Saturday, October 9, 2021

Carnival Vista Cruise Review - October 9. 2021


Carnival Vista Cruise Review

Just the Facts:

Ship:  Carnival Vista
Sailing:  October 9, 2021
Captain: Andrea Catalani
Cruise Director: Kyndall Fire
Ports: Galveston - Mahogany Bay on Roatan Island - Belize C.A.  -  Cozumel, Mexico - Galveston
Weather:  Very nice typical Caribbean weather

This is my 4th time to cruise on the Carnival Vista, my 83rd Carnival cruise, and my 160th cruise overall.  I am sailing solo. I booked only a few weeks before sailing and it was a very good value.

Day One -- Saturday --  October 9th, 2021 -- Port of Galveston  Embarkation  
The day began early at Twisted Oak Ranch. I was up at 4:00 am to finalize some chores and packing. Not only is it Cruise Day, but also Game Day for the Red River Rivalry: OU vs. TX. I was on the road south by 5:00 am and made it to EZ Cruise Parking about 9:45 am. Soon on a shuttle and checked in by 10:30 am. It went very smoothly. They began boarding about 11:00 am and I was among the first, I dropped my bag at my cabin on deck nine and the cabin was ready although my Sail & Sign card was not there as yet. I went up to the Lido Marketplace just one flight up the aft stairs above my cabin for lunch. The Meatball Lasagna was good as was the Old fashion Pot Pie, and the Italian Pork dish from the carving station. I then went to my Muster Station located in the Limelight Lounge on deck four. That took all of five minutes...I love the new system. Next door was the Sports Bar, but the big game was not on screen. They did have sports tickers with current scores and I saw Texas 28 Oklahoma 7 in 1st quarter, very disappointing, Now in no hurry to start streaming the game, I went by the Red Frog Bar for a Fish Bowl cocktail. They have recently again started the half-price ‘Happy Hour’ on them on embarkation day. A very popular selection with guests today. I watched the end of the first half of football from the bar on my iPhone. I decided to take my huge drink back to the cabin and watch the second half from my laptop, I am so glad that I did as Oklahoma staged the biggest comeback in the series history and WON the football game, a BIG deal in this part of the country. It was very exciting and unexpected at that point. I had cabin and balcony time the rest of the afternoon watching both Sail Away and the Sunset from the balcony. A short nap was very nice too. About 7:00 pm I went to the Alchemy Bar and met Dayiana an experienced Alchemist who prepared a special cocktail for me. It was very good so I had to have another before dinner. I thought I would try the MDR this cruise and I went to the Reflections Restaurant for my 8:15 assigned table, it is a six-top and there were two other solo cruisers. I ordered the Green Salad, the Poblano & Corn Soup, and the Brisket & Vegetable entree. It was good. After dinner, it was back to the cabin for a much-needed rest. A long and busy day.

Day TWO -- Sunday --  October 10th, 2021 -- Fun Day at Sea
Smooth seas overnight and I slept very well but would have slept through anything overnight. I woke and opened the curtains to enjoy the sea view while updating this blog and reading news of yesterday’s Big Game comeback by Oklahoma. Just before 8:00 am I went up one deck to the Lido Marketplace for breakfast. Few people and no one at the omelet station, so I had a very nice Western Omelet with a side of bacon, ham, and fruit. My cabin is a very convenient location to the aft area of the Marketplace, perhaps even better than my favorite forward Lido cabins. After breakfast, I went back to bed and was just lazy...very relaxing. I did a walkabout the ship before lunch, Just from observation so far I would estimate that we are sailing at about 50-60% capacity, that’s nice for those of us on board as not busy or crowded on the ship…at least so far. At noon I attended the Diamond Guest Luncheon in the Horizons Restaurant. They have a nice sectioned area at the aft of the upper dining room that’s ideal for this type of event. I’m guessing this is where the afternoon Tea is located as well. There are 82 Diamond Guests aboard this sailing and I sat at a large 10-top table with nice guests. We had the same menu as on all the ships and I ordered the usual as well: the Pork Belly, the NY Strip Steak entree, and the Tres Leches for dessert…it was very good as was the service. The Cosmopolitans were nice as well especially this week when I don’t have a Cheers drink package, After lunch, I listened to the Solo Guitar sounds of Augusta Ray in the Ocean Plaza, she was good. Then I met friends in the Red Frog Pub where we enjoyed libations as well as NFL football. The Dallas Cowboys played the late game so the Pub filled up with guests to watch the game. The game was also shown in the Sports Bar and the big outdoor screen on the Lido deck. I decided to eat casual tonight so waited until closing time for Guy’s Burgers and had two nice burgers for dinner, They freshly grilled two plain meat patties that I then added onions and pickles for my version of an Oklahoma Onion-fried burger. It was very nice. I had a lazy evening enjoying the cabin and sundown from the balcony. No Alchemy nor shows tonight, just rest and relaxation. One of the advantages of being an experienced cruiser is that you don’t feel as though you are ‘missing’ anything as you’ve already experienced most ship activities. It was both a FUN and a relaxing day on the Carnival Vista.

