First off, a little background. I am a 62 year old widower traveling with my 33 year old son.This was my 5th cruise with Carnival (in addition to 2 with Royal Caribbean, 1 with Princess, and 1 with Norweigan). This was the 6th with my son, ... Read More
First off, a little background. I am a 62 year old widower traveling with my 33 year old son.This was my 5th cruise with Carnival (in addition to 2 with Royal Caribbean, 1 with Princess, and 1 with Norweigan). This was the 6th with my son, so we have a pretty good level of experience.
Embarkation in New York went smoothly and we were on the ship within an hour of arrival to the port.
The ship: We selected this ship because my son wanted to try a new ship that was large and had the newest "bells and whistles".The Horizon just hit the water a few months prior and with The Vista is the largest of the Carnival fleet.Its passenger capacity is about 4,000 (double occupancy, but when you consider the 3rd and 4th in the cabins, the census is probably over 5,000.We had an inside cabin (our usual choice ) that was quite adequate for us with everything in good working order.It has a new computerized elevator system (more on that later), a "sky ride", a rope course, a large waterpark area, an I-Max theatre, and a few other "bells and whistles". Because of the large capacity, some of the lunch venues and activities sometimes have some sort of lines, but only a very few times were the lines a problem. For the most part, the ship handled the passenger density well enough with the many food and activity venues. For those who have cruised before, you'll appreciate that it was rare not to find lounge chairs when you looked for one.
The flaws: My main complaint with the ship is that it seemed every venue's music was blasting. I understand during a party or whatever, but when one seeks out an area to converse with a bar and some background music, it was almost impossible to find. Also (but it didn't really apply to me), this was the 1st ship I've sailed on that didn't have a dedicated dance club. If that is your thing, you have to check out the daily activities sheet to find out the location of that night's dancing.
The elevators: You may read about the computerized system from other reviews, etc. It is a big bag of "nothing". Yes, it works differently from your usual elevator experience, but you get used to it with a short period of time...and it does work a bit better, but not earthshattering.
The food: First dinners in the main dining room: Plenty of variety every night with at least several choices for soups, salads, appetizers, entrees, and desserts...all quite yummy. The breakfast and lunch and other included dinner venues (mostly on the Lido deck, but also spread out on other decks) include a large general buffet, a deli, 24 hour pizza, a Guy Fieri branded hamburger stand, a build your own burrito area, as well as quite a few more (plus the availability of a sit down meal in the dining room). We never ate in any of the "premium" venues, but in speaking to some who did, they apparently were top notch. I can never understand those that think negatively of Carnival's food.
The activities: Typical cruise stuff- trivia, bingo, comedy shows, multiple movie venues (poolside under the stars, I-Max, etc.), shows in the main theatre, themed parties, etc....certainly the "something for everybody" mentality.
The staff: I can't compliment them enough, especially our dining room waitstaff headed by Antonio, and the 2 ladies handling the bar at the Guy Fieri BBQ restaurant on deck 5. They were, without exception, wonderful. However, the stateroom staff had a habit of waking us early (3 x including 7:00 AM on disembarkation day). An annoyance that shouldn't occur on a cruise vacation.
The ports: Did not do any of the excursions, walked the Old City of San Juan which was right at the ship's location in port. Hung out at Margaritaville in Grand Turk, and walked the port area at Amber Cove.
Disembarkation: Not nearly as smooth as getting on the ship, but tolerable. Took a bit long with delays.
Overall, a good, experience.My son loved the Sky Ride and the other "bells and whistles" Should lower the volume is some of the venues, but overall the positives greatly outweigh the negatives. Read Less