My wife and I arrived on a direct flight from Boston. Cab to the ship was $22 for the two of us and three bags. We had to fill out a questionnaire about the Flu before we entered. They asked if we had the flu or symptoms of the flu - would they have turned us away if we said yes that we recently had symptoms??? We dropped our big bags at the scanner at on the first floor and proceeded to the second floor where check in took only 5 minutes. We More
both got our "Sail and Sign" cards which I call "Sailing Swine" cards since there's so many people who enjoy the good food. Before going to the scanner for our carry on bags we stopped at the duty free shop and bought two bottles of rum (~$9 each) and put them in our carry on. They only sold coke as mixers so we bought two twelve packs and took those through in shopping bag. Normally we would go right to our room to unpack but they would not let us in until 2:30. Not sure but I assumed they may be doing extra cleaning due to flu concerns. No issues all week with sickness that I could see or heard anyone speak of.
After storing our carry-on items in the room, we walked around Old San Juan for a few hours. We found a grocery store called "Super Max" near the Waldgreens - I think it was up a side street from where a Coast Guard boat was moored. We were able to get Goya cans of Pineapple, orange, and Guava juice for mixers for the rum very cheap ( $0.50 for a 12 oz can if I recall). If you follow the waterfront heading toward the El Morro there was an exhibit called something like "the world from the air". They had 20-30 really cool pictures (~2ft x 4 ft) showing interesting places in the world from the air. There is an ocean walk along the outside of El Morro that allows you to walk all the way to the entrance to San Juan Harbor - very nice walk, but bring a water bottle.
We had room 6363 which is a balcony state room. We checked the ship plans when we selected the room. There was no disco below it or other bar that we could tell, just the casino. Turns out this room has stage just below it that blasts music until 1 am. I walked over to the rooms by the disco and other clubs and they were quiet compared to our room. We could not hear the TV over the booming base speakers. This is our 6th cruise and we know if you want quiet go to an island and get a room. You always hear some hallway or other noise on a ship and we wouldn't complain even if it was relatively loud until midnight but this was bad. Carnival was great and they were able to get us another balcony room -not an ideal location but quieter. If you have room 6363 or adjacent room and you go to bed before midnight change rooms before your cruise - we were lucky.
St Thomas - it rained most of the day so we shopped and had to skip Coki Beach.
Dominica - arrived at 10am and were the first off the ship. Did a great tour with Bumpling Tours. Levi met us and introduced us to Calvin our guide. Went to Middleham Falls which was about a 2 mile hike with 500-800ft elevation gain then back down to get to the falls and 500-800 ft up and down and 2 miles back. Moderate hiking and Calvin stopped often to tell us about local plants - very intelligent and knowledgeable guy. Stopped at Titou Gorge where they filmed part of Pirates of the Caribbean - the water was high from 4 days of rain and a couple of us were sucked into the waterfall at the end of the gorge and had to get pulled out by Calvin. We had life belts on and it's a short great swim in the gorge, you just need to be very careful if the water is excessively high. (the cruise line had to cancel the river tubing due to high water to give you an idea of how much rain they had). We stopped at Trafalgar falls and finished at Champagne Reef. The reef was a cool 1hr side trip but not a primary destination for the day.
Barbados - took a cab north to Paynes Bay (approx 20 min). Got chairs for $5 each. There's a small reef 20 feet off shore with several fish. About 50 yards off shore catamarans come in all day to take tours to swim with the sea turtles. We swam out and saw a couple of small ones but I suggest that you go out and tag along with the tour since they feed them and you'll see much bigger one. This was a cheap day with clean bathrooms, a shower, and a bar on the beach with $3 beers. If you like to snorkel go to BJs an buy a couple of sets - rentals are usually $10 each per day and you'll pay for them in no time.
St Lucia - took a tour with the ship to do zip lining. (not the one with the tram that has fewer lines). There were 11 lines. Lots of fun. You need to do some steps to get to some of the lines but nothing really strenuous. Several people were in their mid to late 50's and had to rest for a couple of minutes but they had a great time. I'm afraid of heights and was not scared at all (nervous a couple of times). You are well strapped in - I can't imagine falling. It rained almost all morning off and on but that still didn't stop the fun. Poured rain all afternoon while we shopped at port - good excuse to have a couple of beers off ship.
Antigua - took a cab to Long Bay beach. We've been to this island 3 times and have gone to the same beach each time. We love it for the reef and beautiful sand. We got $5 chairs and a $7 umbrella. There's a clean bathroom at the bar and $3 beers and $4-5 rum punches. We met a guy who lives in Toronto who was born in Antiqua and said this is one of the three best beaches on the island.
St. Kitts - took a tour with Thenford Grey. Great tour for $48 each ($8 of this is to get into the fort so the tour is really $40) He took us all day in a beautiful van. He's very knowledgeable and even introduced us to the Prime Minister who was at an old Sugar Cane plant for a ribbon cutting ceremony. Not our favorite island but a great tour if you haven't been to St. Kitts.
Disembarking was a breeze. We were #19 and got off the ship by 10am literally as fast as we could walk to find our bags and get through customs.
I found the food in the dining room to be the best of our 6 cruises (Royal Caribbean (2), Carnival (3), Norwegian (1)). Usually you get one so-so meal (prime rib a bit bland, steak a bit tough, fish a bit bland) but every one was excellent on the Victory. The Lido deck was a different story. It was OK but food lines were not kept full. Food was just OK. Usually the crew takes care to keep the food neat and presentable - it seemed to me that there was not the pride in keeping the buffet tip top. ( we always got there late in the day after tours so maybe it's that they were nearing the end of the buffet period and that's why things seemed a little sloppy)
Entertainment - OK, nothing special.
Great Itinerary and a great cruise - I'd recommend to anyone.