First this is to help future Victory cruisers please don't flame me for my spelling
We sailed 1-15 to 1-22 on the victory I set this trip up as we do every year with a group of 10. We are all in our late 50's early 60's and very active, lots of shore things. This is our 10th cruise and the rest 8th to 2nd. Wife and I are Carnival cheer leaders but cruise on all lines ( cheapest )We all had Panorama balcony rooms and we opened the balcony dividers pain in the but doors kept swinging. Eight of us flew in a day early Airtran booked early and paid $840 cpl. stayed at the Comfort Inn cheep not that good but OK. We have smokers so can't be picky people they were friendly and helpful free brk. next morning. That night we ate at Oroscos what a blast food and drinks live music and all for $50 per cpl. If you stay in San Juan you need to try local food.
Next morning we left for the ship at 11:00 because we were told it would take 2 hours to get there because of festival. We were there in 15 min. what confusion people everywhere and the porters looked like just anyone so we carried or bags to the scanner. Still gave them $1 per bag we wanted to get all our bags in one piece. There was no line but the computers were down so it was about 45 min. to check in. If you smoke the liqueur store at the dock has the best prices of the cruise. They called group 4 and we were on and eating by 12:30. After we got off and went to get some soda and water at the CVC, just go back to the store at the dock it's the same price and you don't have to carry it. We explored the ship and had a few DODs and went to or cabin to unpack. ALL rum runners made it , we did have a good bar bill and carried lots of the smuggled liqueur home. The life boat drill is not until 9:30 so don't drink a lot before then.
Let's talk about the islands and excursions best part of the cruise. All trips booked because of CC and Trip Advisor.
St Thomas we just went to town and looked into the 10,000 jewelry shops for about 2 hours. Some went back to the ship and the rest went on an island tour $20 pp. they all loved it. The little bar on the dock is closed now but we found one in the shops by the port good rum and clean restrooms.
Barbados four of us went on the Silvermoon turtle and swim 5.5 hour trip. Let's just say if you have not swam with the turtles the $92 pp is well worth it. First class all the way drinks and food better than the ship. You get 40 min. to swim with the turtles 30 to snorkel at a reef and lunch and swim off a small beach. I would recommend this to anyone to bad the rest of our crew did not come with us. P.S. book early we could only get the 24 person trip it was still great . Most of the rest caught a cab for the island tour $15 pp. but they had so much fun they gave the driver $25pp. for a 3 hour tour.
St. Lucia here all 10 went with Cosol island tours $35 pp this all day trip was good with way to much food and drinks. We had Ramsey ( Rambo ) for a guide we reserved a bus for 10 and they gave us a bus for 16 but added one more couple. The tour was a little long with a stop at a beach that was so crowded you could not find any shade. For $35 its worth it just a little long, we did see everything there is on the island . Nice van good driver and again the food!! Try Cosol
St. Kitts my wife said before the cruise she would like to ATV on one of the islands she has never been on one before. Everyone said it would be worth the money just to see her drive one. I found Spectrum ATV from CC and booked for 10 people privet tour $80 pp. pick-up at dock ATV and beach break after with a ride back to ship. Half of the crew had never been on a ATV so they showed us all we needed to know and test drove around a circle. This is when they found out what they were in for, one of the women ran into the woods could not stop. If you have any worries about doing this forget it they travel as fast as the slowest driver and they have a guide in front and in the rear. This is a long ride through the mountains and sugarcane fields at least 2 hours. Then they drove us to a nice beach for as long as you want we stayed 2 hours and they drove us back to the ship.
St. Marteen half went to the French side to shop and we went to Dawn Beach for a swim and drinks. $10 for a chair and shade. Nice bar with good food, they had a beer special Amstell Bright $1.00 each. $4.50 for a strong rum punch.
Tips for getting on and off ship
At the airport coming in when you get your bags in San Juan use the porters they take your bags to the taxi and by-pass the long line.
When leaving the ship the ship use the porters they walk you rite past costumes and out to the street to get your cab.
The ship was great everyone remembered my name with a smile don't miss the last night cocktail party free, just tip and you can get any drink you want maybe 30 people showed up. At the past guest party I also tipped $2 and asked for a dirty martini she brought me 2 and came back often each time she got $2. The ship is very clean and in good shape she may be old but still fun. We have been on the Glory and Destiny so we kind of already knew the layout the bad thing is going to dinner you have to walk to the back on deck 5 and go down stares to eat. Plus on deck 5 they set up the photo opps so you have to fight your way past this every night. The pool is very crowded on sea day so do other things or use the pool after 2:00 when it slows. The only bad things are the long flights down to San Juan and the added air cost. I believe next year will be the Dream because we will travel with kids.
Food is as good as your own tastes we all said this was the worst food on Carnival but we prefer Carnival over the other lines. Best food we ever had was on the Miracle and the Legend
GOOD lobster, prime rib, tiger shrimp, all shrimp, spaghetti cabonara, martini braised basa, braised short ribs, shark balls, bacon mac n' cheese, escargots, frog legs, fried chicken, stuffed mushrooms, sushi and all the soups.
BAD lasagna Bolognese ( my favorite on all other ships ), roasted turkey, oysters Rockefeller ( no baked cheese ), broiled mahi mahi, assorted seafood newberg ( see note to follow, beef stroganoff and braised lamb shank I have no dout that they are better on other ships but send back bad on the Victory
: as for the seafood newberg 5 of us ordered this but only one could eat the clams and he was sick for 24 hours food poising Many other passengers we talked to said they were sick also but the head waiter said we were the only ones that complained. Special thanks to our room steward who cleaned our friends room at 2:00 am after he was sick and then checked all the next day to see how he was.
If you would like to see some pic's go to photobucket.com and search ottesenp album