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.
My parents and I were on the Victory October 23rd. This review will most likely get very long so bare with me.
We live in a small town in central Wisconsin and left Friday afternoon for Milwaukee. Our room was at the Best Western right near the airport and we had booked it for both before and after our flights. This was the first year we had stayed here and will most likely stay again in the future before and after our cruise. The room was nice; however, we will be sure to ask for queen beds in the future. They offer a full hot breakfast starting at 6 am. Unfortunately our flight was due to depart at 7:25am so having breakfast at the hotel was out. We had gotten donuts from Dunkin Donuts the night before and had them before we left. The staff was great; they scheduled our shuttle for us the night before, so we knew exactly when we needed to be ready to go. The shuttle is the standard van style; there was another group that joined us on the shuttle.
Getting to the airport took notime at all Saturday morning, which was great. We wanted to have as stress free a vacation as possible, so we left our luggage with the skycaps and headed for the gate. Our flight left on time from Milwaukee, as did our connection in Atlanta, making our arrival in Miami a little after 1pm. After picking up our luggage we got ourselves a cab (van style) and headed to our hotel, the Holiday Inn Port of Miami.
This was a great hotel as far as we were concerned. The front desk was very helpful and check in was a breeze. I had booked this room in August when my sister and BIL had to cancel joining us on the cruise. I was very glad we booked this hotel. We had the cruise package and I asked for a room facing the port and as high up as possible, and that is exactly what we got. The room was on the 8th floor overlooking the Bayside Market and the port. The window in the room was huge allowing my parents and I lots of room to spread out and watch the people and the boats and ships. The only thing that has stopped me from booking our room for next year is that the hotel will not let me book it so far out.
>From our room we could see 2 ships in port, 1 for Carnival and the other RCCL. After watching Carnival leave I investigated the hotel a bit and then ordered in dinner. There was lots of people coming and going from the Bayside Market. Around 9pm there was a fireworks display. This happened just before the RCCL ship was due to leave, what a sendoff for them.
The hotel offered a full hot breakfast buffet as part of the package we had and we really enjoyed getting something before heading off to the port. Again, this was stress free as there were plenty of cabs waiting for hotel guests to head to the port. We got to the port about 9:30. A porter was there to unload our luggage from the cab and directed us to the terminal entrance. There were many people waiting for their transportation from the port as well as some that were as arriving for their cruise. After joining a small line to get checked in and get our sail and sign cards, we joined another short line to wait for security to open. By 10:30 the security check point had opened and we passed swiftly through the scanners, and then headed upstairs to have our security pictures for the sail and sign cards. It was time again to wait, seated this time, until the ship had been cleared for boarding. I actually enjoy this time of waiting so that I can people watch. I always marvel at the fact that there never fails to be those persons who just can not seem to arrive on time, even when it is for a wedding. Oh well. After the wedding parties, I believe there were 2, we were able to head over to get our embarkation pictures taken and board the ship, and it was 11:30.
What can I say about the ship?! I thought the décor was great. The greens and blues were awesome. The size of the ship was much larger then I had imagined but not impossibly so. While the layout took a bit to get used to I can not say any thing badly about it. Our room was a balcony on the Verandah deck near the atrium elevators. The room was not ready quite yet but we were able to leave what little we carried on in the room and head off to grab something to eat at the Lido deck grill. After eating a little exploring, then back to the cabin to watch the buses and cabs dropping off cruisers and the forklifts moving the luggage to the ship. It was actually fun to watch as there were a few mishaps with the luggage falling from the carts; nothing appeared to have gotten broken though.
Of course there was that wonderful muster drill to attend before we could start truly enjoying our cruise. Having cruised before and not wanting to deal with the crowds as they fill the stairs, we went to our cabin and got our vests and headed to our muster station about 10 minutes prior to the actual drill. Yes, we got some strange looks, but we were not the only ones wanting to avoid the masses. Having almost no neck, wearing the vest is absolutely my least favorite thing to do, so I held it until the last possible moment. As with the wedding party late comers, there were those that just did not want to do the drill making those of us already there wait for them. But, like everything, the drill ended and we were heading out. 2 of us found chairs next to the window on the lido deck while the other took our vests back to the cabin. Watching the Miami shorelines disappear as we drank the special of the day, “The Fun Ship Special” was awesome. The 3 of us laughed and laughed as we started what we knew was going to be a great cruise.
