We began our cruise out of San Juan. After flying for 9 hours on two flights from Seattle, we arrived the night before sailing. Exhausted, we went to our room at Hotel Miramar. Our travel agent booked and we were a bit scared by the reviews we had read. It worked out for a one night stay. It was clean and about $135 total for one night. A bargain when you consider some of the other hotels in the area. We learned upon check in that this hotel inhabits full time residents. It didn't make a difference, but the front desk person acted like it was a secret. Night desk person very friendly. Morning crew not so...we grabbed a cab at noon and checked out.
Arriving at the terminal, the ship looked beautiful and we were excited! We began embarkation about 12:30 and it went super smooth. We were on the ship by 1pm. Just like we read on other reviews, we were able to take our own liquor on board from the duty free liquor store! Yes its true. We grabbed two liters of Cpt. Morgans only $9 per bottle. Put them in our carry on backpack and went right through security. No Problems. Also carried on 3 six packs of coke as well. Don't miss out on this perk. You will save hundreds of dollars on drinks. We also brought on board a half gallon of rum punch from from two different ports with no questions. Carnival did however confiscate a 5th of rum punch on our second to last night.,which was delivered to our room at 7p the last night which we devoured on our balcony..relishing our last night on Victory. We waited on lido deck during embarkation from 1-2:30, enjoyed a buffet lunch, then we were allowed into our cabin at 2:30.
Victory looks pretty bad from all the reviews and photos we saw on the web; however, in person she holds her own. It is a vegas style decor, old but clean. Our balcony cabin was beautiful, stateroom 6399. I was worried about the stateroom decor, but they have done a decent job keeping it up with the times. We loved our room, and would highly recommend a balcony aboard Victory to anyone.
Food was average, as expected. You have to remember that Carnival is feeding 3500 people and they did just fine. The Warm chocolate melting cake was as described. A must taste for all! We would suggest eating in the dining room for breakfast and dinner. The lido deck is a good lunch stop if you are not out at the port. Burgers and sandwiches were great, pizza was lacking.
A quick note for all the Puerto Rican haters: There was no invasion as described in many reviews. There was an even amount of all types of people and ethnicities, and everyone was very kind. From crew to passengers, we could not be more impressed with the friendliness of all people aboard Victory.