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This was the third cruise for my wife and I and third on Carnival. In 2011 sailed on Glory (no kids); 2014 on Ecstasy (with 2 year old). This Vista trip we had a 2 yr old and 5 yr old, as well, my parents who stayed on 9th deck. I followed the building of this ship since early 2015. In Jan 2016 put the money down and booked the vacation. Was a long wait and an incredible build-up of anticipation. I watched the videos of the building of the ship and of course all the promo videos from Carnival. Couldn't wait. In the last couple of weeks prior to leaving for Miami, I unfortunately came here and started reading the reviews. That burst my bubble. How could it not? The reviews were so negative; so much complaining. I wasn't sure what to expect. I found myself looking for any positives to lean on. It certainly changed my mindset going in. Now, I typically read reviews for anywhere I go; I also make sure to write reviews. I know from past experience that most people who complain like to review. Those who have praise, will often not. Also, tens of thousands have been on the ship and most have not written reviews. Still, 59% liked it? Really? Is that all??? We arrived in Miami from Canada 3 days before sailing. Stayed on South Beach using Airbnb. We've done this before and its a great way to start the trip. Took Uber to the cruise ship terminal. Embarkation I had purchased FTTF way back and so our check in time was 11-11:30am. My parents did not have FTTF and had a time of 12:30pm, I believe. Arriving at the terminal around 11:15am, and it looked like a real mess. Lineups everywhere outside. We quickly learned of the priority line and got right inside. We were soon upstairs in the crowded hallway as we waited to board. All in all, were on board by 11:45am. Not bad, but seemed a bit disorganized. Had no issues with getting boarding passes at the room. The Ship Yes, the loss of the glass elevators does take away from the awe in boarding. The funnels are nice, but its a different feel. Its also a different ship, so if I want the elevators, I know where to find that. The ship looks great. Its brand new! Stairwells are nicely decorated. Our cabin was on Lido deck, cabin 10208. Forward, port side, balcony. My parents stayed on Deck 9, interior cabin, not too far away. No issues with the cabin. My kids loved their beds. Balcony was very nice, although we realized that we didn't use it as much as we'd intended. Being on lido is very nice as its a short walk to outside and to food. Is it necessary? No. We were all over that ship. all the time. Cruising with kids is certainly not like cruising without. (We often wished we left them behind!) Its more work and you do less, but that's what you expect. Our evenings ended early, but our days were full. Having grandma and grandpa along helped with the work though and my wife and I did get away on our own on occasion. We used Camp Ocean a few times. The kids weren't crazy about it, but its not the fault of any of the stuff or the facility itself. My son at 5 would have preferred to be with the older kids instead of the 2-5 year olds. However, it was nice for our youngest who got to have her brother close by. She was the one who had more difficulty in staying at Camp. We made more use of the Dr. Seuss Bookville. That's awesome. Its basically a library f all things Dr. Seuss, and the books are in brand new condition. AND you can sign them out. I'm sure my son signed out a dozen or more books over the cruise and would read them at the cabin. We also did some of the family events in Camp Ocean. Never used the meal service or evening service. We probably most enjoyed Waterworks. My son was just tall enough to do the Twister slide, which is by far the highlight. He was sad to not get on the Kaleidoscope, which was fun, but not like the Twister. We did the water park 3 different days. My wife and I both did Skyride at different times. Probably about a 40 min wait when I did it. I did SkyCourse and there was no wait. Both worth doing. Deck 12 sportssquare and clubhouse were fun for all of us. Loved playing pool outdoors with my dad late one evening. I used the running track a couple of mornings. Its always being used and most people respect the unwritten rules (direction and walking to one side). I love running on every ship I go on! We used the beach pool, but not much. Never used any other pools or hot tubs. I agree that hot tubs are lacking and hard to find. I missed having hot tubs in the main beach area for dive-in movies. I really liked the new beach deck area with the 3 levels of seating. Seemed to be a lot of seating area and you could always see what was going on down on lido. More often than not, the music was too loud in this area though. Deck 5 is a popular area with the Fun Shops, some restaurants, Pixels, Red Frog, coffee, and plaza. Really liked Pixels new digital setup. Coffee shop was always lined up kinda into other areas. Had it a couple of times and really great stuff. The plaza area had a lot of activity. Kinda odd that its all indoor. Its not a huge area so I imagine it got very crowded at times. Loved the outdoor decks with seating. Always seemed to be a quiet spot to get away and sit if you want. We did Thrill Theatre and IMAX. Thrill Theatre plays short 4D features. Small theatre, about 24 seats. Lots of fun though! The IMAX is huge. Probably 200 seats. Its a full size IMAX. We saw a 3D documentary. Neither theatre was very busy. Easy to get seats for sure. Food Food was very good for the most part. First day we had Pig & Anchor. Really good, but in a bad spot to really make use of the rest of the week. We loved Guy's Burgers on Lido. Probably our #1 favourite spot all week. Wish I'd gone more! And never too busy (and lines were quick). Had Blue Iguana twice for breakfast and once for lunch - fantastic. Hard to beat one of those burritos. Did the pasta thing for lunch one day. Kinda different because you order off a menu in the Italian restaurant. It was really good though. We didn't do the Italian in the evening however. Seafood Shack was nothing special, in my opinion. I did the platter for $10. Wish I'd done something different. Lido buffet was decent, but not as good as past cruises. I didn't eat from it as much as in the past because there's so many other better options. The desserts were pretty good and really liked the addition of fresh churned ice cream every lunch. Note that there are two different buffets among the 4 buffet