Our dining room experiences were due to start that very evening at the 5:45 early dining in the Pacific dining room. Our table was No. 110. and it was located on the 2nd level. The only time that being on the 2nd level was a disappointment was when the wait staff was performing. Speaking of the wait staff, ours was fantastic and I mean fantastic. They were always there to fulfill our wants and needs. It was also the time to meet our tablemates. We were seated at an 8-top which was what we were looking for, a chance to meet others. Meet others we did, in the form of the Jason, his wife, sister-in-law and his parent-in-laws from Ohio. Jason was a hoot and called himself a redneck. He added some great times to dinner and we were all sad when we had to say good bye. With Jason, it was all about “Git R Done” and our wait staff did just that.
We spent the rest of the evening exploring the ship and just relaxing. To say that this was the perfect start to a great vacation is only half of what it was. When we booked the cruise we had thought we were going to do the Western itinerary but thanks to hurricane Wilma, the route was change to the Eastern Itinerary. This meant that we would have almost 2 days at sea to start the cruise. We really enjoyed have a full day at sea at the beginning of the cruise as it gave us a chance to learn the ship and just have a relaxing day, not having to worry about getting ready for a port.
Tuesday we arrived in San Juan at about 3pm. As we got close to the port the Norwegian Dawn was just heading out. Behind us Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas was following us in. Due to the different locations of the docks in San Juan we had a great view of not only the ship but of San Juan. There was a small airplane runway strip that also gave us lots of things to watch, and I can not forget the birds that were flying around.
Carnival offered an excursion called San Juan Nightlife. It gave us a chance to see both Old and New San Juan and to also do some shopping. Am unsure if I will get off the ship the next time, if I do it will be to just get a cab and do some shopping.
Wednesday we arrived in St Maarten at about 10am. The view from the ship was spectacular. We could not get over how beautiful the islands were. We grabbed a quick lunch and then headed down for our excursion.
This excursion was offered by Carnival and was called “4 X 4 Jeep Expedition”. I can not tell you the fun we had. We got the chance to see the island and see both the French and Dutch sides. I would recommend and have recommended this excursion. It is about 4 hours in length and there is shopping and a beach stop as well as seeing the entire island. Depending on what is offered next time, I may even take this one again.
Thursday we arrived in St Thomas about 6:30am to wonderful views of the island once again. The ship was docked right next to the shopping area and it was fun to watch the people shopping and getting ready for tours. Since we had a 1 pm tour, I did some shopping first. I could not get over how hot it was here as compared to the other 2 ports, but it did not stop me.
Again, Carnival offered an excursion, “The Best of St Thomas Island Tour”, which is what we took. We traveled aboard an Airbus and got to see the island and all it had to offer. The Great House, the views of the other islands and the beaches was fantastic.
The one thing that stands out to me about all the tours and the islands was the streets. I have never seen such narrow streets or the amount of traffic that travels on them. The beauty of the islands and the amount of things that we saw and learned is what has compelled us to do the same cruise again next year. There was so much we did not see and can hardly wait to have the chance.
The next 2 days were spent at sea and it was great. A chance to relax from all of the activities that had filled the last 3 days. To just enjoy what the ship had to offer and enjoy each other.
Since hurricanes Wilma and Alpha decided to happen, movement on the ship was a bit noticeable, but nothing that affected us and our enjoyment, if anything, it added to the adventure and gave us some fun memories.
As to the ship itself, I found it to be beautiful. Sure there were some blemishes, but nothing eye popping or even bothersome. What minor things we did find were created during the cruise by the passengers themselves and were handled as quickly as possible to either fix or clean up. The layout was a bit different, but if one just took their time and thought about were they were and were they where going, getting around was easy enough.
Debarkation was easy enough. We got up around 7 or so and headed to the dining room for breakfast. This gave us a chance to enjoy the ship a bit longer and to watch the happenings at the port. We had to laugh as we eating at our tablemates. They wanted to do the self assist and yet did not get to the dining room to eat until 8am. Of course time was tight for them to eat and then do the self assist and they were fussing that it was taking so long to be served, and yet, all it would have taken was them planning their time better, yes getting up earlier, and they would not have been rushed.
We went back to our cabin to get the carryon items we had still waiting there, and then headed to the Caribbean lounge to wait for our color to be called. When our color was called we sadly left the ship and went to claim our luggage. While finding our luggage, which was easy enough, we also found a porter to help us handle it. No we did not have that many pieces, counting carryon, we had 6 pieces for 3 people, but this enabled us to not have to deal with it. The porter also found us a cab, loaded our luggage in the cab and we were on our way by 9:30.
