In the past week, two Carnival Cruise ships successfully concluded their first voyages post-pandemic. Guests onboard Carnival Vista, sailing from Galveston, Texas, and Carnival Horizon, sailing from Miami, experienced a wonderful cruise sailing the Caribbean.
Carnival Horizon is currently steaming towards Aruba in the Dutch Caribbean after completing her first voyage, which departed July 4 and called in Amber Cove, as well as two full days at Half Moon Cay. Carnival Vista is heading for her second visit to Roatan, Honduras, after sailing her first voyage on July 3, with calls in Roatan, Belize, and Cozumel.
Both ships now have a new group of passengers eager to experience cruising once again. The first sailings onboard Carnival Vista and Horizon proved to be hugely successful with happy cruisers. At the same time, the new technologies, such as the new additions to the Hub App and the new muster drill, worked successfully.
So What Is Different From Before On Carnival?
After months of speculation, a few bits and pieces have changed since March of last year. Most of these changes will be temporary as COVID is still around us, and Carnival does its best to keep everyone safe on board.
Carnival has decided to, for now, keep doing cabin service only once a day, versus the morning service and evening turndown guests have grown accustomed to. While it may be something that many guests will object to, there is valid reasoning behind the temporary change as it limits the contact between crew members and guests as much as possible. John Heald commented on his Facebook page and said the following:
“As part of our new health and safety protocols, we are now servicing staterooms once a day to limit access to your stateroom. Aside from our daily service, should you need anything else, the team is only a phone call away. Anyway, you can choose either morning or evening service.“
“The cabin steward will make sure you have a fun and cuddly towel animal and of course, your cabin will be cleaned and sanitized to the highest level.“
As we all know, guest capacity has been significantly reduced by Carnival Cruise Line. Both Carnival Vista and Carnival Horizon sailed with around 70% of passengers on board. So although numbers are somewhat less than what we are used to, it certainly doesn’t mean the ships are empty. There are still plenty of fellow guests to have fun with!
From the reports that Cruise Hive received, the new embarkation day proceedings are a dream. As we know from the past, many people coming in simultaneously to board the ship causes lines and waiting times. With the new embarkation day proceedings, these waiting times are a thing of the past.
Guests must now choose an arrival slot before arriving at the terminal; this makes for smooth embarkation and few people waiting in line. Although Carnival did say that any early arrivals would not be entertained, an early arrival line was present in the terminal for embarking guests on Carnival Horizon.
Carnival Hub App & New Muster Drill
The Fun Times has always been a keepsake for many guests onboard the Carnival ships; however, Carnival is now placing more importance on technology and going paperless. Does this mean that the paper Fun Times is a thing from the past? No, you can still get one from guest services, and otherwise, you can call it up from within the Hub App.
The Hub App plays a vital role in every aspect of the ship now. Bars and restaurants all have signs with QR codes which you can scan to view the menu, while it also plays an essential role in the embarkation day emergency drill.
When you board the ship, you can order a maximum of two drinks before you have to perform your drill (your cruise card becomes inactive if you don’t). This means watching the safety video (from within the app), walking to your emergency station, and here a crew member will show you how to don a lifejacket—a massive difference with the old drills, which could take forever in some instances.
As for the other questions many will have, masks only have to be worn inside the terminal when checking in and during disembarkation. Inside the vessel, there is no need to wear a mask, although the crew all wear a mask. The only remark here is that ports of call do still require a mask to be worn, for example, in Amber Cove.
And as for the dining experience, the Lido Buffet is exactly the same as it was before, where you can help yourself, although the crew is on hand to help you if you need it. Bars and restaurants are open as usual without any restraints on social distancing or any of the capacity controls that other cruise lines employ. Best of all, crew members still do a farewell show with Baked Alaska!
All in all, Carnival seems to have pulled off a successful restart of both Vista and Horizon. While there are some changes that guests will undoubtedly notice, these changes are either temporary or an improvement over the old.
Luckily, COVID-19 measures are not affecting the ability of guests to have fun on board, and that’s what counts the most! While time slowly ticks on, in only a few days, we will see Carnival Breeze sail!
Carnival Breeze is Next!
With Carnival Vista and Carnival Horizon settling into their routines and underway to Roatan and Aruba, we will see the third Carnival Cruise ship resume sailings in only a few days. Carnival Breeze will set sail on July 15 from Galveston, Texas.
Carnival Breeze will sail for a 4-day voyage with a call in Cozumel and two days at sea on either end. However, a call on July 22 in Cozumel will be a special day indeed. Carnival Breeze, Carnival Horizon, and Carnival Vista will all be in Cozumel on the same day!