I just returned from the August 11, 2007 sailing of the Carnival Victory. This cruise sailed from New York City to St. John and Halifax Canada. The only other cruise I had been on before this was the Premier Disney Cruise when I was a little child. While I don't have much to compare this cruise to, overall I had a good time but it was clear to me that a few things could use improvement even though the cruise is great.
My husband and I arrived at the pier at around 11:30 a.m. As we drove up in a taxi, we were both in shock and pleasantly surprised by the size of the ship. Embarkation was very organized. When we arrived, we were asked to sit down for a while before checking in. There were actually a lot of people already there. I liked the entire embarkation staff except one person. The rest were very friendly. There was this one woman who kept saying over and over again that there was a huge wedding that was going to board the ship and he would go first. I completely understand why they would go first. However, this woman kept going on in such a fashion that she made it seem like Carnival only cared about the wedding and not the rest of the guests. I wouldn't want this woman representing my company. Otherwise, embarkation was great. The problem I just mentioned was pretty minor. We were on the ship by about 12:30 p.m. and our room was ready by 1:30 p.m. The room was clean and we stayed in a balcony room. It was a nice size.
Most of the staff was very friendly and hard-working. We had the most wonderful waiter and waitress, Iwalan from Indonesia and Irina from Russia. They learned our names and our likes and dislikes. They were friendly and they worked really hard to make sure we had a good experience. They even sang happy anniversary to us. Irina was even employee of the month so we are definitely not the only people who thought that she was great. Iwalan deserves that honor as well. They both deserve a great vacation. They work so hard and so many hours. I wish them the best.
Our steward always did his job, but was invisible. It would've been nice if he would have introduced himself to us. Other than that, he did a great job and I loved the towel animals.
It seemed like everybody was working very hard. The ship was very clean and I constantly saw people cleaning it.
Entertainment and Activities
The entertainment staff was great. I will start out with Malcolm Burns, the Cruise Director, woo hoo. For anyone who has had Malcolm as their cruise director you know he always says woo hoo. I've seen others comment on it. I have to say I loved the woo hoo. He explained to us that it is important to make the most of your vacation. As a person who doesn't get to vacation much, I liked that he reminded me that vacation time was woo hoo. As a New Yorker, once in a while I can be a little cynical. He reminded me to check that at the door and maybe I can keep that checked now that I'm home. Malcolm was also very funny and my husband and I enjoyed going to the events and talks that he ran.
The assistant cruise director was Samantha and she was good as well. She had a lot of responsibilities and ran many of the events. She had a good sense of humor. If I had to guess, I think that the hardest part must be for the crew to keep up its energy. What I mean by that is that they are doing the same thing over and over again each cruise, but it is important to make it seem like it's new and special. I think Malcolm and Samantha did a good job of this. The social director Jeff was also pretty funny and entertaining.
This shows were all good except one. I'll get to that one in a minute. The Carnival dancers were great. They have high energy and were very talented. The two singers were great especially Eveline. She should audition for American Idol. She blew us away with her talent. I liked all of the shows that the singers and dancers were in. While the storyline or plot of these shows were mediocre the talent in the shows made up for it. I also want to note that the comedian was very funny.
The only show I did not like was the magic show. The magician's name was Rand. He did maybe four or five tricks. Most of his act consisted of embarrassing the audience and no I wasn't one of those people but it annoyed me. I actually like shock humor and I'm not a politically correct person. However, this guy was supposed to be a magician and he does barely any tricks. His attempts at comedy were boring and weak. I think this show should be reevaluated. It just wasn't entertaining. He embarrassed this poor old lady and this poor little boy. It almost seemed like he felt better about himself by putting others down. It was not a Las Vegas style magic show and I thought the shows were supposed to be Las Vegas style.
In terms of the games, I thought they were great. I enjoyed survivor, the newlywed game etc. However, I think they should have been more games and activities. There were times when there was not much going on. The first day at sea needed more activities. The last day at sea was activity filled. The towel folding demonstration on the last day could have been more organized. There were a lot of people there and most people could not see what the representative from housekeeping was doing. It would have been helpful if the camera was on him while he was doing the towel folding and it was projected on the big screen.
We did not book any offshore excursions. In Saint John we went to the whale Museum which was really informative, visited Loyalist house which was a very quaint museum, and went shopping. In Halifax, we walked the boardwalk, we went to the Maritime Museum, which had a great Titanic exhibit and went to the Buskers Festival, which was an outdoor theater Festival that was going on while we were there. We also ate lunch at a place called Salty's on the boardwalk which was great. We saved so much money this way. The weather wasn't so great at either port so both times we went back early.
I thought the food in the dining room was mostly good. My husband didn't like it as much. I thought the food was good, but not great. My favorite meal was the prime rib. My husband enjoyed the escargot appetizer and the veal Parmesan most. My steak on the first night was overcooked, but otherwise I like everything in the dining room. While there were some shortcomings, both my husband and I agreed that the dining room was great because of the service we received and the atmosphere.
We had 6:15 p.m. seating in the Atlantic dining room. Our maitre d' Jean-Paul granted our request for a table for two since it was our anniversary and we wanted a more romantic seating arrangement. Jean-Paul was great. As far as I know, he is the only singing maitre d' at sea. He does an amazing Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, and Louis Armstrong imitation. We found out he is leaving the ship in two weeks time. We feel lucky that he was still there while we were. He is very talented and entertaining. The waiters and waitresses danced and sang and that was great. I loved all their shows.
The Lido deck was not impressive in my opinion and my husband agreed. We did not think there was enough variety on the lunch buffet. I know they were hot dogs and hamburgers and deli sandwiches etc. but I wasn't really interested in those. I didn't come on vacation to eat that kind of stuff that I can eat at home. I was hoping for more interesting variety on the buffet.
Disembarkation was extremely organized. They were trying a new method that had to do with zones. It was very organized and the longest line I waited on was a taxi line which had nothing to do with Carnival.
Overall, it was a really fun ship and we had a great time. We wish we were still there. I should add in here that we did not wait on many lines at all. I saw that others complained about lines. The only line that I experienced was when we returned from St. John. It had just started raining and a lot of people were trying to get on the boat, which was unavoidable. Otherwise, I did not see a line problem at all.