Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
CruiseTeacher7

Vista 8 Day Southern Caribbean June 2-10, 2018

Recommended Posts

Hello everyone,

 

We just got off the Vista today from an 8 day cruise to the Southern Caribbean. I am going to be doing this review in several parts.

 

Background: DW and I have been on 11 cruises together, mainly with Carnival. DW went with DD on a quick 3 day cruise for spring break so that she would be platinum for this cruise. This was our first cruise on the Vista but our second time on this route. We've done the Breeze (the class below Vista) twice so we had a good idea of what to expect for the ship and what areas we enjoyed best (deck 11 wicker chairs under the shade by the pool). We have done this route previously with our family but we went by ourselves to celebrate our 20th anniversary. We were very fortunate since my MIL stayed with our two teenagers while we were away.

 

Pre-cruise: DW got a call from the upgrade fairy just a few days before we left. We originally had an interior deck 11 (spa deck) cabin but decided to spend the extra $500 for a deck 14 balcony cabin. We were in 14210 which was almost at the front of the ship. It was very quiet up there. On our previous cruise we were on the lido deck close to the elevators and it was quiet noisy. We like the spa decks since they tend to be quiet and you get free access to the spa as well.

 

We left for Miami the day before on Friday so that we wouldn't have to get up early to drive (its about a 5 hour drive). The drive was smooth until we got to Dade county on I-95. You really have to have your head on a swivel driving there. We arrived mid-afternoon.

 

We stayed at the Kimpton Epic in Miami. It was a great hotel. We mainly hung out on the balcony that Friday afternoon and had dinner at Bayside which was just a short walk from the hotel. The hotel is in the heart of downtown Miami and probably about a 10 minute drive to the port. Other people in our Facebook group were staying there as well but never got to meet them. This wasn't the type of hotel with a free breakfast but they did a have a free wine hour which was nice.

 

I will continue posting to this thread but right now I'm in the middle of uploading my photos to photobucket so that I can share them on cruise critic.

 

For my future threads I am not going to do a day by day, rather I'll focus on:

 

*Sea days

*Each port of call and what we did

*Thoughts on the ship

*Dining & food

*Entertainment on board

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm SO looking forward to the rest of your review. We sail Vista this coming Saturday on the same itinerary and definitely excited to see your pics. This will be our first sailing on Vista and this itinerary :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking forward to your review. We will be on the vista on July 14. Curious as to your thoughts of how the Vista compares with the Breeze. We love the Breeze!

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Looking forward to your review. We will be on the vista on July 14. Curious as to your thoughts of how the Vista compares with the Breeze. We love the Breeze!

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

 

 

Main theater is smaller, so was club for comedy. Atrium is only 3 decks (weird). Does have cool sky bikes. Don’t like the exclusive Havana suites area. JiJi Asian restaurant awesome! Otherwise not much different

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Main theater is smaller, so was club for comedy. Atrium is only 3 decks (weird). Does have cool sky bikes. Don’t like the exclusive Havana suites area. JiJi Asian restaurant awesome! Otherwise not much different

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

 

JiJi was fantastic the one night we went! We did Bonsai twice and both times was disappointing, considering we did Bonsai on Sunshine and it was excellent.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking forward to your review! Did you try any of the extras? IMAX, thrill theatre? Thanks

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Looking forward to your review! Did you try any of the extras? IMAX, thrill theatre? Thanks

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

 

 

 

My wife and I are not very hard to please. Just give us a chair in the shade by the pool so that we can read that’s all we really ask for LOL. We did not do any of the extras like the theaters. I did do the bicycle sky ride that was fun but it’s like a 30 minute wait.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My wife and I are not very hard to please. Just give us a chair in the shade by the pool so that we can read that’s all we really ask for LOL. We did not do any of the extras like the theaters. I did do the bicycle sky ride that was fun but it’s like a 30 minute wait.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

 

 

 

Thank you for the fast reply!!! Was the skyride hard to pedal?

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Embarkation Day:

 

DW and I woke reasonably early Saturday morning in our hotel in downtown Miami. We had some time to kill before we left around 10 to drive to the port which was about 10 minutes away. We parked our car and hauled our luggage down. We tipped a porter $10.

 

Check was very fast. DW just earned platinum so we had priority boarding. They had already started boarding so we didn't even have to wait, we pretty much just got in line and walked onto the ship. We were on the ship by 11 am.

 

We headed to our room which was ready for us. One thing that they did differently is give us our sign and sail card in our rooms, not at the terminal. I'm not sure how that works for purchasing drinks but our room steward was able to get the sign and sail cards for us right away. It was nice that our room was ready but we had to wait a while for our luggage despite it having priority tags on it (one of the perks of platinum).

By the way I want to give a shout out to our room steward Patrick, he was excellent. Very friendly, always had our room made up, and ice for us.

