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Carnival Vista 04/22/2017 Quick Cruise Review


rtw68
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Doing a quick, down and dirty review of the Vista. May do a picture/video review in the future. Breaking things up based on item experienced & rating (Excellent, Good, Fair, Poor.) Of course, everything is subjective, but after 8 cruises, I think we know what we like and dislike.

 

Our cruise before Vista was on Freedom of the Seas, which gave us a good comparison between the two lines. We are definitely Carnival fans and will continue to cruise on them, but may not cruise on the newer/bigger ships. We have cruised on Fantasy class (Fantasy), Conquest class (Liberty/Valor), Dream class (Dream/Breeze), "Sunshine class (Sunshine)," and Vista class (Vista).

 

EMBARKATION - EXCELLENT!

Read some complaints about the new system, of not receiving S&S cards upon check-in. I have to say that this embarkation was the fastest we ever experience with Carnival or Royal (and we were on the ship fast with Royal).

 

We arrived at the port by 11:15AM (we had 11:00AM - 11:30 check-in time), dropped off our luggage, weaved our way through the line entering the terminal, checked-in and went through security by 11:35AM, were handed a board zone group 16 card (which we were told to keep), and were on the ship by 11:58AM!! Incredible. Rooms were ready by 1:00PM and our S&S cards were there waiting for us in a sealed envelope. No issue getting a Funship special using our boarding passes while we ate our first Guy's Burger.

 

STATEROOM - GOOD

We booked room 8282, standard balcony room. My in-laws were in the next stateroom over 8286. Met our room steward (Orland) very soon after reaching our room. Explained his working hours 9AM-12PM, 6PM-9PM. Kept room clean and stocked with towels. Asked for ice and that was never an issue.

 

Room has two regular outlets and two USB connections to charge devices. I always travel with a multi-USB charger and cables for all our stuff and had no issues with any of them. Had to bring an extension cord for my CPAP since there was no available outlets buy the bed.

 

Room location was just fine, we were on the port side which means every port we visited we were on the "right" side.

Air conditioning was cold then not so cold. A couple nights got warm even though we had it set at the coldest setting.

Showers were hot and great pressure, no complaints there.

 

Outside of the balcony and door slammers, room was very quiet. Only issue we had was with the opening of our balcony partition, they didn't hook it up to the wall, and it banged until I remembered to do so. We had to go to Guest Services to request having the partition opened up. Did very early on embarkation day when the line was around a 15 minute wait. Both of us (myself and my father-in-law) had to be present to request that.

 

More to come!

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ATRIUM IMPRESSIONS - FAIR/POOR

There seems to be a love-hate relationship that people have with the Vista's atrium. Gone are the very tall atrium with the glass elevators that has always brought a wow-factor to entering the ship.

 

The funnel-shaped LED display is very cool, and has different scenes every day, multiple times a day, but the size of the atrium given the size of the ship is very mismatched. We spent a fair amount of time in and around deck 3/4/5 throughout the eight days of the cruise, but really didn't come away with the wow we have felt on other ships.

 

They also have a smaller funnel display in the casino area, which is visible from deck five heading forward before the atrium. The casino area is surrounded by glass (for very good reason more about that next) and they have a different display compared to the main atrium funnel.

 

CASINO - POOR

Ok, I get the need to have areas for smokers and non-smokers, but the Vista casino is horrendous. Our muster station B4 was in the Casino. It was very difficult to breathe and it took us some time to find an area that was tolerable. And that was only with smokers using the casino between boarding and 3pm. It proved to be worse throughout the week. I did manage to play some blackjack and thankfully those tables were not in a heavy smoking area. I still came away smelling like smoke worse than any other ship we have sailed on. There are glass walls on deck five that separate the casino from the rest of the areas on that deck. Thankfully they were there or the entire deck 5 area heading forward would be impassable.

 

The size of the casino was very small compared to the size of the ship. Carnival is really trying to jam way too much on a larger ship with more passengers. Not a good combination for many of the venues (more to come).

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DECOR - GOOD

We really did not have an issue with decor of the ship. Very similar to the Breeze and Sunshine, they have moved away from the lavish and wild designs of the older ships. To be honest, I am not affected at all by that, but the Fantasy, Liberty, and Valor were a little more interesting with the Farcus design.

 

ELEVATORS - FAIR

Elevators, always a fun subject. We tended to use those more than other cruises because of our in-laws. We seemed to wait more for elevators and rode them down to ride them back up. Typically, my wife and I rarely use the elevators and take the steps to make us feel better about eating/drinking throughout the week.

