On July 31st my husband & I flew to San Juan where we boarded the Carnival Victory. Having cruised with Carnival several years ago when it was quite basic, and knowing that they are regarded as the "fun" "party" ship and since cruised with Royal Caribbean, we were a little hesitant about the reputation of Carnival however the selection of cruises to Southern Caribbean at this time of year is limited. I can honestly say we were not disappointed and it was the best cruise and would highly recommend it.
As we were booked into a Grand Suite, checking in was extremely quick and easy and we were on the ship enjoying the buffet lunch in no time. By 2.30pm we were able to go to our cabin and our luggage was delivered shortly after. This was amazing as on all previous cruises, regardless of company, our luggage did not arrive until after dinner. Our cabin was awesome - very clean and spacious and our steward, Rosario was very helpful and friendly. As we were not leaving San Juan until 10pm we were able to leave the ship and explore the town - we enjoyed this as it made the cruise seem longer.
We had selected open dining and our initial server, Ana was wonderful. The hostesses actually remembered our names by the second evening and were very accommodating in that they ensured we were seated at Ana's table every night for the rest of the cruise. We were pleasantly surprised by the food at dinner - Carnival have definately upped their game! The selection and quality of food was excellent and there was always something for everyone. We highly recommend the roast lamb and the warm melting chocolate cake and of course the lobster - there are no restrictions so if you want more just ask.
On the days we were in port and had excursions booked we ordered room service -it arrived exactly on time and even received more than what we had ordered. We did try the buffet breakfast one morning - would not recommend it as it was chaotic. Breakfast in the Pacific Restaurant was much better, and gives you a chance to meet other passengers.
There was a huge selection for lunch ranging from every salad imaginable, several hot dishes, Asian dishes, freshly made sandwiches, burgers and pizzas, not forgetting a large selection of deserts. The pizzas were some of the best we have eaten and are available 24 hours. The only downside of the buffet lunch is the number of passengers who are determined to get their money's worth by loading up as many plates as they can and so hold up the line.
There is a sushi bar open early evening, serving freshly made sushi - very good.
There was a wide selection of entertainment and something for everyone. The entertainment staff were very friendly but not over-powering. The comedians were very good and would highly recommend finishing the night in the piano bar with Tom who is extremely talented, knows and sings every song you can suggest. It's amazing how many friends you can make while singing along to your favorite tunes! It became a regular meeting place.