Review: Western Caribbean aboard Carnival Vista

By : Jason Hogan, Senior Travel Consultant (CTA)

Day 1: Galveston; Embarkation

We started our morning at the Sunflower Café down the street from the Port of Galveston. It is an
excellent choice for breakfast that never disappoints. With full bellies, we parked at Lot B and headed to
the Cruise Terminal nearby.
We purchased Faster to the Fun which turned out to be a great decision throughout our cruise. We
breezed through security and check-in, and we were on the ship in less than 10 minutes. Our rooms
were already available when we boarded, so we relaxed before heading out to explore the ship.
That evening we were surprised with a brand-new menu featuring dishes curated by Emeril Lagasse. This
menu debuted on the Carnival Dream on June 20, 2023. We were lucky to be the first guests to try it out
on Carnival Vista and the food was delicious!

Days 2 and 3: Sea Days

The next two days we took it slow, enjoying the various amenities around the ship. We played in the
Casino which had a great selection of newer slots, as well as table games. We checked out the water
park, WaterWorks, and the kids enjoyed the water slides. We tried the included Pasta Bella pasta bar for
lunch in Cucina del Capitano. Service was quick, and the food was very good. We also visited Cherry on
Top where the kids got some candy, and we went to one of the shows called Rock of Ages in the Liquid
Lounge. The band and performers were great, and they covered quite a few well-known rock songs from
the 70’s and 80’s. These days were well spent while we rested up for our port days to come.

Day 4: Mahogany Bay, Roatan

After a light breakfast at the Lido Marketplace, we headed to the gangway for our day in Roatan. We
had a spot in mind already at the beach in Mahagony Bay. Instead of walking, we took the Magic Sky
Ride gondolas to the other side of the port. This dropped us off right where we wanted to be, and we
were the first to arrive at our beach spot.
The kids snorkeled most of the morning and saw a myriad of sea life including flounder, crabs, conch,
rockfish, lionfish, angel fish, pipe fish, and even an octopus. After an exceptional morning at the beach,
we rode the gondolas back to the main port area for some shopping. We then headed back to the ship
to rest up before dinner.
Our Maitre’d, Melvin, invited us to a private tasting of the new dishes on the menu that evening. We
were given an exclusive tour of the galley before meeting the head chef and being presented with
several dishes to sample. We tried each one and it was difficult to critique any of them because they
were all so tasty. This was an awesome experience for us to see how the kitchens operate on such a
large scale to accommodate everyone onboard.

Day 5: Fort Street Tourism Village, Belize City, Belize

Faster to the Fun came in handy this morning as it provided a priority tender into port. Instead of having
to collect a tender ticket early that morning and queue with the rest of the ship, we were able to hop
right on our priority tender to shore.
We did not have plans for Belize, so we explored the port area for a few hours and did some shopping at
the many stores located here. Before boarding our tender back to the ship, I decided to pick up some
Lobster Fritters from the Wet Lizard. My family and I enjoyed them on our way back to the Vista. Many
people on the tender commented on how good they smelled and believe me they were amazing! These
will now be a must when we call on Belize.

Day 6: Terminal Maritima Puerta Maya, Cozumel

Today we booked our family at Paradise Beach Cozumel. We were the first ship in port so getting off was
quick and easy. We made our way to the taxi stand and quickly had a ride to Paradise Beach.
Less than 10 miles from port, Paradise Beach is a newer, family friendly beach club with a large pool,
water inflatables, and an extensive menu of food and drinks which are all included with the all-inclusive

day pass. We also rented a day bed here which was well worth the money. This afforded us a semi-
private spot for the whole family to enjoy while we were there.

The kids decided to snorkel most of the day here as well since the water was teaming with sea life yet
again. This time they saw starfish, lobster, sea urchins, and many different types of fish. We also
sampled quite a few dishes and drinks from the all-inclusive menu during our time there, and the wait
staff were very attentive to our needs. All in all, I would highly recommend Paradise Beach if you are
ever looking for a beach club in Cozumel.

Days 7 and 8: Sea Day and Galveston; Debarkation

Needless to say, we were exhausted after our beach time and exploration in the ports. Our last sea day
was spent packing up and enjoying a couple of things we had not yet tried. Guy’s Burger Joint and Blue
Iguana Cantina are lunch options located by the Beach Pool on Lido Deck. We tried both, but we really
enjoyed the burgers from Guy’s. We also decided to take in a movie at the IMAX Theater onboard. They
get the newest releases, so we decided to see Blue Beetle which had just come out the day before. Our
theater experience was surprisingly good, so much so, I forgot I was on a cruise ship until the movie was
Faster to the Fun saved the day again on debarkation day. We were able to go directly to the Liquid
Lounge to be the first guests allowed off the ship. The process only took about 15 minutes once our
group was called. After clearing customs, we made our way back to Lot B and headed home. We
reminisced on all of our experiences, and we all agreed that we had a wonderful time. Overall, an A+ for
Carnival and the Carnival Vista!