 

We had a small lunch in the Lido Marketplace, in fact all I had was a piece of cake since I ate a late breakfast (thinking we wouldn't be on the ship so fast).

 

Next we headed to our favorite spot on Deck 11--the padded wicker chairs under the shade by the pool. We spent sometime there and we also enjoyed the hot tubs on the Serenity (located at the top of the ship on Deck 15 forward).

 

There was a "bomb" scare at the terminal--someone left a bag unattended and they had to close at least the drop off part of the terminal down. They had to reroute traffic around it and it looked like a hot mess. I'm glad we got on early. The bomb squad even came out. Here is what it looked like

IMG_0131.jpg

 

The muster drills are now done inside the ship--guests will go to a restaurant or lounge. That is a great thing to do.

 

After the drill we did the sail away party and enjoyed sailing out of the port.

 

We had an early dinner in the MDR. We did anytime dining for the cruise but only ate in the MDR the first three nights.

 

For the rest of the evening we checked out the show band "The Sauce Factor", the entertainment "Guitar sounds with Larry" and "Liz and Lucas" a signing duo. We also went to the welcome aboard show. Matt Mitcham (CD) is always great to watch.

 

Okay for my next post I am going to talk about the food on the ship.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dining on the Vista:

 

We ate in the MDR the first three nights. We did anytime dining. For anytime dining you initially check in on deck 5 by the coffee bar. They give you a receipt and you go to your dining room. Kind of different but they don't really have much space for people to wait outside of the dining rooms.

 

For dinners I had the braised short rib, three lobster plates, and the grilled chicken. They were all good to eat. You know what it is like in the MDR--the food is good but nothing spectacular since it is mass produced. We only did desert one night--DW likes the bitter and blanc desert. Overall nothing too memorable from the MDR.

 

We ate at JiJi's asian restaurant twice. This is one of the specialty restaurants ($15 pp) and it is well worth it. It is family style sharing so with two people you get two appetizers, two entrees, two sides, and two deserts. For appetizers we had the pork belly, duck, pot stickers and spring rolls. For entrees we had the short rib, chili shrimp, kung pao chicken, and the stock pig. For sides we had the blistered beans, brocoli, and both types of noodles. We had all three deserts. I would highly recommend this restaurant.

Here is the menu https://www.carnival.com/~/media/Images/explore/dining/menus/ji-ji-asian-kitchen-dinner-menu.pdf

 

We did the sushi place one night. The sushi is decent but we are kind of used to a wider selection. We ate at the Italian place on the last night. The food there is good too and it is also family style dining. We did the lido only one night (Curacao) because we came back so late.

 

Speaking of restaurants we were not able to get a reservation in the steakhouse. Wow usually they are begging people to come and always advertising for it!

 

For lunches I had the tacos from Blue Iguana twice and Guy's Burgers twice. Both of these were usually very crowded so I really only ate there on port days when we didn't get off the ship. Pro-tip don't get lettuce on the burgers, it takes some of the great taste away.

 

We ate in the MDR one time for breakfast. DW had the avacado toast and I had the fried egg sandwich which was good. We were too lazy to go to the sea day brunch.

 

We had lunch at Guy's BBQ on deck 5. Get their early because there is always a line. My favorite was the chicken with the dry rub on it. They also have pulled pork, brisket, and sausage along with coleslaw, potato salad, beans, and a roll. I enjoyed this lunch.

 

The Deli is located in the middle of the rear buffet line (most ships its sort of on the side). We had late night snacks there a few times. Its always kind of busy. I think I had grilled cheese twice.

 

We did the late night buffet line snack--they had grilled ham and cheese, meatball subs, pasta, etc.

 

The pizza place was always busy so be prepared to wait in line.

 

For breakfasts I had a breakfast burrito twice (I'm not liking them so much any more) and the huervos ranchero from Blue Iguana. That was good. Most other breakfasts were in the Lido. I typically had lots of fruit and a few bread type items.

 

One new thing that they have on the Serenity deck is a salad bar with chopped chicken and ham. I had this twice and I wish I had it more often for lunch. Its a nice, light alternative to what they normally had.

 

Another new thing is the fresh spun ice cream in the lido marketplace. They scoop it out for you and they have toppings to go with it. This was tasty.

 

Also they were cutting three layer cakes in the lido marketplace. These cakes were delicious--they had a birthday sprinkle cheese cake, red velvet, and pineapple. Normally those sheet cakes they have taste really weird. Carnival finally got their cakes right!

 

I didn't have any complaints about the food. For the most part it was standard Carnival food so you know what you are getting. Since this was a larger ship the lines seemed to be longer, especially for Guy's Burgers and the Blue Iguana. The sushi place always seemed to be busy too. My son's girlfriend's parents went on the Vista the cruise before us and they said the same thing about the lines.

 

Up next I will talk about the sea days and I'll do a separate post on each of the ports that we did something at (we stayed on the ship for La Romana).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sea Days

 

We had three full sea days and two of what I would call half sea days. We had 1 sea day on the front end and two on the back end. We left Grand Turk at 2 and we didn't get to Curacao until 1 so we had a 1/2 sea day for each.

 

DW and I are pretty easy to please. Just give us a lounge chair in the shade, a book to read, a cold drink and some music then we are set. I've perfected our sea day routine. I usually am up and out on deck by 6:30 am. I get coffee and grab two of the padded wicker chairs on deck 11 overlooking the pool. DW usually joins me around 8 or so and we get breakfast. We typically stay at our spot to early or mid afternoon. I really enjoy sitting there in the shade, reading a book and listening to the Soca music that they play.

 

Other sea day activities for us include working out in the gym, using the spa facilities, and sitting on our balcony in the late afternoon.

 

Since we were on a spa deck we had access to the thelasso therapy pool (a hot tub you recline in), the steam rooms, saunas, and those warm relaxation recliners.

 

The pool contests included a lip sync battle, the hairy chest competition, and miss carnival vista. Those were always fun to watch. In particular there was one lady who well lets just say she was for sure the life of the party every day on deck ;)

 

Overall the pool area was very crowded along with the serenity and any other space on decks 10-12. I can confirm that the staff was policing the chair hogs (maybe not on the first day though). They also had "life guards" monitoring the slides and pool area blowing their whistles to stop kids from doing stupid things.

 

If you haven't been on the Vista (and this goes for the Dream-Magic-Breeze as well) the deck 5 has a lot of lounge chairs and shade. Its a great spot to escape the masses on decks 10-12.

 

I wanted to add something about the food to from my previous post. On deck 5 they have a breakfast buffet by the coffee bar. It never seemed to be too crowded, I don't think most people knew about it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sea Days

 

We had three full sea days and two of what I would call half sea days. We had 1 sea day on the front end and two on the back end. We left Grand Turk at 2 and we didn't get to Curacao until 1 so we had a 1/2 sea day for each.

 

DW and I are pretty easy to please. Just give us a lounge chair in the shade, a book to read, a cold drink and some music then we are set. I've perfected our sea day routine. I usually am up and out on deck by 6:30 am. I get coffee and grab two of the padded wicker chairs on deck 11 overlooking the pool. DW usually joins me around 8 or so and we get breakfast. We typically stay at our spot to early or mid afternoon. I really enjoy sitting there in the shade, reading a book and listening to the Soca music that they play.

 

Other sea day activities for us include working out in the gym, using the spa facilities, and sitting on our balcony in the late afternoon.

 

Since we were on a spa deck we had access to the thelasso therapy pool (a hot tub you recline in), the steam rooms, saunas, and those warm relaxation recliners.

 

The pool contests included a lip sync battle, the hairy chest competition, and miss carnival vista. Those were always fun to watch. In particular there was one lady who well lets just say she was for sure the life of the party every day on deck ;)

 

Overall the pool area was very crowded along with the serenity and any other space on decks 10-12. I can confirm that the staff was policing the chair hogs (maybe not on the first day though). They also had "life guards" monitoring the slides and pool area blowing their whistles to stop kids from doing stupid things.

 

If you haven't been on the Vista (and this goes for the Dream-Magic-Breeze as well) the deck 5 has a lot of lounge chairs and shade. Its a great spot to escape the masses on decks 10-12.

 

I wanted to add something about the food to from my previous post. On deck 5 they have a breakfast buffet by the coffee bar. It never seemed to be too crowded, I don't think most people knew about it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Grand Turk

 

I think we have visited Grand Turk the most of all of our cruises (more than Cozumel LOL).

 

If you haven't been to GT let me give you the lay of the land. The cruise terminal was built so that you wouldn't have to leave it. It has a beach with chairs and umbrellas, many shops, and a Margaritaville with a pool. We've been there twice but pretty much there is no need to go to it. Its very very crowded, the service is very slow, and its rocky in the water (i.e. when you are not in the water there you are standing on bedrock not so much sand). Due to Hurricane Irma the trees at the beach are the gone so now it is a sea of umbrellas. You are really on top of each other. The water looked kind of gross when we came back too.

 

We trekked up the beach to Jack's Shack and low and behold Jack's Shack has grown quite a bit since our visit last year. They have added a lot chairs and umbrellas. It honestly looked too crowded for us (here is what it looks like):

 

IMG_0154.jpg

 

We opted instead to rent two chairs and an umbrella from a local lady for $15. We sat on the beach in front of those run down pink cottages next to Jack's Shack.

IMG_0156.jpg

 

We spent a few hours here. We didn't get any food or drinks from Jack's Shack (their jerk chicken is really good), instead we just got some waters and two rum punches from a hut back down the beach (its a yellow colored hut). The waters were $1 each and the two small run punches were $7 together.

 

Overall there are a lot more chairs along the beach than in previous years. Gone also are the inflatables for kids (they haven't been there for a few years). The beach is better down towards Jack's Shack and the pier that marks the end of the beach. The water is clear and refreshing. There isn't much to see snorkeling wise at this end of the beach (I've heard there is decent snorkeling on the other side of the cruise ship pier but its kind of rocky to get into). I did swim down to the pier by Jack's Shack and there were some fish and things to see there. I had to leave because a small freighter ship was coming in.

 

Grand Turk is a beautiful place and here are some pictures from the ship

IMG_0165_1.jpg

IMG_0166_1.jpgIMG_0169_1.jpg

You can see the pier that marks the end of the beach. Jack's Shack is right by it.

IMG_0176_1.jpg

 

Here are my thoughts on Grand Turk: It's always been one of my favorite stops but I've done it enough times already. I probably need to do some excursions like an ATV tour, go snorkeling, or go to a quiet secluded beach.

 

If you do go to the beach try to make your way away from the main beach at the cruise terminal. Its pretty much a rugby scrum at that beach and in the margaritaville pool (they do have the flow rider surfing there though).

 

Jack's Shack: I don't think its the quiet little out of the place like it used to be. It's not the cool kids spot anymore for sure. They have really grown as a business and that's the point so my hat's off to them. We always went there because it was a word of mouth little bar. I will say that their jerk chicken is really good. If you haven't been there then you owe it to yourself to go. If you are a regular and haven't been in a while its grown for sure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One thing I forgot to add about Grand Turk is that we were in port with the Conquest at the same time (7-2). Having two ships really makes it crowded.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thank you for the fast reply!!! Was the skyride hard to pedal?

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Forums

 

The sky ride was easy to pedal. There is a decent wait for it. Its a little scary too but worth doing.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for your review. This is all so helpful as we try to decide between the Horizon, Vista, or a RC Oasis class ship for our trip early next year.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

La Romana:

 

We had originally planned to go to the Dreams resort but we decided not too. We figured that we would be spending almost $200 for a few hours at the beach and food. We already paid for the food on board the ship anyways. I told my wife that the the $200 we didn't spend in La Romana made our balcony upgrade only come out to $300.

 

I originally wanted to get off the ship and go into the city. The cruise terminal is a bit of a walk from any downtown businesses so I decided not to go (partly for my safety).

 

The ship was quiet so we just hung around the pool, finally got a Guy's burger, worked out, used the spa, etc. It was sort of a reset day.

 

Here are some pictures of the port from the ship:

 

IMG_0185_1.jpg

 

IMG_0187_1.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Curacao Part 1

 

We didn't get into Curacao until about 1 pm so that gave us a half day at sea in the morning. I decided to walk around the ship instead of sitting around the pool in the early morning like I normally do.

 

It was quite windy as we sailed across the Caribbean. The relative winds were 46 kt and I found a little spot on deck 5 by the bow where the winds were strong.

 

Here I am on the Vista's webcam. Maybe someone who watches the webcams regularly saw me LOL!

IMG_0195_1.png

Here are a few photos when we pulled into port:

IMG_0208_1.jpg

 

IMG_0207.jpg

 

IMG_0201.jpg

Yes that is a baseball diamond!

IMG_0211_1.jpg

I noticed that when we got off the ship there was a marine repair truck pulling up to the Vista. I forgot to mention that there was some flooding on a few of the decks due to a burst pipe. Nothing like that had on the Dream a few weeks ago where something like 50 cabins flooded. I heard one cabin had to relocate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Curacao Part 2

 

For our shore excursion we did the All West Beach Tour from Irie Tours (http://irietours.com/all-west-beach-hopping-tour-)

 

We did the east side tour on our previous visit to Curacao.

 

The tour bus is a brand new open air school bus painted in vibrant colors. The tour bus has a large cooler of water, soda, and beer.

 

It takes about 30-40 minutes for the bus to drive from the port to our first beach. On the way the tour guide pointed out historical and culturally important places including churches and sites/memorials from a slave revolt. The west side of the island is very rural. As the tour guide pointed out there aren't any modern stores and restaurants like McDonalds.

 

Here are a few pictures from our drive

 

Smallest chapel on the island and place where a miracle occurred:

IMG_0224.jpg

 

Here is a church. The tour guide pointed out how many people on the island live in these triangles made of a church, school, and grave.

IMG_0235_1.jpg

 

We stopped here at this salt flat to see flamingoes

IMG_0219.jpg

 

The terrain on the west side was hilly. I want to point out that while Curacao has some nice beaches the island itself is very dry.

IMG_0228_1.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Q&A with the Coral Expeditions Team
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...