2 Carnival Vista Cruise Reviews for Gay & Lesbian Cruises to Caribbean - Eastern

This was our second Carnival cruise. First one was almost 4 years ago and I am so glad they improved on the embarkment and disembarkment. Before, they use to snap pictures of people when trying to get off the ship at ports right on the ... Read More
This was our second Carnival cruise. First one was almost 4 years ago and I am so glad they improved on the embarkment and disembarkment. Before, they use to snap pictures of people when trying to get off the ship at ports right on the gang plank. Now, they moved that to the dock, much better and disembarkation went so quickly going on and off. We did have a 2 hour delay getting on in Miami which was crazy and no one ever explained to us what was going on, but you're on vacation and away from the snow so no big deal standing in the sun in Miami for us Canadians. We had a balcony and it is the only way I have cruised so far so can't compare it to anything. Room was the usual small cabin/comfy quarters but how much time does one spend in their room, right? The cabin steward kept our room clean and lovely towel animals. Use to get chocolate on pillows but didn't get any this time. We went to Grand Turks, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts and St. Maarten - Puerto Rico is still my favourite place. Saw damage from hurricane's in PR but especially in St. Maarten. So sad. The planes are returning to St. Maarten. Did not do any excursions on this trip so can't recommend. Entertainment was good. Matt the Entertainment Director was great, very funny. The staff on the ship work very hard and are always so polite and friendly. The ship is kept very clean considering there are thousands of people on it. Dining, Buffets and Food: I am a plant based vegan and that was impossible on the ship unless I only wanted to eat salad every meal. I started eating vegetarian on the ship, which also was harder than you would think given it is 2018. In the dining room one evening, I was about to order the tomato soup as a starter but my waiter informed me it was made with "chicken" stock. Seriously! Then whenever I found stir fry at the buffet, it had chicken or shrimp or both. Only once I found it with just veggies. I went to the asian place for lunch and ordered a veggie stir fry and it was good, although very small. I found the selection of food anywhere on the ship terrible if you were vegetarian and for get it if you were vegan. Family I was with had lobster one night at dining and the lobster was mostly raw. I think for the amount of money I paid (and for Canadians, we also have to fly to a port), the food should be better with options that are not ALL meat, cheese and dairy. And if you make a soup that contains no meat like vegetable or tomato, use vegetable stock to make it not chicken. So many of the various salad options were loaded with mayo ... vegans don't do ANY dairy. I have to say, I was very disappointed in the food. I expected better. I contacted Carnival prior to going and mention I was vegan/vegetarian and they said talk to my waiter. One night in the dining room they made me a special meal, two pieces of broccoli, over cooked asparagus and two hunks of not cooked tofu. It was disgusting. Carnival, you need to dedicate a cook to vegetarians/vegans at meal time. Someone who can make at least one thing completely tasty and healthy. Waterslides - so much fun! Skyride- LOVED it! Summary: for us, cruising is so expensive when you take in account the airfare to get to a port, cost of the cruise, all the gratuities, extras for decent coffee or a drink and then all the expenses when you go off at various ports. I think it is cheaper to go to a resort for 2 weeks then one week on a cruise. I also think that since I have only been on Carnival, I will have to research the other cruise lines to see if they have vegan/vegetarian options that Carnival just does NOT have. If so, my cruising dollar will go to the line that does. I'm not going to neglect my health just because I'm on vacation. Read Less
Sail Date January 2018
My second time this year on the Vista, we chose this itinerary as our first Christmas cruise and opportunity to enjoy the Havana area. Our ports included St. Maarten, San Juan, and Grand Turk. I was so amazed that so many of the crew ... Read More
My second time this year on the Vista, we chose this itinerary as our first Christmas cruise and opportunity to enjoy the Havana area. Our ports included St. Maarten, San Juan, and Grand Turk. I was so amazed that so many of the crew remembered us from our cruise this summer in the Mediterranean. Service overall was fantastic, from our amazing cabin steward Paul in the Havana area aft balcony on deck 6, Franklin our bartender in the Havana area, Gabriel our bartender at the Alchemy bar, the amazing hostess in the Fahrenheit Steakhouse where we ate twice (again), to Matt and Cookie cruise director and entertainment directors extraordinaires! I know that common areas on the ship can be crowded at times. I do not like crowds or lines, so I planned my experience accordingly. With Your Time Dining, when I did choose to eat in the MDR, I'd eat early between 5:30 and 6:00 to check in. We never waited in line more than 5 minutes. For the must-try Pig and Anchor Sea Day barbecue, I went right when it opened or later in the afternoon to avoid the crowds. It's superb, by the way. The brisket, chicken, sausage, mac and