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About Me: This is my 8th cruise on Carnival since 2002. For comparison's sake I've been on the Sensation/Elation/Conquest/Destiny and the Breeze before this cruise. I've traveled in both 1A Upper/Lower Category Rooms and on this voyage the Grand Suite. I quite like the line for it's diverse mix of passengers and lively atmosphere. In addition the Galveston Port is within fairly easy driving distance. I traveled with my son (he didn't try the Camp Carnival stuff) and his other dad. The Ship The Vista is a beautiful ship and despite it's passenger load still manages to provide room for everyone and including a few quiet getaway spaces. The typical areas (Casino/Pool Decks/ Lobby in the evenings) are still quite crowded but there were other areas that felt downright deserted. The decor style is very reserved with an almost spa like feel. While I miss the atrium and glass elevator set up- which is the BIG change- I still loved the Lobby area and bar and spent a lot of time there. The BIG con is having to pass through the Casino to cross deck 4 and mostly because of smoking which I don't mind people doing and I think they should have a location inside to indulge it BUT the ventilation in the area is ridiculous. It, by this point and with all the complaints over the last two decades, should be far, far better. It's the 21st century and there's just no excuse for it not being better handled by Carnival. Embarkation It was a CATTLE CALL- LOL and that was with Priority boarding and a little later in the day (around 12:30) but honestly I think it was handled about as well as could be expected given the building and the massive number of people boarding. I never felt stressed and was mostly always in motion. The only hold up in face was security and again, I think it was handled about as well as could be expected. Cabin- Please see below. The Dining Both the main dining room and the buffet were quite good. Stand outs were the pizza as usual with Guy's burgers and the Cantina being on the list- although, honestly, Guy's burgers while good I didn't think lived up to the hype, lol. My best meal was the French Toast at the Seaday Bunch which should not be missed. Try to attend at least one and the upcharge 555 Steakhouse which is always excellent and fully lived up to my experience with it this time. The upcharge Bonsai sushi place is also some of the best and most attractively presented that I've encountered. I did not try the new Seafood place because to be honest the few plates of food that I saw coming from it compared to the prices being charged did not seem worth it. The Bars/Lounges- Carnival always has a great selection and the Vista was no exception. My favorites are below. The Lobby Bar in the new circular configuration I personally loved. It was so much nicer then just facing the back bar with everything going on behind you. I felt like it was really the center of the action. The violin trio here was a huge highlight and I made it a point to be there every evening. I also enjoyed the design of the Casino Bar with the two story atrium and matching LED display to the lobby. Now there were times I felt like I was going to get COPD just sitting there- LOL- but I did like the bar itself and the music playing in the area, plus it was always lively. I discovered the Alchemy Bar way too late in my cruise. It's magnificent! The drinks are unusual and the style of the place is so imaginative. It needs to be about twice the size though, ha ha but I still loved it. The Havana Bar- what a stand out this place is. It's large and so well decorated with button-tufted chairs and love seats and a darker cooler wood look. It's also remarkably quiet during the day if you are looking for somewhere to curl up and ready of just hang out. The Activities- The new big items on the ship are the I-Max theater and the SkyRider. Both were great with the draw back being that theater only had one movie I was interested in watching (but the sound, picture and experience were perfect) and the SkyRider was broken nearly the entire voyage. For the big new feature I feel like I've several times that it was broken and now experienced it for myself. Luckily in Cozumel it was fixed and on the last day it was opened. Everyone was lined up for it so the wait was like two hours, LOL but my son was dying to try it as was I and it was quite cool if they can keep it functional. I never attended the shows but the comedy club was always full and people seemed to like it. The musical entertainment around the ship was very good and I quite enjoyed it all. The Staff- I think they may well be the best and happiest staff I've encountered on Carnival. I was quite impressed with the smiles, good mornings and hellos. I wish I had taken down everyone's name but I didn't and I don't have my room steward's name handy but they were all excellent. I did the Carnival survey after getting back and I did list the few cards of the staff/ room steward that I did think to get. I was really happy with them all. Ports of Call/ Excursions Honduras- The Tabyana Beach Break. This is a beautiful area with gorgeous water and sand and foliage. It's newer built so the facilities were also very nice- the bar staff was particularly good. The only drawback was the huge amount of people hawking just everything on the beach which I do expect a certain amount of during cruises but in this case it was a constant pressure and some salesman even followed other passengers out into the water. The further drawback was lying in the lounges and just enjoying the beach meant that the view was completely obstructed by a literally unending stream of sales people walking back and forth along the beach. My son, though did have a great time as it was his first time to a beach and he LOVED IT. I enjoyed it more further back in the foliage up by the bar and restaurant with just a distant view of the beach through the trees-lol and I don't regret buying the excursion. That said, I'll not be returning to it in the future. Belize- True Belizean Foodie Tour. This was an excellent excursion. I enjoyed it so much and wish there was a counterpart to it in every single port of call. The food served at three different stops was great and the cultural and historical perspective interwoven with the items was even better. I can't recommend this more to see the city and learn about Belize through food. Cozumel- We did nothing here mostly because we've been here so often that it's a little boring at this point. I did get off the ship to buy a few t-shirts for my son in the shopping plaza adjacent to the dock. To be honest it's fairly bland and way too Americanzied. I could have been at any shopping center anywhere in the states and the shops carried so much of the same thing. That said i did buy a few shirts and got a pleasant enough walk but the area around the ship is nothing terribly special in my opinion. I actually spent and found more stuff in the duty free mall you have to pass through to enter and leave the dock. Debarkation: I wait for our deck to be called to leave so that I could linger more over breakfast and finish packing the morning of leaving. It was pretty easy- a back up at customs but those poor guys there! I mean like 5000 people all trying to get into the country all at once. They did a very good job for what they were facing and it was all easy enough. I drive to and from the port and park across from the terminal at Park and Cruise by the way which I highly recommend. Overall: I just loved the Vista despite things like a smokey 4th floor due to the casino and the elimination of the atrium/glass elevators. There was a lot of space on this ship to spread out and the decor was restful and tasteful. The staff was first rate and the food was routinely very good and often excelled. I've booked the ship again for the same route February 29th- Leap Year Cruise! Woot! Woot! :D And I hope it's as good the second time around because I really enjoyed it the first.

