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We chose this cruise for the itinerary and the seemingly amazing ship amenities for families. We had 9 in our family group - grandparents, children, grand children - 14, 11, 7. The children and teen directors were horrible. They made no effort to engage the kids, simply shoved a list of "activities" to the parents and that's it. The teens tried to participate in a couple of activities, but they were pretty much left to their own entertainment with little staff engagement.The youngest - who has had extensive experience in day care/school settings had no interest in participating after meeting the director. So disappointing to their parents since they recalled fondly their cruise experiences as kids and teens on NCL cruise ships with much less to offer in the way of ship "bells and whistles". Moving on - We've sailed 6 NCL, 1 RCL, 1 Avalon River cruise and are booked on 3 Celebrity cruises. This was the worst experience ever. Boarding was a chaotic nightmare. Cattle call. Once aboard we headed to get something to eat - not happening - those that had boarded ahead of us (we had a 12-12:30 board time) had had their lunch, but because they couldn't access their room they were perched in every seat available in the eating venue. The venue isn't designed to hold a full ship of people at one time. We finally were able to get to some food at 2:30 after the rooms opened up at 1:30. The Carnival layout for buffet service is not easy to navigate. You spend a lot of time weaving in and out to see what is available. Not a fan. We used Horizons for breakfast most days just to skip the buffet hassle. Our balcony room 8331 was clean and had plenty of space for 2. One daughter shared the same size room with their 2 children - snug, and the other daughter had an inside cabin on 9th deck that was smaller and had a lot less storage space for the 3 of them. Our room steward was attentive and introduced himself and greeted us when he saw us in the hall. We had the 6pm dining option since with 9 in our group w kids we didn't want to chance trying to sit together in the any time dining. The food was acceptable, not special. The service was soooo not consistent. It seemed that our waiter had way too many tables to manage during the sitting. He had 3 tables with groups of 8-9 and 3 tables with groups of 4. That's a lot of people to serve, and it affected service greatly. We often got random delivery of the courses - some of us would get our appetizer and then 10 minutes later the rest would get theirs and so the night would go and it got progressively worse as the cruise went on. We ate in the Steakhouse and enjoyed it a lot! Well - the adults - the kid menu wasn't great. We loved the Burger place at lunch and the taco/burrito place and the pizza was good, too. The buffet food was decent - actually better than some cruises. The casino STUNK. It wasn't just smoke - it was some funky smell. Couldn't stay in there long, but you often had to go through there just to get to some place else. Navigating on the ship is the worst we have ever experienced. The elevators are not only slow/ not working - they are HOT. OMG if one got stuck you would have a heat stroke fairly quickly. The stairs are very narrow and IMO there are not enough for the number of passengers to safely exit the ship in a disaster. Also I would not consider this ship to be handicap friendly. The spaces are just too tight. The entertainment is not family friendly. They did have 2 PG comedy shows, that were so "out of touch" in their content. We saw 2 of the 18+ shows. Meh. The main shows had many inappropriate comments - not cursing, just suggestive and in some cases offensive. But the biggest issue was the venue itself. No tiered seating - big poles in the site lines, and movable chairs that had HIGH Backs that you literally could not see over. I guess that's because the entertainers aren't just B grade, many were less talented than those in high-school programs. All of the main venue areas on the Carnival Vista are low ceiling, small spaces - Amazing given the size of the ship. Felt like their main purpose is to pack em in so the space is allotted to more rooms! We did enjoy the Bingo caller - just hated the Bingo set-up which would be held in different spaces all over the ship and meant you held the sheet in your lap. We enjoyed the Hasbro game shows. The trivia game show host was rude and argumentative and basically not a happy camper. We enjoyed the dive-in movies. We sampled the sky-ride and the ropes course. The slides were fun, too. The cruise director, Matt, was very entertaining and respectful and actually was the highlight of the cruise. Getting off the ship on port days is CRAZY. Every other cruise we've sailed would stagger this process. Nope - it was line up, cram up and hope you get to the excursion point in time. Seems the vendors know this, so while your party may have made sure they were on time, other folks going didn't bother - so you wait and wait for them to get there. We waited 30 min in La Romana and 40 in Grand Turk. Other cruise lines get the excursion folks off first. It seems to work better. Unfortunately, the weather caused a change in itinerary - no Aruba and Curacao. And unfortunately, even though we immediately went to the app to get a substitute excursion for the new ports, they were snapped up before we could push the buy button for St. Marten. St Marten doesn't get a lot of ships in July - it's hot, hot, hot. Speaking of the app - you need it. The excursion desk is minimally manned as is the cruise desk and you will wait and wait and wait if you want any info on excursions. The app has the daily schedule and places serving food/ drinks - helpful. The chat feature is nice - when it works. Ports - La Romana - we did the Monkeyland excursion and some did the zip-line - enjoyed! Grand Turk, did the Gibbs Reef and Snorkel - another fun excursion. In San Juan, we did a beach/resort day that was good and in St Marten we walked the town and rode the ferry and then headed back to ship. Really bummed about missing Aruba and Curacao. All in all we were hugely disappointed by this cruise line and this NEW ship. It fit what we have always heard about Carnival - party boat - including fights (yes fights) at 2 am in the hall our first night aboard and folks yelling/talking loudly at each other at all hours. They are priced similar to NCL and RCL and we won't be sailing with them again.

