Cruising the Caribbean with Carnival Vista
Suspended bicycles, rope courses, and a brewery… all on a ship! Meet Carnival Vista. Whether you are an adventurer, movie goer, trivia expert, or just looking to relax, this is the ship for you. We went on our 2018 cruise on Carnival Vista out of Galveston, Texas. The above photo is Carnival Vista and Dream docked in Cozumel.
The DreamScape Funnels
The first thing you see when boarding is the DreamScape Funnel. The base of this LED display starts at the bar level in the Atrium and ends 2 floors above. The constantly changing patterns can be mesmerizing. There is also a second DreamScape Funnel above the Casino Bar.
As soon as you are on-board, hook your phone up to the Carnival HUB application. Download it from Google Play. This is free! You can get updates on what is happening on the ship, set up notifications, make dinner reservations, and look at your photos. With this app, you no longer need to carry the daily Fun Times flyer with you to know what is going on around the ship. For a fee, you can also chat with other members of your group via this app.
After grabbing a bite to eat, head to the SportsSquare. The first day is the best time to experience the SkyRide or SkyCourse as the lines are shorter. Later in the cruise there can be a wait of an hour or more.
SkyRide is a 2-lane suspended course with flying bicycles on which you can race another guest or just peddle around and take in the view. Remember it well as you are not allowed to take your camera. There is a 300 lb. limit so, watch the buffet.
SkyCourse consists of 2 levels of challenging rope courses. Bring your sneakers! Both the SkyRide and SkyCourse require closed-toe shoes, no sandals or flip-flops. These attractions will close if it is raining or too windy.
For those who are afraid of heights or just not adventurous, there is still plenty to do at SportsSquare while waiting for your group to complete the courses. You can do a round of miniature golf, ping pong, Foosball, bean-bag toss, or play soccer/pool – where you kick oversize balls on an AstroTurf pool table into netted pockets. There is also a regular pool table, which is amusing to watch the balls roll around on their own in response to the motion of the ocean.
Go to The Movies
For the movie goers, there is an Imax Theater (for a fee), Thrill Theater (mostly for teens, for a fee) and the Dive-In Movie. The Dive-In Movie is free, by the Beach Pool, under the stars. Grab some food or a free bag of popcorn and a blanket, then relax and enjoy the movie. Thrill Theater is a virtual multi-dimensional adventure presented on three different levels of intensity from Fun for All! to Dare to be Scared!
For the little ones, or just the young at heart, there is Seuss at Sea. Cat in the Hat, Thing 1 and Thing 2, Red Fish, Blue Fish, and more come alive in Seuss-a-palooza story time and parade or Dr. Seuss Bookville. Enjoy a breakfast of green eggs and ham (for a fee) with the characters.
As for that brewery I mentioned, RedFrog Pub & Brewery is the place to hang out! Tours are offered on sea days (for a fee) and include samples, a pint glass, and a certificate for a free pint. There are PYOB taps (Pour Your Own Beer) or you can order beer from the wait staff or bar tenders. (PYOB taps can also be found in the Lido Marketplace) The Pub has its own unique Pub Grub menu, not available elsewhere.
Challenge your cruise mates to a game of Foosball, shuffleboard, or bean-bag toss (commonly called corn-hole). RedFrog also hosts a solo performer singing and playing guitar and Karaoke nights. RedFrog Pub & Brewery brings the authentic craft brewery experience to the high seas. For more details, read Bob’s blog at: RedFrog Pub & Brewery.
Get Your Grub On!
Guy Fieri has Guy’s Burger Joint by the main Beach Pool and Guy’s Pig & Anchor Smokehouse outside of Deck 5. The Smokehouse BBQ is only open on sea days. Check the Fun Times or Carnival Hub app for hours.
On the opposite side of the Lido Deck from Guy’s Burger Joint is the BlueIguana Cantina. Here you can get made-to-order tacos and burritos stuffed in freshly made tortillas and topped with your choice of salsas. Breakfast burritos in the morning and beef, chicken, or pork for lunch and dinner.
If you love cook-to-order seafood, you must try the Seafood Shack. This is at an additional cost – very reasonable (cheap!) and well worth the wait. This is by the Tides Pool as is the Pizzeria del Capitano for 24-hr pizza.
The Beach Pool is where most of the crowd hangs out and the action takes place. Here is also where you will find RedFrog Rum Bar and BlueIguana Tequila Bar. If you want to get away from party central, head out to the Tides Pool, aft on Deck 10, for a relatively peaceful pool experience. There is still a nice bar and the fore-mentioned seafood and pizza.
