Best For People Who Want
A great ship for kids and families, a vibrant night life and many daytime activities as well, including a water park, ropes course, adults only Serenity Area. A full cross section of American demographics; spacious cabins – most with private balconies – some cabins which will accommodate 5 people; large fitness and spa spaces; many dining options.
Just slightly larger than her sister ships, Carnival Dream and Carnival Magic, the Carnival Vista is the first generation of ships built specifically to the standards of Carnival's Fun Ship 2.0 initiative.
SkyRide is among the many exciting open-air amenities featured aboard Carnival Vista which will also offers the 455-foot-long Kaleid-o-Slide, the line’s longest water slide to date, as well as the SportSquare recreation area with a suspended ropes course, basketball court, mini-golf course and more.
Family Harbor is the special family accommodation area with a family concierge, tropics-inspired Havana staterooms and suites featuring a dedicated pool area.
Promenade Deck (Deck 5) is the "action deck" for all indoor public rooms. The deck flows from the Ovation Theater forward to the Limelight Lounge aft, with a very open plan, easily allowing movement through the various bars, clubs, and restaurants.
Unlike many ships, the outdoor areas of the Promenade Deck are widened, and feature lanais (patios) outside of several of the bars along the Promenade, featuring comfortable faux wicker padded chairs, and tables with umbrellas.
On the starboard side of Promenade, just outside of the Ocean Plaza, Fat Jimmy's C Side Barbeque, is only open to serve lunch on sea days. Outdoors on the port side of the Ocean Plaza features several more lanai areas, as well as hot tubs, and additional areas for lounging in the sun.
The ship's design, layout, features, and amenities, will stimulate passengers into a lively life at sea, for young and old.
In terms of décor, once onboard, just think relaxing "Tropical Breeze". She is one of the few ships in the fleet designed by the German firm of Partner Ship Design, rather than Joe Farcus, who designed Carnival ships for 3 decades. Farcus designs were known for very eclectic themes in bold patterns and materials. Vista is more like Breeze, the first Carnival ship with conventional decor, and it suits Vista nicely, tasteful yet fun, light and tropical.
Even the art in the stairways throughout the ship are tropical themes, as are the passenger deck hallways.
The staterooms light wood and blue; with desls, kingsize beds and 24-inch TVs. Internet access is slow but wifi works throughout the ship.
As soon as you enter the ship, on Deck 3, into the lowest level of the ship's 10 storey Atrium, you'll know you're on a non "Farcusian" ship. It's not that ships designed by Joe Farcus were bad; they just carried his bold, somewhat eccentric, interior design work.
The interior design work on the Carnival Vista is set a more calm tone. In some ways that calm tone actually makes the ship more vibrant.
Up on Lido Deck the midship swimming pool, named the Beach Pool is designed to have a feel similar to that of a Caribbean beach, including the "beach side bars"; the Blue Iguana Tequila Bar, and the Red Frog Rum Bar, as well as the "beach side restaurants"; Guy Fieri's Burger Joint, and The Blue Iguana Cantina.
Forward on Deck 15 the adults only Serenity Deck is furnished with faux wicker furnishings, cabanas, hammocks, and hot tubs for quiet relaxation. Due its close proximity to the ships Water Works, that serenity may be interrupted by the noise of the people using the water slides and other features of the Water Works.
In the evenings the Promenade Deck (Deck 5) becomes the "action deck".
At the bow of the ship, forward on Deck 5 is the top level of the 3 deck high Liquid Lounge. Moving back from there, through the Atrium, where all of the ship's stores are located, one comes upon Ocean Plaza. Around Ocean Plaza is one of the inviting areas of the ship's, with lots of comfortable seating (both inside and out on the Lanais on both port and starboard sides). Internet café area, the specialty coffee and patisserie, Taste Bar (where you can get free samples of the offerings from the alternate restaurants on board), and the Ocean Plaza Bar.
In the center of this area there's a dance floor and a bandstand, where a live band entertains in the late afternoon, and most evenings. This area is also often used for Karaoke, which was hugely popular on our sailing.
