On Location: A Trio of New Spaces on Carnival Panorama

From jumping, bouncing and jousting to making an apple pie from scratch and celebrating heroes with a special cocktail or brew, Carnival Cruise Line has created a trio of fun new activity options for guests sailing from Long Beach, CA, on the 4,008-passenger Carnival Panorama.

Late last week, Travel Agent checked out the spaces for these new activities – Sky Zone, Carnival Kitchen and the Heroes Tribute Bar – during the ship’s three-night inaugural voyage. The ship now operates seven-day cruises to the Mexican Riviera.

So, what can guests expect? The best answer is lots of fun.

Bouncing in Sky Zone

Imagine a bouncy castle not just for kids, but for adults and teens, too, just without the walls and ceiling. Well, Sky Zone, a new trampoline park venue for Carnival, is that, combined with activities such as indoor rock climbing, ladder scaling, hoops and jousting/sparring (with harmless foam “weapons”). While kids will love the high-flying activities, it’s clear adults and teens will, too.

During a press event late last week on Carnival Panorama, the line introduced reporters to this 3,000-plus-square-foot indoor trampoline facility. Sky Zone’s entrance is on Deck 6, but height-wise, the venue soars upward, encompassing Deck 7 too as it replaced the IMAX theater that is on sister Vista-class ships, Carnival Horizon and Carnival Vista. 

Let’s just say that it was a hoot to watch adults jump, bounce, spring, and, yes, even tumble into a puffy area of the floor set up for that. Parents who bring children can watch from the sidelines or bleacher seating. 

Sky Zone has two sections. One is the 12-lane trampoline court, where multiple people can simultaneously enjoy jumping on their own trampoline. On this court, guests can also shoot hoops or engage in a dodge ball game.

The other section of Sky Zone is a multi-faceted “Challenge Zone” area. Guests can climb a rock wall (see photo above), compete against a friend with a tug-of-war, or enjoy gentle jousting/sparring on a balance beam of sorts (with harmless foam “weapons”).

Perhaps the most popular activity here, though, is the chance to climb a rope ladder that extends horizontally on a slight grade and then curves upward to a buzzer. While this activity looked easy, it wasn’t.

Most folks who tried it tumbled into the puffy, cushioned area below. Those who successfully pushed the buzzer seemed to approach the task with more speed across the ladder.

Simple trampoline jumping or some of these physical challenges can be a good work-out. Some who tried the fun in Sky Zone said they were more tired than anticipated after just 15 minutes. But there's no pressure, so clients can go at their own pace, stop to rest for a bit and then return for more fun.

Sky Zone is open all day on sea days and offers late afternoon and evening sessions on port days. All activities can be booked once onboard at the Sky Zone kiosk adjacent to the venue.

One-hour sessions are held throughout the cruise and are available for three different age groups – six months to 5 years of age; 6 years of age to 14 years of age; and 15 years of age or older. For adults and kids 6 years of age and older, one-hour sessions cost $12.

During “toddler time” sessions, younger cruisers can participate in the bouncy fun, accompanied by an adult. The fee is $5 per child and $5 per adult. 

Participants must remove shoes and their own socks and use Custom Sky Zone socks, included in the price. For added fun, participate in the night-time all-ages blacklight glow party for $18; all participants will not only “glow” but score a custom orange T-shirt to take home.

Sky Zone, Carnival’s partner in developing the onboard facility, operates more than 200 trampoline parks in North America, Australia, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and South America.

Cooking at Carnival Kitchen

Delving into the growing consumer passion for everything culinary, Carnival has carved out space on Deck 4 aft for its new Carnival Kitchen. Club 02, formerly in this space, was relocated.

Carnival Kitchen has nine marbled-granite cooking and prep stations with cooktops, sinks and refrigerators. Fifteen separate classes are offered – everything from a Carnival classics workshop class with dinner, an Asian cooking class with dinner, a pasta master class, cake workshop, sushi rolling and more.