A wonderful ship whose few minuses are far outweighed by the pluses.

Carnival Vista Cruise Review by Jasonsterling

2 people found this helpful
Trip Details
About Me: This is my 8th cruise on Carnival since 2002. For comparison's sake I've been on the Sensation/Elation/Conquest/Destiny and the Breeze before this cruise. I've traveled in both 1A Upper/Lower Category Rooms and on this voyage the Grand Suite. I quite like the line for it's diverse mix of passengers and lively atmosphere. In addition the Galveston Port is within fairly easy driving distance. I traveled with my son (he didn't try the Camp Carnival stuff) and his other dad.

The Ship

The Vista is a beautiful ship and despite it's passenger load still manages to provide room for everyone and including a few quiet getaway spaces. The typical areas (Casino/Pool Decks/ Lobby in the evenings) are still quite crowded but there were other areas that felt downright deserted. The decor style is very reserved with an almost spa like feel. While I miss the atrium and glass elevator set up- which is the BIG change- I still loved the Lobby area and bar and spent a lot of time there.

The BIG con is having to pass through the Casino to cross deck 4 and mostly because of smoking which I don't mind people doing and I think they should have a location inside to indulge it BUT the ventilation in the area is ridiculous. It, by this point and with all the complaints over the last two decades, should be far, far better. It's the 21st century and there's just no excuse for it not being better handled by Carnival.

Embarkation

It was a CATTLE CALL- LOL and that was with Priority boarding and a little later in the day (around 12:30) but honestly I think it was handled about as well as could be expected given the building and the massive number of people boarding. I never felt stressed and was mostly always in motion. The only hold up in face was security and again, I think it was handled about as well as could be expected.

Cabin- Please see below.

The Dining

Both the main dining room and the buffet were quite good. Stand outs were the pizza as usual with Guy's burgers and the Cantina being on the list- although, honestly, Guy's burgers while good I didn't think lived up to the hype, lol. My best meal was the French Toast at the Seaday Bunch which should not be missed. Try to attend at least one and the upcharge 555 Steakhouse which is always excellent and fully lived up to my experience with it this time. The upcharge Bonsai sushi place is also some of the best and most attractively presented that I've encountered. I did not try the new Seafood place because to be honest the few plates of food that I saw coming from it compared to the prices being charged did not seem worth it.

The Bars/Lounges- Carnival always has a great selection and the Vista was no exception. My favorites are below.

The Lobby Bar in the new circular configuration I personally loved. It was so much nicer then just facing the back bar with everything going on behind you. I felt like it was really the center of the action. The violin trio here was a huge highlight and I made it a point to be there every evening.

I also enjoyed the design of the Casino Bar with the two story atrium and matching LED display to the lobby. Now there were times I felt like I was going to get COPD just sitting there- LOL- but I did like the bar itself and the music playing in the area, plus it was always lively.

