Friday, 2 September 2016

#FoodieseekerFriday - Our Cruise Experience

I cannot believe that it has been a week since we left Carnival Vista. As Carnival Cruise Lines Foodieseeker Family we had an incredible 8 nights onboard their newest vessel, Vista. While we were away I kept a written diary to document our journey. Today I am going to share with you the start of our experience. So many things happened during our time onboard Vista I simply cannot get it all into just one blog post. Over the coming weeks I will be telling you all about our foodie experience, the restaurants, recreating some of the cuisine that we feasted on during our holiday and sharing with you our thoughts after taking our first ever cruise and holiday abroad with the twins.

This holiday was always going to be a big step for us as a family. It was the first time that both the hubby and the twins had flown, our first holiday abroad as a family of five and our first ever cruise. After an early start we got checked in at the airport and before we knew it we were sitting on the plane waiting to take off. The twins were so excited, I really was not sure how they would find flying, especially during the take off and descent but they took it all in their stride. When we landed in Barcelona they were beginning to get tired but they kept going. When we arrived at the port in Barcelona we were awestruck but the sheer size and immensity of Vista. As we flew over the port we did catch a glimpse of her and she looked big from the skies but when we were stood next to her, she left us all gobsmacked! Once we had been cleared through all of the high level security, and checked in we were given our Sail and Sign cards. As Carnival operate with no cash on their ships all purchases and charges are logged using easy to swipe cards. When you are given your cards you have your picture taken so even if you loose your card nobody else can use it to charge to your account.

As soon as we stepped onboard we went to look at our cabins. Being a family of five we needed two cabins which were interconnecting. This gave us some much needed extra space, we were able to put the twins to bed and spend time with Joseph in the the other room. We were surprised by the size of the two cabins, I had imagined them to be smaller than they actually were. Each room comprised of two bathrooms, one with a toilet, sink and shower while the other had a mini bath with a shower over and a sink, three wardrobes/drawers for clothes storage, safe, hairdryer, desk, sitting area, table, television, beds and even some lovely mini Elemis toiletries. In the children's room there were two single beds and the settee had been made up into a third bed, while in our room we had a king size bed.

My favourite part of the cabin had to be the ocean view window. Both staterooms had lovely big windows with a deep ledge that was perfect for sitting in and watching the sea go by. This was one of my favourite pastimes while onboard. I found watching the sea drift by so relaxing and calming. I would often sit there to write my travel journal or to just rediscover my inner peace.

After we had found our cabins and left our bags we set off to explore the ship. Our first port of call was to get a drink, after the early start we were ready to sit and relax a little and take in where we were and truly begin our holiday. We called into the Red Frog Pub and Brewery, this ended up being our favourite bar to go to. The beers that are brewed onboard were lovely and refreshing, the staff were always so helpful and welcoming and we found it to be a quiet getaway during the days.

Before the ship was ready to set sail we met up with the other Carnival Family bloggers Laura from Tired Mummy of Two, Kara from Chelsea Mamma, Sonia from Mummy Constant, Nadine from Juggle Mum and Charlotte from Carnival UK in the Piano Bar for a celebratory cocktail. It was fantastic to meet up, let the kids get to know each other and embark on our journey together!

Before the ship was scheduled to leave the port of Barcelona we made sure that we were outside ready to watch her leave. We headed for deck ten which was definitely the hub of activities. Around the beach pool in the centre of the ship there was a real party atmosphere. They counted down to Vistas departure, streamers were fired out and music was played. During this time we all just stood there, mouths wide open at the overwhelming view.

Before we could explore further we needed to attend a safety talk about what to do in case of an emergency. As the three children are under 12 years old they needed to get wrist bands with our Muster Station information  on, so in the unlikely event of an emergency and the children are not with us, staff know where they need to be taken to.

We knew that our first night would be an early one so after we got the kids their safety bands, took part in the safety training and told which Muster Station were were to go to in an emergency we decided to get some food before retiring to our cabins.

For our first meal onboard Vista we visited Pizzeria del Capitano where fresh pizzas are made 24 hours a day! The chefs mould the pizza dough as you wait and add a variety of toppings. They are then cooked in traditional stone ovens before sliced up and served. We knew that getting the twins to eat a full meal would be impossible as they were so tired so a pizza dinner was perfect.

Our first nights sleep was so blissfully peaceful. I even found that the gently rocking from the sea helped me sleep even better than I expected. Our cabins were on deck 2 so we were away from the hustle and bustle of the main hub so the only noises that we heard was from the occasional family walking past on their way to their cabins. This was perfect for us as a family.

Our first full day was a day at sea. This gave us the opportunity to explore the ship and try to get our bearing of where everything was, which was not easy! The ship was so big and spread over 15 decks but part of the fun is exploring and finding new places to sit and chill out, new view points and new secluded hideaway spots. We certainly did get our daily steps in!

