Thoughts on the new Carnival Vista

Discussion in 'Disney Cruise Line Forum' started by Club Disney Chandler, Jun 24, 2016.

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  1. Club Disney Chandler

    Club Disney Chandler DIS Veteran

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    So how does the new Carnival Vista compare to DCL? Mostly the Disney Fantasy as she is the Disney ship I’ve been on the most and my favorite. This is a long comparison/review and I don’t give my final verdict until the last paragraph. If you get bored reading it and just want to skip to the finale, I won’t be offended. I’ll try to include pictures for every area of the ship as I write about it to help with the visual aspect of our cruise. There is nothing in here about any of the ports we visited it is simply a comparison of our experiences on DCL and the Carnival Vista. Also, I will be posting it in stages as I'm having trouble with uploading pictures. Fee free to ask any questions along the way.

    A little about my family, we consist of me (47), DW (46), DS (16) and DD (15). Our first cruise was a 3 night on the Dream in 2011, followed by an Eastern Caribbean on the Fantasy in 2013, Western Caribbean on the Fantasy in 2014 and a 4 night Vancouver to San Diego in 2015 on the Wonder. We like to travel in 2 connecting inside staterooms for our cruises and have for every cruise except the Wonder, we had 1 cat 4A for that cruise and when it was over decided we want to go back to the 2 insides. We really fell in love with DCL during our 2013 Fantasy cruise and are huge fans of DCL and Disney in general, we’ve been to WDW 5 times, DL too many times to list, (we live in AZ and are AP holders for DL) and I am a former Operations Manager for Disney. My wife and I even spent our honeymoon at DL almost 20 years ago and our guestroom is 100% Disney decorated,

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    we are definite fans of the mouse.

    As DCL prices have continued to rise, we started looking at other cruise lines to see where we might spend some of our vacation dollars, I’ve booked a few cruises on RCCL that I’ve always ended up cancelling, looked into Princess but for some reason they just don’t interest me, looked into NCL but there are so many reviews that mention the cigarette smoke lingering from the casino it keeps me from booking them too. I’m very interested in Celebrity, but that will probably wait until the kids are out of the house. I didn’t think I’d ever book Carnival based on what I’ve always heard from friends of friends of friends, who’ve witnessed the puking, wet T-Shirt contests and the like. But one Monday in February 2014, I stumbled across the new Carnival Vista that was under construction, with her maiden voyage being in May 2016 where she would spend her summer sunning in the Mediterranean. My wife and I had talked about taking a Mediterranean cruise with the kids before they graduated high school so I looked into it. I started pricing out the Vista and for an 8 night cruise with 1 sea day and 4 stops in Italy, 1 day in Marseille and 1 day in Mallorca. For the 4 of us, in 2 mid-ship insides on deck 8, the total came to $4400 including gratuities and trip insurance. We researched the ship and I started reading page after page on Cruise Critic about Carnival and decided to book the cruise. My parents and my mother’s 2 sisters decided to book the cruise with us as well, so we became a party of 8. After a price drop earlier this year, the adjusted total came down to $4000 plus an onboard credit of $25/person. We don’t drink and didn’t do the soda package either so our credit card was charged $96.00 at the end of the cruise for a couple games of bingo, some souvenirs and a few non-alcoholic specialty drinks. Total cost of cruise then was $4096.00.

    Carnival has a few pricing tiers you can book that makes the per person price different depending on which way you book. We booked the Early Saver fare that carries a non-refundable portion of the deposit of $50/person and the rest of the deposit amount could only be applied to another Carnival cruise taken in the next 2 years, if we were to cancel. We could have booked under a different tier that would have brought the price per person higher, but would have made the deposit refundable except the $50/person. I think had we done the other tier we probably would have cancelled, (aka chickened out), at some point just like we’ve done with the RCCL cruises we booked.

    So finally on to my review, please remember this is my experience only, based on the 1 Carnival and 4 Disney cruises I’ve been on, we all have different experiences, tastes and expectations.