(In the photo above: Left to right, top chefs Rudi Sodamin and Emeril Lagasse; Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line; Juliana Barrera, junior sous chef; Camilo Gonzales, chef de partie; and Jivas Raveendran, sous chef.)

In the pie-baking class, for example, guests make a pie “from scratch” and start out by adding butter to the dough and kneading it until soft, then stretching it into a pie pan. Apples are seasoned and cooked atop the station's individual stovetop.

Then the apples are poured into the pie pan, a top layer of dough added, and, presto, guests are admiring their own pie, ready to be baked. The line does that; the finished product is delivered to guests after dinner in their stateroom/suite.

Cooking stations have electronic tablets displaying recipes, and pre-measured ingredients save time and move things along. A humongous cabinet between the dining area and the cooking stations also opens to reveal pots, pans, cooking utensils and other culinary items that class participants may need.

In addition, a long, elegant table is set up for those taking classes that include dinner on site, and a large, wall-mounted, flat-screen TV is available for instructional or entertainment use.  

One-hour and two-hour morning, afternoon and early evening Carnival Kitchen class sessions are available primarily on sea days; cost ranges from $30 to $59 per person. Each class can accommodate up to 18 guests at a time.

Reservations can be made pre-cruise on www.carnival.com or, once onboard, at any restaurant. Classes fill up quickly, so clients should book early.

A Tribute Bar for Heroes 

Continuing its longstanding support of military women and men, Carnival Panorama’s new Heroes Tribute Bar on Deck 4 occupies the space that was previously a sports bar on sister ships, Carnival Vista and Carnival Horizon. Structurally, this area also was "opened up" to create a more spacious feel.

Warm and welcoming with tan and brown décor and colorful touches of bright patriotic colors and the red Heroes logo, the bar was the idea of Christine Duffy, Carnival’s president. She went to see the ship, just prior to its transatlantic journey, and the bar was added at the last minute.

It's a space that’s already a hit with many of the military folks who sail as Carnival’s guests. It's Duffy's favorite space on the ship. She’s a big supporter of veterans and military personnel. Her son is set to become a military JAG next year.

Duffy also told media onboard the ship this past week that she plans to introduce it onboard all ships in the fleet. Guests entering the Heroes Tribute Bar will see three phrases and messages: “Welcome Home,” “Thank You for Your Service” and “America’s Heroes.” Logos of the armed service branches and patriotic/military memorabilia grace the bar's walls.

Duffy hopes to make one entire wall into a space where military personnel and veterans who so choose can leave a medal, and it will be incorporated into the wall design. This bar is both a place for conversation and honoring those who are or have served. 

When guests venture into the bar, they’ll also discovery a savory cocktail menu, with specialty drinks with such military-focused names as “After Burner,” “Green Beret,” “Shore Leave” and “At Ease,” among many others.

Highly popular with patrons seated at our tables and others nearby was the “Blue Angel,” priced at $9.95. (See photo at right).

If one really wants to imbibe, the bar’s signature “Heroes Tribute Cocktail” is comprised of Bombay Gin, Skyy Cherry Vodka, Flor de Cana Rum, El Jimador Tequila, Patron Citronge, Sierra Mist and Blue Curacao. It's $10.50 without the glass, $11.95 with the glass as a souvenir to take home. 

Pint brews are also offered and served in a custom print glass. A portion of bar sales will benefit Carnival’s partner, Operation Homefront, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to military families.

The new bar is the latest military member/veteran perks that Carnival has introduced. Both Canadian and U.S. military members and veterans receive military discounts on their cruise fare. The line’s Military Appreciation Gathering on every cruise honors the members' service commitment and military families too, and at the Veterans’ Tea Time & Greet, veterans and their families can gather around a reserved table and share stories.

Stay tuned to www.travelagentcentral.com for more coverage of Carnival Panorama.

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