We just got off the Vista Saturday from the 6 day Western Caribbean itinerary. Overall we loved it and husband and daughter are now hooked on cruising. Me and DH are early/mid 40’s and we have one daughter who is 10. DH and I did a Mediterranean cruise over 10 years ago on the Norwegian Jewel. It was our only other cruising experience and was very port intensive so I barely remember the ship. We booked this cruise fairly last minute and after reading a lot of negative reviews about the Vista I was pretty apprehensive. Here are my thoughts on the trip. Sorry no pictures.
Embarkation - we got to the port a little after 1pm. Had priority boarding and there was almost no line and we pretty much walked on and were able to go right to the room. Soooooo easy.
Cabin - We were in an Ocean Suite, 7359. The room was awesome. Very roomy for 3 people. The balcony had 2 chairs and a lounger. Was great that all 3 of us could sit out there together. Location was perfect. Close to stairs and I liked that all the action was an easy walk up or down. I thought for the price the room was great vs. how much a suite costs on other cruise lines. We had a letter explaining our suite perks in the room. We got priority tender/debarkation at Cayman and Cozumel which I didn’t think we would get. I thought we only got it at the beginning and end since we didn’t have FTTF or any status. We also got an included bag of laundry,
Atrium - with no real cruising experience I thought maybe I wouldn’t feel underwhelmed by the atrium as others have talked about. But I get it. At 1st I was pretty meh about it. The atrium definitely grew on me though. The funnel is fun to watch. We are big live music fans and found it a cozy place to sit and listen to the violin players and the acoustic guitar guy was great.
Sky Ride - Very cool. We did it on the 2nd sea day. Went about 15 minutes after it opened and only waited in line maybe 10-15 minutes. Glad we did it then since the wait definitely could be long and I found that platform area where you wait to be hot. They did a great job loading/unloading and matching up single riders to keep the line moving. But ultimately you are constrained by how fast or slow people go. Our 1st sea day was windy and I think the ride was closed most of the day. So definitely go when you see the opportunity.
Sky Course - I liked this even better then the sky ride. Since only 1 person is on a section at a time you could take your time getting around and really enjoy the view while waiting your turn. I did the easy with my 10 year old and glad I didn’t choose the hard side, lol. My daughter loved it and did the hard side by herself a couple of times.
Comedy - Husband and daughter caught all of the PG shows and LOVED them (was my casino time). Thought the lounge setup for it was good.
Theatre - Setup wasn’t as bad as I was expecting but I don’t have a lot to compare it to. We didn’t see a ton of shows so the small theatre wasn’t a huge problem for us. I guess it has a more intimate feel being smaller. We would show up early and could generally find decent seats. The cup holder things though are super weird. Not sure what they were thinking with that design.
Pools - Beach pool on sea days was crazy. We mainly used the back Tides pool. Both pools definitely got crowded. Loungers in the shade were hard to find but we usually managed. Annoying how so many chairs sit empty.
Havana Pool - We loved this area! I don’t think people realized it was open to everyone after 7pm. We pretty much had the place completely to ourselves a couple of evenings. Such a great setup. My daughter wishes she was old enough so we could book this area.
Bars - We had the Cheers package and like to drink. Think we tried all of the bars. Don’t know if we just had good luck but we found the waits for a drink to be almost non existent. Great service. And during the day people were constantly circulating asking if we wanted a drink. The spicy margarita with patron at the Tequilla bar was especially tasty!
Arcade - I rue the day we ever walked in there. Called it the kid casino. My daughter became obsessed with the games where you line something up to win the Apple bundle.
WiFi - We had the premium package and most days it was great. Occasionally it was spotty. Was weird which sites were blocked and which ones were not. I could easily check my work email which was the main thing. Luckily that was limited!
Nightlife - I am a go to the cabin and read a book on the balcony late evening type of person so can’t comment on most of it. DH is the social one and quickly made a group of friends that he hung out late with most evenings. He very much enjoyed the night life.
CD - I was bummed that Matt who seemed to get such awesome reviews was not on during our trip but thought Chris did an awesome job. Are other cruise lines so much fun. I worry that Carnival has set the bar very high in that regard. I don’t remember any of that fun energy on our Norwegian Cruise.
Food - Overall I thought the food and service was excellent
MDR - We had anytime dining. Only ate dinner there a couple of times. One time with no wait and the other we waited for maybe 10 minutes. Food was very good. My 10 year old was always offered the adult menu. The chocolate melting cake is the bomb. Thank you to whoever had a pic in their review of it with a side of peanut butter. I ordered it that way and it was awesome!
