Fun Trip on a Fun Ship

Carnival Vista Cruise Review to Caribbean - Southern

Cruises: 2-3 cruises
Reviews: 7
Helpful Votes: 188

Overall rating:

4.6 out of 5
Carnival Vista

8 Night Southern Caribbean (Miami Roundtrip)

Sail date: December 02, 2017

Ship: Carnival Vista

Cabin type: Balcony

Cabin number: 6442

Traveled as: Couple

Reviewed: 4 years ago

Review summary

Carnival Vista is filled with great food and a ton of activities. I personally love the style and more modern feel of the ship compared to older ones. This itinerary was excellent and I'd highly recommend it, there was a good balance of port to sea days (4:3). Although some of the layout is weird and inconvenient, I wouldn't hesitate to cruise aboard this ship again.


4 out of 5
Embarkation went pretty quickly because we checked in online ahead of time. The time that we got there was probably around the busiest time though, so it was extremely crowded. It was also nice because they didn't have to take our pictures; they just use the photo from our passports.

Ship experiences

Food and Dining

4 out of 5
I just thought that the main dining room was okay - it was good but nothing too special and there were a few nights I didn't find anything on the menu that thrilled me. The buffet desserts were great - had a rich flavor as a decadent-looking dessert should. For specialty we went to all three - Jiji Asian Kitchen, Cucina del Capitano, and Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse. They were all very good - be aware that you will be uncomfortably full after eating the Italian - we had to take our desserts to go! Also Guy's burgers and BlueIguana Cantina were fantastic. The BBQ was good but not excellent. The sea day brunch was really nice - the mac and cheese was great and the huevos rancheros was awesome too. Also note you can ask for cranberry juice during breakfast or brunch, even though it's not on the menu! We also went to the Alchemy Bar a few times and those drinks were really nice. Refreshing and you could tell they weren't just using cocktail mixes. If you want to sign up for a tasting or mixology class, do it the first day because they fill up quickly and I didn't get a chance to participate.

Cucina Del Capitano

4 out of 5

They will literally have to roll you out of this restaurant when you are done. They let each person choose multiple appetizers on top of the entrees, sides, and dessert and sharing is encouraged; family-style. It's a cozy restaurant that is decorated nicely with old pictures of captains and officers from Carnival in their childhood. I'd recommend eating here but arrive very hungry!

Fat Jimmy's C Side BBQ

4 out of 5

So this is actually Guy's Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que now, another venue with Guy Fieri. It was good and the line went quicker than expected each day we ate here, but it didn't blow me away like the burger joint did. The baked beans were different than what I'm used to and the coleslaw was a bit dry. But the pulled pork was great and the mac and cheese was good as long as you salt and pepper it. It was good enough that we kept coming back, but it wasn't the best quality compared to other spots on the ship.

Guy's Burger Joint

5 out of 5

The hype is real for Guy's Burgers. They are some of the best burgers I've ever had in my life, hands down. I got The Ringer both times and mmmm. I could eat these all the time. Maybe it's good they're only on cruise ships! haha

BlueIguana Cantina

5 out of 5

Both the daytime tacos and morning breakfast burritos were wonderful. Try the watermelon salsa at the salsa bar! There is so much food to eat on the ship, but try to eat here at least a few times during the cruise.

Onboard Activities

5 out of 5
The aft pool was great, deeper than I expected and there's great seating around it for those that want to dip their feet. We rode the two biggest water slides in WaterWorks - they were a blast! Kaleidoslide was beautiful and the yellow one goes so fast! The ropes course was great, the easy side is fun with just the right touch of scary. We also did the SkyRide twice and that was great. As for activities around the ship, the deck parties were fun; Matt is the best cruise director I've ever sailed with and he made everything a blast. There was a tree-lighting event in the atrium for Christmas and we all sang some Christmas songs. Matt also did a Q&A which was really fun and informative. You could always find things around the ship to do - too much so don't try to do it all, you'll exhaust yourself!

Carnival Waterworks

5 out of 5

Both big slides are a blast - be sure to do the yellow one if you want speed, it goes REALLY fast.

Sky Ride

5 out of 5

The SkyRide line was only about 20 minutes long each time we did it, and it was really a lot of fun. Each track is on both the inside and outside during your trip around it; it switches partway through so everyone gets the chance to be closest to the water. No cell phones allowed, so if you want pictures make sure you have a GoPro or something similar with a head/chest strap!


