Getting to port/embarkation: We took a cab from our hotel in Times Square and although he didn't go all the way into the terminal area (said they would charge) it was a fairly easy walk across the street and down the pier. We decided to try for an early check in (not realizing Carnival had sent an email the day before encouraging early arrival) and it was FABULOUS. We were on the Lido Deck within 15 minutes after being dropped off by the cab. Rooms of course were not ready until 1:30 but it was no big deal.
Cabin: After some research I decided to change our reservation to an interior room on the Lido deck. It was a GREAT decision. I loved being so close to everything and the noise was minimal. I also loved having an interior cabin as it was great for sleeping late and not having light peek in. Just what I like when I'm on vacation.
I never got our room stewards name, but he kept the room in great shape and was always very friendly in the hall.
Food: I love food and I especially love good food. I thought the food was pretty darn good. Keep in mind we did just spend 4 days in the city where we were fortunate to have some terrific meals, but in the grand scheme of things, I thought the food on the Victory held it's own. I am realistic and know that preparing food for over 3000 people must be extremely difficult. I also know that there is no way they are going to make everyone happy so when I hear negative comments about the food I take it with a grain of salt. Personally I feel there is enough selection to ensure one can find something on the menu they enjoy and I know our waiter had NO problems delivering another dish if someone requested it.
Speaking of extra dishes, our entire table (of 7) was given 3 (yes I said 3) lobsters a piece on formal night. We had the late seating which I absolutely loved. No rush to get finished, we were guaranteed extras of anything we wanted, and no rush during the day to have an early lunch. Of course that is personal preference, but that's just us. Several food items really stood out at dinner: Lobster, Grouper, Salmon, Panko shrimp (yes I really love seafood) and the Chateaubriand. I missed dinner one night because I wasn't feeling well so I don't know about the filet, but heard it was quite good. Also loved the mashed potatoes. I'm sure there were other things, but I'm drawing a blank. For dessert I had the Melting Cake twice, didn't love it so much the first time (very soupy) but thought it was one of the best things I've ever tasted the second go round. Also thought the creme brulee was delicious. For lunch we really enjoyed the pizza (had it several times) and the wok. Breakfast buffet was also pretty good.
Entertainment/Activities: Loved Malcom the Cruise Director although the "whoo hoo" got slightly annoying after a bit. But he was hilarious. Thought all of the shows were really good, especially Vroom! We loved it.
We took part in several of the activities including multiple trivia games. We had a GREAT time playing trivia and came in second (just missed it by a point) in the two day "Super Trivia". Also, thought the Newlywed Game was pretty entertaining and would have liked to have seen something similar on the second sea day.
Ports: Saint John - we walked around the area and found it to be quaint and pleasant and even though it didn't appear there was much to do, it was nice to just be off the ship enjoying the air for a few hours. Had calamari and mussels at Steamers and it was the best we have ever had. Very cool place.
Halifax - we elected to do the fishing excursion and while my husband thought it was ok, I was pretty miserable. Sea was VERY wavy and people were getting sick all over the place. It was drop line fishing with no bait - only feather hooks. Now I'm no fishing expert, but I'm pretty sure there are better alternatives out there. I caught 3 pretty small fish and that was enough for me. It was very slow at first and looked to be a long adventure with about 20 people all standing at the side with poles. However, things did perk up a bit when apparently we ran through a school of fish because all of a sudden everyone was catching them. It was the highlight of the day. I personally would not recommend this excursion and even though my husband thought it was ok, I don't think he would either.
Weather: WONDERFUL first day at sea. High 70s, no clouds, windy near front of ship but we found chairs at the back on the level above the Lido deck and it was perfect. Got lots of sun.
Fog and rain set in as we arrived in Saint John. It did lift each day later in the day, and Halifax actually turned out to be quite nice, but the mornings were very foggy.
2nd sea day started out gloomy but picked up later in the day and turned out to be pretty nice.
I heard several people complain about the weather being so cold. I had to bite my tongue. Seriously? I'm pretty sure the itinerary clearly says CANADA when booking. Sorry, I just get irritated when people act ignorant.
Service: Terrific! Everyone was extremely friendly and helpful and always smiling. Our head waiter, Zubin, was FANTASTIC and I can't say enough wonderful things about him. The assistant waiter, Manuel, was also terrific. I also heard some complaints about the service and again I had to bite my tongue. Having just spent 4 days in the city I have honestly never had slower service. We did not complain as we were on vacation and everyone was very nice, we didn't need to get in a big hurry. But to hear people complain about the service on the ship was surprising. The majority of the passengers appeared to be from the NY/NJ area so I guess that's why it was so surprising. Maybe it's not slow everywhere in the area? Anyway, like I said earlier, I know you can't please everyone so that's probably just par for the course.
Ship condition: I have read some complaints about the age and condition of the ship and I noticed nothing that I wouldn't have expected from an 8 year old ship. Considering how many people have been through those doors, I thought it was in excellent condition. Very clean and comfortable.
Debarkation: Did self assist and ready by 7:30. Waited on the Promenade until our floor was called and we were out the door in less than 20 minutes. Through customs shortly after and were at LGA by 9:00. It was terrific...especially after reading horror stories. I think the key is being ready at 7:30 and waiting on 5. We took the stairs down two flights and beat the elevators which helped tremendously.
Overall: We really, really enjoyed our cruise on the Victory. Would I go again? Definitely not to Canada (not because of not enjoying it, but just something I'm glad to do once) but definitely on another Carnival cruise. This is my 4th, but the other 3 were 10 or more years ago. Would I cruise Victory again? Definitely, but would prefer another simply because I like to try new things.