We sailed from San Juan on the Carnival Victory on 10/23/11. Some of the suggestions I did use were the big thermal cups (great for lemonade while sunning on the deck), a mesh backpack (it took little luggage room and provided room for everything while on the excursions), a dollar store car air freshner was great for the bathroom, an across the body purse, and our own beach towels (thinner than the thick Carnival ones). I didn't use the over-the-door organizer or suction hooks I took. The spacious medicine cabinet provided ample room for toiletries and there were several hooks provided for hanging wet clothing and towels. I booked our excursions before the cruise, but not through Carnival, which gave us much smaller groups (twice there was only one other couple) and saved us money.
On St. Thomas we used Godfrey Tours (godfreytoursvi.com) and did tour #1 which was shopping and sightseeing w/ beach for $30 each. You could choose to shop 1, 2, or 3 hours, then the sightseeing including The Mountaintop with its delicious banana daiquiri. We went to Magen's Bay Beach ($4 each admission) for several hours. This was the most beautiful beach we visited the whole cruise. On Barbados we chose the Thriller Turtle & Shipwreck Snorkeling Adventure (firstname.lastname@example.org or Thriller Ocean Tours on Facebook). We took a taxi to the Waterfront Cafe in Bridgetown ($2 each) and for $60 each we traveled on a speedboat and snorkeled with turtles, at a shipwreck, at a coral reef, and at a beautiful beach. A comparable excursion with Carnival is $99.95!
On St. Lucia, we did the Land & Sea Adventure with Spencer Ambrose for $88 each (email@example.com). This tour gave us a great tour of the island, the volcano, and the Pitons by land then allowed us to board a speedboat and travel to Jalousie Beach for lunch and sun. We boated back to the port by way some of the bays that are home to the rich and famous. It was a day full (8:30 - 3:30)but a truly great tour!
On St. Kitts we toured with Island Paradise Tours (stkittsislandparadisetours.com). Rosevelt Taylor was a wonderful guide on the Best of St. Kitts/Panoramic Tour for 3.5 hours + unlimited beach time ($48 each). Again there was only one other couple with us allowing us to ask questions and enjoy a very personable time with Rosevelt.
On St. Maarten we took a taxi for an island tour and ended up at The Sunset Bar & Grill where we watched planes land very low over the beach. (Check it out on Youtube!) The best time for viewing is from 12-2 and the grill's pizzas are delicious! We paid $49 each, but I feel like we could have done better if I had lined a tour up beforehand.
Victory's food is to die for and the staff made us feel very welcome. I think a balcony is a must so that you can view the sunrises as you come into each port. Awesome! An absolutely remarkable vacation that we will always remember!