All in all, we absolutely loved this cruise. While there were some aspects that could have been improved upon, we thought it was an excellent value compared to the prices of other cruise lines, and the itinerary was exactly what we wanted.
First let me get the biggest negative out of the way. We had two cabins. We called months before sailing to add a third person to one of the cabins. Our original cabin number was changed and we were then assigned a new cabin for three people. Upon getting to that cabin, we learned that a cot had been rolled in, thus creating a cabin for three people! To make matters worse, when the cot was unfolded, you could not open any of the closets so basically the entire room was a bed. We immediately contacted Guest Services who were of absolutely no help. We were stuck with the situation even though I explained that it was like checking into a hotel and being told that one of your guests would be sleeping on a cot for the next 7 nights. I found More
it unacceptable but unfortunately, there was nothing I could do at that point. Live and learn.
Now, for the good parts. We arrived in San Juan around noon, took a taxi right to the ship, checked in with absolutely no line, and were on board in minutes. We were pleasantly surprised to learn that our cabin was ready for us so a quick change of clothes and we were on deck watching the Celtics/Lakers game on the giant screen with a cold beer in hand. Does it get any better? Yes, Celtics won in overtime! :)
Food was plentiful, we did not experience any significantly long lines for any buffet. We had dinner in the Pacific Dining Room every night....our server Knock Knock was the best! The entertainment from the staff in the dining room was one of the highlights. We did not particularly enjoy any of the shows - they seemed outdated at best. I'll leave it at that. The R-rated comedian should have been X-rated. We found it vulgar and crude and especially uncomfortable since we were with our kids & their friends (in their 20's..don't worry!) The entertainment in the casino was our nightly choice.. the piano bar was fun to visit also.
Our cabin #6327 was perfect....room steward was fantastic - twice a day. We did have some rough seas, most noticeable in the rear dining room, and once I returned to our cabin the motion was much less noticeable. Bed was comfy and plenty of room for the 2 of us....not so much in the other cabin with 3 people!Here's a quick review of what we did in each port: St. Thomas - we rented a car from Avis (they showed up late to open!) and drove to a couple of local beaches as we are familiar with the island. Barbados - arranged a catamaran trip with Silver Moon - fantastic day! great boat, great crew! Don't hesitate to book them! St. Lucia - arranged a tour with Spencer Ambrose Tours based on all the reviews. I give it a C...Spencer was having a bad day, arguing loudly with both local people on the docks and with customers! Our guide, Small, was excellent! Once we arrived at Jalousie Beach, we found we were to be squeezed into a tiny area of the beach with lounge chairs basically on top of each other. NOT what I had in mind. Spent most of the day at the outdoor restaurant/bar on some nice outdoor furniture..well worth the $ spent ordering pizza and beer for a few hours. Beautiful trip back to the ship by boat...but windy, rough seas. Don't miss the Pitons! They are unbelievable! St. Kitts - took a taxi to South Friars Beach and the Shipwreck Bar & Grill. Great day, good food, good service. The road down to the beach had a detour - harrowing! not for the faint of heart! St. Maarten - took a taxi to Galleon Beach/Coconut Grove. Good food, good service.
Again, we thought this cruise was a great value for the $. What a way to spend a week - waking up and going out on your balcony in the warm air as you pull into a new port every day! Room service delivering your coffee & bagel..such a treat. Ship was extremely clean all over...staff very friendly and hard working. Nice crowd of people on board also.
We chose self debarkation....we took our own bags without a problem and we were off the ship by 8:15 am! Gave us a full day in San Juan before flying home that night. I had reserved a room at the Tres Palmas Inn so that we could have a place to put our luggage while we were at the beach & some where to shower before heading to the airport. It is a great place and the owner could not be any friendlier! I highly recommend it! Less
Carnival Victory Cruises to the Southern Caribbean
We had booked with Silvermoon Charters directly online. What a great day! They met us at the terminal, drove us 5 minutes to the beautiful catamaran and we were off! We were on the 24 person cat but I don't think there were more than 18 of us. We did see another catamaran loaded with probably 50 people and we thought "how lucky are we!" Crew was great - friendly, knowledgable. We made 2 stops for snorkeling. Second stop was to visit with the turtles - which was just unbelievable! Third stop for lunch....delicious food. Then we hung out a while so you could swim or just chill on the boat before heading back. It was a perfect day! We did hear later that night about how some fellow passengers had been harassed all day at a beach by the locals so we were glad we had chosen to do this instead!
St. Kitts is a beautiful island....very undeveloped compared to the others we visited on this cruise. We took a taxi ride to South Friar's Beach. The road down to the beach was closed and we had to take a detour which was harrowing to say the least...definitely the steepest road I have ever been on....and I've been on quite a few in the Virgin Islands! We spent the day at the Shipwreck Bar & Grill. We had a great day there - good food, good service. Views were spectacular..sand was interesting as it was one of those dark sand beaches. Taxi returned on time to drive us back to the ship....thankfully we did not have to go up the same road we took down.....thank goodness!
St. Lucia is breathtakingly beautiful....the Pitons are amazing. We had booked a tour with Spencer Ambrose based on all the good reviews. Unfortunately, we were fairly disapointed overall. Our tour guide Small was absolutely fantastic...but Spencer himself was having a bad day....arguing loudly with some locals on the dock which made us uncomfortable...and then arguing with the customers on the dock on the way back. The tour of the island is very scenic...waterfall was disapointing however. The volcano was interesting. Boat ride over to Jalousie Beach is fun....however once we got to the beach, we found that we were supposed to squeeze into this little part of the beach that had lounge chairs basically on top of one another. NOT what I had in mind. We spent most of the day at the restaurant/bar, on some nice outdoor furniture. It was well worth the money ordering a few pizzas and beers for a few hours. Our boat trip to the ship was also amazing but it was a rough ride! It was extremely windy but the driver did his best to keep the pounding to a minimum. We saw such beautiful sights on this trip....but can't say that I would recommend Spencer. Do not miss the Pitons though - they are breathtaking!
We took a taxi to Galleon Beach/Coconut Grove Beach. The road there is quite bumpy so be prepared. It's a beautiful beach protected by a reef so the water is calm. Restaurant/bar had great food, good service. There were a few topless women there....in case you care. All in all, a beautiful day at the beach. Our taxi arrived right on time to take us back to the ship.
We had reserved a car from Avis. We had trouble locating the office (across the main street) and then it was late opening by almost 30 minutes...frustrating when you have a limited amount of time. The car we were given was fairly beat up and not up to what we had expected. Unfortunately, not a lot of choices for rental cars at the cruise terminal. We were familiar with the island as we have vacationed there twice before so we chose to visit some local beaches. If you like white sand and turquoise water, it doesn't get any better than the Virgin Islands. Magens Bay is beautiful...when you enter, keep driving down the road to the left to avoid most of the crowds. Also, you may want to stop at Secret Harbour on your way back...good snorkeling, nice little beach.