Me, my husband and our 2 year old, Cameron, arrived to the ports around 11:30 a.m. on May 8th for a 7 day Western Carribean cruise on the Victory. When we arrived by taxi which by the way was $21 plus a tip from the aiport to the ports, we were approached by men to take our luggage to put on the ship for a fee (we tipped $1 per suitcase). Also I had read somewhere on this website that it was only $11 for a cab from Miami airport to the ports which was only maybe a 10-15 minute ride. Someone needs to update that information. We then entered what is called the terminal building where we set up our sail and sign account and began embarkation.
We then proceeded up some stairs where we stood in line to receive our cabin keys. The line was at a stand still so I took our 2 year old to change his diaper in the bathrooms there and left my husband in charge of our sons Nemo backpack that had all of his favorite toys in it. My husband had anotherbag as well as the video camera. We went to the restroom while my husband stood in line. He had the bags on the ground and when the line started to move he left behind the Nemo backpack. Well, someone stole it and never turned it in. This is how our vacation started! Who would steel a kid's backpack with toys?? We ran around frantically looking for it but had no luck.
We then were moved like heards of cattle towards the ship. Once we boarded they pushed us to the liddo deck for lunch because our rooms were not ready. We ate and then went to our cabin to find our luggage was not there yet and this was around 3:00 pm. Our luggage ended up not arriving until 6:00ish and my son's suitcase came even later. Thank goodness I had his diapers and an extra outfit with me in my carry on bag. We had a balcony room which I would recommend to anyone to get. I couldn't imagined a room with no windows or balcony. We walked around the ship and explored. We ate dinner that night and then crashed, sleeping like babies.
The next day we were at sea and my son survived the night without his toys. We took him to the little baby pool that is kind of hidden but he enjoyed it. We then checked out camp carnival which is just a room with toys and the girls do art projects with the kids and they have cartoon time as well. For the older kids they do scavenger hunts and so on. Our son went to camp carnival a few hours each day. He wasn't bagging to go in there like some parents say their kids do. The sitters were very nice though. While he was in there my husband and I went up to the main deck, liddo deck, to hang out by the pool. We had no problem getting chairs like previous reviews stated. There was a good band that would play by the pool. You never had a problem with getting drinks. Guys were always bugging us and asking us if we needed anything. Almost to the point that it was annoying.
The food was average and the entertainment was bad accept fot the magic show. Of course kareoke is always funny. The Piano bar is alot of fun and would recommend for age groups of 25-45.
We went to Cozumel, Grand Cayman and Ocho Rios. We only did one excursion and that was Dunn's River Falls in Ocho Rios. The prices for excursions were ridiculous. For the Dunn's Falls and beach excusion cost my husband and I $126 total and that was one of the cheaper ones. Cameron was free but he couldn't climb the falls. My husband did and Cameron and I did the dry walk which by the way was very steep and hot and not for children.
All and all we had a good time and would have had more fun with friends and family with us. My son broke out in a horrible rash and itched liked crazy. I burned with 45 SPF on. I felt the Victory was a nice ship even though it was an older fleet.
Our final settlement bill was $665 which we expected. You can check your account through out the cruise on your TV. We did have one problem with our cabin bathroom. There is a drain in the shower stall and then a drain on the floor next to the toilet. That drain would over flow with water while taking a shower and a horrible smell would come out. We reported it and it never was fixed like it should have been. Our steward, Peir did put some sort of powder in the drain and it helped some but wasn't done until 2 days before the cruise was over. Peir did keep our room clean and had cute animal towels on our bed each night.
Our wait staff, Anna and Rosul, were great in the Pacific dining room. I would recommend eating there vs. the buffets. Expect to gain around 7 lbs with all of the food and drinks and ice cream available. Have a great trip and feel free to email me with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. Sincerely, Whitney
My boyfriend and I just returned from our 7 day Eastern Caribbean cruise.
Embarkation: My boyfriend and I arrived at the Port of Miami around 11:45 a.m. When we got the port, we couldn't tell where to leave our luggage, so we proceeded to the parking garage and took our luggage with us. When we arrived at the terminal, we did find a porter and he took our bags. From there we proceeded inside and waited in many lines. I think it took about an hour from the time we made it inside until we were on the ship.
Ship: Once we were onboard, we proceeded to our balcony cabin located on the Verandah deck. After we checked out the cabin, we proceeded to the lunch buffet located in the Mediterranean Restaurant on the Lido deck. It was good and there were many options to chose. After lunch, we went out by the pool and found a place on deck to watch us pull out of port. After that we just walked around the ship and then went to our cabin to get ready for dinner.
Food: There were many choices tochose from for eating. There was the main dining room, the buffets, 24 hour pizza, hambugers, hot dogs, etc., deli and chinese. My boyfriend and I ate only dinner in the Pacific Dining Room. We ate breakfast only one time and that was from the buffet. For lunch we at the buffet and sometimes the hamburger place. For snacks, we either had pizza or the 24 hour ice cream machine. We never made it to the deli or the chinese place. The food overall was really good. Especially in the dining room. We only did 1 formal night and that was Monday night.
Entertainment: We went to the Las Vegas style shows and they were really good. The singing and dancing were awesome. We also saw the comedians, definitely worth checking out, and the magic show. The guest talent show was really good too. We also went into the Black and Red Bar and listened to the band in there and they were pretty good. We also listened to kareoke for awhile. Most of the singers were pretty good.