One of the first things that the kids wanted to do was swimming. As soon as they saw Vista's WaterWorks they could not wait to dive in and have some water fun. WaterWorks is literally a water park, yes an actual water park, onboard a ship. This had to be J's favourite area. The park consisted of two water slides, mini slides for the little ones, water fountains, water toys, buckets of water that tip over once they are full and water sprays. It was so much fun and a fantastic way to boost the twins water confidence.

The day at sea also enabled us to introduce the kids to Camp Ocean, Carnival Vista's kids clubs. Camp Ocean is divided into three groups, Penguins for ages 2 - 5 years, Stingrays for ages 6 - 8 years and Sharks for ages 9 - 11 years. Despite being three separate groups having J there with the twins did give us some comfort. The twins have never experienced a kids club like this so we were not sure how they would be. The first day we ended up collecting them sooner than expected as little I was not settled but the following day she went running in when she saw Kara's kids going in. After that they could not wait to go! I am planning a post all about Camp Ocean and the brilliant staff that run it.

Our first day also saw our first visit to a speciality restaurant, the Italian Cucina del Capitano. I am planning a separate post that is specifically about our dining experience but it was definitely a lovely meal to end our first day at sea. Just look how delicious the food was!

If you asked me to sum up my initial feelings about Vista in one word it would have to be WOW. I was simply bowled over by her. Even still I am astounded by the grand scale of Vista. While onboard you do not feel like you are on a ship. When you are inside you could believe that you were in a large hotel complex but then you go outside and realise that that you are actually sailing. It is a truly unique experience. Usually, when we travel, we go to self catering cottages. So I am still cooking, making beds, and kept busy. I will admit that I often go home just as tired, if not more than when we left. But this holiday has been the first holiday that I have had in years where I actually feel like I have had a holiday and truly relaxed and recharged my batteries. For me this holiday has allowed me to have a true break from it all and has done me the world of good both physically and mentally. We have enjoyed quality time together as a family, the hubby and I have had some much needed time together, just the two of us, thanks to Camp Ocean and we have created magical memories that are going to last us all a life time!

Before we left, I will now admit that the hubby did not want to go, he went for me. But, thanks to Carnival, we are now a cruise loving family! We have all said that we would love to experience more cruising holidays. The hubby has even suggested one for my 40th in 2018! We hope that in the future we will be able to have more holidays like this one!

As you can probably imagine I have so much to tell you about this prodigious holiday it is impossible to get it all in one post so expect Foodieseeker Friday to continue. I have the following posts planned:

  • Cucina del Capitano
  • JiJi Asian Kitchen
  • Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse
  • Guy's Burger Joint - with my recreation of the roadside burger shack treats
  • Seafood Shack
  • Bonsai Sushi
  • Blue Iguana Cantina - with my recreation of the fresh burritos
  • Dr Seuss Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast - with my recreation of the French toast
  • Carnival Drinks and Cocktails - with recipes!
  • Camp Ocean and Dr Seuss at Sea
  • Adventures off Vista
  • Activities on Vista

Before I leave it for today I will give you a sneak peek of some pictures that you will be seeing in future posts!

Enjoy x

Disclosure: I am Carnival Cruise Lines UK Foodieseeker Blogger. All views and opinions are my own and 100% honest. For more information about Carnival Cruises visit you can also read my pre cruise posts here.


  1. This looks like such a fabulous holiday. Like your husband mine has never been keen on the idea of a cruise so maybe I will send him over to read some more of your posts x

  2. I love that you say how this is the first holiday in years where you could really relax and recharge. This is why I adore cruising - the kids always make friends at the kids club and want to be there giving hubby and I lots of couples time! Fab write up Kirsty!

  3. Carnival Vista looks amazing! The bedrooms seem big, which is uncommon in cruises, and it looks so fun!
    Great post, I love reading others' vacation experiences :)

    Samantha |

  4. It was such an amazing holiday wasn't it. I cannot wait to see your food recreations (hubby needs a banana bread recipe) - Eliza is missing Isabella already xx

  5. It looks like you had an amazing time and giving the food options I probably would have never left the table!

  6. Oh Kirsty i have loved following your adventure, there really is nothing like cruising, it is my favourite type of holiday ever. Something for the whole family. Cant wait for all of your posts x

  7. Looks totally amazing! I really could be tempted with a cruise after seeing all your photos x

  8. WOW! The cruise looks amazing, and the food looks lush!

  9. Oh you lucky things - I love cruising, and this ship looks absolutely awesome! I want to go on it as soon as possible! Kaz x

  10. I saw lots of posts about this over on twitter. Looks amazing and I am so jealous

  11. I think that was an amazing journey, besides want recommend you to try there are a lot of interesting cruises all around the world.


Thank you for your comments I do love to hear what you think and try to reply to as many as I can x