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20th Carnival cruise, mostly all good, but cabin location under galley was not best for light-sleeper. Should not need medication to help sleep, but that is what I had to do- kids slept fine and husband managed without sleeping pills, although he commented nightly on the noise from above. We flew into and stayed in FLL and took SAS to the port the next day, Ordered Chinese delivery which was very good. Holiday Inn Dania pre-stay one night was fine, beds comfy and quiet by airport with free airport shuttle. SAS called pre-arrival and drive was fine to port. Embarkation was smooth, Sail and Sign key cards were picked up outside cabin door. Family Harbor Cove Balcony Suite 2425 was gorgeous with long balcony and only 1/2 obstructed view (no lifeboat over second half), but noisy as mentioned every night. 2nd bathroom with tub and sink was useful. Closet design not our favorite at first, but we learned to take turns to access the back wall hanging area and shelves- only one person can get to this area at a time. We don't gamble or buy the alcohol program. Loved the Waterworks and Sportsquare area for both adults and children. Saw the Rockstar show one night and one adult comedy show which were both great. Both times ordered drinks and service was quick and friendly. Loved the new atrium hologram and the entertainment there; also enjoyed the Ocean Plaza area and band, Red Frog Pub area, and deck 5 walking area with BBQ (we ate there once on embarkation, heard it was very busy the rest of the week). We do use the Cloud 9 spas on all the Carnival ships, and enjoyed this area every day for about 2 hours each time. We purchased the weekly pass on embarkation; the Vista design was fine with us, we used every part of the spa- I love the lavender scrub in the steam rooms, and we both loved the hot sauna, the infrared room, and the heated tile benches. There is a hot tub next to the benches so, depending on the crowd, there can be conversation going on in the room which on other ships is usually a quiet area. It didn't bother us if people talked in the hot tub, but on one occasion there was a very intoxicated man drinking and he was very loud. Staff should be sure there is no alcohol being drunk in this area due to the safety issue with extreme heat being used. We were waitlisted for the Chef Table, a galley tour and multi-course (sample-type) dinner that must be pre-ordered, and were approved a couple days before our assigned night. Enjoyed meeting Chef Deepak again (last met on the Breeze in 16) and his crew. New menu was amazing, dedicated Chef Table room was nice, and enjoyed meeting the table mates near us. We did notice that the galley tour was shorter, but we still enjoyed that part of the experience. Still includes a fun magic presentation by an onboard magician and group photo. Must-do for any chefs or foodies out there that like to try new things. We also went to Bonsai Sushi one night for dinner, always amazing and no different on this ship, and to the 555 Steakhouse for my husband's birthday. The steakhouse started out great with a complimentary lobster BLT app. Our order was not correct though, but our server offered to correct it immediately. We opted to keep the entrees we had; hubby was surprised with a birthday treat and staff sang Happy Birthday. We also were given a glass of champagne for the celebration. Overall it was up there with the Chef Table for best night out. We enjoyed Lido activities, especially the Hairy Chest competition which is silly fun where most everyone should be able to chuckle;) Serenity, the adult area, looked nice with the salad bar, but we only walked through once since we had children on board to monitor. The Havana area was nice, but we did not use it after 7 since it was already past sunset when we were allowed access (nice area for those booked in Havana Cabins). We used Your Time Dining, which was excellent. The hostess, Andrea, was always smiling and had something nice to say. Our various servers were amazing, but especially David from St. Vincent, as we created some musical chairs with two tables, 3 adults, and 5 children between two family groups. Food was served within a reasonable time and was delicious, no complaints from anyone in our group. Sea Day Brunch was excellent. Debarkation was one of the best we have ever experienced. Only issue we had was SAS dropping us at the wrong airport Hotel for our one night post-stay. The Hampton Airport North sent their shuttle over to get us and they are excellently located near Slackers Sports Bar, McDonalds, Wendy's, and other businesses. Slept great after watching some football in the hotel lounge. Pool area was nice to catch some final rays during the day. Can't recommend Doughboys Italian food; the Calzone we had was subpar, almost no meat and full of ricotta, not that good, ymmv. Free airport shuttle and no issues at FLL; pretty fast TSA check and one gate change with Jet Blue. First time using Jet Blue, will use again. Prepay for bags, save $. I will write our cabin review below. The Family Harbor Lounge was great!

