as soul, blues or West End musicals. Guest speakers give presentations on sea days.
Although CMV has fewer activities than other cruise lines and only one or two things at a time, favourites include bingo, trivia, treasure hunts, games, dance classes, bocce and movies. Live music is offered poolside at lunchtime. Passengers might be curious about "Friends of Bill W" in the Bondi conference room; it's code for the Alcoholics Anonymous support group.
The casino has an assortment of slot machines plus roulette, poker and blackjack. Competitions, tournaments and tutorials are run regularly. Dance parties are held separately for families, teens and adults. Evening movies are screened in the auditorium and Nintendo Switch Play games are offered in the atrium at night. Other fun includes karaoke, cabaret shows, live music and late-night snacks in all lounges. Party people should head to the disco at The Dome where a DJ spins the hits from 11.30pm until late.
Cellar Door (Deck 7): Opposite reception is a little nook sometimes used for wine-tasting sessions for up to seven people.
Blue Room (Deck 8): This stylish, modern venue is used during the day by people who like to sit quietly reading books. Between 5pm and midnight, there are three shifts of smooth lounge music or a classical trio while passengers enjoy a nightcap. Past P&O passengers should be aware the Blue Room is not as lively as it was in its Pacific Eden days.
Captain's Club (Deck 8): Perfectly placed midship and an easy walk to either dinner or the nightly show, this small venue hosts live music in the evenings and sometimes becomes a piano bar after 11pm. Open from 5pm until midnight.
Ocean Bar (Deck 8): Overlooking the central atrium, this all-day bar is a little more sober, selling specialist teas and coffees. The evening entertainment is a musical duo. Seating 89 people, the green bar and striped green chairs add a touch of elegance to the ship. Open 7am to 12.30am.
The Study (Deck 8): This lovely lounge is a great place to read, with comfy couches and tall-backed chairs facing the window. The study will be a particularly appealing space to relax during the ship's longer trans-ocean sailings when it's repositioning between Australia and Europe.
Lido Bar (Deck 11): The poolside bar has its own outdoor deck area, retractable roof and table service. It's the happening spot for the sailaway party or a frozen cocktail on sunny days, sometimes with an acoustic singer providing a fun vibe in the background. There's room for more than 250 people on lounges around the pool so it may take a while for waiters to bring your drinks.
The Dome (Deck 12): A multipurpose venue that hosts games and other fun during the day and then becomes the nightclub after dark. Thoughtfully located away from cabins to reduce noise impact, the large space is big enough for 300 people. There are plenty of comfy lounges, surrounding windows and a smoking area outside. Open from 5pm until late, with a DJ from 11.30pm.
Vasco da Gama has two pools. The main pool is under a retractable roof on the Lido (Deck 11) while the more secluded, adults-only Oasis Pool is aft on Deck 10. Neither is large enough to swim laps but you can paddle around and cool off.
Low-key activities are designed for the majority of older passengers. Card players can meet up with others for Whist, Bridge or Mahjong at posted times in the Noosa Meeting Room, art classes (for a surcharge) in the Bondi Room or cocktail-making classes (bookings required) in the auditorium. Occasional guest speakers give presentations on local history on the main stage of Hollywood's Show Lounge. More active amusements include table tennis (Deck 11), half-court tennis and basketball (Sports Deck 12), and morning classes of Zumba and Pilates in The Dome.
Passengers can sunbathe in any number of open-air spaces including the Lido pool deck (when the roof is open), the Oasis with its own aft pool on Deck 10 or the terrace overlooking it on Deck 11.
Reception, a shore excursions desk, future cruise counter, computer terminals, meeting rooms and photo gallery are situated around the central atrium of decks 6, 7 and 8. Duty free shops are on Deck 8, which also houses a small library and an adjoining study. Laundry service is provided and there are three self-service launderettes on decks 5, 6 and 9. Tokens can be purchased from reception for $8 per 25-minute wash and $3 for the dryer.
Wi-Fi is available throughout the ship but is expensive and can be slow or non-existent in some areas. Data is purchased in allotments at $19 for 100Mb, $38 for 200Mb, $69 for 500Mb and $99 for 1,000Mb. Most of Vasco da Gama's Australia and New Zealand cruises sail close to the coast for much of the time, so you may find that your own phone's 3G/4G data is sufficient.
Jade Spa, adjacent the gym on Deck 11, is underused and underrated. Bookings are required for beauty treatments, massages and hair and nail salon services, which are fairly pricey but standard for a cruise ship. Incentives, typically 10 per cent, are offered for early sign-ups. Another insider tip is to look for discounted treatments on days when the ship is in port. Sauna and spa facilities are complimentary.
Forward on the Lido Deck is the gym, which forms part of the wellness centre. It has treadmills, exercise bikes, weights and strengthening equipment that passengers aged 16 and older can use free of charge.
Fitness classes, held in The Dome, include Pilates and Zumba. Water aerobics may be held in the pool, weather permitting. A jogging track on the Sports Deck makes short laps of approximately 120 metres around the undercover pool below. Alternatively, you could stroll unobtrusively around the Promenade Deck where a lap is approximately 400 metres.
CMV is not strictly adults-only but it generally makes no special provisions for under-18s. Younger passengers are permitted on Australian departures and can be accommodated with their families in cabins or suites with additional bedding and interconnecting doors. Group activities for children and teenagers will only be organised if passengers numbers are sufficient. Vasco da Gama does not have a dedicated kids' club or a teens' club.
Kids (ages five to 12)
If there are enough children onboard to warrant a special program, arts and crafts activities are conducted by a staff member in the Noosa meeting room. Table tennis, skittles, bocce or movies may be held at various points around the ship, and musical games or discos may take place in The Dome around 8pm. Family-friendly activities will be marked with a 'Sailor Sam' icon on your daily program giving details of the time and location. Sailor Sam is a life-sized costumed character who makes special appearances at designated children's activities.
Teens (ages 13 to 17)
There are no specific facilities or activities for teens. If passenger numbers are sufficient, on the first day of a cruise, an unsupervised teenagers' get-together may be held at The Dome before dinner and a disco may be held at night.