1,039 Carnival Vista Cruise Reviews

We were on the February 8, 2020 Sailing of the Vista, and I can’t tell you how disappointed I am in how much I did *not* enjoy the Havana experience this year. We sailed the Carnival Vista in the Havana area this time last year and ... Read More
We were on the February 8, 2020 Sailing of the Vista, and I can’t tell you how disappointed I am in how much I did *not* enjoy the Havana experience this year. We sailed the Carnival Vista in the Havana area this time last year and were so impressed I booked the same area for this year in a Havana Suite and for 2021 in a Havana Cabana and 2022 in a Havana Suite. I’ve spent the past year on the many online cruising sites telling anyone who would listen how fantastic the Havana experience is.  That will no longer be the story I tell on these online sites although I was hoping to add to my new telling that Carnival was gracious in handling my concerns.   Unfortunately I have only received platitudes from Carnival and no assurances that they intend to make any reasonable changes.  We were in Suite 5236 and the noise from the Havana Bar every night made sleeping impossible.  The music and singing from the dining room below us during each evening's “showtime” was unacceptably loud in our cabin.  Both of these things could possibly have been overlooked. But what was inexcusable was the inability of the Havana staff to maintain a safe and pleasant environment in the Havana area, an area that we pay a hefty premium to enjoy.  It is not possible to enjoy the area when the Havana staff allow other passengers to loudly play their personal music on their personal speakers set up poolside where all other passengers were subjected to whatever that passenger chose to blare out of their speakers.  I brought my concern to the Havana area attendant and was told they couldn’t do anything about it.  I eventually called Guest Services, each time the attendant allowed this to happen, and security was sent to tell the passengers to turn off their speakers.  The overly intoxicated passengers then made a big deal about who was “snitching to security” and made the entire situation very uncomfortable.  Along with the private speakers being played, the Havana attendants did little to control the out of control antics such a “cannonball” jumping into the pool soaking everyone sitting on the pool's edge and nearly landing on people in the pool. It was unsafe and very unpleasant. I expect that I will just have to understand that my fellow Havana passengers were the luck of the draw, and I drew a very bad lot this cruise. I did expect that the Havana staff would do more than stand idly by allowing this ruckus and mayhem to unfold day after day.  Understand that if you are considering paying the high premium  for a Havana cabin and are hoping for a relaxing space, it will come down to whether your fellow Havana passengers will play nice because the staff will do nothing to control any passengers who choose to ruin the experience for everyone else.  I will not be taking that risk again. I no longer have any desire to stay in Carnival's Havana area after suffering through a very unpleasant $4000+ frat house experience this past week, or aboard any Carnival ship in the foreseeable future.  I was working toward becoming a platinum passenger by the end of 2021 with my bookings, but that is no longer something I want.   As for the rest of the Vista, it has all the warmth of a professional medical building. Carnival has lowered their bar so low that there is no escaping their obvious descent as they race to the bottom. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I first want to say I have never written a negative review in my life. But we work very hard to save for our vacations and I know others do too. I simply want to let people know that the Vista is not the average cruise. It is what I ... Read More
I first want to say I have never written a negative review in my life. But we work very hard to save for our vacations and I know others do too. I simply want to let people know that the Vista is not the average cruise. It is what I would consider a bottom of the barrel cruise. We chose Vista excited to see the new Havana area. When we booked we were told it was open after 7 p.m. When we arrived they told us they no longer allowed it. No one contacted us to inform of the change. If they had we would have switched ships. It appears that what Carnival has done with this ship is to eliminate space and amenities for regular travelers and expand areas for folks able and willing to pay higher prices for the amenities that every traveler used to enjoy. Havana suites and Family Harbor rooms. Many of our favorite spots you find on cruises are missing on the Vista. It is impossible to escape the crowds as the public areas are a fraction of the size as other smaller ships. No adult only pool, it has been replaced with Havana pool. Only 4 hot tubs on entire giant ship. With the exception of the closed Havana tubs. Serenity area is super tiny, has little shade, and is very inconvenient. They have chopped the Your Time dining room into smaller spaces yet continue the floor dances which half of the rooms could not participate in. The long walking area normally below the lifeboats does not exist on this ship. The ship has absolutely no style other than what could be described as cheap and tacky. LED displays have replaced almost everything that normally gives each ship interest and character. It gives the ship a very Wal- Mart feel. No atrium elevators. Colored glass and wooden accents are replaced with simple sheets of painted white steel. The shopping area was the smallest and most predictable I have ever experienced. All this being said I must point out that the crew was absolutely outstanding. Every worker was friendly and competent. Also we were not traveling with children so I can't speak to how this ship may work for families. I hate being negative but I hope that everyone researching ships finds the right one for them. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
I have taken 6 Carnival cruises since 2011. My wife is a platinum member so our embarkation and debarkation were fast and nice. Our room was average, the room stewards were friendly. We found an unopened yogurt in our fridge. Our neighbors ... Read More
I have taken 6 Carnival cruises since 2011. My wife is a platinum member so our embarkation and debarkation were fast and nice. Our room was average, the room stewards were friendly. We found an unopened yogurt in our fridge. Our neighbors found dirty underwear in their cabin. The buffets never seemed to be open and the free restaurants always had a long lines. The carnival app never worked right. You need this to schedule ship activities including dinner reservations. The dining room always seemed to be a 2 hour experience. BTW you have to make reservations, no more anytime dining. And if the app was down "which was most of the time" you had to go to deck 5, stand in a long line and make reservations, then go back down to deck 3, stand in another long line to eat in the dining room. The service in the dining room lacked greatly. Very slow service and substandard food most nights. Forget about ordering any side sauces or anther drink, you will never get it. Many times the waiter would tell me " oh sorry, all my help is downstairs". This means NO you can not have that. The buffets were also lacking. Long lines and Cold food. The meats had a chemical taste. The Guys Pig and anchor BBQ was great. I had it twice. The Bonsai Sushi restaurant was good but, you had to pay for it. The taco, burrito and burger spots always had long lines. The room service was nonexistent and laughable at best! The menu was MOSTLY paid items. We tried to order twice and none would ever even pick up the phone. Why not just not have any room service? The mixed drinks on the ship tasted very good and most were moderately priced. We were totally surprised to find out Carnival quit carying Coca Cola and Red Bull in lieu of Pepsi and Monster. WHY???? Because it's cheaper!! The shows were laughable and unwatchable. First we sat thru a show call Flick. Honestly I would rather sit thru a Tony Robbins lecture on insurance policies for time shares. I sat thru the "Rock" show painfully. The bingo, photos, food, and other shopping in the shops were expensive. The movie theater is not a real movie theater. Very limited showing of substandard movies and Yes, you have to pay extra for it. The photos that Carnival's employees take of you as you wander around the ship cost as well. And they are NOT cheap! The digital download of each photo is $15. This is EACH. The Carnival cruises we have taken in the past were for the most part ALL-INCLUSIVE. They are not anymore.You have to pay for everything! Everything is an extra upcharge. We paid for 3 internet packages at $300. "that were either very slow or not working" and we still had to pay an extra $5. each to be able to text each other. The dining room menu had a lot of items you have to pay "extra" for. We tried to schedual a behind the scene tour of the ship, it was $95. per person. This is just wrong. So after this cruise we are probably done with Carnival. Sad we used to really enjoy it. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
We cruise a lot of lines, including Carnival, but this cruise was definitely among our least favorites. The 3 star rating is in light of the fact that we enjoyed some of the entertainment and the ports. Also, the weather was wonderful, so ... Read More
We cruise a lot of lines, including Carnival, but this cruise was definitely among our least favorites. The 3 star rating is in light of the fact that we enjoyed some of the entertainment and the ports. Also, the weather was wonderful, so it was a nice getaway. First, to us, the food and dining experience was definitely not up to the usual Carnival standard. Many of the dishes were quite bad (looking at you, Penne Mariscos). And the MDR service was the worst we've had on any ship. You had to ask for everything and that didn't mean you'd get it. The biggest struggle was getting coffee to go with the dessert course at dinner - I think due to the fact that you now order dessert with the rest of the meal so it's just another thing for them to bring out. However, one breakfast we had a very good waiter, who reminded us of the better Carnival service we've enjoyed on other ships. The food in the buffet was somewhat better, but as others have commented, there wasn't much variety and often long lines. The pizza was quite good, but I don't eat meat and they seemed to make mostly pepperoni. The one time I was able to get a cheese slice, it was really good. Also liked the sometimes-available gelato. The bar service was generally good and friendly - especially in the Ocean Plaza. We scored a great deal during happy hour in the Red Frog pub one port day afternoon - a pitcher of mixed drink (forget which one) for just over $11 including gratuity. We drank it in one of the nice outdoor seating areas on Deck 5 - one of the ship innovations that we liked. We really liked the Ocean Plaza as an entertainment venue, and especially enjoyed the bands Studio 6 and the Ambrassadors (who also performed in the Rock production show). This is where they also did trivia, dance lessons, etc., and you could also get surprisingly good breakfasts and lunches there. It was also around the corner from the coffee bar. We also tried the light lunch at the Serenity, but it turned out to be just salad (although with lots of fresh ingredients), and it was hard to get a place to sit. The Serenity on this ship seemed small and crowded. Our inside cabin was fine, and our room steward did a good job. As people have mentioned, the elevators were a pain. Too few and too slow. We have another Carnival cruise booked and expect to add more - just won't be the Vista. Read Less
Sail Date February 2020
Be sure and arrive at your designated time, you don’t want to get in the longer early or late line. If you bring on a small ice chest, no ice or water allowed, bring freezer packs. Cans only is the rule now days. If you don’t have ... Read More
