We have cruised with Carnival several times in the past and looked forward to our cruise on the Victory. We flew into Miami one day before our cruise and stayed at the Kent Hotel on Collins Ave in South Beach. The hotel lacked customer service and was just okay. The pictures on the internet made the hotel look much nicer than it really was. We would probably not stay there again.
On embarkation day we arrived at the port at 11:30 am in the pouring rain. After making our way to the terminal, we found the line inside to be very short. Within an hour we were on the ship in our cabin. We have embarked in Miami before and endured an endless line, but this was very smooth and quick. We had booked at 6a cabin, which was the Riviera Deck, midship. We wanted to prevent sea sickness while in our cabin.
We had 2 rough days at sea. We felt the movement while we were out and about on the ship, but not in our cabin. Our cabin was roomy with a sofa, table, and large window. We plan to book this deck and type of cabin from now on. Our cabin steward was nice, but he always seem to miss something each day. It was either wash cloths, towels, beach towels, soap, etc, that we had to remind him for. He did, however, bring us a large bucket of ice in addition to the one already in our cabin. We noticed our cabin could have been cleaned better on embarkation day, but that got better as the week went on.
Service throughout the ship was good for the most part. We would run into an occasional crew member that would not answer our question or seemed to blow us off. We realized that at language barrier may be the cause. Our dining room servers were good. Occasionally an item ordered was late or forgotten. This usually happened in the dining room during breakfast or lunch. We had a table for 2 for the evening meal (main) and choose to have our other meals in the dining room so we could visit with others. It really worked out great. We did not have to fight the crowds at the buffets. I wish the buffets would have trays to assist us in carrying all our food to the table. By the time I make all the necessary trips, I no longer want to eat! The pizza and burger areas were very good with better service than we have encountered in the past.
The Victory herself is a beautiful ship with hues of green and blue. It has a nautical theme with ships, mermaids, Neptune, etc, carried throughout the ship. Very pretty! There were some decorative lighting missing in the Caribbean Lounge that took away from the beauty of the room. We really liked the size of Victory. Finding our way around was easy. We sailed the Valor last April and found her to be just a little too big.
The shows ranged from just okay to good. Nothing was out of this world. The 2 Las Vegas shows were okay. We have seen better on other Carnival ships. We also saw a comedian, singer, and a magician. We enjoyed the magician because he had a lot of heart. And of coarse the Newly Wed/Not So Newly Wed show as a scream!!
There were 3 areas of questionable behavior during our cruise. #1 was the woman that paraded around the adult (topless) sun deck with nothing more on than her high heels and a thong. This woman was leaning over the rails taking pictures. After that we had an influx of men to the deck!! I didn't really think that was proper use of the adult deck! My DH disagrees. #2 was the show the waiters put on in the formal dining room on 2 different nights. Several waiters danced on top of the small serving stations, stripping off items of clothing, running the clothing between their legs and throwing it to the passengers. In return several female passengers placed $1 in the waiters pants, which were pulled down low. I'm no prude, but this can't be proper dinner entertainment! This was the main seating with many children present!! And #3, the adult hot tubs in the aft section were always filled with young children. Many had their drinks in the hot tub with them. Several times a security guard was standing by and never said a word, neither did the parents. We did notice more visible security guards in busy crowded areas.
Our ports of call were Costa Maya, Grand Cayman, and Ocho Rios. The only port we purchased a tour for was Costa Maya. We took the Jungle Beach Break to Uvero Beach. As before it was clean with plenty to do. The bar selections were less than before. We quickly found a nice spot under a palm tree, but then moved to a table and chairs. We had a cloudy day that was a little cool. Back at the port we did a little shopping and bought a nice bracelet. During our stay in Grand Cayman, we planned to just walk around the port. We came upon an area to snorkel from the shore. It was only $12 pp and they did not require us to wear a life vest. It as wonderful. We saw so many fish. The tarpons were huge and everywhere. It was the best snorkeling experience we have ever had. This was the first tendering we had ever done and found it to be easy and enjoyable. Grand Cayman has left us with wanting to go back for more than just one day. It is truly a beautiful sight!!! Now on to Ocho Rios... the port we don't want to visit again! As soon as we got off the ship, we were hounded and hassled for taxi rides, hair braiding, buying items, and tours. We couldn't walk 10 feet without being approached. Finally, we paid $3.25 pp to swim at the beach across from the ship. We had a nice swim and returned to the ship. I had wanted to walk all around the port, but the natives made it impossible.
Debarkation was so fast. We got up at 6am had a fast breakfast, and swiftly got off the ship. We took a shuttle to the airport and were there to check in at 8am. Wow, how fast is that. All in all we had a great cruise and would consider cruising Victory again.