129 Carnival Victory Cruise Reviews for Family Cruises to Caribbean - Southern

Chose for the itinerary and timing. The whole thing was pathetic. See other reviews about smell of sewage. Horrible lines for food all the time. One day in Key West it was boiling outside (we live in SW Florida and are used to it). ... Read More
Chose for the itinerary and timing. The whole thing was pathetic. See other reviews about smell of sewage. Horrible lines for food all the time. One day in Key West it was boiling outside (we live in SW Florida and are used to it). But the line to get on the ship lasted 45 minutes. We are used to boarding Princess cruises efficiently. We were in line for an hour to board. Staff was rude and dismissive. It took our waiter 20 minutes to even show up the first night in the main dining room. We never saw our cabin steward--the only ask we have is for ice. He was the invisible man. The ship was written up (by Cruise Critic) as being recently refurbished. Where was that? It was tired. Carpet was old. I love that they have DIY soft serve. it would have made it palatable had someone from the wait staff had bothered to clean up the spills that were allowed to sit there for not one but over 4 hours. And on and on. . . Don't waste your time and money Read Less
Sail Date December 2016
My husband and I wanted to take our 4 year old son on his first cruise. We waited until about 3 weeks prior to decide this, so finding a reasonably priced cruise was a bit more challenging. Add to this the fact that DH and I did not want ... Read More
My husband and I wanted to take our 4 year old son on his first cruise. We waited until about 3 weeks prior to decide this, so finding a reasonably priced cruise was a bit more challenging. Add to this the fact that DH and I did not want to go to Nassau (again!), and did not want to spend a fortune as we were not sure that son would like it, and it became more difficult. I found a 4 night cruise to Key West and Cozumel for the three of us for around 1000.00 and decided to go for it. The cruise was aboard the Carnival Victory. I was skeptical at this point, and nervous, as Carnival has a bit of a bad rep for being a party boat. I also recalled thinking their boats were way rockier on the waves when I cruised them last, 3 years ago. But we decided to give it a go! The first challenge I encountered (and I will leave a review in the correct section as well) was parking. DH and I live in Florida, and though we live in a major port town, usually cruise out of Canaveral. Park and ride is easy there, and we like that. Miami, not so much. The terminal is 20.00/night, and I immediately ruled that out. I then looked at shuttles/hotel combinations, but those were high as well. I finally decided on Premier Parking, after reading reviews here (the one on 2nd ave). Our GPS took us right to the garage (they do caution on their site that it may not). The parking was VERY full, but we did manage to secure a covered spot (they are NOT all! The top level is open). We took our keys with us, and the shuttle took us to port. I was comforted by the fact that no once could move our car, and the cars next to us were on the same boat, so they wouldnt be moving either. The vans were a bit older and rougher, but I would say it took 20 min or less to get loaded up and off to port. The ride was short, 15 minutes or less. The total cost was 42.00, 1/2 of what the terminal charges. Once at the port, it did take a while to board, as the lines were quite long. With RC, we usually are in the Gold line and go right through, but Carnival did not have it set this way. A small annoyance, no big deal. Once on board, we made our way to the welcome buffet. The lines for hot dogs and burgers was long, so we went in. The inside buffets are average, with a chinese food window, (very) small salad bar, fruit, and some hot foods that are nothing special. There are not many of those, either. The desert table is also small compared to other ships. Only lemonade and tea were offered, which is typical. There is another small grill on the other side of the buffet, on Lido deck, as well as a pizza and deli pick up. The pizza is sub par, but that is also typical. The cabins were actually spacious compared to previous cruises on RC. The bed was a full King, with a twin set up for our toddler, and there was plenty of closet space, counter space, and the bathroom had sink space! Much better for us. The TV actually had several cable channels too, not just cheesy cruise replays. This was a huge positive over RC for us. Our steward was great, he always remembered our names, and did a great job for us. We also received our luggage by 4:00, which was great. There was a water slide on board, and several smaller pools- no large center pool. I did not like this as well. There were several hot tubs also, and a kids pool. The kids pool was small, and did not have nearly enough chairs. Nor did the adult area we visited while our child was in camp.Finding chairs was a battle, and there were not enough pools for the kids- and there were ALOT of kids on this boat, which we liked since we brought ours. I would also have enjoyed this boat had we not brought him, it is good for families and singles. I did not feel as entertained as I have on RC. The show and activity times were a bit off. Some shows were pushed so late that we did not make them and some were spread too far apart- think one game show at 5, then the next comedy at 9:30. The Love and Marriage game show was cute, and the Pat G. comedian was funny, but Lester (the comedian) at the 9:30 show was not even amusing at all. I walked out. He laughed at his own jokes even when no once else did. It was awkward. Another thing I noted is that drinks were slighter higher priced than other cruises. RC often had drink specials for 5.95, with others for 7-8.00 (mixed drinks). I usually get the drink packages, but did not this time, as the specials make it more affordable. Not this time. The cheapest special was 7.95, with most costing 8.95 or more. Each time my husband and I both got a drink, it was 23.00 or more with tax and gratuity.We were going to buy a package (Cheers) for him, as he would use it more than I, but if one of us purchased, we were both required to. I was told that even if I had had a medical condition that precluded me from drinking, I had to buy it if he did. There are lots of lounges and bars on board, if you like to drink and hang out. The casino is a bit small, but fun. I did win some money :) I hate the smoking though, it was miserable to be surrounded by clouds of cigarette smoke. The gangway is easy to access and we did not have to wait long to debark at ports, which was nice. Camp Carnival was available for our son, and we did use it some. I was disappointed to see it not open at all the first day of departure- our son was amped up and ready, only to be sent out. During the day time, the kids do not do a lot, but in the evenings they did face painting, t shirts, cereal necklaces, etc. You have to pick up by 10:00 not to be charged. You can also choose to take your kids to dinner, or let them eat with the Camp. Overall, our son enjoyed this service. Photo gallery was a mess, many pictures were not put up on walls and were in big bins we had to dig through. I doubt I saw 1/2 of ours- not that I wanted to buy, they were poorly shot, and in hideous poses. Dinners were a pleasant experience for the most part. We were seated with another couple who had a 6 year old son, which was nice. The food was good most nights (not all!), actually better than RC was on our last trip. Each night featured multiple different appetizers and main courses to try, as well as a staple menu with "safe" choices. They did have Lobster, Prime Rib, Sushi, Ribs, crab cakes, salmon,and several other really good choices that I enjoyed. The shrimp are very small in the app and the meals, and DO NOT ORDER THE MEATLOAF. Other than that, it was not bad. The deserts were always good. They did do a "show" during meals, but I did not see it as we were on the 