Day Three -- Monday --  October 11th, 2021 -- Fun Day at Sea
Smooth seas overnight as we enter the Caribbean sea from the Gulf of Mexico. I woke during the night and did work on the internet as I am prone to do, but had plenty of sleep having retired early. I went to Lido Marketplace again for an omelet, same as yesterday, but today is a NO bacon day, They did have sausage as well as ham though. It was good. I had some business with Carnival and they requested a telephone call so Guest Services allowed me the use of a phone to use to contact Miami HQ. It was about bookings and all resolved, it just takes so much time to get through the process since they are so busy. I’m just happy they are sailing and I’m able to take advantage of lower fares. My Cabin Steward Carlos did my cabin this morning since I missed service last evening when I was napping. They are only doing service once a day and I chose evenings, but the cleaning is more thorough. Very nice of him, the crew has been so nice everywhere. Two unique choices for lunch only available on sea days are the Sea Day Brunch in the MDR and Guy’s Pig & Anchor BBQ. I went with the BBQ. I had a mixture of Q and sauces and ran into my friends while eating there so a nice visit. I did a walkabout the ship, had my first soft-serve ice creme, and listened to the steel drums by the pool on the Lido deck. A lot of guests on deck taking advantage of the very warm weather. More cabin time to finalize the business started this morning with cruise bookings for the rest of the afternoon. I enjoyed the sunset from the balcony ang got this photo.  The water is so smooth too.  About 6:30 I went to the Alchemy Bar where Raunuk was holding court. I missed him on the first visit. He prepared me a wonderful cocktail. I had met all guests (but four) seated at the bar so we already have regulars. It was great fun. I went to dinner in the MDR, we gained one person. Waiters were very attentive. For dinner, I ordered the Escargot, Baked Ziti (as a starter), and the Lamb entree. For desert the Panna Cotta. All was good. Just a short walkabout after dinner. Tonight was the Latin show Amor Cubano in the theater and all the venues seemed busy. It was a restful sea day on the Carnival Vista.

Day Four -- Tuesday --  October 12th, 2021 -- Roatan Island Honduras - Mahogany Bay
Vista from the swimming area
Very smooth seas overnight and I slept very well. This cruise cabin is one of the few that actually stays very cool throughout the night. It fact cold, no fan needed here. I woke and enjoyed the balcony and the views of Roatan Island before going to the Lido for breakfast. I went to the Blue Iguana for my favorite breakfast at sea. Heuvos Rancheros with two Fried Eggs, Arebas, Salsa, Pico de gallo, and Watermelon. It was very good. I debarked the ship and went to the shops at Mahogany Bay, I bought a couple of bargains: a nice Beach Bag and Swim Goggles, both for $10. I then went to the beach and enjoyed the water. You could go away from the beach as there were a series of sand bars so you’d go from deep to shallow water…kind of fun. I did make an extra trip into the water with the iPhone to get the definitive Mahogany Bay photo of the ship (above). After at least an hour in the water I went to Fat Tuesdays for a Salva Vita beer. I always have one when in Roatan. I went back to the ship about 1:30 pm so went straight to JiJi’s before it closed for a nice Mongolian Grill bowl. It was very good and I was proud of my healthy lunch choice until I walked by the Cake Station in the Lido Marketplace. There was a Carrot Cake that reached out and grabbed me…it was wonderful. A nice shower to remove the sand and cabin time updating this blog and a short nap. A perfect afternoon.  I went to the Alchemy Bar about 6:30 and it was the now usual regulars.  Dayiana did fix me her version of the Watermelon cocktail tonight, very nice.  It was the original three at my table tonight at dinner and tonights MDR menu is actually one of my favorites.  I did the add the Meatball Appetizer to the Linguini entree trick and had the Tenderloin entree as well.  A very good meal.  Piano Bars night off, but the Comedy club was popular as ever as well as the many other venues.  Plenty of activities for guests.  It was a lovely beach day in Mahogany Bay.

