5 Important Tips for Cruising on Carnival Vista

carnival vista family activity foosball cruise
Carnival Vista is a great choice for families looking for plenty of activities. - Photo by Carnival Cruise Line

Whether you’ve already booked a cruise on Carnival Vista or are still in the research phase, this collection of insider tips curated from thousands of member reviews will help you get the most out of your sailing.


1. Utilize alternative dining options.

blue iguana cantina carnival vista food
BlueIguana Cantina serves up tacos and burritos on the lido deck, and offers an extensive toppings bar. - Photo by Carnival Cruise Line

Our members continually remind us that there are quite a few dining options on the ship besides the classic buffet and main dining room. Notably, Guy’s Burger Joint, burrito and taco spot BlueIguana Cantina, and the small buffet/taste bar in Ocean Plaza often come up in reviews as tasty mealtime alternatives.

"Avoid the buffet between 8-9am and 6:30-7:30pm if you don't want to stand in line for ages. Locate Guys BBQ so you can find it at 12 on sea days when it opens for lunch. Yum." - jmcsnowball (read review)

"The Taste Bar is a good place for a basic breakfast without the crowds of the Lido deck. No omelets but all else. Great place to start your day. Ocean Plaza Deck 5." - TheManOne1 (read review)

"Don't forget to leverage other dining options - some free (including JiJi's and Capitano Cuccina for lunch), Guy's Burgers and Blue Iguana, and some worth a little extra. I thought the lobster roll was very good!" - Scotteh (read review)

"Go to the steakhouse. you will be treated like royalty." - Jojofo (read review)

"The best food for lunch is Blue Iguana Cantina and Guy Fieri hamburger bar. The most flavorful food on the ship. The pizza was pretty good too and they did offer gluten free pizza as well as gluten free buns at the burger bar." - karentaylor216 (read review)

"Try the Chef’s Table — a truly awesome dining experience. Or try the bartender class and learn about making new and classic cocktails." - ptosches5644185 (read review)


2. Go on the SkyRide.

carnival vista skyride coaster cruise activites
The SkyRide is the first cycling attraction of its kind at sea. - Photo by Carnival Cruise Line

The most unique feature on Carnival Vista is the bicycle-in-the-sky attraction SkyRide, which was an industry-first when it debuted (sister ship Carnival Horizon boasts a SkyRide, too). Guests take a thrilling ride around a suspended track on the top deck of the ship, propelling themselves along like an aerial paddle boat (but, you know, with foot pedals instead).

"Don't leave the sky ride to the last day. The line was too long and we missed out on doing it. (It is only open a limited amount of time)." - abgrenn (read review)

"If you like beer, do the Beer Brewery Tour - AWESOME!! And don't miss the Skyride." - jdk944 (read review)


3. Find out about theme parties before you sail.

carnival vista theme 80's white night
Electric White Night and 80's Rock & Glow are two popular theme parties. - Photo by Carnival Cruise Line

During each cruise, there are themed parties to enjoy on the lido deck or in the atrium. One of the most popular is Electric White Night where everyone dresses in white and dances to the latest tunes presented by the cruise director and resident DJ. Another one is the 80’s Rock & Glow deck party, where attendees dress up in 80’s fashions and receive glow sticks. However, other themed events will vary and you want to be prepared with the appropriate attire for your specific sailing! Our members expressed frustration that they weren’t directly informed about the themes, and suggested looking into it before you set sail.

"Make sure you pack an all white outfit." - tlinz (read review)

"Check the itinerary prior to boarding to know about things like 80s night or all white night etc. It would have made those things more inviting had we known." - pamkka7 (read review)


4. Be prepared for lots of lines.

carnival vista cruise ropes course activities
The ropes course tends to have a shorter line than the SkyRide - Photo by Carnival Cruise Line

Though there are lots of restaurants, bars, and activities around the ship, there will still be lines. A big ship means lots and lots of passengers who might have the same idea of what to grab for an afternoon bite as you do. This is especially true of the complimentary poolside venues BlueIguana Cantina and Guy’s Burger Joint. Members made sure to warn future guests that there will be lines. Thankfully, they usually move pretty quickly.

