When deciding what to do for our honeymoon, my (now) husband and I decided a cruise would be easy and require little effort to plan during a stressful time with the wedding and all. It was suggested we use Carnival as our cruise line and the Vista is their newest and largest ship. We were both pretty excited and I thought I should review our time with Carnival for our honeymoon vacation.
The booking process was easy and it’s nice to view and purchase excursions before you board the ship. We only booked one, but in hindsight, we should have booked all excursions in advance. Otherwise, you’ll be waiting in line on the ship to purchase, or struggling to find a ride to excursions if you don’t buy on the ship. Our room was amazing! We had the balcony suite, which made it feel less closed in. Our room was super clean all the time thanks to our awesome room steward. Our bed was made and trash was taken every time we left the room! We also received roses, chocolate covered strawberries, and champagne courtesy of my Mother in Law! It was a wonderful surprise and made it feel more like out honeymoon.
The buffets, free restaurants, and drinks were all delicious and had a good variety. We enjoyed all the foods and desserts that we tried. The free ice cream stations were pretty great and they also offered frozen yogurt as well. The sit down dinners were very nice and the staff was super friendly and courteous. The only problem is that it took a very long time for food to arrive to the table. We would be at dinner on average an hour and a half every night. Of course, there are other restaurant alternatives, but it was worth the waits since these dinners were included in our tickets.
Our first port was Ocho Rios, Jamaica. We didn’t have our excursion tickets, so we got off the boat not knowing where to get tickets or who to buy from. We ended up going to the help kiosk, after being bombarded by people trying to sell us overpriced tickets and transport, and we went to climb Dunn’s River Falls. It is a challenging excursion and I fell a couple times, but it was beautiful and a fun experience none the less. No regrets here, besides not purchasing tickets on the ship first. We didn’t stay off the boat long since we had to be back on board soon after the excursion was completed.
The sea days made the ship feel very crowded. It wasn’t easy to find lounge chairs to sit by the pool, and we never even got in the pool because of the crowds. There was a waterpark, over 21 spa area, and also an after 7pm public pool, but we mostly were busy after 7pm with dinner and the over 21 whirl pools were packed except for one time where I we were able to get in. The sky fitness was pretty cool too, but the lines were long most of the time. We did take advantage of the track and walked it as exercise. We never did make it to the actual gym on the front of the ship. If we go on another cruise, we’d choose one that would feel less crowded, even though the ship had so much to offer and was incredibly cool to be on a boat and have so much to do. There were just way too many people on the boat this trip.
Our second stop was Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands. We purchased our snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef excursion tickets on board the day before, so we knew what we’d be doing for the day. It was nice we were able to leave the area where cruisers were sectioned off, but we decided to stay in this area. While we waited we stopped at shops and I found a cool magnet, which was great since I collect them. The snorkeling was a great time, even though it was delayed and seemed like a long wait. We saw tons of tropical fish, coral reefs, and even sting rays. The guides were amazing and brought sting rays to the surface for us to pet and admire. The waves were a little rough, but I had a great time for my first time snorkeling!
The last port was Cozumel, Mexico, where we purchased our Dolphin Swim tickets online with our cruise tickets. This is the only one I knew for sure I wanted to do because it was on my bucket list to swim with dolphins! Our guide was friendly and informative, so it made the transport and whole experience easy and fun. Swimming with the dolphins was very structured, so we were told what to do the whole time, but it was truly an amazing experience and still very fun. They pushed us on buggy boards, gave us kisses, and pulled us along the water. It made me want to be a dolphin trainer! We both had a blast and agree this was our favorite part of the trip. The only thing is you have to pay for the photos they take of you since there are no cameras or phones allowed during the dolphin swim. It was $140 for a CD with 60 photos. We also roamed the beach and got free lunch and margaritas as well during this excursion. There was a sea otter show too, which was fun and entertaining! We headed back to the ship early, since this one was a bit of a ways back to port.
After the trip I experienced Mal de Debarquement Syndrome (MdDS) which means I still felt the rocking of the ship even when I wasn’t on the ship. This lasted about two and a half weeks after being home. It was pretty annoying, but once it was gone I was able to appreciate the trip more. During those weeks though, I did not ever want to be on a boat again! It’s rare that it lasts so long, but that is just my luck. I took ginger Dramamine to help when I felt very nauseous. On the boat I was fine, but I also took the ginger pills and had nausea patches on every day.
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