lines. Keep an eye out because there is a difference, and some of it is very good. The dessert line is always busy. The deli is placed within the Lido buffet. Its a busy spot, but great food as always. Here's a tip - the deli is where you can get a hot dog. MDR - we had the 6pm seating. Food was excellent. I would not complain about it at all. And the service was certainly as wonderful as in the past. Even with the kids, it wasn't a horrible wait or anything like that. I think we ate 5 of 8 nights at MDR. Chocolate melting cakes were awesome again. Pizza - best I've had in 3 cruises. Not sure if they changed the dough or what, but it tasted really good. Not a bad wait and I found they will make you whatever you ask for if you're willing to wait 5 mins. Ji Ji Asian - managed to get a reservation later in the week. Really good and a nice change from everything else. Steakhouse - couldn't get a reservation. There were a couple of last minute slots, but we'd already made plans. My advice is to book before boarding. Cat in the Hat breakfast - Lots of fun and lots of food. Would recommend for families. Room Service - we used almost every morning so the kids could wake up to a bowl or cereal and the wife and I could have coffee before we all headed to lido breakfast. No issues whatsoever. I could complain they were sometimes too early, but they always had it right. The design of the Marketplace with the tables and seating is so nice. Its a nice update to the older cafeteria look on the other ships. No issue getting a table. My kids loved the ice cream and pop corn available on lido. Service Yes, a few differences were noticed. Boarding the ship at embarkation we were not met with a high level of enthusiasm as one might expect. Its not that people were unhappy, but it wasn't over the top. You literally walk into the Deck 3 lounge like you always do, and its fairly quiet. Also noticed a lack of servers in general while on the pool decks. Had a server bring drinks by during the sail away party, which was nice because we wanted drinks. However, on past cruises, there was a lot more bar service than here. If I wanted something, I pretty much always went to the bar myself. Cabin stewards were top notch as always. No issues. MDR staff superb too. Camp Ocean staff were excellent to deal with and ask questions. Theatre staff very enthusiastic too. Matt the Cruise Director is the finest of his kind. This guy had a knack for being everywhere. What a great person and a genuine master at what he does. He would talk to you if you saw him like he actually cared about you. The guy is a true talent and entertainer. Wish I'd seen more of him and only hope the best success to him in his career. They are always cleaning the ship. Heck, they were painting it while we were docked in Aruba. And on disembarkation day, they were sanding down hand rails for re-finishing! Rooms and halls were always clean. My wife and I used the spa. I "won" a $50 credit. Sure, I got $50 off my service, but I paid man, I paid. The service is basically an opportunity to pitch products to you. I didn't know this in advance. The service was wonderful, but you pay :) Entertainment and Activities I think I covered a lot already. We tried to do most everything we could on board. I wish the bowling was no charge. Its a bit silly for $3. We paid for it, and my son loved it. There are a lot of things yet on board that we never got to. Limelight Lounge - went to the comedians on four occasions. The lounge is a lot bigger than it looks. Its strange because they have you line up all the way down the hall and into the casino. You just expect you'll never get in, but we always found a seat. Liquid Lounge - was in a couple of times, but never for a show. Only saw the Cat in the Hat story time. Lounge is not very impressive in comparison to what I recall of the Glory. It seems small and seating is all kinda funny in that its not sloped or tiered like you would expect from a theatre. There seemed to be a real lack of tables too. Can't comment on the evening shows, but it was always packed whenever I went by. Lots of people standing. Redfrog Pub - I almost forgot this. The beer at the pub is excellent. Wish I drank more of it. My dad and I did the tour late in the week. You sample a lot of beer, but the tour is so-so. Its a long tour (1.5hr) which is mostly sitting and listening while you drink beer. Its not inexpensive at $24.95. The pub wasn't very busy any time I was in there. I assumed it would always be busy, but it wasn't. Never tried the pub menu, but looked great and only $3.33 per order. Loved the beer, but those pour spouts I could never get a good pour so I left that to the bartender! I missed the old days where you got cheap shirts every night after your port stop. They've changed to just the shirt sale at the end of the week and the selection is poorer than in the past. I still bought shirts though. Unfortunately, nearly all of us got sick during the latter half of the cruise. I think something was going around on this particular cruise. Was a terrible head and chest cold. It put a damper on our activities by the end, for sure. I did like the hand washing stations and hand sanitizer all over the ship. Port stops: Grand Turk - did the beach right off the dock. Beautiful. La Romana - had nothing planned and only went off for an hour. Spent the day on the ship. Curacao - did the Ostrich Farm excursion. We loved it. Aruba - no plans. Took a cab to Eagle Beach. Loved it. We used the Hub App for everything including the chat. Worked most of the time and was a nice thing to have. My wife bought the internet package for herself. Disembarkation No issues. Our bags actually had priority getting off and we didn't want to be off at 7am. We let the bags go and walked off when our deck was called around 9:30am. Our bags were on the carousal and we went direct to the immigration desk. Took an UberXL to the hotel by the airport. Overall A cruise is what you make it to be. We had highs and lows, and none of the lows was the fault of the ship. Its a big ship with more to do and eat than you can get to during the week. I'd love to have another crack at it now that I am familiar with the highlights! It hurt that some of us fell ill. Also, cruising with young kids is always a challenge. With 4000 passengers and 1400 crew, there's still a lot of quiet spots on the ship. It wasn't overly crowded anywhere at any one time. It was on par with past ships. Again, its a beautiful ship. I hope you enjoy it!

