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This was our first time on Vista, after sailing with Carnival 3 other times, all on much smaller boats. Four of us from Colorado: Parents + a 14 year old boy and 12 year old girl. We travel every December for a family adventure, a few of them have been on cruises. We had planned on a different cruise out of San Juan, but because of the hurricanes, switched to the 8-day Southern Caribbean out of Miami to Grand Turk, La Romana, Curacao, and Aruba. Overall: Overall, the ship is really impressive. It is HUGE and kids loved we were way up on deck 14 (as did we). The main pool area though is smaller than some other ships, so that they can accommodate another pool area, the Havana pool area (both in back), and the Serenity deck area with hot tubs up front. All the classics are here - Guy's Burger Joint, Red Frog, Blue Iguana, Casino, lots of lounge/entertainment spots, etc. There ARE a lot of people on this ship and a lot of crew, so central areas can get crowded. However the ship is designed in a way to break up a lot of activity space into different areas so that it doesn't seem as bad. Layout: The ship's layout doesn't allow for walking around the smoke-filled casino like on other ships to get to front-back, so we found ourselves (and many others) walking across the ship on the Promenade Deck (5), then going down when we passed the casino (level 4). This leads to some extra congestion, but is sure to help the shops and areas on this level. You also have to walk through the food court area (Lido Marketplace) to get to the back deck area, unless you plan ahead and stay on 11, and that can get congested too. Layout impression is that it is a bit more chopped up, but the extra activity areas work well too (you can't have it all I guess). There are 2 main elevator lobbies on the ship, and no central elevator. These have 4-6 elevators in them, but they can get SUPER crowded. We found that 90% of the people getting on elevators were only going a couple of floors. We walked up some (our rule was if 3 or less flights, we would walk up), and walked down almost all. The 150 or so people in scooters and wheelchairs take up a lot of room, as do the really large people. Cabins: We had 2 balconies on 14th, starboard (14229 and 14231) that adjoin at the balcony. Pretty standard rooms from our past experiences. We liked the yellow towels and the room color scheme for this spa-related room (rooms on 12 and 14). Above us is the Serenity deck, so not much sound above of anything moving around, and the spa was below us, so no noise there either. Access was easy to get to, a floor above the water park area and two floors above the main pool area. We liked it, but if you don't do stairs, don't go to 14. Only 2 elevators service it, and the stairs near the water slides are almost always wet. Cabins were serviced everyday by a hard working staff. Entertainment: We aren't on a cruise for the entertainment per se (more for the travel), and didn't do a lot in this area. We did participate in CLUE, which the family loved, but wished there was a better prize at the end of the week for the winner. We saw a HASBRO show, and an adult-only scavenger show one night - both ok. We did the comedy show once with the kids, and the comedian was horrible, but have had great experiences in the past, so won't say it was Carnival's issue. We went to the Havana bar a few times and LOVED IT - musicians were great, drinks and atmosphere too. We didn't do the live musical shows. Kid Clubs and stuff for kids: We had one kid in Club O2 (15-17 year olds) and one kid in Circle C (12-14 year olds), and both liked it and went several nights and met other kids. The people managing them are a husband and wife team that seem really engaged and excited. Our 14 year old turns 15 next month, and they had no issue with bumping him up with the older kids, despite what the policy states. As for other activities, there is a HUGE sports and games area (though the bowling was broken) and a good sized video game arcade that they loved too. Sky Ride and ropes course was fun and really different. Happy kids = happy parents! Excursions: We only did 2 official excursions on our trip: The catamaran snorkel in Grand Turk and the Zip Line + Cenote Swim in La Romana. The snorkel was good, but the beach they bring you to after was AMAZING! Makes us want to go back just for that. The zip line was fun and a great bus ride out and back seeing the countryside. The company doing this is still finishing up, so some of the facilities have construction going on, but it was great. Their lunch was pretty bad, but we weren't there for that. The cenote swim hole was AWESOME and a definite must do (jump off, don't wade in). Obviously both these activities are for active people. In Curacao, we just took a cab to La Playa Porto Marie ($20/person round trip plus $3/person beach access) and had a great time with our own masks and snorkels. Takes about 30 minutes each way, but we can see some of the country. That night we walked around the city and had dinner. A must do. Great little city. In Aruba we rented a jeep from More4Less Jeep rental ($125) and had a great time driving around and going to Baby Beach (we had been here before). $20 cab ride over to the rental place - and they are super friendly. Reserve beforehand, and they can even have you drop off back by the ship. Behind the Fun Tour: We did the behind the scenes tour on the second to last day of our trip, and though pricey (about $100/pp), it was great. Saw the kitchens, bridge, engineering room, storage areas, laundry, backstage, and the brewery, met 20+ managers along the way. Price includes a hat, bag, lanyard, photos with the captain, and samples of food and beer. Everyone in the family loved it. Embarkation / Disembarkation: Getting ON the ship is RIDICULOUSLY easy now - no need for the Faster to the Fun pass. We got to Carnival, got our passports scanned, then walked to the ship. No madhouse lines and craziness as in years past. Leaving the last day was a mess, but you find the line of 4,000 people is being held up by US Customs. We took our bags, but you can have the ship's porters bring them down for you. We were off the boat and out by 9:45 though. Dining: We don't expect a cruise to have high end food like big cities, but it was a pretty good mix, and a lot that should satisfy everyone. This ship has step up restaurants that you pay a sitting fee for or for food, over your all-inclusive food. The italian place was great - and kids loved it too. Small, quiet, we ate together and had great conversations. We also tried the sushi place - meh. Good experience for the kids to try out, but not the boldest menu. We didn't try the BBQ place or the steakhouse. Reserve the italian place when you get on the ship, as spots do fill up pretty quickly. The seafood place in the back was good - we did lobster rolls a few times while hanging out. There is also a very busy pizza station out back too. Dining most nights for us was at Horizons, as we did the 'choose your own time' option. You go to a station next to Java Blue cafe, and they get you a table and floor, and you go there. Pretty simple. If you want to eat like cattle, and have dinner at 5:30pm, choose the fixed option - mad lines, hordes of people. Not for us! Breakfast / lunches on the ship for us were mostly at the Lido Marketplace, the food court area. Good selection, but same stuff for the most part everyday. The burrito station was great, but there can be lines, and the omelette station always had a line. Drinks: We like our tropical drinks and our cocktails, and debated on the drink package, and in the end decided not to do it, and bought drinks as we wanted them. It doesn't include bottles of wine anyway, so for us it didn't make sense. In the end, we averaged 3 alcoholic drinks per day per adult (plus the wine), and the breakeven is really at 5 drinks per day. None of us do soda, so we didn't do that package. Summary: So, overall, definitely worth it. Big ship means more people, but it also means there is more to do. The ship is new, and there are folks working on keeping it up all the time. Everyone can find something they enjoy - from a quiet little corner, to the center of the action. We recommend trying out the Vista.

