This was our 6th cruise on Carnival and our 5th ship. We are from Arizona and we love cruising. Closest ports to us are California and Galveston. We enjoy sailing out of Galveston because of the ships and the various port choices. California is more limited in both areas.
I ready many negative reviews about the Vista so was a little nervous but the bottom line for us, we love to cruise, have fun, eat and be on the water, the Vista did not disappoint in those areas.
Highlights of the Vista and our cruise:
1) Food choices were amazing-Our party of 7 ate at the steakhouse the first night, incredible! House wine was free the first night of cruise in the steakhouse. The remaining nights we ate in the MDR. We thought everything was delicious and our waitstaff was awesome and would always provide recommendations and encourage us to try more than one meal. We had YTD. Other than the first elegant night, we never had a wait. The first elegant night we had a party of 11 and we went at prime time so we did have a wait, probably 45 minutes. The wait staff struggled with our group that first elegant night and made a lot of mistakes such as mixing up our orders, forgetting to refill our water, not providing bread and butter, but the meals were still delicious. We didn't complain but they recognized their errors anyway and apologized profusely and made up for it the remainder of the cruise.
We tried to eat at the various other locations throughout the cruise but we couldn't get them all in. Everything was great! The only issue we experienced for lines when it came to food was the pizza, there was always a long line and it seemed to move slow. But so many other choices, it didn't really matter.
2) Room and the room stewards-we had a cove balcony, this is our favorite type of room and as always did not disappoint. Our stewards did an amazing job, we selected service twice daily and they were like ninja's. We never saw them but our room was always clean.
3) Bar choices-we always love Red Frog Pub, there were so many choices and each bar seemed to have their own special drinks. Some bartenders were more attentive than others but we figured out which one's were better and tipped accordingly. We did have the Cheers package which in our opinion makes the cruise so much better. No worry about the bill at the end, even if you don't drink that much I think it's worth it with the non-alcohol drinks included. If we didn't have that package I would be thinking about the bill every time I ordered a drink and probably hold back on ordering. Unfortunately, when cruising out of Galveston Cheers is not available until the 2nd day, that is always disappointing to us since that first day we seem to drink the most. :)
4) Deck chairs for laying in the sun-never had trouble finding a place to get sun or even shade. Plenty of places to find a spot, even quiet hidden away spots. My favorite was deck 5, outside of pixels, the bar-b-q place and the sushi place. Always quiet spaces to sit and enjoy the water.
5) Embarking and debarking-easy peasy, love the new systems since the last time we cruised. Our check in time was between 12:30 and 1:00, walked right on, no waiting at any station. Loved this! Our luggage arrived to our room very quickly. When debarking, we were at the Houston airport by 11am, no issues whatsoever. We had the shuttle provided by Carnival to the airport which was very comfortable and quick.
6) Hurricane Michael- not sure if this is a highlight but it was an adventure and the Carnival staff handled it perfectly by keeping us safe, calm and informed. The first 24 hours were a little crazy with the hurricane but thanks to the Carnival staff we was never afraid for our safety. You couldn't even walk down the hallways without a struggle. At 2am the first night they closed off our cove balcony with the steal door but opened it again the next day as soon as they could.
Some low lights of our cruise:
1) Main lobby and entrance-We did miss the grand entrance and the lobby where you could always see up through the middle of the ship and the glass elevators. I read a lot of reviews about that and thought I wouldn't care, but I did miss it. It just wasn't the same. My husband never reads reviews and I don't share with him because I like to get his unbiased perspective and that was one of the first things he noticed. Bartenders were also the worst in the main lobby for some reason.
2) Elevators in general-we just planned on taking the stairs but if that is hard for you, plan on waiting a long time. Not sure if the staggered system works or not but I'm going to say it's not working based on the length of time we were always waiting. They have "express" elevators that only go to certain floors so you have to pay attention. The elevators are almost always full of people and they stop at every floor. A lot of time an elevator comes and you can't get on because it's too full. We didn't let it get to us, but a lot of people did!
3) Condition of ship-The Vista is a beautiful ship by all means, but we were surprised to see how worn the furniture around the ship already was with it being so new. The railings and furniture were very worn in many places. Also the seats in the piano bar and the comedy club were weird and uncomfortable. Hard to explain other than weird. lol
4) Live entertainment-This just pertains to one show in particular that we attended, we don't attend many of the live shows in the theater but we went to one and it was horrible! So horrible it was funny, we went in a group and one by one we all had to leave. The show was a rock and roll themed show. The pre-show was fun, they were doing chalk tattoos, some comedy and good music playing but the real show was bad!
5) Spa-we bought the couples spa pass for the week and were very disappointed in the spa on the Vista. Nothing compared to the spa on the Magic or Breeze. Again, no awe factor and it was always crowded.
Some areas that I'm just not sure about:
1) The YTD check in process-It's strange to me and I'm not sure it's working but by the end we got used to it. It's weird and a little inconvenient to check in on deck 5 by the coffee shop and then go to the back of the ship from there and depending on where you are sitting in the dining room sometimes you then had to go down one deck. You have to check in again with the ticket they give you for your table.
2) Cruise Director-Chris The Flying Scotsman, I'm not sure if I liked him or not. He was amazing in some aspects but then not so much in others and I was tired of the kilt at every turn. I really enjoy Matt Mitcham and his style of fun. Also, one of the sidekicks of Chris was Houston, the comedy director I think is his title. I did not enjoy him at all and he seemed to be everywhere. He always seemed bored and uninterested.
3) Family Harbor and Havana areas-while we didn't experience these actual areas, I felt to add them to the ship meant a lot was taken away and squished together. The lobby grandness, deck five-everything seemed to be squished together to be able to add these areas. The casino was on deck 4 instead of 5 and seemed smaller and extra smoky.
All in all, we had a fantastic cruise and we can't wait to do it again. We are planning for 2020 on the Panorama out of Long Beach.
Amazing, love Cove balconies and being so close to the water.
This hop on hop off shuttle took you to shopping areas, private beach and Margaritaville.
Spent the time on the beautiful 7 mile beach