"Go 15 minutes before any of the restaurants are going to open ex: Guys burger, burrito spot, Mongolian & pasta to avoid getting in a long line." - ValerieHerrera (read review)

"Breakfast time can get very busy/crowded. Our tip would be if traveling with other people have one person stand in the omelet line while the other stands in the buffet line, saves time and your food will be hot!" - masterblasterg (read review)

"Just be prepared for lunchtime madness on Lido deck. I figured out when it would be less crowded and then it was okay." - evelasco3 (read review)

"Wait to do the Lido Deck amenities - such as water slides, pools, Sky Ride, and ropes course, etc. - on afternoons of the days you are in port. Everything is super crowded on at-sea days, but there are short or no lines at all on in-port afternoons while many people are still on the islands!" - Crystal79 (read review)


5. Pay a visit to the Havana Bar.

carnival vista havana bar cuban drinks
The Havana Bar has upbeat music and a great outdoor deck. - Photo by Carnival Cruise Line

Our members tend to point out two great features of the Havana Bar and its adjacent open deck on the back of the ship: it has fun, upbeat live music and is rarely as busy as other hangout spots around the ship. The space also features a small pool and two whirlpools.

"Havana bar has great music and is rarely busy." - MamaMartz (read review)

"The Havana Club pools and the tubs open up to everyone in the evening and no one uses them. Fantastic location at the back of the boat." - lorenid4 (read review)

"Actually Havana Bar was quiet and bartender, Jens was a really good guy." - dziadziaedziu (read review)

"We really enjoyed the Havana Bar area and dancing to the great music." - BarbaraGranda (read review)


Other Notable Tips

carnival vista family harbor lounge cruise
The Family Harbor Lounge offers a casual breakfast just for those staying in Family Harbor cabins. - Photo by Carnival Cruise Line

"Use underneath your bed for additional storage. All walls will hold magnets (I use magnetic hooks for hanging items like jackets and lanyards). Use pop up laundry hampers for dirty clothes (you can get them at dollar tree). EU plug adapters, USB charging hub, and wrinkle relaxer. Come to town the day before. Leave the day after. You will be happier! " - CoolCruiserBill (read review)

"The Newlywed game will have you in tears....please go see it it should be in the Liquid Lounge." - Ladibug7

"The family area would be well worth the extra cost for anyone traveling with children. There was a special lounge/food area where children could have a light breakfast in their Pajamas." - lucerne (read review)

"Be sure to make reservations for any specialty restaurants you want ahead of time, or as soon during the cruise as possible. They fill up quickly. Cherry on Top now has ice cream sandwiches with various types of cookies in addition to the sundaes - they're really good and large. If you want a seat to any of the adults-only comedy shows, arrive 30+ minutes early. Sign up for mixology classes/martini tastings at the Alchemy Bar on embarkation day. They aren't heavily advertised but they do fill up." - CruiselineSarah (read review)

"When you go to see the shows in the Liquid Lounge, get there early and sit on the lower level. The upper level if you're shorter, it's difficult to see the show." - Strikingsmile (read review)

"Look for the "secret deck" and ship's coin! We take passport copy and leave our passport in our cabin's safe - and take a waterproof case for my iPhone to put my money, phone, sign and sail card and driver's license in it and swim with that around my neck! I don't leave that stuff unattended...anywhere!" - beachgirl644436 (read review)

"Pay attention to the luggage tag numbers you get. If you get a high number, ie: 10 and above, you might wanna self-assist on your luggage because it will be that much longer before you can get off the ship if you are in a rush." - thirteen13 (read review)


1 Comment

Posted by jpezz333

I recall on other Carnival ships that the Havana bar also served lunch. I had a Cuban sandwich there one day and there are never crowds. Can someone confirm that lunch is available in the Havana bar? It is extremely disappointing that the pool outside the Havana bar is limited to the Family Harbor guests most of the time.

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