Be sure and arrive at your designated time, you don’t want to get in the longer early or late line. If you bring on a small ice chest, no ice or water allowed, bring freezer packs. Cans only is the rule now days. If you don’t have faster to the fun, expect to keep your carry on luggage with you when you go to the spa for a tour, or to the busy lunch buffet. You can get access to your room at 1:30. The room key cards will be in the mail bin by your door. If you buy an alcohol cheers package, it starts the next day. If you get a soda cheers package, expect to pay tax for each drink until the boat is under way. If you are planning on using your spa privileges / discounts, be sure to go take a tour early, before it gets crowded. They show you all of the areas of the spa, and try to talk you into each procedure offered. Research what you are interested in before you get on the boat. Not every spa offering is included in the 20-30-40% off, and the best deals are on port days, including departure day. Schedule your whole week right then, so you can get spots before or after your shore excursions for the best prices. My daughter was 16, so was limited on what she could do, but they offered her much more than was on the zspa teen list, there were many adult offerings she could do at the spa room discounted prices. On departure day we both got the body scrub with a massage for 75 minutes. I highly recommend that, it was so wonderful I did it later in the cruise. I tried acupuncture to relieve chronic pain in my shoulders. They felt better for a couple hours, but my wrists, ankles, and butt still hurt the next day from the needles. I’ll not try that again. The steam rooms and heated recliners were wonderful as well. If you want your free yoga, it is at 8am, and the palates is at 4. The serenity deck was nice, but crowded during the day, with all of the seats saved early. The salad bar was wonderful. The hot tubs were not crowded after dark, and no kids swimming in them! Deck 14 was very quiet, no drunks walking the halls at night to wake me up! Only 2 elevators go to deck 14, expect to find one that goes to 12, and walk the last flight up. I would not recommend deck 14 for people that can not use the stairs. The elevators are really as bad as stated on previous reviews. The casino is not smoky like other reviews stated, if you take the path around. I did miss the glass elevators. Only kids movies were offered in the Imax, the same 2 all week, so I did not go to it. The large 2 story Horizons restaurant was solely for Your Time dining, always crowded, and very slow service. Plan on spending an hour and a half, and waiting a long time for service. This was my 10th Carnival cruise, and the first time I ever ate dinner at the buffet, and I did it twice. It was hard to go see the comedy shows, unless you saw it first and ate late, which I don’t like to do. Under 18 can only go to the 6:15 and 7:15 shows, they will check ages with your room key for later shows. The steak house was wonderful. If you go there be sure and get the Art at the Table choice for desert. The chef comes to your table and puts on a show. The sky ride was fun, about a 30 minute wait each time we did it. The line for the ropes course was most often short. The easy runs along side the hard, so you can go along side your kid (you on the easy, the kids on the hard). There is no turning back, unless no on is behind you. There is only one track for the cable, no one can go around you. Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
My husband and I had a GREAT time on Carnival Vista. We set sail the first week in January, after New Years. I had heard quite a few things about Carnival being dirty or being the ships that get people sick; I'll address these ... Read More
My husband and I had a GREAT time on Carnival Vista. We set sail the first week in January, after New Years. I had heard quite a few things about Carnival being dirty or being the ships that get people sick; I'll address these further below. TIP - Our overnight stay at the Harbour House in Galveston was lovely. The location allowed me to watch the Vista come in to port that morning! I'm a very excited cruiser, so I was tracking it all morning and LEAPT out of bed to watch it pass. It passes VERY CLOSE to the hotel and what an epic view! Highly recommend Harbour House! Embarkation was very smooth. LOVELY people working at the Galveston Terminal. We were 20 minutes early for our 1-1:30 boarding time, so we got in that line and didn't wait on anything except for a few minutes to get our carry on bags scanned by security. We were on the ship in no time! You enter into the atrium and yes, it is underwhelming. It's just very closed in and that thing in the middle with the videos playing on it is a little lame. Our rooms were ready right away, so we went to 7459 - a Havana aft wrap balcony. GREAT room. Several large windows, plenty of space, good closet size and your average bathroom. My only complaints are that it is difficult for two people to get into the closet area at one time and there are no outlets near the bed on either side. From the balcony we could see our exclusive access hot tubs and pools. This is WORTH every penny of the upcharge. About my earlier dirty comment, the only dirty thing I saw on the ship were the panels in the guard rails along the Havana hot tubs and pools. I had dreamt of lounging in the pool and looking out into the gulf, but these see through (plexi-glass, glass?) panels were quite filthy and tinted which obstructed the potentially epic view. Service in the Havana is fantastic, the drinks are great, there are Havana towels in your room AND at the pool. Plenty of seating but the best lounge chairs did fill up early. The pool was never quite warm enough, but thats what I get for leaving from Galveston in January. My husband and I took this trip for both of our birthdays which are the same week. On our first full sea day, my birthday, we did EVERYTHING. There is so much to do on this ship that we couldn't believe it was only the first day and that we'd have more to do the rest of the week! Our last cruise was on the Norwegian Bliss and while it was very beautiful and relaxing, compared to the Vista it was boring and absolutely lacking a cruise director presence. Schwartz is the best! Fun, relatable, hilarious and EVERYWHERE. Works so hard and loves what he's doing. Overall, food was quite good. I LOVED Blue Iguana, Guys Burgers and the steakhouse. Just OK was the pizza and main dining room but both better than I'd expected. The buffet on the other hand was awful. We tried to eat there twice and gave up after just a few bites. This brings me to the sickness point. People, wash your hands before you touch tongs and serve-ware that other people coming behind you are going to touch. I watched the majority of passengers just walk right by hand sanitizer and the hand washing station. On Norwegian, this area was monitored by a very friendly person who sang you a song about the importance of washing on a cruise ship, and I'd say 95% would wash. On the Vista, washing is an afterthought as evidenced by the very few actual washing stations vs hand sanitizing stations. My husband and I played quite a few table games and entered tournaments in the casino, both winning invitations to the next round on a future cruise! We had a great time at the tables with Nikita, Richmond and Lucas especially. In the Red Frog Pub, Shakira was excellent. Our room steward, Ron, was a delight and quick. Service overall was pretty good. Shore excursions... eh. We found our own way in Mahogany Bay to a monkey sanctuary. There we got to play with a few monkeys, see other monkeys, birds and butterflies and... HOLD A SLOTH. The sloth was adorable and so huggable. Other than that, MB is a lackluster port. In Belize we went to see the ruins - great experience. Getting to the ruins is a haul (over an hour bus ride, 30 minute boat ride) and the tour guides were slightly annoying in the way they explained what we were seeing, asking rhetorical questions often and slowing down getting to the point. The ruins themselves were spectacular. In Cozumel we had another ruins tour scheduled but after doing it the previous day and not wanting to spend a huge amount of time on a bus again, we switched tours for a catamaran sail and snorkel plus beach party. GREAT EXCURSION. The crew on this catamaran were top notch. Beer and margaritas were free on the boat and at the beach. On the boat, the crew were constantly making sure your cup was full. It was a very party atmosphere with drinks, music and dancing. The snorkeling was very refreshing and the water and fish were beautiful. The beach party was relaxing and fun with many water obstacles to slide down and jump off of, and more drinks. Food was extra, but we did not partake having had lunch at the port earlier. Cozumel was by far the most fun, party vibe port. Debarkation was a bit of a cluster but mainly due to people not understanding or paying attention to the system and announcements. We weren't in a rush so we waited on deck 10 with a pizza and soft serve! I would absolutely cruise Carnival again in the Havana AND with Schwartz! Read Less
Sail Date January 2020
Sailed this cruise for New Years and loved almost everything about it. The morning that we boarded in Galveston there was a super dense fog that delayed our boarding by about five hours, which didn’t set a fantastic tone for starting off ... Read More
Sailed this cruise for New Years and loved almost everything about it. The morning that we boarded in Galveston there was a super dense fog that delayed our boarding by about five hours, which didn’t set a fantastic tone for starting off on our first cruise, but this event turned out to be the only negative comment that I could muster up from the entire seven day voyage. The free food onboard was excellent, the entertainment was fantastic, and I don’t have enough time to describe how incredibly hard every crew member worked to make it the best cruise possible. The team that cleaned our cabin knew me by name and so did the waiters for the suppers every night. Our cruise director (Schwartz) did a seamless job of making sure that all of the events happening were fun and interactive! It was by far the best vacation that I have been on yet! I will definitely be sailing with Carnival cruise ships in the future! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Our family of four had a fantastic time on the Vista. We were late departing because the port was closed due to dense fog, and the ship could not return to port. Carnival kept us well informed about the progress, and we were finally able ... Read More
Our family of four had a fantastic time on the Vista. We were late departing because the port was closed due to dense fog, and the ship could not return to port. Carnival kept us well informed about the progress, and we were finally able to board the ship beginning at 6:30 PM. Aside from that minor inconvenience (and a remarkably smooth embarkation, given the circumstances), the cruise exceeded our expectations. New Year’s Eve in particular was a blast, with countdowns all over the ship so people could pick the kind of setting they wanted to ring in the new year. The main party was up on the Lido deck by the pool, with a countdown on the big screen. Carnival had hats and party favors for all, and the champagne was free flowing. I am surprised by some of the middling reviews people have left about this ship. True, it does not have a grand atrium space like other ships, but what it does have is great. Our two teenage boys had fun exploring the ship together and with new friends they met through O2. And while the Lido deck was almost always crowded around the pool, we prefer to find quiet spaces to relax outside—and those were plentiful. If you’re looking for a hidden haven, there are four comfortable deck chairs outside the Library Bar. The food also gets a big thumbs up in all venues, and you can check out many menus from the main dining room here. They are all screenshots from the Carnival HUB app, which was an indispensable resource. We took full advantage of the entertainment options and spent most of our time in the Ocean Plaza listening to the Riff Rafts and Hornutopia. The mainstage shows were well done, though Flick was slightly bizarre. One of the unique things about this cruise was that it was marked the end of the contracts for several performers, so we got a glimpse into the genuine respect and affection they have for each other as they played their final sets together. Last but not least, I have to give a shout out to our cruise director, Schwartz. He was super high energy, funny, and approachable. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
The plan was to take a cruise with my wife and two kids, and that's exactly what we did. While I rate this a 3 out of 5, let me share with you why. First, it comes from my last cruise i took on a Royal Caribbean (Oasis of the Seas) so ... Read More
