The Carnival Vista did not disappoint. While she is large, she is still fabulous and has many activities. More than what you can do in one cruise. The layout is a little different than most of the other ships, but I thought the changes were for the better. The flow seamed easier and most things were centrally located. I never found myself stuck in one location without a means to get to another.
This was where you entered the ship. Instead of the glass elevators that go all the way up, the Atrium is only a couple of stories high. There is a really pretty “LED Funnel Mural” in the center that changes throughout the cruise. I’m sure it has an official name, but that’s what I am calling it. "Funnel Mural". There is also another one in the casino that rises up.
Your shore excursion desk and guest services are still located in the Atrium along with an Atrium bar and a small dance floor. There are still stairs that come down from Deck 5 and a place for the musicians to play. You can also access the Reflections Restaurant on Deck 3. I am assuming this is the restaurant for timed dining as we had Your Time Dining and I almost missed this was even here!
Since I brought it up…. Your Time Dining. Oh what a cluster #@$! that was. I had heard due to limited space in front of the dining room they were having you check in on Deck 5 for Your Time Dining. On your sign and sail card it tells you your check in for dinner is at the JavaBlue Café. This was all the communication that was given.
There were multiple people looking for the Java Café Dining Room … ALL WEEK! (Not kidding!) They also did not tell you only 1 person from your party was supposed to check in at this location. I found it on this sign… 3 days into the cruise. Why did it take me 3 days to find the sign you might ask.... because that's how long it took the people to thin out enough that it was visible. Look closely for the "one guest per party please"... they typed it in the smallest font possible.
So here is what happens. Everyone that used to stand orderly in line to check in at the dining room is now crowded into the small walkway space. You can't tell if people are there to look at their pictures, get a coffee, or check in for dinner. The only thing missing would be if they set up a picture opportunity in the walkway as well! lol
They have 2 people at the desk checking everyone in, but you aren’t allowed to line up behind them. You must line up down the walkway. However, on Night 1 and Night 2 (elegant night) this space is so crowded you can’t find the line to stand in, so people become frustrated and many just walk away and choose to eat elsewhere. (Such a shame). Once 1 person from your party checks in, they will assign you to a table and tell you which dining room to go to. They give you a printed out ticket, then you are supposed to collect the rest of your party, take your ticket, and go check in at the appropriate dining room.
It does become less crowded as the week goes on. I honestly think it is because so many people give up after the first 2 days and just choose to eat elsewhere and only a small percentage of people who figure out the process by trial and error and get it down return for the rest of the cruise. That being said… we had a party of 12. We ate in the Main Dining Room 4 times during the 8 day cruise and each time we were given a table immediately. The only wait was in collecting all 12 people and getting them to the correct dining room at the right time because you could be either on Deck 3 or Deck 4. It strongly resembled what you would imagine herding cats to be like.
The front of the ship starts off with the Liquid Lounge. This is the style with the removable chairs and it turns into a night club at night. Not my favorite set up. It does have a bar in the back. We did not attend any shows while we were onboard, so I am not sure how the view or seating was. Surrounding the Atrium and the "funnel mural" are 4 Fun Shops. If you continue on towards the center of the ship you will come to the casino. I had heard it was smokier than the others, but I didn't really notice that. It was not unbearable for me. It did feel smaller than some of the other ship casinos. I am not sure why. We played in there a little and on the last sea day they called my name for a drawing. I got to spin the wheel and won $25. Apparently your name is entered in the drawing for every 100 points you have. I only had 200 points. So if you aren't a professional casino player... there is hope for you too! Mom entered a slot tournament and made it to the second round. It was fun to watch and cheer her on. If you have never witnessed one of these, you should. I laughed so hard!
The casino bar is located in the center and has another "funnel mural" that rises up through Deck 5. Here is a picture from Deck 5 looking down.