Ports: We arrived in San Juan about 2.5 hours early, so we were able to do a lot of shopping. After shopping we went back to the ship, showered, ate and then hit Senor Frogs. That is definitely a place worth checking out. In St. Martin we did the land and sea excursion. It was ok, but if you are looking for a historical excursion, I would check out another one. In St. Thomas we did the shopping and beach excursion. Basically they took us into town for 2hrs and did shopping. After that, we went back to the ship, dropped our stuff off and then they took us to a resort for 3hrs. It was ok. Also, when you leave St. Martin, and get to St. Thomas, you are required to go through immigration. Even if you are staying on the ship, all passengers are required to go through immigration. If you have an early excursion, I suggest you get down to the area assigned to you early.
Debarkation: My boyfriend and I did the Self Debarkation and we were leaving the ship by 7:45 a.m. If you can carry ALL of your luggage, and you are a U.S. citizen, then you can do the self debarkation.
Overall it was a great cruise and I cannot wait to go again.
I am saddened that I am forced to write this letter of complaint about my recent, and what will be my last, cruise with Carnival. I am a frequent cruiser, this being my fourth in two years, and I now know that Carnival simply cannot compare with other cruise lines in its quest for comfort and competition.
To begin, Carnival associates were supposed to meet us at the airport, Miami International, upon the arrival of our plane. They did, but informed us we would have to sit around for 1.5 hours before we left for the dock. When we asked what we could do with our luggage, the woman responded, "Just keep it with you." We wanted to load it on the bus and get something to eat in the airport, but the associate said she was not responsible for our luggage. So, we waited around until our bus came so we can board. Little did we know, "Waiting around" would become a theme of our vacation.
Embarkation was relatively smooth; in fact, it was the better of the prior two Carnival trips I have taken. Though we were rudely hassled fortips by baggage men at the port of Miami, we were herded into the port just to wait in a hot, long, sweaty line with people cutting in front of us and no security. We waited in this line for 1 hour until we finally moved.to another line.
When we first booked through Carnival on your "One Day Sale," we were told we would get an Oceanview Guarantee, and that we would most likely get a balcony room. The sales associate suggested we be "nice" to the woman assigning us the room, and we'd get it. This did not work. In fact, no one had a smile on their face.
Our baggage came at 8pm that night, standard for cruise lines. Our neighbors had their baggage lost, later told by the pursuer's desk that it was most likely because they didn't tip the baggage handlers at the port of Miami. Is this the way Carnival operates? I understand these workers do not work for Carnival, but wouldn't Carnival want to ensure the happiness of its customers by providing an incentive to these people so customers could stop being hassled and consequently lose our baggage?
Our room was nice - though not a balcony room. The bed was not split, as we had requested, so we had to make three phone calls before someone came to split them. Our steward was friendly, though generally not around. Our lifeboat/lifejacket drill was efficient, though everyone had to stay around through all of the languages, which wasted about 30 minutes.
The dining room was a highlight of our trip. "Marketa" was our busgirl and "Ariel" was our waiter in the Atlantic dining room. They were just so pleasant and friendly and never let our water glasses drop below a certain level! They wanted us to be happy and made pleasant recommendations for the evening meals. The food, however, was just fair. It tasted mass produced, rarely hot, and often tough. Steak was chewy, lobster tasted "fishy," and the soups were oversalted. The deserts, too, did not taste fresh and were generally unimpressive. The evening shows by the staff were fun. There were "return cruisers" parties, but we were not provided with an invitation either, so we missed that, too.
The entertainment was absolutely awful. The female dancers were okay; the male dancers looked like they were pulled right off the wait staff. Uncoordinated, fumbling, and completely out of sync, they were a mess. The "Braxston Hicks" band was good and warming. Comedians were okay, and the adult only, midnight shows (which were FULL of kids under 18) were really funny. Lots of people were complaining about the teen presence at this time. You should lock all doors and allow entrance only through two or three manned doors where ID's are checked.
Which leads us to our cruise director, Dana. I've now been on five cruises, and Dana is surely the WORST cruise director ever. Dana was unfriendly in person, cold, and completely fake. A good cruise director relates to everyone, and Dana was a complete unreliable mess. He made comments throughout the trip like, "So the kids run around the halls at night. It's their vacation too. We can't patrol the halls." Are you kidding me?? You cater to the parents of the kids, NOT the children. You should be absolutely responsible for patrolling the halls after kids who knock on random doors early in the morning. Their was NO supervision for children, and Dana should be held responsible. Also, Dana was all about pushing the shops on board, but gave little information about the ports. When he did, of course, it was only to sell the shops at the port (that he is getting a cut from). He was later referred to as "Douchebag Dana" by many passengers on the boat!
