Wanted to share about our trip aboard Carnival Victory as I scoured Cruise Critic before we left and I hope this story can help you plan a great trip! Warning: LONG
Friday, April 1
We left South Bend airport at 9:00 am and it was 22 degrees. My sister and I had flip flops on and by the time we reached our terminal our feet were freezing! We flew into Chicago and had a 2 hour delay there before our flight to Newark. Upon arrival in Newark we had to hurry to catch out next flight and of course we had a bus ride across the airport and a really long walk. We grabbed a sandwich to eat on our flight as we had not had any supper and boarded right away. We arrive in San Juan at 11:15 PM and arrived at our hotel by 12:00. We stayed at the embassy suites and it was great. Free breakfast and evening drinks and a really nice pool area. I fell into bed exhausted but my sister had to run down and check out the casino before she could sleep!
Saturday, April 22
We had a nice lazy morning. Breakfast and laying out at the pool. It was such a shock to have 80 degree weather when we had left the cold just 24 hours before. After lunch we all changed to our tennis shoes and headed out for our segway excursion. It was the best thing we did on our trip and I highly recommend it! http://www.segwaytourspr.com/ is their site and it was $84 per person. It was a little scary for the first 5 minutes and then you will feel like you have been doing it forever! My parents were along and they both were driving like pros as we headed out. Our guide took us thru the streets on San Juan and out to the fort. It was just an amazing afternoon! After we were going to go out for authentic Puerto Rican food but the Butler game was on so we just decided to eat at the outback in the hotel and sat by the bar so we could all eat and enjoy the game! It was a big day with all the unaccustomed sun and excitement that I crashed about 10:00.
Sunday, April 3
After breakfast, My sister and brother-in-law and hubby and I headed down to the beach. It was about a 3 block walk and well worth it. It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and we swam and rode the waves for a couple of hours. We headed back to the hotel to shower and change to head to the ship. Note about Taxis service: there were 6 of us in our group and when we traveled with our luggage it was about $30 (including tip) and without luggage it was about $20. Check in was a piece of cake. We gave our luggage to a porter and went on thru to the check in. We were on the ship and getting lunch within 30 minutes of our arrival. I think that is the fastest I have ever gotten on a ship! About 2:00 we went down to check out our 3 adjoining balcony rooms. Everything was great except when we entered our room we had two twin beds! A call to guest services and before bedtime they had been transformed to our King Bed. We took a tour of the spa and signed up for four of us to get massages that night. The first night on board is anytime dinning for everyone, since you don't even have to be on board until 8:00 pm. We went down about 6:00 and were seated with 2 couples from Wales. They were so interesting and we enjoyed meeting them very much! They, along with many European travelers had boarded in Barbados and would leave us when we returned there. We had to hurry thru supper but I did get my first warm melting cake consumed before we ran down to the spa for our massages. Such a good way to start the week! After our massages we had to go to muster drill at 9:30. When it was over we went up top to watch sail away. There were so many people that we couldn't see, so we just went to our own private balcony to watch us leave san juan.
Monday, April 4-St Thomas
Our plan was to go to Megans bay here in St Thomas. But we all were feeling so tired from traveling that we decided to just take an easy day. DH and I got off the ship and went and visited the shops right outside the ship. They had an extensive shopping area and I got a hat, because my forehead was already burned! We also bought 50 sunscreen because the sun seemed so much more intense. I usually use 4 at home, but that was not cutting it in the south Caribbean! My parents and sister and her DH went to the butterfly that is right there by the ship. They enjoyed it and the bird show but when they got back on you could tell the heat was really affecting them. We just had a nice quiet day, Marinated pork chops, peach soup, seafood Newburg and of course, chocolate melting cake for supper. Went to the see the comedian, he was really funny and then we all went off to find the final 4 game to root for Butler. We lucked out and it was on tv but my parents, who do not drink or smoke, didn't realize this and sat in the smoky sports bar for several hours watching it.
