We just got back from a great time on the Carnival Victory sailing 07/24/06. A little background about myself. My wife and I are in our mid-20s and we also brought along our 2 year old son. This was our 2nd cruise and our first on Carnival. Our previous cruise was on the Celebrity Millennium last year. We decided to go out of New York as it was driving distance from where we live now. We decided to drive in the morning of the cruise. The terminal in Manhattan was easy to find and parking was a breeze. I guess because we were carrying our child, they thought that we should go through the VIP screening. Fine with me. All in all-we were probably on the boat in 25 minutes! We were eating by the pool around noon. Everything seemed very organized.
We were very impressed by the ship. It was in very good condition. Crew were constantly cleaning up this and that on different port days. Bear in mind, that my wife and I aren't very picky and never do any complaining about cruising.
We had an inside cabin. Plenty of room for the 3 of us. Our stateroom steward had a trundle bed for my 2 year old, but I told him that he still preferred sleeping in the crib. After dinner, the crib was ready to go. The room had plenty of storage for the suitcases, but I did bring some extra coat hangers to hang extra clothes up. The bathroom had one loose tile and some of the desktop needed new formica, but we felt these were extremely minor details and I wouldn't have noticed had I not been on lookout for these things. Room and steward get an A in my book.
Camp Carnival -- We went to the camp meeting on the first night after dinner to get the capers for the cruise. Very informative and did not take a lot of time. We tried to take my son there the next day, but he didn't care for it and they paged me back. We tried again later that day and he went no problem. We tended to use them just for part of the evenings. I kept him with us at the ports and during the day. I found their hours to be very accommodating and the staff very friendly. No complaints here.
Saint John -- Saint John was a very lovely port. We walked around a little to visit the city market and such. I didn't think the port was as terrible as everyone had made it out to be. I actually walked to the reversing falls. It was a great walking/running path. At a leisurely pace-it doesn't take more than 45 minutes. For me it was a place I had never been and wouldn't necessarily need to go back to for a while.
Halifax -- Halifax was nice and had plenty of things to do. You can tell there is a much larger population there and they tend to cater to more tourists. Again in this port we walked around and enjoyed the sights. It was also a place I had never been but could visit again if the opportunity came along.
Casino/Entertainment -- I played a lot in the casino. I used the feature on the ship card to move from slot machine to slot machine instead of dealing with the quarters. Thumbs up to carnival for that one. The casino was never extremely crowded and the bar service was great. I only went to see Vroom which was okay and the magic show, which I found the guy to be quite funny. The irish sea bar never had a piano player there when I went by.
Fun Days at sea -- Our Fun days were spent by the pool which we thoroughly enjoyed. There weren't too many deck chair hogs as I was able to find a lounger pretty close to where I wanted them. The pools were a little chilly, but in Halifax the pool in the back of the ship was heated to at least 80 degrees. The hot tubs were nice as well. Adults on these boards always complain about the kids, but there was 1 adults only hot tub in the back of the ship in addition to the 2 in the workout area. I thought that was pretty good. I never saw any kids in the adults only hot tub. All of the children were well behaved on the boat.
Dining -- We ate in the dining room every night for dinner. I had mostly beef selections which I thought were very good. I also had lobster on lobster night. I found it very tasty as it was not tough or rubbery. I ate lunch in the dining room one day and found it to be good as well. The breakfast always seemed like the same thing and the water eggs didn't even look appealing. I did use the omelette station a couple of days. The deli was very good and my wife liked the asian restaurant a lot. Pizza was good as was the ice cream.
Disembarkation -- Very easy. We decided not to use the self assist. We were off the ship by 9:30 for sure. Customs was a breeze. They didn't even open up my passport. Taxi line was about 10 minutes. We stayed an extra 2 days in New York utilizing the cheaper parking at the port. Our hotel wanted $48 a night!
Overall -- A fantastic cruise! Rates up there with Celebrity in my opinion. I would choose Carnival again. Great ship, great price, great service, great food and so on. Please feel free to ask me more questions because I'm sure I left some things out.