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Because we live in Florida we were able to drive to the Port of Miami on the morning of our cruise. We decided to park in the terminal parking garage this time around rather than the less expensive off-site parking we have used in the past. We definitely made the right decision. We were literally across the street from the ship and the garage is secured and monitored. Well worth the extra cost. The entire embarkation process went very smoothly. The waiting area at the terminal was crowded, but not overly so, and once boarding began it went fairly quickly. We were onboard the ship by 11:30, exactly the time that I chose at check-in! We were promised that our room key would be outside our cabin door by 1:30, but when we found our room shortly after boarding, it was already there. We were able to drop our carry-on bags and head to the Lido deck for a Guy's Burger. When we stopped back at our cabin before the Muster drill our bags were waiting for us. Our Muster station was the casino which stunk, literally, from all of the lingering smoke. It also made for a confusing time as people were milling about and it was hard for the crew to know who was and wasn't present. It felt that we were there much longer than was necessary. Maybe the casino is not such a good choice for a station, but other than that the entire embarkation process was painless, and the Sail Away party on the Lido deck, which we usually skip, was very enjoyable, due mainly to the Cruise Director, Matt. It probably goes without saying that Guy's Burgers on the Lido deck are delicious! I allow myself one per cruise, because I can feel my arteries harden even as I eat it, but hey, I'm on vacation. The food in the Main Dining Room was okay. Nothing to write home about generally speaking, but definitely better than our first Vista cruise in December of last year. The portion sizes seemed larger and the wait staff a bit more seasoned. The salad bar on the Serenity Deck, available only on sea days, was a great option for lunch, as was the Pig & Anchor. At the salad bar you are able to choose all of your own salad ingredients and the chef tosses it all together for you. There were hundreds of possible combinations and it was nice to eat a refreshing, crisp, healthy salad while watching the ocean slip by. My husband chose to go for BBQ at Pig & Anchor instead and he had no complaints. There were a few different types of meat to choose from, several sides and sauces of different heats. The tacos at Blue Iguana Cantina were a pleasant surprise. While a bit small, you could have as many as you wanted. Choices of meats were pork, chicken or fish. The topping bar was loaded with all the extras. The pork, surprisingly, were my favorite. It was a great stop for a quick snack, but the line was usually long. I was not all that impressed with the Seafood Shack. I ordered the crab cake sliders; they were pretty good, but my husband was disappointed with his buffalo shrimp. It was all breading and mostly tasteless. Not worth the up charge. We ate at two of the specialty restaurants, Cucina Capitano and Fahrenheit 555. Both were excellent. The antipasto appetizer at Cucina was huge and very tasty. My mussels and pasta were in a creamy mushroom sauce and were delicious. My husband tried the braised short ribs and he thoroughly enjoyed them. The atmosphere was very relaxed and our server very attentive. Fahrenheit 555 was my favorite. We ate there on our last cruise and the fillet mignon I had was one of the best I've ever eaten. I was not disappointed this time around. My husband's ribeye was even better. The tuna tartar and shrimp cocktail were both delicious as well, but my favorite was dessert. The hazelnut cheesecake was wonderful and the chocolate sampler was to die for. The extra fee is most definitely worth it (you would spend at least that much dining out anywhere) and especially so if you are celebrating something special, as we were. I'm not a big breakfast eater, so my perception may be skewed, but breakfast was my least favorite meal of the day. We ate in the Main Dining Room the majority of the time and, with the exception of Sea Day Brunch, the food was so so. They could certainly upgrade their selection of fresh fruit, which I found to be true of the buffet as well. A word about the servers: They all work very hard. They are in the dining rooms for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Almost without exception they are attentive and accommodating. Can you imagine having that many people in and out for dinner every night and remaining friendly and upbeat? I can't. So, on those rare occasions when service may seem slower than normal, put yourself if their shoes and relax. After all, you're on vacation. When we sailed on Vista for the first time in December of 2016 the service at the bars, all the bars, was less than mediocre. It seemed as if the entire ship was under-staffed. Waits at the pool bars were interminable and roving servers were nowhere to be found. Not so this cruise. While ordering a drink from one of the pool bars or finding a server still involved a short wait at peak times, by and large the kinks seemed to have been worked out. Of the four "pool" bars, Blue Iguana Cantina, Red Frog Rum Bar, Tides Bar and the Serenity, Blue Iguana and Red Frog were still a bit on the overcrowded side as they are by the main pool. The bartenders at the Serenity Bar made less than exceptional drinks. The staff at the Tides Bar were always pleasant, especially the servers working the pool, and the drinks were always tasty. I was always asked if I wanted extra ice or a bottle of water. Nice touches on hot days spent pool side. The Red Frog Pub has an upbeat atmosphere and my husband and I especially enjoyed watching fellow cruisers play corn hole while we relaxed on the outdoor gliders. The Pub was always full of happy passengers playing board games, shuffleboard, enjoying karaoke or partaking of a house brewed beer. Havana Bar had the best atmosphere, in my opinion. The Cuban band that played there was excellent and we truly enjoyed listening to them play in the evening after a show. We discovered the Ocean Plaza Bar this cruise. Smaller and tucked out of the way, they made a good cocktail, were very pleasant, and were never crowded. The performers in the Plaza each evening were very talented and we enjoyed stopping by for a drink on our way to or from somewhere else. My favorite bar (and I know this may seem strange) was the Atrium Bar. We went almost every evening before dinner and often after one of the shows. We would have a glass of wine before heading to the dining room and listen to the very talented string trio. It has a very classy feel to it. The staff here was also very accommodating, going to great lengths to get the right glass for the drink my husband ordered even though he didn't care. It was also fun to gather with other guests, as well as the cast members, after the shows and continue the party. I have to mention the Blue Java Cafe. It turned out to be one of the best experiences of the trip for me. The young man who worked the morning shift was an artist when it came to adorning the top of my caramel macchiato with pictures. On most afternoons I stopped by for a Vanilla Chai Latte before heading to my cabin to relax on the balcony before dinner. There were longer lines then, but the young lady working at that time handled it well and was able to remain pleasant in the process. I would definitely recommend Blue Java to anyone sailing on Vista. The pools on the ship were my biggest disappointment of the cruise. Both were far too small to handle the number of people onboard. And both were freezing! I’ve been on cruises at several different times of the year and, summer or winter, the water is always too cold. Vista also needs more hot tubs. It was impossible, at times, to find space in either of the tubs at the Tides pool, especially when they were full of children. The tubs on Serenity were only a little better. The exception was on one port day when we remained onboard and we had both pools and hot tubs almost completely to ourselves. We missed the hot tubs that were on either side of the ship on the Breeze. Those were tucked out of the way, seldom crowded and the view of the open sea was calming and enjoyable. My husband and I really enjoyed the Broadway style variety shows and attended each one. I’m no critic, but the young men and women seemed very talented and professional. We especially enjoyed the pre-show time with Matt, the Cruise Director. All of the musical acts that preformed at the various venues on the ship deserved a sit and listen. There seemed no shortage of bingo, trivia and karaoke opportunities for those so inclined. We attended both the Sail Away Party and the Mega Deck Party. Both were lots of fun, thanks in no small part to Matt. He has an abundance of energy, seems to be genuinely friendly and was always willing to spend a few minutes talking with guests. We took two excursions while on this cruise. The first was a river cruise in LaRomana, Dominican Republic and the second was an ATV excursion on Aruba. Both were great!! We booked the Dominican Republic on our own. We were a bit concerned, due to the fact that it was cruise line sponsored, but the company got great reviews and the tour was exactly what we were looking for at a good price, so we decided to go for it. We were happy we did. The ATV trip was cruise sponsored and was therefore a bit easier to get to and from, but both were time and money well spent.