2nd floor. We also ate breakfast here- it was decent, better than the buffet, as the food was fresher and hotter. They were a bit stingy with the pastries and juice, whereas RC leaves these out as a buffet even in the dining room for breakfast. We attempted to settle our bill on the kiosk with a different credit card, and received a receipt, but were charged on our original card anyway, which was annoying. One word of warning: If you use a credit card, the cruise line places a hold on your card for every dime you spend, AS WELL as charges you for your total bill. The holds have stayed on our card for 7 days now. I called American Express today, and was told after 8 days the charges fall off if the merchant (carnival) does not pursue payment. We are expecting them to be off tomorrow. We purchased alcohol on board, and received it around 7pm our last night. Our luggage was picked up later, with no issues. Debarkation went smoothly, with no big hold ups. The boat was rockier than RC- that did not change, but did not bother me as much. The people were not partying too ridiculously, and there were lots of families. We only had one irritating group near us who woke me shouting at 3am one night. Our shuttle picked us up after about 20 minutes or so. We arrived back at our car without incident. Our car was safe and untouched, and we had no problems. The best part: NO QUINCENIERAS this time or tour groups!!!   Read Less
Sail Date March 2015
We just cruised on the carnival victory for 5 nights. overall the experience was good. The ship was busy and seemed crowded at meal times. The ship is older and in need of some upgrades. i was disappointed that there was no mini fridges in ... Read More
We just cruised on the carnival victory for 5 nights. overall the experience was good. The ship was busy and seemed crowded at meal times. The ship is older and in need of some upgrades. i was disappointed that there was no mini fridges in the rooms. The hair dryer was terrible. Our room attendant was very friendly and did a great job. We stayed on the spa deck, it was close to everything and was a quiet location. The only part i was disappointed in was getting off the ship. We arrived in Miami early and was expecting to get off very quickly. Thy made announcement that we had our clearance and would get off shortly. People rushed to the 3rd floor and it got very crowded. So this caused a major delay with us leaving. we didnt rush to that floor but did leave our room and stayed in the lobby area near the elevators for over 1.5 hours. We were disappointed because we did the self assist and had all of our luggage with us. We were suppose to be the first ones off according to our floor. Read Less
Sail Date February 2015
This was our 3rd cruise, the 2nd on Carnival! We really are people that pick primarily for the ports, not so much for the ship. The ports were really great! Very easy to walk off the ship a short distance and find a taxi/tour for a ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise, the 2nd on Carnival! We really are people that pick primarily for the ports, not so much for the ship. The ports were really great! Very easy to walk off the ship a short distance and find a taxi/tour for a reasonable price to explore the islands. We loved each port for different reasons! We were on board by noon and head straight to the Lido for lunch! We were some of the first on board, so there was lots of room. We headed to our room before 2pm and pleasantly surprised to find our luggage already there. We quickly unpacked and headed out to enjoy San Juan for the afternoon. Our cabin was very comfortable, and more spacious then our previous 2 cruises. I also found it to be clean and that is very important to me. I did not find issues in the bathroom like others have - we did not see our cabin steward very much but he did keep our ice bucket full as requested and we enjoyed our towel animals! We did notice a difference between this cruise and our previous one on the Conquest in that we did not receive very much information about our ports and rarely heard from the Captain! We had the late dining time and had thought of doing "dine anytime" until we met our service staff - they were wonderful and very friendly - and it is so nice to go to the same table every night, to be addressed by name, and for them to know which wine you enjoy and that you want coffee after dinner - without even asking - we love that! Having said that - the food was good - could it be better, definitely - however for the price we paid for this cruise, we were more then satisfied. The appetizers & soups are really, really good - the main meal was hit & miss but mostly for the guys who usually had red meat. They found the cuts to not be the best - but the seafood, pasta and chicken dishes were great! Of course - you cannot beat the chocolate melting cake - any other dessert does not compare! The Lido buffet has decent food for the most part! Like anything else - you get what you pay for - you can take a cruise with Carnival for $600, or take a cruise with Holland for $1000 and have a better quality of food - its your choice! We always enjoy the adult comedy shows, enjoyed a few of the big productions and also the "piano man"....there really is something for everyone. I think Carnival is "good value for the money" - if I expected 5 star food & entertainment - I would put out more money for my cruise - this was well worth the price! Read Less
Sail Date January 2013
On embarkation, we were supposed to be in VIP boarding. There were no signs or special lines that we could see to receive our sail and sign cards. The only VIP sign we saw and went to was security so we went through there. When we got on ... Read More
On embarkation, we were supposed to be in VIP boarding. There were no signs or special lines that we could see to receive our sail and sign cards. The only VIP sign we saw and went to was security so we went through there. When we got on the other side to board the ship, we had to turn around and go back through the line for our sail and sign cards. Not very VIP in my opinion and not enough signage to let you know where you were supposed to go. I was of course disappointed in the change of port dates because I had to pay for internet service in order to change my dates. I would not have paid that money otherwise but since our tours were booked prior to sailing and not through Carnival, that was my only option to change them. Also related to the change of itinerary was the food and beverages. Most of the time, only certain areas were open to get drinks and many were closed. I felt they needed all open for the amount of people using them. Also, the food was cold one evening when we went to Lido deck to eat dinner. We chose the buffet instead of Pacific lounge because it was Cruise Elegant night and the line was very long to get into the restaurant. Many people were doing that even though they were dressed up for dinner, so "anytime dining" was not a good choice in that respect. The choices of food were limited and I am assuming that is because it was well into the cruise before we got new supplies. I have only been on one other cruise line, but the Victory was very unbalanced and swayed the entire time we were at sea. The other cruise line we took had no movement except for one night when we had a storm at sea with 38ft. squalls. Other than that, perfectly still. I am not sure of the reason but others on the cruise said they had been on other Carnival cruises and all were the same regarding constant movement. The ports overall were great and we had great ease in getting off the ship each time. Only one port did we have to wait very long to disembark and I believe it was due to the fact that we were late coming into the port and everyone was trying to get to their excursions, etc. We bought an ocean-view suite but I would call it a verandah room as the suites on the Holland Westerdam had an extra bathroom (toilet)and separate sitting area with a much bigger balcony. The room had a very tiny bathtub. It could have been bigger for sure. The room was adequate except for the bathtub, but just not what I thought I had purchased. Overall, I would not recommend Carnival because of all the issues but I would recommend the ports we went to as they were all gorgeous and customer friendly. Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
