Background: This was my seventh cruise, but first cruise in ten years. I am 28 and was traveling with my mother, grandmother, two aunts, and 18 year old cousin. We have all cruised before on several lines including Princess, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and NCL. We flew to NYC on Friday and stayed at Marriott Marquis Times Square, a fine hotel in the heart of Broadway. We made it to the port around 1:30 Saturday after a quick tour of NY. Embarkation was a breeze, we were on the ship and in our rooms by a little after 2:00.
Ship: We were all pleasantly surprised with the condition of the ship. I always noticed crew members cleaning and polishing. The only thing that seemed dirty were the windows. I never saw anyone clean them while in port and they were pretty filthy. Other than that, I thought everything was in good shape.
Stateroom: Our stateroom had plenty of room and storage. The six of us had three balcony staterooms right next to each other on the Lido deck,9242, 9238, 9234. Our room steward let us open up the partitions on the balcony so we had one long one to share. That was a lot of fun for us. We had our own private sail away parties on our balcony which helped us avoid the crowds and was easier for my 80 year old grandmother. The balcony was the highlight of my trip! I guess my only complaint as far as the stateroom goes would be the towels. They were thin and not very soft, oh well.
Activities: We did not participate in many activities since we were there to spend family time together. We went to the show the first night and the dancers were like watching a school production. Malcom was the cruise director and he was informative, but that "woo hoo" got annoying. This cruise is totally what you make of it. I know there were a lot of activities because I would watch them on the Carnival video each night in our room. If you want to party you can, if not you can easily avoid it.
Dining: Breakfast- On the days at sea we ate in the dining room . We liked the eggs benedict and the cinnamon rolls best. On our days in port we ordered breakfast to our rooms and ate on our extended balcony- very nice. We would have bagels, danishes, fruit, coffee, and hot tea. Lunch- We ate lunch in the dining room the days we were at sea to avoid the large crowds at the buffet line. Lunch in the dining room was pretty good, the service was a little slow, but that was okay with us since there wasn't much else to do because it was to foggy and cold to be out on the pool deck. On our days in port, our lunch was provided on our tours. Dinner-We had the 8 pm seating in the Pacific dining room, table 321 by the window. We had an excellent view and had a beautiful sunset every night except one. Our head waiter was pleasant and efficient but not overly nice, but that did not bother me. He took our orders and brought the correct food and that is all I ask. Our busboy did go above and beyond. He would bring my Mom's lemons for her water and my hot tea every night as soon as we sat down. I would usually order a fish dish every night and I was pleased with all of my choices. I also really enjoyed the soups. The six of us love lobster and we thought that ours were cooked just right and loved every bite. The warm chocolate melting cake was our favorite dessert and we would also order others to share. The food exceeded my expectations when you consider the amount of people they are serving and the time they have to do it.
Service: Overall, I felt the service was good. We had a few crew members who went above and beyond and the rest just did their jobs. We did not have any problems with any of the service.
Shore Excursions: Saint John, NB- Saint John was so clean and pretty, all of the locals are very nice. It is a very small town, so I suggest you do a tour. Three of us did the Saint Martins and the Bay of Fundy tour. That was great. Our tour guide, Debbie, was a Saint Martins local and she was great. We were on a very nice tour bus and saw the highlights of Saint John including the reversing falls. Then we took a scenic drive, about 45 minutes, to a working fishing harbor and Saint Martins. Saint Martins is very small but so cute. We had a delicious bowl of seafood chowder that was included in the tour. It was nice to see two towns in one day and the weather was gorgeous. Halifax- Five of us did the Peggy's Cove and Lobster Lunch tour. This tour lasted almost six hours. We had a great guide on that tour as well and the bus was nice and clean. We saw a little of Halifax and then went on to Peggy's Cove. We had two hours to explore Peggy's Cove and if the weather hadn't been so beautiful, that would have been too much time. We really lucked up with the weather. After Peggy's Cove we had a tasty lobster lunch and everyone got a whole lobster that was so fresh! We also got to go by the Swiss Air Memorial before heading back to Halifax. I would recommend both of these tours. My only complaint is that I didn't have time to go to the Titanic museum, but I guess I'll have to go back another trip.
Disembarkation: This went so smoothly we were almost in shock. We were off the boat and through customs by 9 am. Such a nice surprise!
We had a great cruise for a great price. After this cruise, I would definitely tell people to give the Victory a chance.