I discovered the Alchemy Bar way too late in my cruise. It's magnificent! The drinks are unusual and the style of the place is so imaginative. It needs to be about twice the size though, ha ha but I still loved it.

The Havana Bar- what a stand out this place is. It's large and so well decorated with button-tufted chairs and love seats and a darker cooler wood look. It's also remarkably quiet during the day if you are looking for somewhere to curl up and ready of just hang out.

The Activities- The new big items on the ship are the I-Max theater and the SkyRider. Both were great with the draw back being that theater only had one movie I was interested in watching (but the sound, picture and experience were perfect) and the SkyRider was broken nearly the entire voyage. For the big new feature I feel like I've several times that it was broken and now experienced it for myself. Luckily in Cozumel it was fixed and on the last day it was opened. Everyone was lined up for it so the wait was like two hours, LOL but my son was dying to try it as was I and it was quite cool if they can keep it functional. I never attended the shows but the comedy club was always full and people seemed to like it. The musical entertainment around the ship was very good and I quite enjoyed it all.

The Staff- I think they may well be the best and happiest staff I've encountered on Carnival. I was quite impressed with the smiles, good mornings and hellos. I wish I had taken down everyone's name but I didn't and I don't have my room steward's name handy but they were all excellent. I did the Carnival survey after getting back and I did list the few cards of the staff/ room steward that I did think to get. I was really happy with them all.

Ports of Call/ Excursions

Honduras- The Tabyana Beach Break. This is a beautiful area with gorgeous water and sand and foliage. It's newer built so the facilities were also very nice- the bar staff was particularly good. The only drawback was the huge amount of people hawking just everything on the beach which I do expect a certain amount of during cruises but in this case it was a constant pressure and some salesman even followed other passengers out into the water. The further drawback was lying in the lounges and just enjoying the beach meant that the view was completely obstructed by a literally unending stream of sales people walking back and forth along the beach. My son, though did have a great time as it was his first time to a beach and he LOVED IT. I enjoyed it more further back in the foliage up by the bar and restaurant with just a distant view of the beach through the trees-lol and I don't regret buying the excursion. That said, I'll not be returning to it in the future.

Belize- True Belizean Foodie Tour. This was an excellent excursion. I enjoyed it so much and wish there was a counterpart to it in every single port of call. The food served at three different stops was great and the cultural and historical perspective interwoven with the items was even better. I can't recommend this more to see the city and learn about Belize through food.

Cozumel- We did nothing here mostly because we've been here so often that it's a little boring at this point. I did get off the ship to buy a few t-shirts for my son in the shopping plaza adjacent to the dock. To be honest it's fairly bland and way too Americanzied. I could have been at any shopping center anywhere in the states and the shops carried so much of the same thing. That said i did buy a few shirts and got a pleasant enough walk but the area around the ship is nothing terribly special in my opinion. I actually spent and found more stuff in the duty free mall you have to pass through to enter and leave the dock.

Debarkation: I wait for our deck to be called to leave so that I could linger more over breakfast and finish packing the morning of leaving. It was pretty easy- a back up at customs but those poor guys there! I mean like 5000 people all trying to get into the country all at once. They did a very good job for what they were facing and it was all easy enough. I drive to and from the port and park across from the terminal at Park and Cruise by the way which I highly recommend.

Overall: I just loved the Vista despite things like a smokey 4th floor due to the casino and the elimination of the atrium/glass elevators. There was a lot of space on this ship to spread out and the decor was restful and tasteful. The staff was first rate and the food was routinely very good and often excelled. I've booked the ship again for the same route February 29th- Leap Year Cruise! Woot! Woot! :D And I hope it's as good the second time around because I really enjoyed it the first.
Jasonsterling’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Grand Suite
Cabin GS 7406
Typically I travel in an Ocean Suite but in this case a Carnival Rep contacted me a few days before leaving and I ended up impulse buying an upgrade to the Grand Suite. The primary perk here in more space and it is spacious with larger everything including Bath/Whirlpool Tub, Walk-In Closet, Balcony w/a lounge chair which used to be a part of the OS balcony as well but isn't any longer. The GS also came with access to the reserved Havana Pool area which is very nicely laid out and a lovely area. That was a nice perk but my son being only 11 could not use it as 12 in the minimum age so I rarely went back there. Overall it is a nice room and I don't regret upgrading but I'll likely not do it in the future as the space and additional perk were not enough to justify the cost in my opinion over the OS which is also very nice and spacious as well. I might have seen more value if my son had been 12 and as a consequence we had spent more time in the Havana area but even still it was a substantial additional cost that was fine this time but most likely not in the future.
Deck 7 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews