We flew into Ft Lauderdale the day prior and the left the day after the cruise. We had booked into the Best Western Oceanside which was a clean but older 3 star hotel about 1/2 blk from the beach. They include a full hot breakfast, have a small pool and work together with a limo company that had great service and prices to/from the Ft Lauderdale airport and the Ports of Miami and Ft Lauderdale. If you plan on staying here just call them directly and ask for the Limo company's phone number. We used the service and it was excellent! Cheaper than the cruise lines transfers!
I can't comment too much differently than other reviewers about the Victory, except to reiterate that we felt the food was just ok. Not enough fresh and varied fruits or vegetables to suit me...and fish and meat entrees in the dining room were either just ok or not great (overcooked, swimming in odd sauces, greasy etc etc). The Lido deck buffet was again just ok. Our dining room waiters made up for any food discrepancies as they were awesome!
Our cabin was a forward balcony and there was my husband, myself and our 10 yr old son...loved the cabin! Lots of storage...great cabin stewards! Due to rough seas we did feel movement - wouldn't go in Jan or Feb again but rather late march or early April due weather. Very windy most days.
Lido deck/pool side band got a bit tiresome - same reggae songs day after day. Would have been nice to just have a varied music radio station.
Good thing we went through our cabin charges with a fine toothed comb as we found 3 different charges that were not ours. Very disappointing that the pursers desk could not assist - had to wait till we got home to fight the charges and a week later am still waiting the outcome.
Ports of call - Cozumel: Us and 4 friends (7 in total) took a cab from ship to Paradise Beach. Great day of fun - lots for the kids to do, lounge chairs with umbrellas, drinks, good food...well recommended.
Grand Cayman - didn't like this stop. Shops were very pricey and I guess I was expecting more as to the 7 mile beach. Ended up going back to the ship early as it started raining.
Ocho Rios Jamaica - this is definitely the stop to book an independent tour. We used Marva Shaw at www.knowjamaica.com - we beat the crowds at Dunns River, did some shopping and then a lazy river raft ride down the White river...late lunch on the mountainside. Excellent little tour and way cheaper than the ship excursions. Our little group of 7 had the minibus to ourselves. We did not have to fight the crowds and our guide/driver kept the aggressive vendors at bay.
We would do Carnival again if we were able to get this great of a deal but would like to maybe explore RCCL.