Complete Vista Review - December 2017

Carnival Vista Cruise Review by Joiedete

7 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: December 2017
  • Destination: Southern Caribbean
  • Cabin Type: Cloud 9 Spa Balcony
This was our first time on Vista, after sailing with Carnival 3 other times, all on much smaller boats. Four of us from Colorado: Parents + a 14 year old boy and 12 year old girl. We travel every December for a family adventure, a few of them have been on cruises. We had planned on a different cruise out of San Juan, but because of the hurricanes, switched to the 8-day Southern Caribbean out of Miami to Grand Turk, La Romana, Curacao, and Aruba.

Overall:

Overall, the ship is really impressive. It is HUGE and kids loved we were way up on deck 14 (as did we). The main pool area though is smaller than some other ships, so that they can accommodate another pool area, the Havana pool area (both in back), and the Serenity deck area with hot tubs up front. All the classics are here - Guy's Burger Joint, Red Frog, Blue Iguana, Casino, lots of lounge/entertainment spots, etc. There ARE a lot of people on this ship and a lot of crew, so central areas can get crowded. However the ship is designed in a way to break up a lot of activity space into different areas so that it doesn't seem as bad.

Layout:

The ship's layout doesn't allow for walking around the smoke-filled casino like on other ships to get to front-back, so we found ourselves (and many others) walking across the ship on the Promenade Deck (5), then going down when we passed the casino (level 4). This leads to some extra congestion, but is sure to help the shops and areas on this level. You also have to walk through the food court area (Lido Marketplace) to get to the back deck area, unless you plan ahead and stay on 11, and that can get congested too. Layout impression is that it is a bit more chopped up, but the extra activity areas work well too (you can't have it all I guess).

