This is a wonderful ship and a beautiful itinerary!
First off, I do not know why people feel so "entitled" to everything...the Carnival Victory is a decent, well taken care of ship that will help you have a wonderful vaction.
This was our 3rd cruise, first-7 day and all have been with Carnival. We sailed the beginning of March. Our week started with an early flight out of MSP with Delta to New York. We waited in New York 2 hours and then flew on a full plane to San Juan, PR. They will not feed you on these airlplane rides, so adjust your meal times and eat in the airports. I also suggest that if you are going to eat in New York, do not wait until you get bused over to the Delta terminal...nothing there but a few overpriced sandwich shops and $4.00 bottles of water. Delta is FUSSY about the weight of your bag and I saw people trying to re-pack to get the weight to 50 lbs. so keep this in mind all you Delta passengers....Delta needs to get past all of this making money off the luggage and provide better customer service because they More
will lose cutomers over this!
We landed in San Juan (6:30 pm) and took the bus transfer to the port. (Be prepared for the warm, humid weather!) We boarded the boat, waited for the Muster Drill at 9:30 and then went to bed. There was a big party on the Lido Deck, but since we had been up so early, we went to bed, but not before meeting our wonderful room steward. She was a breath of fresh air after a long day of travel. Also, do not worry about eating that night. The Lido deck is full of food and the dining room was serving anyone and not the specific table assignments. It is busy on this night and can be a bit overwhelming if you have been traveling a lot on this day.
We awoke the next morning to St. Thomas. We ate on the the Lido deck because we like the quick buffet so we can get off the ship. I HIGHLY recommend eating on the Lido Deck towards the back of the ship. There is a pool and 2 hot tubs back there...and NO ONE is eating back there...I do not know why...there is an omlet bar and all you need. It is quiet and has beautiful views of every island every morning. You can sit in the shade or sunshine!
Monday....St. Thomas, Meagan's Bay
Tuesday...Day at Sea, Behind the Fun Tour....now I HIGHLY recommend this. We toured the ship, met the captain, saw the galley, saw a lot! Later that evening we received a plate full of sweets from the galley thanking us for the tour....we also got a picture of our group with the captain!
Wednesday...Barbados and Barbados Sailing with Capt. Ron...an excursion away from the ship. We only had 17 in total on our catamaran. I write more details on my cruise port review.
Thursday....St. Lucia and Cosole Tours...I highly recommend this!
Friday...St. Kitts and Royston Tours...I highly recommend this!
Saturday...now if you read this you need to do this and it was worth every bit of our money and taxi ride there...PINEL ISLAND.....if you go there it will be the highlight of your trip and you will do this whole cruise thing again...I guarantee!
Sunday....we did not have a flight until 4:35 pm so we did the only other excursion we did with the ship and that was a tour into the El Yunque Rainforest. Carnival took care of our luggage and our bus ride. They allowed us to have another day of vacation rather than sit in an airport.
Carnival disembarkation is a bit crazy...if I had to do this again I would not set our luggage out the night before. I would choose self-diembarkation. You will get off the boat earlier, but you must carry off your luggage. If you choose to have Carnival bring your luggage down then you will be given a tag and a number and then you wait for your tag number to be called. Then...when you get off the boat you will look for your number in a literal sea of luggage.....an everyone is trying to get their luggage and get in line to see the customs agent. It is OK, but self-disembarkation would have been easier.
We enjoyed the dance shows, the juggler (he was talented and funny), the magician (I haven't seen my husband laugh that hard in a long time!) and the times where we just sat and watched it all work together. Carnival wants to make this vacation for you...they try very hard and I believe that they are successful. This itinerary is "port heavy" which can be a little tiring. But each port is so unique, they may all be only a few miles from each other, but they offer different, beautiful aspects to your trip.
St. Thomas...beaches and white sand
Barbados....swimming with giant green sea turtles and flying fish
St. Lucia...so green and lush, the volcano and The majestic Pitons
St. Kitts...seeing the Caribbean meet the Atlantic Ocean and the black rocks and black sand
St. Maarten...dual owned and Pinel Island's beauty, WOW
I am going to tell you this, ignore the negative reviews you may have read about Carnival Victory...they are written by people who are expecting way too much. Our room stewards, waiters, omlet makers, clean-up-the-dishes people, people who vacumn the hallways daily are hard-working people and they make this boat wonderful. Do not regret that you have chosen Carnival Victory. She is a wonderful boat and is run by people who want to make this a memorable vacation for you. This was well worth our money. Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
We wanted to snorkel and see the sea green turtles, but we did not want to do it with a crowd. Barbados Sailing and Capt. He met us at the port outside the cruise terminal parking lot. Do not be afraid to walk out there...there a lot of people out there waiting for other excursions. Captain Ron picked us up in his car (he had a sign with our names on it) and drove us to the harbor area. We were able to pay with a credit card which helped on our cash stash. We sailed with 17 people, some of who were staying on the island.
Captain Ron and 2 other men "sailed" us up the coast, we did not motor, we sailed. We were served soda, rum punch, water, smoothies, and other mixed drinks.
Once we got to a certain harbor area they got out the snorkeling equipment, one of the men got in with a bag full of fish and we were snorkeling with turtles below us. A bit scary, but a once in a lifetime experience.
