This was our 4th Carnival cruise.
We have previously cruised on Fantasy, Fascination, Legend and now Victory.
The embarkation process was quick and smooth as we have found on all of our Carnival cruises.
We were part of a group travelling together and the Carnival staff at check in were very helpful in setting up our sail and sign cards.
After the ship left the port of Miami we found out that 2 in our group did not make the ship. This was due to the fact that our travel agent booked them on a flight that left no room for error to make the ship on time. Of course their flight was delayed by 2 hours and they missed the boat literally. We met up with them in San Juan, and they were very unhappy to say the least.
Dinners in the dining room were what we expected every night as we have been there and done that. We did find that the salads all week were warm though and wondered if there were refrigeration problems?
One thing that really upset me in the dining room one evening was seeing a waiter at the end of the service wipe his face with a clean napkin and use that napkin to polish the glassware he was setting up for the next days breakfast. This was really gross and I have never seen anything like it on a cruise before. No wonder people get sick on the cruise ships when there are wait staff acting in this manner.
Most of our group found that the mediterranean buffet and other food stations on the lido deck gave us stomach aches. We also found the water to leave us feeling sick to our stomachs. The hamburgers and pizza were ok so stick with those if you are eating on the lido deck. The oriental station never had a line up and we found out why, we had a stomach ache for hours after eating there.
Cabins were ok but were dirty. I wiped out the cupboards and drawers on arrival and they were black and dirty inside. Wish I had remembered to bring some antibacterial wipes with me.
On the Fantasy and Fascination we had suites and loved them. Last cruise on the Legend we had the same category as with this Victory cruise and we found the cabins on the Legend were much nicer and larger than on the Victory.
Lines were long everywhere you went on this cruise. Not sure if it was the number of passengers or just the flow of the ship. We found the ship confusing to navigate and sometimes ended up walking in circles and laughing at ourselves for ending up back at the place we started.
We took the Juan Carlos and his Flamenco Rumba show excursion. We were not too pleased with the city bus tour as it was dark and we didn't really get to see much. Juan Carlos made up for the bus tour. This guy is amazing and if you get a chance to see him play it is well worth it. There are also some beautiful young ladies dancing in skimpy costumes for the men! The cruise line should forget the bus tour part of the excursion and just take you to the show and back to the ship. BTW: We booked this tour because some of our friends booked it and we wanted to go with them. No one at the tour desk told us that you cannot wear shorts and you must have a collared shirt for this tour. They do not print this information on the tickets either. You find out after you get down on the pier and you have to run back to you stateroom to get changed. The only place this information is given is in the tour description in the booklet in your stateroom.
We also booked the Shipwreck Cove snorkeling Tour in St. Maarten. We really enjoyed this tour. The guides were fun and knowledgeable. Hello Ian and Lionel! There were a number of people in our group that didn't know how to swim or snorkel and they didn't care about anyone else and would push their way in front to see stuff and kick them on their way past. We quickly learned to stay on the fringe of the group and just to let you know we probably saw more than the group did by doing this.
I did not attend any of the shows as I am not into that stuff. Some of our group did and they enjoyed most of the entertainment.
One of the things that our group kept discussing all week was the fact that this Carnival ship did not seem to fit in with the others that we had been on. The staff were not as pleasant or fun. They seemed to either be in training or they were the bottom of the barrel and sent to one ship to be together. We found that they were slow, would make mistakes often and the mood of the ship was that they just didn't care. I have travelled on Carnival 4 times now and Celebrity twice. All of the trip have been amazing except this past one on Victory. It has made me rethink being loyal to one brand and maybe it is time to see what Royal Caribbean had to offer. We cruise with a group most of the time and many in the group cannot afford the higher priced lines so we were sticking it out with Carnival because they do cater to the groups more than the other lines. There aren't many options but maybe it is worth the few extra bucks to make that trip memorable for all the right reasons.