Carnival Victory, Good Memories
Great cruise! We had a wonderful time. The service on board the ship was great. The food was good. Check out the chocolate melting cake. We ate in the dining room every night and we were never disappointed. Make sure you bring a sweater because it gets a little chilly on board, especially at night. The sandwich bar was good as well as the BBQ on deck by the pool. I love 24 hour ice cream as well. I absolutely loved 6 of the ports with the exception of Dominica which just wasn't up to par with the others. The entertainment was okay. We only went to two shows. We got rained on every day we were there. It was a warm rain and the storm usually moved through quickly. Embarkation was quick. We got on about 1:00 and got right into our room. We got back off the ship and walked around in San Juan and then got back on for dinner. It's open seating on the first night by the way. Debarkation was a little slower. Overall, we waited about an hour even though we were going to a hotel in More
As for hotels...We flew in a day early. We got a good deal in San Juan at the Hampton Inn and it was okay, nothing exceptional. On Sunday night, after the cruise, we used Priceline to get an amazing deal at Caribe Hilton for $112. Be careful. It is $40 per extra person after two. The Hilton was great. The grounds were spectacular although the rooms were definitely starting to show signs of wear and tear.
I would definitely go on this cruise again. The ports were great. I really think Carnival gives you a good deal for your money. Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
I wanted to go to Dickenson Beach, but the taxi driver ended up talking us into going to Turner Beach. I think because it was farther away and therefore cost more money. It was a nice beach and had a lot of shells which was kind of fun. You could rent snorkeling equipment. Then said there were good places to go but we didn't so I can't tell you for sure. There were nice chairs. I think we paid $5 and the umbrellas were free. We got poured on but the storm went through pretty fast.
In Barbados we went to the Malibu Rum Distillery. I wasn't sure how fun it would be but we were all glad we went. The taxi dropped us off at the main building. It cost $15 to tour which includes a chair and umbrella on their beach, a free drink, several samples of rum and full use of their showers and bathrooms. The beach was beautiful. It was one of my favorites, very clean and not too busy. They were renting wave runners right there too. The tour of the factory was pretty interesting. I was already a fan of Malibu. You can get on the beach for free just yards before the entrance, you just wouldn't have use of their equipment. I don't know if they would notice but you do get a bracelet when you pay for the tour. FYI: Carnival offers the same tour which is exactly the same but it costs way more. The only difference is that you have to find a ride there.
This port was my least favorite. The locals were the most harassing of all the ports, especially the taxi drivers. We finally gave into one. (I want to say it cost $10 per person, but I can't remember for sure.) He took us to Trafalgar Falls. Just like everyone says, the roads are bad. The drivers are definitely not timid. After a while you realize that they know what they are doing and relax a little. The falls were beautiful. I think I was most impressed by the drive up there. I didn't swim in the pool by the falls although alot of people were. It was pouring when we got there, but still hot. By the time we left, it was already clearing. We went back to the boat and got right back on. I would recommend "resting up" on the ship here. It's almost overwhelming having so many ports and if you are going to spend a day at sea, this would be the one.
We took about a 30 minute taxi ride for $10 to Cockleshell Beach. He picked us up and had us pay when we got back to the ship. The beach was nice. Out of Coki Beach in St. Thomas, Turner Beach in Antigua, and Malibu Beach in Barbados, it was my least favorite. They charged you for chairs and umbrellas. When we got there it wasn't very busy. We walked down the beach a while and found a couple of nice palm trees and just put our towels down right there. The beach was a little dirty with seaweed and other stuff. It was still nice. I mean really...how bad can a beach in the Caribbean really be??? By the time we walked back to the taxi, we found that about 50 college students had taken over the main part of the beach. There is a medical school and vet school in St. Kitts. Makes me want to go back to school to be a vet or a doctor...Make sure you have your taxi driver stop to let you take a picture on the way back. There is a spot where you can see the Atlantic Ocean on one side and the Caribbean on the other.
COSOL!!!!!! Need I say more? This was absolutely, hands down, my favorite port. We were lucky because we got Cosol as our taxi driver. Check it out at http://www.cosol-tours.com/
Look at all the places he takes you on the tour. It was very educational and interesting. Cosol treated us to all kinds of food including a huge buffet of local foods, local cookies, bananas (much tastier in St. Lucia than at home), and sandwiches. He actually said that if we didn't empty out the coolers by the time we got back, we would owe him $20. Of course he was kidding, but it just tells you that he is not stingy in any way. He continues to offer cold beer, water and Coke at several intervals throughout the tour. You will not go thirsty or hungry. He made his business what it is completely on word of mouth. When we went, it was the slow season, so he only had 6 buses but he said he takes as many as 20! We went all over St. Lucia. The only problem that occurred was that we were not able to swim at Hilton Jalousie Beach due to jelly fish. He apologized profusely. He was so worried that we wouldn't have a good time because of it. We didn't care in the least. We still got to see the resort and the Pitons up close. So what if we didn't get to swim. It was raining at the time anyway. He would have given us time to swim where we got on the water taxi if we would have liked. I have a good friend that is going on the same cruise next week and I made sure she is going on a tour with Cosol. Trust me you don't want to miss this. He only charges $65. I can't imagine what a tour like this would cost through Carnival. If you do go, please, please take Cosol an apple or two. You see, I gave my apples to the lady that prepares the meals because I figured she probably never gets any. Cosol gave me a hard time from then on (just kidding around of course.) I know he understood but I still feel bad, so I told him I would make it up to him. If you do give them apples, please make sure you tell him that a tall blond asked you to. Thanks. Seriously though, you won't regret taking a tour with Cosol.
We have been to St. Thomas before and took a great tour with a local taxi driver. I made it my mission to find him again and I did! He charges $25 for two hours and gave us an even better deal because he remembered us. We were only supposed to go for 2 hours and he took us for 3 1/2. If you are looking for an informational and interesting tour, I would highly recommend this guy. He is very dependable and he drives a newer taxi. He goes by Mr. Two Pedal and his phone number is (340) 244-6617. He took us to the Mountain Top which has a remarkable view of Megan's Bay. He also stopped to show us several amazing views and interesting things along the way like banana, mango, and cashew trees. I learned so much about the island. He is a very intelligent guy. He also took us to Coki Beach for a while and he even gave us a quick tour of the Ritz Carlton...amazing! He will take you anywhere you would like to go. Please give Mr. Two Pedals a call if you are interested. He is a great guy and I highly recommend him. It's nice to have a taxi driver that you can trust...and it's definitely hard to tell in several of these ports. They are very pushy. FYI: St. Thomas is also a great place to shop, so you will want to spend some of your time doing that. You'll want to take a taxi to the shopping area. It's a long walk.