We snorkeled over a reef and then were fed a lunch of chicken, fish, macaroni pie, salad, rice and a spicy Bajan (sounds like asian) souce...watch out its hot, but from the island....you have to try it!
Back to the port we sailed and we sat up front and saw flying fish in front of the catamaran....beautiful sight!
Go with Barbados Sailing!. Captain Ron returned us to the port terminal in plenty of time. I was able to shop in the port. Some were bring a 12 pack of pop on board which was okay with Carnival.
You WILL need sunscreen and a cover-up. I think we had a combo of sunburn and windburn, but SO worth it!
We got off the Victory and did not have any plans for this day. We saw people in port who had monkeys with diapers on them and were ready to have you pay them to take a picture with the monkey. A cab driver approached us and was willing to give us a tour of the island for $100.00 each. We said "no". I then saw a man holding a sign that said "Royston". Okay, I remembered that Royston tours was a guide that I read about on TripAdvisor. We took a van tour with him for $45.00 per person. He brought us to Brimstone Fortress, Batik House, and scenic spots where the Caribbean meets to the Atlantic. One spot was where the volcanic lava fell into the ocean...the result...black rocks....majestic and powerful.
Our driver had a cooler full of beverages in the back. He asked if we wanted chicken, beef or fish. I was not sure what we were ordering, but to my surprise they were tortillas with advacado and the meat of choice. We were handed these and made our way to a black sand beach which had a bar called Shipwreck Bar. The sand is hot here so we rented chairs and an umbrella for $10.00. Ladies cam around and asked us if we wanted aloe massages. We said no. We sat here for awhile away from the driving and enjoyed the sun. At the little gift shop I bought a piece of sea glass. What is sea glass? It is glass that has been broken from bottles that were dumped into the ocean. The gist owner had found them and wrapped sterling silver wire around them for pendants. BEAUTIFUL and completely authentic to this island!
We had time to shop in the port at the end of this. This is a bigger port and larger area for shopping.
I arranged Cosole-tours.com before we left the States. $65.00 per person. This was an all-day tour of St. Lucia. We were met within the port docking area by a Cosole Tours sign. Our driver was Ben. The first thing in the van is him showing us a cashew plant! It was very interesting how they grow. We were on our way and stopped at a banana plantation and ate fresh bananas. We drove through so much on this day. We were boated to the Pitons (2 mamouth mountain that rise out of the ocean) and had an hour beach break. We stopped at a home and were fully fed lots of food made from fruits from the island. We saw the first fishing vllage on the island....many stops were scenic and people were selling homemade goods for us to buy. (I HIGHLY recommend that if you want authentic souveniors that you buy from these people....because when you get back to the port it is going to be a lot of made in China looking stuff that has St. Luci stamped on the front!) We were given beverages all day from the blue van! That blue van always seemed to be nearby! We also saw the active volcano and were given a tour with a guide. AT the end of our day the beverage van appeared again with choices of soda, beer, rum punch, and water. Ben served us from the door and also gave each of us a wonderful piece of warm bread and cheese from a local bakery. This was so nice to end the day with our drive back to the boat. You will have time to shop at the port...it is OK shopping...I did not buy anything...I bought at the beach by the Pitons.
I knew from other port reviews that I wanted to try to find Pinel Island. This port has a very regulated taxi service. You absolutely know where you are going to go and how much you are going to pay. We caught a van to go to Pinel Island. The van ride was $25.00 for two (12.50 each) to the little village/port where we waited for the little boat that would take us across the channel to Pinel. The ferry is a little boat with benches. It is $7.00 per person and they collect the money as you leave and it includes the return trip. I think the first ferry leaves at 9:30 am. We were the 1st ferry over. We got chairs and an umbrella for 25.00 (I think) and the waiter/surfer dude/ nice looking "drink bringer" ran a tab and I paid by credit card right before we left the island. There are 3 bars on this island the one we chose we Karabuni. The Pina Colada was AWESOME...I had 2! The water is clear and wonderful here...I actually think that we could have swam across if the boat had failed because the water is smooth and never more than 6 feet deep. Each bar charges for chairs and as we were leaving I noticed that all ran different prices. You know you can paddle across with kayaks from Caribbean Paddling
On the van ride back we were with only 2 other Carnival passengers. They had walked around the Island and saw iguanas and birds. I guess we just sat and swam. The ferry comes every hour so know when you need to be back at the Victory and plan accordingly.
At the port you MUST try the Guavaberry smoothies. You have to ....I have never had such a wonderful smoothie. Now my husband said that his was Mangoberry, but it doesn't matter because they are wonderful. Look for the stand...thay have hot pink plastic cups. The neighboring stand has coconut smoothies and they are just as great!
We got off The Victory and found a van taxi which took us to Megan's Bay. Okay, this is a crowded place SO....walk away from the crowd. Do not be afraid to walk away from the bar area and go down to where people are snorkeling. You really do not need to rent a chair here of you go farther down the beach and sleep on your Carnival towel in the sand. The water is calm here. When we needed to leave we went back to the bar area and found an open air cab/pick-up. The hills and roads are crazy here....winding and narrow, but your driver does it everyday. You wil have some tremendous pictures of the ship when you are driving back.