Great Cruise for Family. Bad reviews not all deserved. She's a great ship!

Carnival Vista Cruise Review by Jeph_in_SK

25 people found this helpful
Trip Details
This was the third cruise for my wife and I and third on Carnival. In 2011 sailed on Glory (no kids); 2014 on Ecstasy (with 2 year old). This Vista trip we had a 2 yr old and 5 yr old, as well, my parents who stayed on 9th deck.

I followed the building of this ship since early 2015. In Jan 2016 put the money down and booked the vacation. Was a long wait and an incredible build-up of anticipation. I watched the videos of the building of the ship and of course all the promo videos from Carnival. Couldn't wait.

In the last couple of weeks prior to leaving for Miami, I unfortunately came here and started reading the reviews. That burst my bubble. How could it not? The reviews were so negative; so much complaining. I wasn't sure what to expect. I found myself looking for any positives to lean on. It certainly changed my mindset going in. Now, I typically read reviews for anywhere I go; I also make sure to write reviews. I know from past experience that most people who complain like to review. Those who have praise, will often not. Also, tens of thousands have been on the ship and most have not written reviews. Still, 59% liked it? Really? Is that all???

We arrived in Miami from Canada 3 days before sailing. Stayed on South Beach using Airbnb. We've done this before and its a great way to start the trip. Took Uber to the cruise ship terminal.

Embarkation

I had purchased FTTF way back and so our check in time was 11-11:30am. My parents did not have FTTF and had a time of 12:30pm, I believe. Arriving at the terminal around 11:15am, and it looked like a real mess. Lineups everywhere outside. We quickly learned of the priority line and got right inside. We were soon upstairs in the crowded hallway as we waited to board. All in all, were on board by 11:45am. Not bad, but seemed a bit disorganized. Had no issues with getting boarding passes at the room.

The Ship

Yes, the loss of the glass elevators does take away from the awe in boarding. The funnels are nice, but its a different feel. Its also a different ship, so if I want the elevators, I know where to find that.

The ship looks great. Its brand new! Stairwells are nicely decorated.

Our cabin was on Lido deck, cabin 10208. Forward, port side, balcony. My parents stayed on Deck 9, interior cabin, not too far away. No issues with the cabin. My kids loved their beds. Balcony was very nice, although we realized that we didn't use it as much as we'd intended.

Being on lido is very nice as its a short walk to outside and to food. Is it necessary? No. We were all over that ship. all the time.

Cruising with kids is certainly not like cruising without. (We often wished we left them behind!) Its more work and you do less, but that's what you expect. Our evenings ended early, but our days were full. Having grandma and grandpa along helped with the work though and my wife and I did get away on our own on occasion.

