September 2016 - Carnival Vista to Europe - Mediterranean
Overall, we had a great time on our cruise.
A few notes:
We stayed in Barcelona a few days before the cruise. This way we didn't feel rushed getting to the ship on time and got to get used to the time change. We also got to explore Barcelona which was awesome.
On the first day, we got duped into going on a Spa Tour when I wanted to make a pedicure arrangement. Don't do it! It took an hour of our time when I felt like we could have been enjoying something else on the ship.
Check-in took over an hour- allow yourself enough time to check in.
Food for the main dining room was just OK. It is cooked for the masses and watered down to appeal to thousands of palettes- so don't expect anything to blow you out of the water. One cool thing is you can try multiple appetizers or dishes if you want. We felt very rushed and didn't get the best service. Also, Formal night is packed and we waited over an hour for a table.
At first we weren't going to try the other restaurants that charged money because we didn't see the point in paying for food when meals are already included- but we were glad we tried them! JiJi's, the Italian restaurant, and Steakhouse were absolutely delicious. It was nice to have asian food at JiJi's in the middle of the trip to break up the monotony of european food the entire 10 days! I live in San Francisco and have had some of the best different types of Asian food (burmese, indonesian, cantonese, etc) and this restaurant definitely did an amazing job at capturing the flavors.
Mambo Magic, the house band in the Havana Lounge, was absolutely amazing. They played a wide range of Latin music and absolutely were awesome. We watched them every night! The vibe of Havana Lounge was also awesome and the bartenders made great mojitos.
We had a balcony room which I felt was worth the price. It was nice to wake up to different scenery each morning and we watched a thunderstorm out at sea one night.
We booked excursions through both Carnival and United Shore excursions. The United Excursions were smaller groups, better service, and better planned out. I really recommend them! For the Pompeii and Amalfi Coast, we only had 6 people in our group- that made for an amazing experience, rather than being on a 50 person tour bus. This will not always be the case but they will almost always be smaller because most everyone books through Carnival.
The carnival shore excursions were absolutely awful and I will never book an excursion through them again. The groups were always 50 or more people, and even though they required a lot of walking for long distances, senior citizens were on the tour and would slow everyone else down. We were in a group of 50+ people in Rome, and there were a group of 5 senior citizens that slowed the entire group down. Because of that, we had to rush through everything and it made for a less than great experience.