Carnival Vista tips and tricks

33 Important Carnival Vista Tips – Know before you go

After our recent Carnival Vista cruise we have put together a list of 33 Carnival Vista tips and bits of information you will want to know before taking your first cruise on this Carnival ship.

Here you will find some of the best Carnival cruise tips. While some of these tips apply to all Carnival ships, this article is about the Carnival Vista cruise ship in particular.

Carnival Vista cruise tips

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Carnival Vista Tips

1. Spiked milkshakes

It’s true! Spiked milkshakes are available on the Carnival Vista cruise ship in the Java Blue Café. While Carnival calls it the “Shake Spot”, it is in the café located on deck 5.

See the Carnival Cruise Line spiked milkshakes menu here.

2. Shorter coffee lines

The Ocean Plaza Bar which is right beside the Java Blue Café has the exact same coffee menu as the Java Blue often with shorter lines.

This is a Carnival Vista cruise tip that many people don’t know, especially early on in the cruise. Before getting in a long line, check the line for the Ocean Plaza Bar.

3. Select specialty restaurants offer free lunch

Both the Cucina del Capitano (Italian restaurant) and Ji Ji Asian Kitchen are specialty restaurants that you have to pay to eat dinner at but lunch is served there limited hours for no additional cost. It is a different menu however.

You will see it listed on the Carnival Hub App as “pasta bar” and “Mongolian Wok”, both these are located upstairs from the Lido Marketplace buffet restaurant. There is an internal staircase in the buffet.

Carnival Vista Tips - staircase leads to specialty restaurants offering free lunch
Staircase from buffet restaurant to Cucina del Capitano and Ji Ji Asian Kitchen

4. Limited outlets in the staterooms

We had an interior stateroom on deck 8. There was only 1 electrical outlet and that was located on the desk.

Add both a cruise approved power bar (non-surge protected) as well as a portable charger to your cruise packing list.

cruise ship approved power strip

I like to have my phone by the bed as I use it for an alarm. I used my portable charger at night on my bedside table to charge my cell phone through the night.

Portable charger a one of the cruise essentials available on Amazon

5. Edible straws

The Carnival fleet has gone to edible candy straws in an effort to reduce waste and be more environmentally friendly. I think this is a smart decision.

While I think these straws are much better than paper straws, I do find that they can get slimy to touch.

Some people love them while others hate them. One way around this is to bring your own reusable straw. I would suggest one that comes with a cleaning brush and case.

Edible candy straw in a frozen drink on a Carnival cruise

6. Ice cream and ice cream sandwiches at the candy store

The Cherry on Top candy store also serves up hard ice cream and made to order ice cream sandwiches. These do have a minimal charge.

This is a nice alternative to the free soft serve yogurt you can find near the lido marketplace buffet restaurant.

The Cherry on Top can also be accessed from outside on deck 5. There is some great seating outside where you can sit and enjoy your frozen treat.

Cherry on top candy store and ice cream bar outside seating

7. Daily puzzle sheets are available at Java Blue Cafe

Stop by the Java Blue Café each morning to grab a free crossword and sudoku puzzle sheet. This is a nice relaxing way to start your mornings.

Crossword puzzle and sudoku puzzle sheets at the Java Blue Cafe

8. Spa day passes are available

Spa day and weekly passes are available for the relaxation areas of the Cloud 9 Spa.

The relaxation areas include a thalassotherapy pool, tile loungers, sauna, showers and chilled towels. Spa day passes don’t include any spa treatments.

Passes are limited and can sell out, this is why it is a good idea to sign up on the first day.

Cruise spa relaxation lounger

9. Debarkation luggage tags are not delivered to your room

On all the cruises I had been on previously, the debarkation luggage tags were delivered to your stateroom on the second to last night. On this Carnival Vista cruise (and then our subsequent Carnival Radiance cruise), luggage tags were not delivered.

You picked up your own luggage tags. The debarkation luggage tags are all numbered. For those who check their luggage (have the crew members carry your luggage off the ship), debarkation is done in order of these numbered luggage tags (with a few exceptions).

Therefore, if you want to get off early but don’t want to carry off your own luggage, you will need a lower numbered tag. Be sure to listen to the debarkation talk for the location and time the tags are first available.

