Well we just returned from a wonderful vacation on the Carnival Victory. I want to thank all the people who recently submitted reviews because I followed many of your tips and everything turned out perfect!!! Here's how my vacation began. We flew the day before the trip to Miami from New York.
Review tip #1 was to stay at the Days Inn Downtown. I got a cheap rate on Orbitz $62.00 for the room and they shuttled us from the airport to the hotel and then in the morning they shuttled us right to the ship. That's a huge savings using the shuttles versus cabs. Tip #2 bring lots of single dollar bills for tips. On Sunday we arrived around 11:30AM at the port and the porters took our bags and off we went to the ship. To my surprise there was no one on line. This was President's week and all the kids were out of school. I was expecting a wait but we walked right up to the metal detectors and straight up to the sign and sail card desk.
Now Tip #3 is make sure you go to Carnival's website and pre- register http://www.carnival.com/mycruise/ this puts you in the computer and all they have to do is check your passports/birth certificates and then give them a credit card. This took 5 minutes and upstairs we went to wait to be called to go on the ship. We waited 15 minutes and on the ship we went!!!
My first impression of the ship is it's beautiful. Not the interior design I'd like to live with but great for a cruise. Everything is nautical from the colors they use to the fish and mermaids in the dining room. Food - the food on this ship is great and so are the choices. They have separate restaurants for New York style deli (roast beef, corned beef, pastrami and reuben sandwiches all day). Mississippi BBQ (steak sandwiches, grilled chicken and burgers) Pizza (not only cheese and pepperoni they made many exotic pizzas) Chinese food (lo mein, sesame chicken, wonton soup). Now these are just the snacks, the food in the dining room is better. The prime rib was the best, Lobster tails were sweet and the pasta's were unbelievable. In the past I've cruised on Princess (Dawn + Grand) and this food was better.
Service - this was disappointing. Our waiter and assistant were boring and inattentive. On Princess the waiters were much more experienced and fun. They were much more eager to please. It's hard to explain but on Princess the waiters knew me and my family after the first sitting. Every night our drinks were waiting without saying a word. Carnival's waiter caught on about half way through our trip. Room Service - the guy who cleaned our room was great. We were 2 adults and 3 children in one room and he kept us in order. Speaking of room service my 13 year old and his friends on the trip had a ball calling and ordering BLT's chocolate cake and cookies whenever they wanted.
Ports of Call - in Cozumel we swam with the dolphins. Don't miss this. It is a little pricey but worth every cent. We bought the video and have the greatest memories. At night Carlos and Charlies and Senior Frogs downtown. Drinks, dancing and henna tattoos for the kids, what a great night. On to the Cayman Islands we snorkeled at 2 reefs and then went and played with the stingrays. You stand about waist deep in water and take pictures of these beautiful creatures. Next we went to Ocho Rios Jamaica. You have to go to Duns River Falls It's great. We rented a van right at the port ($5.00US) per person round trip and worth every cent. I've heard so many bad things about Jamaica but after the falls we went into the town to do some shopping and we never felt unsafe. There are police everywhere.
Here's tip #4 we never take the ship excursions. We did all the same things at the same places but at half the prices. As soon as you get off the ship there are tour operators that will negotiate with you for the same trip the cruise offers, you'll save hundreds. Entertainment - we went to every late show and after that to the disco. The shows were great the comedians were good and the magician still has me stumped. He brought me on stage and right in front of my eyes made 15 showgirls disappear...amazing.
To rap this up in my opinion Carnival Victory is truly a fun ship. It's big, beautiful and has thousands of people on it (many of them children). With her size and # of people you have to go on this trip with the mindset that the little things are not going to bother you.