Carnival Victory Review

Editor Rating:  3.5
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Why Choose Carnival Victory?
  • Pros: The ship is fun and affordable, offering old-school charm and short itineraries
  • Cons: Public areas are congested; ship lacks most of the line's newest restaurants
  • Bottom Line: It's a great ship for first-timers and groups looking for short getaways

Carnival Victory Overview

By Ashley Kosciolek, Editor

We mean this in the nicest way: 2,758-passenger Carnival Victory has a comfortable, worn-in feel. The overall operation, much like the captain's daily weather and navigation briefings, comes off as effortless. In harmony with the gentle rocking of the ship, it's easy to fall into a sleepy rhythm.

As such, Carnival Victory serves as an excellent intro to Carnival Cruise Line for the uninitiated -- and a quick escape for the line's aficionados.

The vessel's theme -- the high seas -- carries through the ship via a largely green and blue color scheme, complete with dark woods and blue-green Tiffany-style glass domes in both the atrium area and the entrance to the Pacific Dining Room. Busts of mermaids and mermen adorn the Pacific and its counterpart, the Atlantic Dining Room, and seahorses can be found anchoring the railings in stairwells throughout the ship. (Be careful: When taking turns too tightly on the stairs, we found ourselves slamming into the seahorses' noses more than once.)

A (modified) member of the Destiny-class of vessels, Carnival Victory has all the traditional Carnival accoutrements: an exuberant main dining room and a two-deck Lido buffet complex; a bright, centrally located casino; a bar-lined promenade; an impressive spa; a comprehensive Camp Carnival program for kids; a daily schedule of jocular activities; and more than enough places to drink and socialize.

The ship also features a few contemporary touches, including a sushi bar and drive-in style poolside movie screen. In a 2015 overhaul that mostly updated carpeting and soft furnishings, the ship received a couple of Carnival's Fun Ship 2.0 enhancements, as well: the Alchemy Bar, Skybox Sports Bar and Punchliner Comedy Club. Other 2.0 features -- like Guy's Burger Joint and BlueIguana Cantina, found on many of Victory's fleetmates -- are markedly absent.

It's admirable that no one puts on airs -- from the tabletop dancing dining room waiters, to the dryly sarcastic blackjack dealers, to the amiable bartenders who call you "chief" or "boss." Most of the nearly 2,800 passengers give the impression of being quite content with this, and why wouldn't they? There's no pressure placed on the ship to be anything that it's not, and the guests feed off this.

For a Carnival first-timer, it's also relevant to note that, while Carnival has, in the past, been pigeonholed as the slack-jawed, party line (perhaps the line itself is guilty of emphasizing this rep with its own "Fun Ship" distinction), in reality it offers a more impressive range of options than it's given credit for.

Ultimately, you get a sailing full of evenhanded leisure at a decent price. It's like a comfortable dream, of which you remember little more than a general feeling of well-being.

It's also a ship that lends itself to celebrations of all kinds. On our three-night sailing, there were 134 birthdays, 58 anniversaries, 31 honeymoons, three family reunions, two weddings and one marriage proposal.

Carnival Victory Fellow Passengers

Carnival attracts an outgoing set of North American couples, families and multigenerational groups, many hailing from cities within driving distance (Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Texas, Alabama and the Carolinas). The most common states from which fly-to-port passengers are drawn are New York and California. The average passenger age is in the 40s. Expect an influx of families in the summer months and over school holidays.

Carnival Victory Dress Code

During the day, beachy or port-specific attire is the norm. Carnival's evening dress code is typically "Cruise Casual," but on one night during the voyage "Cruise Elegant" eveningwear is suggested. On cruise casual nights, the line recommends sport slacks, khakis, jeans (no cutoffs), long dress shorts and collared sport shirts for men, and casual dresses, casual skirts or pants and blouses, summer dresses, capri pants, dress shorts and jeans (no cutoffs) for women. Cruise Elegant dress means dress slacks, dress shirts and sport coats (suggested not required) for men and cocktail dresses, pantsuits, or elegant skirts and blouses for women. On elegant nights, passengers may choose to dress more formally in suits and ties, tuxedos or evening gowns, but that isn't common.

Carnival Victory Gratuity

Carnival recommends $12 per person, per day. The guidelines allocate $6.10 to dining room services, $3.90 to cabin services and $2 per day for alternative services, which include kitchen, entertainment, guest services and other hotel staff members. The amount is automatically added to your shipboard account, but it can be adjusted in either direction at the guest services desk. A 15-percent gratuity is automatically added to bar bills. Tipping a couple dollars for room service at delivery is expected (and appreciated) by the service staff.

Note: On sailings departing September 1, 2016, or later, gratuities will increase to $12.95 per person, per day ($13.95 for those in suites).

Next:  Carnival Victory Cabins

By Ashley Kosciolek, Editor

1,238 Carnival Victory Reviews from our Cruise Critic Community

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Member Since 2006
1 review
162 forum posts
0 helpful votes
We cruise to be able to get away from everything and not have the phone ringing constantly, so in that aspect the cruise was excellent. However we just had the feeling during this cruise that Carnival was trying to cut so many costs ... Read more
Member Since 2016
1 review
0 forum posts
2 helpful votes
Sailed three weeks ago
We just got back from 4 day cruise to Bahamas out of Port Canaveral on the Victory. We had a WONDERFUL vacation. I must say was a little nervous about sailing on the victory reading so many negative comments on different forums. I am not ... Read more
Member Since 2009
2 reviews
376 forum posts
0 helpful votes
Sailed three weeks ago
This was a great cruise for us; we were part of a large group. This was my 7th cruise; all our cruises have been on Carnival; Fantasy Class, Sensation and Conquest Class. There seem to be a lot of mixed opinions on this ship. We found ... Read more

Carnival Victory Editor Ratings

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996 Professional Carnival Victory Photos

We spent almost a full week on board the Carnival Victory with multiple photographers and took 996 pictures of the ship.  When you visit our new photo galleries you can be assured that what you see is what you get!

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