Carnival Vista Cruise Review by DebJ14
- Sail Date: July 2019
- Destination: Western Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Balcony
With all the propulsion problems going on, we expected Carnival to greatly reduce prices to sell out the June 29 cruise that was postponed to July 1 and turned into an 8 day cruise. I monitored prices daily and when it dropped to what I was comfortable paying, we booked. Good thing we did not wait any longer because by the next morning the sailing was closed. We also love the ports of Cozumel and Costa Maya and were very happy with lots of sea days and those 2 Mexican ports. For the first time in years we booked a balcony guarantee and within minutes received our cabin assignment. We were put in 8462, an 8C. I was quite busy taking care of everything we normally do over a period of months in just 4 days.
We made our parking reservation at EZ Cruise and this was once again a good decision. We arrived, parked the car only a few spots from the shuttle pick up area, immediately got on a bus, and it departed with only 6 people on the bus. We gave a porter our luggage and walked down to the Priority entrance. We walked right in at around 11:30am and immediately checked in and cleared security with no one ahead of us. We then proceeded upstairs and boarded the ship. We went straight to the cabin where we were met by a nice young steward. Within 5 minutes we had our ice and bathrobes. We unpacked our carry on bags, filled the safe and headed up to the Lido for lunch. We were conveniently located near the aft elevators, so we always used that to access the Lido. The food line back there was rarely busy and there were loads of seats available.
After lunch we went down to deck 5 to check on our table location. We were assigned a table for 2 in late dining, but did not like the location as the table was only inches from the next table. Darko, the Maitre D said he had just the table for us and put us at Table 174 in the Reflections dining room. It was a great, very private, table for 2 tucked away in a corner. The first night we had reservations at Cucina del Capitano and because we are gluten free we stopped in to pre-order our first night dinner. It was another excellent GF meal with Nonna's meatalls, Caesar salad, GF chicken Parmesan, a side order of GF pasta and lemon sorbet for dessert. We were surprised that it was not busy at all. Even though we were Diamond, we were refused a reservation for the steakhouse for the first night, and offered the 3rd night instead. We decided to cancel that reservation after meeting our waiter and having such great GF food and service in Reflections from Edi, Larimer and Yulius. We also enjoyed visits from Inna, the hostess from the Ukraine and Darko from Serbia.
The first sea day we made sure we went to Brunch in the aft dining room. We had a wonderful waiter, Smitha, from India. She was fabulous. We also ordered our GF meal for that night since we had been in Cucina the night before. Brunch was wonderful as usual. The next 2 mornings at breakfast we were given window tables overlooking the wake, but the service was not nearly as good as we received on that first morning, so for the rest of the breakfasts and brunches we requested to be seated in Smitha's section. She was so friendly and efficient and remembered our preferences to the point where she could predict what we would order. We also received visits every morning from our favorite hostesses Inna from Ukraine, and Mini from India, who remembered us from our January cruise on the Vista. Inna even came to see us the morning she was in charge of the Dr. Seus Breakfast!
On the 2nd night, just before second seating, the power went out. It had gone out for about 5 minutes earlier, when I was getting a shower, but came back on quickly. After waiting about 15 minutes for it to go back on we climbed the stairs from deck 3 to deck 8. By the time we arrived at our cabin the aft section had power so our cabin had lights, AC and working toilets. We changed clothes just in case something else happened. They were really good about making announcements to keep the guests calm. The cruise director, John Heald and the Captain took turns making announcements every 10 minutes. Finally, around 9:15 they announced that dinner service was resuming, so we went down to the dining room and had our dinner. Lots of people had changed clothes due to the A/C being out, but they welcomed everyone, even if wearing shorts or jeans on elegant night.
We spent a couple of relaxing sea days either on our balcony or by the aft pool enjoying the great weather and calm seas. The sailing was really smooth aided by a sailing speed of between 9 and 13 knots. The day before we were to reach Costa Maya, we had to make a stop off Cozumel to let off a member of the crew who needed to be hospitalized. They originally said our arrival in Costa Maya would be delayed until noon, but we got in a bit earlier than originally scheduled. We booked a day at Costa Maya, so we got right off and walked to the check in point. After a short wait we got in a taxi with 3 other guests and were the first to arrive at Costa Maya. We were greeted warmly by the staff, given a short orientation and shown to our chairs on the beach and offered rum punches and guacamole and chips. Sadly, there was lots of seaweed and the staff worked feverishly to clean it up. I took a walk and found the pool tucked away in the trees and we moved there. The loungers were super comfortable and we were just steps from the bar. Our waiter came and found use there, took new drink orders and brought fresh guacamole. We had a super relaxing morning there. Then, when it was time for lunch we went to the restaurant, filled our plates and returned to our loungers where we spent the rest of the afternoon swimming, sunning and chatting withe fellow guests. They asked what time you wanted to leave and just our scheduled time they came to tell us our taxi was ready. We had the same driver and were quickly back at the pier. It was a delightful day and totally worth every penny.
In Cozumel we went to the dentist for our 6 month cleaning and check ups and then headed downtown. It was so sad to see downtown practically deserted, even though there were 5 ships in port. The Museum was closed too. We had lunch at Palmeras, which was tasty, but a little pricey, and then headed back to the ship. We spent the rest of the afternoon at the aft pool enjoying the ship while most were ashore.
We had more super calm sea days back to Galveston and arrived in port right on time. I will say the Priority debarkation was a joke They had Platinum, Diamond, FTTF and all the wheelchair people in the Reflections dining room with no separation between groups. The wheelchair people did not get off as they were supposed to when their decks were called. As soon as any wheelchairs were called they all headed for the door and clogged the entry when those who had not been called were sent back. Others, who were in none of the Priority categories entered the dining room through the back entrance and clogged the aisles with their luggage, so that when the cruise director finally came to call the Diamond guests, we had a difficult time getting through. It was our first time ever not having a separate place to wait and not having any pastry, coffee and juice offered.
Once we got in the terminal, we got a porter and quickly moved into the immigration line. They had just opened a new line for the porters and we walked right up to the front and were seen by the CBP agent immediately. Because we had not been to Belize or Roatan, the agent just glanced at the passports and did not scan them. We were finished in seconds and on our way to the EZ Cruise shuttle. We put our luggage out the night before and were off the ship, through CBP and in our car by 8:40 and home before 10:00am.
We sailed the Vista at the end of January 2019 in a Havana Cabana and came away hating the ship. Yes, we liked the Havana pool, but we detested the constant pounding of the Latin music to the point that we abandoned the Havana pool for the aft pool most days. While our waiter at dinner in January, Pierces, was the highlight of the cruise, the rest of it was so bad that we swore that we would never sail the Vista again. Well, I found I can be bought by a low price. But, I also know that if I sail the Vista again I won't pay the premium for a Havana Cabana.
The crew on the Vista this trip was so much better than the crew that was on in January. It was a different Captain, Staff Captain and Hotel Director this time and I think the crew was happier with this management team and it showed. Captain Vittorio Marchi was wonderful as was Staff Captain Nick, who took the time to explain all the problems in detail to my husband at the Diamond event, and Alina the Hotel Director was so sweet. We remembered each other from sailing on the Liberty in 2016 with her.
I am not going to rate the entertainment. We have seen the production shows over and over on multiple ships and did not go this time. We did go to 3 comedy shows before dinner and enjoyed them. We also enjoyed listening to the Polaris String Trio every evening before dinner.
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