Huge Dissapointment

Carnival Vista Cruise Review by Snap-k23

12 people found this helpful
Trip Details
We chose this cruise for the itinerary and the seemingly amazing ship amenities for families. We had 9 in our family group - grandparents, children, grand children - 14, 11, 7. The children and teen directors were horrible. They made no effort to engage the kids, simply shoved a list of "activities" to the parents and that's it. The teens tried to participate in a couple of activities, but they were pretty much left to their own entertainment with little staff engagement.The youngest - who has had extensive experience in day care/school settings had no interest in participating after meeting the director. So disappointing to their parents since they recalled fondly their cruise experiences as kids and teens on NCL cruise ships with much less to offer in the way of ship "bells and whistles". Moving on - We've sailed 6 NCL, 1 RCL, 1 Avalon River cruise and are booked on 3 Celebrity cruises. This was the worst experience ever. Boarding was a chaotic nightmare. Cattle call.

Once aboard we headed to get something to eat - not happening - those that had boarded ahead of us (we had a 12-12:30 board time) had had their lunch, but because they couldn't access their room they were perched in every seat available in the eating venue. The venue isn't designed to hold a full ship of people at one time. We finally were able to get to some food at 2:30 after the rooms opened up at 1:30. The Carnival layout for buffet service is not easy to navigate. You spend a lot of time weaving in and out to see what is available. Not a fan. We used Horizons for breakfast most days just to skip the buffet hassle.

Our balcony room 8331 was clean and had plenty of space for 2. One daughter shared the same size room with their 2 children - snug, and the other daughter had an inside cabin on 9th deck that was smaller and had a lot less storage space for the 3 of them. Our room steward was attentive and introduced himself and greeted us when he saw us in the hall.

We had the 6pm dining option since with 9 in our group w kids we didn't want to chance trying to sit together in the any time dining. The food was acceptable, not special. The service was soooo not consistent. It seemed that our waiter had way too many tables to manage during the sitting. He had 3 tables with groups of 8-9 and 3 tables with groups of 4. That's a lot of people to serve, and it affected service greatly. We often got random delivery of the courses - some of us would get our appetizer and then 10 minutes later the rest would get theirs and so the night would go and it got progressively worse as the cruise went on. We ate in the Steakhouse and enjoyed it a lot! Well - the adults - the kid menu wasn't great. We loved the Burger place at lunch and the taco/burrito place and the pizza was good, too. The buffet food was decent - actually better than some cruises.

The casino STUNK. It wasn't just smoke - it was some funky smell. Couldn't stay in there long, but you often had to go through there just to get to some place else. Navigating on the ship is the worst we have ever experienced. The elevators are not only slow/ not working - they are HOT. OMG if one got stuck you would have a heat stroke fairly quickly. The stairs are very narrow and IMO there are not enough for the number of passengers to safely exit the ship in a disaster. Also I would not consider this ship to be handicap friendly. The spaces are just too tight.

The entertainment is not family friendly. They did have 2 PG comedy shows, that were so "out of touch" in their content. We saw 2 of the 18+ shows. Meh. The main shows had many inappropriate comments - not cursing, just suggestive and in some cases offensive. But the biggest issue was the venue itself. No tiered seating - big poles in the site lines, and movable chairs that had HIGH Backs that you literally could not see over. I guess that's because the entertainers aren't just B grade, many were less talented than those in high-school programs. All of the main venue areas on the Carnival Vista are low ceiling, small spaces - Amazing given the size of the ship. Felt like their main purpose is to pack em in so the space is allotted to more rooms! We did enjoy the Bingo caller - just hated the Bingo set-up which would be held in different spaces all over the ship and meant you held the sheet in your lap. We enjoyed the Hasbro game shows. The trivia game show host was rude and argumentative and basically not a happy camper. We enjoyed the dive-in movies. We sampled the sky-ride and the ropes course. The slides were fun, too. The cruise director, Matt, was very entertaining and respectful and actually was the highlight of the cruise.

Getting off the ship on port days is CRAZY. Every other cruise we've sailed would stagger this process. Nope - it was line up, cram up and hope you get to the excursion point in time. Seems the vendors know this, so while your party may have made sure they were on time, other folks going didn't bother - so you wait and wait for them to get there. We waited 30 min in La Romana and 40 in Grand Turk. Other cruise lines get the excursion folks off first. It seems to work better. Unfortunately, the weather caused a change in itinerary - no Aruba and Curacao. And unfortunately, even though we immediately went to the app to get a substitute excursion for the new ports, they were snapped up before we could push the buy button for St. Marten. St Marten doesn't get a lot of ships in July - it's hot, hot, hot. Speaking of the app - you need it. The excursion desk is minimally manned as is the cruise desk and you will wait and wait and wait if you want any info on excursions. The app has the daily schedule and places serving food/ drinks - helpful. The chat feature is nice - when it works.

Ports - La Romana - we did the Monkeyland excursion and some did the zip-line - enjoyed! Grand Turk, did the Gibbs Reef and Snorkel - another fun excursion. In San Juan, we did a beach/resort day that was good and in St Marten we walked the town and rode the ferry and then headed back to ship. Really bummed about missing Aruba and Curacao.

All in all we were hugely disappointed by this cruise line and this NEW ship. It fit what we have always heard about Carnival - party boat - including fights (yes fights) at 2 am in the hall our first night aboard and folks yelling/talking loudly at each other at all hours. They are priced similar to NCL and RCL and we won't be sailing with them again.
Snap-k23’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Ages 7 to 9
Ages 10 to 12
Ages 13 to 15
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin 8D 8331
Nice room, adequate storage for two people - comparable bathroom to other cruise lines - NCL, RCL. Small balcony - adequate site lines.
Deck 9 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews