This was our second time on this itinerary. Even though the first cruise was in late spring, I preferred the fall one. The weather was cooler and there were fewer children on board. We had several storms with high winds and moderate seas. The sea was wild and beautiful! We spent a great deal of time on Deck 3, right off the lobby sitting in comfortable deck chairs just watching the ocean. This area is very quiet and it was a great spot for napping.
Embarkation: My brother dropped us off at 3:30. After the porter took our luggage we made our way into the terminal. The line was long but moved fairly quickly and we were aboard and in our cabin by 4:00. The staff in the terminal was friendly and helpful.
The ship: Victory is rather garish in color and in some areas downright tacky but that just added to the fun. She is well maintained and very clean. Crew members were always cleaning, wiping, vacuuming, etc.
Our cabin: We were in an inside cabin (2-314 on the Main Deck) this time and found it very pleasant. It was large enough for the two of us and had plenty of storage space. The bathroom while small was perfectly serviceable. We spent very little time in the cabin, preferring to be on the open decks.
The Crew: In a word fabulous! Our cabin steward and his assistant were terrific. They worked very hard and our cabin was always clean and tidy. Our wait staff was the best. They were fun and funny and seemed to really enjoy their jobs which made our dining experience even better. Other crew members we encountered were friendly, helpful and always smiling. Malcolm Burn, the cruise director didn't seem to be very accessible. We never saw him except in the lounge when he was hosting shows. He was funny but his constant Woo Hoos, even on the PA system announcements began to wear a little thin by the end of the cruise.
Dining: We ate in the Pacific dining room (lower level) every evening. We had a great view of the ocean and really enjoyed watching it as we ate. Following the suggestions of our wait staff, we tried several new foods. Some we liked and some we didn't. Overall the food was great! It was served promptly and at the perfect temperatures. We ate breakfasts on the Lido deck which had typical buffet foods-good, filling and plentiful. My husband loved the omelet station. We ate all but one lunch on the Lido deck, preferring the deli to the rest of the venues. Our favorites were the grilled Rueben and the hot pastrami & corned beef. We ate one lunch in the dining room but it was so cold in there we couldn't really enjoy the food. Everyone at our table shivered throughout the meal! A great deal of coffee and hot tea was consumed. Snacks were always available and fresh fruit was plentiful. The only things that didn't impress us were the cakes. For the most part they were dry and rather tasteless. The major exception to this was the warm chocolate melting cake, which is more like a brownie and due to the melted chocolate is very moist. Coupled with the small dish of vanilla ice cream, this dessert was my favorite.
Onboard activities: The casino was fun and always crowded. We didn't win any money but that didn't matter. We had fun trying. The shows were great! All of the entertainers seem to really enjoy their jobs. We were disappointed when rough seas forced the cancellation of the VROOOM (history of rock and roll) show but that certainly could not be helped. The safety of the entertainers had to come first. An alternate show was quickly put together with the two comedians on board and it was fine. I thoroughly enjoyed High Tea in the Ionian Room. Just an extra bit of pampering that truly made my afternoon. Movies on the giant outdoor screen were fun and relaxing. Watching the various activities on the lido deck was fun also. We didn't get in the pools at all because the water was so cold. The pool temperatures were 59 and that didn't appeal to us. At times the sea was so rough, the pools had to be closed for safety reasons. There was a Halloween costume contest. We didn't participate but loved seeing all of the folks who did, dressed up in some very unique costumes.
Shore excursions: We didn't plan an excursion in Freeport so took our time eating breakfast and waiting for the crowds disembarking to leave before going ashore. We strolled around the area near the pier, bought a few souvenirs and headed back to the ship before lunch time. We had a stingray snorkeling tour booked in Nassau but rough waters in the harbor forced a cancellation. We were not disappointed because neither of us were crazy about the idea of being in a small boat in such rough water. We walked around Nassau, going first to the Harley-Davidson shop and then just meandered around town, peeking into little shops and enjoying ourselves. We bought a few items and then returned to the ship, again in time for a late lunch.
Debarkation: This was my only area of complaint. We tied up in Charleston at 6:00 AM and debarkation began shortly after that. We took our time, had one last breakfast aboard and thought we would be off the ship about 8:00. Due to some passengers not doing what they were supposed to do, our deck wasn't even cleared to begin until after 9:00. We were finally off the ship and collecting our luggage in the terminal at 10:30. I understand the terminal here is small and it takes a while to get the luggage moved so that is to be expected. Some passengers held things up by not listening and thinking that the rules don't apply to them. They tried to disembark prior to their zone being called. This resulted in them being sent back aboard and gumming up the works for the rest of us.
Overall: An excellent vacation and we will definitely sail with Carnival again but will try a different itinerary next time.