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Carnival Vista Cruise Review
4.5 / 5.0
Cruise Critic Editor Rating
965 Reviews

3rd Time is a charm with Carnival Vista

Carnival Vista Cruise Review by BigBoats4Me

9 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: Feb 2020
  • Destination: the Western Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Balcony

Spoiler Alert: Ignore EVERYTHING negative you have read about the Vista so far. Based on our most recent trip none of the negativity is true and the naysayers are just complaining because they really don’t know how to appreciate a good cruise when they’re on one! This was our second time on the Vista, third cruise on Carnival. Once again, Carnival exceeded our expectations and delivered an amazing adventure for my family. We chose the Vista based on the excellent itinerary including Cozumel, Belize and Roatan, Honduras.

We flew into Houston International the night before and stayed at the Airport Marriott because out flight landed after 11pm. The subway from baggage claim one stop to the hotel was a bonus after a long day at work then a 4 hour flight. The hotel was fine and we enjoyed a late night snack when we landed. We took a Lyft to the Port of Galveston, but will probably take the Carnival Bus from IAH next time. Having a specific “Check-In” time made embarkation a breeze and we were on the ship in no time after going through all the check in points beforehand.

The Vista is a beautiful ship and we love her low-key vibe and laid back ambiance and décor. We had a mid-ship balcony room on the 8th Deck. There was more than ample space for the three of us, although our teenage son is growing so fast I might end up on the pull-out couch on the next trip. Our room steward Jay was wonderful. No request went unanswered and he went above and beyond every day to see to it that we had what we needed. No surprise that the service everywhere on board was exceptional. We met so many hard working, sweet, kind staff and we never once encountered anyone who was less than enthusiastic to help us with a request. The staff was upbeat and positive and we look forward to the chance to spend another week with this crew at some point.

We ate dinner almost every night in the MDR except for one night we opted for Bonsai sushi. Every meal was wonderful and my son and I took advantage of the steak offerings most nights. The dishes were interesting and the selection was wonderful. Dessert was always something to look forward to and the Lava Cake was again the highlight of dinner on our 2nd to last night. The waiters in the MDR were so kind and we looked forward to “Show Time” whenever they performed.

We only ate at Bonsai one night and even by our standards thought it was some of the best we’ve ever had on the Vista! We enjoyed Sea Day brunch one morning in the MDR and in addition to some excellent Eggs Benedict – the fresh pressed juices were worth every penny. The drinks were off the charts and a great way to start the day.

This was a much needed relaxing vacation for us so we didn’t do much in the way of entertainment at night and because we’re sensitive to smoke, avoided the Casino at all costs. We mostly played Bingo on sea days with the amazing Entertainment Team. Britni was a riot and she kept the games fun and exciting. Schwartz is one of the best Cruise Directors we’ve ever had on a cruise and he was so kind and gracious to everyone he met. We enjoyed to the Lip Sync Contest the last night of the cruise at the invitation Hannah, who was competing for the grand prize. We thought she did a great job, but the crowd was behind the other contestant and she came up short. Still, Schwartz and his crew put on an excellent show that night and the inclusion of all the little kids from the camps, etc., was brilliant. Lots of laughter and their precious little faces were too much! Great way to end the cruise! We loved seeing all the kids get a chance to participate in the fun! Our son spent every night in the Teen Club and came back every night begging to stay out longer because they were having so much fun. He loved the Teen Club and made some sweet friendships on board.

All three ports were safe, clean and our beach day/diving/snorkeling excursions were wonderful. My son and I chose Mr. Sancho’s (not a Carnival excursion) for Cozumel thinking it would be a family fun day at the beach with lots of kids and families, which there was, but we were both put off by the amount of visibly inebriated folks we saw at the end of the day and had to refuse a cab ride back to the port with a group of folks who’d had just a little too much to drink. Belize City was a completely different vibe and we thoroughly enjoyed the Carnival “Reef/Sharks Excursion w/Lunch” – the weather was perfect for snorkeling and the guides were quick to include you in getting the chance to encounter the reef sharks (Nurse sharks) and gentle stingrays. Lunch was pricey but the great bargains at the port for T-shirts and Hawaiian tropical print shirts more than made up for this. Mahogany Bay is the prettiest port I think we’ve ever been to and we spent a nice day at the Mayan Princess. The crush of vendors when we sat down in our chairs was too much to handle and we were later disappointed to find that someone had rifled through our bags while we were out in the water. Next time we are in Roatan we plan to just go to the beach near the port – it’s a beautiful beach and you can stay longer at the beach because you don’t have a long drive back to the port.

Disembarkation was smooth and uneventful and we will definitely opt for the chance at one more shot in the buffett before heading home. The Port of Galveston is a well-oiled machine which made getting on and off the ship a breeze.

My only regret is that I didn't take advantage of my "Spa Pass" as much as I should have. The spa is a beautiful sanctuary for peace and relaxation and I thoroughly enjoyed the little time I did spend in the spa.

Overall, it was a “Top 10” vacation for us. We slept too much, ate too much, laughed too much and really had a wonderful time on the Vista! It’s a beautiful ship with an excellent Captain and crew who provided top notch service at every turn. We’re considering our next trip on the Mardi Gras but our heart will always be with the Vista! With so much to see and do on the Vista, we’re still shaking our heads at all the “naysayers” who have found it necessary to complain about the ship on social media and on Cruise Critic. We’re beginning to think “perspective” is the key to a fun and enjoyable vacation!

BigBoats4Me's Full Rating Summary
Onboard Experience
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
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Shore Excursions
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Cabin Review


This is a perfectly situated cabin with more than enough space for three people to sleep and relax. The balcony is smaller than we'd prefer but there was more than enough space for two people to sit out and enjoy the view.

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews


The Port of Galveston is a well-oiled machine which makes embarkation/disembarkation a Breeze.


Perfect beach day at the Mayan Princess with other Carnival cruisers. Beautiful beach but the crush of vendors begging you to buy their goods was too much! Next time we plan to go to the pool and enjoy a few cold drinks and lunch by the pool.

View All 460 Beach Reviews
Shark & Stingray Encounter

This was one of the best excursions we've ever been on. The Captain and crew of this boat were wonderful and the guide was highly knowledgeable about Belize, it's history, the natural surroundings, the cays, etc., The crew was very enthusiastic and encouraged you to explore the reefs/sharks and rays with them.

Highly recommend this excursion. Excellent Excursion!

View All 48 Shark & Stingray Encounter Reviews

My son and I went to Mr. Sancho's at the recommendation of folks on social media. Big mistake. No real place to sit on the beach because the "chair hogs" found their way to Mr. Sancho's off the ship. Also, at the end of the day we encountered too many people who had had way too much to drink and were sloppy drunk going back to the port. Next time we'll choose a better excursion via Carnival.

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