There are 2 main elevator lobbies on the ship, and no central elevator. These have 4-6 elevators in them, but they can get SUPER crowded. We found that 90% of the people getting on elevators were only going a couple of floors. We walked up some (our rule was if 3 or less flights, we would walk up), and walked down almost all. The 150 or so people in scooters and wheelchairs take up a lot of room, as do the really large people.

Cabins:

We had 2 balconies on 14th, starboard (14229 and 14231) that adjoin at the balcony. Pretty standard rooms from our past experiences. We liked the yellow towels and the room color scheme for this spa-related room (rooms on 12 and 14). Above us is the Serenity deck, so not much sound above of anything moving around, and the spa was below us, so no noise there either. Access was easy to get to, a floor above the water park area and two floors above the main pool area. We liked it, but if you don't do stairs, don't go to 14. Only 2 elevators service it, and the stairs near the water slides are almost always wet. Cabins were serviced everyday by a hard working staff.

Entertainment:

We aren't on a cruise for the entertainment per se (more for the travel), and didn't do a lot in this area. We did participate in CLUE, which the family loved, but wished there was a better prize at the end of the week for the winner. We saw a HASBRO show, and an adult-only scavenger show one night - both ok. We did the comedy show once with the kids, and the comedian was horrible, but have had great experiences in the past, so won't say it was Carnival's issue. We went to the Havana bar a few times and LOVED IT - musicians were great, drinks and atmosphere too. We didn't do the live musical shows.

Kid Clubs and stuff for kids:

We had one kid in Club O2 (15-17 year olds) and one kid in Circle C (12-14 year olds), and both liked it and went several nights and met other kids. The people managing them are a husband and wife team that seem really engaged and excited. Our 14 year old turns 15 next month, and they had no issue with bumping him up with the older kids, despite what the policy states. As for other activities, there is a HUGE sports and games area (though the bowling was broken) and a good sized video game arcade that they loved too. Sky Ride and ropes course was fun and really different. Happy kids = happy parents!

Excursions:

We only did 2 official excursions on our trip: The catamaran snorkel in Grand Turk and the Zip Line + Cenote Swim in La Romana. The snorkel was good, but the beach they bring you to after was AMAZING! Makes us want to go back just for that. The zip line was fun and a great bus ride out and back seeing the countryside. The company doing this is still finishing up, so some of the facilities have construction going on, but it was great. Their lunch was pretty bad, but we weren't there for that. The cenote swim hole was AWESOME and a definite must do (jump off, don't wade in). Obviously both these activities are for active people.

In Curacao, we just took a cab to La Playa Porto Marie ($20/person round trip plus $3/person beach access) and had a great time with our own masks and snorkels. Takes about 30 minutes each way, but we can see some of the country. That night we walked around the city and had dinner. A must do. Great little city. In Aruba we rented a jeep from More4Less Jeep rental ($125) and had a great time driving around and going to Baby Beach (we had been here before). $20 cab ride over to the rental place - and they are super friendly. Reserve beforehand, and they can even have you drop off back by the ship.

Behind the Fun Tour:

We did the behind the scenes tour on the second to last day of our trip, and though pricey (about $100/pp), it was great. Saw the kitchens, bridge, engineering room, storage areas, laundry, backstage, and the brewery, met 20+ managers along the way. Price includes a hat, bag, lanyard, photos with the captain, and samples of food and beer. Everyone in the family loved it.

Embarkation / Disembarkation:

Getting ON the ship is RIDICULOUSLY easy now - no need for the Faster to the Fun pass. We got to Carnival, got our passports scanned, then walked to the ship. No madhouse lines and craziness as in years past.

Leaving the last day was a mess, but you find the line of 4,000 people is being held up by US Customs. We took our bags, but you can have the ship's porters bring them down for you. We were off the boat and out by 9:45 though.

Dining:

We don't expect a cruise to have high end food like big cities, but it was a pretty good mix, and a lot that should satisfy everyone. This ship has step up restaurants that you pay a sitting fee for or for food, over your all-inclusive food. The italian place was great - and kids loved it too. Small, quiet, we ate together and had great conversations. We also tried the sushi place - meh. Good experience for the kids to try out, but not the boldest menu. We didn't try the BBQ place or the steakhouse. Reserve the italian place when you get on the ship, as spots do fill up pretty quickly. The seafood place in the back was good - we did lobster rolls a few times while hanging out. There is also a very busy pizza station out back too.