Tuesday, April 5-day at sea
Why is it that when we are at home my DH doesn't like to get up early but on the ship he thinks he is missing something and we have to be up and going by 6:00 am. YIKES We got up this morning and walked a mile on the track. The average cruiser gains 7-14 pounds on their trip! I didn't want that to be me, so I thought I would get a walk in. I went back and took a morning nap. We had some very rude neighbors on this trip. They would come back to their rooms about 3:00 am and yell and carry on over on their balcony. Of course, they woke us up and kept us up. They had a whole ship to go and have fun and carry on, go someplace where you are not waking up people who want to sleep =( I called guest services at 5:00 am to report them and they did come right down. But of course, they got quiet just as the security came down. The next night my sister called security again and they went in and told them they needed to get quiet. People need to be more considerate of their neighbors but a shout out to guest services who took care of the problem. I didn't feel very good today. Lack of sleep and maybe a little motion sickness so I laid out in the sun, and took several naps. Revived by supper we dressed for our first formal night and we have Lobster, shrimp, strawberry soup and stuffed mushrooms. Very good! Our waiter was Alex from Kiev and we did request him every night as he was great. While we were eating supper a magician came around and did a few tricks at our table! He was very good and it really made our night! We went to see the comedian again but it ended up being the same show from the night before, our bad, they have 2 and switch their times and I didn't pay attention. We wanted to watch the ND girls play in the championship, but it was nowhere to be found on the ship. Since the girls were not on tv I finally got to see Harry Potter on Pay for view. I enjoyed it, DH fell asleep =)
Wednesday, April 6- Barbados
What a fabulous day! We took a taxi from the port to the Boatyard where we got a chair, umbrella and a rum punch for $12! The water was beautiful and we snorkeled and played until 1:00 when the free shuttle ran us back to the port. My sis and Dad found over 20 sand dollars while they were snorkeling. HINT: at Barbados you have to wait in line to get a taxi and then they will not leave until it is full. Exit thru the gate and there are many taxi drivers who will take you where you want to go without waiting in line. Taxi was maybe $20 for the 6 of us. We then had a great evening on board, dinner in the MDR and listened to the piano and guitar players before going to the balcony!!
Thursday, April 7-St lucia
We met on the dock at 8:15 for our only carnival booked excursion the catamaran cruise to the pitons. This is one I would not recommend. It took 1.5 hours to travel to the pitons on a very crowded catamaran. We did see a few highlights on the way, but it took forever. Then when we got close we took pictures, turned around and spent 1.5 hours getting back. They did stop to let us swim but it was very restricted where you could go, they were people hawking stuff from kayaks and on shore and they whole thing was very uncomfortable. We had just as good of a view when we sailed past the pitons from our breakfast seat in the morning. Choose another excursion here and don't waste your money. We had another formal night and sis and her husband just ate at the lido as they didn't feel like dressing up. We had bing cherry soup, grilled shrimp and baked Alaska. YUM
Friday, April 8-St Kitts
Today we are taking the Thenford Gray tour. Met him at the port at 9:00 and he was where he said he would be! Let me just start by saying Thenford is amazing and his tour is only $48 per person, worth so much more! He took us to Rommney Manor where they make Batik. He gave us a tour of the gardens, we watched a presentation on how they make batik and then we got to shop! We them traveled to the island fort. ON the way Thenford pointed out items of interest and kept us entertained the whole time. The fort was in my mind going to be a guy thing, but I really enjoyed it. The views were beautiful and it was very peaceful. We then traveled to the other side of the island and went to cockleshell beach. There was an open air restaurant where we ate lunch for about $35 per couple (Optional). After about 2 hours thenford took us back to the port and we got back on the ship. A very full day, we got back about 4;00. WE were shot and all just ate supper at the Lido that night and we went and saw the new comedians who had gotten on board. A great day.
Saturday, April 9- St Marteen
How can it be Saturday already? It seems like we just got started and now it is time to be thinking about going home! Got up early and walked while we docked. Did the stretching class from the spa out on the stern, great way to start the day! We went to Maho beach today and watched the airplanes land. What a neat experience to feel like they were close enough you could touch them. WE sat at the sunset bar and took turns going out into the water. The water was beautiful and the cost for the day was our $25 taxi ride and a drink at the bar. Cheap and fun day! Back to the ship to pack our stuff and have one last meal with Alex.
Sunday, April 10-San juan
We are in no hurry today because we are not flying out until tomorrow. We had breakfast and finished packing up our carry-ons. We sat on the deck watching the news until they called our numbers. Off the ship and picked up our cases and got in line to get out of the port. This seemed much more crazy than the getting on and people seemed more impatient. We traveled back to the Embassy and had to stay out at the pool until 4:00 when our rooms were ready. We ate at the pool bar and swam and slept. That night we went for our authentic pr food and we had Mufango. It is mashed plantains. Not the best thing I have ever eaten but was glad I could say I had tried it! We also could print our boarding passes for free here at the hotel which was a nice service.
Monday- April 11-Home
Had to get up at 3:30 to get to our 6:00 flight. Slept most of the way to Newark and got breakfast there. Flew on to Chicago and ate some light lunch. Our flight into south bend was about 27 minutes. Got our luggage collected and headed for home.
IF I did this trip again I would pay the extra $ to fly straight from Chicago. The extra long travel days wore us out! I was very happy with the Carnival Victory over all. We ended up with $250 on board credit because the price dropped since we booked early. A nice little extra that out check out bill was only about $20. Wish the neighbors we had could have been more considerate but overall the trip was amazing with amazing people and I loved it!