Hello, Had a great trip so I thought I'd write a review for those wondering what cruise to take next. Okay, I have a lot to say- so if you're looking for The general cruise info, scroll down a little, Otherwise- Please read, I like to get into detail :-) Hope you find my review useful!
Why we took a Cruise:
I'm from Rhode Island (way over near NY for those who aren't sure. You would be surprised by the many people I meet who have no idea what RI is, lol). This winter got all the way down to a -20º windchill, usually around 10-20º in winter, so it was time to get away. We booked our cruise last year and it couldn't of came sooner. We went to the airport in Boston & landed in Florida. Anyways, we were greeted by friendly "Carnival people" who were more than polite. From there we got on a bus to Miami. The Carnival terminal isn't giant so it's easy to find your way around.
Embarkment was a breeze (I suggest you complete and Online fun-pass for convenience). Once we got past all the normal odds and ends, we finally made our way to the ship. Walking onto deck 3, we were greeted by several staff along the way. After adding credit to our sail & sign accounts and so on, we made our way to our stateroom (Main Deck 2 AFT), opened the door and was surprised by the size and storage space. I mean- you can fit anything you will ever buy at any port of call into one single closet, and they give you 3! Card activated safe gave sense of security.
After getting settled in, the Muster Station drill of course comes. This is usually a hassle on most ships with crowds, pushing and everything else you would expect but I was surprised how the crew handled everything. Overall the most organized Muster Station Drill I have ever seen, I don't think i ever felt stressed that whole drill.
The ship itself -- The Destiny class Carnival Victory, Built in Italy in 2000, what can I say? It's a beautiful ship, I will get more into this below.
DECKS AND ENTERTAINMENT ON THE VICTORY:
When you first walk into the Caribbean lounge, you instantly forget you are on board a ship, because it is something you expect to see the academy or grammy awards hosted at. It is GIANT and state of the art lighting and sound add to it. Flaw: there is a few seats with pillars blocking vision, but then again, you must have these, obviously. Moving 1 seat over takes care of the problem. There is more than enough seats, even though they all might not be PERFECT views, you still will see the show. Broadway/Vegas type shows "room", "Living in America" and the Star studded dancers did a great job in the Caribbean lounge, the Victory Dancers are very talented, as well as the special guest "star-studded dancers."
Lido Deck 9: is by far my favorite area to chill out. Around Triton's pool there is a stage and a calypso reggae band named "Extasy" had the whole crowd dancing, and we haven't even untied from the the pier yet, this was a sign i was going to have a lot of fun! I cannot say enough about that reggae band, they were perfect. Everything from general reggae, Bob Marley, etc- to the latest music out. And they don't sing over pre-recorded background music, they are LIVE, drums, keyboard and all and it sounds just as if it came out of a high end studio. I wish i could of took the whole band with me and put them in my back yard to play on demand, lol. They were one of the best reggae bands I have heard, and I've been to Jamaica a few times before. And the members were very cool people, down to earth, friendly, they would sit with you and talk, whatever you want. The sound systems on the Victory are VERY good in my opinion.
Promenade Deck 5: SHOPPING, ARCADES, DISCO CLUBS you name it, you find it on the Promenade deck. I spent a lot of time in the disco (haha) very good system, 500 some odd monitors, glass floors- better than most of the dance clubs in NY if you ask me.
The Casino on the Promenade deck is GIANT. I'm not sure how many slot and gaming machines, but I'd say well over 200 and they are high quality, many game tables, and of course, an ATM not too far. Large bar located next to it, and a wait staff. I didn't spend too much time in here because I wanted to explore more of the ship (although i did give it a shot, did win $50 more than i walked in with, nothing great- but was only there for about 30 minutes!).
They have a teen disco on Promenade deck in the Arctic Disco. My 16 year old son, Mike, went there a few times and had a great time. Great place for all the teens to hang while the adults do what they do!
Promenade deck is great, Neptunes way, fresh cookie shop, lounge areas, massage chairs, giant digital map of the ships location, etc- I could fill up a whole page alone on just the Promenade deck. I can sum it up like this, if you had to spend the whole week on Promenade and couldn't enter any other decks, don't worry, you wouldn't get bored and you would see something new every time.
