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Nicole721

Hello Vista! A Full PICTORIAL Trip Report of Carnival's Newest Ship

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My favorite part of our visit to Florence, though? That didn’t change – it’s still the Duomo di Firenze and the Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fiore. I have a…thing…an affinity for larger than life structures. The Golden Gate Bridge is, far and away, my favorite structure in the US. I can (and do) spend hours sitting in Chrissy Field and just staring at it when I visit San Francisco. But nothing I’ve ever seen compares to the Duomo di Firenze. It’s nearly incomprehensible how something can be so big and so beautiful. It’s larger than life. It imposes itself over everything and it’s impossible to see or focus on anything else. In some way, it reminds me of how small we are, how small everything is, in light of all of the beauty that exists in the world.

 

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I stood on the Piazza del Duomo staring up at the magnificent structure in front of me until Stephanie literally dragged me away. I would have lost all track of time and stayed for hours, completely mesmerized, if she hadn’t. As it was, we didn’t have too much time left, so headed back towards the meetup point a half hour early, which allowed us just enough time for some last-minute shopping and a scoop of some fantastic amarena gelato.

 

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The walk back to the bus was brutal – it was early in the afternoon and I’d already logged 18,000+ steps (and ended the day with 21,000+!). If you’re planning on visiting Florence, plan on wearing shoes you can walk extended distances in – you’ll definitely get your steps in for the day.

 

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The police were talking to the driver trying to get him to move when we approached the bus, so we all quickly boarded and headed out of Florence. Before we left, though, Sibilla had the driver take us up to the Giardano Bardini for a quick in-bus photo stop. The view was stunning, to say the least.

 

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I must have fallen asleep sometime on the ride back, because when I woke up, it was in the middle of a pretty heavy sun shower and we were approaching Livorno. The rain ended (again, as if it was planned this way by some version of fate) just as we entered the port. We said arrividerci to Sibilla and reboarded the Vista.

 

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The dinner menus for the main dining room didn’t seem all that appealing, so we headed to the room and called Cucina del Capitano to see if they could squeeze us in. The only time they could take us was immediately, so we dropped off our bags, did a quick change and refresh before heading upstairs.

 

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We were immediately seated and our servers came over immediately to greet us – they recognized us immediately and welcomed us back. It seems that the Vista got many of the servers, hosts and chefs from the Sunshine’s restaurants, and having sailed on the Sunshine just a few months prior, we had a lot of friendly faces greeting us.

 

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The space for Cucina del Capitano on the Vista is much bigger than it is on any other Carnival ship, with tons of natural light and a casual, comfortable atmosphere perfect for family dining.

 

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The menus aren’t entirely extensive, but filled with solid options for all courses. We’ve dined at Cucina more times than I can count and we all have our favorites, so we wasted no time in placing our order and digging in to the plank of delicious grilled bread and whipped ricotta that was placed on our table.

 

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Everything was as good as we remembered it, but if I had to highlight a few favorites, the arancini are one of my favorite dishes served at sea, Mom always raves about the short ribs (the mark of how much she enjoys them is by how fervently she tries to push them onto my plate to get me to try them!) and the warm apple crostada is so sublimely delicious that, even after a heavy meal, I can always seem to make room for it (…and I don’t even like apples!).

 

Insalata Caprese

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Nonna’s Meatballs

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Il Capitano’s Signature Arancini

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Brasato al Barolo

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Bistecca alla Griglia

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Pollo Parmigiana della Cucina

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Spaghetti with Captain’s Tomato Sauce

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Rosemary Potatoes

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Sorbetto al Limone

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Magic Tiramisu

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Crostata di Mele Coppetta

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Sailaway was delayed as we waited for tardy guests, so we were still docked when we were settling our bill ($15 a person for a dinner like the one we had was a total steal!). We headed outside to get some fresh air and wait for the ship to start pulling away from Livorno.

 

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The Vista finally set sail just before sunset, and we were treated to a truly spectacular one as we set sail towards Rome. Matt even came over the PA to urge people to go outside and watch the sunset.

 

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In what soon became standard practice for us, we headed back to the room to change shoes after dinner, finding a new towel animal waiting with our Fun Times for Rome, as well as a note saying that because they were able to work with the Greek authorities to expedite things before our arrival, they no longer needed to hold our passports and we could pick them up at Guest Services at our leisure.

 

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The line to pick up passports was lengthy, but we were able to bypass it and go straight into the dedicated Platinum/Diamond line (one of my favorite VIFP perks). We signed for our passports and then headed out to wander around the ship.

 

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We perused the shops for awhile before ending in Cherry on Top, the onboard candy store. Unlike other Carnival ships, the Cherry on Top onboard the Vista also houses an ice cream parlor that’s similar to a Coldstone Creamery. You can choose from six different ice cream flavors, nearly two dozen mix ins and six toppings and someone will mix you up a cup of ice cream for a couple of bucks. The preset menu served a better value ($2.50 for a Smaller, $3.50 for a Bigger), or you could create your own combo starting at $2 (Smaller)/$3 (Bigger).

