July 2nd through 7th cruise from New York to Saint John NB.
My girlfriend and I, both in our mid 40's accompanied my elderly mother on this cruise, our first on Carnival.
This was Mom's first cruise, and our 8th. All previous were with Royal Caribbean, so we knew going in that this would probably not be as pampering as a Royal cruise, but it was a short, last minute getaway at a good price.
Booking: The Carnival Booking agent was great. I had to contact them by phone, as I needed to book "special needs" accommodations. The agent assured me that the balcony cabin on Deck 10 would be okay, however there were no handicap modified or full access cabins available, nor were there refrigerators to keep Mom's insulin cold, but she again assured us that we would be provided with ice and an early dinner seating to accommodate her diabetes. We took a chance...Two days prior to departure, someone from the "medical staff" of Carnival called to explain that although the the ship is said to be accessible, there are areas of the ship that are not. She mentioned the majority of the pool decks, the spa deck, the sun deck, and others... so I found out too late to cancel, that Mom would be stuck inside for the majority of the trip. Okay - we'll deal with that.
Arrival and check in @ Port of New York:
Upon arriving at the private car parking area at the pier, where we pre-paid the attendant $120, she told us that we would have to park on the roof, and yes there were handicapped spots there. The spot we found was appx. 30 parking spaces from the elevator, which after getting Mom into her wheelchair and pulling all of our luggage behind us, found to be broken. We had to walk the length of the lot, down the ramp to the 2nd floor of the parking garage while pushing a wheelchair and dragging luggage. On the way, there was a rather large rut and grate in the concrete, where one of the wheels to Mom's chair became stuck and the wheel bent almost in 1/2. A few lot attendants walked right by us - no one even asked if we needed help. It wasn't until another cruise passenger came around the corner, that my faith in mankind was restored. This wonderful man pulled our suitcase for us, and helped us get the wheelchair to the 2nd. floor elevator, helped us off of the elevator, and made sure that we arrived at the check-in area safely. A member of the Carnival staff that helps with special needs persons made getting on the ship a breeze - he brought us a Carnival wheelchair, pushed Mom all the way to our cabin door, and told us to please keep the wheelchair for the duration of the cruise. What a gem he was !!
The Cabin and Cruise: The three of us stayed in a balcony cabin - two of us shared a king sized bed, and the other had an upper bunk bed that pulled out from the ceiling. It worked out well, because it left the aisle to the bathroom clear for Mom to get to. WORD OF ADVICE - if you or a travel companion have issues with knees, hips, or any other issues with walking stairs, wait for a modified or fully accessible cabin - a balcony cabin has a large step in to the bathroom - a real challenge each time Mom had to use it....we were not advised of this prior.
The ship was so-so, pretty average to us, and nothing like Royal. WAY too many photography studio set ups in the main aisle ways - made it nearly impossible to get a wheelchair through the promenade, and the rude obnoxious nature of some of the guests made us feel most unwelcome. Way to many kids/teens running around unattended, up and down the hallways, yelling and screaming well past midnight, being disruptive at the shows - all with no intervention from the crew.
Leaving the ship was actually a pleasure - again because a member of the crew who attends to those with special needs assisted us off the ship, through the terminal to the curb, and even helped us load our luggage.
To the Crew - Many Thanks !! You were all great !! To the Booking agent - shame on you for putting a sale before the comfort of a guest. If you would have been honest, we may have booked a different cruise and paid for the modified cabin. Which I also think is terrible and discriminatory, but .... To Carnival - Victory needs work - showing age. Take a look at the pier and parking areas that your guests encounter. I'm sure you pay to dock there... if so, your guests deserve better. To the Cruise Director or whomever is responsible to ensure that passengers are not wreaking havoc on your ship - limit the # of children/teens. Their behavior was ridiculous - if I were the parent of some of them, I would have been embarrassed to admit they were mine.