Lobby deck 3 is full of such features as service desk for excursions, adding $ to your sail and sign account and more. Also you can walk out the doors on lobby deck to a nice outdoor area. The atrium area of lobby deck 3 usually has live piano/violin and such classical music playing.
Speaking of the atrium, one word. STUNNING! you would expect this atrium to be on a ship twice it's size. I loved it, classic yet modern design, glass elevators, lighted stair cases, etc. If you get on a glass elevator and ride upwards, the atrium gives a great view and look- I found myself taking about 20 pictures on the way up, lol.
As i was saying Lido Deck 9 is the party area, live music. I lost count on how many lounge chairs on deck. The wait staff all over the ship is great, Sompong and Manual did a great job. Manual has a talent for dancing with the drinks on his head, very entertaining for the kids lol. They were 2 great waiters that stuck out to me over all because of how nice and polite they were.
The Crew: another thing about Carnival, many of the ships crew are from countries all over the world. Every time I seen a crew member, I was always tempted to look on their name tag to see were they come from because it was so interesting. Yet I never had to explain something twice, they speak and understand PERFECT English, many even understand slang and joke around with you and all.
The Captain: Master Capt. Francesco La Fauci is a great captain. Most capts stay hidden until they have to do a speech onboard. When it wasn't his duty to be on command in the bridge, Capt La Fauci would walk around the ship to make sure everything is in shape, everyone is happy, shake hands, take pictures, answer as many questions about the ship as you could think of. And he is an over all nice guy, as most of us Italians are (haha).
Ports of Call:
Cozumel, Mexico George Town, Grand Cayman Ocho Rios, Jamaica.
My only complaint, and it's not Carnival's fault, but 2 out of 3 ports of call it rained, it actually would clear up toward the end of the day, so the day wasn't lost.
7 mile beach on Grand Cayman is still one of my most favorite places in the western Caribbean, I love exploring Cozumel, and Jamaica is beautiful. I have a complaint, but I've been there many times and it happens to many tourists. Jamaicans are very nice people, but MANY of them try and offer you drugs. They don't say it loud, they respect if you have children, so it's not really all too bad, I would just have a shirt made that says "No Thanks" haha. The shop owners will practically beg you to come over. I usually look, then sooner or later you have to use the "Sorry man, No Money" or "I'm late for my ship" excuse, usually gets them off your case. But besides the scavengers here or there, Jamaica is a great place, the beaches are perfect. I still prefer 7 mile beach, Grand Cayman. Dunn's falls is a great place, climbing the falls is great and not as dangerous as it may look, just don't slip! :-)
DINNING: Ohhh I don't know were to start. We had early seating 5:45 dinning, our table was directly at the stern, meaning- wonderful ocean view. The formal dinning experience was great, and when we felt like lounging, the Mediterranean, deli, 24 hour pizzeria, BBQ and more did just fine.
For those with kids, or if you prefer it also, I suggest- BUY the fountain fun pass, it's $29.99 and my kids drink about a million sodas a day, so it paid for itself over and over, instead of having it charged to your sail and sign account, your kids or you just show the fountain pass and you pay ZERO. It is the greatest idea, sodas can get expensive. I'm sure between just my 2 kids, they drank like $200 worth of soda alone, LOL.
Carnival offers MANY shore excursions and tours, take advantage of these, they are GREAT.
I just felt like I should share my review. I will defiantly sail with Carnival again, I have cruised with everyone from Royal Caribbean to Costa, and Carnival will be my next cruise- altho Royal Caribbean and Costa are VERY nice lines that I would sail with any day, Carnival won me over, again.
I'd like to hear from anyone who was on the 02/15/2004 Carnival Victory western Caribbean cruise, email me at StriperSearch@netzero.net. I look forward to hearing your comments on the cruise or my review. If you are taking a trip or thinking of taking a trip on the Victory and have any questions, feel free to ask me- I pretty much know every inch of that ship by now, lol. Thanks!
Thanks for listening to my novel of a review, please let me know if it helped you.
Bye for now! Mike Sr, Robyn, Chelsea and Mike jr.