Continuing aft, in close proximity, is the Bonsai Sushi Restaurant. Menu items are priced a la carte, or you can purchase a sushi boat for $15 (which is large enough to share).
Close by, along the Promenade, is the Liquid Night Club, the ship's disco where the party didn't seem to begin until later in the evening, but continued into the wee hours many nights.
Carnival's new big hit, the Red Frog Pub is located here as well. The Red Frog Pub offers a variety of appetizers at a cost of $3.33 for each plate, and features a draft beer that is custom brewed for Carnival Cruise Line. A solo guitarist/singer entertains each evening in the Red Frog Pub. The pub also has its own patio/lanai area, out on deck, port side.
As the Promenade flows further towards the aft you enter the Piano Bar. On the Breeze this area is entirely open to the Promenade; no more glassed in bar area common on other Carnival ships.
Aft of that is the large Limelight Lounge, used nightly as the venue for George Lopez' Punchliner Comedy Club, and next to Fahrenheit 555, the ships impressive Steak House.
Below the Ocean Plaza, on Deck 4, is the the very large casino.
The casino occupies the entire width of the indoor space on the Mezzanine Deck, therefore one must pass through the casino when heading to the aft end of the ship, where the Limelight Lounge is located.
Fore and Aft of these rooms are the upper floors of the two main dining rooms.
Deck Three is the main floor where you find the Atrium Bar and the lowest decks of the restaurants.
Variety of choices is the biggest strength, in terms of cuisine, on the Breeze; with the options of 2 dining rooms, Bonsai Sushi, Cucina Del Capitano, Fahrenheit 555 Steak House, Guy's Burger Joint, Blue iguana Cantina, 24 hour pizzeria, the Tandoor Grill, and the Market Place buffet.
With the exception of Fahrenheit 555, none of the cuisine would be considered gourmet. But more aptly could be described as "down home good".
Lunch options make that the best meal of the day, especially in the Lido buffet area, where many of the stalls, notably the Blue Iguana Burrito Bar and the Mongolian Barbecue are not open for more than a few hours any day, usually just in the afternoons.
The menus for dinner in the ship's dining rooms have been paired back from what they were several years ago. In addition to the changing nightly options, there is still a list of always available menus; including a salmon, chicken, and beef option.
Most of the dining room food I sampled tasted better than I expected, and some were especially good, especially for a "value" cruise line.
There are two traditional dining rooms on the Carnival Vista. Both occupy the space on two decks (3 & 4). The Horizons Room is located on the aft end of the ship, and is used for traditional assigned dining times (6:15 and 8:15).
The Reflections Dining Room, also on decks 3 and 4, is located more amidships. The lower level, on Deck 3 is used for those choosing the As You Wish Dining (open from 5:30 – 9:30). The upper level of the Sapphire Dining Room is used for traditional assigned dining times.
Guests have 4 other restaurant options for evening dining.
The Bonsai Restaurant, on Promenade Deck, the first full sit down sushi restaurant. A la carte pricing on most sushi dishes.
Fahrenheit 555 Steak House, located aft on Deck 5, true to its name, offers a menu heavy on meat. The service here was friendly, but also impeccable. And the food offerings truly first rate.
There is a $35 per person fee for dining here. It occupies a smaller space than previous Carnival Steak Houses, and does not wow one with its aesthetics, but the dining experience is exemplary.
Cucina Del Capitano, is an Italian restaurant, located forward on Deck 11. The restaurant does cost $12 per adult, and $5 per child for dinner, but does offer complimentary pastas for lunch.
This Italian restaurant does occupy a large space, seating quite a number of passengers, so unlike the Steak House, reservations are not likely required.
Service here was attentive, but not as good as that in Fahrenheit 555. The best dishes seemed to be the Chicken Parmigana and the Beef Short Rib.
One problem with the restaurant is the basketball court is located on Deck 12, immediately above Cucina Del Capitano. The night we dined there, though likely only two kids shooting hoops, it sounded as though the Miami Heat were holding practice above us.
I think it's likely that in short order they will close the basketball court above during dining hours.
For a more casual dinner experience requiring no reservations, guests have the option of the Market Place on Lido Deck; the ship's buffet restaurant.
