Embarkation and disembarkation both ran smoothly. Was on the ship by 11:30 am and off by 7:15 am. Went straight to room upon embarkation and had luggage by noon. If you have a chance to do FTF, do it! It’s worth the extra couple dollars for the added service.
I have been on several Fantasy Class ships and this was my first Destiny Class. The boat is older and I believe scheduled for upgrades next year but it was very clean and well maintained. The layout is much different than Fantasy Class ships which based on my experience made it a little harder to navigate but overall nothing too difficult to figure out.
Casual dining was acceptable, nothing particularly great or bad. It does seem like food choices in the casual dining areas have decreased in recent years, especially on shorter voyages. I was prepared for long lines after reading other reviews but never really experienced it. I may have waited 10 minutes in line one time. It helps to not go the minute they open though as I could see where the lines could be longer during the initial rush.
We only used the formal dining room once and everything was great. We traveled with another party who had anytime dining whereas we were scheduled at 6 pm. Guest Services helped us make arrangements so we could all eat together which was appreciated. The service, atmosphere and food were all excellent. Everyone loved their starters and main dishes but admittedly the desserts were the biggest hit. The melted chocolate cake was amazing!
My daughter used Circle C (age 13) and there was some disappointment there. She is a very outgoing, fun kid who will try anything and is not afraid of being silly. The camp counselors tried relentlessly but had trouble engaging some of the kids to participate in their scheduled activities. For example only a handful of kids did Karaoke. On our last cruise, just last year, Karaoke was one of the favored events. There were more boys than girls and they were much more interested in playing video games. She still had fun but when compared to other cruises, the kids were boring, not the counselors (her words).
The shows were mediocre. The biggest issue for me was the female vocalist. The entire show is built around fancy costumes, lots of wigs, crazy set pieces, dances and two vocalists, one male and one female. The female simply lacked the strength and consistency to headline. She did have a few decent and maybe even great moments but at times it felt canned because the music did not play to her strengths. One word of warning, the Living in America show says PG due to costuming. The first part of the show includes the ladies wearing a very small patch in the front lower region but nothing over the backside. We kind of joked "Due to budget cuts, our female performers will no longer wear pants”. None the less, parental discretion is advised. Despite it all, if I went on the ship again tomorrow I would still see the shows. It’s all part of the overall cruise experience.
Overall we had a great experience on the Victory. I love cruising so I am sure someone with a different attitude could have hated it. It’s all what you make of it. If you are miserable in general, you can probably be miserable on a ship too - - although what a waste that would be!
One the last day, a 6 year old boy died in the pool. The media has their version and those on board have theirs. I place NO blame on Carnival. It was a tragic accident. My only word of advice to parents is to separate your party time and your kid time. There is a great camp where counselors will focus on your children available for when you want to cut loose, drink, dance or whatever else. There are no life guards on board and it’s required that parents supervise their own children. Pools are just as dangerous on a ship as they are in any backyard across America.