My family and I just got back from a cruise on the Carnival Victory ship and we had a fantastic time! The staff, especially our room steward, were wonderful. They were attentive and friendly without being intrusive. The ship, while older, was very nice. The lobby and dining room were beautiful.
My husband and I found the food to be good. There were about 8 options available in the nice dining room each night and while they may not have been entirely gourmet each time, the food was hot and offered in right sized portions. Of course, you could always order more, but I felt the sizes were appropriate. Kids had the option to order of the children's or adult menus, which was nice as our 9 year old could then try some different meals. They especially loved trying the chilled strawberry soup and pumpkin soup as appetizers.
We sailed to Jamaica and the Grand Caymans. We climbed the Dunns Falls in Jamaica. It is a little intimidating at first, but all in all was a really cool experience. Jamaica, while beautiful, didn't seem like the type of place you would want to explore on its own and the people were very pushy when it came to tips. We did the Paradise Beach Club along with the falls and the beach did have some nice sand for the kids to play in and we were able to find some neat shells to bring home.
The Grand Caymans were gorgeous. The island is very clean and quite the people were not pushy as in Jamaica. My daughters and I did the sea turtle farm and dolphin encounter. The facilities were so clean and nice. The only pricey item there were the pictures.
On board the ship, we received a daily itinerary of events for us and then the Camp Carnival program for kids had an itinerary as well. We had the girls choose what activities they wanted to do and often times they chose the camp over anything else. They loved the program. My 4 year old loved the princess party and craft activities that they did and my 9 year old loved the scavenger hunts and games, such as giant Jenga, that were done in her program. Overall, I highly recommend that program for anyone who has kids.
We tend to be more of morning people, but let me tell you by being that way, you certainly have the run of the ship. We ate early each morning...lines weren't long and food was incredibly fresh. The pools, hot tubs and slides were practically ours alone. It was a nice experience. Overall, though, we really didn't experience any long lines at all.
In terms of cost, we had opted for a nicer room on a shorter cruise. By purchasing the suites, you by-pass all the embarkation and disembarkation lines. It was incredible. We arrived at the port at around 1:30 - and checking in the ship took all of about 10 minutes. Same thing leaving the ship. Definitely worth it!!
One tip, there is only 1 iron per floor, so I recommend pressing your formal clothes, etc early. Don't wait until right before you need to wait it or you won't be able to get it done quick enough.
Overall, it was a good vacation for a reasonable price. I recommend Carnival and would travel there again.