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This cruise was a family cruise with 2 grandparents, two toddlers, 1 teen, and 9 adults on the Carnival Vista sailing out of Galveston, TX to Cozumel, Belize and Mahogany Bay. This was my 7th cruise and 5th with Carnival so I am getting to the point of knowing what to expect when cruising and I'll share my thoughts on this one. EMBARKATION This was the first time in 7 cruises that I felt like I basically showed up and walked right on the ship. I wanted the Faster to the Fun when I first booked the cruise, but it was sold out which was a good thing because it wasn't needed. We had a 12:30 - 1:00 check-in window and were in our rooms by 1. TIP: Bring a backpack to carry on your wine, (soda) pop and the things you might need before you can get to your room and luggage. Check everything else in with the porter so you don't have to drag it on the ship. SHIP We chose the Vista because it was one of the newer bigger ships and we like to try different ships. I felt the Vista was very clean, the decor (for Carnival) was nice and there was tons to do onboard. If you are the type that likes to just stay on the ship from start to finish, I don't think you could ever be bored and not find something to do everyday. The biggest perks on this ship for our family were the waterpark and slides, Skyride, Rope course and the hot tubs which I felt were never crowded. We also did the Thrill Theatre which was fun for a one time try. One of the biggest complaints I've read about this ship were the missing glass elevators. I didn't feel it was ever crowded enough on the ship to miss them. Wait times were busy during high peak hours, but we just used the stairs in those cases. TIP: Enjoy all of the aboard activities during non-peak times when possible. If there is a port you are staying on the ship or a big event happening you are not interested in, then go take advantage of the pools, slides, rides, mini golf etc.. We didn't get off the ship at Mahogany Bay until mid afternoon and had a great time in the pools. CABIN We all had balcony cabin on the Lido deck (10) and I can't see ever booking a cruise without those cabins. You are right there were everything is happening - food, activities, bars, movie theatre and more. Our cabin was nice. Wasn't noisy aside from the balcony door slamming occasionally. The stateroom attendant always kept our ice filled, cleaned our room twice a day and asked if we needed anything from time to time. FOOD & DINING We didn't use the buffet's for any food, because we didn't need to as there were so many other options. We did get deserts from the buffet area and really like the Gelato ice cream. Favorites were Guy's Burgers, Blue Iguana Cantina (great tacos) Pizzeria, Deli and a few others. Never stood in line for anything more than a couple of minutes tops other than for the pizza that still wasn't that long. We had early dining and had a great wait staff. I am not a picky eater and love to try different things and found there was a very good selection of food. Love the "Ports of Call" selections. However, I do feel like the dining room food was not as good as our previous Carnival cruises. Tasty, maybe just not as flavorful as past sailings. TIP: If you never been on a cruise or just didn't know, you can order as many things as you like at the dining room. Didn't like your spare ribs? Order something else off the menu. You can also get hidden items like the Banana Split if you ask the waiter. Also if you are not a fan of the sauces or spices they put on then ask to have your meal served plain and then have them bring you a particular condiment you like. ENTERTAINMENT We did a couple of the comedy club shows and they were funny. Trivia is always a family favorite and we finally got to bring home a Ship on a Stick trophy. Movies Under the Stars is always a great way to relax for us. We didn't do the shows at the main theatre, but heard they were good. Cruise Director Matt is the best in the business. Always had us laughing and threw a great deck party. TIP: If you want to take advantage of the onboard entertainment get the whole group there early to get good seats. Saving seats is frowned upon and should be. There is nothing worse than getting to a show early and finding one person has ten seats saved. DRINKS We are not big drinkers, except on cruises. This was the first cruise where we decided to try the Cheers program. Worth the money if you take advantage of all they have to offer - milkshakes, specialty coffees, (soda) pop, and 15 a day in alcoholic drinks. I felt like there were plenty of opportunities to get your money's worth without having to try and get to your drink limit. TIP: For the Cheers program, always ask for premium liquor in any of your cocktails. Since you cannot use your drink package on the first day of the cruise leaving the Galveston port, bring on your own bottle of wine to have the first night. Don't plan on drinking much on a particular day? Get a couple shots and put them in your rooms mini fridge for when you do. PORTS AND EXCURSIONS Cozumel - This was some of our family's fourth time at this port and always a favorite. Plenty to do on this island without buying an expensive excursion. We decided to take a taxi to Sky Reef and had a lot of fun. It was less than $200 for 7 of us to snorkel, have a drink, get a backrub, taste some tequila and enjoy the area. TIP: Do some research and you will find plenty of things to do at Cozumel fairly cheap with just a taxi ride to them. Belize - We did buy an excursion for this one as we felt it was safer to do. We did the Cave tubing with lunch and it didn't disappoint. The bus ride was long to and from the place but our guide did a great job of keeping us entertained - Yeah Man! Cave tubing was fun and interesting. Lunch was tasty and I recommend getting the Cashew wine for the trip back. TIP: Bring water shoes and some cash for the gift shop. If you have health issues, keep in mind that there is a little bit of a trek through the rain forest including walking up some wooden stairs all the while carrying your tub. Grandparents had a little bit of a struggle keeping up with the group. Mahogany Bay - This was your basic beach port with amenities. Nothing fantastic, but we had a relaxing time. It's nice to have a port where you can get off the ship, stretch your legs and not have to pay for anything. TIP: No need to bring snorkel gear to this place. Really nothing of worth to see here. DISEMBARKATION Worst part of the cruise in my opinion. Carnival is not totally to blame, but things could have been done better. I didn't care for the way they provided the information for the disembarkation process the night before getting off the ship. Didn't hear the announcement or see that they had a stand for the tags so we ended up not getting any luggage tags and had to carry off all of our luggage. Oh well, lessons for next time. Due to customs issues there was a super long wait to get people off the ship as well as having to stand in a long line to get through customs. If you are carrying all of your luggage, have toddlers and senior citizens, standing in a long line for over an hour can test your nerves. TIP: Don't be in a hurry to get off the ship. Go enjoy a nice breakfast at the dining room. Kick back and relax in your cabin until you have to get out and then go find a nice place to sit until they call your deck to leave. Also, find out the disembarkation process the day before leaving if you want luggage tags. VISTA EXPERIENCE The whole family loved this ship and had a great time. There was plenty to do for all ages and never felt we didn't get our money's worth. For a big ship with lots of people nothing was ever crowded, and did about everything we wanted to do onboard. Other than disembarkation, we never had any problems with the whole process from booking to being on the cruise. FINAL TIPS: First time cruisers do plenty of research. Watch videos, read reviews and find out what you can before you go. This will help you have a better time while onboard. Watch the Cruise TV in your cabin to see what's going on and read your Fun Times. Have a waterproof watch on so you know what time it is and allow you to be early to the activities and entertainment. Relax, have a good time and remember that you are not a work, you don't have to cook, clean or make your bed. Happy Cruising!