Italian - Had this for dinner one night. My daughter was offered both the kids and adult menus and the upcharge for her would reflect what she chose. She is pretty adventurous and chose adult. I though my shrimp dish was just ok, Husband and daughter both got and enjoyed the bolognese.
Steakhouse - Was very good. We all got steak. I like my meat on the rare side and it was definitely more cooked then what I ordered but still good. The cheesecake was very good!
Buffet - Ate here the least. Lines definitely got long. Food was decent but thought the MDR for both breakfast and dinner was better.
Guys Burgers - LOVE IT!!
Seafood - Wish we tried this place earlier. My husband thought the crab legs were the best meal on the boat. I had the lobster roll (I am from Ohio so realize I am not the best judge) and thought it was really good.
Pizza - Thought it was just ok
Sushi - I have made many trips to Japan and was impressed with the quality of everything. My tuna sashimi was especially good. I thought the rolls were good size for the price. We ordered way too much.
Bbq - My my husband got food here and he thought it was just ok
Dr Seuss Breakfast - Forgot about this till towards the end of the cruise. By the time I called to make a reservation the later time was booked so we went to the early seating. Which probably worked out. It wasn’t full and they did a great job moving you through the character pictures. Much more efficient than a Disney character meal! My green eggs and ham were delish. If you have kids I thought it was definitely worth the $5 upcharge.
Blue Iguanas - Sadly never got around to trying. Just too many other choices!
Ports - I detest organized excursions so we had planned to go it alone on each stop
Ochos Rios - We wanted to take a cab to Dunn’s River Falls and it took awhile for them to not either put us in an excursion bus or have the cab driver ask for $200 to escort us around for the day. In the end we got what we wanted but they were pretty pushy and I could tell the cab driver was not happy. We did not get off the ship immediately but were still some of the 1st to get to the falls and were one of the 1st groups to climb. Was awesome being so empty and it was packed by the time we were done. Hung out at he beach area when we were done with the falls. Loved this experience. I had a lot more trouble climbing than my daughter. The way out you have to walk through the vendor area and man people aren’t kidding about the pushy vendors. We just walked quickly through. Cab driver then dropped us off at Margaritaville. Here we ate and swam in the pool and beach area. I thought it was nice. Nachos were HUGE and very tasty. Loved swimming in a fresh water pool after the salt ones on the boat. We then trinket shopped and headed back to the ship.
Grand Cayman - Went to the priority tender area at Red Frogs and someone took us down a designated elevator and we were on a tender almost immediately. So quick! Took the public bus to the Turtle Farm. Made a wrong turn so it took a few minutes to find the bus terminal but it is a very short walk from the pier. Bus was cheap and easy. Turtle farm was good. Again we did not get off the boat immediately but still beat the excursion bus crowds. My daughter and a couple of ladies staying on the island were the only people there at the time in the wading pool so she had tons of time holding the turtles. Was interesting but definitely a one and done experience for us. After we hopped back on a public bus and went to Calico Jacks. Paid for chairs and had a great afternoon at the beautiful beach!! Definitely wins the beach award of all of our stops. Food and drinks here were good but pretty pricey when you added in the chair rental. We hopped in a taxi van to head back to the pier. They had a ton waiting and were constantly loading people in. Line for the tender back was long but seemed to move along well.
Cozumel - This was my favorite port. Love the trinket shopping area that is right there at the pier. We hopped in a taxi and went to Mr Sanchos. It is an all inclusive beach club. Again we were ahead of the crowds and got a great table spot. Definitely recommend this place. Food, service and drinks were all excellent. Loved the beach and the pools. Should have skipped the inflatables upcharge. Way more work then fun! We got it as part of a package for the horseback riding. That was really nice. We were the only riders in the group and took a nice relaxing trot through the jungle area and then several trips along the beach. My daughter also talked me into trying the fish spa. Not sure my feet really felt that much different afterwards but the experience and pictures from this are priceless. Overall we loved Mr Sanchos and definitely recommend it.
Debarkation - We had zone 2 luggage tags but since our flight was not until 2pm we were in no hurry to get off. Ate breakfast in the MDR and then just sat in a cozy spot outside and enjoyed the view of Miami. Headed off the ship about 10:45am, found our luggage, walked through customs and were ubering to the airport in no time. I don’t know if I just had low expectations for long lines but it was so quick.
Overall we loved the Vista! Service was excellent. I see what people mean now about saying how fun Carnival is and I worry if we try a different line it won’t be the same. Thanks so much to all the posters on this message board. As a newbie it really helped me plan and make the most of the experience. Already mentally planning our next cruise!