Today is the first of two "Fun Days at Sea" as Carnival Vista steams her way back to Miami from St. Maarten. We have been putting off one activity all week that we can no longer resist: the SkyRide. SkyRide is unique to Carnival Vista and it is a very popular attraction. Imagine a recumbent, open-air bicycle hanging from a track 15 stories above the ocean!
This is one of the most popular attractions on Carnival Vista, and that can only translate into one thing: long wait times! We waited until late in the morning to walk up to the SkyRide line, which was already quite long. There is a sign to indicate how long the wait will be based upon your place in the line. Lockers are also provided to store keys, wallets, cell phones, etc. so that they won't fall out of your pockets during the ride and smack someone on the head who happens to be walking along the deck below.
Once you finally do reach the ride, attendants hand you a safety harness. So, if you have any desire to dramatically bail out of the SkyRide while over the ocean, forget it, you will have to find another way to end it all.
Once you are seated in the SkyRide "bike", an attendant secures your harness and adjusts the seat so that your legs will have the proper reach to the pedals. Within a few seconds, you are off and freewheeling around the track. It does not take that much effort to pedal the SkyRide and the ride does not last very long, perhaps a minute or two at most. At one point, there is a dip in the track which speeds things up a bit, sort of like riding a bike down a steep hill. I was expecting the dip. What I was not expecting was, soon after, there was a slight curve in the track. At the increased speed, when you hit that curve, the SkyRide bike sort of swings out a bit, which is quite exciting.
If you do the SkyRide with your better half, you can have a race to see who is faster, or take an easy pace and just enjoy the view of the ocean. The SkyRide was certainly one of the coolest things I have done on a cruise ship. It was fun, and I would stand in line to do it again, but not for an hour. It is worth a 20-minute wait, no more. After the SkyRide adventure, we started looking for a semi-quiet, out-of-the-way spot for Rickee to get some sun, and me some nearby shade. We settled on Deck 11, port side (starboard is the smoking side).
We spent most of the afternoon just soaking up the sun (or in my case, the shade). Even on a huge ship with thousands of people, you can still find open deck space and lounge chairs. In the late afternoon, we started getting ready for our 7pm dinner reservation at Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse. However, a couple of hours before dinner, we decided to stop by The Taste Bar on Deck 5 midship. On sea days around 5:30 in the afternoon, they serve tapas (small plates) which make a perfect before-dinner snack. Neither of us ate lunch today, so this was just enough to keep us going until dinner.
We arrived at Fahrenheit 555 a little early and the hostess graciously seated us ahead of our reservation time. The restaurant is slammed tonight and filled to capacity. Even so, we were able to get the table for two that we had requested in the corner of the dining room, next to the window.
Our waitress, Mirela, was super-efficient and gave us great service. She offered to bring the "meat cart" by to show us all of the main course items on the menu, but we were familiar with the offerings. I ordered the New England Crab Cake appetizer, Caesar Salad and Broiled NY Strip. Rickee ordered the Onion Soup, Beefsteak Tomato Salad and Broiled Filet Mignon.
If you want details about our experience at Fahrenheit 555, you will need to read the full review coming soon to the Cruise Ship Dining Reviews blog. During our dinner, the Captain announced that one of the guests had a medical emergency requiring Vista to alter course so as to deliver the guest ashore for medical attention. He also said this could delay our arrival in Miami. It could be an interesting disembarkation!
Tomorrow is another Fun Day at Sea on Carnival Vista.