Let me begin by saying that I have been on two Royal Caribbean cruises and decided to give Carnival a try. We found ourselves comparing the two cruise lines, even though we tried not to.
My husband and I were traveling with our daughters, age 25 and a friend age 26. We stayed in a suite and the girls stayed in a balcony cabin. There was one advantage to having booked a suite - you are taken to a separate VIP check-in area and don't have to stand in long lines for as long. Eventually, you are going to be standing in a long line at embarkation but honestly, it was no big deal.
When we arrived in our suite we were pleasantly surprised with the large size, 2 closets, jacuzzi tub and marble countertops. Really nice! BUT when the ship started to move, our cabin made a terrible creaking noise along with a tapping and sometimes pounding. We were miserable the entire 7 nights! Our daughter's cabin did not have the noise. Our cabin must've been cursed! Another problem encountered with the cabin was the our steward never replaced burned out lights that I requested. I also asked for bar soap several times and he indicated that he couldn't provide it - there was a problem. We never got a single bar of soap all week! Enough about the cabin...
Our dining room experience was very good but not what I had hoped for. Filet Mignon was tough and overall, flavors of foods were unexceptional. We had some breakfasts and lunches in the Mediterranean buffet area. This was a big disappointment. The selections and choices were minimal. Only a couple of choices for entree at lunch, very little to put on a salad and not all that good. I know that all sounds like I'm a picky person but really, I'm not! I am a pretty easy going and accepting person.
Our cabin steward had a hard time figuring out that we had early seating for dinner and for the first 4 nights we had to wait up for him to make up our bed/etc. I told him we went to bed early on the first night. He was a very nice person but just didn't get it. The cabin steward should provide service that you hardly have to think about. Not this time. He was always late.
I had planned this vacation to avoid any possibility of hurricanes and tropical storms but as luck would have it, a depression formed near us. Obviously, this isn't the fault of our ship or Carnival but what would have been nice is if the crew had let us know what was going on. The seas were 7-12 feet and nearly everyone was sea sick. We didn't know what was going on until the cruise director made a casual remark that "since there is a tropical depression out there, we are changing the Tuesday entertainment to Friday and vice versa for the safety of the dancers". That was all the info we had. Watching the TV for world news was near impossible. It was only a depression so it didn't get much mention. But if you're in the middle of the ocean, a depression feels different! I would've liked more info.
We did have these problems on the cruise but no matter what, you can find happiness in your vacation. I happen to work at a resort and I know the value of customer service. There was a lack of customer service on Carnival's part on this cruise and I think that bothered me most. Sometimes when things are going badly for one of our guests we try very hard to make up for it with over-the-top service. I am always impressed when I see someone make an extra effort. It just didn't happen here.
I feel bad when I read someone's negative review and sometimes I think that person is probably overly critical. A vacation can be what you make out of it. And if you can laugh at the weather and long lines, that is half the battle. I just felt that the crew on Victory could've made it much better with the little things. We tried to enjoy everything but found ourselves vowing to never cruise on Carnival again. And I'm sorry for that.