Overview: The Carnival Victory is the largest ship I've ever been on and it ended up being great. Although the Caribbean Lounge, the main showroom, was always crowded, it was pretty easy to maneuver through the boat. The dining rooms were proficient and the barbecue/pool level was spacious. There were always activities going on (not appropriate for everyone) that kept me and my friends decently busy throughout the cruise.
Embarkation: We arrived pretty early at the port, around 11:00 AM. It wasn't too crowded and everything was organized and efficient. The staff there was very aware of what was going on and directed everyone in an orderly fashion. They started loading the boat starting at 11:30 despite the 2:00 time Carnival gives you. My whole family was on the boat within 20 minutes, including check-in, getting room keys, luggage check, everything. This was one of the smoothest embarkation I have ever experienced out of the 4 other cruises I've been on.
Dining: My family and I traveled with 3 other families and made arrangements so that all of us could be together. There were two tables, one for all of the kids and one for the adults.
My Dining Team: Anthony and Tina, were fantastic. They were both really patient with all the kids they had to deal with at my table and were also very friendly and helpful. Both were quick and had a good sense of humor, making our vacation that much better.
The food was pretty good; compared to the other cruises I have been to, the food here definitely did not match up. The quality was decent but the amount of food for each plate given was definitely not enough. They were pretty good about giving seconds though. They served a lot of meat and beef, but did fit in one or two vegetarian dishes every night. The selection they had was definitely varied, from Chilled Mango Soup to Escargot.
The Lido Deck was an alternative to the dining room which was nice. My friends and I would go up there for a midnight snack or a drink during the day. The breakfast buffet was nice, filled with the normal, average stuff. My favorite part was the omelette bar; it added a nice touch to the whole dining experience. The 24-hour pizzeria and soft serve machine was also convenient and a nice facility to have.
Dress Code: The Dining Room dress code was never strongly enforced, even on Formal Night. Most of the women were dressed up in dresses or fancy skirts, but men dined in T-shirts and casual slacks. Regular nights seemed pretty casual, although they encourage guests to look nice. Men in nice pants, polos, or shirts. Women in casual skirts, blouses, etc. The only rule: NO shorts in the dining room. Other than that, attire is casual.
Activities: The Carnival Victory's activities mostly revolved around gambling, drinking, and music. Compared to other cruises, the Victory didn't have a lot of family activities. They had scarce game shows & bingo games, but other than that, the activities and shows were aimed towards adults.
The night shows were only tolerable. The welcome show was decent, although it definitely was not one of the best performances. The comedian performed that night as well - I did not enjoy his act at all. I feel bad about being so harsh, but he wasn't very funny and the show was extremely long.
The second night the Victory Dancers performed living' in America. This wasn't one of my favorites, but it was a pretty decent show.
The third night the magician performed - this show was my favorite. He did several good tricks and was very entertaining and funny as well. This show was by far the best.
The fourth night the Victory dancers performed room. It was great, one of the best musicals I've seen. I really enjoyed it even though I was going to skip it.
The fifth and final night was called " Carnival Legends". It was basically a show for people to try out and perform as musical legends including Elvis, Brittany Spears, etc. I didn't enjoy this show that much, especially since I didn't really understand who they were imitating. The music they performed were pieces I wasn't familiar with. Most of the adults in our group enjoyed it though.
Service: Service on the cruise definitely exceeded my expectations. THe staff members were quick and efficient. They put the customer's needs first and tried their best to solve issues with cabins, schedules, departure, etc. My room steward, Agus, was friendly. He introduced himself right away and did a very nice job cleaning our room everyday. The information desk was always friendly and the staff there always tried to help no matter what the problem was.
- St. John's was only alright; there wasn't much to do there except walk around and look at the scenery. If you're really interested in doing an activity, I would definitely recommend booking a tour. I heard the reversing falls was a great sight, but we were too late for registration and booking. My group mostly spent time in the town looking around and shopping in the small gift shops.
- Halifax was similar to St. John's. It was more open and had more things to do, but not by much. We walked along the boardwalk and stopped in the small shops. Afterwards, we took the FRED (Free Rides Everywhere Downtown) buses back and got to see some nice scenery on our way back to the ship.
They were both cute, little towns that are good for people who enjoy just to stroll around. If you're expecting to actually do something, definitely book a tour.
Fun Days At Sea: I loved the format of the Carnival Victory. THere were lots of lounges for me and my friends to hang out in to play cards or just talk or whatever. The boat wasn't too crowded and there were a lot of comfortable chairs to just sit back and relax in. activities were scheduled, but like I said before, they weren't really entertaining to kids like us. Overall, I occupied myself by exploring the ship and eating on the Lido Deck. The pools were usually too crowded, and the days they were somewhat empty it was too cold.
Cabins: My family had an inside stateroom on the 6th floor. It was very small compared to the other inside room I had on the Carnival Pride. It was very cramped and they even had to move in a folding bed to fit us all in. They were clean and furnished nicely though, although they should add in more drawers. It was hard to store all of our clothes and belongings.
Camp Carnival: THE WORST. After the first day I refused to go back. It was HORRIBLE. Not only were the activities awful for my age group (12 -14), the instructors were HORRIBLE. I can't stress that enough. They were bossy, loud, and used yelling as the solution to everything. THey were all unorganized and even lost track of time and schedules. They were not friendly at all and even yelled at me when I was helping my friend find her key card in the Camp Carnival area with permission. I wasn't even checked in and she accused me of ruining her activity. I have never been this disappointed in a Camp Carnival program. I enjoyed basically everything else on the cruise except for this Camp Carnival program.
Disembarkation: The process was organized and quick. Self-assist left first, calling numbers from the top and bottom, sandwiching the middle. Once my floor was called, I left within 20 minutes.
Public Rooms: - Caribbean Lounge: Is the main showroom that holds the main stage and all of the night performances. Music Trivia, game shows, and open discussions usually take place here. There are two main floors filled with couches and chairs.
- Atlantic Dining Room: This is where I had dinner during the main seating. I loved it here because of it's sophisticated yet casual atmosphere. It had two floors of seating that fit everyone comfortably. They had a little song or dance every night from the waiters and waitresses which was entertaining and nice.
- Pacific Dining Room: It was open for open-seating during breakfast and lunch. It was brighter than the Atlantic Dining Room and looks more like a ballroom.
- Arctic Dance Club: A disco-styled dance bar that has a central dance floor with a surrounding bar and seats. It's used for Camp Carnival activities, private parties, and dance parties.
- Virtual Arcade: is located right next to the Arctic Dance Club. It's small but can be entertaining for a boring afternoon.
- Adriatic Lounge: Located all the way in the back of the boat on the 5th floor. A great place to just hang out and relax. It's normally not used for activities, only for the Captain's party, art auctions, and some adult comedy shows. It's really classy and sophisticated there, but is also comfortable. It has a stage in the front and a bar on the side.
- Irish Sea Bar: A piano bar type room. Decorated with antique-like features.
- Indian Library: A small but cute library where you can borrow books and some games. It has some tables inside to play cards or just to read the newspaper.
- Spa & Fitness: The Spa and Fitness rooms definitely surprised me. They were a lot bigger than all of the ones I've seen. It's absolutely amazing; the equipment is varied and spread out and the facilities look brand new.