Ok, this is a really long review and I have missed stuff and have included things that maybe I should not have, but it was a great cruise and I loved every minute of it. If you have any questions please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I also have some pictures at http://www.flickr.com/photos/thecruisingwalls/.
Carnival Victory-September 13, 2006 Canada/New England-Boston, Portland, Saint John, and Halifax Room: 1201 (1A-guarantee)
AIRPORT/EMBARKATION: Everything in New York seems to happen in one hour intervals. Our flight arrived at LaGuardia at 12:30pm. The bus loaded at 1:30 and at 2:30 we arrived at the Pier. The baggage handlers did take the luggage off the bus and directed you to the freight elevators to reach the second floor for check in. By 3:10 we were on the ship but after you activated your sign and sail card there was no direction to get to your cabin. The atrium was already crowded with guests which made it difficult to navigate thru the area to the elevators. The Life Boat Drill was at 3:30 with ship departure around 4:45.
PORT DEPARTURE: This was my favorite sail away. The Starboard side sees the Status of Liberty and Ellis Island. The Port Side see the New York Sky Line and Ground Zero. After that the ship sails under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, there is little room between the ship funnel and the bottom of the bridge. It was an experience to be on the Sky Deck(Deck 14) and come so close to the bridge.
ACCOMMODATIONS: The room was a 1A guarantee with a twin bed/sofa converting to a bed and two port hole windows. It was the last cabin forward located on the Riviera deck. This location was convenient for debarkation on port days and the last day the room steward let us stay in the room until our deck was called then we debarked via one the crews gangways. Since the Dining Rooms are on Decks 3 and 4 and the Caribbean Lounge on Decks 3-5, you could use the stairs and avoid the elevator.
PORTS OF CALL/SHORE EXCURSIONS: Boston: Fenway Park. History Tour not a Sports Tour. You donâ?Tt have to be a baseball fan to love this trip just be able to walk up and down a lot of stairs. The first stop was the press boxes, then the Hall of Fame. We were able to walk on the field to the scoreboard and look thru the slats to see the signatures on the wall inside. Later climbing the stairs to sit in the seats above the Green Monster. Leaving the Park via Autograph Alley. On the 30 minute trip to and from the park our guided pointed the historical sites of Boston making you realize you need to return for several days to see everything.
Portland, Maine: Best of Portland and Kennebunkport: This tour starts with a drive thru the port area past Victorian Homes, pubs, shops and restaurants. The tour does stop at the Portland Head Light. Then its on to Kennebunkport for a stop at Dock Square for lobster rolls and shopping. The bus does go past the Bush Estate at Walkers Point, but the buses are not allowed to stop. Our guide did tell us that secret service has turned buses back. The shops in Portland are located on Commercial Blvd.
Saint John, New Brunswick: Saint John Photography Tour: The Saint John Photography Tour is hosted by a local photographer who gives tips on taking better vacation pictures. Since a foggy day in Saint John is the norm, he concentrated on what you can photograph when the weather hampers your day. Stops were at Carleton Martello Tour, Reversing Falls Rapids, and Rockwood Park. The tides change rapidly in Saint John. Twice daily the tides of the Bay of Fundy reach such heights that they actually force the Saint John River to change direction and flow up river. The rapids at the mouth of the river actually change direction. Our guide stopped here at the beginning and the end of the trip to show the big difference in the tides in such a short period of time. After visiting Rockwood Park, we walked thru the Old City markets which has local vendors.
When you disembark the ship locals hand all the women roses. There is a vendors tent outside the ship area which also has local vendors. There are a lot of great architecture outside the port area.
Halifax, Nova Scotia: Trolley tour in the Heart of Halifax: The trolley tour starts with a drive along the waterfront, passes the Public Gardens then heads up the hill for a stop at the Citadel. Our stop at the Citadel included the noon firing of the cannon and enough time for pictures. The last stop was the Fairview Lawn Cemetery for a visit to the graves of the Titanic passengers. Our guide gave us suggestions for places to return to visit in the afternoon. Thereâ?Ts a bus stop right outside the terminal (FRED) that stops at all the downtown area sites. The shops located in the terminal area have some of the shops that are located downtown.
SHIP: Dining/Entertainment/Staff We had all our dinners in the Atlantic Dining Room. The dining staff was excellent, very friendly and accommodating. Several days we had breakfast and lunch in the Pacific dining room. The two shows Livin In America and Vrooom were excellent productions. This was the first time I saw the Legends show featuring guests and the production dancers, a very enjoyable show.
A very enjoyable itinerary and ship.
