We are just back from our very short cruise to nowhere on the Victory and had a great time. We had an overall fabulous trip but also had a few mixed opinions about the trip. This was our second cruise - our first was on the Miracle out of Tampa last year and we have two more booked for the Liberty. We booked this as a last minute deal when prices dropped by about half - the CTN is usually pretty expensive for a two night trip.
Embarkation - We arrived about 11:30am and they were still disembarking from the prior cruise. Security and check-in were very quick, but we had about an hour wait until they even began boarding for our cruise. After that it only took another 20 minutes or so for us to board. Heard from others on the ship who arrived later that the wait was very long. The new terminal in Norfolk is very nice and well laid out - it will hopefully bring more cruises to the area very soon. It was really nice not to fly to port.
Warning! - For those of you who may still have those old Carnival party ship, lowbrow cruise line notions - this is not the cruise to disabuse you of that idea. Please take a longer cruise and see what Carnival truly has to offer. This was definitely a party ship and also a very different demographic from what we experienced on a seven day cruise last year. We kind of expected that and were fine with it, but saw a lot more drunken and rude behavior than we saw on the Miracle. On the flip side, we also met some great people as well.
Ship - The Victory is a great ship and the decor seemed a little more subdued than some other ships. She seems to be well maintained and there are people cleaning everywhere you go. The only real issue we had with the ship itself was traffic flow. We knew the trick about using decks 5 and 9 to go front to back, but there always seemed to be a few spots where traffic bottlenecked - especially near the buffet and by the Promenade shops on deck 5.
Cabin - We booked a last minute 1A and were upgraded to a 4B inside. The room was fine for two days, but wow was it small. My best guess is only slightly more than 50% of the size of the balcony we experienced on the Miracle. I will be glad to have a balcony again on our next cruise. The bed was in the corner of the room so the inside person had to climb over the other one if they needed to get up in the middle of the night. The foot of the bed was blocked by a case holding the life jackets. There was no sofa - just a chair and no mini-bar or fridge. Since this was our first inside, we weren't sure if this was an odd room or if they were all that small. Our cabin was 2329, midship. Our only issues with the location were a loud banging noise inside the back wall that happened about every five minutes during the night. There was also a lot of foot traffic in the halls, an unfortunately lots of screaming drunks in the halls at all hours of the night. Wish I could say I'd gotten more sleep but the noise kept me awake. I will bring ear plugs next time!
Dining - We had dinner both nights in the Pacific dining room as well as lunch on Sunday. Food was good but seemed to be a little bland for the most part. The Mango Cream soup was really good and one of the standouts along with the warm chocolate melting cake! The buffet was the usual fare, although the pizza place was closed both mornings of the cruise while maintenance was being done. My husband was a bit disappointed as he is one of those people who likes pizza for breakfast! Lines at the buffet were really long at peak times. Saw lots of jeans/shorts in the dining room as well as people using their cell phones during dinner. Formal night was a bit less formal than on a 7 day (which I also expected) - mostly nice dresses for ladies and shirt and tie for men. I would guess over half the ship did not dress up at all for dinner. I did see several people turned away from the Captain's cocktail party who were dressed in shorts and tee-shirts.
Pools/hot tubs - we pretty much couldn't get into a pool for the crowds. Chair hogs were out in force. The aft adult only hot tubs were only open briefly on sailaway day and were full of children doing cannonballs into the hot tubs . Even the hot tubs in the spa were crowded. I sunburn easily so I wasn't too upset about the chairs and pools but would have liked to see them enforce the adult only hot tubs as well as keep them open more.
Shows - We went to the Livin' in America show on Saturday night as well as the adult midnight comedian. Livin' in America we thought was just ok – my husband really liked the costumes, though! For those of you with small children – the dancers are in thongs most of the show so if you are offended by that you might want to do something else with the kids. The comedian was pretty funny. We planned to go to the show on our second night, but discovered right after dinner that the liquor we had ordered was delivered to our cabin wrong and spent show time in the liquor store getting that fixed. We were too tired for the adult show that night.
Overall I have kind of a mixed feeling about the whole experience. We had a good time - the cruise just didn't quite live up to our expectations after what we experienced on the Miracle.