The plan was to take a cruise with my wife and two kids, and that's exactly what we did. While I rate this a 3 out of 5, let me share with you why. First, it comes from my last cruise i took on a Royal Caribbean (Oasis of the Seas) so comparing that mass of a beauty to the vista isn't fair. The comparisons though were night and day. On the Vista food varied but the downside was that for general buffets breakfast on the lido deck, pork products were the only thing served. As a non-pork consumer this was disheartening. What's worse was when I made the request for Turkey bacon I was told no which prompted me to speak to a manager because I'd I can spend thousands of dollars to be told no or to be told go to another restaurant on the ship, you just lost me as a customer. The silver lining in that dark cloud came in the last day at sea where my wife and I had reservations ay the 555 Farenheit Steakhouse. This was of course a extra money Restaurant but let me tell you from the service to the food, it was world's apart. The crazy part was the price as it was very inexpensive considering the quality of the food for a 4 course meal. The things that will really make your head spin are the ridiculous prices to pay extra on the ship as to say the cruise wasnt expensive enough. If you purchase photos that the crew took at shore ports and around the boat, just for the option to download to your phone costs 15$USD!! If you get prints, it's an additional 5 dollars. I did a cost analysis on just a guesstimate for passengers and general price paid if every room cost the same, which I know isnt the case, I went off of how much I spent and multiplied it by 4500 passengers and you get close to 500,000 that was made off of purchasing the cruise. I didn't account for the alcohol or non-alcoholic drink packages purchased, the IMAX, or thrill level movie theater (which was a waste of money) the seafood bar, or the gift shops or the ridiculous amount they charged for a couples back massage for 50 minutes, or a pedicure where they tried selling you foot products! Some takeaways were the stateroom attendant, the kids care, the cruise director, the places we visited, the 555 Farenheit Steakhouse, the piano bar sing along, the gym (although was small) and the basketball court (which had to uneven sized rims) my downsides included: ludicrously high prices for things on board, the bland list of activities especially for the sports enthusiast (basketball games could have been a huge event, instead they had a game of knockout which was pretty fun) redundant food choices for the nightly dinners which didnt arrive hot but luke warm, the performance events which wasnt the best, but not the worst. All in all, I would travel on a carnival, but I'd have to see what cruise considered by other travelers to be the best one. For now, Royal Caribbean remains the King of the World as my choice of cruise travel! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This is our first time on Carnival Vista - 11th cruise in total. We have been on several Carnival ships, Holland America, Princess, Norwegian and Celebrity. Our favorite by far was the Celebrity Reflection. I have to say that Vista is ... Read More
This is our first time on Carnival Vista - 11th cruise in total. We have been on several Carnival ships, Holland America, Princess, Norwegian and Celebrity. Our favorite by far was the Celebrity Reflection. I have to say that Vista is a close second and close tie with Norwegian Bliss. What I like with Vista are: - Huge value - Beautiful and clean ship. It has not aged much. - Friendly staff - Big cabin (we were in a cheap pothole window on the second deck) - Plenty of dining options. The options in the Lido buffet was not huge but everything we had was very tasty - Boarding in Galveston was awesome. Carnival has really improved it since our first cruise back in 2005. - They make their own craft beers. The IPA that I had was very tasty - Loved the 5th deck with all the outside areas. Just like on Norwegian Bliss. We have spent a lot of time here so far. - For being such a huge ship it never felt crowded. We don't love the layout of the theater room. I don't know why Carnival went that route. The atrium does not feel Grand but I don't care that much about it. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We chose the Vista because it was the only ship going out of Galveston we hadn’t sailed on during our annual Christmas week cruise. Because Carnival is our least favorite cruise line, we decided to spend more for a Havana Cabana room, ... Read More
We chose the Vista because it was the only ship going out of Galveston we hadn’t sailed on during our annual Christmas week cruise. Because Carnival is our least favorite cruise line, we decided to spend more for a Havana Cabana room, in hopes of a better experience. It did increase our level of satisfaction for the cruise for the following reasons: * Private cabana area outside our patio door (but I must admit we rarely used it) * Pool and 2 hot tubs only for the use of those in Havana Experience cabins (a huge plus when there are tons of kids on a Christmas cruise) * Kids under 12 cannot stay in these cabins. Halls are fairly quiet. * Had no problem getting lounge chairs or cushioned round beds, even with every cabin occupied. * FYI, you cannot lock or unlock your cabana patio door from the outside to walk to pool area. If you read otherwise, it is not true. * Bar service was fast with rarely a wait. * Security personnel did NOT allow anyone into this area without a wristband. This was nice to see! *IMPORTANT TO KNOW: Those not staying in these cabins can no longer visit the pool area in the evening because of noise problems for those in cabins facing this area. HURRAY! * You no longer have to worry about the masses walking by your private cabana at night. * We requested twice a day cabin clean up, as is usual on most lines and our steward was happy to oblige. While our Havana Experience was great, I will also make some comments about the rest of the ship. Pros: Fabulous singers and dancers! They really put their hearts and energy into each performance. Carl was a standout dancer to me! Young and energetic cruise director (Schwartz), though I think sometimes he just likes to hear himself talk. You will see him everywhere, fully participating in numerous activities! Amazing comedians! Tim Young was the best, and he did multiple shows. Hats off to Carnival for putting on an excellent Military Appreciation event! Nice celebrations of both Christmas and Hanukkah. Free yummy gelato at lunch in the Lido, with flavors such as coffee, hazelnut, pineapple, & mango. Cons: Poorly designed theater. Many blocked views and not big enough for the crowds. Poorly designed Lido Marketplace (buffet area), with closed-in feeling and long cafeteria style lines instead of stand alone food areas where people don’t have to wait in long lines. Quality and variety of food was the overall most disappointing thing about this cruise! Very few choices in the buffet and very few good choices in the dining room. We had the chocolate melting cake for dessert nearly every night because there were few better options. Singer/player in the piano bar was just okay. She could not hold a candle to Barry from Boston on Holland America. Tablecloths in dining room only on formal nights. Not using tablecloths cheapens the evening dining experience. Bring your own bottle of body lotion, as Carnival only supplies body wash and shampoo dispensers in shower now, and bar soap at sink. Each time I cruise on Carnival I say it will be my last, but then out of convenience (because we live in San Antonio and can easily drive to Galveston) I seem to minimize the things that I complained about during my previous Carnival cruise. I would recommend Royal Caribbean Liberty of the Seas when sailing out of Galveston over any Carnival ship. Unfortunately, the shows have not changed much from the 3 times we have sailed her, thus we look for other options. If you are a first time cruiser, you may enjoy the Vista, but as a 27th time cruiser, I have been able to compare the many amenities on a variety of cruise lines. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
I have been on the Vista before with just my husband and we stayed in a Havana Vista balcony. That experience was amazing. This one was not as good. We opted for a Havana aft view extended balcony. My children, parents and brother were ... Read More
I have been on the Vista before with just my husband and we stayed in a Havana Vista balcony. That experience was amazing. This one was not as good. We opted for a Havana aft view extended balcony. My children, parents and brother were in interior rooms around the corner. I loved the room... probably even more than our Vista balcony as it had a coach andore usable space. (Opt for one of the four inner most aft view balconies for the most space). Our room steward Rob was nothing short of AMAZING. Best steward I have ever had bar none. This guy MADE the trip!!!! So helpful. My family's interior rooms were nice as well and roomier than I anticipated. The food was decent (ranging from very good to mediocre) but service in the dining room was also excellent. We all had anytime dining but I was able to schedule us a table for 8 on the first night and we were able to keep the same table (looking out over the ocean) for the rest of the cruise with a standing reservation for 5:30 every evening. Burgers were great. My biggest knock on the food was that I ended up with food poisoning on the third day of the cruise (and I knew it was from the ship because I had been on there for two full days and not off) which resulted in me being violently ill and throwing up and having explosive diarrhea for about 36 hours straight. Pretty sure I got it either from the lasagna or the Cesar salad at the Italian restaurant as that was the only thing I ate that no one else in my party ate. I met another woman later on the ship who had the same problem and there were several times I smelled vomit in the hallway so I know I wasn't the only one affected. But I suppose on a cruise ship with 6,000 people, it is almost bound to happen. Entertainment was great and getting on and off the ship at all the ports was a breeze. Disembarking was rough, but it wasn't helped by the fact that we were fogged out of the Galveston port until 3 pm so I guess the staff handled it well all things considered. The drinks were extremely watered down. I would NOT buy the cheers package on this ship. In fact, after I had 8 mixed drinks in a a few hours and did not even get a buzz, I switched to wine. I question if they put any alcohol in them at all. My kids went to kids club the first day and a child became violent. After that, they were scared to go. So that was disappointing and I was quite put out because even though my 5 year old was attacked by a violent child throwing toys at him, I was not called or informed until I picked him up. My child has been going to gym daycares since he was 6 months and is in a private school. He is always excited to go to the gym daycare and school so the fact that he was crying and literally shaking when we mentioned Camp Ocean tells me this was truly a bad situation. He said the kid was 9 and tried to kill him. This is completely unacceptable, Carnival! If your staff can't keep 5 year olds protected from behaviorally disturbed 9 year olds, then they don't need to be taking the kids with behavior problems in Camp Ocean at all! Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This was my second cruise on Carnival Cruise Line. The first Cruise was on the the Carnival Freedom January 2018 with a party of 6. It was probably the best vacation I have ever had in my life and since we had such an awesome time on the ... Read More
This was my second cruise on Carnival Cruise Line. The first Cruise was on the the Carnival Freedom January 2018 with a party of 6. It was probably the best vacation I have ever had in my life and since we had such an awesome time on the last Carnival cruise we took a party of 10 on the Carnival Vista and what a difference. The main problem was that the Vista holds about a thousand more people than the Carnival Freedom with the same amenities. Long lines, long wait times and you cannot walk around in the ship without bumping into someone or them bumping into you. I also believe I spent half the cruise just trying to get on an elevator. Normal services were also lacking and you couldn't turn around without having a server standing behind you trying to sell you their watered down drinks if they had any alcohol in them at all. The ports and shore excursions were good except they put them back to back with no breaks in between and they were shorter than the last cruise, 5.5 hours vs 8 hours on our last cruise. The entertainment was unique (to say the least) and enjoyable. This cruise you had to go to a check in desk and wait 30 minutes to an hour for the open scheduled dining times but the food was well prepared. However, at the table they were more concerned about selling you a drink than getting non priced drinks to the table. The ugliest part was having a bottle of alcohol taken from a box that we purchased in Jamaica that was checked in returning to the ship and them charging my wife for (7) seven lanyards when she purchased (1) one (I do not think this was accidental). They resolved the lanyard problem because we thankfully had our receipt for the purchase but did not resolve the missing bottle of alcohol. Overall this cruise was pretty disappointing especially because I talked 4 more people into going because I convinced them how great previous cruise was, expecting this one would be the same or better. I believe we may try a different cruise line on our next cruise or stick with smaller ships on Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
