Just got back on Monday from a wonderful cruise vacation on the Carnival Victory. We are a family of 4, 2 adults, 2 teenagers ages 14 and 17. We flew into San Juan the night prior to the cruise and stayed at the Courtyard by Marriott Miramar. This hotel is about 10 minutes by taxi from the airport. The cost for 4 people plus luggage is approximately $20-$25. The next morning we checked out at noon and took a taxi to the port, about a 10 minute ride. Again about $20 -$25.
Embarkation was a breeze! We were able to get checked in right away when we arrived but were not permitted on board until around 1:30pm which was ok with us because we needed time to purchase our duty free liquor for the cruise. I can't believe how cheap the liquor was! We put a bottle of rum, vodka and tequila in our carry on luggage and got it through security without any questions! This was so awesome as it saved us a ton of money on drinks. Getting to the port that early is highly recommended to avoid lines. Once on board we went directly to our cabin which was cleaned and ready for us. We put our carry on luggage in the room and were cheerfully greeted right away by our stateroom steward Jerry. We went on deck for some lunch then headed off the ship for site seeing in San Juan. We took the free trolley to the El Morro fort which we loved! Beautiful views of the ocean. Got back on the ship at 4:30pm and got ready for dinner. I must say that all of the dinners we had in the dining room were really good. Stick with the specials of the day and you won't be disappointed.
As for our room, we booked an outside cabin on deck 1 and were very happy with our accommodations. The room had a king size bed, a couch that converted into a twin bed and an upper pull down bed. The 4 of us were very comfortable. The room is very large and has a lot of closet space. You can fit all of your suitcases under the kingsize bed which was nice to get those out of the way. The bathroom was also spacious with a hairdryer and medicine cabinet. The rooms also have comfy bathrobes and a safe for your valuables.
Our first port day was at St. Thomas. We've been there before and did the Captain Nautica snorkel trip. We loved that but decided to just take a cab to Megan's bay. The cab was $8 per person one way. Once we got to the beach it was an additional $4 per person to get on the beach. It was gorgeous and we had a nice time lying in the sun and swimming. There was a beach bar and restaurant and also a gift shop. This beach is really worth going to as it is so beautiful.
Day 2 was Dominica. We slept in, had a late breakfast and headed out on our excursion at around noon. The excursion was called Champagne snorkel and it was an ok excursion but they were very unorganized and we wasted a lot of time. We weren't impressed by the snorkeling either. We had a guide that was with us in the water who was very informative but we didn't see a lot of colorful fish or coral like some other excursions we've been on. If we were to do it over again, we would have gone to the rain forest and visited the emerald pool.
Day 3 was spent at Barbados. We did the Aerial Trek Zipline tour. It was a blast! It was way more organized then the snorkel tour on Dominica which we were very pleased with. It was a morning excursion and we didn't get back to the ship until 2pm. I wish we would have taken a cab to a nearby beach but we were kind of tired so we hung out on board. I heard the beaches though were really nice.
Day 4 was at St. Lucia. Our favorite island on the whole cruise. It was so scenic with beautiful beaches. Our excursion this time was called the Pirates Extravaganza. We got on a pirate ship that was used in one of the Pirates of the Caribbean movies and sailed along the coast to an island called Pigeon Island. They played fun music and we drank rum punch. When we got to the island the kids went on a treasure hunt and my husband and I sat on the beach and went swimming. It was so gorgeous there I didn't want to leave. We had a really fun day.
Day 5 was at Antigua. We didn't have an excursion planned so we rented a taxi to take us on a private tour or the island. It cost $100 for the 4 of us and it was well worth it. We drove down to the southern part of the island were there is a national park. The park has many old forts and look out points where you get a great views of the island. You'll also get to see Eric Clapton's house that is built on the side of a cliff overlooking the ocean. The driver drove through the rainforest and dropped us off at Jolly Beach for an hour. The beach, water and scenery were fantastic! He picked us up and drove back to the pier. We were glad we took this tour as we could tell the driver what we wanted to do. He was also very informative and friendly.
Day 6 was at St. Kitts. I wasn't expecting much since other reviews didn't make it sound that great but we thought the island was beautiful! We didn't go on any excursions this day but got off the ship and did some shopping. It was a beautiful port and had some of the best shopping of the whole cruise. Nice new and clean shops. I got a great deal on a knock off Coach purse and the kids bought t-shirts. That's all we did as the ship left port at 4pm. Go up on the deck though and watch the ship leave the harbor there are other islands nearby that you will pass that are really incredible. We almost missed our 6pm dinner because we were enjoying the scenery so much. Dinner was delicious as usual. After dinner we had to get packed and get our checked luggage outside our door by 10pm.
Day 7 back at San Juan at around 7am. We didn't get up until around 8:30am and had breakfast at around 9am. We weren't in a big hurry to get off the ship as were staying over night in San Juan before heading home. The airfare was so much cheaper for us to stay another night so that's why we did that. We left the ship at around 10:30am and debarkation was just as smooth as embarkation. We loved stopping at a port every day. It was a great way to see a lot of islands. However, if you want to hang out on the ship during the day instead of doing something on the islands, there isn't much going on. Most people get off the ship so it seems a bit quiet. We like doing that sometimes and my only complaint about this cruise is that they have an outdoor big screen TV that plays CNN for a couple of hours in the morning then it shows a movie at around 10am. I didn't like this at all because I was on vacation to relax and didn't want to hear about the economy. And when they played the movie, it was so loud even my ipod couldn't cover up the noise. I ended up going to the back of the ship most of the time where it was quiet. I would have liked to be in the middle of the ship though once in awhile to be in a more central location. Luckily we were off the ship a lot so it wasn't that bad but I would have preferred a music video or something rather then the depressing news. We had a fantastic time though. The food was great. The ship director "Wee Jimmy" was a riot and all of the staff were wonderful! I would highly recommend this cruise.