Vista has worked out the kinks!! Really didn't want the cruise to end.

Carnival Vista Cruise Review by cindy.swisher@gmail.com

8 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Because we live in Florida we were able to drive to the Port of Miami on the morning of our cruise. We decided to park in the terminal parking garage this time around rather than the less expensive off-site parking we have used in the past. We definitely made the right decision. We were literally across the street from the ship and the garage is secured and monitored. Well worth the extra cost.

The entire embarkation process went very smoothly. The waiting area at the terminal was crowded, but not overly so, and once boarding began it went fairly quickly. We were onboard the ship by 11:30, exactly the time that I chose at check-in! We were promised that our room key would be outside our cabin door by 1:30, but when we found our room shortly after boarding, it was already there. We were able to drop our carry-on bags and head to the Lido deck for a Guy's Burger. When we stopped back at our cabin before the Muster drill our bags were waiting for us. Our Muster station was the casino which stunk, literally, from all of the lingering smoke. It also made for a confusing time as people were milling about and it was hard for the crew to know who was and wasn't present. It felt that we were there much longer than was necessary. Maybe the casino is not such a good choice for a station, but other than that the entire embarkation process was painless, and the Sail Away party on the Lido deck, which we usually skip, was very enjoyable, due mainly to the Cruise Director, Matt.