Fun Times and horrible disembarkation on the Vista

Carnival Vista Cruise Review by donp70

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
This cruise was a family cruise with 2 grandparents, two toddlers, 1 teen, and 9 adults on the Carnival Vista sailing out of Galveston, TX to Cozumel, Belize and Mahogany Bay.

This was my 7th cruise and 5th with Carnival so I am getting to the point of knowing what to expect when cruising and I'll share my thoughts on this one.

EMBARKATION

This was the first time in 7 cruises that I felt like I basically showed up and walked right on the ship. I wanted the Faster to the Fun when I first booked the cruise, but it was sold out which was a good thing because it wasn't needed. We had a 12:30 - 1:00 check-in window and were in our rooms by 1.

TIP: Bring a backpack to carry on your wine, (soda) pop and the things you might need before you can get to your room and luggage. Check everything else in with the porter so you don't have to drag it on the ship.

SHIP

We chose the Vista because it was one of the newer bigger ships and we like to try different ships. I felt the Vista was very clean, the decor (for Carnival) was nice and there was tons to do onboard. If you are the type that likes to just stay on the ship from start to finish, I don't think you could ever be bored and not find something to do everyday. The biggest perks on this ship for our family were the waterpark and slides, Skyride, Rope course and the hot tubs which I felt were never crowded.