I selected this cruise primarily for the itinerary & price, as I was bringing my 18-yr old daughter for a graduation gift (and wanted to see as many places as possible for the money). This was my 3rd cruise overall, and the first with ... Read More
I selected this cruise primarily for the itinerary & price, as I was bringing my 18-yr old daughter for a graduation gift (and wanted to see as many places as possible for the money). This was my 3rd cruise overall, and the first with Carnival. Although most of the CC reviews are favorable, I did make note of the few negative reviews (primarily bashing the age of the ship). Well, I can tell you a simple Google search will enlighten any prospective cruiser to the fact that the Victory is 12 years old - so no one should be "surprised" by this (and it is certainly no cause for a negative review). Although the Victory may not have all the "bells & whistles" of a more recently-built ship, I found her to be VERY clean, well-maintained, visually appealing, and much more spacious than I ever expected. Yes, upon a very detailed examination, the grout along the very bottom edge of my cabin's shower stall was slightly disintegrating - but it was very minor and I imagine this is the kind of normal wear & tear that would be remedied at the next dry dock (would be hard to do otherwise, since the cabins are only vacated for approx 3 hours between cruises). It was certainly NOTHING that put a damper on my vacation, and I've seen much worse at "nice" hotels. I truly believe that a vacation is what you make of it, and anyone who'd let a very small amount of discolored/disintegrating grout RUIN a perfectly good cruise is completely insane (and should consult a therapist). Victory is in BEAUTIFUL shape, especially considering her age. I believe the price of her cruises do reflect the fact that she is a little older than other ships; I was quite happy with the overall experience and she exceeeded all my expectations. ARRIVAL/EMBARKATION: We arrived in San Jan the afternoon before, and split a cab with another couple from CC on our same flight... total fare was $30 for 4 people/6 bags, or $15 per couple. My daughter & I stayed at a quaint little "hostel" (Posada San Francisco) in the heart of Old San Juan, which was recommended by a fellow CC reviewer. $55/person (inc. taxes) got us a clean room, comfortable beds, and warm shower for the night, plus it was the equivalent of maybe 4-5 blocks from the dock (which we walked to w/our luggage the next morning). I believe we got to the dock around 11am, checked our bags, walked right up to the registration area and had our ship ID's in hand by 11:45am. We were told boarding would not begin for another 30-45 min., but were given a boarding group # and told we could wait in the lounge area. We opted instead to go back out and explore Old San Juan some more, made the obligatory last-minute stop at CVS across from the dock, and was back inside the cruise terminal around 3pm. The security line to board the ship was considerably longer at this point, but I don't think it took more than 30 min. to get through. Our luggage had not all arrived at our room yet, but I think the last bag was delivered around 5pm. We had grabbed a snack at the Lido buffet first thing, then set off exploring the rest of the ship before returning to unpack and make the room our own. CABIN #6432: We had booked one of the few category 8A "Premium" L-shaped balcony rooms, which are priced the same as a regular balcony - but with twice the balcony length (due the unusual L-shape of the room). I had done a fair amount of research / weighed the reported pros & cons before booking this cabin, and I can tell you my initial hesitancy was completely unfounded. This cabin was FABULOUS in every way, and had no issues w/noise whatsoever despite being directly above one of the lounges below. The L-shape (built around a crew stairwell) made the room feel more like an actual suite, vs. the usual sardine can. Ours was the very last cabin on the port side of the ship, directly adjacent to the aft-wrap (corner) cabin. There was actually a separate door/entryway to access only our cabin and the aft-wrap, which provided additional privacy/peace and quiet (no little kids running outside our "actual" cabin door at all hours of the day & night)... it was pure heaven. Chaintai was our wonderful cabin steward, and greeted us by name after the first night/introduction, often engaging in conversation and asking how our day had gone, etc. We loved the towel animals set out for us each night, and my daughter actually bought the towel animal How-To book for $15 midway through the cruise. Our double-lengh balcony was THE BEST, and came furnished with 3 deck chairs and a side table plus room to spare (you easily could have fit 2 more chairs out there). I know some cruisers feel they don't spend enough time on a balcony to justify the add'l price, but I feel it's well worth it - if no other reason than to be able to prop the door open (bring a bungee cord for this purpose) and listen to the waves all night long while you sleep. I also love grabbing breakfast from the buffet (2 decks directly above us on this ship - quite convenient!) and bringing my plate back down to the room, so I can eat on the balcony while watching us pull into port. Balcony chairs are also great for drying your swimwear after a day in port (much easier than trying to line dry them in the air-conditioned bathroom). Rest assured, fellow CC members, I would NEVER dream of hanging my clothes over the railing - proper cruising etiquette (for all the newbies out there) forbids hanging your unsightly clothing/swimwear over the railing - not to mention it would likely blow overboard once you start sailing (*wink*). Anyway, the L-shaped cabins get 5 stars in my book, and I would take one again in a heartbeat! FOOD: We had Anytime Dining, and loved our head waiter/team the first 2 nights. The 3rd night I thought maybe they would just seat us with that same team by default, so I didn't specifically ask - but we were seated on other side of the dining room and didn't have nearly as much fun with that team. For the rest of the cruise I made sure to ask for Emiliano, our original head waiter - and never had any problems getting him (never had to wait, either, but we usually went to eat around 7pm each night - right between the 2 "scheduled" seating times). I had seen sample menus posted in a few CC reviews previously, and I thought everything sounded really marvelous - my hopes were quite high in this regard. I will say that while none of the entrees I ordered were bad, I wasn't "blown away" by them either. I was more impressed by the appetizers and desserts than by most of the entrees I had - but again, nothing was bad... I just thought that by some of the menu descriptions it would be the greatest food I'd ever had the pleasure of swallowing. The service and presentation were fantastic, though, and in Carnival's defense I consider myself a bit of a foodie. I had sailed on the NCL Jewel 6 years ago, and I remembered those entrees having a "blown away" factor... or maybe I was more of a newbie and too easily impressed back then, who knows. The chilled (fruit) soups on the Victory were delightful, and something that was never offered on my NCL cruise. The salads on Victory were lovely and flavorful, and we were pleasantly surprised by most of the "Didja" appetizers - particularly the alligator fritters and shark rolls (both breaded items) which we thought were delicious. The chocolate melting-cake quickly became a favorite, and the few times we ventured out with other dessert choices usually came in a distant 2nd compared to the melting cake... so we ended up ordering that most nights. The entrees again were never bad, but just "okay" in my opinion - I was never so excited to get back home and hit up a Chili's. ENTERTAINMENT: The only shows we ever went to were the 18+ comedy shows featuring a guy named Happy Cole... he was THE BEST comedian I've ever seen, my daughter were literally in tears from laughing so hard (highly risque and inappropriate)! We do have an ACME club back home in Minneapolis, so I've been to a few comedy shows before - and this guy was top-notch. I believe he's a veteran cruise comedian, and left the Victory partway through our cruise to move to another ship. In my opinion, he needs to be on SNL... seriously funnier than Eddie Murphy back in the day! We did peek into some of the big production shows in the theatre on various nights, but could immediately tell they were not our cup of tea (over-the-top costumes and glitz, the total "cheese" factor if you're into that kind of thing ). I actually love a good broadway show as much as the next girl, but broadway this wasn't. We instead migrated to the piano bar on several occasions, as that guy could sing/play anything we threw at him and was VERY good at it as well. We found it a very laid-back, unpretentious, and relaxing place to hang out with others we had met on CC or on the excursions we'd taken. The piano bar was toward the aft of the ship, directly opposit from the cigar bar (YUCK!) and just before you reached the comedy club at the very end. Also spent an hour or so in the casino on 2 different nights, where I'd given us each a $40 allowance. My daughter left the cruise with $60, and I left with the same $40 I started with (was up $18 at one point, but played that until it was gone). Keep in mind we only played penny slots (maximum lines), so I think we did quite well. :) There were several fun poolside activities on the sea day, most notably an ice carver who was pretty amazing and drew quite the crowd (I suggest scoping out a good viewing area BEFORE he starts, or you'll never be able to see him otherwise). SERENITY DECK: simply amazing, peaceful, and everything I wanted for my sea day. There are cusioned loungers, chairs, and couches everywhere... though they do fill up by noon. Being a whitey, I needed a shady spot and there a few (but not many) of those to go around - I was able to snag one around 11:30am. I was up there for maybe 2 and a 1/2 hours, to read a book and enjoy some "me" time while my daughter hung out on the main pool deck with another girl she'd befriended. I didn't see anyone offering drinks or foot massages, and I don't know if those are ever offered on the Serenity deck - but (*note to Carnival*) I gladly would have paid for either! PORTS: Enjoyed each one for different reasons, and had done much research of each before the cruise - so we pretty much knew what we wanted to see/do at each island, what it would cost and how to get there. I've learned from previous cruises that the ship's excursions are overpriced and limit you to what you can actually see/do (since they are only 3-4 hours at max). Going with reputable private companies, or doing it on your own, is generally much less expensive and you can see/do many more things (over a longer period of time). I have no interest in wandering aimlessly through shopping areas at each port, so I wanted as much time out & about / exploring the islands as possible - which rules out the 3-hour ship excursions. We took the $2 public taxi in St. Thomas to Sapphire Beach for the day (then later rode the tram up to Paradise Pt.); took the $.75 public bus to Payne's Bay in Barbados and snorkeled out to the sea turtles for free, then bussed it back to the port/walked down to Carlisle Bay; took a private land/sea tour of St. Lucia through Herod's Tours; took a ferry from St. Kitts to Nevis (my only regret of the cruise) before catching a ferry back and spending some time in the impressive shopping area there; and took a $2 public bus to Maho Bay in St. Maarten before coming back and exploring the port area/more shopping. I will review the ports in more detail under the Port Review sections of this website, but in summary we had a GREAT time doing things on our own. I'm not necessarily cheap, but nor did I want to spend $300 on each island doing private tours/excursions. I planned accordingly and brought more than enough cash to see/do what was important to us - with plenty of extra built in for souvenirs, snacks/lunches on the go, etc. - and thanks to info provided by other CC reviews, we pulled it off beautifully and my daughter had the experience of a lifetime! DISEMBARKATION: We had a later flight (1:30pm) so were slotted for group #16 or something ridiculous like that. By 10am, they had still only called for group #8, I believe - and I was getting somewhat anxious. So, by the time they called for group #10 my daughter and I headed down to the gangway and walked right out (no one checks the group #'s). We had kept our luggage with us in the cabin the night before, because I was nervous something would happen and it would disappear on us - but it was kind of a pain to wheel it around the boat while waiting to get off (the cabin hallways are full of cleaning crews, carts, and other passengers w/luggage the last morning and in hindsight I should have just set it out the night before. From what I could see when we got out to the terminal, everything was very well-organized and people had no trouble locating their bags by the posted group #s. From the time we got down to the gangway to the time we were out of the terminal/hailing a cab, I would estimate maybe 30-35 min. (the line to get through the customs check is the longest part, which I'm sure is why they try to release passengers by small group #s). Outside, we looked around and found another couple who looked like they'd be heading to the airport, and asked if they wanted to share (took me all of 10 minutes to find a group of only 2, and they were of course willing to split the cab fare). Overall we had a BLAST on the Victory, and I wouldn't hesitate to sail on her again. This itinerary can't be beat, and neither can the price. I could have spent more on a newer ship and saw less ports of call, but I'm still pretty active/adventurous and have not yet become a "cruise snob" - I have absolutely NO complaints about the Victory and would recommend her to anyone looking to get some real bank for their buck! Read Less
Sail Date December 2012
Our decision to book on Carnival Victory was a last-minute one, as friends were going, and urged us to come along. We had cruised to the Eastern Caribbean on Celebrity Solstice from Fort Lauderdale in January, 2011, so we were eager to see ... Read More
Our decision to book on Carnival Victory was a last-minute one, as friends were going, and urged us to come along. We had cruised to the Eastern Caribbean on Celebrity Solstice from Fort Lauderdale in January, 2011, so we were eager to see more of the Caribbean islands. Some reviews of this cruise have been on the negative side, so my husband and I had drastically lowered our expectations, only to be pleasantly surprised! The decor, while over the top in places, is interesting and appealing. The Sleep System in the staterooms is very, very comfortable. The stateroom as a whole was well-organized. But what was most remarkable on the cruise was how friendly other passengers were. First off, a large contingent of passengers were Puerto Ricans who spoke Spanish. A Spanish-speaking Assistant Cruise Director hosted activities for them. A number of other cruisers hailed from South American nations such as Colombia and Uruguay. The cruise is also sold as a Barbados round-trip, so about 50 or so folks from Barbados come aboard on Day 4. And of course, there was a diversity of passengers from the U.S. with a number of African-Americans from the South and East. This was just the friendliest cruise I have ever taken. You could not leave the elevator without folks saying good-bye to you and telling you to enjoy your evening. Once I entered a hot tub where four Spanish-speakers were already congregated and talking. They acknowledged me right away and engaged me in conversation in English. I would describe this cruise as welcoming and accepting of all peoples. Carnival's focus on having fun, with the upbeat music playing on the lido deck and throughout the ship, the great shows, and the comedy, made this a very upbeat experience for me, my husband and our traveling companions. We flew into San Juan, PR, and stayed one night at the Sheraton Convention Center hotel. One of Puerto Rico's political parties had a huge rally there the day we left, and from our perch in the Sheraton's pool, we were overlooking the high-energy rally. For me, it was a huge bonus to see the politics and culture in action. The hotel room was extremely comfortable, and the hotel overall was fine for a one-night stay, though dining options are limited and seemed expensive. We arrived early at the cruise terminal, and experienced a smooth and fast embarkation. We were able to get to our stateroom early, and leave hand luggage in order to venture into San Juan where we toured the tropical garden at Casa Blanca, checked out the cathedral, and got a drink and appetizer at Picoteo in Hotel Convento in Old San Juan before returning to Victory for our 10 p.m. departure for St. Thomas. Our party of five enjoyed the early dining option in the Pacific Dining Room. We had an excellent waitstaff who learned our preferences on the first night -- things like a plate of lemon wedges for our water, and decaf coffee at the end of the meal -- and flawlessly served throughout. A note on Carnival dining room food: No, it is not Celebrity, though I found a number of very tasty appetizers, main courses and desserts. The buffet could stand serious reworking of its menu and quality, though. I liked the complimentary sushi bar, and the pizza was tasty enough. Entertainment on the ship included a fantastic juggler from Mexico, a motown crooner, a magician, and of course, the house band and dancers in City Lights. We saw three of the four comics who were on board during our cruise, and enjoyed the family-friendly shows. The music on board gets high marks for quality -- especially the Latin dance band. If anything, disembarkation was smoother than embarkation. We literally breezed through customs and were shepherded onto our bus #57 with Manuel for the transfer to the airport. There, a bellhop, whisked our luggage through agricultural inspection and checkin, and we suddenly found ourselves in the security line. Highest marks here. We did not do any of the ship's port excursions, so cannot comment, but people we talked to seemed happy with their excurions. Carnival focuses on activities such as snorkeling, zip lines, beaches, ATV and more, though always has one or two beach-and-shop excursions. Our stateroom service by Diah was excellent. Once she figured out we liked a bucket of ice, it appeared regularly. Room service breakfast of bagel, cream cheese and smoked salmon was excellent. The service was good, though one morning they lost our order, but rushed it to us when we phoned. Service in the buffet was a low point. If you were a worker removing the skim milk cartons because they had turned sour, wouldn't you indicate as much to a cruiser who chose one? My husband ruined his cereal, and had to completely start over to get his breakfast. The pizza service one day was very poor due to lack of clear communication. One suitcase was damaged after we handed it over to Carnival. We have been assured that they will pay for repair, but we will see. I found the six ports very interesting, and we found fun things to do on each one. Due to a back disability, I need to avoid jarring roads, and that was easy to do on St. Lucia where the roads to Reduit Beach are good to start with, and our excellent taxi driver took particular care over speed bumps and broken pavement. I cannot say the same for Barbados, where our taxi driver assured us he would drive gently, then proceeded to drive a shortcut on horribly rutted, barely paved roads when other, better roads were available. On St. Martin, we solved the problem by renting our own vehicle to get to a far beach. In summary, the Victory cruise was a winner because of the friendly folks, the nonstop fun onboard and in each port, the very good service and comfortable staterooms and beds. I would cruise Carnival again. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
I've been reading reviews for MONTHS on here and boarded the Victory with a very low expectation based on many of the reviews. Hope this helps! Embarkation: Your documents say 2:30 but we got there about 11:00 and walked right ... Read More
I've been reading reviews for MONTHS on here and boarded the Victory with a very low expectation based on many of the reviews. Hope this helps! Embarkation: Your documents say 2:30 but we got there about 11:00 and walked right through the signup process. They started boarding at 12:00 and we were right there and got to go on immediately. We were in fact the first people into the lido area for lunch. There is a duty free liquor store right there and we were being all sneaky trying to figure out creative ways to get them through security. Not one person checked us so we after buying lots of little one ounce bottles we got back off the boat after lunch and visiting our room and dropping off carryons and went back to the liquor store and bought lots of bottles. They were in a carryon bag and as long as it wasn't obvious -- they didn't ask and we didn't tell. It was this way at every port. As long as it was in your bag and not an obvious liquor bag -- they didn't take it. We had quite the liquor collection by the end of the cruise. Back to embarkation day -- got off the boat after lunch and walked around San Juan. By about 1:30 the line to get on the boat was huge! Glad we went early (flew in the night before). San Juan is very quaint by the docs and we had a great time walking around. Back to the boat about 5:00 to get ready for dinner. It was casual and anytime dining in the dining room. My husband had been dreaming of his chocolate melting cake and it was cooked solid like a hard brownie. They did manage to pull it out and get it better the next night. The muster drill was late at 9:30 but it wasn't awful and was over shortly. I did see kids with their jammies on ready for bed after! My 8 year old was fine and we went up on the deck for the departure party and they had fun music and dancing while we pulled out. Decor/cleanliness: I read so many awful things about the boat and how old and gross it looked. Every ship has a theme. They are always flamboyant and loud. This one was no exception with its nautical theme. But it was fine. The boat was clean for the most part. I did see where people had thrown down empty food containers, fries spilled on the stairs, an ice cream dropped. I don't blame the employees of Carnival for that. I blame the white trash passengers that can't clean up after themselves. The ship was clean and there were constantly employees wiping things down, moping, vacuuming, and cleaning. There were also hand sanitizers in lots of places to use which I like. Overall -- it was great. Our room steward was awesome. Knew our names, made sure we had ice in morning and night (to go with our bar!). Very attentive. Food/dining: I was equally prepared for mediocre food based on reviews. I've traveled a lot and eaten in some of the best restaurants so I have a high appreciation for excellent food. This was not bad. I mainly stick to seafood of sorts when traveling and I was never disappointed. There were a few appetizers that I didn't think were fantastic (oysters Rockefeller) but my entrees were always good. Many people in our group ordered multiple apps and two entrees never without a problem. Prime rib one night was ordered and my son ordered it medium rare and it was very good. Others ordered it done and it was not so good, they ordered another one cooked differently and Carnival was happy to do so. I can't say they were the speediest of sorts and our waiter was very difficult to understand. Sometimes after entrees it was difficult to find a waiter to get a drink ordered. I do agree with the service of the waitstaff -- could use a bit of improvement there. But not awful. They did get to know us and learned I liked hot tea with my dessert and my kiddo liked hot chocolate with his and they would automatically bring it. That was nice. We ate every night in the dining room. The entertainment was cute and we were upstairs next to the railing so always grabbed our drink and stood by the railing to watch. We enjoyed. We ate breakfast two times in the dining room and found that we could get the same stuff for the most part on the lido without the slow wait time. Breakfast seemed to be painfully slow in the way of service. So the rest of the trip was eating outside by the pool. We only had lunch one time on the boat -- the first day and the day at sea. Lido -- mediocre buffet food what you would expect. Entertainment: We attended a couple of the family comedian shows and it was cute. The kids enjoyed it. We walked in late to one of the dancing/singing shows and there were men half dressed in football jerseys dancing around with flair. I don't know if it was supposed to be sexy, funny, or what. We couldn't take that. Cheesy. The juggler was entertaining and adults and kids enjoyed. Most of the nights we spent in the casino or having drinks walking around the lido deck. Can't say a whole lot on the entertainment or the seminars and shows. Casino is fun -- won some nights, lost some nights. Typical options for any casino. We attended the Minute to Win it show (although called something else) and the 50 or so people in there were mainly kids but they only had people over 18 participate. Debarkation: We had a late flight Sunday so we were one of the last groups to get off. Out of the room by 8:30 we sat around the pool until about 11:00 and got off. It was easy and quick. Grabbed a taxi at the port there. Overall: It was a great cruise with a great itinerary (see excursions). The ship was perfectly fine. Loved that we could bring on our alcohol. This was my fourth cruise and third on Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
We sailed on Carnival Victory in November 2011 and there was simply not enough time to see it all. We knew we would need to do this trip again, so we decided to go the same week in 2012. We flew from Charleston WV to Charlotte and then ... Read More
We sailed on Carnival Victory in November 2011 and there was simply not enough time to see it all. We knew we would need to do this trip again, so we decided to go the same week in 2012. We flew from Charleston WV to Charlotte and then to San Juan one day prior, the flights were all on time and smooth. We secured a room at Casablanca in Old San Juan from Hotels.com for pre and post stays. Hotel is charming great location, but no elevator so they will hold your bags downstairs if you don't need them or they offered to help carry them up for you. Check in time is 3 and they mean 3. Hotel was full on the first night we stayed and we happened to get the room with no hot water.No big deal, we made sure when we checked out that we would get a different room after the cruise. We checked out at 12 noon and headed on over to Pier 4 to drop bags and check in. There were no lines, the time from bag drop off to ID check in and receiving the S & S card and on to security was maybe 20-25 minutes as boarding had already begun. Took maybe another 15-20 minutes to get through security/picture up the gang way and then that magical ding. Room was already available so dropped carry ons off and then to Lido for lunch. (PS security was tight and all bags were being searched for booze, they even made sure the 12 packs of Diet Cokes we bought were Diet Cokes)After lunch we decided to get back off the boat and walk around to kill a little bit of time since dinner the first night is open seating. Sail way is not until 10 pm. The safety drill was miserable, long and hot and much longer than last years drill, but necessary. Pay attention people and it can go quicker. Staff was extremely friendly and helpful, except for some of the Photo Team Members. Food excellent and always available. Lines at breakfast could be long long and longer, but just be patient. VIFP Party, thought the food and drinks were better than on the previous Past Guest Parties. Embarkation/Debarkation were extremely fast/easy and efficient. Did see people get pulled out for customs inspections and they did have dogs coming through the lines to sniff your bags. Ports and what we did will be noted below. Read Less
Sail Date November 2012
It was my 8th cruise, 3 on RCL, 3 on NCL and 1 on Carnival. I had been really positively surprised when I sailed on Carnival Freedom. Best employees, best entertainment and best food of all ships I had been on. So I wanted to try another ... Read More
It was my 8th cruise, 3 on RCL, 3 on NCL and 1 on Carnival. I had been really positively surprised when I sailed on Carnival Freedom. Best employees, best entertainment and best food of all ships I had been on. So I wanted to try another Carnival ship and when I saw the ports of call that the Victory had to offer, I reserved immediately. This ship is in the same family of the Freedom but that's all it has in common. Old ship, not as clean, as well taking care off. No specialty restaurant, no mini bar. Nobody telling to use Purel when entering a food place. In fact, they hide the Purel. The entertainment is less than ordinary. It's the first time I cruised on a ship that has employees so different. Some are really smiley and friendly and some seem to be bored and just do their job. The good things about that cruise; the best ports of call and 5 of them. Only St-Thomas that is so boring. Food in the dining room is very good but not as good as Carnival Freedom. You have to try the smokes duck. The sushis are good but uneven. Buffet food is just OK but lines are too long. The pizza is above good. Breakfasts are just OK. The best of all is that you can bring 1 bottle of wine per adult and you can go back to the duty free shop as many times you want so you can bring as many bottles you want. You can even bring back wine bottles from St-Thomas but not the other ones. You can even pay about 50$ a day to have 15 alcoholic drinks. Read Less
Sail Date October 2012
Since we've been on a lot of cruises, we're able to make a comparison with some we've been on. We'll just mention some positives and some negatives. Though there are some negatives mentioned, based on what we paid, we ... Read More
Since we've been on a lot of cruises, we're able to make a comparison with some we've been on. We'll just mention some positives and some negatives. Though there are some negatives mentioned, based on what we paid, we really have nothing to complain about as we always try to focus more on the positives in general. However, because this forum gives people the opportunity to give their honest opinions, I felt worthy of expressing ours. Positives: Embarkation and Debarkation in San Juan went smoothly, since we carried on and off our luggage's with no problem. Check-in went smooth and was well organized. They allow at least one bottle of wine or liquor per person, although they actually allowed about two per person. Royal Caribbean and Celebrity do not allow that at all, as it's obvious selling the bottles of liquor and drinks on-board is where they bring in the big bucks. Old San Juan has a CVS a couple of blocks away where you can purchase wine at decent prices...if the stores in the cruise terminal are not open for purchases. Another positive Carnival has over Royal and Celebrity is that they have a little laundromat area with washers, dryers and an iron/ironing board. Comes in very handy. Shows were ok...not great, but ok. Especially liked the show on the first formal night and there was a guy who did some juggling act who was also a comedian...very funny and entertaining. There were a few other great comedians as well. Food was OK compared to others we've had on other sailings. But again for what we paid...we didn't starve to death and it was basically edible. There were a couple of people who stood out among them all. Primarily one and her name was Miriana. We believe she was some kind of hostess who warmly greeted us on the first day, and she was delightful till the very end. Always a smile on her face no matter how hectic things were or how tired she was. Another person was a Dining Room waitress we had a couple of nights (we had the anytime seating option) and her name was Arini. These two young ladies were basically the only ones we encountered that we can honestly say seemed to care about servicing the customers properly and never with any attitude. The greatest positive of all, however, had to do with the company we had. Our parents and some other relatives joined us on this cruise. Even when things may not go well, if you're surrounded by people you love that you're sharing a wonderful time with, any minor irritation can be overlooked. Now on to some negatives: I'm usually not overly picky about some things mentioned here, but I guess the environment or more specifically the decor stood out for me. In my opinion I considered this ship to be the least attractive looking of any I've been on. We found the decor to be dark and somewhat unpleasant. Perhaps because I don't care much for browns and blues and dark floors. Just gives a gloomy feeling, although some may have liked the nautical theme but it was so dark that I sometimes missed it. Ceilings in many areas were low and caused a feeling of being closed in (we are not claustrophobic). We found that tables in the buffet restaurant and around the deck areas often had trays and dishes on them long after the passengers left. On several occasions we had to carry the used trays and dishes away just to get a clean place to sit. And it wasn't because there wasn't enough crew members to be on top of it, they just didn't seem to care unless you called them over. Never encountered this problem on any prior cruise. We were surprised to actually encounter quite a few waiters in the Dining Rooms who came across as irritated and were rude and displayed a bit of an attitude. If we asked for something, some never responded with a smile or a positive attitude, it was more like you're annoying me and don't add to the workload by asking for anything else. Not only were some waiters rude, but some passengers as well. We were awaken in the middle of the night several times by people talking and yelling loudly, as if it were broad daylight. However, you can't control who gets on but you can control who you hire. Didn't care much for the pool area, although the Serenity Lounge was the area we preferred to relax in. Overall, considering some irritating factors, our cruise still offered us memorable moments we shared with our loved ones. Had we paid a lot more than we did and we didn't have have the wonderful people we had with us, who made it all worthwhile, perhaps we would've been more critical. In general this cruise was a hit and miss...and, as I stated, it wasn't too bad and it wasn't great, compared to other cruises we were on, but we tried to make the best of it and focus more on the positives. Read Less
Sail Date September 2012
This was my 6th Carnival cruise. Previous cruises were all out of Canaveral/Miami/Fort Lauderdale. With regard to the Carnival cutbacks many have spoke about I noticed the following on this boat: No crew members getting people to use ... Read More
This was my 6th Carnival cruise. Previous cruises were all out of Canaveral/Miami/Fort Lauderdale. With regard to the Carnival cutbacks many have spoke about I noticed the following on this boat: No crew members getting people to use sanitizer at meal times/boarding. I am not a germaphobe, but it seems likes that precaution works. I noticed more people with minor illnesses (my family included) on this boat than I have seen in awhile. No lunch service in the dining room (not sure if this is Victory only). Very difficult to get a drink during dinner unless you sat in the middle of the dining room ("raised" area with the bigger tables) of the dining room lower level. Shorts (just not cutoffs, gym, or swim trunks) are now approved in the dining room all nights except "cruise formal" nights. People still wore caps and shorts on formal nights of course. This is nothing new although I was surprised that the daily now says only that specific types of shorts are now allowed on cruise casual nights. Dinner buffet options are weaker than I remember in the past. Sandwich shop is open but the wok is closed. Almost zero to do during the day unless you like trivia. Nothing new but a few options would be nice. Debarkation breakfast seems to close up rather early. No bar snacks (minor, but they are missed if you just want to sit there and drink a few beers). Shows were nothing special. Bright spots: Kristina the evening bartender at the wine/martini bar. Lots of personality, more so than any other cruise bartender I can remember. FYI: She is moving to the Magic in December. The wife and I spent many ours watching her mix drinks. Dinner menu on the last night: Best of all nights IMHO, made up for some other nights that were lacking. The ports in general were nice (I don't shop though). Friars Bay beach (site of the Shipwreck Bar) in St. Kitts is the best $4 shore excursion (cab ride) you can find. Get there early if you want some quiet time as it gets busy. Close up magician who roams the ship; very good show. I had a good time but the truth is I will be a bit more critical of Carnival when considering my cruise options moving forward. You do give up certain things when choosing them and sometimes those things are worth the extra money, at least to me. I started cruising when I was 21 (38 now) so I'll admit that some of my opinions are a result of me getting a few years older. Read Less
Sail Date August 2012
This cruise was my family of 5's second cruise on Carnival. We sailed on Valor in 2010 to the Western Caribbean, and we couldn't help but use that cruise as our baseline for comparison. BETTER: - With only one day at sea, ... Read More
This cruise was my family of 5's second cruise on Carnival. We sailed on Valor in 2010 to the Western Caribbean, and we couldn't help but use that cruise as our baseline for comparison. BETTER: - With only one day at sea, and San Juan acting as an awesome port in itself, I liked the southern Caribbean itinerary much better, but more on that in port reviews. - No tendering!! This was a major pain in Grand Cayman and Belize in 2010. Walking off the ship onto a dock was lovely. - Balcony room upgrade. We had 2 adjoining rooms, and Carnival opened the divider to give us one large balcony. This was an awesome option for reading and watching Victory sail in and out of the beautiful ports (well, except for Barbados). My wife and I debated on whether to get a suite + inside room vs. 2 balcony rooms, and this was a great decision for us. - Circle C. Our youngest is 12, and he had a blast with Circle C. On a few nights, we were waiting up for him to get back to the room. - Dining. We were initially assigned to our own table, but we asked for reassignment to another table. They warned us that we might get placed with people who didn't speak English, but we changed anyway. Our new table mates instantly became friends for the rest of the cruise - and beyond. Our server, Denzel, was also awesome, and we were entertained every night by their singing & dancing. - Cruise director, Felipe. Felipe was hilarious and energetic. He also hosted the Love & Marriage show, which was a real gut-buster! - The room stewards were great! They went out of their way to greet us every time we left the room. It seemed like they were working all the time to keep the rooms clean.WORSE (remember, comparing to Valor in 2010): - The quality of the entrees and desserts was far worse. The hot breakfast foods on Lido were also sub par, but I found myself eating healthier because of it! Maybe Valor food was just great, but we were disappointed here. - College age activities. My daughters (18 and 19) had spent every night in Club O2 on Valor and made many new friends. They were "adults" now, never could find a college-age crowd, and weren't ready to party with the drunk adults in the normal bars. This seems like an opportunity for Carnival to cater some activities for the 18-21 college crowd. - Been there done that syndrome. The evening shows were essentially the same as on our cruise on Valor. We went to the USA song & dance show - which was good - but felt like we were watching a rerun. That said, the comedian was very good and the show on the last night was as entertaining as always. SAME AS ALWAYS: - Self-Assist debarkation was lightning fast. - Muster was painful (again) - Sail-away and Monster Deck parties were a lot of fun - Ship was clean, clean, clean. - Ship stayed on schedule, except for the few people who always seem to be late getting back on board by 4:40PM All in all, we had a great time, and I would recommend this cruise, and Carnival Victory to others. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
