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Andrew Batty

Age: 60

Occupation:Managing Director

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Vista

Sailing Date: 2016-08-6

Itinerary: Mediterranean

This was our first ever cruise, so we don't have anything to benchmark it against. But I'll tell you what we thought of it and also what I wish i had known before we went.

Carnival Vista is a brand new cruise ship which is very well appointed with an excellent team of very friendly staff.

There is a superb range of dining from the buffets (great) to two large restaurants (Horizons and Reflections), plus lots of smaller eateries such as pizza and mexican, etc and some which carry an additional cost (a steakhouse - great, an asian - pretty good and an italian - disappointing). There is also a Japanese restaurant and much more. You won't be disappointed by the food.

We had two adjoining balcony cabins on deck 8 and were pleased with the choice.

There are several bars including a pub (Red Frog) with brewery. This ship has so much for all ages including Imax cinema, bowling alley, thrill cinema, comedy club, music club, sky ride etc. You can read the detail elsewhere but the main thing is this ship has something for every age and as a result its passengers were all ages including children and teenagers.

My 17 year old son was with us and he might have ben quite a difficult person to please but he was delighted by the gym and basketball court and within 48 hours had started to amass a number of British, American, Canadian and European friends of a similar age.

Overall, this cruise was great. So what did I not like and what are my tips for you?

In two words, shore excursions. Although Carnival promises to beat any like for like price, you won't spot lower prices as you're whisked out from the port in your Carnival bus. But if you take the trouble to take a free port shuttle bus and go outside the port you will definitely save tons.

For example, in Sardinia Carnival offered a trip to a local beach for $17. Local operators were offering the same beach from the port entrance for 4 euros each way, less than half the price.

But the trip that really got me cross was in Corfu. Over the tannoy the ship advertised a shuttle to downtown Corfu for $20. Thats $80 for our family of four. The tannoy announcements said it was a 20-25 minute ride. As we got off the ship we asked if there was a cheaper way and were told there was a free shuttle to the port entrance but then you'd have to rely on unreliable taxis, very dodgy! We agreed to $80, got on the coach and.... found it went three blocks. You could still see the ship. Far from being a 25 minute ride it was a15 minute walk at tops. Sorry Carnival but that was deceit and we would never trust you again. To make matters worse, there were red double decker hop on hop off buses at the port gate offering an hour journey with commentary for ten euros per person!

We visited Marseilles (beautiful downtown historic port area), Livorno (for Pisa - not much there other than the leaning tower but you can also make Florence), Rome (book your Colosseum trip in advance on the internet (we used City Wonders - excellent), Naples (awesome, you must see Pompeii and Capri), Dubrovnik (very attractive and you Game of Thrones people would know it as Kings Landing), Corfu (friendly and nice), Sicily (Taormina is superb and an hour taxi from the cruise terminal), Sardinia (you arrive right in the middle of its port) and back to Barcelona.

So, the point i wish id known before i went was there is always a free port bus from the ship to the port entrance. Once there there will be fleets of taxis and other coach operators offering better value trips.

One final tip. If I were doing this again (it went from and returned to Barcelona) I would arrive 24 hours earlier and leave 24 hours later. When you disembark at 8am you're quickly chucked out of the cruise terminal and the wait for transit vehicles is disorganized and unbearable. far better to have a hotel booked so you can just get in a taxi, drop your bags off and go out and enjoy the city rather than waste a day between here and the airport.

Well done Carnival for a great cruise, but a bit more honesty on the shore excursions would be appreciated. PS I complained about the Corfu trip price and was offered a 50% refund. I threatened to inform HQ of the rip off and got 100% back,

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