Skip to main content

10 things I wish I had done differently on my Carnival Vista cruise

Elizabeth in Amber Cove

I recently returned from a 5-night cruise onboard Carnival Vista. Even though this wasn't my first Carnival cruise, I had a feeling that there would be some things that I wouldn't get right since I am still new to the cruise line. 

Carnival Vista almost felt like another new-to-me line. With fewer complimentary breakfast venues, for instance, I found myself waiting in line at the Lido Marketplace, and I never felt the desire to eat there on Celebration! 

Additionally, there wasn't as much entertainment variety, and I was disappointed by the lack of comedy shows onboard. 

Even with the lessons learned on Carnival Celebration, I didn't get everything right on my second Carnival cruise. Here are 10 things I wish I had done differently while sailing on Carnival Vista. 

Book more specialty dining


Unlike my cruise on Carnival Celebration, there were more misses than hits in the main dining room. Some dishes, like the Caesar salad, strip steak, and crème brulée were pretty average. While that's not to say that I didn't have some delicious courses, I think I would have been more pleased with the upgraded specialty dining options. 

Moreover, the service in the main dining room was slower than I was expecting. After taking six Royal Caribbean cruises this year and enjoying their faster main dining room service, the longer meal times were a bit of a drag. 

One of my favorite meals was my dinner at Bonsai Sushi. For only $13, I was happy with both the quality of the food and the service. Since I had a rather large lunch, I only ordered the miso soup and tempura roll, and the portions were perfect! Honestly, I was surprised it was never that busy during my sailing. 

Get to Port Canaveral thirty minutes before my scheduled arrival time 


Most of my cruising experience has led me to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale and Miami, Florida. This was my first time cruising out of Port Canaveral since 2016, and it left me less than impressed. While you can expect traffic at any terminal, I've never waited 45 minutes before! 

Before my cousin and I were able to park, we were instructed to drop off our luggage with a porter. We we got back into line, one port agent told us that we needed to create a second car line; however, we then had to wait to merge back into the original line, as that information was false. Thankfully, check-in was a breeze, and we were on the ship within twenty minutes of stepping foot in the terminal.

Our experience getting off the ship wasn't much better. Since one of the gangways was broken, the disembarkation process was delayed by about an hour. My poor experience parking, coupled with the fact that the closest airport is about 45 minutes away, will keep me from sailing out of Port Canaveral in the future. 

Skip breakfast in the Lido Marketplace


Never in my life have I seen a line for a buffet so long on a cruise ship! While lines are to be expected, I feel like I normally only have to wait 5-10 minutes, unless I'm ordering an omelet. 

Plus, there wasn't a lot of variety. Pancakes and hashbrowns were served one day, and they were swapped for French toast and breakfast potatoes the next. Similarly, they had eggs benedict with salmon the morning we were docked in Amber Cove and eggs benedict with ham in Grand Turk.

The same standard offerings of yogurt, pastries, fruit, and eggs were offered on both port days. 


Compared to Carnival Vista, I really missed the different breakfast options. In addition to the Lido Marketplace, there was Big Chicken, Emeril's Bistro 1397, and BlueIguana on port days. My cousin and I ended up going to BlueIguana on disembarkation day, and we regretted not going there more than once, as I really enjoyed my breakfast burrito, and he loved the freshly fried eggs. 

Bring my own metal straw


Even though I knew that Carnival used candy straws, I wasn't expecting to be given one for my iced coffee, especially when I hadn't gotten any in some of my alcoholic beverages. 

Personally, I don't think the strawberry straw complemented the vanilla-flavored syrup very well.

I'm all for cruise lines doing their part to work towards becoming more environmentally friendly; however, I think I would prefer to take the extra step and bring my own metal straws to use onboard. 


The candy straw deterred me from getting any more specialty coffee beverages during my sailing. By the time I had finished the drink, the straw was disintegrating at the bottom of the cup and looked pretty gross. 

A pack of four metal straws is less than $5 on Amazon, and I know that I can use them daily, too!

Line up for the comedy shows earlier


On Carnival Celebration, I found that I could hop in line for a Punchliner Comedy Club show fifteen minutes before showtime. I had the opposite experience on Carnival Vista. On the second night, I got in line for the 8:45pm show at 8:20pm. 

By that time, however, the venue was already full! Even though the comedian had another show at 10:00pm, my cousin and I had our hearts set on going to the earlier one, as we wanted to be well rested for our day in Amber Cove. 

