Our back-to-back European and transatlantic cruises on Carnival Vista came to a close after sailing past the statue of Liberty and into New York harbor in the middle of the night.
We were happy to have a balcony room so we didn’t have to go far to see the statue as the ship passed. It’s all lit up at night, but with just a pocket camera I didn’t get very good pictures.
Vista docked on the west side of Manhattan just blocks from all the theaters and right next to the former aircraft carrier Intrepid, now a museum. While the ship stayed there a couple nights, the only passengers allowed to stay on it were those going back to back on the next cruise. We disembarked and stayed at a hotel in Queens for a couple nights, riding the subway into town like real New Yorkers.
New York has lots to see and do. We quite enjoyed our stay there. One day we practically went back to the Vista since it was still there when we visited the unusual museum in a former aircraft carrier, the World War 2 and Vietnam era Intrepid. It’s definitely worth seeing. The base fare includes the ship and a submarine called Growler. Other exhibits like the space shuttle pavilion and the concorde cost extra. New York has other museums, but this is the only one we went to in our short stay there.
The submarine Growler was near the entrance and didn’t have much of a line so we went there first. Space on that submarine was so tight that some sailors had to bunk with the torpedoes. Strange bunkmates indeed, but at least they didn’t snore or complain about anything.
The captain fared better than most, having a room to himself, but even his quarters were cramped. Of course this submarine is old enough to be a museum and not very big. Larger modern day subs probably have nicer accommodations for the crew.
Compared to the submarine quarters on the aircraft carrier are spacious. Even the bunks themselves are bigger, though there was a room with 36 of them in about the space of one cruise ship cabin. Officers and enlisted men had separate mess halls and dining areas on the ship.
You know the ship is old when you see rotary phones on the bridge. If the phones went out, communication with the rest of the ship was done through tubes that the captain could yell into.
The flight deck has quite a display of aircraft from different times and places. You can find more on the hangar deck. It also has several movie screens on the hangar deck that drop down at showtime to tell the story of the day two kamikazes hit the ship during World War 2. Lights and smoke effects enhance the part of the story where the ship catches fire. It survived that hit and continued service through the war and beyond.
The hanger deck also has an exploration area where people can go inside model cockpits from planes, helicopters, and even a submarine. There’s also a few rides there.
Besides the flight and hanger decks you get to go into the tower and see the bridge and navigation. From a window there you can see the ship retrieving a model of an old space capsule after splashdown.
The other deck on display is the third level down which has living quarter and mess hall displays as well as food for sale in a former mess hall.
The space shuttle pavilion houses the very first shuttle, named the Enterprise. It was a prototype and test model that never actually went into space. Underneath the Enterprise space shuttle sits a movie prop shuttlecraft from the original Star Trek show’s Enterprise.
The space shuttle pavilion also has several displays with different information about space shuttles and the shuttle program.
Before space shuttles the Russians had the Soyuz Space Capsule which they still use to this day. Since America no longer uses the shuttles they now have to pay Russia to bring people to and from the space station.
Overall the Intrepid Museum had quite a lot to see and visiting it made for quite an interesting day. This ship served the nation well in its time, but technology moves on and if the military doesn’t keep up the world leaves it behind so they get new ships and old ones like this that were once the pinnacle of technology become a piece of history.