The ports were fine. San Juan is boring. St. Marteen is beautiful (we went to Orient Beach - gorgeous), and St. Thomas is beautiful too. I've learned my lesson NOT to book excursions through the cruise line; they're frequently overcrowded and overpriced. So, in St. Marteen, my roommate and I hopped a cab (6 bucks!) and went on a beautiful ride to Orient beach, a locals beach. For another 10 bucks we sat on the beach ALL day with an umbrella and chairs. Just heaven. In St. Thomas, I had booked a private excursion independent of Carnival (as I have done before) with a local who takes people snorkeling. This was an all day excursion that beat the price and the crowds of Carnival trips. When we got to the port, we missed our private excursion. Why? Because the time is an hour different! NO ONE on the boat mentioned the time change. Furious, we went to the pursuer's desk and asked, "Is there a time difference here?" Both ladies shrugged their shoulders and admitted they didn't know! Finally someone said there was, and I lost it. How can you not tell 3000 people about a time change? Her response was, "This way everyone stays on boat time and will return promptly. If we told them about the time change, we'd be fielding 1000 phone calls with confused passengers." I responded that THIS IS YOUR JOB! What if someone asked a local what time it was? They'd miss their boat back! It is the sole responsibility of Carnival for making it clear that though the time is different on the island, we are to stay on BOAT TIME. We understand, now, that it is a money-making scheme to keep people from booking excursions other than Carnival's. It is dirty business and we are no longer buying it. You made us miss a private excursion to snorkel, the main reason we were on the boat. Thank you, Carnival.
Our St. Thomas trip ruined, we returned to the boat for mediocre food and a LOUSY midnight buffet. Another thing is the lines - they're horrible. Waiting in a buffet line on the Victory is awful! You can wait a loooong time for very mediocre food, which is sad and a rip-off. Drinks were weak and overpriced. Everything was gimmick.
Immigration was the worst. Having to get up between the hours of 5:30-8:30am to get approval, we decided to beat the crowds and get up at 5:30. Many others on board did too, but the immigration officials did not arrive until 6:15. Needless to say, we were VERY unhappy.
Debarkation was a walking nightmare. We opted for the self-checkout, as did seemingly everyone else on the boat. It was slow and disorderly. People were moody and there was no assistance for older people and/or kids.
A very poor cruise.
At least we now know that Celebrity, Princess, and Royal Caribbean are more dependable.
Embarkation - slow with long lines. I arrived at Port of Miami at 11am (my normal time-I usually board by 1230pm at the latest) We did not board until 130pm.
Ship - suprisingly very nice and well kept & clean. I had read previous reviews and was worried. The ship was beautiful, I love the green. sometimes there was a weird smell throughout the ship...but not all the time.
Steward - wouldn't tip him extra - I don't even know his name because he never came around to introduce himself. He finally brought ice 3rd day into the cruise, because I requested it. I only got my ice bucket filled twice. He did keep our room clean though.
Food - good to excellent. buffet - mostly ok. I tried several new things and Liked most of them. Deli is excellent. Pizza was excellent. didn't try the grill/burgers. Chinese was good. Dining room was Excellent.
Entertainment - didn't see any shows (whoops) spent most of the time in the piano bar after dinner which is the place to be...it was always packed and everyone having a great time. Disco was also fun. it opens at11pm until the wee hours of the morning.
Ports of call - San Juan - ate at a wonderful Latin-Indian place called Tantra. Everyone else was waiting for an hour to eat at some of the other places. and we walked right into Tantra and sat down. Had the best meal of the trip. Sr Frogs was a blast - of course. Lido Deck party after was also very very fun.
Tortola BVI - beach was ok. Originally was going to the Baths of Virgin Gorda and now I regret not doing that. But the views on this Island are breathtaking --- take a highlight tour via open air taxi. They just drive around the island, but you get some awesome views & pictures.
St Thomas - beautiful, my favorite port. Went sailing on catamaran & snorkling. Painkillers and rum punch. What a great day. Finished by taking taxi up to paradise point and getting some shopping done at the treasure chest.
Disembarkation - just as painful as embarkation. But no more painful than my other cruises I guess. It doesn't help when you know your vacation is over. Boo hoo.
Overall Service - I would give the service on this ship an 7 out of 10, if I had a better steward it would have been 10 out of 10. Everyone was very friendly to us. Even the lady at the pursers desk was nice. (usually they are the cranky ones) CD was Dana - he is ok, didn't see him much since I didn't go to the shows.
I hope everyone gives Victory a chance, it is a wonderful ship.
First of it, if you have limited finances , not too particular about service, and don't mind to have a headache as an additional entertainment over some administrative arrangements , the cruise is OK. But if you can afford something else, by all means, do it.
It not that everything about the cruise on the "Victory" is unsatisfactory.The ship is spotlessly clean. I think that the incident with mass infection of the passengers, which has happened a couple of years ago, helped to instill a firm cleaning policy.
The food itself not bad, but dinnertime portions is miniscule, and don't get exited ordering a dish with black caviar or goose liver, because it is a chip imitation and not what is so much esteemed by gourmands of the world. But the eagerness of the waiters to satisfy you is compensating these shortcomings. Any way, you can get an additional helping in buffet of the Mediterranean restaurant, menu of which stayed unchangeable through the whole week .In this case at least you know what to expect.
For kids there is always such versatile food as pizza, even if Italians or people from NewYork won't agree on such definition of the flat and unappetizing little pies. The sweet stuff deserves to be mentioned. All cakes are light and fluffy and sweet enough not to be overbearing. A mascapone cake especially needed to be recommended to try out: it literally melts in the mouth.
Serving crew is always helpful and thoughtful, and it was a delight to see different animals, made out of towels, awaiting us every time upon our coming back to the cabin in the evening.