We sailed in carnival visa from Dec 7-14 . We around 50 members from our company were there. Crew members were really good. Thanks to all crew employees for making our trip so awesome. Special thanks to Martin in horizon, Lawrence, Sumesh ... Read More
We sailed in carnival visa from Dec 7-14 . We around 50 members from our company were there. Crew members were really good. Thanks to all crew employees for making our trip so awesome. Special thanks to Martin in horizon, Lawrence, Sumesh bar attender , Albert from housekeeping he always make sure all our rooms were clean,Amith and Sachin in gift shops . Lot of entertainment was there. Me and my husband enjoyed the mega Tv at night for movies. The punchline comedy clubs spill over with fun and laughter. Daytime schedules are packed with trivia, pub games, dance classes, cooking demos and other similar activities. The nighttime bar scene is happening and lively, while evening shows include high-energy musical revues and off-color comedy shows Busy casino with a variety of table games, slot machines and a variety of tournaments. There were lots of sun deck space for simply lounging about, including on the adults-only Serenity deck, a quiet respite from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the ship. I wont hesitate to go on this cruise again. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
Short Review: Embarkation/Disembarkation: Fast! Good Ship: Big, cheap feeling, wasted space. Bad Cabin: Great! Dining: Good overall. Pizza wait is atrocious. Dining room cramped. Entertainment and Activities: Too much ... Read More
Short Review: Embarkation/Disembarkation: Fast! Good Ship: Big, cheap feeling, wasted space. Bad Cabin: Great! Dining: Good overall. Pizza wait is atrocious. Dining room cramped. Entertainment and Activities: Too much country music! Too much football! All texas all the time. Service: Service people, great. Supervisory staff, annoying. Ports and Shore excursions: Standard cruise fair. Great Carnival beach at Mahogany Bay. Carnival tends to get a bad wrap, not sure why as this is our 3rd Carnival cruise and have had great experiences with Carnival in the past. We have also cruised with Norwegian so we have a basis of comparison. Embarkation/Disembarkation: Embarkation onto our ship went as smooth as it ever has. I believe we might've spent less time getting onto the ship in Galveston than we did in New Orleans or Miami (Norwegian). Disembarkation was also pretty smooth, getting off the ship was quick but the customs line was long, but nothing onerous. Ship: Big and spartan. Ya they can fit a lot of people on this ship... but it feels much smaller than the Carnival Dream. The atrium has that cool martini glass structure in the middle but it lacks the wide open spaces, chandeliers, and glass elevators of the Carnival dream. The dining rooms are somehow more dated looking than older ships. There are more 'bad' seats in the dining areas than good. Your chances of ending up next to a pillar, the kitchen exits, or next to a busy thoroughfare are much higher than getting a good seat. Great you included an IMax theater on a ship! Unfortunately that's space the ship could've sorrily used and I for one wouldn't bother watching a movie with my hard earned bucks after spending a few thousand to sail the tropical seas. You like hot tubs? Too bad! They are notably lacking on this ship. The Dream seemed to have hot tubs everywhere and, at most, you'd be dealing with 4-5 other people. On the Vista the hot tubs are always packed and usually with kids. Sports areas are pretty good but packed together so your mini-golf, pool, and foosball, shuffleboard, twister, etc... are all on top of each other. Cabin: It was good! We had a balcony room for the first time and the views were great, the beds were comfy, and it was bright and open. Lots of plugs and usb ports to charge your electronics. Bathroom was tiny but well laid out and all the plumbing worked as expected although our faucet occasionally considered hot to be steam, warm to be hot, and cold to be still hot. Dining: My kingdom for a pizza. Holy crow was El Capitane's pizza busy. Every minute of every day there was a line up. At night the place was a zoo. On the Pride and the Dream getting a Pizza was simple and convenient. Now with the advent of limited room service people have figured out that grabbing a pizza is the only convenient thing to do in the off-dining times. Blue Iguana and Guy's Burger lines weren't bad at all. Also the food was always really tasty but definitely skewed "American", therefore everything was super salty, but we didn't mind much. The dining rooms were a little disappointing because of the aforementioned bad seating, the dishes were almost 100% identical to dishes we've had on other Carnival cruises, I think the only new things were the peach and mango soups. Fortunately the steak on this cruise was excellent and I would recommend that as a go-to, I'm guessing this is because Texas is known for it's beef? Gelato was amazing and I wish I had it every day, but our schedule often conflicted with it. If you like Asian food I would 100% skip the JiJi's Asian Kitchen. It's awful. I'm a little biased since I've traveled in Asia quite a bit but this stuff is bland as all get out. On the Dream the stir-fry place was just part of the buffet, quick and convenient. On the Vista you often need to wait for a seat at JiJi's Asian Kitchen to get bland and tasteless mall food-court level Chinese. Easy pass! Guy's pig and anchor is located on deck 5... somewhere... never had it once, couldn't comment. It's off the beaten path when you're thinking food (same deal on the Dream). Entertainment/Activities: You from Texas? No? Too bad! You like country music? No? Too bad! You like jokes about football and... more football? No? Too bad! This cruise doesn't leave Texas! If you never have to hear a country crooner cover Third Eye Blind consider yourself lucky. If you're from the Southern US you'll probably enjoy the entertainment but other than the Violin players (they're great) and the major shows everything was Texan focused. It was also hard to take in much of the entertainment because my son would refused to go to kid's club because he was being bullied by some older kids, can't really blame that on the ship, but maybe a bit of intervention from the counselors could've went a long way. Water slides were fun but there's just two. The waterpark for smaller kids was good too. The rope course and sky cycle were fun but the cycle required you to line up for around 45 minutes to an hour. The Liquid lounge had some good shows but there are a lot of blindspots behind pillars so get there early if you want to actually see. Service: Service was a mixed bag. On the highs were the waiters, cleaning staff, waterpark staff. Mario from Bosnia in the dining room was always cheerful and accommodating. Dylan from Scotland from the sports area saw my daughter was sad (because she was 0.5" too short for the sky cycle) and gave her a Carnival medal that brightened her day. Interestingly the supervisory staff were rarely pleasant to deal with. Our party ended up getting booked into two different dining rooms/times despite being all booked under the same reservation. Dealing with the Maitre'D (don't remember name, he was Italian I believe) in the restaurant had us banging our head against a brick wall because "we booked two different dining places" which is stupid. The Maitre'D convinced us that the problem should be handled by guest services. Guest services told us to talk to the Maitre'D and convinced us that whoever we booked the cruise with must've caused the goof but there wasn't much we could do and we should go to the Blue Frog Pub to get our reservations straightened out. When we got to the Blue Frog Pub they told us to talk to Maitre'D. If you die and go to the bad place this is the type of stuff you do for eternity. At this point we gave up and just took our chances with your time dining with usually crappy tables for all but 2 nights. Also, I came on the ship with a jacket that made it to our stateroom but when we were packing up to leave I couldn't find it anywhere. It was dark blue and I was worried that it accidentally got taken out of the room with our beach towels. I asked our room attendant and he said emphatically that nothing can possibly leave the rooms. So magic jacket-eating rooms could be either a pro or con if you believe in magic. Not a pro if you have to fly into Detroit in mid-December in a T-Shirt. Ports/Shore Excursions: I pay thousands of dollars for a vacation I'm not spending thousands more for other stuff. That's no crack against Carnival or any other cruiseline that's just me. Carnival's beach in Mahogany bay was great, and free. Sandy, and lots of amenities and great snorkeling off the dock. No complaints at all. Belize city we didn't do much just walked around the port, it was bright and clean though. Cozumel was dirty and run down, but that's not on Carnival. We went to a nearby public beach that the locals use, it was full of broken glass and had a few homeless people. But if you just grab your snorkel gear and go out in the water there's plenty to see and the kids loved it. (Despite what you might've read above, we're not hard to please) Congrats you made it to the end! Sadly this was my least favourite cruise I've been on. I think the major reason is that our experience on the Carnival Dream was so much better in every way. If you're a Texan and you have better luck than us, and you like paying for extras you might have a great time. If you're a Canadian who has to pay a lot of money just to get to Galveston and you have bad luck, you might not have a great time. If it's any consolation other than the bullying my kids had a great time and would gladly go back. Read Less
Sail Date December 2019
This is the worse experiense ever. So many issues. The rooms do not have ventilation. So many lint fibers and dust are flying in the room. Imagine the rooms have not been ventilated for 4 years but everyday changing of bedings and ... Read More
This is the worse experiense ever. So many issues. The rooms do not have ventilation. So many lint fibers and dust are flying in the room. Imagine the rooms have not been ventilated for 4 years but everyday changing of bedings and releasning dust and lint. I asked for airpurifier they did not have it. It causs allergy,sneezing and coughing all the time. They charged me for spa for 2 persons,me and my daughter, and then they said my daughter can´t use it because she is not 18. I have attached some photos to show that during booking it does not say it is 18 plus no where. They refused to refund. The internet does not let you to make whatsapp calls. Even if you pay extra. I told them the issue and they said it is my whatsapp problem and my contact list. The room is much smaller than it is supposed to be. You can't walk in it. They told me go and measure it!I said does any body come to see if I am right while I am mesuring?they said NO. They refused to change my cabin although they had empty ones. Towels were stained, the first night I saw a big yellow spot on my bed seems that somebody had pee on it. I called them to change it. Some crew members are very rude and not helpful at all. I will update my review because there are a lot to share but i do not have space. Actually their internet does not let me toupload photos. I will do it as soon as I got off. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
(First, thank you to all who post!) We were a family of 7 with 3 children. This ship has soooo much to do for all ages! Kudos to the kids' Ocean Club, the water/sports activities, and the entire staff. Generally, we all loved the ... Read More