It probably goes without saying that Guy's Burgers on the Lido deck are delicious! I allow myself one per cruise, because I can feel my arteries harden even as I eat it, but hey, I'm on vacation. The food in the Main Dining Room was okay. Nothing to write home about generally speaking, but definitely better than our first Vista cruise in December of last year. The portion sizes seemed larger and the wait staff a bit more seasoned. The salad bar on the Serenity Deck, available only on sea days, was a great option for lunch, as was the Pig & Anchor. At the salad bar you are able to choose all of your own salad ingredients and the chef tosses it all together for you. There were hundreds of possible combinations and it was nice to eat a refreshing, crisp, healthy salad while watching the ocean slip by. My husband chose to go for BBQ at Pig & Anchor instead and he had no complaints. There were a few different types of meat to choose from, several sides and sauces of different heats. The tacos at Blue Iguana Cantina were a pleasant surprise. While a bit small, you could have as many as you wanted. Choices of meats were pork, chicken or fish. The topping bar was loaded with all the extras. The pork, surprisingly, were my favorite. It was a great stop for a quick snack, but the line was usually long. I was not all that impressed with the Seafood Shack. I ordered the crab cake sliders; they were pretty good, but my husband was disappointed with his buffalo shrimp. It was all breading and mostly tasteless. Not worth the up charge. We ate at two of the specialty restaurants, Cucina Capitano and Fahrenheit 555. Both were excellent. The antipasto appetizer at Cucina was huge and very tasty. My mussels and pasta were in a creamy mushroom sauce and were delicious. My husband tried the braised short ribs and he thoroughly enjoyed them. The atmosphere was very relaxed and our server very attentive. Fahrenheit 555 was my favorite. We ate there on our last cruise and the fillet mignon I had was one of the best I've ever eaten. I was not disappointed this time around. My husband's ribeye was even better. The tuna tartar and shrimp cocktail were both delicious as well, but my favorite was dessert. The hazelnut cheesecake was wonderful and the chocolate sampler was to die for. The extra fee is most definitely worth it (you would spend at least that much dining out anywhere) and especially so if you are celebrating something special, as we were. I'm not a big breakfast eater, so my perception may be skewed, but breakfast was my least favorite meal of the day. We ate in the Main Dining Room the majority of the time and, with the exception of Sea Day Brunch, the food was so so. They could certainly upgrade their selection of fresh fruit, which I found to be true of the buffet as well.

A word about the servers: They all work very hard. They are in the dining rooms for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Almost without exception they are attentive and accommodating. Can you imagine having that many people in and out for dinner every night and remaining friendly and upbeat? I can't. So, on those rare occasions when service may seem slower than normal, put yourself if their shoes and relax. After all, you're on vacation.

When we sailed on Vista for the first time in December of 2016 the service at the bars, all the bars, was less than mediocre. It seemed as if the entire ship was under-staffed. Waits at the pool bars were interminable and roving servers were nowhere to be found. Not so this cruise. While ordering a drink from one of the pool bars or finding a server still involved a short wait at peak times, by and large the kinks seemed to have been worked out. Of the four "pool" bars, Blue Iguana Cantina, Red Frog Rum Bar, Tides Bar and the Serenity, Blue Iguana and Red Frog were still a bit on the overcrowded side as they are by the main pool. The bartenders at the Serenity Bar made less than exceptional drinks. The staff at the Tides Bar were always pleasant, especially the servers working the pool, and the drinks were always tasty. I was always asked if I wanted extra ice or a bottle of water. Nice touches on hot days spent pool side. The Red Frog Pub has an upbeat atmosphere and my husband and I especially enjoyed watching fellow cruisers play corn hole while we relaxed on the outdoor gliders. The Pub was always full of happy passengers playing board games, shuffleboard, enjoying karaoke or partaking of a house brewed beer. Havana Bar had the best atmosphere, in my opinion. The Cuban band that played there was excellent and we truly enjoyed listening to them play in the evening after a show. We discovered the Ocean Plaza Bar this cruise. Smaller and tucked out of the way, they made a good cocktail, were very pleasant, and were never crowded. The performers in the Plaza each evening were very talented and we enjoyed stopping by for a drink on our way to or from somewhere else. My favorite bar (and I know this may seem strange) was the Atrium Bar. We went almost every evening before dinner and often after one of the shows. We would have a glass of wine before heading to the dining room and listen to the very talented string trio. It has a very classy feel to it. The staff here was also very accommodating, going to great lengths to get the right glass for the drink my husband ordered even though he didn't care. It was also fun to gather with other guests, as well as the cast members, after the shows and continue the party.

