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Carnival Vista Review Feb 22-29 2020

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My husband & I have been on many cruises before but this was our first time with a child. My daughter is 2 yrs and 8 months.


We stayed overnight in Texas City for a cheaper rate. Very easy drive to Galveston Saturday morning. We used Lighthouse parking, no issues. 


Boarding: We had (I think) the 1st boarding group at 12:00. Sorry I don't remember the exact times but we were onboard right around that time. We walked all the way through and never had to wait to board. It did seem they were being lenient with the boarding times. The people in front of us had 1:00. Got our Guy's burgers and found a nice spot on deck 10 aft. It was right near the pizza along both sides of the ship. It was a favorite spot all cruise. 


Room: We stayed in a Family Harbor room 2474 on deck 2 Aft. The room was for a max of 3 people. Very spacious, the couch converted to a bed & had a small bathtub. We enjoyed the family harbor lounge. It was right by the elevator so it was easy to stop in there on our way to or from the room. I wouldn't want to be in one of the rooms right near the lounge due to people coming & going. I won't go into detail about the lounge because there is a post about it a few pages back. It very nice to have breakfast in the lounge but we did go to brunch and breakfast on lido some days. I think we would book family harbor again. A/C worked GREAT! Larger, high quality TV was nice. Lots of free movies on demand. I could have watched movies the whole cruise. There were over 20 hangers in the closets. We brought some extras but didn't need them. Our over the door hanging organizer did not fit on any of the doors. The door was too wide or would not close with it on there. No big deal, we didn't really need it. You could definitely feel the movement of the ship on deck 2 aft but I did not mind. We typically have had room in the upper decks forward but deck 2 was nice having easy access (deck wise) to get off the ship and not far from dining room and activities. 


Entertainment: We did very little. Didn't see any shows. 


Ports: Cozumel, Grand Cayman, & Ocho Rios. Since it was our first cruise with my daughter we wanted to keep things simple. We also did not want to bring our car seat so we opted not to do excursions. Also I didn't love what Carnival was offering.

Grand Cayman we took the public "bus" to the turtle center. It looked more like a large van with 3 rows. FYI the taxi's and the "busses" look almost the same. We were just trying to avoid riding in a car. Public bus was $2.50 per person but did take quite a while to get there. I had read it was a "quick 15 min drive". Of course the bus stopped frequently so took us about 30-40 mins. I didn't pay close attention to the time. I didn't mind it and we were not in a hurry. My husband felt it was too long and we ended up getting a taxi on the way back. Yes it was faster but $41!!! We got the $18 package at the turtle center. It was very simple and saw everything in less than 20 mins. It would be fun to go back when my daughter is older and do the other package which included more activities. There were not taxi's waiting outside, the staff called one for us. Let's not talk about me dropping my iPhone in the ocean during the water taxi ride ashore.... face palm.

Ocho Rios we obviously did not watch the shopping talk or do any research. We had planned to get off the ship, walk around the shops, and get back on. We got off, didn't see any shops. There was a sign stating it was $40 one way to get a ride to downtown. Nope. As we got back on the ship I grabbed a shopping guide. Later on I was looking at it and realized it is a "3 min walk" to the shops right off the pier. Well, the way it was laid out you can't see them. Oh well, maybe next time. Ocho Rios looked much more lush, green, and welcoming than Montego Bay. 


Food: The lido food was surprisingly good for some dishes. We ate lunch and dinner a few times and liked it. The chicken parmesan was better at Lido than Cucina del Capitano! We ate in the dining room twice... just ok. We also had dinner in the steakhouse, JiJi's. and Cucina del Capitano. All very good. Because we had a Family Harbor room, my daughter ate free (kids meal) in all the speciality restaurants. JiJi's did not have a kids menu but they only charge $5 for kids and she could get one of each course! It was still free with Family Harbor. Steakhouse was $12 for kids and my daughter got a 4oz filet! Also Cucina del Capitano was $5 for kids. We went to the green eggs & ham breakfast and was not impressed. I read so many good things about it but was disappointed. There was music playing while we ate. Completely finished our meal before any characters came out. Cat & the Hat was "too tall" so you had to form a line for pictures. We did leave before the last character so maybe they did some fun stuff after that. Food was just ok. I would much rather go to Sea Day brunch. 


Camp Ocean: Unfortunately my daughter did not want to stay there alone. The staff even tried to convince her to stay. I think it was overwhelming for her. The staff even said there were so many kids 0-5 years old on our cruise. They said the previous cruise had 1000 kids!!! I guess people have no issue taking their older kids out of school. (no judgement, I would probably do it too) The 2 nights I attempted to drop of my daughter it was crazy in the 0-5 area. Its not a very large space and so.many.kids! They did have some family activities we attended. Zumbini was fun and the first night there was a family dance party which my daughter loved. The activities on the schedule all seemed fun. Family Harbor also includes a free late night of baby sitting but we did not use it.


Laundry: I used the FREE laundry facilities on deck 2. I planned ahead and brought my own soap & dryer sheets. Soap and fabric softener was available for $1.50 each. There were I think 4 washers and 4 dryers. Washers took about 30 mins to wash and dryers at least an hour. I'm not sure how long the dryers run before they shut off but I checked twice and the 2nd time I went back the dryer had stopped but clothes were still very damp. I'm thinking it may have stopped shortly after the first check. I didn't want to take up the dryer for even longer so I just laid clothes around the cabin to dry. I used it on the 3rd port day late morning. There were a steady stream of people. Just know that it takes a while, especially if people are putting lots of clothes in each load.


Debarkation: THE BEST EXPERIENCE WE HAVE EVER HAD! We were scheduled to dock at 8am and start exiting at 8:30. At 7:40 they announced they were ready to start letting people get off!! I don't think that has ever happened in the 10 cruises I've been on. They called decks 11,12,14, & 3 first. Then called deck 2 plus some others. I wasn't paying attention after they said 2. We were off the ship at 8:07, out of the terminal at 8:14, and in our car driving away from lighthouse parking at 8:28! It was amazing and so easy. I'm sure it was quick for us because we were in the earlier group exiting and things had not gotten congested yet.


I hope this helps anyone sailing the Vista soon. I always appreciate when others post reviews. I think I have been on Carnival 7 times. We are ready for a change. I think we may sail Royal next time. 


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