Day Five -- Wednesday -- October 13th, 2021 -- Belize, CA

Bird Isle fish dinner
Smooth seas and I slept very well and later than usual. We were anchored off of Belize by the time I woke. I went up to the Lido buffet for some fruit and a light breakfast at about 9:30 am. It was busy, I think everyone slept late. I usually just stay on the ship at this port as I have been here many times and done everything from Caye Caulker to Cave Tubing and Mayan Ruins. Today I did go ashore and I had a wonderful adventure. I took the 20-minute Tender into Belize City, then went beyond the tourist area and into town. It’s nicer than in previous visits and everyone was welcoming. I stopped in the ferry building where you catch the water ferries out to Caye Caulker and beyond, then a visit to Brodies the oldest and largest mercantile in Belize (I bought socks), From Downtown Belize City I took a taxi to my favorite place to eat from previous years: Bird Isle. It has expanded with a beautiful deck on the water and a nice Caribbean palm talapa over the main dining area. The good thing is it’s still the original menu…wonderful. I had a full Belizean
fresh fish dinner. The meal alone is worth the effort to get here. BTW-the Belikin beer is less than half the price of the tourist area! My taxi driver returned in 1.5 hours as requested and I returned to the tourist terminal area. The taxi was only $5. I made the 2:00 pm tender and was back on the Vista by 2:30 in time for a short Nap. I went to the Alchemy Bar early for a cocktail as I went to the 6:15 PG Comedy Show. It was weak, I’m sure a later show may have been better. I had my second Alchemy cocktail then listened to the Strings Trio in the Vista Lobby before 8:15 dinner. I heard a tip that the Filet Mignon was very good tonight so that’s what I ordered, two in fact, one medium and one medium-well. Just to compare. I also had a Shrimp Cocktail and the Stuffed Mushrooms. True, the steaks were great, the best meal of the cruise. No walk about the ship tonight I was tired from walking in Belize so I retire to the cabin and sleep. It was a fantastic day for a foodie in Belize and on the Carnival Vista.

Day Six -- Thursday --  October 14th, 2021 -- Cozumel Island, Mexico 

Plaza Principal San Miguel
Smooth seas again and I slept well. I was up early and updated this blog as I was too busy and tired yesterday. I went up to the Blue Iguana and was greeted by the multitude of Towel Animals around the Lido Pool area. Always interesting. I had a burrito this morning and as I observed them cooking fresh scrambled eggs, I requested a wheat burrito that stalled them a bit then I requested the fresh eggs…yes I got a full spatula of hot eggs from the grill onto my tortilla. Wow, nothing better than that.  Best breakfast burrito ever.  Just perfect timing, thanks Karma.  I made my way off the ship about 9:30 as the barbershop doesn’t open until 10:00. I was able to share a taxi into San Miguel so a good start to the day and arrived early enough to make my visit to church before Martin opened the shop. I had a nice haircut and visit. The next stop was the bank to get some Peso’s then to Wet Wendy’s for my HQ for the day. Woody’s doesn’t open now until noon so WW was great. I did communicate with Woody's owner and some changes are coming. I got a lot of Travel Agent work done, had face-time with my Dear Wife, and watched a lot of videos that can’t be seen on the Carnival WiFi package that I have on board. I saw new videos of the Granddaughter, and I really enjoyed watching the OUvsTX highlights from the Big Game. I had a fantastic Creamsicle Drink that was typical of Wet Wendy’s famous huge Margarita drinks. They also have my favorite Cerveza: Bohemia.  I took a taxi back to Puerto Maya pier ($8) getting back about the requested time of 3:30 pm.  I went strait to Guy’s Burgers for an onion burger, then walked by the Cake Station before it closed at 4:00…I had a piece of Orange Cake and a slice of Black Forest cake…very nice.  That may be dinner. I watched sail away just after 4:00 pm so everyone must have returned from Cozumel on time. I didn’t go to Alchemy so I had time to see several entertainers: the Vista Rockband and Country Music by Neilly Rich, both in the Ocean Plaza. I also saw one of the new concept Comedy Showcases in the larger theater…I like it. They use the Punchliner Graphics and just a better venue. It was a double show with Merl Hobbs & Marvin Todd. It was humorous and entertaining. I did have dinner in the MDR even after eating the cake earlier. Tonight I ordered the Wild Rice Country Soup, the Lasagna, and the Cornmeal-crusted Chicken Breast entree with Apple Pie for dessert. It was good. A walk about the ship and so much activity. It was nice seeing the lights of the Carnival Breeze as she sailed alongside us this evening. It was a busy and productive day in Cozumel and the Carnival Vista.