It's worth to mention an exercise room and the trainers. They certainly know what they are doing. My husband spent almost all his free time over there, taking different training classes, and said that, definitely, it was the time well invested.
Some tours don't worth money to spend, like in Cozumel a $40 Island Adventure Snorkel. They are taking you by the boat a few yards away from the ship and the pier. Naturally, in such "paradise" area there is not too much corals to see, nor too much fish. I would advise to invest your day in Mayan Ruins experience. We did not meet anyone who was not content about 7 hours spent on this trip.
Grand Cayman - definitely Stingray Sandbar, an unforgettable experience. Don't waste time on coral reef's snorkeling, it's nothing to see .
In Ocho Rios, if you decided to climb the Dunn's River fall, better to have your own rubber shoes, because what you are borrowing for $5 over there seems have never had any disinfection's treatments. And don't believe to your tour agent that the water would be "a little bit higher than your knee "and that every body can climb the falls, you will get soaked through, and it's not as easy even for a mildly athletic person. If you have problem with lifting your legs high, like taking very high steps, you will be in a deep trouble. One old lady almost killed herself, because she had problem climbing and the group went ahead, living her along and striving to stay on her feet. Other groups were coming up, but none of the guides bothered themselves to help her. If it was not for my husband, she would never reached the place, where she got out, without having a heart attack.
Unfortunately, contrary to Royal Caribbean or Norwegian cruise lines, this cruise line has many managerial flaws, that mar the pleasure of the cruise. I shall start from the very beginning.
Upon an embarkation we had been unpleasantly surprised by overzealous efforts with which administration of the ship was looking through passengers luggage for a single bottles of liquor and for 2-liters sodas, which could be brought on the ship. I definitely understand their claim that they want to insure a happy environment on the Family Cruise ship, but it doesn't justify a confiscation of soda-bottles, which in most of the cases has been taken for kids needs. Besides, if you so bent on against drinking liquor, how you can explain the presence of 11 liquor bars
(as one on each floor) on the ship oriented on the cruises with kids?
By the way, at any time of the day and at any weather the pools on the ship looked like a fish hatchery, filled to the rim with never tiring of the water kids. Forget about a few laps in the pool, it won't be enough place to get in! Grownups are shyly getting in Jacuzzi, where kids not allowed, but nevertheless present. Considering kids, I need to mention that they had their special activities at Camp Carnival and we hardly saw any kids heedlessly roaming around the ship.
But it was a lot of dazed and confused people, who had difficulty to find their way, because it's not enough signs to help you out. To get to Pacific dining room, for example, you need to take an elevator from the Main Lobby to the 5 level, walk through entire ship and then take an elevator to the level 3, and it was only one sign placed near information desk and out of traffic, which is saying how to get there. At staircase flights is no distinct signs, which shows the numbers of cabins and in which way they are progressing. No wonder that the first few days it was a lot of baffled people walking around in search of theirs places of accommodation.
A few words about entertainment. Even in Brooklyn's restaurants you can get a better Las Vegas-like show. Besides, one of theirs comedians definitely does not belong to the family oriented cruise, because his jokes is sick, demeaning, sexually oriented and not for kids ears, even though he invites kids from the audience for participation on the stage. The bright ray in all this show business is Dana Hodson. We think that the "Victory" is very fortunate to get such Cruise Director as Dana; because he is intelligent, upbeat, articular, knowledgeable, witty and has a good sense of humor .His briefings about an upcoming itinerary gathers more people than gala-shows.
Considering other entertainment. I would advise against Bingo game: $20 a single ticket for a single game doesn't worth a pleasure. If you want to donate your money to the management, better to do it on the slot machine, at least you will have more prolonged anticipation of the winning.
Also, I wouldn't advise about indulging yourself in spa and cosmetology treatments. They have no idea what they are doing! Being a cosmetologist myself, at the products promotion seminar I questioned an insistence of so called cosmetologist from Australia on use of dandruff shampoo on healthy scalp and recommendation to use an abrasive scrub (even mild) on the skin with spider-veins and on sunburned areas. For which later I got a sneer from her that my behavior is "jewish". I can't say anything about other beauticians, but if such kind of attitude and inconsideration is allowed to practice in the place, then it's better to stay away from such "beauty treatments" - unprofessionally performed , they could be damaging.
But this is not only one unpleasant incident. Upon disembarkation all ship administration's mismanagement and indifference to ex-passengers was revealed in its prime. The ship got clearance at 7:00, by 8:00 we were asked to vacate our cabins. Then it was announced that custom encountered some problems and we have to wait till further notice. By 9:30 all buffets and any places where you can get water were shut down, and you can get drinking water only in the bar for $ 2.50 a glass. Time was approaching midday, but the announcements were: to be patient and wait.
Some people, including us, began to worry about getting late for flights. At the information desk and have got a curt answer to get off the ship right away. All of us, who had the early afternoon flights ( about 10 people), were hoping to get some help from the ship's disembarkation personnel to speed up a custom procedure, because the lines was enormous, and some of us had only 30 min to catch their flight, but people's pleas had been indifferently turned down .
