My husband and I just returned from the 7-day Southern Caribbean cruise on the Carnival Victory and have to say "Brava"!!! What a wonderful cruise! Seven islands in 7 days is pretty fantastic! The only regret we have is not staying an extra day in San Juan? San Juan was one of the stops on a previous cruise of ours and the beach was beautiful and while embarking and disembarking this time the people were just super nice and friendly. We met a family from San Juan on the last day of our cruise (who, by the way were on our cruise?) and they were just genuinely nice people.
As for Carnival and the Victory in particular... splendid! This was our second cruise with Carnival, the first being on the Valor in September 2009 and while the Valor was slightly shinier, the staff, the service and the amenities were top notch. I've read other reviews for this particular cruise where there have been complaints about people pushing ahead in lines or just being plain rude and I have to say we did not experience this at all. My feeling is that the people who register these types of complaints are the "rude pushers" themselves. I find it hard to believe that anyone on this cruise could complain about anything... seriously, you're on a magnificent boat/floating hotel where you practically get waited on hand and foot! That being said, I have to pay homage to the staff.... I give them 20 out of 10! They are all just the nicest people ever and will go out of their way to please you and accommodate you in every possible way. It maddens me when I hear other guests being rude to the staff and raising their voices and complaining... 99% of the time about the most stupid things... such as not having "chili oil" as a pizza seasoning. Are you kidding me???? If you are an Englishman between the ages of 55-70 you know who you are!!! My only complaint is the amount of food people aka guests WASTE onboard this and any cruise... shame on you!!
As for the islands... BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL!!! When stopping in St. Thomas we opted to take the ferry to St. John and it was amazing... just make sure you bring a little extra cash as there is a taxi to the ferry (Cruz Bay) and upon arrival to the beach at St. John. Here's something you may not know... in lieu of the taxi on the St. Thomas side... there is a local taxi or bus that will take you to and from the ferry port for $2 pp instead of $10 pp. We met a very kind native of St. Thomas on the ferry back and she enlightened us? Next stop... Dominica! Go to Mero Beach, a black sand beach which is gorgeous and if you have an amazingly knowledgeable taxi driver like we did, your 20-minute ride to the beach will be a captivating history lesson with picture-perfect scenery?
On to Barbados!!! We're predominantly beach bums and our shore excursions are normally to find an amazingly beautiful beach and lounge and swim all day:) However, in Barbados we decided to book a catamaran tour and we're so happy we did.. it was HEAVEN!!! A taxi driver met us at the cruise port, took us to the dock where our captain greeted us and then escorted us on to a beautiful catamaran with four other couples. It's normally only a max of 12 people anyhow but we were just 10 this particular day. What a wonderful experience! The crew was fantastic:) We made three stops with a beautiful lunch in the middle. We snorkeled with turtles (if you didn't want to snorkel you could just swim or stay on the boat as it was open bar/beverages the entire trip:) Then it was off to see a couple of shipwrecks which was very cool! After lunch (delicious!) we stopped by a beautiful beach and swam ashore. It was five hours of happiness:) We highly recommend this tour with Silver Moon Cruises... firstname.lastname@example.org. Next stop.... St. Lucia! Reduit Beach is gorgeous just let whoever you got your chairs and umbrella from to keep the hustlers away:) St. Kitts... A beautiful island; we went to Cockleshell Beach which was beautiful; just make sure you carry small denominations of cash as no one seems to have change;) Our last day was spent on the beautiful island of St. Martin:) It was our second time there and we went to Orient Beach again! Go to KonTiki to get your comfy chairs and umbrella... and also to be waited on for food and beverages. We have to give a shout out to Guillaume who continuously refreshed our bucket with fresh ice:) What a terrific 7 days!!!!