Lunch time is the meal where there are options galore for all passengers.
On sea days there is the option of a Punchliner Comedy Brunch in the dining room, as well, on sea days, Fat Jimmy's C-Side Bar-b-q, offers a menu of barbequed pulled pork sandwiches, a variety of sausages, with traditional accompaniments; beans, coleslaw, potato salad, small corn muffins. The food is very good,, and therefore expect some line-ups before you get to make your choices.
Immediately next to the Beach Pool, on Lido Deck, is Guy's Burger Joint. Guy's is a new partnership with Guy Fieri, of Food Network fame (Drive-Ins, Dives, and Diners).
The burgers here are prepared to specifications set by Guy Fieri, using meat ground fresh onboard, and home cut French Fries (slightly spiced with sea salt).
Initially I fully expected Guy's Burger Joint to be more hype than quality, but it was obvious in my first bite, that theory was wrong.
The burgers are delicious, and are served on quality hamburger buns. The topper here is the toppings bar, with an enormous selection of condiments to choose to throw on your burger.
On the opposite side of the deck, by the Beach Pool, there is the Blue Iguana Cantina; which offers custom made burritos; breakfast burritos in the morning.
Lido deck also offers the choice of the Market Place, a buffet area, with multiple choices of separated service counters, serving a variety of choices; Mongolie grill, themed buffet, deli, salad bars, and more.
The signage for the various stations is very good, so be sure to walk around the Market Place to see what is available that day, before making your choices.
Continue aft through the Market Place, by the aft pool area is where the best pizza at sea is being served. Carnival always had very good pizza, but has changed their procedures and dough, and they now offer thin crust pizza that is as good as any thin crust pizza I've eaten. Pizzas are now made to order, so though it may take a few minutes longer, the pizza you get is piping hot, and the cheese topping gooey and delicious.
The pizza is served 24/7, so can be an option any time of day.
Also nearby to the aft pool is the Tandoor Grill, serving East Indian dishes. I'm personally not a fan of that cuisine, so I offer no opinion of the quality.
On Deck 4, next to the Atrium, there is a small library. Here Carnival has added a self-serve wine by the glass option. You use your sail and sign card in the machine, make your selection,, and a glass of wine is automatically poured.
Complimentary room service is available around the clock.
Service throughout the ship is friendly and extremely polished. Our cabin attendant was most capable and always managed to clean up the room even if we just slipped out for a short while.
Waiters were efficient and helpful. Drink service in the dining room could be frustratingly slow making it not only more cost effective but more comvenient to simply buy wine by the bottle instead of the glass.
All Carnival cruises have a $10.00 per person per day (excluding children under two years of age) gratuity comprising $5.50 for the Dining Room service, $3.60 for the stateroom steward, and $.90 for the alternative dining rooms. This charge can be either automatically added to the Sail & Sign card or it can be prepaid (prepayment is mandatory on the Cruises-to-Nowhere). The purser's desk can decrease or increase this amount throughout the cruise. Tip room service, the Maitre d', casino, spa, or other staff as you deem fit. The bar and beverage tabs all include a 15 percent gratuity to the bill.
Carnival Vista houses the first IMAX Theatre at sea including a three-deck-high screen that offers an immersive cinema experience featuring the latest Hollywood blockbusters, family favorites and IMAX documentary content.
The 187-seat IMAX Theatre is part of the Carnival Multiplex, which also includes the Thrill Theater, a multi-dimensional experience where seats move back and forth and side to side and viewers are sprayed with water and bubbles to make them feel like they're part of the feature. Only available on Carnival Vista is Thrillogy, a scary-yet-fun multi-sensory horror movie experience within the Thrill Theater that is designed for guests 17 and older.
The cost for first-run movies in the IMAX Theatre is $12.95 for adults and $9.95 for children 12 and under and guests aged 55 and over. The cost for IMAX documentaries and Thrill Theater is $5.50 per person.