Fortunately it's only 10 min. by bus to the airport, and we have got Carnival's transfers, which should simplify and speed up the process. Not so.The ugly incident of the gratuity extortion by the bus driver broke the last straw. Upon arrival to airport the bus driver locked in all passengers and went to unload the luggage, and he was not in rush. We felt like hostages. For some people the time for their flights was running out and they got panicky. Luckily we got someone who knew what buttons needed to be pushed, the door got open, and the people spilled out. The bus driver forgot about getting out the luggage and run to the door to collect money. Half of suitcases were stashed in the distant corners under the bus. My husband has to crawl under the bus to retrieve our suitcases along with luggage of two elderly ladies, who were getting late for their flight, but the driver was deaf to theirs begs, being occupied by tip's shake down.
Interesting that on the transfers, sold by the Carnival, said that gratuity included in the price. So who is getting an additional unsanctioned revenue ?
The whole serving crew's gratuity arrangement on the ship is very questionable. It has been included in Ship's charge for "our convenience" and has been promised to be "fairly distributed amongst the service team". As it turned out, this is not a bonus for good work, but a creative way of the ship's administration to pay salaries and we, giving an additional $40 to each on the top of what already has been charged, felt uncomfortable and cheap. To avoid such feeling many people don't come to the last dinner and steer away from cabin steward's view. So the serving crew practically is not being rewarded, even if you paid the reward's money.
Lastly, the small advise: upon getting your credit card's bill, carefully check all Carnival's charges. At the beginning of the cruise they are putting $100 account hold on your credit card. At the end of the cruise the hold should be released, but Carnival's administration is conveniently "forgetting" about it.
At home we connected with Carnival's management and discussed all of the ship's shortcomings. As a result we received an official Carnival's letter stating that they sorry for our bad experiences, and to compensate it upon our next cruise on Carnival we will get a Bon Voyage gift which could be a Carnival's bathrobe or beach towel, or a bottle of champagne. Thanks, but no, thanks!
We sailed the Carnival Victory on Feb 13, 2005 out of Miami. While we enjoyed our vacation, we will not be lining up to take another one any time soon. Of course if you don't mind standing in lineups of 45 minutes or more for your food, then this cruise is for you. If you don't mind embarkation and disembarkation lines of 2 hours, then you are in luck! Overall, it was a bit disappointing. The food was mediocre, the shows mediocre, the social hosts mediocre, the service mediocre. (The cruise director, Skip, was very entertaining though).
The ship is beautiful and not that difficult to navigate. It was very clean and fun to explore. The casino was a lot of fun.we won, we lost, we won, we lost.still fun.
Just try and find a deck chair after 9 a.m! I dare ya!
I ordered a mudslide at the lounge in the main lobby and the server brought me a vanilla drink. When I said "That's not a mudslide", she replied "Oh well, we are out of cappuccino mix". I got a slide.without the mud. Of course I sent it backand told her that was not what I ordered. Can you believe it? She simply omitted the main ingredient and tried to pass it off as a mudslide.
I asked our cabin steward for towels and never got them. I asked him to have a broken light in our stateroom fixed - he never did (although he assured me he would).
I asked for coffee in the dining room and was brought a cup, but no coffee. I asked again and waited approx. 20 minutes before I got it. We sent back a piece of prime rib that was all fat and it was replaced with one identical to the first.
The deli made very good sandwiches. The reuben was the best I've ever had and my teenage daughters loved the turkey sandwiches.
The activities were rather boring. We were looking forward to the Survivor and Fear Factor competitions.they ended up being so lame that we left.
Shore excursions were the best part of the trip. Tulum in Mexico. Stingray City, Hell and Turtle farm in Grand Cayman. Dunn's River & Dolphin Cove in Jamaica. Great.
Carnival makes a lot of rules but enforces none of them. For example, no saving deck chairs. What a joke. Or giving everyone a specific time in the morning to go through customs. People showed up whenever they wanted, creating these snaking lines that ran almost the length of the ship. 2 hours to get through customs is unacceptable. Why not have people show their slip with their time on it and send away those who are trying to jump the line? Tell them to show up at their appointed time!
Overall, the line-ups for almost everything were what put the biggest damper on this trip.
Out of 10 I would have to give this Carnival vacation a 5 or 6 at best. Would I cruise again? Yes, but I would definitely try another cruiseline.
This review is for all those looking for a party ship.
My family and I stayed on the Carnival Victory this last February, & I have to say that the term "Fun Ship" does not apply. We chose this cruise because there were four of us between the ages of 21 and 24, and we were told (actually, misinformed) by our travel agent that Carnival cruises were considered party ships and that ours was the typical age of passengers. I'm writing this review mainly because when I was researching the ship, all I ever read were reviews from families and older couples, and I didn't find this helpful.
The ship is extremely huge, clean, and just generally nice. The top decks are mostly for sun tanning and drinking. In the center, a band provides music throughout the day. The band consisted of 4 Jamaican guys who one would assume would play some reggae, soca, or atleast some kind of Caribbean beats.seeing as how we were on a Caribbean cruise. Instead, they played a bunch of oldies, and even some country. When I went to request some music, they got all defensive andturned their backs on me. I guess I can't blame them entirely, since they were probably just catering to the crowd which was made up of old retired couples, and families with small children. There wasn't even many staff members below 30, which also didn't matter because the staff are not allowed to associate with any of the guests, so they were friendly but to a limit. Drinks were pretty expensive, and not all that great. I purchased a fountain card for the sole purpose of getting bottled water, only to discover that bottled drinks weren't included.