 

LIDO MARKETPLACE - GOOD

This is one areas of the ship that had plenty of seating and multiple areas to get food. The only thing that was concerning was the flooring and the slipping that happened continuously. They did add carpet (compare to the Breeze and Sunshine) at the ends entering/exiting the Lido so I'm sure that has helped. Caution was always a necessity, however!

 

One complaint that I had was the beverage locations were always out of lemonade or ice tea (I always make Arnold Palmer's). Sometimes it would take multiple hops between stations to find one that worked for both. Coffee was always good and there were plenty of places to get some along with sweetener, milk, and half-n-half. Ice cream and frozen yogurt machines were always operational and available.

 

We found the quality of the food and options above average, and much better than our Royal cruise. There were some items that were not very good, but it didn't take long to find something good. One item that I found very delicious was the Seafood Newburgh. I could have eaten that all week!

 

Breakfast had the standard items (eggs, bacon-with-police, sausage, potatoes, cereal, grits, etc). Lunches and dinners had an acceptable amount of variety.

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So the right side of the ship faced every port? We are on the left side of the Breeze in 67 days (who's counting ). I was told the ship could vary on which side it pulled into port. Hope we get to see one island from our balcony as we pull in.

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FOOD PLACES - GOOD

Guy's Burger - great as usual. Try the Pig Patty, anything with extra bacon is always good. I add a bunch of mushrooms to mine, so good!

 

Iguana Cantina - only had the Breakfast Burrito which was fantastic. Had that for breakfast a number of times. You pick the type of wrap, the contents, and any salsa or spicy options.

 

Seafood Shack - Had the Lobster Rolls and other seafood items. All ala-carte. Quality was good and when you order, they provided a pager to notify you when the order was complete.

 

Pizza - very good, always enjoy on a Carnival cruise. Much better than Royal's pizza.

 

Guy's Pig-N-Anchor - open on sea days only. I enjoyed it even though it was not best BBQ we have ever had. Flavor was decent and the side dishes were good. Definitely worth a try! They had different sauces including brown sugar, Kansas style, and hot sriracha sauce.

 

Steak house - always our first cruise night go-to meal. Excellent as usual.

 

Deli - they introduce a new menu the week we were on. Tried the BLT and it was very good (pre-prepared though).

 

We really didn't have a chance to eat at Ji-Ji's, the italian or sushi places, so I can't speak to the quality of those.

 

Dining Room - we had early dining and really only at in the MDR twice during the week. We were very lazy and ended up missing dinner and went for other options. Next cruise we are doing Your Time Dining to hopefully get us to the MDR more.

 

Room Service - only consisted of morning coffee before we went to the Lido, did not order from the updated menu during the week.

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I am enjoying your review of various aspects of your cruise. Thanks for taking the time to write and post.

 

Looking forward to more.

 

Thanks! :-)

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So the right side of the ship faced every port? We are on the left side of the Breeze in 67 days (who's counting ��). I was told the ship could vary on which side it pulled into port. Hope we get to see one island from our balcony as we pull in.

 

We were on the left (port). Maybe we lucked out on this itinerary and were facing the port side at each stop (Grand Turk, La Romana DR, Curacao, and Aruba). We were also the only ship in port for each stop, which was nice.

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DRINKS AND BARS - GOOD

We all purchased the Cheers drink package, are moderate drinkers, and hoped to take advantage of the other items as well.

It was nice not having to think about a bar bill, but to be honest, I don't think we will plan on purchasing for our next cruise.

Didn't see any difference in service, and I tend to tip a $1 per drink anyways, so we never had issues.

 

One standout was Grace in the Red Frog Pub. She was a fun sweetheart who after the first drink knew what we wanted and kept us happy. Needless to say she was tipped extra at the cruise's end. A couple other guys in the RFP were not as service oriented, unfortunately.

 

Red Frog Pub on Vista has a brewery and pub grub, which is very good! One evening we ordered pub grub for dinner and thoroughly enjoyed it as we had on the Breeze. They have a brewery tour held by the brewmaster but I didn't get a chance to take advantage of that. I think it was $24.95 on sea days and included samples.

 

Speaking of beer, the Thirsty Frog Red was my stand-by, but after trying the Caribbean Wheat, that is my new favorite.