(First, thank you to all who post!) We were a family of 7 with 3 children. This ship has soooo much to do for all ages! Kudos to the kids' Ocean Club, the water/sports activities, and the entire staff. Generally, we all loved the experience on being on Carnival's newest ship. IMHO: PROs: Spacious interior cabin Amazing kids' activities and programs. Lots of sports and activities: sky ride, rope climbing, mini golf, water slides, etc. Green Eggs & Ham breakfast ($5. pp extra and worth it with kids) Family Harbor on Deck 2 Outstanding! a must to book with children .. buffet, coffee machines, video and other games, much quieter and less hectic than other dining venues. Serenity Deck .. adults-only space with hot tubs and buffet, Embarkation: plenty of very efficient staff to speed the process considering how large this ship is and the number of people to process. Debarkation at ports and final: pretty smooth too. Great cruise director .. fun pool side contests. Movies outdoor. IMAX theater .. an experience. Dining room wait staff put on shows each night .. very much fun, especially the last night. Macarana finally! Had an absolutely great Maitre D' Senard who addressed our issues so well. Moved our table to a more efficient waiter, continually checked on us, sent a cookie plate to the cabin, and generally went above and beyond to ensure our happiness. HUB .. genius for communicating with family/friends. Worth it to sign up for this. CONS: Very chaotic the first 2 days because the ship is so large and so many people. especially figuring out the ship layout and when and how to show up at the dining room for anytime dining. Ship design is confusing ... lots of ups and downs stairs to reach where you want to go. Poor Signage .. not enough, misplaced or hard to find. Small pools .. salt water.. even though there are 2 pools, often crowded Dining room: lots of choices, but some entrees were a bit overwrought. Best to stick with the simple dishes. Buffet area ...poor sight lines, so it was hard to figure out what area had what. Better signage would have helped here. Food quality .. varies, some good, a few great, others weird. Ports: took shore excursions .. Belize .. very poor at Goff's Key .. skip this one Roatan .. highly recommend Big French Key .. outstanding property with lots of activities for kids and adults. Pretty good lunch included. Cozmel with 7 huge cruise ships in port that day .. very crowded (Carnival has their own separate walk-to -ship deck while others had to tender). Passion Island .. eh .. had to take a small power boat to get there... a rocky ride but interesting to see the shore line. A few activities, but just the beach for the kids. Pass on this one. Casino ... very large machines, expensive (for me) to play. Missed the old-fashioned penny slots. In all, a great time was had by the kids, my daughters and son-in-law. For us, as seniors, OK. That said, we are booked on the Panorama next Thanksgiving week. :-) so we know what to expect on this sister ship. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We went on Vista because we live in Texas and it's out of Galveston. The staff is AMAZING!!!! Food in dining room and Guy's burgers were GREAT! Buffett was hit and miss! Didn't try any of the other $$ restaurants. ... Read More
We went on Vista because we live in Texas and it's out of Galveston. The staff is AMAZING!!!! Food in dining room and Guy's burgers were GREAT! Buffett was hit and miss! Didn't try any of the other $$ restaurants. Matt the cruise director.................OMG! Would travel with Carnival again just to see him. service was FABULOUS everywhere on the ship. I was disappointed that in order to use any of the spa features, including hot tub whirlpool and sauna, you had to purchase an additional "Thermal" package. The hot tubs on decks were always filled with kids....not really a deal breaker because we knew what we were getting into going on a Thanksgiving cruise. Entertainment was awesome! Ship is so amazing. Our Teens did the Skyride and had a blast. We all enjoyed the mega TV at night for movies and definitely purchase the cheers package for the drinkers....well worth it. Carnival HUB app allows you to communicate with your family(fellow travelers) on your phone without having to purchase the internet package. Cost is $5 per phone. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
Carnival Vista, all 1,061 feet of her, is spectacular and a wonderful addition to Carnival’s family. We had the pleasure of calling her home for 7 days. This is my assessment of the Carnival Vista. Carnival Vista makes her home in ... Read More
Carnival Vista, all 1,061 feet of her, is spectacular and a wonderful addition to Carnival’s family. We had the pleasure of calling her home for 7 days. This is my assessment of the Carnival Vista. Carnival Vista makes her home in Galveston, Texas. We came from Idaho, so we were lucky enough to fly into IAH in Houston. We were aware of the distance between the airport and Galveston, but somehow, we didn’t understand the reality until an hour $85 UBER ride at 8pm on a Friday night. I don’t understand why there isn’t a typical shuttle bus that goes between airport(s) and Galveston for a reasonable rate. Traveler beware. We stayed at Gaido’s Seaside Inn. If you book your room directly with the hotel, and not through a booking engine, they have a shuttle that will take you to the port. The hotel is across the street from the Gulf. The room was clean, bed was comfortable, and the proximity to the ocean was perfect. It was dark when we arrived, but I got up before the sunrise to capture a “sunrise in Galveston” - and it was nothing short of spectacular. I do not recommend eating next door at Gaido’s Restaurant – it is overpriced, and not very good. (The service was spectacular) The port is on the inside of the island – have your UBER or cab drop you off along Strand St. There are a lot of cool shops and great souvenir shopping prior to embarking and it is right across the street from the port. The Embarkation process/Boarding times – in my opinion is a huge benefit. Leave your luggage with the porters. There will be 2 lines – one line is “ON TIME”, one line is “EARLY/LATE” - We showed up on time – we showed the first agent our boarding passes and our passports. We then moved forward to another checkpoint. They checked in all members on our boarding pass at the same time. There, they checked the passports closely, and scanned in our boarding passes. They also took photos that would be used for the sign and sail cards at this point. From there, they sent us forward to the security line. No shoes or belts need removed – but your carry ons and coats etc go on the conveyor belt and you walk through the metal detector. Then its up the escalator/elevator to the “financial” area. If you have already set up your sign and sail account, you keep moving forward. If not, you will go to an agent and set up your account here. We did not stop moving at this point. There are a couple of photo opportunities along the way. We crossed the gangplank into the Vista. The first thing I noticed is the funnel. It changes all the time and yes, there is some kind of movement. However, the atrium does not go up all the way to the top of the ship, like the older ships. There are also NOT the glass elevators up the atrium. Sadly missed. We grabbed an elevator up to lido – Deck 10. They were busy, but not out of control people. Finding a table that 6 could sit at was not terrible. All of the food is aft of the pool area. We ate at Guys Burger Joint more than once. The burgers are pretty good, fries aren't horrible and there is a bar with grilled onions, mushrooms, and other toppings. On the other side is the Blue Iguana Cantina. There are two lines – one line for tacos, one line for burritos and taco salads. There is also a topping bar with salsas, limes, and other items. When you see massive taco salads going by, that’s where they came from. The buffet is much smaller, as has been mentioned before. The forward side is the “international”side - usually has a unique menu. There is also fresh gelato made between the two sides. (2 flavors daily) The aft side is the “regular” side – with a carvery. There is an amazing dessert area with the most beautiful cakes! They are a little dry, but pretty good. The deli is between the aft side buffet. Out back is the seafood shack – which is at an extra $$ - we never tried it – and the other side was the pizza – which was ALWAYS busy. No, they don’t make special pies – it is only what is on the menu. Up to deck 11, aft above the buffet, is JiJi (asian) and the Cucina (Italian) restaurants. During the day – you may eat there for no charge. But there was a substantial wait for JiJi – and unfortunately, was flavorless (Szechuan). The noodles in Cucina were cooked amazingly, but I was not fond of their tomato based sauce. Dont forget the BBQ joint off of deck 5 outside. Watch for the lines of people. Great Brisket! After we ate our burgers, and got our first ice cream (and for me, the Drink of the Day), we received the announcement that we could go to our rooms. We were on deck 6 aft starboard, by design. The cabin (6427) was very clean – and your standard balcony Carnival cabin. We were very excited to check out the balcony. However, when we looked over the railing, all we could see was the Havana balcony below us. This was the first issue we came across. While out at sea, we love hanging out on our balcony, hearing the water right there. Not this time. What a huge disappointment. All we saw was towels, swimsuits, underwear... Whatever the cabin below left out on their deck. Down one deck, is deck 5. There is a LOT available on deck 5. Deck 5 is one of the decks that goes all the way front to back. Location was perfect for what we needed. At 7 am, there is a small buffet of breakfast food available without having to go up to Lido. We frequently got coffee and pastries there. The coffee shop is around the corner as well, but at a $$. Muster – the “Safety Meeting” was very disorganized. We waited longer for people that did not feel they had to participate than we did for the actual briefing. Inconsiderate people... Unbelievable. Our Muster Station was the dining room Aft. And beware – the elevators were HORRIBLE afterwards. We missed sail off because we had one of our party in a wheelchair. As the ship goes through the channel, watch for passing vessels and fishing trawlers – you may see several dolphins! We unpacked – lots of closet space, enough hangers and lots of drawers. Suitcases under the bed. We explored until the first night for dinner. We had late seating, table 227 and had a phenom wait staff! There are no tablecloths – which we noticed, but cant say that it was detrimental. I have menus that I will post in the comments at the bottom of my review. They are screen shots off of the Carnival Ap – I tried to number, at the top, which day it was. I thought the food was ok – nothing super special – and we always left full. We did enjoy the chocolate melting cake with a side of peanut butter. Elegant night 1 – the food was good. Everyone was dressed to the hilt, and we did not see many that did NOT dress up. We had some fun with the photo ops as well. The second elegant night there were a lot of people dressed up as well. I was pleasantly shocked. The wait staff did sing and dance (Showtime) every night. I enjoyed it! I got up and danced along every night. The service was amazing in the dining room. Nyoman, Sujuana and Yuithing were amazing. Lots of personality, lots of attention. The assistant Dining Room manager stopped by our table every night to see how things were going. That was new! We ate at the steak house on night 3 – In my opinion, it was all fluff, no show. They are trying to be a Michelin restaurant, but the service was bad, and the food was not worth the upcharge. The shrimp cocktail had more guacamole than shrimp and the lobster bisque had no flavor. The mac and cheese (as a side) had no flavor. The filet was very tender, but the flavor was just as good in the Main Dining Room. The lobster was ok. What we did enjoy was the “ART DESSERT” presentation. A chef comes out with a cart of sauces, cookies, and candies and makes a beautiful historic presentation on a large board. It wasn’t a typical dessert, but dragging candy or a cookie through the sauces was pretty good. As far as the bars/pubs go, my husband liked the Alchemy Bar. If you turn into a regular, they will remember your preferences – you tell them sweet, savory, salty, and what kind of alcohol you like and they will create a concoction for you. It's really not a set menu – they are very creative. I liked the Red Frog Pub – they make great beer which they have on tap. Also, if you see people walking around the ship with great big fish bowl drinks, they came from the Red Frog Pub. They are $ 19.95 I think. It’s a lot of alcohol