3 out of 5
The stage shows were just okay. Some of the singers were just not good and the shows didn't blow me away. Flick had a neat concept but the some of the singers threw me off. Kudos though to the performer who plays Flick - he was on stage nonstop for the entire show and did a great job. Lip Sync Battle was fun - we only went to the final performance where a winner was chosen and it was funny and they did a great job. The Love & Marriage show though wins in my book, hands down. The couples that were chosen were hilarious and the oldest had been married 60 years - they were a riot and had the entire theater rolling. As long as I cruise, I will try my best to never miss the love & marriage show, and you shouldn't either! The comedy was also great, there were two comedians at the beginning of the cruise and then two different ones the second half of the sailing. The first two were great and kept everyone laughing. As for music around the ship, there was lots. The girl in the Piano Bar was great, she had a ton of requests and did some really fun medleys. They usually had steel drums, a guitar player, or karaoke in the RedFrog Pub; during busy times there was always something. And the violin players usually found in the atrium were great. Really good.

Children's Programs

Did not travel with kids, but they did come out and do a little performance during Lip Sync Battle which was cute.

Service and Staff

5 out of 5
Our cabin steward Mudita was great, always attentive and brought us what we asked for promptly. He'd always say hello whenever we saw him in the hallway, and a lot of other cabin stewards did too. Our dining room servers were also friendly and prompt. The bartenders at Alchemy Bar always seemed to take a while to take our drink order, but I think they were just swamped most of the time. The Alchemy Bar needs more staffing.

Ship Quality

4 out of 5
The ship seemed really clean and I don't have any complaints about that. The dishes also seemed clean in the dining rooms, restaurants, lido deck venues, and buffet. Some of the ship's design is pretty weird, though. The BBQ place just has a little spot basically on a walkway on a lower outside deck, which means a lot of congestion for passerby when there's a long line. I see though that they've changed this for the upcoming Carnival Horizon and given the BBQ it's own venue with inside seating. The limelight lounge (where comedy shows take place) seems too small and is always packed with standing room only for the adult shows. You have to literally get there 30 mins early to even find a place to sit. The Liquid Lounge is a disaster for a theater. It was built as a multipurpose space but is primarily used for theater purposes now, and line of sight is terrible in too many places. Even the cruise director Matt joked that it needs to be torn down and redone.

Cabin / Stateroom

5 out of 5
The cabin was great; I'm used to portholes or interior cabins so having a bigger space and a balcony was awesome. The colors are muted and the space was plenty large enough for our needs. There was ample storage and the desk was a great size. The mirror at the vanity/desk even had a built-in bordering light which was awesome for getting ready. The balcony was also a good size - I was worried it would be really narrow but it was a comfortable width. We also didn't have any trouble with noise with the cabin location - it was a great spot.

Ship tip

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.

Ports of call

Miami, Florida

5 out of 5

Grand Turk Island

5 out of 5
We headed down the beach beyond Margaritaville to Jack's Shack. It was a relaxing beach day with great drinks and swimming. Be sure to say hello to Jack's famous dog, Topher.

La Romana, Dominican Republic

4 out of 5
We did an excursion to an all-inclusive resort for the day - Catalonia Resort. It was kind of confusing - the resort is large and we weren't sure where to go, no map or anything was given. We ate at the buffet and it was just okay, nothing special. The drinks weren't that great either. But the beach was gorgeous and the water was so warm. We spent most of the time swimming and it was perfect.

Willemstad, Curacao

5 out of 5
Curaçao was great. We did an excursion through Irie Tours and it was a lot of fun and great value for the cost - $25 per person. We took a tour in a brightly colored school bus with removed windows around parts of town, went over the tall Juliana Bridge, stopped at the Curaçao liquor factory, toured a wealthy neighborhood, and then stopped at a beach for 1.5 hours, just in time for sunset. The bus we drove around in also included free water, soda, and beer in the back. It's really a fun no-worries kind of excursion, so if that's your thing I highly recommend it.

Oranjestad, Aruba

5 out of 5
In Aruba we did one of the best excursions ever, and it was through Carnival. We hopped on a catamaran and sailed up the coast to two snorkeling spots, one of which was over an old WWII shipwreck. Coolest thing ever. The boat had free rum punch after snorkeling while sailing, and we also stopped at a pier for a free BBQ lunch and spent about an hour at the beach. Highly recommend this one.


5 out of 5
We carried off our luggage and it was quick off the ship and quick through customs. No complaints.
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