Carnival cruise debarkation luggage tag pick up station

10. No conditioner

Carnival cruise ships do NOT have conditioner in the stateroom bathrooms. The showers do have shampoo and shower gel dispensers but not conditioner.

More Carnival Vista tips and bits of information to know before you go.

11. Games at the back of the Red Frog Pub and Brewery

The back of the Red Frog pub on deck 5 is a little hidden gem. You’ll find foosball tables and shuffle board tables that you can play for free. There is also an electronic dart board. This is a fun little area.

You can access it from inside the pub or from the outside of deck 5.

Games at the back of the Red Frog pub on Carnival Vista

12. Red Frog Pub brewery tours

Speaking of the Red Frog Pub and Brewery. They also offer brewery tours and beer flight tasting for the craft beer lovers. Both have an additional cost.

Check your Fun Times or the Carnival Hub app for the brewery tour dates and times if this is of interest to you.

13. Bring glow sticks

A great way to add a little extra fun is to bring glow sticks for the 80’s Rock n’ Glow deck party. They take up very little space in your luggage but adds a lot to the great experience.

14. Pack a white outfit

Another themed party night is the White Hot Night Party hosted by the cruise director. Passengers are encouraged to wear white.

Wearing white is optional and you can still attend even if you aren’t wearing a white outfit. But if you and your family members have a white outfit then bring that along on your upcoming cruise vacation.

15. Skybox bar has video poker

The Skybox Sports Bar on deck 4 has a video poker table (Texas hold’em). You must be 18+ to play. The Carnival Fun Times and hub app will have scheduled “Hold’em players meet” at several times a day.

Skybox sports bar video poker table

16. Don’t wait until you are starving to eat

I found the food lines for the casual dining options quite long. This included the Lido Marketplace (buffet), Guy’s Burger Joint, BlueIguana Cantina, and the Carnival Deli.

The long lines were definitely my least favorite thing about this Carnival cruise ship. I’m not sure if this is a short staffing issue after covid or if it is the norm.

While it doesn’t discourage me from cruising on this ship again, I would suggest not waiting until you are starving to decide to eat.

17. Check in for dining on the app

For breakfast in the main dining room or if you have “Your Time Dining” you can check in on the Carnival Hub app to save some time waiting in line.

Your dining time is selected when first booking your cruise. You can choose early dining, late dining or Your Time dining. Your Time dining allows you to eat in the main dining room between 5:30pm and 9:00pm.

Before heading down to the Horizons Restaurant, check in on the app. They will notify you when your table is ready through the app, then hold your table for 10 minutes. Turn on notifications from the Hub App.

Carnival main dining room check in on the app

Carnival main dining room table ready notification

18. Pool deck chairs fill up fast

The lido deck is the hub of activity regardless which ship in Carnival’s fleet you are sailing on. The deck chairs around the pool and the upper decks fill up quite fast, especially on sea days.

I found that with the Guy’s Burger Joint and Blue Iguana Cantina by the pool area, this left limited space for lounge chairs. If you are hoping to get a lounge chair near the pool, especially in the shade, you will want to get there early.

Reserving lounge chairs however are not allowed and just poor cruise etiquette. I’m not suggesting go first thing in the morning and reserve a seat with a towel. I’m just suggesting that if you want a pool side seat, plan to get there and enjoy your spot early.

19. Outside of deck 5 is a hidden gem

This is another area that I felt was a bit of a hidden gem because it was always so quiet was the outside of deck 5.

There are so many great little seating areas along this outer deck. Many of the food venues have outside seating here, plus there is a great section called The Lanai with padded lounge chairs.

Grab a coffee or tea from Java Blue Café (also deck 5) then head outside to enjoy it.

Coffee and puzzle sheet outside on deck 5 of Carnival Vista
The Lanai deck 5 Carnival Vista

The outside of deck 5 is also the only access to Guy’s Pig and Anchor restaurant. This is easily missed if you aren’t looking for it.

20. Try the Serenity Deck hot tubs

There are only a few hot tubs on Carnival Vista. Unfortunately, there are no hot tubs by the main pool. There are two hot tubs at the back by the Tides Pool and then one on the Serenity deck.

Carnival calls them whirlpools, which is a better term since none of them are very hot.

