I sailed Carnival Vista with my wife, 16-year-old daughter and her 16-year-old friend. This was my seventh cruise, all with Carnival, since 2006. We chose this cruise for a combination of the itinerary, the proximity to Galveston (about a 9-hour drive) and our interest in the Vista.
Overall, we were impressed with the Vista. It's a big, beautiful ship with lots to see and do. Our stateroom was comfortable, the service was exceptional and the food was good, particularly the speciality dining options. However, the sheer size of the ship overwhelmed us. We were sailing at full capacity, which is just under 5,000 passengers, and we felt every ounce of their presence the entire week. Embarkation and debarkation were also clusters. This wasn't the fault of Carnival or the Port Authority, who did the best they could to keep things moving. It's just apparent that the infrastructure around the Galveston port is pushed to its limit and needs an overhaul, especially before Carnival Jubilee arrives later this year.
The public areas - especially Lido - stayed jam-packed. And navigating around the ship was cumbersome because of its enclosed layout. The constant long lines for Guy's Burgers, Pig & Anchor and pizza forced us to skip those dining options. Ironically, the atrium area at the front of the ship was one of the few rarely crowded public spaces, so we enjoyed spending time there on several occasions having drinks and listening to the excellent string trio.
We initially booked an interior cabin on Deck 1, but upgraded to an interior on Deck 8 at a good rate. In hindsight, four of us in one cabin was pretty snug and we should have gone with two, but we made it work. Our cabin was had a fair amount of storage space, which we supplemented with magnetic wall hooks, and Christopher, our attendant, took great care of us. The temperature was just right for us and sleeping in a pitch-black room is always a treat. The shower basin tends to fill up quickly and overflow, so beware if you take a long time.