About a year ago, Joe and I ventured off on our first cruise together (my first cruise altogether) on the Carnival Vista. We had an absolutely awesome time, so when we were asked if we wanted to check out Carnival LIVE and everything else new that the ship had to offer, we couldn’t pass it up. On our last trip, we sailed for ten days through the Mediterranean. This turn around, however, it would be the Caribbean, offering us a fun opportunity to check out the ship in two completely different locations.
Right from the start, the distinctions between the two treks were strong. Our first full day was at sea. While we were in Europe, it was a bit chilly. Don’t get me wrong; this was totally fine by us. The ship has A TON to do so where we spent our days at sea there playing trivia or games in the library with a glass of wine, in the Caribbean we were going down the slides or at the pool with piña coladas. Either way, we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
Next came the excursions, which were equally different but, again, equally amazing. Our first port of the trip was in Ocho Rios, Jamaica. It was my first time visiting the island so we decided to get as much adventure out of the stop as possible. It was a long day, but we totally succeeded. We went with the Bobsled Jamaica & Dunns River Falls option. It all started with a chairlift through the forest to the top of a mountain. Had I not remembered a little too late that I have a crippling fear of heights, I have to say the experience would have been an incredibly peaceful and scenic one that could have easily stood on its own.
The more fast-paced fun was to be had at the top of the hill. They have a gravity-driven bobsled that is an absolute blast. After that, we were off to the second (or third, depending on how you look at it) adventure of the day: a climb up Dunns River Falls. Despite a couple of expected scrapes, this was great as well. You spend about an hour hiking up a waterfall so you feel pretty accomplished when you’re done. Only word of advice is to make sure to bring cash, as you will need it everywhere you go and there are zero ATMs.
Our second port was Grand Cayman. We kept this day a little more low-key, but it was no less enjoyable. We opted for a tour that took you out to a sandbar where you could swim with and feed stingrays. Side note: they legit feel like velvet when they swim by. The whole day took up what was probably the perfect amount of time; when we got back to the ship we were still able to grab a drink and soak up the sun for a bit before dinner.
I think I’ll take a moment here to mention that the evening entertainment was as fantastic as we remembered it. It was honestly the perfect situation. We had the chance to go and see what we’d missed on our stay the year before, as well as check out what was new. Hands down one of my favorites from the latter category is their Lip Synch Battle. Starting last December, Carnival and Spike teamed up to bring a recreation of the epic show to the high seas. Let me tell you, it did not disappoint. One might be inclined to think a version of this show without celebrities would be less impressive, but that would be completely incorrect. There was some serious talent on that ship.
Cozumel was the final port before heading home. Joe and I had to stay in and get a little work done, but we had a few friends report back on the Secret River excursion and it sounded AMAZING. Don’t worry though, we did still get to fit in some ship activities before heading back to get ready for the big event of the trip: the Jay Leno Carnival LIVE show.
In case you missed it, Carnival is doing something new and unique to the cruising industry (Classic Carnival 😉 with their Carnival LIVE Concert Series. Now when you take off on select cruises with them, you have the opportunity to add a live music or comedy performance from some of the best artists and comedians around. As expected, the show was hilarious and amazing. And the fact that we had the chance to see a legend didn’t hurt the experience either.
(Check out Joe’s interview with Jay Leno before the show here.)
As for the food, it was most definitely as awesome as before. Same as with the shows, we were able to check out the restaurants that we didn’t get to try last time, as well as revisit our favorites. I think JiJi still has it for our favorite for dinner, but the new Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que Smokehouse probably had it for lunch. To say I overindulged on this cruise would be a bit of an understatement.
(Check out Joe’s coverage on Pig & Anchor here.)
Now, normally I would chalk this up to a great trip. When I get home, it’s back to the usual routine of exercise and healthy eating when I got home. Unfortunately, the circumstances this time were a little special. You see I had the final try-on for my wedding dress (as in, “It better fit or you’re SOL.”) scheduled for two days after we got back. Lucky me, I have the type of body that swells up if I even look at a piece of bread. Knowing this, I got a little obsessive and brought along my measuring tape to keep track of things. Unfortunately, I didn’t check things out until it was too late. When I did, there was literally a 0% chance I was going to fit into that dress. (They gave me NO wiggle room…literally.)
Thankfully, there was actually an answer to this problem, and it could be found at the ship’s spa: Ionithermie. To say that I know exactly how this treatment works would be a lie. What I do know is they rub in “an alchemy of active ingredients” to the area you want to target. After that, they apply a warm clay mask and electrodes (yep) so everything gets properly absorbed. Seriously, it was a miracle. I kid you not; I lost every inch—not pound, to be clear—that I had gained. Wedding dress or not, this might be how I end every cruise from now on.
All in all it was pretty much a totally different experience from the first one we had on the Vista. Still, it was absolutely fantastic. If you haven’t gotten a chance to check out a Carnival Cruise, I would definitely recommend it. They always have something ridiculously fun going on and have offerings to fit any length of time or budget.