We had a wonderful adventure. The Liquid Lounge is need a major redo. The chairs (yes chairs) are uncomfortable making it a poor fit for its function.
4 out of 5
Passengers we already boarding when we arrived at the port. We had priority boarding so we walked in, went to the desk and right onto ship. This was our first sailing where are room keys were in the mailbox at our stateroom. They were scanned by hand each time we left or re-entered the ship...no dink machine. The medical forms were not taken or even looked at.
Food and Dining
4 out of 5
The dining options are extensive. If you don't mind spending more they are even greater. I'll start with lunch since that was our first meal on the ship. On decks 10 & 11 the market Place (standard Lido type) has all the regular things, plus Guys burgers, Blueiguana Cantina, Deli, homemade ice cream (this is in addition to the 24 hour soft serve), pizza, pasta (Cucina del Capitano) free for lunch Mongolian wok,Ji Ji Asian Kitchen (free for lunch) and deck 15 Serenity...fresh salads. Additional cost for lunch on deck 10 is the seafood shack. If that isn't enough, you can easily dine on deck 5 and avoid the crowds finding Guys smoke house, and a mini buffet in the Ocean Plaza, plus for additional cost Red Frog Pub (has pub food), Bonsai Sushi. With desert options at a cost from cherry on top (didn't have any but they looked sinful) and javablue cafe.
Dinner of course in the two MDRs, and on Lido with your additional cost options: Fahrenheit 555 Steak House, Cucina del Capitano, Ji JI Asian kitchen, Bonsai Sushi, Seafood shack.
We did not try all these places, but everywhere was busy. We did have the Bar-b-q twice, but found it a little dry and not worth the line if you didn't time it well. We found the Red Frog pub just after we finished bar-b-q and wished we started there...never made it back. We had two free dinners at the steak house and found the food cooked as requested and served in a timely manner. We didn't have room for desert there, but it was a masterpiece made at the table (watched others). The MDR seems to have fewer selections these days with all the other options available. The wait staff tried their best, but sometimes the food just arrives cold. I had the homemade icecream (the machines are manned in the buffet line, but you can ask for as much as you want) and it was delightful; two different flavors everyday. Needless to say, you shouldn't go hungry.
The Red Frog Pub had mini tours on making beer. While we missed the tours, we saw several people enjoying them.. Through out the ship there are self-serve taps to try the on board brewed beer. Plus in the Library, there is a self-serve wine dispenser with 8 different choices available. There of course are bars throughout the ship, plus one in the Horizon Dining room and one in the back of the Main Lounge
5 out of 5
The sports decks: the sky ride was fun and you are securely fastened into the ride. They ask you to empty pockets and no cameras on the ride. There are lockers available right there with a key you wear on your wrist. Watch for slow times, there is no need to wait 40 minute plus as can happen during peaks activity. The ropes course was busy with more sure-footed folks than I am. We played mini golf often. There is a 4-person ping-pong, pools tables, volley ball, basket ball, much more and for a bit extra $ bowling. If you can't find something to do, it is your own fault
I did not find a non-smoking machine in the casino and it was very smokey.
There are several smaller shops rather than two big ones.
3 out of 5
The main lounge "Liquid Lounge" is a big problem. The seats are straight back chairs with little space between the row in front unless you get a seat early enough and move the one in from. It is difficult to see the stage if a taller person sits in front of you (seats are not staggered). There is no place to set a drink except on the floor below the chair in front of you. We watched the show the first night and tried for another but we were so uncomfortable we avoided the lounge as much as possible. If you go, find a seat it the upstairs. This alone knocks the Vista (and Horizon) out of a ship I want to sail on again.
We met the hosts (and some of their crew friends when off duty)for the I-MAX and Thrill Theater, who are delightful. Ended up spending the $5.50pp for a 30 minute cartoon at the thrill theater and had so much fun did it for a different show. If you have never done the 4-D experience anywhere, this is the place to try it. Your seat moves and jiggles as the characters are in a car (or whatever) and wind blows in your face. Real bubbles might float past you in addition to the 3-D ones popping in your face. If the ugly monster sneezes you might feel "water" on your face. If we are ever on another ship with this available, there is no question...we WILL do it again.
The shows in the Liquid Lounge were loud but well done. We only attended the first night as explained before, couldn't sit in those chairs. We did not attend the Comedian shows, but heard people taking about them, seems they were good. Music was everywhere. The piano bar, the Ocean Plaza, the Atrium, Red Frog Pub, Havana Bar and in any bar area available. We enjoyed the violin trio, Dolce and a couple from England The Cove Duo in the Atrium before and after dinner.
While we had no children and did not use this service, we saw very little of the 1100 children on board. So they must have been doing a good job.
Service and Staff
4 out of 5
Housekeeping was busy throughout the ship. They were friendly and always busy. The hostesses for YTD tried to return you to seating you enjoyed and always with a smile. Because of the location of our cabin, we met the hosts (and some of their crew friends when off duty) for the I-MAX and Thrill Theater, who are delightful.
4 out of 5
The atrium is as beautiful as you imagine with the column changing frequently. There are also four small "windows" on the ceiling that change as well. There is a smaller version of this in the center of the casino (deck 4) going up through deck 5. It is glassed off and sealed so the smoke from the casino does not rise to deck 5. To traverse deck 4 you must walk through the casino and it is extremely smokey. The ship was decorated for Christmas, and while I would not thinks seafoam green and orange were holiday colors, it worked beautifully on the ship.
Cabin / Stateroom
4 out of 5
Our cabin 6254 ended up being a very good cabin. It is a balcony across the corridor from the backside of the forward elevator bank, around the corner from the entry to the I-MAX and Thrill Theater, below cabins and above the shops. No noise at all and it gave us quick access to the eateries on deck 5. The closets seemed smaller than usual with one door giving you a full length closet, door two divided into two halves with the shirt dragging on the shelf or floor and on with two shelves, the safe and three drawers. We did have plenty of hangers.
On debarkation day, have breakfast on deck 5 in the Ocean Plaza. It is uncrowded and a quick breakfast gets you off the ship quickly.
There is still a lot to be done on some of the buildings, but several new roofs are in progress. Margaritaville is up and running. The NASA display did not seem to have any damage. The "half ship" of Jack's Shack was boarded, but a temporary site is further down the beach and doing a brisk business. Both dogs are there and entertaining passengers. The beach and water looked good and was warm.
This a port where a shore tour is your best option OR staying on the ship as a good choice. We stayed on the ship. However, there is now a "straw market" just off the pier where you can purchase local goods.
Curacao, our plan was to walk into town over the "moving" bridge, because on our last visit it was open and you couldn't cross over. The weather was beautiful and the bridge was closed, so we got to cross over. While there we learned of the "heart of locks", a tourist attraction set up last February (I think for only a year) for people to bring a lock to "lock their love" ; similar to the bridge in Paris. If we knew about this before we went we would have had a spare lock to add. The town was decorated for the holidays.
Aruba is on of all time favorite places. This time we took the open air party bus around the island to the light house, oldest house on the island, the church with stations of the cross and finally 2 hours on the beach. We had lunch at nice little place on the beach and then enjoyed a nice walk in the surf. The island looked in good shape.
4 out of 5
We did not need to fill out a declaration form since we did not reach our shopping limit. Miami terminal has carousels with your luggage riding around until you find it. There are small signs that will tell you which carousel you luggage should be found. If you have a hang-up bag it will likely not be on the carousel but on a table near-by. Also some luggage is removed from the carousel randomly (at least it seemed random to me) and placed under or near these tables. We found all our luggage a proceeded to the lines with custom agents. There were several and the lines moved quickly.
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