Carnival Victory - Eastern Caribbean: Carnival Victory Cruise Review by kytten_kat
Overall Member Rating
Carnival Victory - Eastern Caribbean
Destination: Eastern Caribbean
My parents and I were on the Victory October 23rd. This review will most likely get very long so bare with me.
We live in a small town in central Wisconsin and left Friday afternoon for Milwaukee. Our room was at the Best Western right near the airport and we had booked it for both before and after our flights. This was the first year we had stayed here and will most likely stay again in the future before and after our cruise. The room was nice; however, we will be sure to ask for queen beds in the future. They offer a full hot breakfast starting at 6 am. Unfortunately our flight was due to depart at 7:25am so having breakfast at the hotel was out. We had gotten donuts from Dunkin Donuts the night before and had them before we left. The staff was great; they scheduled our shuttle for us the night before, so we knew exactly when we needed to be ready to go. The shuttle is the standard van style; there was another group More that joined us on the shuttle.
Getting to the airport took no time at all Saturday morning, which was great. We wanted to have as stress free a vacation as possible, so we left our luggage with the skycaps and headed for the gate. Our flight left on time from Milwaukee, as did our connection in Atlanta, making our arrival in Miami a little after 1pm. After picking up our luggage we got ourselves a cab (van style) and headed to our hotel, the Holiday Inn Port of Miami.
This was a great hotel as far as we were concerned. The front desk was very helpful and check in was a breeze. I had booked this room in August when my sister and BIL had to cancel joining us on the cruise. I was very glad we booked this hotel. We had the cruise package and I asked for a room facing the port and as high up as possible, and that is exactly what we got. The room was on the 8th floor overlooking the Bayside Market and the port. The window in the room was huge allowing my parents and I lots of room to spread out and watch the people and the boats and ships. The only thing that has stopped me from booking our room for next year is that the hotel will not let me book it so far out.
From our room we could see 2 ships in port, 1 for Carnival and the other RCCL. After watching Carnival leave I investigated the hotel a bit and then ordered in dinner. There was lots of people coming and going from the Bayside Market. Around 9pm there was a fireworks display. This happened just before the RCCL ship was due to leave, what a sendoff for them.
The hotel offered a full hot breakfast buffet as part of the package we had and we really enjoyed getting something before heading off to the port. Again, this was stress free as there were plenty of cabs waiting for hotel guests to head to the port. We got to the port about 9:30. A porter was there to unload our luggage from the cab and directed us to the terminal entrance. There were many people waiting for their transportation from the port as well as some that were as arriving for their cruise. After joining a small line to get checked in and get our sail and sign cards, we joined another short line to wait for security to open. By 10:30 the security check point had opened and we passed swiftly through the scanners, and then headed upstairs to have our security pictures for the sail and sign cards. It was time again to wait, seated this time, until the ship had been cleared for boarding. I actually enjoy this time of waiting so that I can people watch. I always marvel at the fact that there never fails to be those persons who just can not seem to arrive on time, even when it is for a wedding. Oh well. After the wedding parties, I believe there were 2, we were able to head over to get our embarkation pictures taken and board the ship, and it was 11:30. What can I say about the ship?! I thought the decor was great. The greens and blues were awesome. The size of the ship was much larger then I had imagined but not impossibly so. While the layout took a bit to get used to I can not say any thing badly about it. Our room was a balcony on the Verandah deck near the atrium elevators. The room was not ready quite yet but we were able to leave what little we carried on in the room and head off to grab something to eat at the Lido deck grill. After eating a little exploring, then back to the cabin to watch the buses and cabs dropping off cruisers and the forklifts moving the luggage to the ship. It was actually fun to watch as there were a few mishaps with the luggage falling from the carts; nothing appeared to have gotten broken though.
Of course there was that wonderful muster drill to attend before we could start truly enjoying our cruise. Having cruised before and not wanting to deal with the crowds as they fill the stairs, we went to our cabin and got our vests and headed to our muster station about 10 minutes prior to the actual drill. Yes, we got some strange looks, but we were not the only ones wanting to avoid the masses. Having almost no neck, wearing the vest is absolutely my least favorite thing to do, so I held it until the last possible moment. As with the wedding party late comers, there were those that just did not want to do the drill making those of us already there wait for them. But, like everything, the drill ended and we were heading out. 2 of us found chairs next to the window on the lido deck while the other took our vests back to the cabin. Watching the Miami shorelines disappear as we drank the special of the day, The Fun Ship Special was awesome. The 3 of us laughed and laughed as we started what we knew was going to be a great cruise.
