This was my fourth cruise on Carnival after loving my experience on the Dream class ships and this experience did not disappoint! I am a spa cabin aficianado, so I booked a spa balcony on the starboard side on deck 14. It was great. There was plenty of room, and the service was superior.
I loved this ship. It had everything I like about a Carnival ship and plenty of extra benefits. I was a little skeptical with the newness of the ship and the size of it with regards to lines and logistics, but I was shocked at how fast I got service, how few lines there were for anything, from embarking and disembarking, to your time dining which I would literally just walk up to the hostess and get seated immediately, to finding deck chairs anywhere on the ship.
First and foremost, the service and staff on the ship were the best I've ever experienced. Nearly everyone was friendly, accommodating, and went above and beyond to exceed my expectations. My cabin steward Ni Luh was amazing. Our dining staff with the exception of one, were fantastic as well. The bartenders at the Alchemy bar where I did most of my drinking including the superb Ioana knew our names and our favorite drinks, but could also make up a delicious drink on the spot based on her knowledge of my tastes.
Dining in the specialty restaurants are the way to go if you always want the best the ship has to offer. We enjoyed the Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse, Ji Ji Asian Kitchen, Bonsai Sushi, The Chef's Table, the Seafood Shack for delicious local oysters with our champagne on the balcony, and I even took some snacks to go one day from the Red Frog Pub. I highly recommend eating in the specialty restaurants for as much as you can afford to get the best food and service on the ship. As for the continental breakfasts via room service, they were modest, but adequate. They were always exactly on time with almost never a hiccup. Once they forgot forks and napkins. The food in the MDR was about 80% very good. I tended to gravitate towards the appetizers, exotic appetizer choice, or port selections for the best variety. I love the Sea Day Brunch menu as well but for my eggs benedict the poached eggs were a bit overcooked and that wasn't a classic hollandaise with it either. Fish tended to be overcooked for dinner. Knowing these things helped me to plan my MDR meals so that I could make a meal on appetizers with multiple courses or more than one serving of an appetizer. Soups tended to shine.
Entertainment was excellent, from the string trio in the lobby to the roving accordianist to the excellent combo in the Havana area. The shows were the best I've ever seen on Carnival. It's clear they hand picked their top talent for this ship with singing, dancing, and special effects superb. We only got a chance to see two shows, Flick and America Rocks, but I was very impressed with the costumes, production, and talent.
Getting on and off the ship was impossibly fast. I didn't have FTTF, but still only waited about 15 minutes in the waiting area at Piraeus to get on board. Disembarkation was equally fast. I couldn't believe I was on a ship with 4000 people! I could always find a lounge in the Serenity area, or even had the entire Havana deck to myself and my husband evenings looking out from a big circular lounge bed looking up at the stars with the caribbean sounds of the band softly in the background.
We did a couple of Carnival excursions, and I'd have to say that they were just a little more crowded than I would have liked. I don't like getting on a bus with 50 people and having to wait for everyone to get back. Our excursion in Malta, which itself was gorgeous, had not such a good tour guide whom we couldn't generally hear. I mentioned this to the staff at the excursions desk and they gave us a discount on our tour price. I prefer to book my excursions privately or with smaller tour companies for a more personalized touch.
I spent early mornings around 6am in the gym and it was virtually empty. I loved this. When it was possible, I would go to the morning abs and stretch classes which were all included in the fare held on the floor of the ocean plaza. These were generally attended by about 8-10 people. Evenings before bed I would walk down a flight of stairs and relax in the wonderful spa hot tub which had nice, firm jets to massage my muscles or relax in one of the wet saunas or infrared sauna where I could choose one of 4 scents to fill the air. None of these areas were ever crowded.
With the abundance of bars all over the ship, multiple restaurants, and just plenty of deck space, I never felt like I was one of so many others. I made great friends on this trip, and I can't wait to go back on the Vista to the Caribbean for Christmas.
This cabin was almost identical to every other spa cabin on the dream class ships, with plenty of room for storage, a safe, 6 shelves in the bathroom for my toiletries, storage under the bed and in the two cabinets next to the bed as well.
We could have our room service breakfast on the sofa next to the bed every morning or enjoy a nice glass of wine on the adequate balcony for sunsets. New to the cabins were USB chargers built in under the lighted mirror on the dressing table, an electronic control for the very wonderful a/c system, and LED lights to illuminate the cabin.
Our cabin steward Ni Luh and her assistant were SPECATACULAR-- so personable and accommodating. They room was always spotless. She brought extra bodywash and shampoo as I requested it. She even came one night in a matter of minutes when I accidentally broke a wine glass to vaccuum up the shards.
My only nit with this room was not with the room itself but with access to it. Only 2 elevators on the ship go up to the 14th floor. That meant that waiting for an elevator to my room was often longer than I'd like. I ended up using the stairs a lot or going down one floor to 12 to get an elevator in a bank with more chances to get one.