We also did the Thrill Theatre which was fun for a one time try.

One of the biggest complaints I've read about this ship were the missing glass elevators. I didn't feel it was ever crowded enough on the ship to miss them. Wait times were busy during high peak hours, but we just used the stairs in those cases.

TIP: Enjoy all of the aboard activities during non-peak times when possible. If there is a port you are staying on the ship or a big event happening you are not interested in, then go take advantage of the pools, slides, rides, mini golf etc.. We didn't get off the ship at Mahogany Bay until mid afternoon and had a great time in the pools.

CABIN

We all had balcony cabin on the Lido deck (10) and I can't see ever booking a cruise without those cabins. You are right there were everything is happening - food, activities, bars, movie theatre and more.

Our cabin was nice. Wasn't noisy aside from the balcony door slamming occasionally. The stateroom attendant always kept our ice filled, cleaned our room twice a day and asked if we needed anything from time to time.

FOOD & DINING

We didn't use the buffet's for any food, because we didn't need to as there were so many other options. We did get deserts from the buffet area and really like the Gelato ice cream. Favorites were Guy's Burgers, Blue Iguana Cantina (great tacos) Pizzeria, Deli and a few others. Never stood in line for anything more than a couple of minutes tops other than for the pizza that still wasn't that long.

We had early dining and had a great wait staff. I am not a picky eater and love to try different things and found there was a very good selection of food. Love the "Ports of Call" selections. However, I do feel like the dining room food was not as good as our previous Carnival cruises. Tasty, maybe just not as flavorful as past sailings.

TIP: If you never been on a cruise or just didn't know, you can order as many things as you like at the dining room. Didn't like your spare ribs? Order something else off the menu. You can also get hidden items like the Banana Split if you ask the waiter. Also if you are not a fan of the sauces or spices they put on then ask to have your meal served plain and then have them bring you a particular condiment you like.

ENTERTAINMENT

We did a couple of the comedy club shows and they were funny. Trivia is always a family favorite and we finally got to bring home a Ship on a Stick trophy. Movies Under the Stars is always a great way to relax for us. We didn't do the shows at the main theatre, but heard they were good.

Cruise Director Matt is the best in the business. Always had us laughing and threw a great deck party.

TIP: If you want to take advantage of the onboard entertainment get the whole group there early to get good seats. Saving seats is frowned upon and should be. There is nothing worse than getting to a show early and finding one person has ten seats saved.

DRINKS

We are not big drinkers, except on cruises. This was the first cruise where we decided to try the Cheers program. Worth the money if you take advantage of all they have to offer - milkshakes, specialty coffees, (soda) pop, and 15 a day in alcoholic drinks. I felt like there were plenty of opportunities to get your money's worth without having to try and get to your drink limit.

TIP: For the Cheers program, always ask for premium liquor in any of your cocktails. Since you cannot use your drink package on the first day of the cruise leaving the Galveston port, bring on your own bottle of wine to have the first night. Don't plan on drinking much on a particular day? Get a couple shots and put them in your rooms mini fridge for when you do.

PORTS AND EXCURSIONS

Cozumel - This was some of our family's fourth time at this port and always a favorite. Plenty to do on this island without buying an expensive excursion. We decided to take a taxi to Sky Reef and had a lot of fun. It was less than $200 for 7 of us to snorkel, have a drink, get a backrub, taste some tequila and enjoy the area.

TIP: Do some research and you will find plenty of things to do at Cozumel fairly cheap with just a taxi ride to them.

Belize - We did buy an excursion for this one as we felt it was safer to do. We did the Cave tubing with lunch and it didn't disappoint. The bus ride was long to and from the place but our guide did a great job of keeping us entertained - Yeah Man! Cave tubing was fun and interesting. Lunch was tasty and I recommend getting the Cashew wine for the trip back.

