Carnival Vista: Welcome Home

vista-and-meTomorrow our lady Vista will arrive in NYC and some of my dearest cruise friends will be leaving what has been their home away from home for the past 23 days (longer than that for a few) and was mine for 10 lovely days in the Mediterranean.

What a ship, and what a great experience to get to explore her while she was new and shiny, in the excitement of her inaugural season. No, she didn’t unseat my twin Spirit class favorites, Miracle and Legend, from their tied-score spot at the top of my personal list, but she did impress me.

She showed me that a ship with more passengers than Breeze and Magic could feel less crowded, thanks to superior layout and design. She gave me a glimpse of the future of cruising and the ever-expanding role that technology will play. She provided me with a look at how a cruise line can increase efficiencies without sacrificing customer service and satisfaction through new features, activities and concepts. Most important, she left me with memories I’ll always treasure even if I never sail on her again.

I’ll do an extensive review of the ship soon, for my blog, complete with more photos and reviews of the different venues and a lot of commentary on processes and changes and both the good and the bad of some new ways of doing things. But for now, I want to talk about Vista’s triumphant trek to her new home in the United States and how that makes me feel.

My ten-day whirlwind voyage through Europe seemed to go by in a flash. I wasn’t ready to leave … and yet, I’m glad that I did. Oh, I badly missed getting to see some of my cruise friends who were boarding in Barcelona for the transatlantic crossing (TA), and I was disappointed that changes to plans had resulted in John Heald (Carnival brand ambassador) not being on board for the Med cruise and Matt Mitchum being on vacation instead of being our cruise director as originally planned.

However, Matt did join us for the last few days of the cruise, and I’ll see John in February on Blogger Cruise 10 (BC10), along with some of those friends I missed on the TA. The rest I’m sure I’ll manage to get together with soon. While I would have liked to experience some long, lazy sea days after the rush, rush, rush of port after port (Athens, Rhodes, Valletta, Messina, Naples, Civitavecchia (Rome), Livorno, Marseilles, and Barcelona), after those ten days, it was time for me to come home.

I love to travel, to see new places or revisit favorite old ones, to “get away from it all” – the responsibilities and stresses of work and home. For a while. But then I start missing my babies (dogs), my husband, my house and my own bed, even the work that drives me nuts. A <200 square foot space begins to feel cramped after a while, especially when you’re sharing it with someone else (even a daughter you love spending time with).

All that tempting food starts to weigh on me (in more ways than one).  I start longing for a faster and more reliable Internet connection, my multi-monitor array, my much-larger shower, the ability to go forage in the kitchen for a snack without getting dressed (although yes, when I’m off the ship, I do miss room service).
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Now it’s been twelve days since I debarked, but it seems much longer. I’ve been following the social media posts of my friends who stayed on board, and living the crossing vicariously through them. When the seas got rough between Gibraltar and the Azores, I was a little envious since I do love it when the ship rocks and rolls. I enjoyed the photos of the on-board activities, incredible sunrises and sunsets at sea, and the beauty of Bermuda that they shared.

However, hearing about long hours with no Internet connectivity due to satellite positioning, illnesses, and rude passengers (likely exacerbated by so many people cooped up in relatively limited space for such a long time), I once again was glad I hadn’t been able to do a B2B (back-to-back cruises) this time.

I know from past experience that around the 12th day, I’d have started to get homesick. I have friends who spend more days out of the year on ships than on land; it works for them, but it wouldn’t work for me. To me, my cruises are special times – an escape from everyday life – and if being on a cruise became my everyday life, it wouldn’t be so special anymore.

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That’s not to say I don’t feel a little twinge of longing when I think about the Vista sailing proudly past the Statue of Liberty in the wee hours of tomorrow morning. I’d love to be there, to have brought her home. And maybe I will be there when “Vista’s Sista,” the Carnival Horizon (currently under construction at Fincantieri shipyard in Trieste, Italy) glides into New York Harbor. I’m seriously considering doing that TA. But if I do, I won’t have already spent 10 days on her in the Med before beginning the crossing.

For now, though, good night to Vista and all of those who are spending this last good night cradled within her hull. May the ocean rock you gently to sleep.

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About debshinder

Technology analyst and author, specializing in enterprise security. Author of or contributor to over 25 books, including "Scene of the Cybercrime." Fourteen-year Microsoft MVP, married to Microsoft FTE Tom Shinder, and proud mom of two wonderful grown-up human children and three amazing Japanese Chin pups. In my spare time, I love to travel - especially on cruise ships - and write about my grand adventures.
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