Day Seven -- Friday --  October 15th, 2021 -- Fun Day at Sea
Alchemy Team

Smooth sailing again overnight and I slept like a baby. I was awake at 7:00 am and went to the omelet station on Lido for breakfast at about 8:00 am. I did a walkabout this morning, getting a $25 free play chip from the casino, and my Diamond gifts from Pixels Gallery. I visited with friends at the Lobby Bar then went to the Limelight Lounge for my Rapid Covid-antigen test. I will say that it was very organized (as it should be on a Hospital ship—inside joke), the most organized of the three ships that I have had a test on. You are made aware of what is happening, stay in an orderly line, get swabbed, wait for results, then pick up your paperwork. Easy Peasy in and out in half an hour. I then had balcony time working on bookings and enjoyed the very pleasant weather. I won’t have a balcony when I move over to the Carnival Breeze. I went for lunch at Cucina de Capitano, my Linguini with sausage, peppers and tomatoes was wonderful.  I enjoyed it very much.  I then did an afternoon walk about on the outer decks, the weather is perfect so a lot of guests in the pools and hot tubs, but did not seem overcrowded.  I went up to the Serenity Deck, it’s large enough, but no pool.  The Bar is nice, larger than on the Mardi Gras actually. Only one elevator to deck 15 forward so a bit hard to get to that deck.  Cabin and balcony time the rest of the day as I am on the shady side this afternoon.  Nice. I went to the Platinum/Diamond party at 5:00 pm.  It was the old style party with plenty of bar servers and the Beer/Tito’s station.  I sat as close as I could get to the Tito’s and Lemonade.  I had more than my share.  Kyndall, the CD, did a great job of keeping thing rolling and there was entertainment.  In fact it was one of the best I have attended.  Afterward I went to the casino to use my $25 free play chip.  I tried Roulette and lady luck was with me as I ended up with $75 in real chips so I’m taking that onto the Breeze with me.  I finished the night at the Alchemy was great fun.  It was a magical final day on the Carnival Vista.   
Debarkation -- Saturday --  October 16th, 2021 -- Port of Galveston
We were docked  before I woke and I began packing at 7:15 am.  I’m not in a rush but did roll off toward the end of the self-debark guests.  I was at Terminal two by 9:00 am to wait for my cruise on the Carnival Breeze.


We were sailing below capacity that actually makes it very nice for guests on board.  I believe Carnival is saying about 60% capacity with 2400 guests.

I did something that I used to always do, but not much of late: I had most of my dinners in the MDR.  Hit or miss with meals, but the dinner service was awesome.  Great wait staff. at Table 420.  Guy’s Burgers, Guy’s BBQ, JiJi’s, Blue Iguana, et al were all great.  

I had cabin 9425 a balcony on deck 9 near the aft elevators on starboard side.  The cabin has the usual Carnival layout with three closets, small tables at bed, push button safe, a mini refrigerator, full size couch, and coffee table. An adequate amount of floor space. The best feature is the large screen TV mounted on the wall opposite the bed…very nice although it stays on the Map Channel 24/7.

Personal HIGHLIGHTS of the Cruise

OU vs. TX Football Game
Bird Isle in Belize
Cozumel Day
Alchemy Bar & staff
Platinum/Diamond Party
Red Frog Pub

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