Dining most nights for us was at Horizons, as we did the 'choose your own time' option. You go to a station next to Java Blue cafe, and they get you a table and floor, and you go there. Pretty simple. If you want to eat like cattle, and have dinner at 5:30pm, choose the fixed option - mad lines, hordes of people. Not for us!

Breakfast / lunches on the ship for us were mostly at the Lido Marketplace, the food court area. Good selection, but same stuff for the most part everyday. The burrito station was great, but there can be lines, and the omelette station always had a line.

Drinks:

We like our tropical drinks and our cocktails, and debated on the drink package, and in the end decided not to do it, and bought drinks as we wanted them. It doesn't include bottles of wine anyway, so for us it didn't make sense. In the end, we averaged 3 alcoholic drinks per day per adult (plus the wine), and the breakeven is really at 5 drinks per day. None of us do soda, so we didn't do that package.

Summary:

So, overall, definitely worth it. Big ship means more people, but it also means there is more to do. The ship is new, and there are folks working on keeping it up all the time. Everyone can find something they enjoy - from a quiet little corner, to the center of the action. We recommend trying out the Vista.
Joiedete’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Fitness & Recreation
Shore Excursions
Ages 10 to 12
Ages 13 to 15
Service
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Cabin Review

Cloud 9 Spa Balcony
Cabin 8T 14229
We had 2 balcony rooms on 14th, starboard (14229 and 14231) that adjoin at the balcony. Pretty standard rooms from our past experiences. We liked the yellow towels and the room color scheme for this spa-related room (rooms on 12 and 14). Above us is the Serenity deck, so not much sound above of anything moving around, and the spa was below us, so no noise there either. Access was easy to get to, a floor above the water park area and two floors above the main pool area. We liked it, but if you don't do stairs, don't go to 14. Only 2 elevators service it, and the stairs near the water slides are almost always wet. Cabins were serviced everyday by a hard working staff.
Spa Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Jeep Tour
    Booked a Jeep rental with Wheels4Rent before getting there $20 cab ride from ship to their place near the airport. SUPER friendly, and helpful, mapped out stuff for us to see and do with a map, and we were off. We had been to Aruba before, but wanted to show the kids.

    We drove up to California light, then drove the Jeep trails on the east side of the island to the chapel, ruins, and baby bridge before going down south and hanging out at Baby Beach. We filled up, drove up to near the port, and dropped off the Jeep to the staff. Super fun time - WAY cheaper than going with the cruise line, and so much fun!
    View All 49 Jeep Tour Reviews
  • Beach
    Took a cab up to La Playa Porto Mari - $20/per person round trip plus $3 per person for the beach access. Quiet place, great little beach. Bar there and a gift shop. Driver came back for us at sunset. Takes about a half hour each way, but fun to see flamingos on the way, and some of the country.

    Later that night we walked around Willemstaad and had dinner on our own. Great time!
    View All 102 Beach Reviews
  • Catamaran tour
    Did the Cataraman Snorkeling Excursion at Grand Turk. Fun group of guys from Jamaica, Dominican Republic and Turks & Caicos running it. Snorkeled one spot by the Grand Turk wall, then sailed to a beach north of the port and a rusted out old boat. THIS was the highlight! The beach was AMAZING! Water was turquoise and super salty, the sand was powdery. Awesome.
    View All 32 Catamaran tour Reviews
  • Zip-Lining
    Zip Line and Cenote Swim excursion. Takes about an hour to get out there from the boat, but you get to see a bit of the country while you do. Zipline was fun and fast - only 2 real long runs. Perfect for kids and newbies. The park is still being developed, so construction going on.

    The cenote hole swim is AMAZING! A natural sink hole swim area in the jungle, you walk a bit in to get there and have some time to jump in and swim around. We have hiked to these before in Mexico, but couldn't get in. This was super fun and memorable to do.

    Lunch was disorganized, and we were running late already to get back. But we didn't come for the meal, so no big deal.
    View All 12 Zip-Lining Reviews
  • Miami
    We flew in the night before, walked around Miami a little, then headed over to the ship. Gorgeous city!
    View All 2,383 Miami Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Miami Cruise Port Review