cheese, baked beans, and cornbread are best in class. For JiJi's Asian Mongolian wok lunch, I chose embarkation day to avoid any crowds at all. Of course, with the exclusive access to the Havana Area in the day time, our hot tubs, pools, loungers and large day beds were never crowded. This was heaven! It changes the whole cruise. It is completely worth it. If you know that service in the MDR can take 2-3 hours for dinner and you want to see a show, you should keep that in mind when ordering. Food in the MDR is just okay, especially if you stick to standard entrees. I don't do this. I order more unusual things like mussels, oysters Rockefeller, cheese plates, fish entrees, and port inspired entrée selections. These tended to be absolutely delicious. Also, if nothing sounded interesting to me, I'd make a meal of multiple appetizers and eat tapas style. I wish ordering a drink in the MDR meant that you could order from your wait captain. Once we ordered and never got our drinks. Also, it would be better if they had roving waiters on the decks to take drink orders when you're sunbathing. This kind of service is spotty on the ship. I'd eat every night in the steakhouse if they offered more entrees. It's excellent service, quiet, romantic, and superior quality dining. The hostess and wait staff went far beyond expectations to delight us with accommodating service. We had the Cheers package and loved a particular champagne only available there, so we stopped into the restaurant before dinner to get a glass and the hostess would just greet us and get our glasses. I felt like a VIP. Late night dining is great at Pizzeria del Capitano with hand tossed pizzas. This was the longest time we ever waited to eat, but we didn't mind because we conversed with others as we waited after midnight and got a beer at the bar right there. We'd have room service for breakfast and tried it once for dinner. My insider tip for this is to order an extra BLT for dinner and put it in your cabin fridge for breakfast the next day. Also tip your room service waiter! I loved the Studio VIP show and the America Rocks show this time. There was a small line the night we walked up to the Studio VIP show a few minutes early, and the cast pulled us out of line and asked us if we wanted to be in the show. We said yes, and got front row seats! If you're up for no-holds-barred adults entertainment, do not miss the NSFW late night adult scavenger hunt in the Liquid Lounge. I have never had so much fun on a cruise. We played a lot of trivia and won our coveted ship on a stick from the Vista this time as well. Our aft facing balcony was perfect with a view of the portside hot tub and the wake of the engines. The room is standard like all Carnival balconies with deeper balcony, Havana toiletries (including a body wash, body wash/shampoo dual purpose wash, and but no separate conditioner, so be aware of that), and special robes and towels. After 7PM, they open the Havana area to the entire ship. Because this was holiday season there were a lot of teens on vacation. On two nights, we had loud teens right outside our room in the hot tub not 10 feet from us. This was a bit of a nuisance, so I'd avoid this same type room when school was out if I sailed on the Vista again. Our itinerary was completely reversed due to storms in the Caribbean, but we had perfect weather, so I wasn't phased. St. Maarten is great for beaches, shopping in Philipsburg, and dining in Marigot. Our snorkeling tour through Carnival was cancelled the day before with no explanation, so we just booked a bus tour of the island with an opportunity to have lunch in Marigot. Good call! The island creole meal at Rosemary's on the beach was superb! Old Town in San Juan is absolutely charming for a food tour and a walking tour right off the ship, and you can walk to the beautiful, photogenic seaside port El Morro right from the ship. Grand Turk has pristine beaches, but Governor's beach right off the ship near Margaritaville is too crowded for me. I took a cab to Cockburn town for the best conch ever and then went on to Pillory beach a bit farther down and not as crowded. Loved it! This was the first cruise where we met a number of other gay and lesbian couples at the Alchemy Bar on the first night LGBT gathering with whom we hit it off, spent time off and on at shows, at trivia, and even meeting for dinner. We were so pleased! Frankly, even the rest of the people in the Havana area and the crew were incredibly friendly. We had so much fun. We loved taking spin classes in the mornings (for a $23/class per person fee) in the gym. The classes were always sold out, so sign up in advance! The technology with provided chest strap heart rate monitors and biking shoes is really cool! I've cruised plenty of times with Carnival now, and I know how to tailor an experience to have a wonderful time, avoid the crowds, mitigate any disappointments. I'm sorry that so many other people don't have the experience I have. I'd only book a spa cabin or a Havana cabin on this ship to insure a fabulous cruise. Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
Carnival Vista Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 3.5 3.6
Entertainment 5.0 3.7
Public Rooms 4.0 3.8
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.0
Family 5.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 3.5 3.6
Enrichment 1.0 3.5
Service 4.0 3.9
Value For Money 5.0 3.6

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