Our seven day cruise is our third with Carnival. I would never take a shorter cruise; it takes you two days to find your way around!
We didn't have to stay in a hotel in San Juan as we have family living in Puerto Rico. We spent Saturday in Old San Juan with them, and we had a great time. Sunday we arrived at the ship at 1:00 and we boarded fairly quickly. We took our time exploring the ship and getting our bearings. The ship is beautiful. I agree that the layout is a little inconvenient until you get to know how to get around, but we have been on other ships where you couldn't get from one end to the other without going upstairs. Once we found our way around, we made our way up to the Lido deck where they offered lunch. The lines weren't especially long, and we ordered our favorite Carnival drink, the Ultimate Suntan.
We booked an inside cabin as we spend very little time in our cabin. It was big enough for us, and the price made this vacation very affordable. Our steward Nyaman made sure we were comfortable and had what we needed.
We sailed on Super Bowl Sunday, and they showed the game in the lounge as well as on the big screen in the pool area; very cool! They adjusted the time for the muster drill to 11:00 pm to accommodate the viewers. Drill was smooth but I felt badly for the passengers with young children.
This cruise visits five islands in six days; way too many for me! We stayed on the ship a few days and thoroughly enjoyed the peace and quiet.
The Lido lines are long but not unmanageable. We did find that we enjoyed breakfast more in the Main Dining room (Pacific only for breakfast), but it's hit or miss with the folks you get seated with. We had late dinner in the Atlantic Dining room, and we were very pleased with our meals there. Our servers, Komang and Gede, could not do enough for us and there were plenty of choices each night to go along with what they offer daily. And as for me, I love the singing and dancing; it never interrupted our meal at all.
We were a little disappointed with some of the show times. One of the shows was at the same time as the Captain's event (no longer a gala, discount drinks vs. free, and held on the Promenade instead of the lounge, which was a disappointment to us). The magic show was held before dinner. We liked the show, but we prefer to attend the shows after dinner.
The comedy shows at the beginning of the week were good, especially Frank Del Pizzo. One of the comedians we saw at the end of the week was someone we'd seen before, and the other was horrible; it was like they pulled him off the street to do the show. We didn't attend Friday night's shows.
The piano bar was fun, and they have a new attraction, Rock Star Live!, where you sing with the band. That was a blast.
There are so many great entertainers throughout the ship. Music and Magic, a Filipino couple, are the best; they play and sing many genres of music. We followed them around quite a bit. Luis plays classical piano, there is a great guitar player too, and the reggae band was fun too. We didn't visit the dance clubs on this cruise since I had foot surgery recently and am unable to dance. It would have been torture to sit there and not join in the fun.
Debarkation was smooth; we just waited for our zone to be called. I cannot be bothered dragging bags out with the self assist. That's just not the way I want to end my vacation.
We've noticed some changes since our fist cruise in 2004, both with the experiences offered and the cruisers. On the Paradise, our first ship, everyone was dressed up beautifully for both the "Captain's Gala" and the other "elegant night", where an orchestra played on the stage in the main lounge where you could dance, and they offered free drinks and hot hors d'oeuvres. I only saw two gentlemen in tuxedos on this trip, and one of them was my husband. There were barely any suits. In fact, I felt overdressed on most nights, not that it would change the way I dress on a cruise. I also was puzzled that there was not a comment card at the end of the cruise. I have always been happy to mention those who offered superior service.
All in all though, we had a great time on the Victory. You can do as much or as little as you want to ensure a great vacation.