    EMBARKATION: We arrived at the Barcelona terminal around 11:30 AM, got in line to drop our luggage and check in. The line moved pretty quickly and we were on the ship by 12:30 after a little snafu with my aunt’s reservation, but it was not the fault of Carnival, it was all on my aunt. As we were boarding the ship they told us all cabins were available and we could proceed to our cabins. We dropped our carry-ons off in the cabin and headed to deck 10 (Lido) deck for the Lido Marketplace buffet, (more on food a little later), after lunch we headed back to the cabin just to see if our luggage had arrived yet and somehow we got super lucky and all 8 pieces were there.

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    So by 2:00 we were on the ship, fed and unpacked. I was quite pleased with the efficiency at this point, but also realized we got very lucky as I saw luggage still being loaded on the ship at 5:00 PM.

    BUFFET: The buffet is on deck 10 next to the pool and is huge. There is a ton of seating that has a great amount of space between tables and large walk ways where you don’t feel like you’re on top of people sitting as you try to maneuver your way to a seat. Never did I have to hunt for a seat in the buffet even though it was the largest sailing on Vista so far at 4511 passengers. The actual layout of food is in sections that are more spread out than at Cabanas, it actually took me a couple days to remember where each section was. They had a deli area where you could have made to order hot or cold sandwiches, (which I loved), and hot dogs. A hot food area, salad area, dessert area and a secondary hand scooped gelato area, (that also had a separate area where you could add sprinkles, sauces, etc.), that was only open during lunch. They also had a few soft serve ice cream machines that were open 24/7 with ice cream and frozen yogurt. I felt the selection of foods was lacking compared to DCL, especially because there were no chicken strips or mac and cheese to be found the entire time, I did find out recently this may have been a Europe thing as Chicken Strips seem to be a normal thing on other Carnival ships. Food quality wise I would put even with DCL, except when it came to desserts, Carnival knows how to serve some great desserts!

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    Don't remember the name of this but it was good

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    This either

    I loved the majority of things I took from the buffet, especially their bread pudding, awesome stuff.

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    (This was actually in the MDR, called Bitter and Blanc, it's bread pudding with dark chocolate inside and a white chocolate sauce, it was fantastic)

    In addition to the buffet, the Vista has a 24/7 pizza place on the aft of deck 10 that always had someone making fresh made to order pizzas that were quite tasty, I really loved the crust and the taste of the pizzas coming from the wood fired oven. We never had to wait more than about 3 minutes for a fresh 12" pizza. By the way, I’ve owned a pizza place for the last 12 years and I’ve spent the last 30 years in the pizza business, I usually eat pizza 3-5 days/week and I think I had pizza everyday on the ship. Also on this deck was the Guy Fieri burger joint that made freshly made burgers with a topping bar that were some of the best burgers I’ve ever had. Guy's was open from 11-6 everyday. The burger stand is right next to the main pool area on deck 10. On the other corner of the pool was the Blue Iguana (BI) Mexican quick serve restaurant that served breakfast and lunch daily consisting of burritos, tacos and taco salads, everything is made to order and they have a great salsa bar as well. Growing up in AZ, about 2.5 hours north of Mexico, I’ve acquired a love of Mexican food especially breakfast burritos. I'm also married to a lovely Mexican woman who's family makes brilliant Mexican food. The BI had very good food, not the best I’ve ever had and their tortillas were no where as good as the tortillas my wife’s Nana makes for us, but they were quite good and I ate quite a few.

    I'm stopping here for now to make sure everything is uploading correctly, hopefully I'll be adding more tonight.
     
  2. Club Disney Chandler

    Club Disney Chandler DIS Veteran

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    My pictures posted correctly so here's a little more for tonight:

    MDR: We were assigned to the Reflections Dining Room on deck 3 mid. The Vista has 2 MDR’s, the other is the Horizons Dining Room that is on deck 3 and 4 aft. Both are similar in décor but I liked Horizons better as it has a more open and airy feeling because the middle of the deck 3 portion opens up to deck 4 above.

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    This was taken from deck 4 of Horizons looking down onto deck 3.