Carnival Vista has three new high-tech Playlist Productions shows that combine captivating live performances with spectacular LED staging and special effects to create evenings of unforgettable entertainment. The three shows include:
Amor Cubano: A Caribbean Dance Romance, an exhilarating get-on-your-feet show that blends classic Latin songs with today's hits and features an authentic reproduction of Carnival Vista's Havana Bar. A seven-piece Cuban-inspired band performs songs by Gloria Estefan, Celia Cruz and others amid a tropics-inspired backdrop of Cuba and Miami, the latter of which will be the ship's eventual year-round homeport.
America Rocks!, a high-energy show featuring rock anthems by American artists like Bruce Springsteen, Aerosmith, Styx and Kiss. The glow stick-waving audience cheers on a rockin' house band with sizzling guitars, pulsating drums and a horn section, evoking the feeling of classic rock concerts from bygone days.
Flick: The Power of Motion Pictures, a celebration of filmmaking with some of the greatest anthems of all time showcasing songs from popular movies like Footloose, Dirty Dancing and others. The main character of the show, Flick, takes viewers on a magical journey through different genres of film with stunning theatrical illusions and show-stopping cinematic effects.
Talking to parents, I heard that Carnival has improved its kid's programs considerably. It is no longer just "enhanced baby sitting" as one person put it. They said the the kids are given creative and varied activities throughout the days, taking them all over the ship to try new things all the time.
The news skyride and larger water slides certainly support that premise. Another attraction is that Carnival draws families, and kids love to make friends.
Dress on Vista is probably less casual than other Carnival ships. Formal nights are now tagged as Elegant Nights, where slacks and a shirt for men is deemed sufficient, but I saw a surprising number of suits and even tuxedos on my cruise.
On casual nights, dress or Bermuda shorts are permissible attire in the dining rooms. Jeans are allowed if they are in good condition, no torn clothing, or cutoffs are allowed.
In the alternate restaurants with a surcharge cruise casual is the rule every evening, meaning no shorts.
The 3,954-passenger Carnival Vista is the line's newest ship. Following a summer in Europe, Carnival Vista is now sailing year-round Caribbean service from Miami.
Vista offers a number of unique features; the groundbreaking suspended cycling experience called SkyRide, the first IMAX Theatre at sea and the RedFrog Pub & Brewery offering three different kinds of beer brewed on board.
Should Be Avoided By People Who Prefer
An intimate small ship experience, with a quiet relaxed atmosphere, a minimum number of children.
Several new accommodation categories, including five-berth, two-bathroom staterooms especially for families, are offered. There is also a new style of balcony cabin called the Cove Balcony located on Deck 2, below the promenade decks. These balconies are shadier than the higher ones as they are built into the hull of the ship, which also makes them more private.
The suites and ocean view staterooms come with complimentary bathrobes and a mini bar. The cabins located on the outside are 220 sq. feet and include a coffee table and plush leather sofa. The inside cabins are 195 sq. feet in area and are great for families or large groups of singles due to their pull-down berths that provide extra sleeping space. Families might prefer the 230 sq. feet cabins located next to the children's center. All the large bathrooms include a shower (the suites are the only cabins with tubs), basket of toiletries, and hair dryer. The cabins come standard with a color TV that includes Skynews, Fox News, CNN, and movies. There is plentiful storage space, with three closets and a several drawers. Cabins for those of special needs are available.
Via the flat screen TVs in the cabins one can check their accounts anytime they wish, order room service or shore excursions, and if you chose order pay per view movies.
The gym's 15,000 sq. feet is full of treadmills, stationary bikes, stair-masters, rowing and hydraulic weight machines, and of course free weights. The strategically placed equipment allows you to enjoy the lovely panoramic views offered by the floor-to-ceiling windows. For runners, a lap on the jogging deck, which surrounds the smokestack, is equivalent to 1/11 of a mile.
Expect a broad mix of guests on Carnival - all types of backgrounds, ethnicity and ages. Breeze especially appeals to families during holiday andf summertime cruises. There will be a lot of children onboard, but they are generally well behaved. They have been well-coached by the ship's youth supervisors who "shush" them so often the kids soon start doing it to each other when in public area.
These days, with all of the regional home-ports Carnival uses, many guests come from the south, beginning with Florida and other close-by regions.