Returned yesterday from the Carnival Victory. I went with my husband and my kids (ages 5 and 8). First I want to point out that this cruise is great for families with kids. Camp Carnival was awesome. I thought that I would take the kids there in the evenings to spend some time with my husband. It turns out that my kids LOVED Camp Carnival so much that they went everyday and on some of the stops they even wanted to stay and not go on tours with us.
This cruise is also great for singles and people who like to party (and enjoy Latin music). They had great parties on the Lido deck. Music was always very good (reggae, merengue, rock, etc.) and there were activities going on all the time.
This cruise is not for people looking for a peaceful, relaxing time and value elegance and tranquility above all. Music make it a little difficult to have a conversation on the Lido deck. Though I want to point out that I spent an afternoon on Spa Carnival and it was wonderful. Wait until mid fruited when they start offering excellent Spa offers. The treatments are great. They gave me a facial that left me rejuvenated and glowing.
The very good:
Stand up comedy shows (super funny!)
Service (always excellent and so nice)
Needs to improve:
Food. Buffet style breakfast and lunches were not good. The lines were too long, not much variety and many times meats felt old, hard and terrible! Then diners were wonderful! We had amazing waiters (Suny and Subarti from Indonesia) they were very attentive and the food was excellent. Carnival needs to provide the amazing food and service they offer during diner, at breakfast and lunch.
Overall my family and I had a great experience and would go on this cruise again.
If this is your first time in San Juan I suggest you arrive the day before the cruise departs and stay either in the Isla Verde area (if you want to experience a nice day at the beach and then a night of casinos and clubs) or the Old San Juan area where you will be walking distance from then port.
The port is very nice. It has many little shops and the people are really nice. The local beer (Banks) is good and inexpensive. You need to negotiate the taxi prices. We went to Harrison's Cave. The taxi charged 40 US dollars each way for the four of us. The taxi driver gave us a tour on the way and showed us the sugar cane plantations, beach, resorts and then we arrived at the caves. We paid about 90 US dollars in entrance fees to the caves and they were worth it. You go down a mile underground in a little tram and they give you a very good guided tour.
My husband and I took a tour to the Volcano. The driver (Angus) was very nice and explained everything we saw on the way. He charged us 25 dollars for the round trip and then you need to pay 8 more dollars to enter the volcano. The ride is long, about 2 hours each way in a very curvy ride. Steep curves that is so if you get dizzy, claustrophobic or impatient, this is not the tour to take. We love adventures and St Lucia is beautiful. We saw the Pitons, all the wonderful greenery and we witnessed the devastation after hurricane Tomas. We saw many many closed roads and mud slides. The volcano is really cool but it stinks (sulfur). On the way back we stopped at a local bakery and as soon as my husband got out of the bus, five teen aged boys surrounded him and requested for him to give them the watch and bracelet. He was basically being mugged without a gun. It was very stressful. Fortunately a police car went by at that very moment and the guys ran away without taking anything. So do not walk alone or leave the tour bus without the guide.