If you require an even more peaceful relaxation, head on up to the Serenity Deck. An adult only haven with lounge chairs, couches, group seating areas, cozy clamshell cabanas, and adult beverages. On sea days, they open Fresh Creations, an amazing salad bar with cool, fresh, and healthy treats.
Play Some Games!
Test your Trivia knowledge with contests held at various times throughout the day. Categories range from general knowledge, sports, music, fairy tales, and more, even a Game of Thrones challenge. Trivia is usually preceded or followed by group participation games based on Hasbro board games such as Cranium, Sorry, or Yahtzee.
Speaking of games, play daily Bingo with a chance to win up to $5000 or a free cruise! Of course, there is an additional charge for Bingo cards. Or, try your luck at the slots and table games in the Casino.
For entertainment, there are live bands or DJs playing at several different venues throughout the day and into the evening. Participate in the fun at the Piano Bar. The Punchliner Comedy Club features a rotating list of stand-up comedians with PG-rated sets early in the evening and R-rated 18+ sets in the later hours.
Playlist Productions stages elaborate Las Vegas style shows in the Liquid Lounge. Shows featured during our cruise were Amor Cubano, featuring the rhythmic sounds of Cuba in an exhilarating Caribbean dance romance; Flick, a magical, mystical adventure through the power of motion pictures; and America Rocks, a high-energy concert experience with the best of American rock anthems. All shows include fantastic stage and lighting effects.
Go to Havana!
The Havana Retreat is a private sanctuary, with pool, bar, and dining room, for those who have paid the premium for having a cabin in this area. Most guests do not know that it is open to the general population of the ship after 7 PM. Enjoy a sunset or a late-night cocktail under the stars at the Cuban themed Havana Bar.
Get Some Alchemy!
Grab some drinks at the Alchemy Bar before dinner or a show in the Liquid Lounge. The master mixologists here will mix up some potent and exotic drinks. Write out your prescription and they will mix it up or you can attend a fun and informative martini tasting.
Groove for St. Jude!
Carnival is the Official Celebration Partner of St Jude Children’s Research Hospital. They have raised more than $16 million to help St. Jude fight childhood cancer with a goal of $18 million in the next five years. You can help them reach this goal by participating in the Groove for St. Jude dance party by the Beach Pool. For a small donation you will receive a St. Jude t-shirt and wristband.
And So Much More…
This is just a small sample of what you can see, do, and experience aboard Carnival Vista and her sister ship Carnival Horizon, now sailing out of Miami. The fun is non-stop and there is something for everyone. Be sure to check out the Duty-Free shops for great prices on jewelry, watches, liquor, cigarettes and cigars. Note: Purchases of liquor whether on board or in port, will be held by Carnival until the last night prior to debarkation. This helps control over-consumption and forces guests to get their drinks at the bars.
In addition to all the on-board activities, don’t forget the exotic ports and extensive list of shore excursions. Enjoy a port tour, relaxing day at the beach, snorkel, scuba, swim with the dolphins or stingrays, or ride an exhilarating zip-line through the jungle, just to list a few.
The Port of Galveston
If you are sailing out of Galveston and driving in, look for parking off-site of the port. Port parking traffic can be very heavy. There are cheaper options nearby with shuttles to the port. These are easy to find with a quick Google search. Reserve your parking on-line!
You are no longer required to fill out a U.S. Customs form prior to debarking the ship. Just verbally declare items, if you have them, to the customs official. There are limits on what you can bring back tax-free.
If you have taken advantage of the Duty-Free shops on-board or purchases at the exotic ports, after you pass through U.S. Customs, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) is waiting for you. The TABC collects taxes on alcohol and cigarettes brought into Texas even if you are just passing through to your home state. Our suggestion is to keep that bottle of Caribbean rum or Mexican tequila packed in your luggage. If the tax man sees your convenient cardboard carrier, you will pay the tax, even if you are under the tax-free limit set by U.S. Customs.
Book You Own Caribbean Cruise
Let Debbie help you plan and book your cruise adventure. Whether to the Caribbean, Alaska, Mexican Riviera, Mediterranean, or anywhere else around the world, she can help you get there. Not just Carnival, she works with Royal Caribbean, Disney, Holland America, Norwegian, Cunard, and many other cruise lines and travel companies through Expedia CruiseShipCenters. Just click the following link to get started on your dream vacation: www.cruiseshipcenters.com/DebbieAlexander
See our previous posting regarding Carnival Cruise Lines at Carnival Splendor.