I think days at sea are our favorite. Carnival refers to these as "Fun Days at Sea", and they certainly deliver on that promise. I counted more than 72 individual planned activities listed in the Carnival Fun Times today.
The Fun Times is a daily newsletter delivered to your stateroom each day. It is perhaps the most comprehensive and well laid-out newsletter we have seen on any cruise line. Carnival has gone high-tech by creating an electronic version of Fun Times with their Carnival Hub app. Carnival Hub is a free download for your smart phone or tablet and gives you a list of all activities going on around the ship each day. You can create a list of "favorites" and the app will send you a friendly reminder 15 minutes before the scheduled activity. Very cool!
As you can see, the first item on our list today is TV Tunes Trivia, at which I thoroughly sucked. Ryan, one of Vista's cruise staff, conducted the trivia and is immensely entertaining. It is worth going to trivia just to watch him perform!
After failing miserably at trivia, we were on our way to have lunch when we walked by Fahrenheit 555 and noticed a cooking demonstration about to begin. We decided to pop in and see what was going on. This venue is not the best for observing the chefs' cooking techniques, but a cruise staff member does a good job of narrating and explaining the process.
Unlike most cruise ship cooking demos that show how to prepare a single dish, on Vista four different chefs each prepared a different item. And, we all got to try a sample of each dish: beef goulash, arugula salad, chicken cacciatore, and tiramisu.
In spite of the delicious samples at the cooking demo, I was still in need of something a little more substantial. Time to visit Guy's Burger Joint on Deck 10. Carnival has partnered with Food Network star, Guy Fieri, to create the best hamburger you will find on any cruise ship. Period. I remember enjoying several of them on our 2014 Carnival Breeze sailing. By the time we arrived, the line was already pretty long, but the wait is worth it.
After obtaining some pool towels, Rickee and I found a couple of secluded deck loungers on Deck 11 where we were able to enjoy our burger and fries. The burger and fries were as good as I remembered. Just as Rickee was starting to enjoy the Caribbean sunshine, a brief rain shower forced us back inside the ship.
For our evening entertainment, we started with a visit to the Limelight Lounge for Carnival's Punchliner Comedy Club. Our comedian tonight is "Noodles", a popular comedian who has performed on Showtime, HBO and other television shows.
The 7:15 show just happened to be competing with the Captain's Reception, making for a very sparse crowd in Limelight Lounge. There's nothing harder for a comedian than trying to perform before a small crowd in a large room. Nevertheless, we felt Noodles delivered enough laughs to warrant another visit for us to Punchliner.
After the comedy show, we decided to get a bite to eat. Neither of us were very hungry, so we chose a light meal at Bonsai Sushi (Deck 5 midship). Bonsai has an a' la carte menu and we remembered enjoying it on Carnival Breeze. An order of edamame ($2), a chicken skewer ($2) and a Spicy Tuna Roll ($5) was all it took for a perfect light meal. And, the sushi served here is as good as I have found on any cruise ship.
After our light meal, we planned to go to the 9:30 show in Liquid Lounge. We had about an hour to kill before the show, so we stopped by the Red Frog Pub to hear Edd Carr play guitar and sing.
The pub was so crowded that we decided to go next door to Ocean Plaza where The Shipsie Kings were performing.
We literally only heard one song before their set ended! What a shame! They were really good, too. We will be back to listen to them again. Fortunately, on Carnival Vista you are never more than a few minutes from another form of entertainment, especially on Deck 5. We looked at the Carnival Hub app on my phone and saw that Elizabeth was performing a "Sing-A-Long" at Piano Bar 88. We still had 30 minutes before the show starts, so we thought we would drop by Piano Bar 88 and check it out.
What began as a way to kill some time before the show turned out to be our final stop for the evening. Elizabeth has a rare gift for making a venue on a giant cruise ship feel like a quaint neighborhood bar. She greets everyone when they come in, and encourages everyone to hop (kangaroo style) when they leave. I don't think there is a song that she does not know. Everyone was having a great time singing along to classics from the 60s and 70s. We stayed through her entire set and will be going back again.
It was a fun-filled day at sea on Carnival Vista, just like they promised. Tomorrow, the ship will be docked in Grand Turk.