The hot tubs by the Tides pool were always very busy, but check out the Serenity deck. The whirlpool there was often less crowded, and no kids. The Serenity deck area is for adults aged 21+.

I do wish that there were more hot tubs like on the Carnival Dream.

21. Bring closed-toe shoes

If you are planning on trying the Skyride or the ropes course you must have closed-toe shoes. They were strict with this rule.

Carnival Vista sky ride

22. Ride the Skyride early

Another Carnival Vista tip is to ride the Skyride early on in your cruise. This activity is weather dependent. Don’t put it off until you last day only to find out it is closed because of winds.

23. The buffet has a menu

This is a great Carnival Vista tip. If you are unsure where you are going to eat and wondering what the Lido Marketplace buffet has to offer, look for the menu.

At the start of the buffet line there is a menu showing what is being served in the buffet. This a great feature. It eliminates standing in line then walking through the whole buffet only to realize you’d rather eat elsewhere.

More than once I had people ask me what I was looking at when I was reading the menu. It’s easy to miss if you aren’t looking for it.

24. Dive in Movie popcorn

Carnival Cruise Dive In Movie popcorn bag

25. Each bar has it’s own menu

Part of the fun of a cruise is trying different cocktails. On Carnival ships, each bar has it’s own menu. Do a little bar hop and see what different drinks are offered.

26. Bring magnetic hooks

I found that the room seemed a little humid and that damp clothing didn’t dry well. Magnetic hooks definitely helped with this. Rather than hanging your wet bathing suit and damp cover-up together on the bathroom shower clothesline, you could spread them out around the cabin. I found that this helped dry them a little faster.

Magnetic hooks used in a cruise stateroom to hang a cover-up and lanyard

27. Alchemy Bar has mocktails

The Alchemy bar serves has Lyre’s non-alcoholic mixes to create some unique mocktails. This is a great addition to the Alchemy bar menu.

A couple mocktails you might want to try are:

The Perfect Storm, which is strawberry puree, fresh lime, rosemary and Lyre’s Dry London instead of vodka.

Cucumber sunrise, this is made with watermelon nectar, cucumber, lime juice, a splash of orange juice, and Lyre’s Agave Blanco instead of vodka.

28. Dr. Seuss themed flume

On a couple of the mornings there was a Dr. Seuss Green Eggs & Ham breakfast available in one of the main dining rooms. This does have an additional cost but is a really fun and memorable activity for kids.

Even if you don’t participate in the breakfast, be sure to take your kids to check out the big flume in the Carnival Vista atrium. It will be Dr. Seuss themed. It is a fun little touch that will put a smile on your kids’ faces, and big kids like me :).

Dr Seuss themed flume in the Carnival Vista atrium

29. Chocolate melting cake

If this is your first Carnival cruise, a must try dessert is the chocolate melting cake offered nightly in the main dining room. The good news is there is no extra cost, it is included in your cruise fare.

Carnival cruise line's chocolate melting cake

30. Avoid guest services on the last day

This is actually a cruise tip for all cruise lines. Do your best to avoid guest services on the last day, the lines are usually painfully long.

Sometimes this is unavoidable but if you are planning on putting some cash on your onboard account or have a question about transfers go to guest services prior to the last day or early in the morning.

31. Don’t miss the towel animal extravaganza

I am not sure if this is always on a set day, but for us it was on the second to last day. The crew members work hard to create a unique experience by transforming towels into different animals.

Check the pool deck in the morning for the towel animal invasion.

Towel animals on all the lounge chairs on a Carnival Cruise

32. Consider the Havana area

If you are looking to splurge on your Carnival Vista cruise, consider the Havana area. Those staying in Havana cabins have exclusive access to the beautiful Havana pool area.

The Havana pool area also has a hot tub and plenty of comfortable seating. Being an exclusive area, means it is much less busy and quieter than the main pool area.

Havana stateroom guests are issued wristbands so that the crew members can easily identify who should be in that area. On our cruise this was heavily monitored.

There are different types of Havana staterooms ranging from interior Havana rooms (no window) to Havana Cabanas (which look amazing).

Carnival Vista Havana pool area

33. BlueIguana Cantina serves breakfast

This is another tip for a first-time cruiser with Carnival. Check out the breakfast burritos from the Blue Iguana Cantina located on the pool deck. They are made to order and delicious.