Simulation Cruise and New Health Protocols

By: Leah Jorgensen

On July 28, I received an email. I was offered a 4-night Caribbean sailing on Royal Caribbean’s Independence of the Seas’ Simulation sailing. The kicker? It was sailing on August 1, and only available to fully vaccinated guests. So I quickly contacted my mother since she is retired and always up for an adventure, made sure we both had our passports and vaccination records, and accepted the offer! Three days later, my father and brother drove us down to Galveston to the ship!

For a Simulation sailing, just about everything is the same, but the guests are at 10% capacity, and the CDC was disguised onboard. Having 400 guests on a ship that has the capacity for 4,370 passengers made it feel like the ship was just ours! It was a little eerie how empty it was, but there was never a line or a wait for anything! The entire crew is vaccinated and had been in quarantine on the ship for 2 months already. They were thrilled to be working again after 15 months, and so happy to just see other people on board. I’ve never seen a happier crew, happier entertainers, and happier guests.

Embarkation was seamless! We could only arrive at the port at our assigned time, and everything was organized. Passports were checked, vaccination records were checked, recorded, and photographed, quickly went through security, and then we were allowed onboard!

One of the biggest headaches of starting any sailing is the safety drills. Due to Covid, they are no longer safe since social distancing needs to be followed. But Royal Caribbean now has a fantastic app for your phone! Once we made it to our rooms and picked up our Sea Passes, we watched a video on our apps of how to find and wear lifejackets, what to do in an emergency, and played the sound clip of the ship’s emergency notification horn. Then it was time to find our assigned lifeboat. Once there, a crew member verified we had watched the safety video and placed a sticker on our Sail Passes to show we had completed the safety drill.

Now I’m not one who wants to keep my phone on me when I’m on vacation (isn’t the point to get unplugged and out of reach?), but the app really was handy! Easy to use and find scheduled activities, we were able to make dinner reservations, reserve show tickets, and make our own personalized schedule. If you’re not sure where something is, the deck plans are there at your fingertips! Don’t worry about waiting in line at Guest Services- your on-board account is already in your hand!

Speaking of hands, we are still living in a pandemic. Every doorway now has hand sanitizer, but instead of just sitting there available, we were asked (required) to use it every time. And outside the Windjammer restaurant, soap and water stations have been installed, and are required to be used before entering. The amount of food has not changed, and the crew will happily put whatever you would like on your plate for you. (Really- I suggest taking the stairs as much as possible so you can fill up with less guilt!) The crew was constantly sanitizing hand rails, chairs, tables, anything that could be touched, and often disinfected the walls. The ships have always been clean, but it was spotless- all of the time.

Relaxing in the pool

Being vaccinated, I was allowed into any venue, activity, public area, and restaurant. But being a simulation, there were some people that were chosen to be “un-vaccinated”. Those who are vaccinated are given a purple plastic bracelet to wear- and they were often checked too. Those who were un-vaccinated had specific shows, time and location for main dining, and activities they were allowed to enter. They still had a full schedule and throughout the sailing were still allowed to see and do everything, but there were just specific times they were allowed to do certain activities. Everyone is still required to wear masks while moving around the ship, but we were allowed to take them off while sitting and actively eating and drinking, and while outside. The crew is still required to leave their masks on even while outside.

When we arrived in Cozumel, we parked next to the Adventure of the Seas, that is currently sailing out of Nassau, Bahamas. Vaccinated guests are allowed to leave the ship, but unvaccinated guests are only allowed off for a Royal Caribbean excursion. On the docks, we got the chance to talk with some very happy folks from Michigan who told us what a fantastic vacation they were having! Their sailing had about 900 guests and they were getting the Royal treatment as well! Mom and I were able to find a taxi (William in taxi 318) to get us to a beach to stick our feet in the water, which is all we were looking for, and back to the dock (I do not normally suggest ‘choose-your-own-adventure’ as there’s always a chance of being late and being left!)! All of the shops in Cozumel were ecstatic to see people shopping there again- the pandemic and halting of travel has really affected us all.

All-in-all, I felt extremely safe. The safety protocols are working and people are able to be back at work. This sailing was a dream, but I hope we don’t have to live through this again in my lifetime. If you do get a chance to sail on the Independence of the Seas, especially before January (and contracts move workers), tell pianist Timothy Boaz, guitarist Darla Fox, and waiters Sanjay and Red that I sent you!

See The New 7 Wonders Of The World With Azamara

In 2000, Bernard Weber set up the New7Wonders project, which asked people to vote on the next 7 wonders of the world. By 2007, the movement gained momentum, and over 100 million people voted on the New 7 Wonders of the World representing global heritage. If these are on your bucket list, you can see all new 7 wonders of the world with Azamara Club Cruises.