I have to mention the Blue Java Cafe. It turned out to be one of the best experiences of the trip for me. The young man who worked the morning shift was an artist when it came to adorning the top of my caramel macchiato with pictures. On most afternoons I stopped by for a Vanilla Chai Latte before heading to my cabin to relax on the balcony before dinner. There were longer lines then, but the young lady working at that time handled it well and was able to remain pleasant in the process. I would definitely recommend Blue Java to anyone sailing on Vista.

The pools on the ship were my biggest disappointment of the cruise. Both were far too small to handle the number of people onboard. And both were freezing! I’ve been on cruises at several different times of the year and, summer or winter, the water is always too cold. Vista also needs more hot tubs. It was impossible, at times, to find space in either of the tubs at the Tides pool, especially when they were full of children. The tubs on Serenity were only a little better. The exception was on one port day when we remained onboard and we had both pools and hot tubs almost completely to ourselves. We missed the hot tubs that were on either side of the ship on the Breeze. Those were tucked out of the way, seldom crowded and the view of the open sea was calming and enjoyable.

My husband and I really enjoyed the Broadway style variety shows and attended each one. I’m no critic, but the young men and women seemed very talented and professional. We especially enjoyed the pre-show time with Matt, the Cruise Director. All of the musical acts that preformed at the various venues on the ship deserved a sit and listen. There seemed no shortage of bingo, trivia and karaoke opportunities for those so inclined. We attended both the Sail Away Party and the Mega Deck Party. Both were lots of fun, thanks in no small part to Matt. He has an abundance of energy, seems to be genuinely friendly and was always willing to spend a few minutes talking with guests.

We took two excursions while on this cruise. The first was a river cruise in LaRomana, Dominican Republic and the second was an ATV excursion on Aruba. Both were great!! We booked the Dominican Republic on our own. We were a bit concerned, due to the fact that it was cruise line sponsored, but the company got great reviews and the tour was exactly what we were looking for at a good price, so we decided to go for it. We were happy we did. The ATV trip was cruise sponsored and was therefore a bit easier to get to and from, but both were time and money well spent.
cindy.swisher@gmail.com’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin 8E 8315
This is the first time we have opted for a balcony cabin and we will never go back to an inside again! I don't know how much larger a balcony actually is than an interior, but the windows opening to the sea make it seem twice as large. The balcony itself was small, but more than adequate to relax on with a cup of Chai Latte before heading out for the evening or a glass of wine at the end of the night. I only wish that there was some way to leave the window open so you could hear the sound of the ship gliding through the ocean, but......Our bed was very comfortable and we had more than enough space in the dresser drawers and the two closets. Stowing our suitcase under the bed proved to be a great idea and opened up the couch and small coffee table. I honestly never felt cramped, but then again I wasn't in the room for prolonged periods of time. The bathroom was functional, although two people couldn't fit in front of the mirror at the same time. The shower was big enough for my husband and I but, as I mentioned, we aren't big people. 5'2" and 5'11", respectively. It may be a tight fit for larger guests, but no complaints here. The shower curtain was a little clingy. Maybe something a bit heavier?
Our cabin was very quiet. I never heard the up and down the hall traffic I've noticed in the past. Either the rooms on Vista are better insulated or the other passengers on my deck were more decorous. A couple of mornings I woke up wondering what time it was because even though it was light outside the window it was quiet in the hall.
A word about our cabin steward and staff. They were the best we've experienced so far cruising. Imade introduced himself shortly after we arrived in our room the first day and he checked back periodically throughout the week, but we never really saw anyone else. If we left for breakfast, our room was clean before we got back. Our bed was always turned down when we returned at night, complete with towel animal. We never lacked for clean towels either. What I noticed most of all was that there was rarely cleaning staff or their carts in the hallways, at least not by our rooms. This is a marked improvement over past cruises where it seemed I was constantly dodging said carts.
Cabin 8315 is in a great location. Close, but not too close, to elevators and not too far from the pool on deck 10 or deck 5, where all the action is.
Lido Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews