Five Things to Know About Carnival Cruise Line's Vista Cruise Ship
Best for: Families, adrenaline junkies, younger cruisers, and anyone who loves a big, activities-packed ship
Sails: The Caribbean
At a Glance: Launched in 2016, Carnival’s newest and largest ship is a game changer for the line with a long list of specialty restaurants, cabin types, and over-the-top rides and attractions.
There’s a Stateroom for Everybody
Cabin sizes range from 185 square feet for an interior or ocean-view cabin to 345 square feet for a Grand Suite, but in between you’ll find lots of categories to choose from. Families rave about the new Family Harbor cabins, which have a dedicated concierge and their own 24/7 lounge serving a breakfast buffet in the morning, snacks and ice cream throughout the day, and cookies and milk at bedtime. (Kids staying in these staterooms get to eat free at the ship’s specialty restaurants.) The Family Harbor cabins, many of which are connecting, sleep two to five passengers and come in a variety of sizes, from interior cabins to full-on suites with two bathrooms. Also new to the Vista are the Havana cabins, which come in Caribbean colors and have a big balcony or patio with swing chairs. Bonus: Havana passengers are the only ones who can use the tranquil Havana pool during the day.
The Activities List Is Long
Boredom is not a problem most passengers have on the Carnival Vista. Those who want to get active head to Sportsquare to strap into a harness and conquer the 270-foot-long elevated rope course, or climb into SkyRide, an 800-foot-high aerial bike ride hovering 150 feet above the sea. There’s a basketball court, miniature golf course, mini-bowling, and an outdoor Twister game, as well as an outdoor gym where passengers can do the elliptical or their resistance training in the ocean air. There are also three pools and Carnival’s biggest Waterworks waterpark with a kids’ area and two water slides, the Twister and the Kaleid-o-slide. (The latter changes colors as you slide down.) Those looking for something more sedentary can hit the first IMAX theater at sea, check out a movie at the 4D Thrill Theater, catch some stand-up at the Punchliner Comedy Club, or see one of four different Playlist Productions. (The last show each night evolves into an after-party where the audience gets to mingle and dance with the singers and actors—definitely worth staying up for.)
Kids love the waterslides, rides, and movie theaters, but the ship also has a few features created especially for them. At Dr. Seuss Bookville, they can read books and play Seuss-themed games; the Warehouse is packed with arcade games; and, along with tons of candy, the Cherry on Top confectionary has its own ice cream parlor. Then there are the kids’ clubs: Camp Ocean (ages 2-11) has a 4,000 square foot play area and two outdoor playgrounds. Tweens 12-14 hang out at Circle C to do karaoke and play video games, while teens 15-17 get their own space, Club O2, to game, dance, and socialize.
The Dining Options Are Endless
Passengers who want to eat without paying extra have a multitude of options beyond the main dining rooms and the buffet restaurant: Poolside, there’s the 24-hour Pizzeria del Capitano; Guy’s Burgers; and Mexican cantina, BlueIguana. Lunch-only spots include Mongolian Wok Captain’s Pasta Bar, and Fresh Creations, a new sea-day-only salad bar on the adults-only Serenity sundeck. For small plates, head to The Taste Bar in the evening to try bites from restaurants around the ship. One of the most interesting for-fee options is Seafood Shack. Not only can you order fish and chips or a lobster roll, but you can also buy fresh-caught seafood (chefs purchase it locally when at port) to be cooked up for you at one of the ship’s restaurants that night. Or you could grab Italian at Cucina del Capitano; do sashimi at Bonsai Sushi (à la carte); order steaks at Farenheit 555; or go for potstickers at pan-Asian JiJi Asian Kitchen. If you can get a reservation, definitely splurge on the Chef’s Table ($75 per passenger) at Reflection, which includes a galley tour and a special multicourse dinner in a private dining room with a window to the kitchen.
The Bars Impress
Passengers will find plenty of places to drink both before and after dark. If you’re into craft beers, check out RedFrog Pub & Brewery, which brews three beers onboard and serves tropical bites like Jamaican chicken wings and conch fritters after 6 pm. For daiquiris head to the Cuban-themed Havana Bar or RedFrog Rum Bar, and for margaritas, go to BlueIguana Tequila Bar. There’s a piano bar on deck five, and if you’re onboard during the World Cup or World Series, you can catch it at the sports bar on deck four. Don’t leave without fitting in a night at Alchemy Bar, a “cocktail pharmacy” where white-coat-wearing bartenders mix up curatives like spicy chipotle pineapple martinis and Caribbean Manhattans.