Fodor’s Expert Review

Ship Overview

Carnival Cruise Lines
Cruise StyleMainstream
Ship SizeLarge

Carnival Cruises’ second Vista-class ship is just as much fun as the first one. Stateroom choices include the same great new Family Harbor cabins (which have a shared lounge) and Havana Cabana suites (which have their own palapa-topped pool area and mojito bar) plus the line’s well-loved Spa Suites. This ship has the first Victoria’s Secret lingerie store at sea and the first Dr. Seuss-themed water park. Look for Guy’s Pig and Anchor Barbecue Smokehouse, the first ship in the fleet with an onboard smoker. There, the beers are brewed onboard and you can order barbecue to eat and smoky cocktails to drink.Read More

Carnival Cruises’ Vista class offers everything that’s great about this line — plenty of family- and group-friendly activities, lots of fun in the sun, and loads of restaurant choices. You’ll find boisterous pools crowded with everyone from bachelor parties to multi-generational families gathered around with buckets of beer, and lining up for the tasty Guy’s Burger Joint Burgers and Blue Iguana made-to-order tacos. (Heck, they even press the tortillas à la minute.)

At night, the ship offers lots of entertainment, from all-ages comedy shows to music review stage shows with flamboyant costumes and plenty of lights, a 3D movie theater, and live music. Carnival gets everyone involved with Hasbro-designed family games and karaoke and the sheer volume of bars — A wine bar! A mojito bar! A piano bar! — is impressive, as are the dining options at night. If you don’t want to eat in the main dining room (which is fine, if not memorable) or the buffet, there’s a sushi bar, a better-than-it-has-to-be steakhouse, an Italian spot, and a pan-Asian option, just to name a few.

The world’s largest cruise line—and one of the most widely recognized—originated its “Fun Ship” concept in 1972 and has been launching party-packed superliners with signature red funnels ever since. The line’s ever-growing fleet features entertainment and activities designed for passengers of all ages, from game shows and lip sync competitions to twisting waterslides and mini golf. These ships are a reliable choice for families as well as young singles and couples who want a vacation that won’t break the bank.

Nearly all onboard dining options are included in the fare, as are comedy and production shows, children’s programs, and use of state-of-the-art fitness centers. With some of the most comfortable accommodations at sea, large new ships are continuously added to the fleet and rarely deviate from a successful pattern, while older vessels are updated with popular features, such as the poolside BlueIguana Tequila Bar with an adjacent burrito cantina, the Red Frog Rum Bar that also serves Carnival’s own brand of Thirsty Frog Red beer, and Guy’s Burger Joint, created with Food Network star Guy Fieri.

  • 13 passenger decks
  • 12 restaurants
  • In-cabin amenities
  • Pools
  • Fitness/spa
  • Bars/Entertainment
  • Kids
  • Laundry
  • Wi-Fi

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

Pros
Cons
Great choices of casual complimentary fare include Guy’s Burger Bar and Blue Iguana tacos
Excellent cabin choices include the Havana Cabanas and the Family Harbor Suites
The boisterous family-friendly atmosphere extends from the pool deck throughout the ship, day and night
Cabins are small, most without tubs and many without verandahs
The adults-only Serenity deck has comfy loungers and a salad bar, but no pool
The pool deck and hot tubs feel packed on sea days and sunny afternoons

What to expect on board

Staterooms & Cabins

Cabins
Bathrooms
Accessibility

Standard cabins on this ship are just that — fine but basic — but the cabin categories were upgraded on this class. Look for the stunning colonial-inspired Havana Suites that have hammock chairs on their terraces and a shared private pool deck with a small pool, two hot tubs, palapa-style umbrellas and Cuban coffee. (At night, the space opens up to the whole ship for Latin Jazz, mojitos, and dancing.) Or, if you’re traveling with little ones, consider the made-for-kids Family Harbor Suites which come with access to a family lounge full of board and video games as well as kid-friendly snacks. There are also Cloud 9 spa cabins with special spa access.

Bathrooms are basic across the board on Carnival ships, with acrylic drop-in showers, single sinks, and limited toiletries in most categories. Upgrade to a spa suite, and you get upgraded products, too, as well as exclusive access to the spa.

This ship has 65 accessible staterooms, all of which have wider doors, turning spaces, roll-in showers, and grab bars. The ship also offers mobility scooters and power chairs, manual wheelchairs, oxygen equipment, patient lifts, hospital beds, recliner chairs, and hearing-impaired kits.

Food & Drink

Food

The main dining room doesn’t often impress – though one exception is the always the Indian fare on Carnival ships, which you can request a couple days’ in advance. But you can easily eat every meal elsewhere — especially if you’re willing to pay to upgrade to a specialty restaurant — and there are loads of choices. Complimentary options include burgers and fries at Guy’s Burger Bar, tacos and burritos at Blue Iguana (which even serves breakfast buritos in the morning), pizza that’s made to order on the aft deck, and a lunchtime salad bar in the adults-only Serenity deck lounge. If you’re willing to pay to upgrade your dinner, we like the barbecue at the brewery, the Fahrenheit 451 Steakhouse, and Jiji’s Asian Kitchen. Oh, and another great find is the seafood shack, which serves fried shrimp baskets and lobster rolls but also allows you to order a fresh fish of the day, have it cooked to your specifications, and served in any dining room onboard.

Entertainment

The ship offers a wide variety of bars and lounges to choose from, including a sports bar, a tequila bar, an onboard brewery with flights and tours, a Cuban mojito bar (that also serves excellent Cuban coffee), and an apothecary-themed cocktail lounge with drinks designed to cure whatever ails you.

Spa & Fitness

The Cloud 9 spa offers everything from facials and massages to scrubs and acupuncture. There is a salon with hair services as well as a manicure/pedicure area. The spa on this ship has an extensive thermal suite, with heated lounge chairs, a whirlpool, and steam rooms, and both day and weekly passes are for sale.

QUICK FACTS

SHIP STATS
Entered Service
2018
Number of Cabins
1,967
Passenger Capacity
3,934(4,977 max)
Crew Members
1,450
Passengers to Crew Ratio
2.71
Gross Tons
133596
Width
158 feet
Length
1,055 feet
CRUISE LINE INFO
305/599–2600 or 800/227–6482

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