TIP: Bring water shoes and some cash for the gift shop. If you have health issues, keep in mind that there is a little bit of a trek through the rain forest including walking up some wooden stairs all the while carrying your tub. Grandparents had a little bit of a struggle keeping up with the group.

Mahogany Bay - This was your basic beach port with amenities. Nothing fantastic, but we had a relaxing time. It's nice to have a port where you can get off the ship, stretch your legs and not have to pay for anything.

TIP: No need to bring snorkel gear to this place. Really nothing of worth to see here.

DISEMBARKATION

Worst part of the cruise in my opinion. Carnival is not totally to blame, but things could have been done better. I didn't care for the way they provided the information for the disembarkation process the night before getting off the ship. Didn't hear the announcement or see that they had a stand for the tags so we ended up not getting any luggage tags and had to carry off all of our luggage. Oh well, lessons for next time.

Due to customs issues there was a super long wait to get people off the ship as well as having to stand in a long line to get through customs. If you are carrying all of your luggage, have toddlers and senior citizens, standing in a long line for over an hour can test your nerves.

TIP: Don't be in a hurry to get off the ship. Go enjoy a nice breakfast at the dining room. Kick back and relax in your cabin until you have to get out and then go find a nice place to sit until they call your deck to leave. Also, find out the disembarkation process the day before leaving if you want luggage tags.


VISTA EXPERIENCE

The whole family loved this ship and had a great time. There was plenty to do for all ages and never felt we didn't get our money's worth. For a big ship with lots of people nothing was ever crowded, and did about everything we wanted to do onboard. Other than disembarkation, we never had any problems with the whole process from booking to being on the cruise.

FINAL TIPS: First time cruisers do plenty of research. Watch videos, read reviews and find out what you can before you go. This will help you have a better time while onboard. Watch the Cruise TV in your cabin to see what's going on and read your Fun Times. Have a waterproof watch on so you know what time it is and allow you to be early to the activities and entertainment. Relax, have a good time and remember that you are not a work, you don't have to cook, clean or make your bed.

Happy Cruising!
donp70’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Ages 3 to 6
Ages 13 to 15
Ages 16+
Service
Onboard Experience
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Cabin Review

Balcony
Cabin 8D 10281
Your standard balcony cabin. Clean with a comfy bed and pillow but, couch not so much for my teen son. I brought a portable fan with me to help cool the room down a little more at night. The bathroom had its standard shampoo, body wash and soap - no extra items.
Deck 9 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Cave-Tubing
    Belize - We did buy an excursion for this one as we felt it was safer to do. We did the Cave tubing with lunch and it didn't disappoint. The bus ride was long to and from the place but our guide did a great job of keeping us entertained - Yeah Man! Cave tubing was fun and interesting. Lunch was tasty and I recommend getting the Cashew wine for the trip back.

    TIP: Bring water shoes and some cash for the gift shop. If you have health issues, keep in mind that there is a little bit of a trek through the rain forest including walking up some wooden stairs all the while carrying your tub. Grandparents had a little bit of a struggle keeping up with the group.
    View All 334 Cave-Tubing Reviews
  • Cozumel
    Cozumel - This was some of our family's fourth time at this port and always a favorite. Plenty to do on this island without buying an expensive excursion. We decided to take a taxi to Sky Reef and had a lot of fun. It was less than $200 for 7 of us to snorkel, have a drink, get a backrub, taste some tequila and enjoy the area.

    TIP: Do some research and you will find plenty of things to do at Cozumel fairly cheap with just a taxi ride to them.
    View All 6,660 Cozumel Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Cozumel Cruise Port Review
  • Galveston
    Hilton Island Resort - ate at the Rainforest Cafe and had great time.
    View All 659 Galveston Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Galveston Cruise Port Review
  • Roatan
    Mahogany Bay - This was your basic beach port with amenities. Nothing fantastic, but we had a relaxing time. It's nice to have a port where you can get off the ship, stretch your legs and not have to pay for anything.

    TIP: No need to bring snorkel gear to this place. Really nothing of worth to see here.
    View All 2,817 Roatan Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Roatan Cruise Port Review