Family cruise with pre-teens; excellent all-around experience

Carnival Vista Cruise Review by Cruise life

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Trip Details
  • Sail Date: January 2017
  • Destination: Eastern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Family Harbor Suite
20th Carnival cruise, mostly all good, but cabin location under galley was not best for light-sleeper. Should not need medication to help sleep, but that is what I had to do- kids slept fine and husband managed without sleeping pills, although he commented nightly on the noise from above. We flew into and stayed in FLL and took SAS to the port the next day, Ordered Chinese delivery which was very good. Holiday Inn Dania pre-stay one night was fine, beds comfy and quiet by airport with free airport shuttle. SAS called pre-arrival and drive was fine to port. Embarkation was smooth, Sail and Sign key cards were picked up outside cabin door. Family Harbor Cove Balcony Suite 2425 was gorgeous with long balcony and only 1/2 obstructed view (no lifeboat over second half), but noisy as mentioned every night. 2nd bathroom with tub and sink was useful. Closet design not our favorite at first, but we learned to take turns to access the back wall hanging area and shelves- only one person can get to this area at a time.

We don't gamble or buy the alcohol program. Loved the Waterworks and Sportsquare area for both adults and children. Saw the Rockstar show one night and one adult comedy show which were both great. Both times ordered drinks and service was quick and friendly. Loved the new atrium hologram and the entertainment there; also enjoyed the Ocean Plaza area and band, Red Frog Pub area, and deck 5 walking area with BBQ (we ate there once on embarkation, heard it was very busy the rest of the week).

We do use the Cloud 9 spas on all the Carnival ships, and enjoyed this area every day for about 2 hours each time. We purchased the weekly pass on embarkation; the Vista design was fine with us, we used every part of the spa- I love the lavender scrub in the steam rooms, and we both loved the hot sauna, the infrared room, and the heated tile benches. There is a hot tub next to the benches so, depending on the crowd, there can be conversation going on in the room which on other ships is usually a quiet area. It didn't bother us if people talked in the hot tub, but on one occasion there was a very intoxicated man drinking and he was very loud. Staff should be sure there is no alcohol being drunk in this area due to the safety issue with extreme heat being used.

We were waitlisted for the Chef Table, a galley tour and multi-course (sample-type) dinner that must be pre-ordered, and were approved a couple days before our assigned night. Enjoyed meeting Chef Deepak again (last met on the Breeze in 16) and his crew. New menu was amazing, dedicated Chef Table room was nice, and enjoyed meeting the table mates near us. We did notice that the galley tour was shorter, but we still enjoyed that part of the experience. Still includes a fun magic presentation by an onboard magician and group photo. Must-do for any chefs or foodies out there that like to try new things.

We also went to Bonsai Sushi one night for dinner, always amazing and no different on this ship, and to the 555 Steakhouse for my husband's birthday. The steakhouse started out great with a complimentary lobster BLT app. Our order was not correct though, but our server offered to correct it immediately. We opted to keep the entrees we had; hubby was surprised with a birthday treat and staff sang Happy Birthday. We also were given a glass of champagne for the celebration. Overall it was up there with the Chef Table for best night out.

We enjoyed Lido activities, especially the Hairy Chest competition which is silly fun where most everyone should be able to chuckle;)

Serenity, the adult area, looked nice with the salad bar, but we only walked through once since we had children on board to monitor.

The Havana area was nice, but we did not use it after 7 since it was already past sunset when we were allowed access (nice area for those booked in Havana Cabins).

We used Your Time Dining, which was excellent. The hostess, Andrea, was always smiling and had something nice to say. Our various servers were amazing, but especially David from St. Vincent, as we created some musical chairs with two tables, 3 adults, and 5 children between two family groups. Food was served within a reasonable time and was delicious, no complaints from anyone in our group. Sea Day Brunch was excellent.