There is also a gym on one of the top floors. This was one of the few things I really enjoyed on the ship. The staff in the gym was friendly and helpful. The workout room is surrounded by glass so you can stare out into the ocean while you exercise. Also, the gym offers aerobic and spin classes, so bring your spin shoes if you have them.
At night, there are shows in the Theatre and a disco afterwards. Before you get excited, I have to warn you that the band in the disco was the same one from the upper deck. Also, the comedian that performed on the ship told unwitty e-mail jokes that we've often had forwarded to us by friends.
The food on the ship was very good. There are several buffets, as well as a dining room if you prefer a la carte. I recommend the dining room for all meals. Not only was the food great, but the staff was extremely fun and friendly. During dinner, you are assigned a table and waiter at the beginning of your trip, and this is where all your dinners take place. Dinner consists of a 4 course meal; fantastic food! I read some reviews where people complained about the portion sizes. I have two things to say about that: firstly, it's all about presentation (which was beautiful) and secondly, not only do you get appetizers, salad, main course, & desert, but you can order as much of it as you want. How much do you people want to eat?! You get the same waiter every day for a week.so please treat them well. Our waiters, Georgetta and Francis were amazing (quick, friendly, and efficient) and yet I still saw other guests treating them badly. Actually, the same applies to those who are cleaning your rooms. They were also amazing. Throughout the day, the cleaning staff tidies up your room and even folds your clothes. In the evening, you're provided with a turn down service, where they dim your lights, place chocolate mints on your pillows, and create little animals using small towels.
I travel every couple months, and have been to a lot of resorts, so I understand that different people have different experiences, but I will say that personally, I would never ever consider returning to a Carnival Cruise. Even if I ever took another cruise, I would not even consider it.
There's much more I could say and complain about, but I pretty much just covered the most important things. If anyone has any further questions, or have already booked their trip on want tips, don't hesitate to ask: email@example.com.
We boarded the Victory on Jan 2, 2005, and were very excited, this being our first cruise. I had spent many months researching and reading reviews, trying to learn what I could in preparation for the special day.
Embarkation was a breeze. We arrived at the terminal and , other than traffic being heavy due to five other ships in port, things went very smooth. Once out of the cab, we were in line, and on board the ship within 45 minutes. Incredible.
We had a balcony stateroom on the Upper Deck. It was exactly as people had described. Big enough to be compfortable, and the use of space was amazing. There was more than enough storage, and trust me, we had lots to store. Flying home we had to pay additional luggage charges, but still had more than enough storage space. It was great having a balcony stateroom, but for the ten minutes a day we spent there, not sure its worth the additional money. Next time we cruise, maybe we will go with an ocean view. There is little to no time spent in the room, other than tosleep and shower.
The food on the Victory was wonderful. The various restaurants and choices are great. The first couple of days we had the buffet for breakfast, as we were in awe after having it the first morning. Our third day in we decided to try the dining room for breakfast, and boy were we glad. From that moment, breakfast was in the dining room each morning. The way they care for you, from refilling your coffee, juices, danish and pastries, fruits, the main breakfast entree, what a great way to start the day.
Evening dinners were also great. We initially had a table for four, however were located behind the staircase in the pacific dining room. After our first meal, we explained to the maitre'd we really didnt like our table, and without a blink, he moved us to the upper level, a table for four overlooking the lower level. Wonderful. Our waiter and assistant make our dining experience great.
Entertainment on board is endless. For those who find cruise sea days boring, it has to be due to lack of participation. From early morning to late evening, there are always several things to choose from. We didnt do any nightclubs, spent some time in the piano bar. We did enjoy the shows each night in the Caribbean Lounge.
The casino was as expected, like any other casino. We tried our luck and for the first two days were very happy turning ten dollars into several hundred each time. Needless to say, before weeks end, that was long gone.
Our ports of call were Cozumel, Mexico, Cayman Islands, and Ocho Rios. We didnt do an excursion in either port, however did employ the services of a local guide in each port but Cozumel.
In Cozumel, we took a taxi to the downtown area and shopped for several hours. That was an experience in itself. Its very true that bargaining is a very big part of the final price you pay. I paid $210.00 for a tri color gold bracelet and an 18 inch gold chain, total. The starting price was $285.00 for the bracelet alone! After shopping, we returned to the ship, stored our purchases, ate, and made our way to the beach. That night, we explored the area around the pier, and dropped by Fat Tuesdays for a Corona.
Cayman Islands was very interesting. We took a tour bus to various parts of the island, visited the rum factory and turtle farm, and were then dropped off at seven mile beach to enjoy the caribbean waters. Cayman is beautiful.
In Jamaica, again we had the services of a tour guide, who spent three hours taking us to various places, Dunns River Falls, the tropical rain forest which is amazing, shopping, and again the beach.
The private tours we found were a great way to see as much of each port, that we possibly could, in the 8 or so hours we had there. We wanted to see points of interest, shop, and visit the beach, and doing any of the excursions would have made that almost impossible. Should we return to the same ports at a later date, we could do the specific excursions, having seen most interest points at least for a short time.
Debarkation again was very simple. We arrived in Miami at 6am. We had breakfast in the dining room and returned to our stateroom until 730. At that time, we made our way to the Lido Deck, and waited in the sunshine, or shade for those who chose, until our color was called to leave the ship. Whole process was very smooth.
