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Carnival Vista Review

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Editor Rating
Very Good
Dori Saltzman

Carnival Cruise Line's Carnival Vista might just be one of the line's most fun, with a tons of scheduled daily activities, outside attractions and a nightlife that doesn't slow down till late.

Even on a 10-night cruise, we weren't able to get to everything on Carnival Vista. We did the SkyRide (an elevated bike ride), but not the ropes course. We tried out the outdoor Twister board, but never got a chance to play mini-golf or outdoor billiards. We went to the 4D Thrill Theater movie theater but never saw an IMAX movie. We saw four Playlist Production shows in the main theater, but skipped the magic show in favor of an evening of comedy. We made it to only one RedFrog Pub & Brewery trivia session, and never got to try one of the pour-your-own-beer taps or enjoy a drink in the pub's outdoor seating area.

Cruisers we spoke with had the same experience -- Carnival Vista just has so much to do that there's not enough time.

Carnival Vista Deck Plans Bring Fun to Your Doorstep

The way deck plans have been designed on Carnival Vista – with a mix of public areas and cabins on most decks (except on decks 1, 2, 8 and 9) – means that light sleepers may get more noise in their cabin than you'd feel is ideal. However, Carnival Vista’s layout is great for those who never want to be far from the action.

The best decks on Carnival Vista for those who prioritize sleep over fun are decks 1 or 8, which are the only ones that have nothing but other rooms above or below. Note that some cabins between the aft and midship elevator banks on deck 8 may get noise from the IMAX theater.

Truth be told, despite the constancy of activities and a guest capacity of 3,934 passengers (double occupancy), Carnival Vista never felt manic. There was no sense that if you didn't do it all you were missing out. Perhaps that's because our fellow passengers were all laid-back, as ready to chill out as they were to have fun.

While you can find places to be solitary and quiet (the adults-only Sanctuary, for instance), Carnival Vista is not a ship for wallflowers. It's an extroverted ship full of friendly people, most of whom come from English-speaking countries, though you'll hear a fair amount of Spanish as well. And watch out during school holidays; the ship's passenger count can get pretty close to 5,000 with well over 1,000 kids during the busiest months.

Between the laid-back and friendly passengers, always-smiling crew and plethora of onboard activities, Carnival Vista maintains a vibe that is young at heart and down to earth.

Carnival Vista vs. Carnival Magic and Carnival Dream

Carnival Vista, Carnival Magic and Carnival Dream offer very similar experiences for those sailing to the Caribbean. Carnival Vista is the largest of all (3,500 tons heavier) and can hold a couple hundred additional passengers than its sister ships.

The biggest differences between them, however, are the dining and entertainment options available on each – and Carnival Vista beats both. Carnival Magic and Carnival Dream lack the IMAX theater, Dr. Seuss Bookville and SkyRide that Carnival Vista has. In addition, Dream does not have a SportSquare or a SkyCourse, which Carnival Vista does.


Tons of fun with a water park, IMAX, ropes course, sky-high bike ride and brewery onboard


Dining room menus repeat too often and dishes dubbed too fancy by Carnival's passengers

Bottom Line

An action-packed ship with more activities than you can possibly do in seven days


Included with your cruise fare:

  • Two main dining rooms, the buffet and select other eateries

  • All theater shows and the comedy club

  • Use of the SkyRide, ropes course, water park, mini-golf and other outside SportSquare activities

  • Most daily activities unless noted below

  • Use of the gym, but not most classes

Not included with your cruise fare:

  • Gratuities (amounts vary based on stateroom category)

  • Automatic beverage (18 percent) and spa tips (15 percent)

  • All drinks beyond water, tea (including iced tea), coffee and select juices in the buffet

  • Meals in eight restaurants

  • Spa treatments

  • Shore excursions

  • Wi-Fi; Internet packages can be purchased until midnight of the day before boarding Carnival Vista

  • Activities including, but not limited to the IMAX and Thrill theaters, arcade games, bingo and Build-a-Bear

  • Photos and artwork

  • Retail purchases

  • After-hours babysitting in the Camp Ocean Kids’ Club

Carnival Vista Dress Code

The dress code on Carnival Vista is pretty casual, even on “elegant nights”, so there is no need to pack a tuxedo or cocktail dress if you think you’ll be happy dining in the buffet on the more formal evenings.

Daytime: Casual, with shorts and T-shirts most common inside the ship and bathing suits and cover-ups de rigueur on the pool deck.

Evening: Fairly casual (though shorts and tees are typically replaced by long pants and nicer tops) except on Carnival Vista’s "elegant" nights, when men are asked to wear long pants and collared shirts and women are expected to dress up a bit. Suits, sport jackets and gowns are not required. On cruise elegant nights you can dine in the buffet without dressing up at all.

Not permitted: Cutoff jeans, shorts and swimwear are not permitted in the main dining room or Fahrenheit 555 steakhouse.

For more information, visit Cruise Line Dress Codes: Carnival.

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More about Carnival Vista

Carnival Vista Cruiser Reviews

Tailored for younger people

In 2025, Carnival opens up a private cay, so it will get better. All elevators on cruise ships is difficult but Vista was better than others. Marty is a great cruise director.Read More

6-10 Cruises

Age 65s

Good cruise, but XL ships may not be for us

I sailed Carnival Vista with my wife, 16-year-old daughter and her 16-year-old friend. This was my seventh cruise, all with Carnival, since 2006.Read More

6-10 Cruises

Age 50s


It’s terminal 5 or 6 the parking garage for the Carnival Vista. Also they need to do something for rain protection for people standing outside waiting to enter the terminal.Read More
Randy Miller

10+ Cruises

Age 73s

Worst of Several

I am a Carnival Diamond. My wife and I love the Vista for its features and port of Galveston. This cruise was our worst on the Vista.Read More

10+ Cruises

Age 60s

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