My husband and I just returned from a 4 night cruise on the Carnival Victory. We got what we thought was a great deal on a balcony room. Turns out, we got what we paid for. This cruise left a bad taste in our mouth with Carnival and we both agreed we will not consider sailing with Carnival Cruise Lines again; rather stick to Norwegian.
Embarkation was OK. We arrived slightly after boarding began, only to find blocks of 200+ people awaiting embarkation. Overall, we waited maybe 30-45 minutes, which was fine.
Our room was great. Thankfully we upgraded to a balcony room and this was our saving grace. Without this room to escape to it would have been an even worse vacation - there's not enough deck space or room in the vessel's common areas for the large number of people onboard. To say the ship was crowded was an understatement!
Food - terrible, and I'm not referring only to the taste. We constantly had to wait for food. The buffet line would easily be 30+ minute wait times. The pool side dining, not quite as long a wait, but still long for pre-cooked burger & fries. The dining room (we had the 2nd seating) would find hoards of people waiting 20 or so minutes past the designated seating time waiting to be let in. The dining room food was decent, although we were both left very sick the first night, unable to get a good night sleep. The buffet food was simply awful. Awful tasting, too much salt on nearly everything and constant mixing of utensils by passengers (i.e., using the tongs for chicken to serve themselves fish).
The food situation on board made me long for Norwegian's "freestyle dining" where you can eat what you want, when you want without having to face crowds of people.
The wait staff - especially those in the common areas selling drinks - were very pushy. If we are sitting, with drinks in hands, why do we need a waiter approaching us every 5 minutes offering to sell us more drinks?? I realize alcohol is how the ship makes its money, but this was ridiculous. Note to wait staff - back off on your sell tactics!
The weather was bad - incredible fog, wind and cold. So a few activities were canceled because of that. Certainly not the ship's fault. But it also made everyone flock indoors because outside was so cold. Again, adding to the very crowded feel of the ship.
Our destination - St. John's in NB, Canada - is definitely a one horse town. Much smaller than we expected with little to do other than walk the one or two streets filled with restaurants and indoor shopping malls. Probably a lovely waterfront town in nice weather, but in the cold, fog and drizzle we had it was less than memorable.
Debarkation was a nightmare! It took more than 3 hours, with little direction from the crew, many of whom were very hard to understand. Other passengers were very agitated and starting to yell and complain. Not a great way to end a trip.
Overall, we say use your hard earned money for a better cruise and ship. I think we'll stick with Norwegian or maybe try another line as we didn't have a great experience with Carnival.