Many people have questioned what money would be needed for a seven night cruise. We cruised, just myself and my husband, and if not for the shopping, you need very little money. Prior to taking the cruise, we had already pre purchased 20 drink coupons. They were delivered to us the first evening. That helped with the alcohol expense, its very difficult to say no to a pina colada when you're laying on deck in 85 degrees, and they are offered in colorful glasses with umbrellas. We are not big drinkers, we did purchase two bottles of wine, and a few drinks other than the coupons, and that was it for the week.
We took advantage of every port, seeing everything we could, guides costing from 30-60 dollars depending, but it is well worth it. We played the casino, did the evening shows in the lounges, enjoyed the captains welcome and fairwell parties, made purchases from the onboard shopping area, had drinks each afternoon and evening, usually not more than two each, and anything else we were in the mood for. Our total sign and sail card, and the end of seven days, was $480.00, $140.00 of which were the tips. There is no need to worry about needing thousands of dollars for the week on a cruise. That amount could had been much lower, if I hadnt spent $50.00 on the internet cafe, and $140.00 at the duty free store. We did not purchase the soda cards, the endless supply of lemonades, punches, cold water, coffees, combined with the various alcoholic drinks or beer u have, was more than enough beverage.
Overall, we have to say our cruising experience was outstanding. We very much enjoyed it and will definately cruise with carnival again.
Please visit our website at http://www.terryandsandra.com to view pictures of the entire vacation. Im very new to website design, this site being only my second. Please be sure to sign the guestbook, and feel free to leave any questions you may have there.
This went very quickly for us. Our plane was delayed getting into Ft. Lauderdale, so we didn't get to the port until 4 p.m. – and there were absolutely no lines! We were on board within 10 minutes.
Our cabin was bigger than we expected. We have cruised with another line before, and cabin was much bigger than on the previous cruise. We did have a problem with noise, since our cabin (1269) was directly above the crew's bar. We heard very loud music (loud enough to vibrate our floor) every night (with the exception of New Year's Eve) until about 3 a.m.
The cruise director (Dana) was so-so -- not outstanding. We didn't really see much of him (I actually saw him smoking up on the top deck almost as much as I saw him at any event.) The shows were OK. I don't think the dancers were very good (especially the females); it looked like they didn't have much training. The guys were much better than the females (especially the Russian guy - I think he may have spent a few years in the Russian ballet system.) I lovedthe guy from the Platters (don't remember his name). The New Year's Eve party was pretty much fun, although I wish they had kept the Caribbean band playing for the party instead of replacing them with another band (that wasn't very good).
We ate in the Atlantic dining room every night for dinner. We loved our headwaiter and assistant (Allen and Rueben from the Philippines). They were wonderful! We had a six-year-old boy at our table, and both waiters did a great job keeping him entertained (dinner can be long for a child). We thought the food was good for the most part. There were a few things I didn't like, but Allen and Rueben were always happy to bring something else if you wanted it. Several guys at our table (my husband included) had two or three entrees every night. The Mediterranean restaurant on Lido was OK -- not outstanding, not horrible, just OK.
We didn't see a lot of him, but he was very nice when we did see him. We had no complaints – the room was kept very clean, and we loved our towel animals.
The Carnival Victory was very nice and clean. We saw people cleaning and painting everywhere. If there was a mess anywhere, it was cleaned up very quickly. Seas were very rough on our cruise, so the staff had barf bags available at the elevators on each floor -- very thoughtful! The ship took a different course on the way back (between Cuba and the Bahamas) so the seas were much better on Friday and Saturday.
We didn't have a lot of time in San Juan. We didn't get there until 4:30 or so. Since we had early seating for dinner, we ate on the ship first, so we didn't even get off until 7 or so. We did some shopping and went to see a pretty neat old fort. I'm not sure why Carnival stops here, since we had such limited time and you couldn't really do any shore excursions, but we enjoyed it anyway.
St. Martin: We took a bus tour of the island and saw lots of neat things on both sides. It would have been more interesting if we could hear what the bus driver was saying.
St. Thomas: We went on the Trunk Bay snorkeling excursion, and it was very much fun! I wish we had more time in the water (we only had an hour or so, and enjoyed every minute of it). We enjoyed a very good banana rum punch on the way back to the ship (and they kept your glass full).
It was a very good experience overall, and we would definitely go again.
Well after 3 other cruises, 2 with Carnival (Celebration in 1996, Inspiration in 1998) and the RCCL Majesty of the Seas in 2000, we decided that we would come back to cruising again and come back to Carnival.
A gamble which did not pay off!
Our flight from UK to Miami and overnight hotel worked wonderfully. The Regency Hotel met us at the airport and provided complimentary transportation down to the docks.
Our first view of the Carnival Terminal building in Miami was a big disappointment having last cruised out of Puerto Rico terminal in 2000. Things got progressively worse when we got to the desk to start our check-in process.
We had already completed our Fun Ship passes weeks before on the internet but were not asked for these. The guy who was our check-in representative was foreign and could not speak much English. He must have been in his late 60's and seemed very unsure of what the checking-in process was all about. He even thought we should have filled out a green customs card (which of course we had already done the day before on coming into the US). Inthe end after 15 or so minutes, I asked a fellow colleague of his if she could help assist as he had already torn up one Credit Card slip for the sign and sail card payments and starting filling out another. She very kindly took over and restarted the process. After 30 mins standing at the desk, we finally got to join the rest of the people who had no problems checking in.
