Just finished a five-day Carnival Victory cruise and had a great time. I wouldn't pay a lot of attention to the negative reviews of this ship. It is a little dated and the ship is slated for an overhaul in late 2014, but the appearance of the ship and upkeep thereof was not a factor in our enjoyment of the cruise, our stateroom, or the ship itself.
Embarkation was great. We arrived at the ship terminal at a little after 11:00 a.m. and we were in line on the Lido deck for lunch at 11:38 a.m. It was an incredibly easy check-in and security line. Our stateroom wasn't ready until about 2:30, but that wasn't a big deal as we took the time to explore the ship.
The food on the ship was good/acceptable. Buffets are not "our thing" and we chose to dine in the dining rooms for breakfast and dinner and either grab lunch at the grill or off-board during excursions. As a prior guest on a Princess cruise, the food on the Princess line was superior. However, our service staff, led by Ni Luh and Lincoln in the dining room was OUTSTANDING and she pointed us in the right direction with respect to our choices off of the menu. I could nit-pick individual dishes, but overall the food experience was acceptable, if not outstanding. I do recommend the pasta dishes in the dining room...they were all very good. We were a bit disappointed with the lack of good seafood choices. The fish dishes were hit and miss and there weren't a whole lot of seafood dishes offered over the course of the cruise. We chose the Dine Anytime option and liked the flexibility it afforded in choosing our own dining time. Additionally, we never had to wait for a table when going to evening dining.
Onboard activities were fun (what else do you expect from The Fun Ship?. Marcello, the cruise director, was spectacular with a quick wit and hilarious sense of humor.
Our first port of the cruise was Grand Turk, where we did a Segway tour of the island with Rodney, our guide. The Segways were extremely fun to ride and Rodney gave us a great tour of his island home. He was obviously very proud of his home, which is great.
Half Moon Cay was our second port. We had a very fun day in the sun on Carnival's private island.
We ended the cruise on the final day in Nassau, Bahamas on a pre-arranged excursion to the Blue Lagoon beach day. Blue Lagoon was designed with families with young children in mind and had we been travelling with young children it would have been great. As adults, though, if you were looking for activities, this was not the place you would want to go. However, as we were looking to lay on a raft in the middle of the lagoon and read a book in the shade of a palm tree, the excursion was fine. I will say that the ocean beach on the back side of lagoon was spectacular...we wish we would have found it much earlier in the day.
Our only true complaint about the ship was the overwhelming presence of cruise ship photographers. I realize that photography is a huge profit center for cruise lines, but it would be nice if they would just "back off a little bit" when you tell the photographer you just don't want to take a photo.
Every cruise line has it's own niche and Carnival definitely understands (and embraces) it's niche in the cruise-line world. Our wariness in cruising with Carnival was overcome in a matter of hours and we are beginning to plan a return to the line with our teenage sons in Spring 2014.