 

Other bars were generally good but the atrium bar was very slow because they had one person working it. That bar tended to stay pretty busy so I never understood why they didn't have it staffed sufficiently.

 

The Liquid Lounge service was also pretty slow, again due to only have a couple bar folks working. Was faster for me to go to the bar and get my own drinks.

 

Did not visit Alchemy this trip (oops) but did visit just about every other bar. Steak house has its own bar and service was quick.

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SHOW VENUES - POOR

My opinions of the venues are separate of the comedians and shows, which were very good. Flick and America Rocks were fantastic.

 

The Limelight Lounge (comedy venue) is very small and poorly laid-out for a ship that large. They also have large poles throughout the venue and can block the view of many of the people. The chairs are so tight and it is difficult to sit in the front part of the lounge. We sat further back along the counter with bar stools and that was the best way to see as well. There was always a long line waiting to get into the adult shows, so we planned accordingly and arrived about 40 minutes prior to show-time. That lounge holds 375 people, but they generally tried to jam over 425-450 in there!

 

The Liquid Lounge is a very strange concept. We experienced it on the Sunshine and the Vista. The venue size between the two ships was basically the same (which was shocking due to the increase in passengers). They also had large poles blocking the view of many people. Again, we arrived early (about 30-40 minutes) and waited in line to enter. They do integrate the audience with the shows so one positive is you get close and personal to the singers and dancers. We sat in the upper sections on Deck 5 (the show room is only on Decks 4 and 5) for the Hasbro Game Show and the seating design is horrible up there. We had difficulty seeing the action because of the people in front of us and the glass panels. Again, the key is they mashed down the venues to fit more people on the ship.

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POOL/LOUNGING AREAS - GOOD/FAIR

The areas are small, like on many other ships. We found out best opportunities to get loungers were during port days, and very early in the morning. The chair hogs started very early! During one sea day, we did get loungers early, and ate breakfast there so we could keep our spots

 

The pools are salt water, and were refreshing in the heat. We stayed out of the pools on busy days, though. With the deck areas, there were always spots to sit.

 

 

Serenity area was always busy, we did spend a little time there during a port day, but the bar didn't open up until after everyone started coming back on board.

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SKYRIDE - EXCELLENT

Since we didn't have a lot going on at the ports, we decided to get on the Skyride when it opened at noon in La Romana. We were number five and six (myself and my father-in-law) in line and found it to be a blast!

 

They have four total cars (two per side) and before opening the workers test out each one.

 

I did a Go-Pro of the ride that I'm hoping to get on YouTube in the near future. They have you put on a harness (that was interesting) and they buckle you from the back to the bike (probably to discourage idiots and potential jumpers), and then you also use a seat belt. We watched some people go full speed through it and others go very slowly. We opted to take a slow ride to enjoy it!

 

I can see if you are afraid of heights you could freeze up (we did see someone do that, and the worker had to come with the second car and push them along).

 

We did not take advantage of the other Sports Square activities (rope course, putt-putt golf, etc).

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ATRIUM IMPRESSIONS - FAIR/POOR

There seems to be a love-hate relationship that people have with the Vista's atrium. Gone are the very tall atrium with the glass elevators that has always brought a wow-factor to entering the ship.

 

The funnel-shaped LED display is very cool, and has different scenes every day, multiple times a day, but the size of the atrium given the size of the ship is very mismatched. We spent a fair amount of time in and around deck 3/4/5 throughout the eight days of the cruise, but really didn't come away with the wow we have felt on other ships.

 

They also have a smaller funnel display in the casino area, which is visible from deck five heading forward before the atrium. The casino area is surrounded by glass (for very good reason more about that next) and they have a different display compared to the main atrium funnel.

 

CASINO - POOR

Ok, I get the need to have areas for smokers and non-smokers, but the Vista casino is horrendous. Our muster station B4 was in the Casino. It was very difficult to breathe and it took us some time to find an area that was tolerable. And that was only with smokers using the casino between boarding and 3pm. It proved to be worse throughout the week. I did manage to play some blackjack and thankfully those tables were not in a heavy smoking area. I still came away smelling like smoke worse than any other ship we have sailed on. There are glass walls on deck five that separate the casino from the rest of the areas on that deck. Thankfully they were there or the entire deck 5 area heading forward would be impassable.

 

The size of the casino was very small compared to the size of the ship. Carnival is really trying to jam way too much on a larger ship with more passengers. Not a good combination for many of the venues (more to come).