    Horizons’ is used for “Your Time Dining” and Reflections is used for traditional early and late dining. We had the 6:00 PM early seating and the late seating is at 8:15, we were generally done with dinner by 7:30. Food quality I would say CCL is equal to DCL except once again in the desert department, the Vista desserts were better and larger than what I’ve experienced on DCL. DCL however has CCL beat in the presentation and selection department. I would consider the Vista selection to be a bit more “mainstream,” however there was a “regional selection” like DCL has highlighting a menu item from the area each night. Service was very good on CCL, but not the over the top service that we’ve come to expect from DCL On 5 of the nights, the servers would do a little dance show that was kind of cheesy but was fun, this happened right before dessert was served.

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    DAYTIME ACTIVITIES:
    Daytime activities consisted of a lot of trivia type things and other group activities like the Quest, Bingo, crafts etc. I would consider it pretty close to what we’ve experienced on DCL but the “FUN” squad lacked the training to really engage their audience like DCL CM’s do. Most of these activities took place in “Ocean Plaza” which is on deck 5 mid-ship, (think D Lounge) expect on each side of the venue there are floor to ceiling windows and the promenade so you can see the ocean at all times.

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    This isn't one of our better pictures but you get the idea of Ocean Plaza

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    This is the outside entrance from deck 5 Promenade

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    This is the outside Promenade of Ocean Plaza. I really loved that almost the entire deck 5 had areas like this, here are a couple more seating areas on deck 5.

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    I was disappointed in the fact that there were never servers roaming taking drink orders and there was nobody there to clean up tables during the day. In one corner of Ocean Plaza the Vista has the “Taste Bar,” that is an area that starting at 5:30 every night you can sample various menu items from the MDR and the pay restaurants. On sea days they have the Taste Bar open all day so there was large buffet to stuff ourselves while playing games. They also have pitchers of Iced Tea, Lemonade, water and coffee during that time. That was great to have and it was missed on port days. The great part of all the trivia is we won these babies:

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    4 world famous "Carnival Ships on a Stick" and 7 medals
     
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  4. eeyorefanuk

    eeyorefanuk DIS Veteran

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    Thank you for this .....n looking forward to more :)
     
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  5. Club Disney Chandler

    Club Disney Chandler DIS Veteran

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    POOLS AND HOT TUBS: The Vista has 3 pools and 8 huge hot tubs. I love one aspect of the pools that I thought was an excellent idea. Surrounding the pools is a huge area with a slip resistant material, around it is about a 6” border, when they fill the pool they fill it high enough so this area actually becomes a part of the pool as well so you can walk through and cool off your feet without getting in the pool itself. They also have little huts covering a seating area in these spaces so you can sit down and have a drink and hang out while getting your feet wet and be shielded from the sun.

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    All 3 pools have this feature and I absolutely loved it! The main pool is on deck 10 mid as I described above, there is another on deck 10 aft which had a beautiful aft view and the 3rd is on deck 5 aft in the Havana Cabana* area. Each pool has 2 huge hot tubs, the last 2 hot tubs are on deck 15 forward in the Serenity^ area.

    There is a huge TV/movie screen up on the main pool area that had movies playing day and night. At night they also had fresh popped movie theatre popcorn (no charge) and blankets, (super warm and soft). We saw Star Wars up there one night and it was fantastic to watch in the open.

    *Havana Cabana area is an exclusive area for guest staying in the Havana Cabana cabins only. This pool was very nice and very quiet, they have their own bar with food service, special towels and robes and nobody under the age of 12 is allowed to stay in these cabins.

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    There is also the Havana Lounge in this area that is actually open to all passengers on the ship and was a hot bed of entertainment at night, the entertainers from the shows were down there dancing and hanging out with guests a few nights of the cruise.

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    The pool area does open up to all guests after 5:00 PM. The cabins in this area were also specially decorated and the “balcony” cabins actually had huge lanai’s with a lounge chair, a regular patio chair, table and a swinging hammock style chair. The Lanai is about 12x20 and has a cute little white fence and gate surrounding it. It actually doesn’t have a direct ocean view but instead opens to the promenade on deck 5. They are pretty secluded during the day because once again there are only Havana guest that have access to the area, there are only 58 total Havana Cabana cabins, including 4 suites. The hallways in the Havana Cabana area are also themed and decorated differently than the general halls

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    ^Serenity is a great adult only area with tons of lounge chairs, hammocks and clam shell lounge chairs. There is a bar up there with beverage service and on sea days they do custom made to order salads with tons of choices of exotic lettuce, vegetables, different proteins and a large selection of dressings. We spent a good amount of time up there but unfortunately not the only sea day we had so I was not able to sample the salads, I’m quite bummed about that.

    pic 23.jpeg
    This was the entrance to Serenity from deck 15, one of the hot tubs is the raised area on the left.