Debarkation was one of the best we have ever experienced. Only issue we had was SAS dropping us at the wrong airport Hotel for our one night post-stay. The Hampton Airport North sent their shuttle over to get us and they are excellently located near Slackers Sports Bar, McDonalds, Wendy's, and other businesses. Slept great after watching some football in the hotel lounge. Pool area was nice to catch some final rays during the day. Can't recommend Doughboys Italian food; the Calzone we had was subpar, almost no meat and full of ricotta, not that good, ymmv. Free airport shuttle and no issues at FLL; pretty fast TSA check and one gate change with Jet Blue. First time using Jet Blue, will use again. Prepay for bags, save $.

I will write our cabin review below. The Family Harbor Lounge was great!
Cruise life’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
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Cabin Review

Family Harbor Suite
Cabin FS 2425
Noise from galley above dropped this from a 5 to a 3 star, and that is being generous, because sleep is an issue if you are a light sleeper. You will hear noise every night from above. Our 11 year olds slept right through the noise, but I took a sleeping pill almost every night and used ear plugs. My husband managed to sleep, but he has some mild hearing loss and is used to sleeping through noise due to work requirements. The good part is that the suite is large with two sleeping areas (up to 5), and an extra bathroom with short, deep tub, and sink- no 2nd toilet. The balcony is extra long with only half covered by a lifeboat. Two tvs, so the kids could get in some cartoon time while adults caught up on the news or other programming. Main tv is a very large flat screen. There is a large curtain that can cocoon the kids and provides total darkness for naps. Almost directly across from the family lounge, did not hear hallway noise or the door opening across the hall. Lounge amenities were very nice- hot breakfast, sandwiches in late afternoon, snacks at bedtime, 24 hour ice cream and access to a fridge with milks and yogurt. We used the cappuccino machine daily. There is also a tea station. Would book again, just not this particular suite, unless the price were right. This cabin was booked as an upgrade from an OV, but I would avoid this location unless you are a deep sleeper. We did not use all the other perks you get with young kids, they must be under 12 to use the free kids' meals and one free night owls babysitting. Our boys do not use Camp Carnival much anymore, but found friends to hang out with in the lounge, use the PlayStation, etc. I have one child that hates to wear shoes, so the family lounge area away from the food was nice where he could hang out barefoot without me sending him back to the cabin to get shoes;)
Deck 2 Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • FlowRider
    3rd or 4th time for the kids; love the guidance they give to the children. Boys really enjoy this every time and it's right by the ship so no travel time really. Can move to swimming by the ship or walking down the beach immediately after.
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  • Miami
    Big, busy city. Went straight to the ship. Nice skyline:)
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  • San Juan
    Great way to see the area, but our particular trolley driver said nothing- have heard other drivers may engage the group for tips. Caught at stop number 1 and rode the circle around, takes less than an hour until it returns where it started. Can get off anywhere at multiple locations to tour, goes all the way to the front entrance of El Morro opposite the cruise ship dock.
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  • Catamaran Tour
    We went to Nevis and enjoyed the day, but the snorkeling was not so great, lunch was just ok for the price we paid, and being left on the beach at Nevis for an hour and being told to use the beach bar bathrooms was not anticipated. Crew was fun, not pushy. A variety of music was played, so enjoyable. Typical party cat ride back to ship- would not recommend with children. Free flowing drinks. Would not do again; not value priced.
    View All 113 Catamaran Tour Reviews
  • St. Maarten
    Love St. Maarten because you can take the water taxi over to the beach for $7 all day. The water was much clearer than last time we were there and I swam out to the ropes within the swimming area with one of our boys. Water temps in January can be cool, but the sun was hot this day and we enjoyed lounging and meeting some fellow travelers for a couple hours. Hard-selling vendors on beach were a distraction; they circle you repeatedly, and a few would not take no for an answer until you were rude and ignored them. Did purchase a few small items as this was our last stop and hadn't done much souvenir shopping; better shopping in the stores in town behind the beach. Found some nice hand towels in Mr. Tablecloth.
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