and it’s a great bang for your buck if you like those kind of drinks. There is a sweet 4 person table/swing outside the Red Frog, but the most important thing...that’s where karaoke is. Every day. And they are so so busy! Go figure. We stopped and got drinks and just about every bar, but it wasn’t because we didn’t have a favorite – it was just what was the closest. We did an Western itenaray – Cozumel, Grand Cayman, and Jamaica. In Cozumel, we went to an AI resort up north – El Cozumeleno. Beautiful resort – Easy check in. We were there early enough to catch the breakfast buffet – outstanding. We grabbed a place on the beach, and our waiter never let our drinks go dry. He brought us nachos and ceviche later on too. It was far from crowded – there was a small sandy beach area but is was never so busy you felt crowded. There were a lot of rocks, but that made for amazing snorkeling! Parrot fish, Sargent's, Blue Tang, pencil, angels, porcupines, etc... I cannot even name the assortment of fish that were there. I thoroughly enjoyed my day in the water. Former reviews said the food was bad – I can verify it was NOT. This is a great place with no crowds. The shopping in port was way too easy, and we ended up with a couple bottles of tequila! In Grand Cayman, we did a Stingray/Snorkeling tour with Captain Marvins. This is the second time we have hung out with this company, and I can tell you, hands down, they are the best. We have been to Cayman several times, have done Stingray City several times. Their boats are new, their crew is wonderful with the passengers, and their boats are not overbooked. They do a great job out at Stingray City, although I no.ticed there are less stingrays than I have seen in the past. The snorkeling stop was great – they just let you do your own thing for about 30 minutes, but they do keep those that ventured out a little too far in check (oh that was me – but I am a strong swimmer) The wind was horrid, and the water was rough. One thing I will say about Grand Cayman, is the tendering management by Carnival – that is a C-. Its horrible. Dear Carnival, this DOESN’T WORK. If you have an early Non-Carnival tour, watch for the “tender number board” - not sure where it initially is but listen close to the announcements and watch your mail to your cabin. We got the tender letter the DAY of port – so it was too late. If you do not have a Carnival Excursion, you must have a “number” to get on the tender (water taxi). If you don’t get an early number, you are screwed. This method doesn’t work... so just be prepared, ok? In Jamaica, we decided to go Boogie Boarding down the Bengal River! When the ship pulled into port, it was wonderful. Singing, dancing and a woman on a bullhorn welcoming us to Jamaica. And that was before we even docked. If you are on the Starboard side, you can watch! It was pretty awesome! We met our tour, and they drove us to Bengal River. It was about an hour drive, but the scenery was outstanding. Jamaica looked cleaner and greener than ever! And the driver was so careful, and not suicidal! It started raining about 15 minutes out of the drop off, and never really stopped. We decided to take tubes as opposed to the boogie board – and it was great! We walked about a mile up the river to the drop off point, and there were seven of us that hung on to each others tubes (bungee cords) We were a big donut floating down the river, and our guide was on the boogie board. We floated down some rapids and right into the ocean. When we got out, we had some jerk chicken and rice and beans and some Jamaica rum! It was a great day, aside from the rain. My mother in law stayed near the ship on a beach, and it never rained there... Geography, I guess. Sea Days were relaxing – lots of sun, lots of laying around, recuperating. The SkyRide – is a pedal bike that is suspended from a beam. It takes 5-7 minutes depending on how fast one pedals. If you are afraid of heights, this may not be for you. There is a scale that they will have you step on prior to buckling in. It is NOT a lot of work, nor is it a tough pedal – pretty easy. No open toed shoes. But it is so unique to do on a 14 deck ship. The Ropes Course – there are two sides, one easier than the other. They will strap you in and hook you to the course. There is no turning back, so if you are afraid of heights, this isn’t for you either. We also played mini golf, and shuffle board. There are pool tables and a twister board painted right on the deck. I did not participate at the spa. We did head to the Serenity Deck and check it out – very peaceful, quiet. No kids. Great Salad Bar! Debarkation was different – they had you get a ticket, just like the Grand Cayman tendering. Make sure you get a ticket if you have an early flight and pray to the traffic Gods to get you out to the Airport in time. It took us 90 minutes to get from Galveston to IAH due to construction on a Sunday. Had to be out of our cabin by 8:30am but our number wasn’t called until about 9:45. This is the first ship Ive been on that it wasn’t a rush rush to get off. Relax, take your time. Debarkation was a breeze, although very sad! After you get through US Customs, you will have to pay the state of Texas if you bought Alcohol or tobacco. Yikes! We left with more than we were planning. General thoughts – the cruise director was fun – he wasn’t in your face, nor was he on the loud speaker the whole time. Thought he did a great job – His name is Matt. Will I remember him in two years? Probably not. The general music on the Lido deck was HORRIBLE. Oh my heck – with all the talented musicians out there, please please don’t play that lousy stuff! It was so annoying! The temperature on Lido was frigid as well – we drank as much coffee and hot chocolate as we ate ice cream. I attended a couple of lectures/workshops. Good information, but in the end, they are trying to sell you something. The music was pretty good – the band Riff Rafts were the main group – very entertaining. They played rock, AND COUNTRY! There was a horn line that played independently, and with the Riff Rafts. Made for a big band sound some nights. There was an electric violin trio that was very good. They had some balance issues, and their backing tracks were not very good. That is a shame – they had so much potential. Thre was a guitar player/singer that I heard off in the distance, but never went to “watch” The casino was a standard casino. I have never seen so many penny slots, though. I am not a gambler. One thing I will say, is the design of the ship keeps the casino smoke encompassed, and not wafting up throughout the ship. The only time we went to Customer Service was to pick up our deck of playing cards. A 90 minutes UBER to Houston was crazy – road construction? Ugh! And we stayed at the Comfort Inn East – DO NOT STAY THERE. It was the absolute worst hotel I have ever stayed at. But I will not get into that here – this is all about Carnival Vista. This was my 7th Carnival cruise. I have cruised a couple of other Companies, but I definitely will be booking again with Carnival soon. Will I book Vista again? No. I did not like the balcony set up with the Havanah Deck. Will I sail out of Galveston again? Probably not – the transportation situation between the airport and the port is a little ridiculous in my opinion. But I did enjoy myself very much, and until next time, peace out. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We chose this cruise for our 2nd cruise. After taking a 5 day cruise, we chose this 7 day to see what we missed out on. The port itinerary was also a factor in our choice. Seeing Roatan, Belize and Cozumel was great. In our travels, we ... Read More
We chose this cruise for our 2nd cruise. After taking a 5 day cruise, we chose this 7 day to see what we missed out on. The port itinerary was also a factor in our choice. Seeing Roatan, Belize and Cozumel was great. In our travels, we really try to find a load of fun but also we try to find places we can learn about and explore. We live about 2 hours away so we drove to the home port. No issues at that point and getting on board was both quick and very easy. I have to say, from the moment we entered the terminal until we left on disembarkation day, we met nothing but great smiling friendly people. The ship was beautiful and served our every need but I will continue to say, after sailing on the Valor and now on the Vista, the Vista seemed to be a smaller ship though I know it is not. I think it had a lot to do with the atrium differences. Dining was beyond my expectations and I know my partner agreed. We sought out the possibility of dining at every place. We accomplished all but one and don't feel as if we missed out on anything. I can give you my reviews of the dining. I will never again eat at Guys Pig and Anchor. It was okay but it's a BBQ joint. The best thing on Guy's menu was the mac and cheese. Says a lot doesn't it. Someone needs to call Guy and tell him he needs to work on this. Guys Burgers remains the same, excellent. Bonsai Sushi was excellent. I absolutely do not care for fish that has a fishy flavor. This had none. It was excellent and the service was above and beyond. The Alchemy Bar was great. We participated in the Whiskey course and that was a ton of fun. Aleksander made sure we enjoyed every minute of it. On our first evening, we went to the Steakhouse. What a wonderful choice for the first evening. Didn't have to dress fancy, received a free bottle of wine and the people involved only care that you enjoy your experience. Job completed folks. The cruise director Matt Mitchum, commands a great team and I have only good words for that whole crew. Mark, Jess and Lawrence round out a wonderful team and they went to a lot of effort to make sure our experience was memorable. I'll call out a couple more people that were integral to the extremely memorable cruise we just had. Those are our room steward, Sutipo, and a young lady in the dining room named Wassana. Sutipo, you are one of the reasons my cruise was so fantastic, thank you again. Wassana, you bring a brightness to the cruise that rivals the rising sun. To hear your voice in the morning wishing everyone a, "Good Morning", was truly memorable to me. The punchline comedy clubs spills over with laughter and fun. The views, the pools, the hot tubs, what else could a vacationing man want? I would book today to go again, this year, if I weren't already busy. There are two things I think worth mentioning that need a bit of work. The elevators are horrible. They need a great deal more thinking put into how they operate. Perhaps a scanner to see if the floor is clear so the elevator need not stop when no one is waiting. Lastly, if I wanted this to be any better, parent's should take their children on a cruise if they want. What they need to remember is, "you brought your responsibility with you". Bringing your child on the cruise with you, is not so that you can leave them under someone else's care. They are your responsibility, not the ships. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We wanted to finish seeing the Western Caribbean before we tried the Eastern Caribbean. I had always wanted to see more cities in Central America. Our dance group was invited to tour with another group from Fresno, CA and the thought of a ... Read More
We wanted to finish seeing the Western Caribbean before we tried the Eastern Caribbean. I had always wanted to see more cities in Central America. Our dance group was invited to tour with another group from Fresno, CA and the thought of a dancing cruise was definitely on our agenda. We had dance lessons and dances the night away many times on the cruise. The band was playing in the Ocean Room toward the aft of the ship. The RIFRATS was their name and they also had some gentlemen with horns that played also. The female lead singer of this band was terrific!!! The gentleman with her was very good too. The horn players were awesome too!!!! All in all, the best music on the ship for we dancers. Our Team Headwaiter, Nyoman, was a pleasure to see every evening. His bright smile always made us feel welcome. He remembered our names and also remembered the names of the other passengers that he was serving at the other tables nearby. He danced when the dancers came in and you could tell he was having a good time too! His partners Yuithing (Asst Team Waitress), and Sujana (Team Waiter) were Johnny on the spot working as a team to meet out every request.They were all truly happy working and enjoying the dancing that we did occasionally when the music started. Out table was surrounded by our dance group and it appeared that everyone had a great time and really enjoyed the experience. All the dinners were really delicious!!! Our compliments to the Chef and his crew!!!! Also, Duangporn (Head Waitress at a different table) was really enjoying her dancing every time the music was on. Her broad smile was a wonderful delight of the evening!! BEST HAMBURGERS EVER!!!!!!!!! AND GREAT TACOS AND TACO SALADS!!!!! Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