 

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Each of us ordered a different creation and took them back to our patio to enjoy them in the evening air. If you aren’t sailing in a Havana Cabana or a balcony cabin, you can still enjoy your treat al fresco – Cherry on Top has it’s own dedicated outdoor seating on the Lanai.

 

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There were no Playlist Production shows this evening and we had big plans for Rome, so we opted to stay in for the night, enjoying our patio and watching movies in the room. It was challenging to sail on a ship as new and different as the Vista and opt for early bed times instead of late night exploration, but on such a port intensive itinerary, rest was a premium we needed to take advantage of. And we still had a sea day to look forward to later in the week!

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While the Leaning Tower is the marquee attraction, the most striking thing to me was actually the way all of the monuments were lined up. The square may be small, but there’s a lot of beauty packed into that small space. And while we only had an hour to explore, it was plenty to not only see and explore all of the monuments, but we also had time to peruse the shopping and, if we wanted to, grab food (there are a few cafeterias, as well as a McDonald’s and a Burger King).

 

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Did you join the lines going inside?

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Woo! I'm glad! :D

 

 

 

Oh my goodness, that is quite the compliment! Thank you! :)

 

Which countries are you hitting on your Europe trip? Inquiring minds must know :)

 

 

Italy, Switzerland and France! Working with my friend in Norway at the moment to see if his work schedule coincides with my trip dates, because if so, I'll also visit Norway, and take a small road trip to Denmark and Germany! Gotta love friends who work on ferries

 

 

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the italian place-- is it served family style like JiJi?

 

We cant do the family style since my honey doesnt do the seafood and that is what I would prefer. and he would prefer the other stuff..

Since we can only order 2 of the stuff it would not be worth it to go to JiJi. Hoping its not the same for the italian

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Stop one? Lunch. I wanted to grab sandwiches from a little hole in the wall (literally) that I’ve seen recommended everywhere. Stephanie wanted to sit somewhere and have a formal meal. She won, and we ended up at a restaurant called Francesco Vini, which was just up the street from Piazza Santa Croce. We dined on bruschetta, pastas and pizza and washed it down with some Chianti. The food was great, but European style dining is much more relaxed than in the US and a sit down meal can take hours. This one was much quicker than our meal in Arles the day before, but still took up well over an hour our free time.

We were on the July 19 Athens-Barcelona cruise, and I'm so happy to see your review and pictures to re-live our cruise. We also did the "Florence and Rome on your own" tour and enjoyed it. Like you, we found a restaurant between Piazza Santa Croce and Ponte Vecchio. I had pasta with pesto, DH had a salad, and sons had pizza - they pronounced it the best they'd ever had. The next day we did a Provence tour that took us to Avignon, St. Remy, Les Baux and Arles. We had lunch in St. Remy at a boulongerie where we could just order sandwiches and sit outside - as our guide explained, if we stopped at a restaurant we'd never make it to Les Baux or Arles. :) And like you, we think we could spend a lot more time in Provence.:cool:

 

Thanks for your great review and photos - looking forward to more!

Edited by nybumpkin

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Did you join the lines going inside?

 

Nah, just admired it from the outside :)

 

Italy, Switzerland and France! Working with my friend in Norway at the moment to see if his work schedule coincides with my trip dates, because if so, I'll also visit Norway, and take a small road trip to Denmark and Germany! Gotta love friends who work on ferries

 

 

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All of those places are lovely! We went to Switzerland after we got off the Vista -- what a gorgeous country!

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Wish I had unlimited PTO! Can I buy some from you?

 

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Sure why not :P

 

the italian place-- is it served family style like JiJi?

 

We cant do the family style since my honey doesnt do the seafood and that is what I would prefer. and he would prefer the other stuff..

Since we can only order 2 of the stuff it would not be worth it to go to JiJi. Hoping its not the same for the italian

 

Nope -- Cucina del Capitano is all individual orders!

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Loving this review! Has me even more excited to be on Vista April 2018!

 

She is a beautiful ship! :D

 

We were on the July 19 Athens-Barcelona cruise, and I'm so happy to see your review and pictures to re-live our cruise. We also did the "Florence and Rome on your own" tour and enjoyed it. Like you, we found a restaurant between Piazza Santa Croce and Ponte Vecchio. I had pasta with pesto, DH had a salad, and sons had pizza - they pronounced it the best they'd ever had. The next day we did a Provence tour that took us to Avignon, St. Remy, Les Baux and Arles. We had lunch in St. Remy at a boulongerie where we could just order sandwiches and sit outside - as our guide explained, if we stopped at a restaurant we'd never make it to Les Baux or Arles. :) And like you, we think we could spend a lot more time in Provence.:cool:

 

Thanks for your great review and photos - looking forward to more!

 

I've heard St. Remy is just gorgeous. It's on our list! :)

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Day 7: Civitavecchia, Italy

 

Oh, Rome.

 

What can I say about Rome? How many words exist to describe a city so rich in culture and so unique?

