This is for the June 22, 4 nt sailing of the Carnival Victory to NE/Canada even though our only port was Halifax.
My background is I am a cruise sales agent for a large agency that I will not name. This was my third cruise first on Carnival. We have done 2 RCL cruises and were weary of CCL. For one, my background and two, from customers' response to CCL. I also feel with my background I can give a more unbiased review.
We are 2 1/2 hours from NYC so easy drive arrived around 1:00pm. CCL advised arriving between 12:30-1:00. I will say arrive earlier, as when we boarded ship people were in the pools and hot tubs already.
Embarkation was quick and easy the luggage drop off was hectic but ok. The parking was a little confusing with lack of direction but we were on board within 20 minutes after check in.
We had booked a Balcony guarantee and were upgraded to a 8B on deck 7 room 7409 almost completely aft. The GTY price was nice but the room location was a pain. The room was nice size the small couch was converted to a small bed for my 9 y/o daughter at night.
The balcony was great our favorite place. The dead ends that others spoke of are a pain.
The nice thing was that the Mediterranean Grille/buffet was right above us and dining room 3 floors below.
The show theatre was nearly a 3 football field walk to the front which seemed like it took forever.
The room had some flaws and not as well kept as the RCL rooms we had before.
Overall, no problems with the room, except our TV had problems, none of the interactive functions worked.
Back to the ship, even though it was the same size as the RCL ships we were on, it felt very closed in and the flow was terrible. A lot of backtracking. I do a lot of research before boarding and this helped only a little, since deadends are not marked on ship plans. I felt the ship was not well kept, a lot of garbage on decks, cabins with room service would leave their plates outside the door and it would be there for hours at a time.
Staff was friendly, but al ot seemed forced not genuine. We learned our way around by the second day, visited all the areas. Over all again ok, but layout needs work.
Dining was disappointing. Our waiter was NOT personable, our table was us and another couple with a 9 y/o daughter, but they were from Canada, spoke mostly French and not very friendly.
Food was ok, hit and miss. Most entrees were average, my wife had steak that was all fat. RCL dining was 10X better. The buffet was decent and we had sit down breakfast once and lunch once in dining room. That was crowded and buffet was better choice, grabbed a plate of food and back to the balcony to easy since it took about 2 minutes to get back. The pizza was great as was the hot dog/hamburger grille. The East River Deli was hit and miss, did not try the Wok.
Activities were the highlight, the cruise director and staff were great and entertaining. After we learned our way around, and daughter was in kids group, we did almost every activity. Definite thumbs up here.
My daughter wanted to be in the kids program every hour she could. Well staffed and they really took pride in their jobs.
The service lacked in the dining room, ok in the buffet area and was decent for room attendant. Overall good, but not up to RCL par.
The entertainment was very good. Vroom was awesome except for the scantily clad female performers. The cruise director gave top notch comedy stand up. We missed the finale because my wife stopped with her motion sickness meds. We saw some on the TV and were sorry we missed the other shows.
We did one shore excursion in Halifax city tour. Good tour, but rained all day in Halifax. We had some annoying NYC people that complained the whole time.
Disembarkation was a nightmare as it seems to be on all cruises. People did not listen to instructions, again due to the mostly NY/NJ passengers. Sorry to say, but their reputation proceeds them. Took over 3 hours to disembark because the regular disembark people kept trying to get off with the self service people and then other cutting in line.
Overall, a decent cruise because of the balcony and entertainment/activities staff. Anyone that compares a CCL cruise to RCL is going by their wallet only. The food doesn't compare and staff was lacking.
We are going on RCL Explorer this week and will do another review when we return.