Great Wall of China

Started in the 5th century BC, the Great Wall of China runs 13, 171 miles, and was meant to defend against the invasion by the Mongols and provided a route of transportation. The bricks that make up the wall were bound together with sticky rice flour so tightly that no few weeds grow through.

With Azamara, you can visit the Great Wall of China with an overnight port stop in Beijing. Take a walk along the wall, enjoy the panoramic views, marvel at the architectural construction, and absorb history. They suggest packing a good pair of walking shoes and some water.

Related: Click For All Discounted Azamara Sailings!


Designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Petra was an ancient city once full of commerce in the south part of Jordan. Founded around 312 B.C., the Nabataeans, an Arabic nomadic people, established their capital as a center of trade. Their water technology allowed them to create a desert oasis through tunnels and water chambers.

Sail around the Red Sea with Azamara, and up the Gulf of Aqaba to Jordan. Then they take you on a land trek to Petra- but bring your hiking gear! The walk is quite difficult to traverse, and getting to Petra means passing through a siq, or narrow gorge. See the famous Treasury building carved out of the rock right inside, and view all the other ruins like the Royal Tombs and the Roman amphitheater that sat 3,000 people, and much more- there are over 800 monuments.

The Colosseum

An architectural marvel and engineering feat, only part of the Colosseum remains. Constructed in 72 A.D., it sat over 50,000 spectators who watched gladiators fight and saw mock naval battles. It served as a place of entertainment for the ancient Romans, a quarry for other Roman buildings, and even was repurposed as a fortification by warring Roman families.

When you land in Civitavecchia, several excursion opportunities offered by Azamara will take you into the city of Rome. In Rome, view many ancient sites, including a walk through of the Colosseum led by a local guide.

Related: Top European Azamara Excursions That Will Blow Your Mind!

Chichen Itza

Take a trip through time when you visit Chichen Itza, a complex of Mayan ruins in Yucatan, Mexico. Most popular, the Temple of Kukulkan is a pyramid with 4 sides and 365 steps and was built by the Mayans between 800 and 1200 A.D.. The building shows the importance of astronomy in their daily lives.

When docked in Cozumel, visiting one of the new 7 wonders of the world with Azamara involves a hike to the area, and guests get to see the serpents carved into the rock of the temple. If you visit in the spring or fall during the equinox, you’ll be able to see an illusion of a shadow of a serpent slithering down the steps of the pyramids steps.

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu has the distinction of a Peruvian Historical Sanctuary, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is one of the of one of the new 7 wonders of the world with Azamara. An ancient city, the Incans built it on top of a hill around the 15th century and is made of polished, dry-stone walls.

With a pre or post land voyage, Azamara invites you to get immersed in ancient Peruvian history. Trace the route of ancient Incans, find the hidden entrance to the citadel, see the Inca Bridge and take in the site of the Temple of the Sun. Azamara’s guides have an overnight stay in the area so you can enjoy visiting other Incan archaeological sites and have more than one day to explore Machu Picchu at your own pace.

Taj Mahal

No trip to India is complete without seeing the iconic Taj Mahal. Using 22,000 workers, 1,000 elephants, and spanning 22 years, Emperor Shah Jahan built the marble monument as a tomb for his wife in the 17th century. It’s a perfect example of the influences and style of Muslim Mughal art and architecture in the region.

Related: See All Azamara Club Cruises All In One Place!

Go on an overnight immersion experience at the Taj Mahal, one of the new 7 wonders of the world with Azamara. On a trip from Goa to Agra, see it both at sunset, and sunrise and enjoy each glimpse as it changes in color with the changing light. Enjoy the mingling of Persian, Islamic, Turkish, and Indian architecture, stroll along the raised pathway in the garden, and admire the flowers and reflecting pool.

Christ the Redeemer

Sitting on top of Corcovado Mountain, the redeemer statue of Jesus Christ is an icon of Brazil. Fashioned between 1922 and 1931, the art deco statue is 125 feet tall and its arms span 92 feet. It is a collaboration of Brazilian and French engineers, a Polish-French sculptor, and a Romanian artist.

Cruise in South America for one of the new 7 wonders of the world with Azamara while at port in Rio de Janeiro. Enter Tijuca National Park to see waterfalls, plants and animals, and wander the hiking trails that eventually lead up to the top of the mountain to see the statue. This is also a great spot for panoramic views of Rio, Copacabana, and Ipanema. Elevators and escalators are also accessible to help visitors up to the summit.

In all, the new 7 wonders of the world with Azamara are worth a trip, and they can get you there while providing insightful knowledge and VIP treatments. Add on to your cruise with overnight experiences and overland pre or post cruise tours that take your on journeys to places that you don’t have to be afraid of missing. Azamara is dedicated to bringing you a little closer to the things in the world that inspire.