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Carnival Vista: Hello Non-smoking Casino and Heroes Tribute Bar, Goodbye Thrill Theater

Carnival Vista has spent the last 30 days in dry dock, getting a tune-up and renovations to prepare for its new home in Port Canaveral. You’ll notice the biggest change immediately when you set eyes on the Vista… it’s sporting the new red, white, and blue livery. But there are a few other changes according to Carnival.

carnival vista ship
Carnival Vista now sports the new red, white, and blue livery design.

SkyBox Sports Bar Becomes Heroes Tribute Bar

Since it first debuted, the Vista has had the SkyBox Sports Bar as the place to watch live sports onboard. Tucked away in a quiet hallway between the casino and the Limelight Lounge, this bar was often empty except during games. Now, the bar has been upgraded to Heroes Tribute Bar, which can be found on many of Carnival’s new ships. The venue originally debuted on the Vista’s sister ship, the Panorama.

heroes tribute bar
Carnival’s Heroes Tribute Bar replaces SkyBox Sports Bar.

The Heroes Tribute Bar pays homage to our men and women of service in all branches of the military. It is a cause near and dear to Carnival President Christine Duffy’s heart, whose father and uncles were all in the military and whose son joined the army. 

This lounge has a comfy, at-home feeling, with memorabilia on the wall. It’ll host different military events throughout the cruise. At the same time, the large TVs still make it a great sports bar. 

New non-smoking casino annex

Smoking has become more and more polarizing over the years, with some guests avoiding the casino because of the smokiness, and others refusing to gamble if they can’t smoke. Recently, Carnival has been trying to make both sides happy by adding a separate non-smoking annex on Dream-class ships. Now, they’ve added a non-smoking annex to the Vista. Unlike some other ships where it’s disconnected, the non-smoking casino is right next to the main casino (where the Club 02 teens club was). It’ll offer a nice reprieve from the smoky atmosphere that typically plagues the Vista-class casinos. 

Thrill Theater is gone and becomes a video arcade

Carnival Vista was one of the few ships to have a “Thrill Theater,” a small theater with moving seating and “4-D” movies where guests could watch short, immersive movies. In recent years, the Thrill Theater was unused, and the space was wasted, so Carnival turned it into The Warehouse Video Arcade. It’s now located in the middle of Deck 6 by the two kids’ clubs.

It should be noted that the IMAX theater is still available on Vista, contrary to some vlogger’s speculation a few weeks ago.

Club O2 moves upstairs

club o2 on carnival vista
The new teen club, Club O2, moves to where the video theater was located.

Previously, Club O2 was located on Deck 4, right next to the casino and in between several bars. It was an odd space for a teen club. Now, Carnival has moved it to where the old video arcade was. This move puts all the kid’s areas in one part of the ship on Deck 6.

Cherry on Top moves and Effy takes its old location.

cherry on top store on carnival vista
Cherry on Top moves to the 2nd floor of the Atrium.

When it first debuted, Carnival gave Cherry on Top prime real estate on the Vista. It was located on the top area of the Atrium and had a window that opened to the promenade so people could get ice cream while walking around the exterior promenade. In reality, that window was never used, so Carnival decided to move it down one level to the Atrium’s second floor. 

In its previous location, Carnival is introducing an Effy Jewelry.

Three surprising changes Carnival didn’t make to Vista

Looking at Carnival’s changes, three things stuck out that Carnival didn’t do. 

First, they didn’t rebrand the onboard brewery. The Carnival Vista is the only ship in the fleet with a Red Frog Pub and Brewery. On every ship that came after it, Carnival has branded the onboard brewery as Guy’s Pig and Anchor Smokehouse / Brewhouse. Surprisingly, they didn’t convert it during this drydock.

Another thing that stuck out was that Carnival kept the Library. On the older ships, Carnival has phased out the Library and put in another activity area or bar, but the Library is still on the Vista.

The last thing that surprised us was that this dry dock didn’t include new staterooms. Carnival has had a habit of removing public areas and adding more staterooms during dry docks. With the Vista-class already being some of Carnival’s densest populated ships, it’s nice to see that they didn’t try to squeeze more cabins in.

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Randy Young

Randy Young is the founder and editor-in-chief at Cruise Spotlight. He has been in marketing for 19 years and has been cruising for just as long. Over the years, he's worked with products like TVs, copiers, light bulbs, and EV chargers, but cruising has always been his passion. There's nothing Randy likes more than the first couple of hours on a ship, exploring every nook and cranny and seeing how it's different from everything else out there. He's known for providing detailed and analytical coverage of cruising to help cruisers get a comprehensive picture of a ship's offerings.