Carnival Vista Cruise Review by xsubman
- Sail Date: March 2018
- Destination: Southern Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Havana Aft-View Extended Balcony
Things got off to a rocky start with the embarkation process in Miami. We arrived just before our 11am scheduled boarding time only to have to wait in line for almost 45 minutes due to some kind of “computer problem” with the tablets on board the ship. I don’t think we ever really got the fully story but it definitely delayed my first Guy’s burger. With priority boarding, my wife & I were able to finally get on board and drop off our carry-on bag in our cabin. Picking up our Sail-n-Sign card in the mailbox outside of our cabin was an unexpected change to the boarding process. I don’t know if that was just a “Miami thing” or if we can expect that on future cruises. It did speed things up but . . . I’m not sure that I like the change. I guess as long as nothing happens to those cards until we open the envelope, it’s okay. I hate to think of trying to get a new card if someone tampered/stole the card before we got there.
At this point I have to mention that we boarded on the third deck at the forward bank of elevators and got off at the sixth deck. Walking down the corridor to our extended aft balcony, we both felt like we were in one of those cartoons were there’s a never-ending row of doors & lights the further you traveled: you couldn’t see the end of the ship for what seemed like forever. My wife was thinking – “Oh no. We are going to do SO much walking on this cruise!”
After we wolfed down our first Guy burger and caught up w/ sister & brother-in-law, we headed out to explore the Vista. It really is a huge ship with so many things to see. Using the Carnival Hub app helped when it came to using the Deck Lay-out feature. (That little cardboard ship diagram available at Guest Services is nice but SO hard to read.) There were so many places to explore which really helped to “diffuse” running into lines & the 3K+ other cruisers. For the most part, things are spread out enough that there weren’t too many long lines.
Though the lines for the Sky Ride was WAY too long (who wants to wait two hours for a two minute adventure!?!?), there were plenty of activities for everyone. Some include a mini-golf course, shuffleboard, table tennis, rope course, foosball and a number of exercise equipment. The waterpark area included two full blown water sides. The Red Frog Pub included a number of “indoor” activities to keep folks engaged.
The entertainment on the Vista was generally “above-par”. I think my favorite had to be the guitarist Graham who was a staple in the Red Frog Pub. Between Graham and the Painkillers, the RFP was the place to be! The “Strings Classic” duo was okay as well as the female due “Steady Rush”; both provided an interesting spin on some classic songs. We were only able to catch one Comedy act after barely getting a seat over a half hour before show time. The Limelight lounge was definitely one area that filled up quickly. Saw two production shows in the Liquid Lounge (Flick & America Rocks!); both were interesting with a heavy dose of lasers & lights. A couple of the singer’s voices were strained and the dancing – well my wife kept comparing the performers to DWTS and I just don’t think that’s fair. Cruise Director Matt was awesome & an unending bundle of energy whenever we saw him.
We were smart (lucky) enough to have a cabin in the Havana suites which gave us access to the Havana pool area. From what I saw of the main pool and even the Serenity Deck, the Havana Club was the place to be and well worth the extra $$$$. We had absolutely no problem getting a chaise lounge or other chair by the Havana deck compared to the absolutely jammed area around the main pool & it’s upper deck. The Havana staff vigorously monitored guests to ensure that they had the wrist band necessary to access the Havana poll and on a number of occasions asked guests without the band to leave if it was before 7 PM. Now the one downside to having the aft extended balcony that we did was when the “Latin Party” band fired up their bongos & keyboards: we could literally feel the sound on the floor as we walked in our cabin. Thankfully, the sound level generally was lower with each succeeding music set.
I would have to say that the most disappointing aspect of the entire cruise was the food service. We had Early Dining in the Reflections restaurant and could never get out of there in under two hours. Don’t get me wrong – our wait staff busted their butts. It’s just that apparently Carnival has seen fit to increase their profit margin by making the staff service more guests than in the past. Additionally, the set-up in the Reflections did not appear to be as organized as I’ve noticed on other Carnival ships. For the eight people at our table, we rarely received are orders at the same time. The Lido Marketplace buffet provided another example of a poorly laid out food line. Besides the perpetually long lines, the two omelet lines (for example) interfered with the other buffet lines causing much confusion. On an “up note”, the specialty food venues were pretty good. Getting a burger or “smoked meat” at Guy’s or a burrito at the Blue Iguana Cantina was generally no problem. (Okay – the pizza line did get a little crazy from time to time.) The Seaday Brunch is always an enjoyable event. We did partake of a lunch meal at the Seafood Shack and was pleasantly surprised of the quality for the price. The biggest mistake was having dinner at the Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse (I’m kidding!); it was SO AWESOME that now I’m sure we’ll be making reservations there on all future Carnival cruises. What an experience!
Overall, this was a very enjoyable cruise on a monster cruise ship. [For the record: The Vista is only 37 feet shorter than the latest U.S. Navy aircraft carrier but over 33,500 tons heavier.]
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