Carnival Vista Cruise Review by sunshinesmilin: 26 y.o female on a boat with a bestie's fam - looking for fun and relaxation!
Overall Member Rating
26 y.o female on a boat with a bestie's fam - looking for fun and relaxation!
Destination: Western Caribbean
My best friend's family was cruising and they had an extra bed available, so I figured I had to fill it and check out the Carnival experience! I've cruised with Royal Carribbean, Norwegian, and Holland America, but this was my first Carnival experience and as a 26 y.o female I was interested to see what it's all about.
Embarkation line looked tremendously long at 12:30 but everything moved pretty quickly. All in, boarded probably within forty-five minutes and room was ready.
The ship is new, designed so that you're not bored if you're open to checking out water slides, ropes course, sky ride, mini-golf, and the gazillion events they have planned throughout the cruise. I'd say you should be excited about the pool being a serious party atmosphere with a rockin' DJ, or this may not be the best option for you. (The DJ with long hair was incredible and really made the party come to life. The other DJ however really was not good.) The serenity deck is great for adults but More if you're looking for a quiet, subdued, relaxing atmosphere overall, I'd pick a different cruise line, after all, Carnival is going for fun and folks are pretty serious about it NOT being "bougie."
Main dining room food was extremely hit or miss. The lobster on Christmas (no extra charge) was great, the short ribs were awesome, but the pasta, fish, chicken, and steak dishes were all just okay in my opinion. And yes, I tried many dishes, not just one per course. The escargot was also yummy. Desserts were actually pretty solid here, though there was only cheesecake on the menu on the last night and it was pretty gross.
We tried the Mexican option for lunch, which was pretty good (taco bowls, no complaints), and the Mongolian restaurant for lunch which was also decent, (think Asian noodles with whatever veggies/protein you want mixed in) but neither was anything special.
The Lido buffet was always slammed with insane lines for breakfast and always seemed half closed at dinner time. Food quality here was again, hit or miss. Note: dinner at the buffet features the same food that's served in the main dining room.
The hand made ice cream that folks rave about was only available one day on our cruise, and of course on that day, it had a super long line.
The soft serve machine was always working but the cones ran out quite often and the quality of the frozen yogurt was pretty nasty. Thankfully they had soft serve ice cream and frozen yogurt to choose from or I'd have been grossed out by that froyo.
The coffee on board is pretty mediocre outside of the specialty Java stop, which is disappointing. I just got a regular cup of coffee from the Java place and it was delicious. Sadly though, the coffee that's included on the boat was pretty nasty.
Unlimited soda package - honestly, for the first two days of the cruise it's so hard to get anywhere close to the bartenders that I don't really think the soda package is worth it. I’d imagine this to be true too for the unlimited booze packages. Bartenders seem to have a bad attitude when serving you, probably because they're used to folks abusing these packages, but that's unacceptable to be treated poorly, or to have to wait 30 minutes for a soda. Note: soda is not readily available in the Lido buffet. Also, I was made to feel foolish if I didn't give a tip on top of the gratuity that I know is included, as servers gave bad attitudes to guilt you into leaving a tip. This is especially true at evening events when a server comes around (if you're lucky enough to catch one.)
Entertainment at night was also hit or miss. I felt that the Rock show and the show that did a take on cinema were the best and these came at the end of the week. It felt to me like they put the mediocre shows up front in hopes you'd forget how disappointing they were as the week went on. Comedians weren't my cup of tea, at all. Also hated the pre-amble that Fluffy gave before every show... felt like we were being treated like children. Live music was solid throughout the cruise except for one night when the Velvet Vibrations group was playing and kept asking for recommendations, then not wanting to or being able to play any of the songs requested. If you can't or won't accommodate requests, don't ask and stick to a set list (which they didn't seem to have prepared!)
At night, the liquid lounge was very hit or miss as well. The nights that featured the great DJ were awesome. But other nights were pretty terrible.
Entertainment on sea days around the pool was fun. Matt and Cookie do a phenomenal job keeping energy high and engaging the crowd for a party. Hat's off to them.
Fitness center - at the front of the boat, beautiful views. Very good.
Service - in the room, steward (we had Dede) was awesome. Room was always clean, and after I asked him to bring ice in the evenings he did that every day! Great guy.
In the dining room, servers were also extremely hit or miss. We did the open dining, which I think was a mistake. This meant that every night we had a different table/server unless we specified exact preferences. After having three negative experiences and then one positive one, we started requesting the same server. He was then out sick so we got a new one and then we stuck with him but were pawned off to his assistant who honestly was terrible. I'd recommend picking a dinner seating time so that you have consistency and there's incentive for the servers to treat you well.
Ports were all pretty solid. Glad we did research ahead of time though.
Cozumel - went to Mr. Sancho's for the all-inclusive which was a great, relaxing day in the sun with great food, drinks, and service.
Belize - took a 45 minute water taxi ($25/pp round trip, open to the public -- walk through tourist trap terminal, exit, turn left, cross the street and ask for water taxi if you're lost) to Caulker Caye (we were headed to Ambergris Caye but were told by the guy manning our tender to go to Caulker for a more relaxed atmosphere). I think next time we would go to Ambergris instead because Caulker was a little bit too relaxed but it was beautiful. Gorgeous water, just not great beaches to hang on... instead we sat on the beach next to a restaurant - Rainbow Grill that had incredible food - on their lounge chairs. The boys in our group went on a Cave exploration excursion through Carnival in Belize and were extremely dissatisfied. The actual cave part only lasted 30 minutes and the three of them had to split up into three separate groups. Overall this seemed like a huge waste of time and money. I’d recommend booking a caving trip with an outside company if you’re interested in that kind of thing. But note: don’t go to Belize City without a plan. There’s really not much you’re going to want to do here without some planning.
Mahogany Bay - did the discover scuba tour through Carnival. This was lousy. Visibility was extremely poor, some instructors were terrible, and we learned that there is a far better discover scuba trip to Anthony Island and we were sad to have missed that. The beach at Mahogany Bay is owned by Carnival and is nice.
Grand Cayman - the gem of the trip in terms of incredible beaches that are just a quick taxi ride away from the port. Head to 7 mile beach, kick back and enjoy. Yes, you'll be brought to a resort where you have to pay $2/pp to enter then $12/pp for a chair unless you specify that you want to be taken to a public beach, where I still think you’d have to rent a chair. My recommendation is once your settled, to definitely take a walk on this beach. You’ll immediately be in a quieter area and get to enjoy some really wonderful views of some of the bluest water ever.
Our group was a mom, dad, two 26 year old girls, and 17 and 21 year old boys. We had a very good time. Many things to enjoy. There were certain things around service, food quality, soda availability, and Carnival excursion quality that we thought were questionable, and we were at times frustrated by the sheer limitations around being in port for such short windows of time, but overall, we were very glad to have gone. Less
Read more Carnival Vista cruise reviews >>
Read Cruise Critic's Carnival Vista Review >>
Cabin review: 4C2344 Interior
Interior cheapest cabin we could get - no complaints. Clean, but small. Two twin beds. Decent amount of storage space for clothes, space under bed for luggage, good bathroom, great water pressure.Read All Interior (4C) Reviews >>
Port and Shore Excursions
The Best Ever Cruise & Holiday...
Last Carnival Cruise
Fantasy shows age
SHIP OK BUT NO WOW FACTOR LIKE...
Had to go out of our way to ma...