    This is all for tonight, hopefully I'll be able to post more tomorrow night
     
  6. Keyser

    Keyser DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for this report! It's very interesting so far.
     
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  7. TestingH2O

    TestingH2O DIS Veteran

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    Loving this so far. IMO it's a perfect combination of pictures and text to give a good feel. Thanks!
     
  8. SonyaShay

    SonyaShay Hufflepuff

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    interested in the rest of your comparison. Have been waiting on you to write this for a long time!
     
  9. Club Disney Chandler

    Club Disney Chandler DIS Veteran

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    After I finished writing it I couldn't believe how long it was so I had to put in lots of pics. As I was inserting pics last night I realized there's still more I could add, we'll see how it goes.
     
  10. Club Disney Chandler

    Club Disney Chandler DIS Veteran

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    All of our pics are on shutterfly and are in a day by day order so I have to find the ones I want, save them to my hard drive, then upload to the Dis. I have a new found respect for people who write long and detailed trip reports, but it's so much fun reliving the cruise.
     
  11. Sytrace

    Sytrace DIS Veteran

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    This is a wonderful trip report. :) I love the pictures and your descriptions make me want to try this cruise line again. Especially this ship!
     
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  12. cheermom2four

    cheermom2four DIS Veteran

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    Cant wait to read the rest. We are looking to taking our 4 kids plus one spouse next year on the vista since paying for 7 on DCL would break us LOL.
     
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  13. PrincessTrisha

    PrincessTrisha DIS Veteran

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    Your first two desserts are:

    Passionfruit flan

    Smore's Parfait


    Glad to see your report. I personally really enjoy Carnival (either the newer or updated ships). I find them really a "FUN" ship with good food, good service and good prices.
     
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  14. TestingH2O

    TestingH2O DIS Veteran

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    I actually found it was easier to write my TR directly from my phone. Now, I know it has more typos than if I wrote in on my laptop, but it did save me the steps of moving images twice. Anything from my DSLR, I moved from Google Drive to my Photo Library. Honestly though, most of my TR photos are from my phone anyway because they are small enough to meet DIS specifications.

    I agree though, the really photo heavy TRs are impressive. I don't even take that many pictures much less insert them in all the right places!
     
  15. Club Disney Chandler

    Club Disney Chandler DIS Veteran

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    That would be correct, thank you
     
  16. bcwife76

    bcwife76 DisneyMomma

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    Loving the TR, Jack! It looks like a very beautiful, well appointed ship. Eagerly awaiting more :flower:
     
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  17. tltay2005

    tltay2005 DIS Veteran

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    Following. Vista would be the one Carnival ship that would pull us away from DCL, so looking forward to the rest of your report.
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2016
  18. mikayla73

    mikayla73 DIS Veteran

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    Nice to find this here. I saw your postings on cruise critic and wondered if you'd do a report. We typically cruise on CCL, with some DCL mixed in when it makes sense. We've been on the Fantasy and Wonder a few times.

    We have cruised on both older and newer ships and short and long itineraries with CCL. Our favorite CCL ship currently is the Breeze, but we have cruise on the Vista next year, so that might change. First however we get to try out the DCL Dream for the first time later this year.
     
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  19. anna08

    anna08 DIS Veteran

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    Thank you so much - my son was captivated by Carnival's youtube video that came out before the ship was finished and is desperate to book a cruise on the Vista. I love hearing a review from a DCL fan's perspective!
     
  20. tink1970

    tink1970 DCL Platinum

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    Thank you so much for taking the time to post pictures and write a comparison.
     
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  21. Love2Cruz

    Love2Cruz DIS Veteran

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    Loving this review...I sail her in 6 months!
     
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