The ship is newer, so that's a plus. Matt, the cruise director was AHHMAZING, the food was okay. The entertainment was good when we had it. Didnt have a show every night. The comedians were great. This ship DOES NOT have glass ... Read More
The ship is newer, so that's a plus. Matt, the cruise director was AHHMAZING, the food was okay. The entertainment was good when we had it. Didnt have a show every night. The comedians were great. This ship DOES NOT have glass elevators in the atrium which contributed to very crowded elevators everywhere. Not sure the artsy funnel piece that replaced those glass elevators was a good move. In the Liquid Lounge they don't have the traditional bench seating. It's individual chairs. Not as comfortable, in my opinion. We had a great time, but this was not our favorite ship. Our waiter Juan in Reflections dining was funny. The food was so-so with a few stand out items: Tiger Shrimp Creole and Filet Mignon being outstanding and the Chicken Breast was surprisingly moist. And our daily omelet chef Austen was great. His line was consistently longer than the others, because he was the best!! The biggest disappointment had to be the Casino. It was SOOOOO SMOKY that we couldn't even walk through. Bad!!!! I played a few minutes the first night and never stepped back in there. We would take the stairs to the next floor to walk around the smoke. Ventilation was almost non existent. We've taken seven cruises - all with Carnival with another already booked next year. Not sure we are interested in the Vista again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
We chose this cruise as we have cruised over 15 times with Carnival in the past and had never experienced their larger mega ship class. The negatives first: the layout of the ship in regards to pools, restaurants, casino, and especially ... Read More
We chose this cruise as we have cruised over 15 times with Carnival in the past and had never experienced their larger mega ship class. The negatives first: the layout of the ship in regards to pools, restaurants, casino, and especially bathroom placement was ridiculous and incredibly inefficient. There are no hot tubs at the main midship pool, and then there is no pool on the serenity deck which is on the 15th deck at the very front of the ship. Elevators were impossible to catch leaving us to walk the stairs often. The Casino was cramped, hot, and extra smoky. Seemingly air purifiers and AC we're broke or not used. Truly the worst casino layout/experience of any ship we've ever been on. The most odd thing was having to walk to a different floor or different section of the ship for a restroom in regards to the dining room and Casino. Positives: food in the dining room for dinner and brunch was excellent. Most staff throughout the ship was pleasant and very courteous. The rear 10th deck pool had two hottubs and was the best layout, but you missed out on the main activities and games and big screen/movies which were only done at the main mid-ship pool. Bar staff at rear pool and Casino were excellent! Overall, will never go on this ship again. We will stick to the older ships in the future. Read Less
Sail Date November 2019
The Havana area made this cruise. The bartenders were amazing and it was great to get away from it all. Our cabin was nice and clean and well cared for. I think the playlist productions have either gone down in quality since I started ... Read More
The Havana area made this cruise. The bartenders were amazing and it was great to get away from it all. Our cabin was nice and clean and well cared for. I think the playlist productions have either gone down in quality since I started cruising Carnival 12 years ago, or my standards have gone up. I've seen high school performers with more talent. I did enjoy all the trivia and contests. I went to the CC meetup and they had put out coffee/juice and pastries. They did schedule it at a ridiculous time- 9am on the first sea day. We did the Appleton Rum excursion through Carnival in Montego Bay- and it was fun. Don't do it if you may ever get motion sick. Too many switchbacks and no horizon to look at. All in all everything but the food would be a 3 or a 4. But the food: that was a one or a two at best. If you are a meat eater, then Carnival is fine for you. If you have any dietary restrictions, then I advise you to think again. The best I can say about the food, is that I didn't starve? They weren't super inventive at all. I had spaghetti for 4 nights. Now the spaghetti was amazing tasting- like take that away from me so I have space for dessert amazing. The waiter said he would try for something different on night 4, but the only other option was Indian which he knew was too spicy for me. The first night I didn't get an app. Every other night it was a salad, EVEN WHEN VEGAN HOT APPS WERE AVAILABLE! I asked for the Caribbean pepper pot soup, because I've had it as a vegetarian and seen the menus for vegan. But we said it uses chicken stock now. :( Now, breakfast was easy to get vegan options, but the service was horrible. When smashed avocado was on the menu for a burger, I asked for it as a side to make a avocado toast and they refused to being it. This was typical. The chia seed pudding is yummy! I emailed ahead of time, added it to my profile manually, and went to talk to the "maitre d"* the first day, where I asked for a hot soup for an app, but said chef's choice was okay for dinner that night. And then I got chef's choice the rest of the cruise and was never given a choice for dinner again. *and the maitre d wasn't even at the "meet the maitre d". I talked to a random staff person. As a bonus, and despite what both Carnival and John Hearld told me, there is margarine that is accidentally vegan on board. I wouldn't ask for vegan margarine, but just margarine. They use it to make the vegan food. The 2 chefs also told be that blue iguana doe NOT use butter in the rice as they don't have enough butter for that. And I trusted them and had a burrito for lunch, and didn't get sick, so I say go for it on the Vista. The tofu steak was so spicy it was inedible. They also used silken tofu? My husband said the tofu was spicier than his jerk chicken. That night I went to lido and got the off the menu veggie burger. It was good, a traditional burger. I personally preferred the fries at the deli and not guy's because of the over seasoning at Guy's. The chef's table was however, a 5 star experience. It was so delicious and amazing. The food was tasty and fresh and wow. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
I nearly forgot to write this review, part slammed by real life, part reeling from the last, intensely unpleasant hours of the cruise, and part performance anxiety after being a review groupie to Saint Greg and others. I got the cruise ... Read More
I nearly forgot to write this review, part slammed by real life, part reeling from the last, intensely unpleasant hours of the cruise, and part performance anxiety after being a review groupie to Saint Greg and others. I got the cruise bug from my coworker a couple of years ago , stumbled across the Vista before I realized she was “a thing” and booked a Havana Cabana Suite right out of the gate, two years ahead of sailing. Then I started doing my research. I had no idea what I was doing, but I had a very reluctant husband and the Havana area looked like something I could sell him on, and the swing chairs looked cool. I figured I had two years to save up. After I came to my financial senses, and realized how separated from the water the lanai walkway would make me feel, I moved us to an aft balcony. For better or worse, I accidentally chose an early saver fare and locked myself into a non-refundable, non-transferable deposit. There were a couple of times over the past 300 or so days that I considered eating that $500, but I’m glad I held firm and stuck with it. Mind you, when I booked this trip, I had never cruised before. I fell down some YouTube and podcast rabbit holes and was thoroughly ate up. Major shout outs to video channels La Lido Loca, Cruise Tips TV, and Cruise Radio, and to their associated podcasts. Matt at the Royal Caribbean Blog podcast and YouTube channel is also awesome. Back in February, my sister and I went for a test run on the Valor (a first cruise for both of us), and I learned some things. I had a feeling I would love cruising with the right companion (or solo, my dream …), but I would need a balcony. My only previous experience on the water was as crew on a 46-foot sailboat in a regatta from Galveston to Veracruz, Mexico and back. We had to drop off two of our five-member crew in Port Isabel when they were unable to overcome their seasickness, so that left three of us to get down to Veracruz to pick up the return crew. We lived in the cockpit of that boat. Just clip on the harness at night and rotate catnaps. No sign of land or another vessel for days and days. Long explanation, but I ~need~ a lot of outside time on the water. I can’t get enough. Where was I? Oh yeah … So growing up in Houston, Galveston is a sentimental favorite for me. Ugly fricken water, but a beach just the same. I discovered the webcams at Galveston.com and various others (ate up, remember?), and from there discovered Harbor House, where the Cruise Cam is situated. I had to have one of the harbor view rooms. I should mention that this was our 23rd wedding anniversary, we never got around to taking a honeymoon, and had been either pregnant or raising kids since our second anniversary. The youngest just moved out to go to college and it was time to celebrate. My VeryFrugalHusband-™ would never have splashed out on a room at Harbor House, but I was paying and he didn’t know about it until we got there. He loved it, of course. It was one of many highlights and totally worth the $280 pre-tax rate. However, if you are of a certain age and want to stay there, go check it out now! I got our room for next year and they have an AARP rate for $143 a night! Yes, I booked two nights. So that was a little spoiler. Obviously, I have converted my spouse to the cruise life, but back to this review. I’m a watch-the-sunrise-from-the-road kind of traveler, but hubs, not so much. We spent a long, hot, traffic-y Friday driving from North Dallas to Galveston. When I met my sister there, I made it in exactly 4.5 hours. Tack on at least two more for leaving mid-morning. I’m driving next year. We did get to see the Thunderbirds (Texas’ version of the Blue Angels) practicing for an airshow, so that was a major thrill. So nice that we were sitting in traffic at that moment (eyeroll). We got to the hotel right at check in, so my plans for brunch at the Gumbo Diner didn’t happen. Still want to check that place out. Our room was amazing! Next year, I’d like to take advantage of their reciprocal relationship with the Galvez, since we’ll have more time. Harbor House doesn’t have a pool, but you can take their free shuttle up (down?) to the Galvez on the seawall and use their pool and swim-up bar, or even borrow complementary cruiser bikes. I’m a bit accident prone, born of not fully recognizing my limits. The surgeon who repaired my rotator cuff had the nerve to call me a fall risk, to which the clever man I’ve shared a couple of decades with replied I was a “winter, spring, summer, and fall risk.” Anyway, he’s very concerned by my fascination with biking the seawall. Humph. We wandered around the Strand, bought souvenirs for our girls, and ended up at Willie G’s for happy hour and sunset. Highly recommend this, but be sure to specify that you want the happy hour. It’s a really good deal, several hours long, and they probably lose money on it. We had to be a bit persistent, but it was so good that we plan to get there early and stay late next time. We watched pigeons circle and roost and Coast Guardsmen play corn hole until well after sundown. Dolphin and sunset tours came and went from Pier 21 and all the harbor traffic was fascinating. The hotel bed was comfy and the room absolutely silent, but it was hard to sleep with the beautiful night view out the window. Lots of sparkly, giggly homecoming groups having dinner at Willie G’s. Romantic as hell. So glad we have two nights next year. About 5:30, I got up to adjust the A/C and looked down the pier. I could see a whale tale and thought it was the Vista. Looked down at the A/C unit for a minute, and by the time I