So one thing I did not like. There is not a poker table in the casino. If you leave the casino and continue going towards the back of the ship, you will come to the Sports Bar. It is not connected to the casino like it is in many ships. In the corner of the sports bar is the poker table. It is kind of back away from everything so it was not as busy as it normally is when it is placed in the casino. It was also an upgraded poker table... not the same Poker Pro that is on the other ships. Instead of having your own little raised hub to put your card in, see your cards, and decide on your play.... it is all one flat screen table. There were several complaints about the touch screen not working well and not being accurate... meaning where you touched is not necessarily the button you got. Mark played one night... I decided it wasn't for me.
Continuing on aft you will come to the Limelight Lounge. This seemed bigger than on the other ships. Matter of fact, we left dinner one night and the comedy show had already started. We stopped in and were able to get 4 seats together on the side. Some of the other Limelight Lounges are left with standing room only. Maybe it filled up later in the evening, but I was pretty impressed.
Deck 4 rounds out with the Horizons Dining Room all the way to the back of the ship.
Deck 5 begins with the upper area of the Liquid Lounge, followed by more Fun Shops around the Atrium circle. Lots of shopping opportunity on this ship! AND instead of a $10 sale one day... they have an entire $10 shop!
Located in this area is also the Cherry On Top. It still has all the candy selections and gifts to purchase, but it also comes with an ice cream shop! I desperately wanted to do this and we never did. (super sad face). Looks really yummy though and even has a nice outside seating area where you can take your ice cream outside on the deck. The ice cream cookie sandwiches look amazing! It's a must do for next time!
After you pass through this area on Deck 5 you will find anything you have possibly been searching for! If you are thirsty... this is the place to be!
As it circles around the funnel mural from the casino below you have the Piano Bar... Library Bar... Alchemy Bar... and Bonsai Sushi. We kept talking about going to the Piano Bar, but never made it. I took the kids one night and we went to Bonsai Sushi. For my birthday... one week before the cruise Mark and Trenton had given me 2 new charms for my Tiffany's bracelet. One of them was a scooter for me to remember our crazy stop in Curacao a few years ago. (You might remember the scooter blog where I swear I almost died?!) It is my absolute favorite charm! So... While at dinner I realized ... it was NOT on my bracelet. The rest of our group was in the Red Frog Pub so I quickly started back tracking my steps and went to grab Mark so he could "HELP ME LOOK" for it. He was very sweet and helped me back to Bonsai Sushi... where I knew it was not. So I frantically headed back up to the room and thankfully found it in my cabin. Yet another moment where I am freaked out and he is completely calm! So as I head back to Bonsai Sushi (I'm still starving) ... everyone including Mark is now getting up to leave. Not one morsel of sushi left! Some help he was.... lol
The Library Bar was nice. We saw people in there all week. We stopped in one day to try out the automatic wine dispenser, but it didn't work. Sounds like a great concept though... wine and books are 2 of my favorite things!
You will also find the Steakhouse in this area. No more hunting for it in some obscure location on the ship, tucked away in the corner. It is right there, front and center! I tried to make a reservation through carnival.com under our booking twice, but I never got an answer. I was kind of bummed and was just hoping I could get a reservation for our large group once we got on the ship. Then I saw one of my all time favorite Steakhouse Manager's was on ... the VISTA! I sent her a quick message and she was able to confirm a reservation for me for our entire party. It was a celebration dinner for Mark's birthday and I had also pre-ordered a bottle of Dom Perignon. Since it was not all done together, the bottle was set to be delivered on a different night, but Jovana got everything arranged and perfect for me to be able to surprise him!
The new steakhouse menu was great! We enjoyed everything. I did like the other bread better though... and the art on the table is ok. It's a one time experience. Probably won't do it again.... I miss the cheesecake! lol
It was a fantastic and memorable experience! The Steakhouse crew is simply amazing and provided a great Birthday Celebration.
This Deck has it all.... we are only midway through! As you continue towards the aft of the ship you will encounter the Red Frog Pub and Brewery. This was our home away from home and overall meeting place for the cats...I mean group. :)
Stay tuned for Part II ....