 

The sun was up and we were already docking in Civitavecchia when we woke up this morning. Our tour wasn’t meeting as early as our tour the previous day had, so we had a little more time to have a proper breakfast (arepas from the Blue Iguana Cantina, obviously) before we had to check in for our tour at the Liquid Lounge.

 

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We’ve been to Rome before, almost a year to the day ago. We did probably the most comprehensive tour you can do in a single day in Rome: we started the day at the Trevi Fountain, followed by a visit inside the Colosseum, lunch at the Ambasciatori Hotel and an entire afternoon exploring the Musei Vaticani, complete with a walk through the Sistine Chapel.

 

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We explored the best of what Rome has to offer…except for the city, itself. We drove past the Spanish Steps, we saw the cityscape through the window of our bus, but we experienced the landmarks, not the city. So our plan this time? No guided tours. Nothing formal. Just us and Rome and whatever the day brought us.

 

So we booked the Rome on Your Own tour, which was basically a guided roundtrip transfer between Civitavecchia and Rome. The ship also offers a train version but we figured the bus option would leave us closer to where we wanted to be.

 

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Our tour left the pier at 8:30 am and we were greeted by our tour guide. I don’t remember her name because I’m not sure if she gave it to us. She didn’t speak much English and the English she could speak was pretty broken (she did get out that she usually handles groups of German or French speaking groups). Maps were waiting on our seats with the layout of the city and a phone number we could call with questions or emergencies.

 

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The drive to Rome takes about an hour/hour and a half depending on traffic. I always find it pretty fascinating to watch the transition of the landscape as you enter the city.

 

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Our drop off point at the Teatro Marcello would also serve as our pick up point at 5:00 sharp that afternoon. There wasn’t much from our guide beyond that and there wasn’t really much beyond that that we needed.

 

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Operators from the major Hop On Hop Off busses were waiting as we exited the bus. The Teatro Marcello is a stop on all of the major lines, which makes it a convenient spot to begin a DIY tour. We bought tickets from the first operator that approached us because, one, we weren’t sure how many (and what) our options were and two, because the price was right at €20. So we ended up on Big Bus, which probably wouldn’t have been our first choice because we aren’t as familiar with it as we are Grey Line and Citysights, but it ended up being the best choice because while all of the other busses were packed, ours weren’t and we rode around comfortably in some primo seats all day long.

 

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As we rode around Rome, through narrowed streets and past some of the most beautiful structures with fabled histories that reach centuries back, I couldn’t imagine doing anything else on such a gorgeous day. If you’ve never been to Rome before, absolutely see as much of it as you can. Go inside the sites, experience the rich history that spans the entire city, you won’t regret it. But once you’ve seen the inside of the Colosseum, walked through the Sistine Chapel, marveled at St. Peter’s Basilica…there’s so much more to experience in Rome just by immersing yourself in it.

 

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We first hopped off at the stop for the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps. We’d visited the Trevi Fountain last year, but it was under restoration and tons of scaffolding. Restorations were complete by the time this year’s visit rolled around, so we were eager to see the beauty of the fountain unobstructed. And, you know, we threw coins in last year and it worked and brought us back to Rome this year, so we had to go back and throw in more coins to see if it would bring us back again. The bus stop was a few blocks away from the fountain, and just as we were questioning whether we were following the right path on our map, we heard the distinct sound of water moving across stone. We turned a corner, and suddenly, there it was.

 

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For those who don’t know the lore, the history of the Trevi Fountain dates back to 19 BC. Roman soldiers, parched and thirsty, were led to water by a beautiful young woman. An aqueduct was constructed from the water source to the city and named Aqua Virgo in honor of the girl who had led the soldiers to the water, and a fountain was constructed at the end of the viaduct. Centuries later in the mid-1600s, Pope Urban VIII asked famed Italian architect Gian Bernini to begin sketching out renovations on the fountain, which weren’t complete until over a century later. Legend has it that if you throw a coin from your right hand over your left shoulder, you will return to Rome. A second coin will bring you love. A third coin? Marriage or divorce, depending on who you ask!

 

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The Trevi Fountain was constructed with white stone, the most beautiful water running through it, a gorgeous aqua blue reflecting the color of the sky. It’s easy to get lost in the magnificence and beauty of the fountain, but you really have to be careful when visiting for pick pocketers who run rampant in the area. It’s a very busy space and with so many people distracted by the enormity and beauty of the fountain, it’s easy for thieves to make away with your money, phone or whatever you have in your pockets.

 

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Seeing the fountain without all of the scaffolding that was there last year was really breathtaking. A special experience I’d do all over again, even with all of the crowds.

 

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While we were leaving, we saw a sunflower sign poking up in the crowd and Stephanie quipped that it looked like Laura’s (our tour guide last year) sign. Lo and behold, Laura peeked out to lead another tour group away from the fountain. It’s a small world sometimes, isn’t it?

 

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There are many shops and cafes immediately around the Trevi Fountain. The prices aren’t as inflated as they could be, but we knew we could do better if we walked a little further out. We ultimately found a little bar a few blocks away to grab a cappuccino as we plotted out our next moves.

 

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