We just returned from our cruise on the Carnival Victory, leaving out of Miami on July 24th, and returning July 31st. We sailed on the eastern Caribbean itinerary to San Juan (evening), St. Thomas (day) and St. Maarten (day). We stayed on the Empress deck in room 7280.
Embarkation was a disaster. This was our third Carnival cruise (second out of Miami) and we have never experienced anything like it. We also took a later flight than we usually do therefore bringing us to the terminal later than usual (which was probably the problem). The line when we arrived was so long it was wrapped around the parking lot. It was brutally hot and by the time we made it into the terminal the air conditioning didn¡¦t even feel cold! Once inside the terminal we were lead from line to line, first security, then check in, then sail and sign and finally onto the boat. By the time we got on it was about 3:30 and all of the food areas had closed in preparation for the muster drill. We were STARVING!!!
Other than that the cruise was wonderful!! We spend afull day at sea on Monday (formal night for dinner), and a majority of the day Tuesday at sea before docking in San Juan. We got into port early and our tour was moved up. We did the Bacardi Rum factory evening tour which was interesting. There are not many excursions to choose from at night. We got back earlier than expected so we headed out to Senor Frogs to eat. It was an interesting scene, not so much ¡§us¡¨ though, and we left pretty much right after dinner.
The next day we docked in St. Thomas. We did the new Sea Blaster excursion and choose the later time of the two choices. We did this so that we could get off the boat early enough in the morning to go shopping, come back on the ship to eat lunch and change before heading out on the tour. The Sea Blaster was great! It was a nice sized boat and they took us out to a very secluded area to go snorkeling. They supplied any and all equipment you need. Our group stupidly decided not to wear the flippers and regretted it!! We kept drifting out and were fighting the current to get back in towards the boat. If you do the excursion make sure to use the flippers!! fº On the way back we had a yummy rum punch and they were even pouring extra rum into the glasses!! They were an awesome crew and it was a lot of fun.
In St. Maarten we decided to do the 4x4 jeep adventure. We had a group of six so we split into two jeeps in groups of three without a problem. The jeeps were pretty new and in decent condition. We really took the grand tour of the island and made some stops for shopping (not enough time though!) and the beach. The only problem with this tour was that there were a LOT of jeeps and people kept letting cars in, and then would fall behind. My favorite part was when we went off-roading briefly after the beach. It was a nice way to see the island, but if you are not a good follower when you drive then this probably isn¡¦t the best excursion for you!!
We spent a fair amount of time lying around, playing Bingo and hanging out in the Casino. We didn¡¦t go to any shows except the talent show, and caught the end of the magic show (which looked great!). We did attempt the three comedians on the ship¡K the first was AWFUL (we walked out), but the second two were pretty good! We weren¡¦t in the bars too much; the boys went to the Sports Bar a few times looking for sports scores but other than that we just grabbed drinks wherever we were. The last night we were wandering around and stumbled into the piano bar (Irish Sea Bar). The pianist was singing a mix of normal and very dirty songs (which were kind of funny but if you are sensitive to that kind of stuff, it is not the place for you!).
Food as always, was plentiful!! Buffet on the lido deck for lunch was okay- I usually grabbed a sandwich from the deli and hotdog from the grill. We didn¡¦t eat breakfast or dinner there at all. We ate breakfast almost every morning in the dining room, as well as an occasional lunch and dinner every day. Our waiter, Anil, was the best we have ever had on a Carnival cruise. He just could not do enough for us. The night in San Juan happened to have been the best selection of food of the entire cruise, and when they asked if they were having fillet mignon another night he just offered to have it for them the next night. I am a picky eater and he made sure I was happy. He was just so personable as well; we truly enjoyed our dinner every night and spent quite a few hanging around when most guests had left. Our assistant waiter, Denise, and bar waitress, Kathryn were terrific as well!! Food was always good and you could order as much as you wanted!
The staff on this boat is terrific. I would be walking down the hall and a steward would stop what he was doing in a room to stick his head out and say hello. The ¡§Super Shoppers¡¨, Rick and Hector (who is also a dancer), were hanging out with guests on the last night drinking¡K The cruise directory Dana Hodson and assistant cruise director, Ronan, were great as well. Social hosts did a great job too¡Xlots of new games and activities that we hadn¡¦t seen or done on our other cruises.
Disembarking went fairly quickly as we were the first group called off the boat. We piled onto a bus and were at the airport by about 12 or 12:30.
That¡¦s about all I can think of for now¡K hope this helps any future Victory cruisers!!