looked back up, the ENTIRE window was filled with “CARNIVAL VISTA” all lit up. H-U-G-E ship filled the window frame. I yipped, jumped on my sleeping husband, whisper-shouting, “it’s here! It’s here! Look!!! The Vista is HERE!!!” Luckily he was as excited as I was and didn’t kill me. I realize this pre-cruise report is really long, but truthfully, I remember less about the actual cruise! The days all run together when you are relaxing in paradise. The hotel provides a continental breakfast, and while it’s not a huge spread, it gets the day started. We dressed, repacked, and headed out to MOD coffee for a real cuppa and split a power bar breakfast bread thing. Yummy. While we ate, we watched the Artoberfest vendors set up their craft fair booths and pet all the passing local dogs. Eventually, it was time to porter the bags and park. It was pretty busy in the drop-off lane, as we had two Carnival ships in port. I believe the Dream was the other one. The port workers were all doing their jobs fine, but our fellow cruisers had things fairly well jammed up. I get it, though, not many of us knew what we were doing and it was our first time handing off our bags to a porter, for sure. Parked at Galveston Park N Cruise. I know there are better prices out there, but I was still trying to minimize the annoyance factor for finicky husband (so I wouldn’t have to listen to the gripe and also to get him hooked) and they were right across the street. They not only took good care of my little VW bug last trip, they freaking remembered and greeted me by name this time. OK, I’m a sucker for that kind of service. Take my money. We had FTTF (part of my ploy to lure the husband into cruising), so we pretty much walked right in. I had planned to hang out in the lobby and watch the funnel, but it was humid and stinky. Nope, Vista, that venue is better once under sail. On our drive down to Galveston, we had a pretty decent BBQ sandwich from Buc-ee’s (sorry, Saint Greg, not a Rudy’s fan), but we decided to check out Pig & Anchor on embarkation anyway. Now, we’re both native Texans and my husband has perfected smoking a brisket in the backyard, but I don’t get all the hate P&A gets. It wasn’t Cousins, but with a good sauce, just about anything will pass. Looking at you Rudy’s - blech. No line at the Pig as it was early and undiscovered and we had Ocean Plaza almost to ourselves. My plan was working … After lunch, I took him out to the Havana hot tubs where we met our fabulous waiter, Yeltsin, who spoiled us rotten and never let us down all week. A double shot of Patron and a Corona in the hot tub and I knew the hubs was hooked. Once he saw our room, it was all over. One of the newbie moves I made was to book one of the little skrinchy aft balcony rooms next to the wrap balconies. The balcony space was the same, but the room was so small there was no couch, only the one chair at the desk, and the shelf unit was separate from the desk entirely. Plenty big enough for the two of us and he didn’t know any different, but after sailing in a porthole room on the Valor, I was aware of the size difference. Ahem. Our room steward, Ron, was so very sweet. We confused him a little over our names, as my husband goes by his middle name and I had booked under his legal name (passport paranoia, newbie cruiser), but even that turned into a running joke. Seriously, by the end of the cruise, we were digging around for more cash to put into his thank you card because he was so great. I’m starting to think that your room steward is a make-or-break for your overall cruise experience. We watched sail away from the front of the ship, decks 5, 6, and 7, because we were too excited to stay in one place. We even saw dolphins! After dinner, we went back out to admire the night sky and all the ships heading into the Gulf. I wanted to find one of the sheltered seating areas on deck 14, but we were tipsy and tired. You always think you’re going to have more time, or more energy later. Somehow, I never do ... We had the Steakhouse booked for dinner first night. So good we booked it again for later in the cruise. Regret number one and the thing we’ll change on the next cruise - I’ll give the MDR a chance, especially on a ship like the Vista where you can experience the specialty restaurants for no charge at lunch. Frankly, I avoid the MDR out of second-hand embarrassment for the dancing waiters. Maybe they don’t mind, and they do look like they are having fun, but it feels a little demeaning to me. Regret number two - we just don’t get out much at night. We are older (dammit), but we’re also pretty mellow and this was a cruise to see if we still liked each other, so in that sense, I can’t really regret it, but we saw zero shows, zero comedians, and almost no live music. One of the first two nights (don’t remember which), we did watch the Latin band in the Havana Bar from our perch in the hot tub, and that was pretty cool. We kind of don’t remember what we did for most of the cruise. We hung out on the balcony and in the Havana area a lot, which is definitely a No Regrets memory. I have to admit, the soot situation in the aft balconies is a thing. I was hoping the reviews I read were just picky people griping, but no, it’s real and it’s gross. We only had actual soot one morning, but by then we were not going outside (more on that later). But the worst part was something like an oily, diesel-y spew. Seriously, I thought someone on the balcony above us had gotten sick, it was that bad. Ron was an angel and got everything wiped and squeegee’d everyday, but we didn’t want to sit out there much while the ship was moving. Gotta wonder what’s getting into the lungs. I did get to watch every sunrise I was awake for and stand in the caribbean rain and that was great. I had booked Chef’s Table because I’d enjoyed it a lot on the Valor. Unfortunately, it landed on Lobster Night (first cruise elegant), but we went for it anyway. Fantastic experience, but just too dang long. I believe that will be my last Chef’s Table. However … we did have a private magic show from the magician whose act we’d missed (during naptime, I told you we are old). Unbelievably good and not an opportunity we would have had any other way. Our first port day was Montego Bay, Jamaica. I was a little nervous, never having been there, but I booked a private driver to take us to a local fish shack, Evelin’s on the Beach. Turned out to be ~right~ next door to Sandals, but somehow still really off the beaten path. Less than 100 reviews on Google and TripAdvisor, I think. Very sketchy-looking, but oh! the food! And the view! The water was like glass and the sand like baby powder. This was a local’s spot, though, and you had to pick your way past the kind of junk and debris you usually find in your uncle’s backyard. (Maybe that’s just my family, I don’t know …) Young boys out fishing with just a hook on a hand-thrown line. Catching, too. A stingray swam right past us and the boys put on a diving exposition off the rock wall. It was idyllic. $60 round trip with Ashton Pitt and Jason Tours. Probably as much for the lunch. We were advised to haggle, but just couldn’t bring ourselves to. We came back to the ship to admire the Jamaican hills from the Havana pool and watched sail away from our clamshell bed. And here’s where my shipboard memory starts to get foggy. I think this was our second night at 555 and I know we enjoyed the Alchemy bar a bit. The next day was Grand Cayman. We took the water shuttle and then a local bus to Cemetery Beach to snorkel. Just magical. Very few people, plus some chickens and a rooster! I’ve never snorkeled before and my husband had never used the full-face masks. He had initially laughed at mine and said there was no way he was wearing that ridiculous thing, but once he tried it, he changed his mind. There were so many friendly, curious, cool-looking fish! They would almost swim right into your hands. I also saw a crab and a sea anemone. The first time I put my face in the water, I actually shrieked. I’m kind of amazed the fish would have anything to do with us after that. Had to float there a while to steady my breathing because I was so excited. It was unbelievable and another big highlight of the trip. We stretched out to dry off, took the bus back ($5.00 for two, both ways) and had Guy’s Burgers for lunch before afternoon nap. I’m pretty sure this was our JiJi’s dinner night. It was alright, but I think we were just kind of tired of eating by that point. And Captain Frugal was starting to get worried about my Sign & Sail balance. In hindsight, I wish we’d had Cucina del Capitano on this night, but I was saving it for one of the last two dinners. Dinners which never came … dun dun dunnnn … I had been to Cozumel on the trip with my sister, so it wasn’t as overwhelming to me this time. The gauntlet of the pier plus dufry’s plus port area plus taxi stand was pretty off-putting to the husband and I’m glad this wasn’t our first stop or I might have lost his good opinion right here. We got a taxi fairly quickly and zipped off to a Cozumel-famous and well-respected beach club. I’m not naming names here in case it appears that I’m blaming them for what happened next. It was a beautiful day, the food and drinks and service and venue were all just fantastic. I even saw a starfish (wow!) and I wasn’t even wearing the snorkel gear. Like, I can’t even tell you how great this day was, it was awesome. But we got back to the ship and I started to feel weird. I thought I was having a sugar crash from too much sun and alcohol, so I asked my husband to get me another Guys or some kind of protein. Before he even got back, I was losing everything I even thought about eating or drinking and that kept up for at least 24 hours. I mean, I was under the impression that digestion happened a little faster than what I was re-experiencing, please forgive the TMI. So bad, so sick. Hubs had his own version, and we eventually headed to the medical center. They were unimpressed and frankly at that point, I still kind of suspected too much of too many kinds of alcohol in too short a period of time. They gave me some anti-nausea meds and a wheelchair ride back to my room, which is the worst walk-of-shame in my humble opinion. I still don’t know whether to chalk this up to Montezuma or Noro or something else entirely, but it’s a lousy way to avoid cruise weight gain and I don’t ever want to do it again. So we missed dinner that night and the whole last sea day and night. Camped out in bed, watching movies, sipping water and hot tea and taking turns in the bathroom. Our poor, deeply concerned room steward was not allowed in, but he brought us fresh towels and robes and insisted on changing the sheets while we were visiting the med center. Angel. We dragged ourselves through the ordeal of packing up and opted to check our bags. No strength left to carry anything. We braved one last coffee from Java Blue (love those gals) and tried to take advantage of priority disembarkation with our FTTF. Just as they called Diamond, Platinum, and suite guests, the power glitched. Like, an audible zzttt sound and the lights went out, came back on, and went out for real. Needless to say, things were hosed at that point. FTTF was out the window and we were all in a holding pattern. We discovered that the Library Bar was a very comfortable place to escape the crush of (very aggravated) humanity, so we snoozed and read in cozy armchairs and were actually able to hear when our deck number was called. It was a major cluster going down the stairs and out through deck 0 to the baggage area, but we made it without incident. Our FTTF luggage tags were for area 3, so we got to them pretty quickly and snagged a porter at the first opportunity. Seriously, do this, especially if you have little kids or members of your party are kinda woozy like we were. They got us right through customs and out the door, even tried to take us all the way to the parking garage, but we stopped him at the railroad tracks, gave him all of our remaining cash and got the heck outta there. Two hours from leaving our stateroom at 8:00 until getting on the road at 10:00, and we were some of the lucky ones. Poor ol’ Galveston. So we discovered that we still like each other! 23 years, definitely some sickness, a good bit of health, quite a bit poorer, but rich in experience. And he wants to do it again! We’re booked in a spa cabin on the Dream for September 2020, and at his request (!) I’ve booked a Havana aft wrap balcony for September 2021. In fact, it’s the room right next door to ours. I only hope Ron will still be there. Read Less
Sail Date October 2019
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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