My boyfriend and I were on the Carnival Victory from San Juan on the May 20th, 2012 sailing. It was another awesome cruise-our 5th on Carnival. This was our first time doing Southern Caribbean and it was amazing. So different than the other Caribbean cruises we've taken.
We booked 1 night in a hotel in Old San Juan so we had some extra time there to explore and enjoy the Old town. It was great and would highly recommend that you stay extra time here. There is so much to do/see in PR. We arrived into San Juan on Saturday early afternoon from NY and checked right into our hotel (Milano). Then were back on the streets of Old San Juan within an hour to start exploring. We decided to go see the closer of the 2 forts (Cristobal) and just walk around the streets. Then went to dinner (tried Mofongos which PR is known for) and then walked some more. Next morning we went out for a light breakfast (Mallorcas-another PR favorite) and then checked out of the hotel and walked to the ship (about a 10 min walk). It had started raining on our walk-not fun while walking with luggage. We arrived at the ship about 11:30am and the check-in was fast and we were on the ship eating lunch on the Lido in less than an hour. We then went to our room and since it was still raining, just decided to walk around the ship and save more San Juan exploring for when the rain stopped. It did and out we went. We were back on the ship by 5:30 and then got ready for dinner. We didn't see the show that night since it started late and we were tired. We went to the mandatory safety drill and watched from the lido deck as we departed San Juan. First time we've departed any port at night. Very pretty.
Next morning we were in St Thomas. Beautiful weather but since we'd been to St Thomas before, we just decided to walk around the shops by the port and take advantage of the emptiness of the ship. It was our first time on a ship with a Serenity Deck and we enjoyed it that day and loved it.
Next day was a sea day and again we did our usual, eating, relaxing on the Serenity deck, gambling in the casino, etc. Got ready for our first formal night. I don't remember what I ordered each meal but never disliked anything. I have no complaints with Carnival food. Only complaint was the layout of the buffet on this ship which sometimes made the lines very long and slow moving.
Some of the foods we especially love are: IN DR: stuffed mushrooms; cream of mushroom soup; crab cakes; lobster tails; flat iron steak; warm choc melting cake; & bitter-n-blanc. At the GRILL: I loved the chicken tenders. At the DELI: I loved almost everything but was very happy that they would make me a tuna melt which I'd never asked for before since it wasn't on the menu but was great. At the BREAKFAST BUFFET: not too many things thrilled me-just regular breakfast foods- except the sticky buns which they didn't have every day but were so good. The made-to-order omelets were good too but sometimes the line was too long.
Day 3 was Barbados. Was a hot day with some scattered showers. We just walked around and into the town and on the way stopped at the working cigar factory. That was interesting to watch them make the cigars. We also bought some there to take back home as gifts.
Day 4 was St Lucia. This was one of the 2 places I was looking forward to most. I had for the first time, booked a non-ship tour (with Cosol Tours). It was an awesome tour but unfortunately this was the one day it decided to rain ALL DAY. We still enjoyed the island and the tour but would've been even better (and def for better pictures) had the weather been nice.
Day 5 was St. Kitts. We had booked the Scenic Rail Tour. A little expensive for the amount of time but we had a great day. The weather was the nicest so far for the week, not too hot, sunny with a nice breeze. The tour included unlimited drinks which was a nice touch. Very relaxing and great way to see this absolutely beautiful island.
Day 6 was St Martin. This was the other place I was really looking forward to. We had planned to go to Maho Beach by the airport. We just took a taxi each way ($8pp since we went with others) and had the best time. It was amazing to watch the planes come in for landing and also taking off. It was also fun to watch the crazy people who intentionally stood behind the planes ready for take off only to see them get blown away and all their stuff blown into the ocean. The beach there is small but we were the only ship in port that day so it was fine. The water was beautiful. Then also walked around the shops at the port before getting back on the ship for the last time.
We knew this cruise could be very tiring if we didnt allow ourselves some time to relax so that's what we did. We didn't stay off the ship for more than 4 hours at each island (except St Lucia-that tour was 7 hours long).
The Victory was the oldest ship we've ever been on but other than different decor, didn't look all that much different from any others. It was in good shape overall. Service was great as it always has been for us. Entertainment could've been a little better in my opinion.
Overall, it was a great trip with many new places to add to our list of islands visited. And I would definitely recommend this itinerary for everyone to do at least once. It was great!