I'm so glad we extended it. I just started to relax around day 4, so if I had to get off on day 5 I think I would have been in tears!
So, for the first leg, we had cabins 7419 (L-shaped room) and inside 7421. My sons were able to keep their room for both legs. We moved to an aft balcony (7427) for the second leg. My kids had a key to our room so they could enjoy the balcony whenever they wanted. I posted photos of both rooms in the Carnival forum.
I absolutely loved the L-shaped room. It has an extended balcony that four of us fit on just fine. We had one lounger and 2 chairs, and then we brought out the stool from our room for the forth. The room had plenty of storage space and there were two twin beds pushed together. The bathroom is in a strange place near the bottom right corner of the bed, but it worked out fine. The only tightness we felt in there was at the end of the bed...barely enough room to walk around it. Again, no problem at all.
The boys stayed in 7419, a typical inside stateroom. Their beds were in an L-shape with plenty of floor space (that is until they got in there!) There were constant reminders to pick their clothes up off the floor! They loved having their own room and I am so glad I did that. It would have been very difficult for us all to share a room. They were out enjoying the nightlife most nights and came in very late. We would just slip a note under their door in the morning to let them know where to find us, especially on sea days. For port days, I would usually use my key to their room and make sure they were up.
The second leg we moved two doors down to an aft balcony room 7427. This room seemed to have more space, although it had less storage and a chair instead of a couch. The balcony was big, and you cannot beat the view, but we found it very warm out there most days and really preferred the extended balcony from our other room.
On the first cruise, our first port was Ocho Rios, Jamaica. We did not book a tour through Carnival and just decided to walk around. Holy cow, it is like running a gauntlet. As soon as you step off the dock, you are bombarded by people asking you if you want a cab, if you want your hair braided, etc. This continued all the way into the shopping areas. I was getting so frustrated and suggested we turn around and go back to the ship. Well, we made a wrong turn and ended up in an alley. That's when we met Mark. Mark also wanted to know if we wanted a tour. He ended up following us and telling us about the different vegetation, took us to where the locals shop, eat and drink. We ended up having a great time hanging with the locals at a bar in the middle of their shopping area. I picked up a bunch of spices that were a 1/4 of what I would have paid at the tourist shops. (BTW, yes, I have used them and it is great!)
Grand Cayman: We followed the advice of Cruise Critic and Trip Advisor members and went to Royal Palms beach club on 7 mile beach. We took a cab there ($20 total), rented beach chairs and umbrellas and had a nice relaxing beach day. Their facilities are very clean with nice showers and bathrooms.
There were two sea days on this first cruise. We were able to find chairs about 10 am, but after that it really filled up. We really prefer shade, so most of those chairs were on the side decks. This was fine with us because the music (live and recorded) was LOUD.
Back to Back: The process is really painless. We were told to meet by guest services (we received a letter the night before) at 10 am. Our room steward made sure they cleaned the room we were moving to first so we could move out quickly. It really didn't take long to get everything moved over. Once we did, we went to guest services. We were the only ones doing a back to back. An agent escorted us off the ship, through customs, and then back on to get new sail and sign cards. Very simple.
Key West: This was the first stop of the second cruise. My husband and I had been there before so we sort of had a plan of attack. Unfortunately, this stop is from 7:30 - 1:30, so not everything was open that early. But, we walked around a lot, shopped and ended up at a bar for some cool beverages. We also picked up some soda to bring back on board. Key West is a lot of fun...if you can spend some quality time there.
Cozumel: This was the only day we booked a tour through Carnival. We did the 12 Meter America's Cup Rigatta. This was one of the best tours we have ever done. They combined our group with passengers from another ship. Then they divide you up into two groups and assign you a sailboat (we were Canada). They give you instructions (everyone has a job) and then we raced the other boat. It is amazing how fast we went and how close we came to the other boat! We had so much fun...I would HIGHLY recommend this tour.
On our last sea day, we did the Behind the Fun tour. I had really wanted to do this and it was Mother's Day, so the boys got up "early" (8:30) to join me! They were so glad they did. It is a great tour, extremely informative and quite comprehensive. I would definitely recommend it on any ship.
We did spend some time on the front "secret" deck...great place to go at night. Serenity was nice...the only day we were able to get chairs/clamshells was on our transition day between cruises. We spent the entire day up there and had some nice family time.
Lido deck was packed on sea days, but a lot of fun. Food was great in the MDR, good on Lido. Go to the far back grill in the morning for omelets or eggs cooked to order. There is almost never a line in the morning.
Shows: We saw both shows and they were fine. My son fell asleep during one of them though! We did see one comedy show and it was great. Enjoyed the piano bar one night too. It was nice to enjoy some of the adult nightlife with adult children. They really hung out with us each night until we went to bed and they hit the club. They said they had more fun people watching outside of the club than inside though!
Carnival staff was amazing...kind, cheery and very helpful. We will definitely cruise Carnival again. You cannot beat the value. We chose this cruise for the ports and when comparing prices with other lines, there was no contest on price.
All in all, we had a great time as expected. The Victory is a similar layout to the Glory that we were on in 2006, so it was easy to find our way around. I thought Victory was in good shape for it's age. I didn't go in with "luxury" expectations so I thought it was great. I'd love to see her when her 2.0 upgrades are complete.