2 main points
.......A. Don't be afraid to book an early flight from San Juan
.......B. Don't use Maximum Chill Out Land & Sea Tour at the st Lucia port
There is a post that states you can NOT fly into and out of San Juan on an early flight if you cruise the Carnival Victory. This is not true. If you want to book a 9:45 flight from San Juan to Atlanta, do so, you will have plenty of time to kill at the airport. The key is do "Self Assist" luggage carry off the ship and be on deck "0" at 7am or a few minutes after. We got off the ship at 7:15, got a Taxi for $22.50 + tip, got to the airport, did NOT check bags,( we did a back pack and a carry on and didn't wear all the clothes we took and had a little room for gifts - so pack light, tight, and right) We proceeded through security and had to wait 1 hr 45 minutes until 9:45am when our flight departed. No worries on an early flight out of San Juan - All because it's early Sunday morning and no traffic.
Flight - we took a bump in Atlanta on Air Tran and got 2 free tickets to use in the next year - Hawaii, here we come again. We arrived 7:30pm, Taxi to Boat, checked in and was on the Lido eating at 8:20 - less than an hour.
Cabin - 1046 on Lido Deck with balcony - we loved it $1333 for 2 - great value.
.... good cabin service
Food - Breakfast and dinner in dining room - great service, good selection, good food. Lido was good but not as a rewarding dining experience. Good selection. Carnival has changed it's menu - no more orange drink - it's real orange juice or any kind of juice. You gotta try the oatmeal w/raisins and brown sugar for breakfast. So good.
St Thomas - our 3rd time, so we took a $35/per island tour - just inquire after you get off the ship at the port - good trip & value - great pics
Barbados - hired a taxi driver with another couple for $120 total 5 hour Island tour - try to find a couple to share and you'll have extra for gifts
St Lucia - We did the Maximum Chill out land and sea tour - actually it could have been a very good tour but they sort of lie about the volcano and water falls and if they are pressed for time - they simply cut the stay time at each place short - we got 7 min at the so called volcano - more like a hot steaming sulfur springs - google pics and you'll not see any thing worthwhile. And we got 10 min at the water falls which is a joke - about 30 ft tall and a 20 foot pool about 4 ft deep. Great views from the boat to shoreline. Island is rugged and roads are narrow with pot holes.
St Kitts - Simply a beautiful Island - we were going to rent a car for $56, then Insurance placed it at $88 then when at the counter they told us we had to buy a $25 one day license for a total of $113 Plus gas at $7gal - so we said no and got a private taxi tour for $120 6 hours entire island tour and 1.5 hours on Cockleshell Bay - Food is expensive there - $20 for a lobster burger & fries
St Martin - the word is that this is the best Island to shop on - if for jewelry I would agree but for small items and t-shirts not so. It has a better selection and it is a little cheaper than St Lucia,Kitts or Barbados but not much.
The cruise is very active with only 1 day at sea to relax - our sea day there was no sun.
Activities - Shows were average for carnival - good but not great. We did the Internet cafe for 120 min for $65 and used every minute sending messages back home to our employees - it was a worthwhile expense. I love to jog and the jogging track is only 168 yards for 1 round - 10 rounds = 1 mile - I did 30 rounds each morning.
Ship has 2 main shops - it needs more and the variety is limited.
There was probably 2/3 of the guests spoke Spanish and about 1/2 from Pureto Rico. Whites were probably about 10 to 15%. Everyone was kind and courteous with exception of a few kids being kids.
We loved the cruise, loved the islands and the ship. We did this cruise strictly for the islands. If you ever want to do a cruise for the ship, do the Royal Caribbeans Oasis of the Seas - you won't want to get off after 7 days aboard and you won't care what ports it visits because you'll never see all the ship has to offer.