My first solo cruise was a success and I’ve already booked my second for later this year. First let’s cover the very good to excellent items.
This was my first sailing on the Vista class and I loved this ship compared to the previous Carnival classes.
Favorite features include the contemporary décor and extensive outdoor seating options. Even when the ship is at full occupancy (ours was 60%) I think it wouldn’t be hard to find an out of the way spot.
The main showroom, Liquid Lounge, wasn’t the best setup but certainly doesn’t deserve the bad rap. I never had a problem finding a seat with unobstructed view of the show.
I wish I found the awesome serenity deck earlier!
Entertainment and Activities
Other than the fact the ship didn’t have a piano bar performer for this sailing (unplanned emergency) the entertainment was good to excellent. The main showroom productions were better than I remembered on my last sailing. Most of the comedians were funny to me (humor is subjective) and there were plenty of opportunities to see a comedy show.
Kendall Fire had tons of activities planned and she and her staff were great at including passengers.
That brings me to the crew. They were all so happy to be back at work and bent over backwards to provide whatever was requested. I saw the love on both sides as most passengers were just as excited to be back and see them!
Right now Carnival is the cruise line I have the highest status with and get the best perks. A week before the cruise I got an email detailing how these would be delivered on the sailing.
I took advantage of them all except the large bottle of water and water shuttle priority but usually do.
Mixed Review Areas
There are only a couple of things I think really could use improvement which was the food and the COVID precautions. Even these were a mixed bag.
A few days before my cruise the Carnival cruise ambassador, John Heald, announced they were moving to bacon every other day in the lido breakfast buffet due to supply issues. I would believe that if it was short term. Five or six weeks later it’s still the case and seems a bit suspicious. Having said that it wasn’t a restriction in the main dining room.
The buffet is still substandard in my opinion but it was that way in 2017. The standouts here were the lunch time gelato and cake bar (as you could tell from all of my photos). But I found enough good to excellent alternate options for breakfast and lunch to make me happy.
The main dining room also had a few misses (lobster!) but enough hits for me to consider it still a good venue. I also really enjoyed my specialty restaurant experiences at Jiji’s and Cucina de Capitano.
Carnival cut down to one cabin service a day in the name of COVID safety and protocols yet continues to have passengers self serve in the buffet. They also have no social distancing requirements in the public venues.
This leads me to believe the cabin service cutback was really a budget cutback. They’ve been trying to get people down to one a day for years with the form cabin stewards had pre-covid. Now they had a convenient reason to make it permanent.
Having said that the one evening service I selected worked out really well and I didn’t mind it. It’s easy enough to call your steward during their working hours if you need something outside the selected time.
This was my second time sailing from Galveston (soon to be a third) and I won’t book anything else out of here in the near future. It’s more expensive to get to the port from both Houston-area airports and has less options.
Then there’s the weird Texas laws. First the ships can only serve Texas liquors until international waters. That left me with reduced options for cocktails the first night. There is an issue with drink packages as well since Cheers isn’t offered/charged on day 1.
The last reason is the taxes policy they have. Even if you live in another state (or country) they want to tax alcohol and cigarettes brought into the port.
As you can see there was a lot of good to great experiences and not too much mediocre to bad. It was my first time cruising without any family and I liked it. It’s now an option I’ll be fine with if the opportunity arises.
I’m really looking forward to my next cruise with Carnival on one of the Vista’s sister ships. You’ll hear about that soon!