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 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.