We used Camp Ocean a few times. The kids weren't crazy about it, but its not the fault of any of the stuff or the facility itself. My son at 5 would have preferred to be with the older kids instead of the 2-5 year olds. However, it was nice for our youngest who got to have her brother close by. She was the one who had more difficulty in staying at Camp. We made more use of the Dr. Seuss Bookville. That's awesome. Its basically a library f all things Dr. Seuss, and the books are in brand new condition. AND you can sign them out. I'm sure my son signed out a dozen or more books over the cruise and would read them at the cabin. We also did some of the family events in Camp Ocean. Never used the meal service or evening service.

We probably most enjoyed Waterworks. My son was just tall enough to do the Twister slide, which is by far the highlight. He was sad to not get on the Kaleidoscope, which was fun, but not like the Twister. We did the water park 3 different days.

My wife and I both did Skyride at different times. Probably about a 40 min wait when I did it. I did SkyCourse and there was no wait. Both worth doing.

Deck 12 sportssquare and clubhouse were fun for all of us. Loved playing pool outdoors with my dad late one evening.

I used the running track a couple of mornings. Its always being used and most people respect the unwritten rules (direction and walking to one side). I love running on every ship I go on!

We used the beach pool, but not much. Never used any other pools or hot tubs. I agree that hot tubs are lacking and hard to find. I missed having hot tubs in the main beach area for dive-in movies.

I really liked the new beach deck area with the 3 levels of seating. Seemed to be a lot of seating area and you could always see what was going on down on lido. More often than not, the music was too loud in this area though.

Deck 5 is a popular area with the Fun Shops, some restaurants, Pixels, Red Frog, coffee, and plaza. Really liked Pixels new digital setup. Coffee shop was always lined up kinda into other areas. Had it a couple of times and really great stuff. The plaza area had a lot of activity. Kinda odd that its all indoor. Its not a huge area so I imagine it got very crowded at times. Loved the outdoor decks with seating. Always seemed to be a quiet spot to get away and sit if you want.

We did Thrill Theatre and IMAX. Thrill Theatre plays short 4D features. Small theatre, about 24 seats. Lots of fun though! The IMAX is huge. Probably 200 seats. Its a full size IMAX. We saw a 3D documentary. Neither theatre was very busy. Easy to get seats for sure.

Food

Food was very good for the most part.

First day we had Pig & Anchor. Really good, but in a bad spot to really make use of the rest of the week.

We loved Guy's Burgers on Lido. Probably our #1 favourite spot all week. Wish I'd gone more! And never too busy (and lines were quick).

Had Blue Iguana twice for breakfast and once for lunch - fantastic. Hard to beat one of those burritos.

Did the pasta thing for lunch one day. Kinda different because you order off a menu in the Italian restaurant. It was really good though. We didn't do the Italian in the evening however.

Seafood Shack was nothing special, in my opinion. I did the platter for $10. Wish I'd done something different.

Lido buffet was decent, but not as good as past cruises. I didn't eat from it as much as in the past because there's so many other better options. The desserts were pretty good and really liked the addition of fresh churned ice cream every lunch. Note that there are two different buffets among the 4 buffet lines. Keep an eye out because there is a difference, and some of it is very good. The dessert line is always busy.

The deli is placed within the Lido buffet. Its a busy spot, but great food as always. Here's a tip - the deli is where you can get a hot dog.

MDR - we had the 6pm seating. Food was excellent. I would not complain about it at all. And the service was certainly as wonderful as in the past. Even with the kids, it wasn't a horrible wait or anything like that. I think we ate 5 of 8 nights at MDR. Chocolate melting cakes were awesome again.

Pizza - best I've had in 3 cruises. Not sure if they changed the dough or what, but it tasted really good. Not a bad wait and I found they will make you whatever you ask for if you're willing to wait 5 mins.

Ji Ji Asian - managed to get a reservation later in the week. Really good and a nice change from everything else.

Steakhouse - couldn't get a reservation. There were a couple of last minute slots, but we'd already made plans. My advice is to book before boarding.

Cat in the Hat breakfast - Lots of fun and lots of food. Would recommend for families.

Room Service - we used almost every morning so the kids could wake up to a bowl or cereal and the wife and I could have coffee before we all headed to lido breakfast. No issues whatsoever. I could complain they were sometimes too early, but they always had it right.

The design of the Marketplace with the tables and seating is so nice. Its a nice update to the older cafeteria look on the other ships. No issue getting a table.

My kids loved the ice cream and pop corn available on lido.