 

We were on the same cruise. When the Vista was being built, I remember a video snippet that said that the Vista was going to have the most advanced smoke filtration system in the fleet. So, when we got on board, we headed down deck 4 and just about keeled over when we hit the casino. The smell was the WORST out of all of the Carnival ships we have been on. We ended up spending all of our walking on deck 5, unless going to dinner in Reflections. Yes, if not for the glass enclosure on deck 5 around the funnel, that deck would have been rendered useless.

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HUB APP - GOOD

First experience with the hub app. Will definitely use it again. Purchased the Internet package for both work and personal use ($136 for the premium for eight days). Only one device can be connected at a time. The last sea day, however, both DW and I were connected at the same time for the better part of the day.

 

Were able to keep in touch with our kids/grandkids during the week using the Facebook messenger video call. Worked ok, but it is satellite internet (which is fully of latency and delays).

 

The fun times and folio access were great. Prevented me from having to go to the kiosks or guest services to check on things. They also have the chat feature but we really didn't use that (costs $5.00 per person for the entire cruise).

 

One thing I didn't receive was the final bill (I normally go to the kiosk to get a print-out). I did some screen shots for our records including the Internet charge so I could get reimbursed.

 

PHOTOS - GOOD

Gone are the days of sifting through hundreds of photos to find your own. The Vista has iPads in the photo area that you use to find your photos. It is not perfect, as I had some pictures on my folio that did not look anything like me/us at all!

 

The hub app is a perfect way to purchase the photos. Once you buy them, they download a full resolution picture to your device. I always scanned our pictures from past cruises or purchased them on a USB, so it was nice to have them available immediately.

 

The technology will hopefully get better over time, but it worked pretty well during our cruise. One thing we didn't do was have a lot of pictures taken this cruise. I think we purchase three (including the embarkation photo).

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CRUISE DIRECTOR - EXCELLENT, NO.. FANTASTIC!

A cruise director has never made or broken our cruise. We were kind of disappointed that Matt was not going to be on our cruise. Never had heard of Mike Pack before and we didn't expect anything good or bad.

 

I have to say that he was, without a doubt, the best cruise director on any of our cruises. That guy was EVERYWHERE! In the Lido at breakfast, on deck 0 during port days, during show times. He truly cares about everyone having a good time and it showed. Very funny and talented guy as well. The love and marriage show was a riot.

 

Mike will be the cruise director of the Horizon and it is greatly deserved. I sure hope we will cruise with him in the future!

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SHIP MOVEMENT - GOOD

The Vista has a shimmy like the Dream and Breeze have. One thing I don't recall noticing before was several areas of the ship on deck 8 (and I'm sure the other decks) that required a slight ramp going up or down to accommodate the difference in the floor levels of the assembled blocks of the ship. Not sure if Fincantieri had assembly issues? Maybe the other ships have had the same thing.

 

I had watched a video on Youtube that someone had posted showing the flex in the hallway on one of the decks. I didn't wait to watch that, however :-P

 

The seas were not too bad during our cruise, so I'm sure it handles differently in rougher seas.

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DEBARKATION - GOOD

Debarkation was typical. Of course they kicked us off the ship (there should be a law against that). Miami has the baggage claim very much like an airport. We normally have a ported take our luggage for us (which gets us through the lines quicker) but did not need to do so this time.

 

The customs staff looked at our passports quickly and did not even take the customs form (hate filling that stupid thing out).

 

We were off the ship and awaiting the transportation service right after 10:00AM (we were zone 20).

 

 

Thanks for reading along, please let me know if you have any questions at all, I will do my best to answer them!

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CRUISE DIRECTOR - EXCELLENT, NO.. FANTASTIC!

A cruise director has never made or broken our cruise. We were kind of disappointed that Matt was not going to be on our cruise. Never had heard of Mike Pack before and we didn't expect anything good or bad.

 

I have to say that he was, without a doubt, the best cruise director on any of our cruises. That guy was EVERYWHERE! In the Lido at breakfast, on deck 0 during port days, during show times. He truly cares about everyone having a good time and it showed. Very funny and talented guy as well. The love and marriage show was a riot.

 

Mike will be the cruise director of the Horizon and it is greatly deserved. I sure hope we will cruise with him in the future!

 

I too, was initially disappointed about not having Matt as Cruise Director, since I had heard so many great things about him. But Mike Pack was wonderful! I might have to book the Horizon.:D

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