Wonderful Carnival Victory Part 2
We sailed on Carnival Victory in November 2011 and there was simply not enough time to see it all. We knew we would need to do this trip again, so we decided to go the same week in 2012. We flew from Charleston WV to Charlotte and then to San Juan one day prior, the flights were all on time and smooth. We secured a room at Casablanca in Old San Juan from Hotels.com for pre and post stays. Hotel is charming great location, but no elevator so they will hold your bags downstairs if you don't need them or they offered to help carry them up for you. Check in time is 3 and they mean 3. Hotel was full on the first night we stayed and we happened to get the room with no hot water.No big deal, we made sure when we checked out that we would get a different room after the cruise.
We checked out at 12 noon and headed on over to Pier 4 to drop bags and check in. There were no lines, the time from bag drop off to ID check in and receiving the S & S card and on to security was maybe More
20-25 minutes as boarding had already begun. Took maybe another 15-20 minutes to get through security/picture up the gang way and then that magical ding. Room was already available so dropped carry ons off and then to Lido for lunch. (PS security was tight and all bags were being searched for booze, they even made sure the 12 packs of Diet Cokes we bought were Diet Cokes)After lunch we decided to get back off the boat and walk around to kill a little bit of time since dinner the first night is open seating. Sail way is not until 10 pm. The safety drill was miserable, long and hot and much longer than last years drill, but necessary. Pay attention people and it can go quicker.
Staff was extremely friendly and helpful, except for some of the Photo Team Members.
Food excellent and always available. Lines at breakfast could be long long and longer, but just be patient.
VIFP Party, thought the food and drinks were better than on the previous Past Guest Parties.
Embarkation/Debarkation were extremely fast/easy and efficient. Did see people get pulled out for customs inspections and they did have dogs coming through the lines to sniff your bags.
Ports and what we did will be noted below. Less
Read more Carnival Victory cruise reviews >>
Read Cruise Critic's Carnival Victory Review >>
Port and Shore Excursions
This was out least favorite port from last year and really had no plans other than to visit the shops in the Cruise Terminal. We did decided to book Harrison's Caves Tour through Carnival, glad we did, but we did not go downtown this year, last year was enough. Cave tour was amazing, lasts about 40 minutes and that is after a 10 minute movie on how the island was formed. Very informative. The drive back showed us some of the countryside.
Nice to walk around, especially at night when the vendors set up and music starts to play around the city. Police presence is everywhere so I never felt unsafe. Enchantment of the Seas was docked next to us again this year. We walked around until about 530 and decided to get back on and try dinner and they wait for the dreaded safety drill. ( I forgot to mention that a fried for work and her mother joined us on this cruise.)
We booked St Kitts Highlights with Brimstone Hill Fortress. Romney Mannor and Island Highlights were on this tour. We did this one again for the views from Brimstone and for Romeny Mannor. The van they put us in had little air conditioning. It got hot.
Nice port, I was determined that I wanted to see the Pitons. So we booked the Catamaran Cruise to the Pitons. There were maybe 25 of us on here, plenty of room and space on the Catamaran. Coke/Sprite/Water and fruit were free and available, sandwiches and Rum Punch would come after swimming. Upon leaving the harbour it began to rain and pour, but so what I'm on vacation. We cruised into Marigot Bay where the original Dr Doolittle was filmed. It was nice to see from the water, last year we saw it from land on an Island tour and way up. It rained for about 1/2 hour before clearing up and they pulled the Catamaran into a beach area to allow us us time to swim. We were able to walk right off the ladder into the water, about chest depth and enjoy the sand and water, you could even see some of the fishes swimming around your feet and ankles. There were locals in kayaks trying to sell you shells and other crafts they had made. After the swim it was time for cheese or tuna fish sandwiches and rum punch, beer was available for $3. I forgot sunscreen and got a little burned. We set sail for the Pitons, all I can say is WOW, they are amazing to see from the water. All in all this excursion took about 4 hours, leaving you plenty of time to do some shopping.
Nothing planned for St Maarten. We slept in before purchaing the water taxi wrist bands that take you from the pier to downtown. We walked around and ate before heading back to the ship for the final night of the cruise.
I wanted our friends to get a taste of St Thomas so we arranged for an Island Tour from Air Force One and Papa Bear. We did this last year and loved it and knew that they would too. It was just the 4 of us and 2 others who would be going to the beach later. Several nice photo stops and a trip to "Mountain Top" were included. We had the option of going back to the ship afterwards or being dropped downtown. We also saw several large Iguanas walking around.