My wife and I, along with another couple, recently went on a 7-night cruise from Galveston, TX, on Carnival Vista. Our ports of call were Montego Bay (Jamaica), Georgetown (Grand Cayman), and Cozumel (Mexico). My wife and I feel very blessed to have traveled to a number of destinations across the U.S., including numerous trips to Hawaii. However, this was our very first cruise and our first time to the Caribbean Islands. I must say that we absolutely enjoyed it!
Although we didn’t have another ship experience to compare it to, we thought the Vista was great. Our friends, on the other hand, who have cruised multiple times, were a little disappointed. Carnival is their favorite cruise line and with Vista being one of Carnival’s newer and larger ships, our friends were expecting it to have a little more “wow” factor. They missed the larger, central atrium area with elevators and felt Vista’s floor plan was more “chopped up” than other Carnival ships. They were also a little disappointed with the main entertainment venue (Liquid Lounge). With portable chairs on the main floor instead of theater seats, they felt it was less theater-like than on other ships. Of course, having chairs that can be moved quickly allows for more flexibility to host a greater variety of events. They stated, “The differences aren’t really bad—just different.”
We did have an interesting issue with our balcony room (6309). Each night as we slept, like clockwork, there was a weird mechanical-sounding noise at 1:00 AM and then again at 5:00 AM, which was definitely loud enough to wake us up each time. We spoke to Guest Services and they seemed baffled by it and got their technicians involved. Not sure if they ever figured out what it was, but they moved us to another room without us requesting it. So we were pleased with the way they handled it.
The embarkation and disembarkation processes went smoothly and were pretty much pain-free. We used porters to handle our baggage, which was helpful, but I actually thought the processes would take longer than they did. I was pleasantly surprised.
Food on board was excellent. We had a wonderful experience every place we ate. Loved Guy’s Burger Joint (ate there a couple of times) and also loved Guy’s Pig and Anchor Smokehouse. We’re from Texas, so we’ve enjoyed lots of great Texas BBQ, but I’ve got to say that their BBQ was very good. We ate at two specialty restaurants: Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse and Ji Ji Asian Kitchen, and had great food and service at both. We enjoyed the Lido Marketplace buffet, which had a wonderful variety of items to choose from. Our assigned-table dining in the Reflections Restaurant for our evening meals was also a wonderful experience. The food was very good, our waiters were excellent, and I think I had the “melting chocolate cake” every time. If you’re a chocolate lover, you’ve got to try it!
We enjoyed three excursions, two of which were arranged though Carnival, and all went off without a hitch. Considering the number of people they’ve got to get off board and back on again successfully, it all went reasonably smooth.
We really enjoyed the bands Powerline & Triple Play in the Ocean Plaza lounge in the evenings. I think we ended up there at least four of the seven nights. And I was really impressed with the Military/Veterans Appreciation gathering they had in the Liquid Lounge. I didn’t serve in the military, but it was a very special and moving time. I was very pleased by Carnival’s efforts to recognize our military personnel.
I’d probably have to say that Matt Mitcham, the Cruise Director, impressed me the most. First of all, his energy level just blew me away. It seemed like every time we turned around, there was Matt hosting another event, or leading the line dancing out on the Lido deck, or going from person to person checking to see how their day was going. He made every event that he hosted more fun. But I was especially impressed by what seemed like a very conscious effort on his part to meet as many people as possible to see how their day was going and to help ensure they were having a great time. We ran into him four or five times during the week and he always took time to say hello and see how our day was going. With almost 4000 passengers on board, I can’t imagine that he actually remembered us each time, but it sure seemed like it. I’m convinced that the next time we cruise, if we don’t have Matt as our Cruise Director, we’re going to be a little disappointed.
I hope everyone has as much fun as we did on the Vista. We can’t wait until our next cruise!
Cabin was very clean and comfortable. Everything seemed very new still. See above review for more details.
We didn't spend any time in Galveston. We just live 25 miles away and was just dropped off at the ship.
I believe this is a great option when visiting Jamaica. Very nice and comfortable property. Loved being able to swim in the ocean and then walk over and enjoy the pool and lazy river. Food was very good also. Transfers to and from ship went very smoothly.View All 17 Hilton Rose Hall Reviews
We have snorkeled Hawaii multiple times, and was a little disappointed. The water was beautiful, but the coral and fish were limited. Also, we weren't allowed to wear fins. They stated that they wanted to ensure we didn't damage the coral. However, considering the depth of the water (10 ft, plus), I don't think that was really an issue. Snorkeling without fins made it much more difficult to move around, follow fish, etc.View All 340 Snorkeling Reviews
A very fun experience. However, there were so many boats and people in the area, stingrays were in limited supply, so to speak. Our boat captain had to go catch one and bring it over to our group. If we go again, I want to make sure we get on a boat that gets to the location earlier in the morning before the crowd arrives.View All 795 Stingray Swim Reviews
Great experience, an awesome tour guide (Roberto), good food. We will definitely do this one again.View All 158 Amazing River & Cavern Explore Reviews