Service

Yes, a few differences were noticed. Boarding the ship at embarkation we were not met with a high level of enthusiasm as one might expect. Its not that people were unhappy, but it wasn't over the top. You literally walk into the Deck 3 lounge like you always do, and its fairly quiet. Also noticed a lack of servers in general while on the pool decks. Had a server bring drinks by during the sail away party, which was nice because we wanted drinks. However, on past cruises, there was a lot more bar service than here. If I wanted something, I pretty much always went to the bar myself.

Cabin stewards were top notch as always. No issues.

MDR staff superb too.

Camp Ocean staff were excellent to deal with and ask questions.

Theatre staff very enthusiastic too.

Matt the Cruise Director is the finest of his kind. This guy had a knack for being everywhere. What a great person and a genuine master at what he does. He would talk to you if you saw him like he actually cared about you. The guy is a true talent and entertainer. Wish I'd seen more of him and only hope the best success to him in his career.

They are always cleaning the ship. Heck, they were painting it while we were docked in Aruba. And on disembarkation day, they were sanding down hand rails for re-finishing! Rooms and halls were always clean.

My wife and I used the spa. I "won" a $50 credit. Sure, I got $50 off my service, but I paid man, I paid. The service is basically an opportunity to pitch products to you. I didn't know this in advance. The service was wonderful, but you pay :)

Entertainment and Activities

I think I covered a lot already. We tried to do most everything we could on board. I wish the bowling was no charge. Its a bit silly for $3. We paid for it, and my son loved it. There are a lot of things yet on board that we never got to.

Limelight Lounge - went to the comedians on four occasions. The lounge is a lot bigger than it looks. Its strange because they have you line up all the way down the hall and into the casino. You just expect you'll never get in, but we always found a seat.

Liquid Lounge - was in a couple of times, but never for a show. Only saw the Cat in the Hat story time. Lounge is not very impressive in comparison to what I recall of the Glory. It seems small and seating is all kinda funny in that its not sloped or tiered like you would expect from a theatre. There seemed to be a real lack of tables too. Can't comment on the evening shows, but it was always packed whenever I went by. Lots of people standing.

Redfrog Pub - I almost forgot this. The beer at the pub is excellent. Wish I drank more of it. My dad and I did the tour late in the week. You sample a lot of beer, but the tour is so-so. Its a long tour (1.5hr) which is mostly sitting and listening while you drink beer. Its not inexpensive at $24.95. The pub wasn't very busy any time I was in there. I assumed it would always be busy, but it wasn't. Never tried the pub menu, but looked great and only $3.33 per order. Loved the beer, but those pour spouts I could never get a good pour so I left that to the bartender!

I missed the old days where you got cheap shirts every night after your port stop. They've changed to just the shirt sale at the end of the week and the selection is poorer than in the past. I still bought shirts though.

Unfortunately, nearly all of us got sick during the latter half of the cruise. I think something was going around on this particular cruise. Was a terrible head and chest cold. It put a damper on our activities by the end, for sure. I did like the hand washing stations and hand sanitizer all over the ship.

Port stops:

Grand Turk - did the beach right off the dock. Beautiful.

La Romana - had nothing planned and only went off for an hour. Spent the day on the ship.

Curacao - did the Ostrich Farm excursion. We loved it.

Aruba - no plans. Took a cab to Eagle Beach. Loved it.

We used the Hub App for everything including the chat. Worked most of the time and was a nice thing to have. My wife bought the internet package for herself.

Disembarkation

No issues. Our bags actually had priority getting off and we didn't want to be off at 7am. We let the bags go and walked off when our deck was called around 9:30am. Our bags were on the carousal and we went direct to the immigration desk. Took an UberXL to the hotel by the airport.

Overall

A cruise is what you make it to be. We had highs and lows, and none of the lows was the fault of the ship. Its a big ship with more to do and eat than you can get to during the week. I'd love to have another crack at it now that I am familiar with the highlights! It hurt that some of us fell ill. Also, cruising with young kids is always a challenge. With 4000 passengers and 1400 crew, there's still a lot of quiet spots on the ship. It wasn't overly crowded anywhere at any one time. It was on par with past ships. Again, its a beautiful ship. I hope you enjoy it!
Jeph_in_SK’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
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Ages 3 to 6
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin 8E 10208
Standard balcony cabin. 1 king bed. 1 pull down bunk. 1 sofa bed. Still had plenty of storage space, especially since suitcases can all fit under the bed. Kids loved the room. Balcony was very nice although we did not make full use of it as intended.
Located at far forward end of port side, Lido deck. Very quiet aside from the occasional door slam to the public deck next door. Very little traffic at that end of the hall. Nice being on Lido and certainly not too far of a walk. Used the stairs for the majority of the week.
Lido Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews