Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Victory by Ed Burke Eastern Canada July 9, 2007
Embarkation City: New York
Sail Date: 07/09/07
Return Date: 07/14/07
Ports of Call: St, John, and New Brunswick, Canada, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Cruises Sailed On CCL: 11
Total Cruises: 31
This summer, I decided to do a cruise to Canada. I completed this cruise in July 2004 and really enjoyed the trip so I elected to do it again, this time with my friends Joe and Charlotte Cognato. George Leppla of Countryside Travel booked our cruise. The ship was Carnival's Victory, built in 2000. I purchased a Cat 1A guarantee and was upgraded to a 4A Cabin # 1229.
Due to the high cost of private transportation to the New York City piers located on West 55th Street and the Hudson River, our group decided to take public transportation into Manhattan via the Long Island Rail Road into Penn Station and cab it to the ship. Our plans worked out just fine and were at the pier in just an hour and a half after boarding the train at the Wyandanch, NY train station. Upon our arrival, the embarkation process was infull swing. Joe and Charlotte checked their luggage while I rolled mine onto the ship. Since this was my 11th cruise on Carnival, I was given VIP Platinum status, which enabled me express check in. Carnival now has a dedicated area on the pier for VIP status and I was on the ship ten minutes after arriving at the pier. I was given a unique Sail and Sign/room key, which clearly indicated my Platinum status, and many fellow passengers asked me about it, as there were very few passengers on the ship with this level. Staff asked me consistently about how many cruises I completed with Carnival. Even at the repeat cruisers party, the cruise director asked if there was any Platinum level passengers in the room and I was the only one who raised my hand. I was asked to stand up and I received a round of applause from the repeaters when I disclosed the number of times I sailed with Carnival.
The ship was in great shape, even for its seven-year age and continuous use. The crew was polishing and cleaning consistently and the ship remained spotless through out the voyage. The ship sailed well in rough seas based on what I experienced on Deck 1 where my room was located. I did see some areas on the ship, especially in the casino area, that needed to be attended to such as a ripped seat by one of the slots. I will post my usual complaint here, as the casino was so smoky from second hand tobacco smoke. I was surprised that so many people continue to smoke even with all its health warnings. Passengers did appear to adhere to the port side smoking only rule, but the casino was wide open and Carnival permitted smoking anywhere in the casino. Elevator service was good on the ship with six elevator banks available in each elevator area. Waiting time was minimal, even with a full ship. Crew was friendly and always gave me a smile. The ship is tastefully decorated with a few touches of Joe Farcus here and there. The atrium bar located on deck three midship was a popular meeting area for fellow passengers. The area soars ten decks skyward and provides a great ambiance, especially after dark with its green lighting effect, which adhered to the nautical/oceans theme.
The Stateroom - 1229-Riviera Deck
Since I lacked a roommate for this cruise, I elected to purchase a 1A guarantee and hoped for the best. Carnival did upgrade me to a 4A, which is a standard ocean view room without the ocean view. I made the sacrifice and lived in the inner sanctum of the Riviera Deck. The room was adequate and provided me with the standard amenities, including a bowlful of various samples of personal and household products, which did come in handy during the trip. Service was A+++ with my room attended to twice a day by the room steward and his helper. My room was spotless when I arrived and continued to be spotless throughout the cruise.
Carnival raised its prices on soft drinks hauling in $2.01 every time you would order a coke or any other beverage in a can. This price included the 15% gratuity. If you are a family with a lot of kids or you are just a soft drink addict, perhaps the $30.00+ soda card would work for you. Food on the Victory was OK; nothing really to shout home about. We had one bad experience on the first morning of the cruise at breakfast in the informal (Lido) dining area. Out eggs and bacon were like ice. Perhaps there was a breakdown of a warming device in the self-service area, but this only happened once. Our evening dining was located in the Pacific Dining Room table #440 late seating. Our service was superb thanks do our waiter Charlie from Mumbai, India and assistant Shaun from South Africa. They worked as a team and their service showed it. I only wish the food was up to par. Everything from the kitchen came out piping hot, but some of the dishes I ordered were tasteless. Do not ever order the Veal Parmigean…totally a waste and tasteless. The lobsters served on the one formal night were great. The prime rib I ordered was 50% fat and Charlie, who knew I was not satisfied with the cut that was served to me, replaced it with a much leaner piece. I had lunch daily in the informal dining area and prepare yourself for lines, lines and more lines. Many times, I dodged the lines and just had a hamburger and fries served in the pool area, which were very good. When I did wait on the lunch line, it was a real slow mover. Food served there was average…again nothing spectacular. The pasta bar was good along with the carving station, which served prime rib, pork, lamb and ham on a rotating basis. I did not like the sauce served at the pasta bar. I thought my jar of Ragu, sitting in my cabinet at home tasted much better. The pizza served from 24-hour pizza tasted terrible….definitely not like pizza from my hometown, but I did expect this. To sum it up, the food on the Victory did not exceed my expectations, but I did not go hungry, that's for sure. Oh yes, I highly recommend the chocolate melting cake for dessert in the dining room -- real delish!
I love spending my sea days either using the exercise equipment or soaking my aches and pains away in one of the two hot tubs located in the gym area aboard the Victory. I never use the optional massage services as I feel they are way overpriced. The gym provides several different types of exercise equipment that can be used by passengers free of charge. There is a separate men and women's changing room, showers, sauna and steam facilities, again all complementary. On our last sea day I was all set for a warm whirlpool session and found that the hot tubs in the gym were drained of water and were being sanitized for the next cruise. Why they picked a sea day to do this was beyond me, however they were reopened late in the day with ice-cold water in them, making them totally useless. I did comment on my comment card about this situation that really annoyed me. There were other outdoor hot tubs on the ship, but they were filled with kids making a lot of racket playing that "Marco-Polo" game. The signs did say adults only above one of the whirlpools, but Carnival did not enforce that posted regulation. I am not against kids on a cruise, but I just feel that they should have more responsible parents to ensure that the kids adhere to cruise regulations and that the cruise lines enforce their requirements.
did attend most of the shows aboard the Victory in the Caribbean Showroom. This is a beautiful state of the art facility, however, it fills up quickly when there is one show. The shows were as follows:
First Night: Welcome Aboard Show hosted by Malcolm Burn (Cruise Director) and the Victory Dancers. Also a comedian, Will Marfori. This show was great and the Victory Dancers provided great entertainment. The cruise director, from the Bronx, NY, was funny at times, however his "WOO-HOO" comment after everything he said began to be annoying by the end of the cruise. The comedian, Will Marfori, was a victim of cerebral palsy at birth and he uses his handicap as part of his act, which, I thought was totally tasteless. I felt bad if there were any CP patients in the room or any parents of CP patients. I refused to go to his adult only midnight show.
Second Night: A dance and song review "Living in America" by the Victory Dancers, The kids worked real hard here and received a well-deserved standing ovation.
Third Night: Magic Moments starring Rand Woodbury. A great illusionist and a lot of audience participation. Don't miss this one. I also saw this act aboard another cruise ship and is well worth your attendance.
Fourth Night: "Vrooom" starring the Victory Dancers. Great show with lots of lighting effects. Songs from the 60's to Current. Don't miss this one.
Fifth Night: "Carnival Legends," a passenger talent show. Missed this one. Retired early as I was really tired and needed to fill out my cruise comment card and custom's forms for the next morning debark in NYC.
Ports of Call: St. John, NB
Having cruised this itinerary before, I recommended the horse drawn trolley through the streets of St John. It would be great for my cruise mates, Joe and Charlotte Cognato…especially for Joe who has limited mobility. We plunked down our $35 PP for this hour-long tour (up $10 since my last visit in 2004). We booked this tour on our first sea day prior to arriving at St John's. Upon our arrival to this port, we were greeted with cold, misty and foggy weather. We took the tour and Joe had a tough time boarding the trolley as everyone rushed the trolley like a NYC rush hour subway scene. We were stuck in the back of the trolley and felt every bump as we passed over the streets of St John. We were given blankets to ward off the chill and the drizzle, which passed through the open sides of the moving vehicle. Joe took pity on the two large horses that powered our vehicle through the hilly streets. The poor animals strained at the harnesses as the trolley negotiated the many hills on the tour. If only the weather had been nicer, I would have enjoyed this tour much more. I came off the tour, damp and cold, and cursed the unseasonable weather.
Ports of Call: Halifax, NS
This city, located on the Atlantic, played an important part in history….in both World Wars, the Titanic disaster and in England's defense of its territories during the revolutionary war. I loved Halifax, when I visited it in 2000 and 2004, which were both sunny and beautiful days. The Victory arrived in port right on schedule and were greeted by Celtic pipers and a judiciary welcome read by an elderly gentlemen, who now sits in a wheelchair. Yes, we were greeted by the same terrible weather that we left in St John, the day prior. Today we added a steady rain to the mix of fog and drizzle…just to make things a bit more miserable. We had booked another trolley tour of the city, but decided to cancel this tour when we saw the rainy weather. The tickets did say no refund, but we flexed our Platinum level status at the tour desk and were given a $41 credit to each of our sail and sign accounts. I did go off the ship and did some shopping at the pier, where a nice shopping area was located just a few steps from the ship.
To sum it up, the weather did ruin our days portside, but there is nothing you can do about the weather. I am sure my next cruise in January 2008 to the southern Caribbean will be sunny and warm, I hope!
Carnival now offers and has been offering a carry your own luggage debark process. Just get on line at 6:45 in the atrium area and get off the ship as soon as the ship is cleared by US customs. The problem here was that many folks do not understand the process as they entered the line void of any luggage, thinking that the gang way would lead them to the luggage area, which it did not. The luggage area on the pier was only accessible from Deck 0. If Carnival personnel did not see you carrying any luggage, you were asked to leave the line and wait in your appropriate color area aboard the ship. Some people did get through and could not get their luggage, which was on the lower pier area. This caused total confusion and many passengers were extremely upset. I was pulling my small piece of luggage, but I waited with my cruise mates as they had VIP tags and we were the second group to be called once the chaos of the first group was finished.
I would not do this cruise again, not because of any on board experiences, but that three times to this area was enough for me. The cruise was nice and I enjoyed the VIP Platinum perks, especially the board and debark process. I still feel that Carnival gives you the best bang for the buck, after all I have sailed in eleven of them. No this was not my best Carnival cruise, but I would still give the Victory a passing grade, even with its food problems, lines and tons of passengers under the age of ten running about unsupervised. Will I sail Carnival again? You betcha.
Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Victory by Kellie Eastern Canada June 30, 2007
I am a 27 year old non-party girl. This does not mean I am God fearing or Christian, I am actually a secular humanist. This does mean I do not like it when those around me are too drunk to stop themselves from falling on the floor. That said; I chose this cruise because of the horror stories I heard about cruises to the Caribbean. Also, this was my first cruise. I'll tell you upfront I was thrilled with cruising! I would most definitely do it again. I loved it. I am sure this was thanks to Carnival's attitude toward "Fun". They make it a priority and it shows (as far as I can tell).
When I was researching this trip a few weeks before I left I wanted a few bits of information that were hard to find. I have included this information in my review to help those like-minded out there.
We arrived around 1pm. The line to go through security was a little slow. I think that's because people didn't have their tickets and passports out. Once throughthe security the rest moved pretty fast. The people were very friendly.
We walked into the lounge, it was huge, and reminded me of Vegas. It was very, aquamarine. We got into our room (room number 1211) which was an inside – no window. I was a little worried about this before we got on, but the room was very spacious and clean. The beds were very comfortable and the temperature was maybe 5 degrees colder than I like but that's perfect for sleeping. We dropped our bags off and went exploring.
First Day (June 30 from 2pm to 1am)
Mostly sunny about 80 degrees: After exploring the ship we tried the buffet. GROSS!!! All of the food was pretty bad. I mean, it was digestible but not something I would eat unless I was pretty hungry. The desserts were OK… the best part by far. By the time we were done it was 4pm and time to get ready for the life boat drill. I believe they had stated you must be there by 4:30. We were there at 4:15. figured we could sign in and get out. Not so much. Actually, it didn't really get started until about 4:45. DO NOT COME EARLY TO THIS MANDATORY DRILL!!! No one else did and you'll just feel like a dip. By 5:15 we were out of our life jackets and trying to get up to the deck to watch the boat pull out of the Hudson. I guess everyone was really fast getting out of that drill because the decks were already full up! So we went to the gym and watched the harbor go by there. It was nice and quiet. Children under 13 aren't allowed in so no one was there. And the gym is the front of the ship. The only down side was the windows were kinda dirty. This was fine for looking through but not for taking pictures through. After we went under the Verrazano Bridge we went back to our room to get into our bathing suits. By 6:15 we were in the pool area. Everyone had these great huge fluffy looking towels that we couldn't find anywhere. Finally I asked someone with one and she said it was in her room. I didn't remember seeing these towels in our room. So I asked a crew member, he said we could get a towel from the pool supplies cart but the cart was closed for the night. We had to go back to our room to get our thin bath towels (which we are told by a large plaque to not take from the room but they left us no choice). There was no one in the pool so we thought we'd have it all to ourselves. Then we found out there's no one in the pool because it was FREEZING! The official temperature was 64 degrees! Way too cold even on the hottest of days. So I went to the hot tub which was also relatively cold compared to average hot tub temperature. By 7:30 we got out and showered for our late seating dinner. The shower was really nice (great temp range and really good water pressure) but the shampoo was weird. There was no conditioner and while it didn't say it was a shampoo + conditioner I think it was. my really thick hair was really easy to brush afterward (doesn't normally happen with out conditioner). But it was really watery. It took 4 handfuls to get my head covered. At 8:30 we get to the Atlantic Dining Room Lower Level for our seating. There was a line as people didn't know where their table was and had to wait for a waiter to come over and seat us. We sat with a few nice people. I ordered the Caesar salad, salmon and chocolate melting cake (all A+!). The after dinner coffee tasted like instant coffee (Nescafe or whatever) so I didn't like it. Service was decent (Kenroy was our waiter) but a little slow (can't say that's the waiters fault). At 10:30 we went to our first show. It was a tiny taste of the shows we were to see for the rest of the week. The two main singers (a male and a female) came out and danced around, sang some oldies. Then the cruise director (Malcom) came out and talked for a few minutes. Then there was a (horrible) comedian for a while (we didn't stay long after he came on). At 12 we went to the casino to check out the tables and machines. Every dealer was really nice. One of them (Jerilee I think) taught me how to play blackjack and Fun 21 (same as blackjack, kinda). At 1 we went back to our cabin and our bed was turned down for us with a paper detailing the stuff to do tomorrow (called a Caper).
Second Day (July 1 from 8am to 1am)
Canada Day, Mostly sunny about 60 degrees: Because this was the first full day at sea there was a lot of things to do. At 8am we got up and got dressed. About 8:30 we head down to have breakfast at the restaurant. The food was OK. I ordered Eggs Benedict. DO NOT ORDER THE EGGS BENEDICT! The hollandaise sauce was gross and the poached eggs were hard. My boyfriend ordered poached eggs with hash. His eggs were hard too. The coffee was that Nescafe sludge again. The OJ was good. The service was nice and this dining room (the Pacific lower level) had nicer views than our dinner dining room. At 10 we head over to the ships bingo. They sell cards at 1 for $10 or 3 for $20. We bought two $20 cards, played one game and it was over. We didn't win. $40 pretty much down the toilet. I have had better, cheaper, and longer lasting times in a church basement. At 10:30 we stayed in the lounge for the Canadian Trivia (it was Canada Day). This was fun and we got a surprising amount correct and would have won the "ship on a stick" trophy had someone actually kept anyone honest. She basically asked us all questions, had us write down our answers, when she was done with questions she told us the answers, we told her how many we got right. My boyfriend legitimately got 20 correct. After someone heard that 20 correct was the best anyone did, he said he got 21. So he got the ship on the stick. It's no big deal but it was annoying. This was the case for most trivia contests. At 11 we went to the casino to try our luck at slots and tables. No luck today. At 1:30 we went up to the miniature golf. It was miniature miniature golf but it was still nice. We were kicked off at the second to last hole because of the Camp Carnival kids -- they had it reserved for 2pm. At 2 we went to lunch at the restaurant and it was closed! The lunch is only from 12 to 1:30. We had to settle for the buffet. This time though we tried the "taste of nations: India" and the sandwich bar. Those were both VERY GOOD! The ruben was a little fatty but just fine and theIndian food was delicious! While eating lunch we saw there were Canada Day activities going on. There was a "Hairy Chest" contest (fun to watch), a Watermelon Carving contest (I participated in and therefore ended up in the ships video which was playing in the casino and bar 24-7. sigh), and a Hot Dog Eating Contest. Those were fun to watch. At 3:30 we went to the general trivia going on. The same thing happened at this one. My boyfriend (which has a wide shallow pool of knowledge to draw from, this is why we play these) got a 22, someone decided at the last minute they got a 23. oh well. At 4 we went to another Bingo game, this time it was the same price but 7 games played on a card. This was a little more fun but we still didn't win. At 4:30 we went to the DVD Movie trivia. Same thing all over again, this time it was a group of boys who decided they got all of the questions right. Glad they get a nice trophy to bring home. At 5 we went back to the cabin and took a nap. At 7 we got ready for dinner. It was the formal captains dinner night. I wasn't really into it, I don't care for dressing up but my boyfriend likes that kind of thing. So we got all fancied up. At 8:30 we went to dinner, which went a little smoother because we all knew where we were going. I ordered Caesar salad and lobster tail and chocolate melting cake again (all very good again). This time we ordered espresso and cappuccino instead of coffee and those were very delicious. At 10:30 we went to the show: Living in America. This show was hilarious. I am sure it wasn't meant to be. The dancers were just so. into it. It was nice because the costumes were pretty. But otherwise, it was something to laugh at with your best friend. At 12 we went to the casino and tried our luck again. No luck yet!
Third Day (July 2 from 7:30am to 12am)
Partly cloudy, spots of rain, about 60 degrees: Our first day at a port. St. John, Canada. We purchased the Bay of Fundy day trip so we needed to be at the bus at 8:15. At 7:30 we went down for a quick breakfast buffet. GROSS! Oh man, if this buffet was bad for dinner, it was DISGUSTING for breakfast. The eggs were nasty, the French toast and pancakes were dry, the bagles were hard. eew. We ate what we could and waited to disembark. At 8:00 we get off the ship and are bombarded with different cameramen wanting to take our picture. We took some but I don't remember with whom (maybe an old salty seaman?). At 8:15 we were sitting on our little 25-seater bus, on our way to the Bay of Fundy. The driver and the tour leader were hilarious! They were both so nice and had this adorable charm to them. I don't remember their names unfortunately. At about 9:30 we arrived at the gate to the national park and we saw 2 moose! One mother and her 1 year old baby. We stopped there and took pictures. At about 9:15 we picked up an "interpreter". They are like park rangers in the US. He was AWESOME! He was hilarious, just like the tour leader. This subtle -- "Fargo"-like humor. Humble and charming. He told us all about the park and why it's special while we drove down to the beach to see the high and low tides of Fundy. He told us about the flora and fauna that live there. It was great. At about 11:30 we had lunch. They packed a sandwich, apple and candies in a brown paper bag and handed them out. They were decent. At about 12 we had a new interpreter. She brought us to the woods of Fundy. We hiked to a waterfall, everything was beautiful. At about 2 we went back to the same beach to see the tide difference -- it was huge! The tides go out 39' and boy can you tell! We went to take pictures and saw something shiny on the beach. Some of us went to investigate and it was a baby seal! We thought it might have been stranded as the tide went back out but it looked at us then turned around and went back into the ocean. It was amazing! At about 2:15 we headed back to the ship and saw the same moose again with another one as well! This was a red letter day for animal life! At 3:30 we were the last ones back on the ship as they got ready for disembarking. At 3:45 we went to the buffet to eat a snack, we stuck with what we've liked so far -- sandwiches and desserts. At 4:30 we took a nap. At 7 we got ready for dinner. At 8:30 we got to dinner. I ordered the Caesar salad, NY strip steak and a cream pie (the steak was a little tough and I should have stuck with the chocolate melting cake). At 10:30 we went to see Rand something, Illusionist. It was entertaining enough but there wasn't a lot of illusions. The only tricks he did were pretty easy to figure out. And he was a little melodramatic (not unlike Job on Arrested Development). At 12 we went to bed.
Fourth Day (July 3 from 8am to 12:30am)
Mostly cloudy, about 60 degrees: Second day at a port. Halifax, Canada. We didn't purchase any excursions today. At 8 we got up for breakfast. We tried for the buffet; we heard the omelets were very good. I guess everyone else heard this because the omelets line was HUGE and everyone was mad at everyone else. I didn't really eat any breakfast. At 9 we disembark to Halifax. We asked an information desk how to get to Deadman's Island (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deadman's_Island,_Halifax). It's a pretty obscure tourist area. She suggested city buses. They were OK. We expected them to come more often than once an hour. We ended up wasting most of the morning and just getting in a cab. At 11 we get into a cab and ask the cab driver to bring us to Deadman's Island. He had no idea what we were talking about. So he pulled over and turned off his meter and called his dispatcher. His dispatcher couldn't understand he cab drivers accent so the driver handed the phone to my boyfriend. He tried to explain to him what we were looking for. Eventually he understood. We got to the area but couldn't find the plaque that was the actual monument. So the driver called the dispatcher again. He was so nice! He even waited for us when we did actually find it. At 12 the driver took us to the Citadel. It cost about $28 total (with tip) for this guy to drive us around. Way worth it. The Citadel was nice and the seafood chowder in the café was amazing! At 1 we walked to the Natural History Museum. It was adorable. There was a working beehive demonstration I found fascinating. At 2 we walked around downtown waterfront. At 3 we found a restaurant on the harbor "Saltys". It was very good but a little pricey. Next door was "Cows" which had great ice cream. At 5:00 we got back on the boat and headed back for home. At 5:30 we went back to the room and took a nap. At 6:30 we got up and got ready for dinner. At 8:30 we went to dinner. I had Caesar salad, some river fish and chocolate melting cake (all very good). At 10:30 we went back to our room. I was all set on seeing another ludicrous song and dance (called Varoom this time - ugh). We played some card games amongst ourselves. At 11:30 we ordered room service which was fast friendly and free. My three favorite "F's" when it comes to room service. At 12:30 we went to bed.
Fifth Day (July 4 from 8am to 10:30pm)
I don't know what the weather was, I spent most of the day in the casino. Second full day at sea. At 8 we got up and went to breakfast. I had the bagel and lox which was pretty good (but the bagel was hard). At 9 we went to the casino. We were there from 9am until 12pm. We broke even most of the time. At 12 we went to lunch at the restaurant. I ordered a spinach and ricotta ravioli. It was very good but heavy. At 1 we went to the art auction preview. There were a few nice pieces up there. At 1:45 was the art auction. It was interesting at first then got very boring very quickly. It went from something people wanted to do and bid on to a sales pitch for every other ugly piece of artwork that went up. We left at 3 and it was still going on. At 3 we went back to the casino. I won a jackpot of $1100+ on a 2 cent slot. I then won several of the smaller progressives (about $20 each) and then $100 with one quarter in a quarter machine. Needless to say, we spent most of our afternoon/evening in the casino. Thankfully, I kept most of those winnings. At 8:30 we reluctantly pulled ourselves away from the casino for dinner. I ordered Caesar salad, quail and cappuccino cake (should have stuck with the chocolate melting cake). At 10:30 we went back to our room and went to bed.
Disembarkation (July 5 from 5am to 9am)
Foggy, choppy seas. At 5 am I was woken by announcements from the crew to passengers that needed special attention. I have no idea why they didn't just call the passengers room. Why did I have to wake up so freaking early!?! At 7 our wake up call came, I ignored it as I had been in and out of sleep since 5 am. I wasn't in any hurry to get off the ship so I wasn't really in a hurry to get up. At 8 my boyfriend demands I wake up. We are up and dressed watching CNN waiting for our floor to be called. At 8:45 our floor is called, we gather our stuff and go up to the 3rd deck that was PACKED! Why in the world would they call all decks if they clearly are not ready to accept them all. I was pretty serene, still living off the high of the great vacation and winnings from yesterday so I didn't really care or complain. However, this large annoying couple behind us could not stop bitching about the situation. The whole time it was how they are done with Carnival and done with cruising all together. I would have told them to shut up if I wasn't already in my happy place. At 9:45 I was on my way to work while my bags were on their way home with my boyfriend.
This was our first cruise and I took my wife and 4 kids. It was overall dissapointing. The food was terrific and the waiters and cabin staff first rate. The even accomadated our daughter who is on a gluten free diet. However,the very few things for the children to do was not very exciting for them. They even had "scavenger hunts" UNSUPERVISED where they would let the kids go throughout the ship. We opted out of these.
The ship has a very confusing layout and we were lost a good bit of the time, even at the end of the week. Also, to get to several sections of the ship you HAD to walk through the entire casino. THe pools were very crouded and dirty. The carpet in the hall of our cabin deck had huge nasty stains which were not cleaned all week. We stepped over them. The shows were mostly not kid-frendly. The kids were actually bored on some of the "at-sea" days. Don't know if we will ever go on another cruise, but it will not be Carnival!!
Woo-hoo. We had a great time. Food, service, dining room were all better than expected. Entertainment was a little weak.The "Carnival Victory Dancers" were great energetic kids but 15 - 20 minutes of them on one occasion would have been enough. Some comedians were funny, others were not. Late night comedy shows are to be avoided as I found them offensive and simply not funny.
We sailed on the July 6 Carnival Victory to Halifax. We have cruised previously on Carnival, Princess, NCL etc so we have some idea of what to expect. Frankly, we were concerned after reading many reviews as they were mostly neutral or negative. Thus, we were pleasantly surprised.
Our experience would overall be rated above average with few problems. The embarkation in NY occurred about 11:30 am and was reasonably fast (no more than 20 minutes). We found the ship, as others have said, to be difficult to move around in as many decks don't go through, but we learned….I should say I am 63 (and my wife is MUCH younger she would want me to add), we are retired, and also had 2 of our kids and spouses with us. We stayed in 7427 balcony cabin on the back end of the ship (larger wonderful balcony, but you give up the couch – great for sun bathing with one chair and one lounge chair and would love to have it again—though I would ask for another lounge chair); the kids were in 7205 and 7206 (front of ship outside corners)which don't allow beds to go together, but do have a larger shower, and are adjacent to a more or less 'private' deck on the front which they enjoyed as a 'semi-private' balcony (though no lounge chairs).
Jerry, our steward, was perfect in that he was attentive but not obtrusive. Just what you want in a steward. Facility was clean and had reasonable storage, etc. THE BEDS ARE WONDERFUL. They advertise the beds as special, and they are!!! My body just LOVED to get on to the bed, it felt so good.
We had first sitting in pacific dining room and found the food and service again above average. Yes, I noted the lobster was tough…..one of the few prior reviews I agreed with. The food, however, we found to be very good. Our waiter and other servers were among the best we have experienced.
Activities were normal, with overpriced bingo, etc. The shows were good and overall available activities pretty standard. The foot massage I asked for in the spa was just ok for the $35 (I can remember when reflexology was $10, and now you can seldom even get the reflexology and the plain old foot massage is three times as much)!!! I have never been offered so many products during a foot massage, but I was equally persistent in saying no!!
Our weather was much better than previous trips, so I suspect that helps to keep attitudes positive. Halifax was seen with the hop on-hop off bus tour (nice town, tour as billed but nothing special). One of the kids went to Peggy's Cove and found that town very nice. We saw no whales (though some said they did) but did see some porpoises or very small whales!!
Had only one bad experience (if you don't count my losses in the casino) in that my wife's card demagnetized, and when it was reissued I found at 10:30pm it wouldn't let me in the room (she was using mine in the casino to get past the 1000 points for the $10 prize – which she spent too!!). Unfortunately, this put me in the line the night before debarkation at the purser's desk. Lots of hostile people (security problems, billing issues, some wanting to simply pay bills, etc. After 15 minutes in line, they told me the machine had gone down and could I wait until someone came to fix it. Now I was standing off to the side at the front of the line when new people in the line of course thought I was trying to get in front of the line…..interesting to see how people handled subtly asking me what I was doing, and if I hadn't been tired it would have been funnier (it is in hindsight). Well, after another 30 minutes, the repair tech left, they tried the machine for my card, and it still wasn't working. I should mention that in this whole time of observation, I found the 4 people working the desk to be highly professional and PATIENT. Well, to make a long story short, they sent someone to open my door after another 30 minutes of waiting in the hall, so I wasn't the happiest person at that moment. All of that said these things do happen; they were no ones fault, so life goes on.
Debarkation was slow (as normal) with the 'self-disembarkers' carrying more suitcases than I would and jamming the process for an hour. We were in no hurry, walked off when our color was called and found our bags within 2 minutes without having to carry them down all those stairs or elevators.
All in all, it was a wonderful trip.
We had a great cruise vacation on the Victory. We found the Victory to be a very beautiful ship with hues of blue and green. The nautical theme was carried throughout the ship. In the past embarkation in Miami has been difficult with long lines. We arrived at 11:30 and within an hour were on the ship. We found our cabin on the Riveria deck. We chose a cabin midship to avoid any sea sickness. The seas were rough the first 2 days. But we did not feel the movement in our cabin. Our cabin was roomy, but could have been cleaned better. We were able to find our way around easily, since we cruised the Valor as year and the layout is very simular.
The formal dining room was nice with dark colors. We managed to get a table for 2, which was a nice change. This cruise, we tried to eat all of our meals in the formal dining room. We visited with others at breakfast and lunch, then had time to our- selves in the evening. It was great. The food was very good with somedishes better than others. Our servers were friendly and gave us good service. At times some of the items we ordered were forgotten and we had to ask more than once, this was usually at breakfast and lunch.
Service ship wide was good, we did not have any complaints. Our cabin stewart always had a smile and met all our requests. There always seemed to be something missing, wash cloths one night, beach towels another night, but we had a towel animal every night.
The Las Vegas shows (2) were just okay. We have cruised Carnival several times before and found other shows to be better. We did see a magician, who was so interesting! The ship had a singer and comedian too, both were good. We would have like to see more comedy acts. We did not attend the R rated show, those really are not to our liking. We enjoyed the Not So Newly-Wed Show.
We visited the pizza and burger areas several times. Both were very good. The buffet food was just okay. One day after visiting a port, we tried to find a buffet line open. Only 1/2 of one of the buffet lines were open along with the pizza and burgers. This made things very crowded.
Our shore tour in Costa Maya was to Uvero Beach on the Jungle Beach Break. It was nice with plenty to do. The open bar had limited drinks. We had a cool cloudy day, so we did not swim.
In Grand Cayman we walked upon a place to snorkel right off the shore. The cost was only $12.00pp. We saw so many colorful fish. What a great experience!! We had planned to just walk around since 6 other ships were in port that day. Grand Cayman was just a beautiful sight. We will return there again someday.
In Ocho Rios we tried to just walk around and were hassled to death by the locals. We couldn't take 10 steps without being approached for a taxi ride, tour, or to buy goods. We decided to swim at the beach across from the ship. The cost was $3.25pp (Jamaican $200.00. We enjoyed our swim and talked with a couple vacationing from Michigan. We returned to the ship early. After being hassled, we don't plan to return to Jamaica again.
Our days at sea were quiet. We found the spa hot tub to be a quiet place to relax as well as the adult only sun deck. The adult only hot tubs on deck were always filled with children.
All in all we had a great time on Victory and would not hesitate to cruise on her again.
My family and I recently traveled on the Carnival Victory. My husband and I, with our 8-month-old son, joined my parents, my 18-year-old nephew and my sister and her husband on a 7-day cruise of the Western Caribbean. Our planned ports of call were Cozumel, Grand Cayman, and Ocho Rios.
Our first disappointment came before the trip began when a private vendor, through whom we were booking a fishing trip, informed us that we would not be stopping in Cozumel. We were quite upset at this discovery both because we were very excited about visiting Cozumel because it has such a wonderful reputation for beauty and for its excellent fishing spots and because someone completely unrelated to Carnival told us. I would have thought and expected Carnival to, at the very least, inform its customers of such an important change to itinerary. By the way, when we arrived at the port we were handed a sheet of paper that said, â?oAs you were previously informed will not be stopping in Cozumelâ?¦â? However, no one in my party was ever informed, nor were any of the other cruisers in line near us. And noneof us were happy.
Also prior to sailing, we were shocked and disappointed to learn that the cost to bring an 8-month-old infant was going to be the same cost as my 18-year-old nephew! While I did not expect him to be free, there is no reason that we should be charged a full price 3rd person in room rate for a baby. In addition, we were further informed that had he been the 2nd person in the room (i.e. had it been just he and I traveling, he would have been charged a full price ticket)!
The embarkation process was long and tedious and completely insufficient to handle such a large number of passengers. The online fun pass completion was completely useless, as we were never even asked if we had done it and had to wait in the same lines as everyone else. The porters were rude and blatantly asked for tips. One was indecent enough to stop, ask for a tip, and then stand there and count it in front of us while we waited. Only after he was satisfied did he continue on with our bags. It was completely unbelievable.
After the disappointment of the cancellation of the Cozumel stop, we decided to make the most of it and plan for our alternate visit to Costa Maya. However, this was impossible to do since we were not told what town we were going to. We learned, on our own, that Costa Maya is a large area with several towns within it. Turns out this was all for naught anyway since the sea was too rough to dock and we sailed away from Costa Maya without a word to the passengers as to what was happening. After approximately 30 minutes an announcement was made informing us that we had to leave without docking. Carnival refunded us all $25 for the inconvenience and told us to spend it on their boat. Thanks.
While our cabin was nice and more spacious than other cabin I have stayed in previously, the toilet smelled slightly and the water that filled the bowl after flushing was always tinged yellow and oftentimes had what looked like charcoal from the filter floating in it. The cabins all have 6 cans of soda and one large bottle of water that is available for a charge of $1.75 per can and $3.50 per bottle of water. I cannot stress enough that you should not buy these beverages. On the first day there we drank 3 of the sodas and the water and were charged on our accounts the proper amount. The next day, the cleaning staff forgot to replace it and we were charged again. The following day â?" same thing. We told the housekeeper that we were not using the sodas and he should credit us for the overcharge. He was clearly annoyed and told us this happens every cruise with the in cabin beverages. After wasting 20 minutes trying to figure out how much to refund us, the refund never appeared and the overcharging continued. This also happened in my sister's cabin.
The boat was nice but not great. The Norwegian Dawn was much more beautiful. Midships 7th floor smelled like a urinal and the elevators and stairwells smelled like the back room of a restaurant. Not good.
The Victory was much more rocky than either of the other cruises I have been on. To be fair, this may have been due to the fact that our room was on the back end of the boat. Both my husband and my sister caught stomach bugs and spent at least two full days sick in the cabin. Each visited the infirmary and were given a shot to stop the incessant vomiting. My husband was charged $40 because he saw the nurse and my sister charged $70 because she showed up during doctor's hours.
Our next destination was Grand Cayman. Once again we were not allowed off the boat because tendering was suspending due to choppy waters. Ugh, it was looking like 5 full days on the boat. Another $25 was given out, again in hopes of spending on the boatâ?¦ We finally did get to see Ocho Rios, but it was raining and there was no announcement that we had arrived so most people missed out on some time because after the last two cancellations, we weren't sure if we were actually getting off and waited to hear! After waiting in line to get off in Jamaica, my husband was turned around because he was quarantined because he visited the infirmary 4 days prior!!! So we had to go to the infirmary and get the OK on his account to be let off the boat.
The food was fair at best. The breakfast was horrible. It was the same thing everyday and the food was bland and usually cold, never warmer than lukewarm. The toast was always stale and the omelets were sweet. The bananas were bruised and the oranges were soggy. The pizza was good but the hot dogs tasted funny and the hamburgers were way overcooked. The buffet at lunchtime was pretty good but the food was never warm enough. Dinner was the best meal of the day, but again was always served warm, never hot. Again, the food paled in comparison to the food on the Norwegian Dawn.
The staff was very nice. The bar staff, the wait staff and housekeeping were all very nice to the baby and were very accommodating. After chatting with one or two we found out that they work practically all day (I saw them at breakfast and at late seating dinner) for about 10 months straight! There is, although, a definite language problem. To order is fine, but if there is a problem forget it, they won't understand you. Also, there is a definite cultural difference. While I stress that I really liked our waiters, one of them picked up my baby and walked around the room with him! I was trying to be friendly and not offend him, and it was okay until he actually took him out of my site into the kitchen. My husband jumped up and ran after him immediately. Of course everything was fine and he was just trying to be nice, but that stuff just isn't done in the US and it made me nervous!
Take cash with you, as there is a $5.50 charge on the ATM on board and try to avoid the photo gallery. I had a picture taken of the baby, which was totally adorable. I asked them to simply crop it so that the baby was closer in the picture; this is easy enough to do, as it is all digital pictures. They told me no problem, but I had to buy the original first. So I had to pay $20 to buy a picture I didn't want plus $10 for the 5X7 package I wanted. When I arrived to pick it up, they had cropped the 8X10 and then made another 8X10. This would have been understandable had the instructions not been written right there on the envelope the picture was in!!! Of course no technician was available when I was there so I had to come back. All of this occurred at 7am on the day we were getting off the boat, which helped add to an already hectic morning.
Disembarkment was even worse than embarkment. There was very little order and the groups were called to deck 3 too quickly so everyone was lined up all over the boat. Our group was lined up on a staircase and there were people with strollers and canes! There were no accommodations for people with children. We stood in line for over an hour on the boat, then again off the boat.
Overall, this cruise was a bust. I just spoke to a friend and I told her it seemed like an economy cruise. She recommended Royal Caribbean and I recommend Norwegian. Carnival will not see me again.
My family and I were long awaiting our trip on Carnival Victory. Eight of us, including myself arrived in Miami at 3:00 pm because of a delay in NY (American Airlines of course). Needless to say we were very nervous about missing the boat. Upon our arrival to the baggage claim, we were met by a Carnival rep who told us under NO circumstances could we wait for our luggage, we needed to be on the shuttle bus to the boat by 3:30 or they would leave without us with no refund. We were ASSURED that our luggage would get to us in our first port of call which was Tuesday in Costa Maya. We quickly made the decision to just leave our luggage and make due with what we had from Sunday to Tuesday. Once we arrived on the ship, everyone on the boat was calm and friendly and made it seem like we had all the time in the world (the boat didn't set sail until well after 4pm- plenty of time to get our luggage, I think).
Anyway, once we got on the boat we wentto the pursers desk only to be helped by a group who didn't really seemed concerned with our situation. Upon explaining, we were informed that we would NOT get our luggage in Costa Maya because there are no nearby airports and we would have to wait until Thursday to get everything in Grand Cayman. Even then we figured we would make the best of it and try to purchase some items in Costa Maya and in the ship gift shop. Little did we know the gift shops didn't have any women's bathing suits or underwear! To make matters worse, we couldn't even stop in Costa Maya or Grand Cayman because of the rough waters. So when we asked what happens with our luggage since we could not stop in Grand Cayman, we were told it would be sent back to Miami and we can pick it up on our way back to NY on Sunday. One word can describe this vacation - nightmare!
At no time did any Carnival rep seem concerned or offer anything to help rectify our situation. To top it all off, the food on the boat was average, at best. I hardly ate during the day because the buffet was not appetizing most of the time. Sit down dinners were ok, I had snapper one night that was so fishy, I couldn't take one bite. The filet mignon the following night was better. All in all, even if I had my own luggage I would not cruise again. When people pay to see 3 ports and end up getting stuck on a boring boat for 5 days straight, I think they deserve more than a $25.00 refund!! What a disgrace, Carnival definately won't get my business again.
This was my second cruise - both with Carnival. We last sailed on the Destiny in 1999. I am going to give an honest review, but in spite of anything I say that may sound negative, I had a wonderful trip! This was our first holiday cruise: December 18-25.
There are some things that Carnival could change but others were beyond their control. In general, I did notice that they have cut back (since our last cruise) on the amount of activities, and there were a couple nights were they didn't have the late night buffet.
We didn't have the best of weather. Most of the trip, it rained and the seas were choppy. You can really feel the movement on this ship. Some crew members mentioned that even they noticed the difference in movement between this ship and the others they had been on. I am not prone to motion sickness but even I was feeling off kilter on Monday. I just bumped up my ginger dosage to four pills (2-3 times per day). I never got sick, so yes, it works!
Embarkation After all the horror stories that Iheard about this process, I was amazed at how fast it went. We stayed overnight in Miami at the Intercontinental and left for the port at 10:30 a.m.. We got inside and in line at 10:45 and they were already letting people board the ship. I will say that about 11 a.m., the lines stretched outside the terminal door. My advice is to get there early. We were on board and having lunch by 11:30 a.m., but weren't allowed into our room until 1:30.
Cabin We booked an ocean view guarantee room two weeks prior to traveling. When we got our keys, we found we were upgraded to a balcony on the Lido deck. What an unexpected Christmas gift! The room had enough space, and having the balcony was wonderful. I did spend more time in my room because of the balcony, plus it was nice leaving the door open at night to hear the waves. If you are on this floor and you have Santiago as your cabin steward, you are lucky. He was so good that we tipped him extra.
The Ship I found the ship to be clean and the public areas to be very pretty. The only disappointing thing that many people commented on was the lack of holiday decorations. It took me two days to realize there were decorations on the banisters. There was no big Christmas tree.
Entertainment I did not attend any of the big shows, so I cannot tell you how they were. We went to Karaoke every evening and had a great time. It is amazing to see how talented some of your fellow guests are. It was always busy. Damian is the Karaoke host and a great guy. He is as fair as he can be to everyone. Be nice to him - he will be there until February 12. Note: The equipment in karaoke is not the best, so if something technical happens, it isn't the host's fault.
The piano bar is a lot of fun. I tried to go there for a while each night. I didn't spend much time in the disco but heard it was great. The music that they played in the Adriatic Lounge was good. I think the band was "Music Network".
I know someone else had mentioned the Cruise Director, Dana Hodson. I have to agree with them that he is not very entertaining. Some of his jokes I had seen on the Internet. With his radio background, you would think he would have experience with ad-libbing. You could tell that everything he did was scripted (which to some extent I suppose is necessary). But I never got a sense that he enjoyed what he was doing; he seemed to be going through the motions. Karl with a "K" is an excellent Assistant Cruise Director with a wonderful personality. He makes up for what Dana lacks. The rest of the staff is wonderful, from social hostess Emma to Club O2 (teen disco) Director Theresa.
Food/Dining I am a very picky eater and I patronize a lot of fine dining establishments. If you can't find something you like to eat on this ship, you aren't really trying everything. The only thing I didn't try was the Oriental place because there are very few Asian items that I like. Yes, there were some things I didn't care for or were bad. If that happened, I just ordered something else.
Main Dining Room: We ate two breakfasts and five dinners there. Almost everything was good to very good. The soups were great as were some of the desserts. One recommendation -- be careful how you order your beef, since they seem to undercook it. I usually order mine medium rare and it was too rare. Once I started to order it medium, it was perfect. The menus were pretty much the same as in 1999.
Lido: Everyone talks about the lines for the buffet but I didn't think they were that bad. Sometimes they were long, but they moved quickly. The food was good, better than many buffets that I have frequented. Some beef on the buffet was tough. One day they had ham and it was delicious. The "Taste of the Nation" line always features a certain type of ethnic food. I liked both the French and Greek days. Pizza: I have been spoiled on New York pizza but Carnival's was good. I had a couple of slices almost every night. Deli: Great sandwiches. The Rueben was good and the tuna very good. I had them make me a tuna melt by adding cheese and grilling it, and this was great. The staff at the pizza and deli counters aren't very friendly. The grill is wonderful for burgers and fries.
Pools/Decks Since it rained a lot, we only had a day or two to use the deck. We were on a full ship and I didn't really have a problem finding space; within 15 minutes I found a chair. Then I headed to the hot tub and there were only a few people in it. It was nice and warm without being too hot. The bartenders at the Siren's bar are great. Tommy always remembers everyone's name and Marcelino is so nice.
Spa/Gym I was a spa model when they gave ship tours on Sunday. I got the seaweed wrap and it was great. Later in the week, my feet were hurting and swollen, so I had the foot massage/pedicure. This was so worth the money.
Ports/Tours Costa Maya: This is not a port I would go back to. Do not shop here as things are very expensive. We did the "Jungle Beach Break" excursion. For the price, you could not beat it. The beach isn't as pretty as Cozumel's but the staff is great. Unlimited drinks are included in your fee and we ended up sitting next to the party group who had tipped the staff as soon as they got there. We never had to get up out of our chair to get a drink and they never let our glasses get empty. Not being a heavy drinker, I had to slow myself down so they wouldn't give me more.
Grand Cayman: The port was closed due to weather and rough seas. I had already been there and was going to stay on the ship anyway.
Ocho Rios: We were just going to go shopping but we had a wonderful cab driver, Jason, who gave us a great deal on a tour. He took us everywhere, spent four hours with us and only charged $35 each for the two of us. We couldn't have done any excursion with the ship for that amount, so we loved it. Seeing the island like this gave me a better respect for it.
Debarkation Believe it or not, this was uneventful. We got up at 7:30 a.m., got dressed, went to the Lido to have breakfast. Our deck was called about 9 a.m. and we were on the bus to the airport by 9:30.
There are things I think could be better but it would not make me stop cruising with Carnival. I think the staff was great from housekeepers to bar staff to entertainment staff and dining staff. I would have enjoyed more of a holiday atmosphere, and everyone I spoke with mentioned that it didn't feel like Christmas or Hanukkah. The main thing is that I was on vacation and it is what you make of it. I heard some complaints from other passengers about things, but my response was to just enjoy yourself - that is what being on holiday is all about.