Not exactly a great start.
We finally boarded the ship about 1.15 having got to the terminal before 11.00a.m. and took a quick tour of the ship to get our bearings. Our first impressions were nice ship, good decorative order, seemed reasonably easy to get around.
When we got to our cabin, we were pleasantly surprised - Cabin No. 6286 - Upper deck, mid ships with balcony - no complaints there.
First evening, checked out some of the bars, notice no nuts or nibblies any longer on the bars (to make you thirstier)- little cutback but noticeable. Also bar staff seemed very cool and tired as if it 'was here we go again with a new bunch of people out to have a great time,but we just can't be bothered'
Our eating was late dinner in the Atlantic. Table for 10 people crammed up by the bottom of the stairs. All tablemates british (we had specifically asked for international table). The two waiters for this table were nothing short of rude and very dismissive (maybe they don;t like the brits!!!) and one lady had her shoulder knocked with the soup course which meant she got covered - she was not impressed and everybody on the table felt rather worried about the rest of the week. No water served to us and the Food wasn't great either - very plastic and more or less thrown at us. - different altogether to the Inspiration.
Anyway, we got our table changed by speaking nicely to the Maitre'd and things did improve from there on Nice range of international people for future dining and waiters much better, but food could only be classed as ok and nothing better than we would expect from a Bernie Inn type restaurant i.e. run of the mill weeknight type place)certainly not excetional dining.
We never bothered with the buffet dining as the queues were horrendous and it was just your basic cafeteria food. Also, the Mediterranean Restaurant was only open for certain times of day. We tried the deli sandwiches which served as our main source of food if we were peckish and my husband tried a burger. The Chinese deli was not open the whole week so never got chance to try it as previous reviews had said the food was good.
The best meal was the freshly cooked breakfast that we took in the Pacific Dining Room - fresh omelette with fresh tomatoes (only arrived 2 out of 5 times of ordering) and the waiters seemed happier in there, but overall the food was very disappointing.
We ordered room service one morning and gave up after 30 mins. Still don't know if it ever arrived.
Many people who did order room service, said it was late and we noticed walking down the hallways that dirty trays and dishes were there for hours on end. Again, not very clean.
Can't comment on the entertainment as we did not bother with this and never have on any cruises we have taken - we prefer to make our own entertainment and meet new faces and make new friends. However, both the Captains night and the Past Cruisers evening were a farce and if it werent for good old 'Tiger' a barman who we knew, none of our group would ever have gotten a drink during either of these evenings - we went to the bar and he made an effort to help us. Next day he admitted that there are big cutbacks on these now, with less freebies and less staffing - it is more expected now for the passengers so that they can dress up, so just a token showy effort.
The worst thing about the ship was the bad sanitation. the day we went into St Maartin they must have emptied the sewage because the whole ship stank of it. the bad odours were coming into people's bathrooms and through the hallways - it was not a nice experience. Also, one particular day at Sea, the ladies toilets in the Spiros Bar area on the Lido deck were absolutely disgusting and in a terrible state. I complained to a female attendant and my friend went in 20 mins later with nothing having been done. Also, other females came to the bar staff 45 mins late complaining - it was not a good feeling to know that parts of the ship were being left like that.
With regard to the movement of the ship, this was also very bad. Calm seas, but the vibration and swaying made you feel like you were in a storm. Our first cruise in the Celebration we hit a tropical depression and were turned back - it was not as bad as the Victory on a good day! Many people and crew were seasick and the shop ran out of Bonine so many people suffered without any help. Also the Captain was sick for 3 days but we were not told with what, but the ships movement was the worst I had ever experienced and I know previous cruisers for the 2 weeks previous apparently had the very same experience.
The staff advised that it was a problem with the ship design and overall stability - first ship built with more balcony cabins to offer and not lying low enough in the water making it top heavy. When the wind was high, it created a great deal of buffeting and made the ship sway considerably. The staff said those that had been on board a while had gotten used to it but that many guests suffered, hence selling out of Bonine.
Excursions we did ourselves and these were great. However, nothing to do with the ship so these could be done with any cruiseline.
Overall the feeling of the ship was understaffed, bad sanitation, lazy and rude staff. I witnessed many disagreements at the pursers desk and many disgrunted passengers.
You felt as if you were in the way and shouldn't be enjoying your hard earned vacation. It was if the staff sort of resented it, as they were working and you were not. This seemed to emit throughout the whole ship and by the end of the week, you felt that you just couldn't be bothered to try and be nice and polite any longer. Nobody seemed interested, you were just another 'ant' scurrying around making a mess and causing work for the crew.
Shame, because the ship itself is beautiful and as I said, the balcony cabins are very nice.
By the way, on the new class of ships, the Conquest Class I believe, i.e. the Glory, side panels have now been built into these ships to stop the buffeting from the winds so Carnival do realise they have a problem with the Destiny Class and this has since been dealt with.
Cannot comment on the Carnival Children's Club but it looked like the children were enjoying themselves.
To me very second rate, and it is quite obvious that Carnival have made many cost saving cuts to make more money from their guests. I also believe the automatic tipping system has eroded the service aboard the ship.
Sorry if it is not as positive as some future sailors would like, but it is straight from the hip on what we had.