We learned from our mistake and got in line about thirty minutes before the next show in the Limelight Lounge. For the final showcase, however, we got in line 45 minutes before and were met with a large group on decks 4 and 5! Since it was the final show and it was being held in the larger venue, we figured it would be pretty crowded. 

We decided it would be best to stay in the shorter line upstairs and use the staircase inside of the Liquid Lounge to find seats on the lower level. 

Speaking of the comedy shows, I would have skipped some


During one of the shows in the Limelight Lounge and the final showcase in the Liquid Lounge, the comedy host repeated the majority of his introductory jokes. Moreover, the comedians reused some of their material, too. 

This was different than what I had experienced onboard Carnival Celebration. Even if the same comedian was on stage on different nights, none of the material was the same, and the comedy host had fresh jokes every night. 

I could have skipped the comedians' individual shows and just attended the showcase on the last night without missing much. While that's not to say I didn't enjoy the shows, I just wish there was more variety. 

Research the ship's deck plans ahead of time


As someone whose primary cruising experiences have been on Royal Caribbean's Freedom and Oasis Class of ships, I always fail to remember that other ships, especially on different cruise lines, are vastly different. 

During my 5-night cruise on Carnival Vista, I found the layout of the vessel to be rather confusing. I hated that everyone had to walk through the casino if they wanted to walk from one end of Deck 4 to the other. 

Moreover, the lower level of the Horizons Restaurant could only be accessed via the aft elevators or staircase. If you were on Deck 3 and wanted to cut across, you'd have to go up a floor and then back down. 


The elevator system wasn't my favorite, either. Certain elevators only went to certain decks, meaning that I would have to check what floor each elevator was on before pressing any of the buttons, as there wasn't a single button for every elevator in any given bank. 

My favorite cruise elevator system to date was MSC Seashore's. Instead of a simple up and down button, you had to select exactly which floor you wanted to go to on a large screen. You were then assigned a specific elevator and given an arrival time. Personally, I think this kept the crowds in the elevator to a minimum and made navigating the ship via the elevator easier!

I wouldn't book the Junior Suite again


While I loved the spacious room and added perks, I wouldn't book a Junior Suite onboard Carnival Vista again. 

Due to the cabin's location at the front of the ship, I felt the most motion I've ever experienced in a cruise ship cabin. Plus, the room lacked privacy, as it was located directly next to a public observation deck. The view was also slightly obstructed by the Bridge's wing. 


All in all, there were just as many cons as pros to this stateroom, and I don't really think it was worth $1,800 per person, or $3,600, for 5 nights. 

Read more: I paid $3,600 for a suite on Carnival Vista - Take a look inside my spacious cabin

Skip sea day lunch at JiJi Asian Kitchen


On sea days, JiJi Asian Kitchen is open for lunch, and it's included in the cost of your cruise fare! On the app, however, it is called Mongolian Wok. Since my cousin and I are both pretty big fans of Asian cuisine, we decided to check it out on the last sea day. 

In my head, I envisioned it as a quick service place like BlueIguana or Guy's. I had no idea that it was a sit-down meal! When we got there, there was a large crowd of people standing outside. At first, I thought it was simply the line; however, I quickly learned that these were people who had checked in with the host and were waiting for their pagers to buzz. 

Thankfully, the wait wasn't too long. Around the thirty-minute mark, our pager buzzed, and we were promptly seated. 


As someone who loves anything spicy, I ordered the wide steak noodles, as it was the only option with a little chili pepper next to it; my cousin ended up getting the same thing. When we got our food, we were a little confused because the presentation was different. 

My bowl of noodles had a ton of crispy lettuce on top, while his did not. Honestly, I was pretty disappointed with the food, as it wasn't the flavorful Asian dish I was expecting. It also lacked any kind of heat. We should have stayed in our clamshell bed in the Serenity area and gotten made-to-order salads instead. 

Ride the SkyRide on embarkation day


The SkyRide is something that's unique to Carnival Cruise Line's Vista Class, meaning you won't find it on ships like Carnival Elation, Carnival Glory, Carnival Breeze, or even Carnival Celebration. 

I knew that this was something on my must-do list; however, I didn't prioritize it like I should have. When I was on Carnival Celebration, I saved BOLT, the ultimate roller coaster at sea, for the last day. When it almost didn't open to high winds, I knew this wasn't a chance I wanted to take again. 

The first sea day was exceptionally windy, so it wasn't open. Since there were still three full days, I was not too worried! 


My cousin and I decided to ride it while the ship was docked in Grand Turk, just in case the ride stayed closed on our last sea day. 

To minimize my anxiety, however, I should have crossed it off my list on embarkation day!

Loading Comments