I regret to say that I was a little disappointed with the Carnival Victory. I am not new to cruising or to cruising with Carnival. I normally LOVE Carnival. Within the Carnival fleet, I have sailed with The Valor twice, the Liberty & the Freedom. I enjoyed each of these previously sailed ships...but the Victory lacked in several categories in comparison. I have listed the things that really stood out and contributed to my disappointment: I do want to say that I may continue to sail Carnival but I would not recommend sailing on the Victory.
-Very late Muster Station (Life-boat drill) and also extended due to covering two languages. Yes, upon booking your cruise on the Victory out of San Juan, the itinerary advises that the ship does not depart San Juan until 10:00 PM, no big deal until you have traveled for most of the day or you are one of those passengers I saw with an injury or with small children that were exhausted and crying ?. Recommendation would be to implement the drill to be soon after the ship stops accepting boarding guests, which I bet is way before 10:00 PM? (I believe I read a sign that said all guests must be on board by 4:30PM)? This becomes more important when the instructions are provided twice; once in English, then in Spanish... doubling the drill time.
-Food at buffet (side note- long wait time in lines)
**Poor food options (there was not a day that had a" nice touch" like other Carnival ships) A lot of the same thing each day and no change-up between lunch vs. dinner at the buffet.
** Did not replenish items that had "emptied "out i.e. ginger for Sushi, cranberry sauce on turkey day, etc.
** Milk was not always cold
-No trays to carry food... anywhere on the ship! This made things more difficult to carry food from buffet and through the crowds while looking for a place to sit.
-No straws at drink stations. I was not the only person on this cruise that was disappointed to find that straws; such a simple & inexpensive item was not available. (Most cruisers do look for straws, especially those of us that are germ conscious!)
-Serious lack of hand sanitizer stations! OK, this surprised me the most ...with the media and bloggers out there scaring people with their "Cruising can make you very ill" statements ... not to mention that it is a fact and unfortunate that too many people do not wash their hands as they should and that sanitizing can cut back on chances of catching such illnesses. The more available, the more people will use them! There were hand sanitizing stations at each end of food stations however, they were not monitored & refilled when they were empty) also, unlike other ships; there were none outside elevators, main entrances or on commonly used areas of the ship. Twice during the week, when boarding the ship after being on an island, the 1 and only hand sanitizing station that was outside to use before boarding was empty... and NO-One monitored so that it could be refilled and used by those guest that had not boarded yet!
-Same movie in room all week- OK, not a deal breaker ....but seriously? I have been on many other 7 day Carnival cruises where as they rotate the movies shown in your room so that every night you were not watching the exact same movie while relaxing in cabin. Just another simple, inexpensive thing that Victory could embrace to "step-it up".
-Lack of Captain Interaction. On all other cruises (including other Carnival cruises), the captain would make a short announcement everyday... either about the weather, the ship, or just to say I hope you enjoyed your day in insert destination. Because it is frequently done on other ships and most likely because my "radar" was already up due to the above mentioned things I was experiencing on the Victory, I did notice the lack of interaction from the Captain to the guests, on the Victory. Additionally, although there were only 2 ports where there was another ship alongside the Victory; usually, when one ship leaves, there is friendly horn banter between the ships saying "good-bye" etc. This banter brings laughter & cheering from passengers on these ships (part of the cruise experience). None of this happened on the Victory.
In summary, The Victory should pay attention to the survey results that people take the time to complete. I am certain that they would be able to identify common items that have been commented negatively on and implement some recommendations and/or make some changes to better their guest ratings. Other ships within the Carnival fleet are well rated and there is a reason for this... other Carnival ships are paying attention and listening to their customers and they are wise enough to know it is the "little touches" that often make the "biggest difference"!