Our dining room experiences were due to start that very evening at the 5:45 early dining in the Pacific dining room. Our table was No. 110. and it was located on the 2nd level. The only time that being on the 2nd level was a disappointment was when the wait staff was performing. Speaking of the wait staff, ours was fantastic and I mean fantastic. They were always there to fulfill our wants and needs. It was also the time to meet our tablemates. We were seated at an 8-top which was what we were looking for, a chance to meet others. Meet others we did, in the form of the Jason, his wife, sister-in-law and his parent-in-laws from Ohio. Jason was a hoot and called himself a redneck. He added some great times to dinner and we were all sad when we had to say good bye. With Jason, it was all about Git R Done and our wait staff did just that.
We spent the rest of the evening exploring the ship and just relaxing. To say that this was the perfect start to a great vacation is only half of what it was. When we booked the cruise we had thought we were going to do the Western itinerary but thanks to hurricane Wilma, the route was change to the Eastern Itinerary. This meant that we would have almost 2 days at sea to start the cruise. We really enjoyed have a full day at sea at the beginning of the cruise as it gave us a chance to learn the ship and just have a relaxing day, not having to worry about getting ready for a port.
Tuesday we arrived in San Juan at about 3pm. As we got close to the port the Norwegian Dawn was just heading out. Behind us Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas was following us in. Due to the different locations of the docks in San Juan we had a great view of not only the ship but of San Juan. There was a small airplane runway strip that also gave us lots of things to watch, and I can not forget the birds that were flying around.
Carnival offered an excursion called San Juan Nightlife. It gave us a chance to see both Old and New San Juan and to also do some shopping. Am unsure if I will get off the ship the next time, if I do it will be to just get a cab and do some shopping.
Wednesday we arrived in St. Maarten at about 10am. The view from the ship was spectacular. We could not get over how beautiful the islands were. We grabbed a quick lunch and then headed down for our excursion.
This excursion was offered by Carnival and was called 4 X 4 Jeep Expedition. I can not tell you the fun we had. We got the chance to see the island and see both the French and Dutch sides. I would recommend and have recommended this excursion. It is about 4 hours in length and there is shopping and a beach stop as well as seeing the entire island. Depending on what is offered next time, I may even take this one again.
Thursday we arrived in St. Thomas about 6:30am to wonderful views of the island once again. The ship was docked right next to the shopping area and it was fun to watch the people shopping and getting ready for tours. Since we had a 1 pm tour, I did some shopping first. I could not get over how hot it was here as compared to the other 2 ports, but it did not stop me.
Again, Carnival offered an excursion, The Best of St Thomas Island Tour, which is what we took. We traveled aboard an Airbus and got to see the island and all it had to offer. The Great House, the views of the other islands and the beaches was fantastic.
The one thing that stands out to me about all the tours and the islands was the streets. I have never seen such narrow streets or the amount of traffic that travels on them. The beauty of the islands and the amount of things that we saw and learned is what has compelled us to do the same cruise again next year. There was so much we did not see and can hardly wait to have the chance.
The next 2 days were spent at sea and it was great. A chance to relax from all of the activities that had filled the last 3 days. To just enjoy what the ship had to offer and enjoy each other. Since hurricanes Wilma and Alpha decided to happen, movement on the ship was a bit noticeable, but nothing that affected us and our enjoyment, if anything, it added to the adventure and gave us some fun memories.
As to the ship itself, I found it to be beautiful. Sure there were some blemishes, but nothing eye popping or even bothersome. What minor things we did find were created during the cruise by the passengers themselves and were handled as quickly as possible to either fix or clean up. The layout was a bit different, but if one just took their time and thought about were they were and were they where going, getting around was easy enough.
Debarkation was easy enough. We got up around 7 or so and headed to the dining room for breakfast. This gave us a chance to enjoy the ship a bit longer and to watch the happenings at the port. We had to laugh as we eating at our tablemates. They wanted to do the self assist and yet did not get to the dining room to eat until 8am. Of course time was tight for them to eat and then do the self assist and they were fussing that it was taking so long to be served, and yet, all it would have taken was them planning their time better, yes getting up earlier, and they would not have been rushed.
We went back to our cabin to get the carry on items we had still waiting there, and then headed to the Caribbean lounge to wait for our color to be called. When our color was called we sadly left the ship and went to claim our luggage. While finding our luggage, which was easy enough, we also found a porter to help us handle it. No we did not have that many pieces, counting carryon, we had 6 pieces for 3 people, but this enabled us to not have to deal with it. The porter also found us a cab, loaded our luggage in the cab and we were on our way by 9:30.
Ok, this is a really long review and I have missed stuff and have included things that maybe I should not have, but it was a great cruise and I loved every minute of it. If you have any questions please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I also have some pictures at http://www.flickr.com/photos/thecruisingwalls/. Less