We chose the Vista because it was the only ship going out of Galveston we hadn’t sailed on during our annual Christmas week cruise. Because Carnival is our least favorite cruise line, we decided to spend more for a Havana Cabana room, in hopes of a better experience. It did increase our level of satisfaction for the cruise for the following reasons:
* Private cabana area outside our patio door (but I must admit we rarely used it)
* Pool and 2 hot tubs only for the use of those in Havana Experience cabins (a huge plus when there are tons of kids on a Christmas cruise)
* Kids under 12 cannot stay in these cabins. Halls are fairly quiet.
* Had no problem getting lounge chairs or cushioned round beds, even with every cabin occupied.
* FYI, you cannot lock or unlock your cabana patio door from the outside to walk to pool area. If you read otherwise, it is not true.
* Bar service was fast with rarely a wait.
* Security personnel did NOT allow anyone into this area without a wristband. This was nice to see!
*IMPORTANT TO KNOW: Those not staying in these cabins can no longer visit the pool area in the evening because of noise problems for those in cabins facing this area. HURRAY!
* You no longer have to worry about the masses walking by your private cabana at night.
* We requested twice a day cabin clean up, as is usual on most lines and our steward was happy to oblige.
While our Havana Experience was great, I will also make some comments about the rest of the ship.
Fabulous singers and dancers! They really put their hearts and energy into each performance. Carl was a standout dancer to me!
Young and energetic cruise director (Schwartz), though I think sometimes he just likes to hear himself talk. You will see him everywhere, fully participating in numerous activities!
Amazing comedians! Tim Young was the best, and he did multiple shows.
Hats off to Carnival for putting on an excellent Military Appreciation event!
Nice celebrations of both Christmas and Hanukkah.
Free yummy gelato at lunch in the Lido, with flavors such as coffee, hazelnut, pineapple, & mango.
Poorly designed theater. Many blocked views and not big enough for the crowds.
Poorly designed Lido Marketplace (buffet area), with closed-in feeling and long cafeteria style lines instead of stand alone food areas where people don’t have to wait in long lines.
Quality and variety of food was the overall most disappointing thing about this cruise! Very few choices in the buffet and very few good choices in the dining room. We had the chocolate melting cake for dessert nearly every night because there were few better options.
Singer/player in the piano bar was just okay. She could not hold a candle to Barry from Boston on Holland America.
Tablecloths in dining room only on formal nights. Not using tablecloths cheapens the evening dining experience.
Bring your own bottle of body lotion, as Carnival only supplies body wash and shampoo dispensers in shower now, and bar soap at sink.
Each time I cruise on Carnival I say it will be my last, but then out of convenience (because we live in San Antonio and can easily drive to Galveston) I seem to minimize the things that I complained about during my previous Carnival cruise. I would recommend Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas when sailing out of Galveston over any Carnival ship. Unfortunately, the shows have not changed much from the 3 times we have sailed her, thus we look for other options.
If you are a first time cruiser, you may enjoy the Vista, but as a 27th time cruiser, I have been able to compare the many amenities on a variety of cruise lines.
This is actually a regular cabin, but with a cabana patio. I may have the category wrong.