Carnival Victory Entertainment
Almost every night in the three-deck high, state-of-the-art Caribbean Lounge there's some sort of entertainment. Every type of act is represented, from a Vegas-style illusionist/magician to R-rated comedians and singing/dancing/cabaret acts. On the final night, following Powerball Bingo, Victory features the Legends Show, a talent revue comprised of passengers performing as Elton John, Cher, the late-great James Brown, etc. It's typically one of the best attended shows of the cruise -- and the only show where obtaining an outstanding seat was a challenge.
During the day, there's your standard "Fun Ship" schlock, including hairy chest and belly flop competitions (leaning over the railing of Panorama Deck affords an unobstructed vantage), the Match Game, trivia, and bingo and slots tournaments in the Casino.
An outdoor movie screen showing concert videos, movies and sporting events is located midship on Panorama Deck (10).
The South China Sea Club Casino is the ample casino with bright red columns, ornate gold light fixtures and blue sculptures of noble-looking lions -- you know, the things you'd see in China.
Promenade Deck's Virtual Sea game room features a solid selection of (nearly) first-run arcade consoles. Perhaps a bit pricey at least $1 per play, but an enjoyable diversion nonetheless. I watched my friend have a psychological meltdown while playing Crazy Cabbie.
The Ionian Room, Atlantic Deck (4) aft (which feature a combination Ionic and Doric column rather than simply an Ionic -- for shame!) is a comfortable cigar bar with red leather chairs, Hellenic columns and glass display cases with Grecian Urns. You'll find jazz here. If you can tolerate cigar smoke, it's a great place for a pre-dinner cocktail. After you smoke your cigar and drink your scotch, you simply head a touch more aft for the Pacific, forward for the Atlantic, go down one flight, and you've arrived at your dining destination, slightly more relaxed/completely intoxicated.
Aft, all on Promenade Deck, you have the Black & Red Seas Bar, a nightly karaoke hang, and one of the most popular spots on the ship; The Caspian Wine and Caviar Bar featuring portraits of Czar Nicholas (and wife Alexandra), a ruler known for his love of wine, bloody suppression techniques, and summary execution following the October revolution of 1917; and The Irish Sea Bar, a sing-along alcove fashioned after a traditional Irish pub that features a piano player. Connected to the casino on the port side, the Aegean sports bar is a modest-sized hang with about eight TV's.
For late-night partyin', there's Club Arctic, with its kaleidoscope of floor to ceiling TV's, inset half-circle dance floor, and surrounding seats to watch and mock at fellow passengers spazzing about. The Adriatic Lounge is a more adult hangout. Modeled after a French salon with columns and gradually ascending steps, it's a bit more elegant and a bit less in your face. This spot features more traditional couples' dancing, rather than the improvisational hip-hop groovin' found in Club Arctic.
Carnival Victory Public Rooms
Though seemingly disparate, the Joe Farcus-designed public spaces share the common theme of "the high seas." The stairwells host illuminated murals of mermaids and other mythological sea-beings. The names and decor of hallways feature references to Roman sea myth, as in "Neptune's Way," and their Greek counterparts, "Odyssey Hall"; the theme bars, restaurants, and activity rooms have imagery of sea horses, mermaids and mermen, and, again, references to the world's ocean in their names (South China Sea Club Casino, Black & Red Seas Bar, Caspian Wine Bar, Virtual Sea game room, etc.). Throughout the ship, the coloring is comprised of the many hues of the oceans. And as the piece-de-resistance, the Atrium is tied together by a massive, multi-colored hanging fish sculpture.
If you have no sense of direction (I've been told that I don't), you may find yourself retracing your steps when trying to get around the ship. Navigation is honestly pretty simple though. As on other Carnival ships, Promenade Deck (5) and its nine-deck high atrium (stretching up from 3 to 11) is the focal point to remember. Fanning out from there, you'll find the ship's main features, including the Carnival shops (logo clothing, liquor, perfume, jewelry), the casino, bars and lounges, etc. When you're in the atrium, don't forget to pause to consider the design elements of the cavernous space -- the focus being the Tiffany-style glass dome in translucent shades of greens and blues.
At the base of the atrium, Lobby Deck (3), next to the Purser's desk (starboard) and the Tour Desk (port), you can head outside onto a sliver of open deck; one side of the ship is typically sunny, the other shaded. Both are good choices for quiet reading and/or dozing. These chairs are a bit more difficult to come by, however, as the slivers of deck are popular during the day.
Adjacent to the Ionian room is the ship's 24-hour Internet cafe. There are six terminals; the charge is 75 cents per minute, but you can bring the cost down to $0.30 if you buy 1,000 minutes ($300). Look out for Internet specials. On my sailing, between the hours of 2 and 4 p.m. on a Friday, there was a buy two minutes, get one free deal. Victory also has Wi-Fi hot spots in the Ionian lounge and Club Arctic.
The miniscule Indian library, located on Atlantic Deck (4), is used less for the selection of reading materials and more for people playing board games, taking part in the unsupervised chess tournament or attending the near-daily Friend's of Dorothy or Friends of Bill W meetings.
Carnival Victory Spa & Fitness
Carnival Victory has four pools and countless lounge chairs located on the open upper decks. I never had any issue finding a lounge chair, either with the masses or away from them. The ship's four pools include Sirens' pool (all the way aft on Lido deck), featuring a retractable roof; Triton's Pool, centrally located on the open portion of Lido Deck; the King of the Seas pool (Panorama Deck), the drainage receptacle for the Carnival slide; and the Children's Pool (Sun Deck), a small splash pool. There are showers located by the pools for lowering your body temperature if you've worked up a sweat either baking under the Caribbean sun or dancing to the Lido Deck reggae band.
For entrance to the Carnival slide, head up to Sky Deck (14) and get ready to propel yourself down a slowly snaking tube into a receiving basin of alarmingly slimy water. The slide is too enjoyable, however, to allow bacterial fears to keep you from participating. Many of the youths will slide down, sprint up, slide down, sprint up, etc. thirty times in a row.
Tucked on a corner of Sun Deck (12) is a nine-hole mini-golf area. The rubber and Astroturf holes are modest in size with small croppings of faux-rock hazards. It takes less than 15 minutes to complete all nine holes, so you may want to play a few times -- more than seven is considered rude.
On Spa Deck (11), one deck below the funnel, there's is a running track (10 laps to the mile) along with a couple of shuffleboard courts.
Located all the way forward on Spa Deck (11) is the ship's fitness facility. There's plenty of equipment -- bikes, ellipticals, treadmills, a motley collection of free weights, and weight machines -- available to help maintain anyone's svelte physique. The gym also houses two hot tubs, a steam room and a sauna, as well as men's and women's locker rooms. Specialty classes (yoga, Pilates) are available for $12. Personal trainers are also available for an additional charge.
Also on Spa Deck, you'll find the full-service Spa Carnival. This 15,000-square-ft space, operated by Steiner's of London, offers everything from hot stone massages to Ionithermie Detox and the trendy GTW Teeth Whitening. Take advantage of the special port prices, where you'll save about 10 percent.
Next: Carnival Victory Family
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