We had great weather! However, I did not spend much money on the ship, my tab for me and granddaughter's room including the mandatory tips was only $288! The adult children found things to do in the evening, but I went to my room, or ... Read More
We had great weather! However, I did not spend much money on the ship, my tab for me and granddaughter's room including the mandatory tips was only $288! The adult children found things to do in the evening, but I went to my room, or the on the deck, and did not participate in ships corny activities. Our balcony cabin was near the atrium elevators on the 8th floor and we had to endure terrible singing most nights till midnight coming below from the main piano bar on deck 3. It sounded like cats meoling through the grate in the door. We thought the food was OK, my sons loved the burgers late night while it was open. We ate in the Pacific dining room every night and our party of 6 had a nice side table by the window. We hated the lines in the morning so then we started eating breakfast n the dining room. The room was clean with spacious showers, plenty of storage and hangers; but no fridge. St. John--Hired driver to give us a 1 hour tour of the main sights/beaches and then he took us to "Secret Bay" Beach. We saw only one other party from the ship. Uncrowded and lovely with a restaurant and rentals. Barbados- A family friend picked us up for a tour and rum shop stop in the hills and then we went to "Brandon's Beach". Uncrowded and near the ship. Had great Roti's at Chefette. St. Lucia--We took a shared van to Reduit Beach. Loved the scenery and amenities and beach but too many people bugging you to buy stuff. We would return. St. Kitts--I walked the downtown area market and stores and then we took a shared van with short tour to Cockleshell Beach. Lovely and so scenic, uncrowded and free chairs. St. Martin--We took the water taxi to the beach area, and got what we thought was a good deal--2 water floaties, 2 chairs/umbrella, and 5 waters/beers for $20. We loved the local food there and would go back. More people bugging you to buy stuff. San Juan --we booked Shoretrips.com old and new San Juan tour and transfer to airport. It was expensive but it was private and he took us where we wanted to go. We especially liked touring the local beach areas past the airport and we sampled lots of Rican street food. It was too hot to tour the fort and besides we wanted to get our moneys worth of sites for 3 hours. We loved it overall, spent lots of money on the stops and it was so worth it. Apparently our ship was the only one coming in per week, so explains the zeal of the people to sell stuff. I am tired of Carnival's repetitive entertainment, (hairy chest contest and expensive bingo???) with exception of the Carnival Dancer shows. That is why I did not spend a lot of money buying drinks. We are trying a different cruise line next time, and hope we can find one with lots of stops like this one. Give a 10 for the Victory itinerary, and a 7 for the ship because of the entertainment. Was nice to see the Olympics on the Lido deck screen. My 4 year old granddaughter loved the Camp Carnival when she went. Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
We've always assumed that Carnival was a cruise line for non-stop partying and that they would have inferior ships and service. After reading several reviews here, we continued to have our doubts, but had to sail on Carnival to get ... Read More
We've always assumed that Carnival was a cruise line for non-stop partying and that they would have inferior ships and service. After reading several reviews here, we continued to have our doubts, but had to sail on Carnival to get the itinerary we wanted in the Southern Caribbean this summer. We expected that we would have to tolerate the ship Carnival Victory so that we could spend as much time as possible enjoying the island ports. Happily, I report that we were wrong about Carnival and thoroughly enjoyed the entire trip! The ship was beautiful, spacious, and clean. Our balcony cabin was roomy enough to accomodate 3 ladies and all of our stuff. Also, our cabin was in the specific area mentioned in an earlier review that complained about music from below during the wee morning hours. We only noticed music two evenings, when the ship band was playing along the promenade, one floor below us. It wasn't too loud and ended at 12:00. We never heard music from the Arctic Lounge in our cabin. The staff was friendly, helpful, and catered to all of our needs. We preferred the food in the dining room to what was available at the buffet and ate there for dinner and breakfast for nearly the entire trip. We rarely had enough room to finish our dinner entrees and desserts because we ordered multiple items from the starter menu. The soups were particularly delicious! We did enjoy the food at the outdoor grill for late lunches on a couple of afternoons (burgers, chicken tenders, hot dogs, fries, etc.). Also, we attended afternoon tea on our sea day and it was delightful. We saw a few great shows to include a hilarious comedian named Happy Cole and an incredible rock/roll show performed by the ship singers/dancers. The musicians throughout the ship provided a nice variety of music that should please everyone. We took a few Carnival-sponsored excursions and arranged a few on our own, using local taxi drivers to take us to destinations we had researched prior to the trip. On St. Thomas, we loved our afternoon in the crystal clear waters of Magen's Bay. We took a taxi there since the ship excursions only allowed 2 hours at the beach. That is NOT enough time! In Barbados, we took the submarine excursion and it was a fabulous trip along a thriving coral reef. On St. Lucia, we enjoyed the catamaran cruise along the shore to see the Pitons, although it rained nearly the entire day. What a beautiful coastline! St. Kitts offered us an exciting zipline excursion and a scenic 20-minute taxi drive to a black sand beach. On St. Maarten, we took a sightseeing bus tour early in the day and spent the entire afternoon at a beach along a boardwalk, in view of the ship. It was a great day in our last port with lovely sand, clear water, souvenir shopping, a selection of restaurants, and a water taxi to cart us back to the ship. Of course, everything about our trip wasn't perfect, as anyone should expect on any vacation - cruise or landbased. Please don't dwell too much on the negative reviews here about the Carnival Victory. It's a lovely ship, filled with a friendly crew and many opportunities for fun. A vacation is what you make of it - you can choose to dwell on minor issues or enjoy all that is wonderful! Read Less
Sail Date July 2012
This was our fourth family cruise. we sailed out of San Juan the first week of June 2012 for 7 nights on the Carnival Victory. The reason we picked this cruise is because there was only one day at sea. We like to swim, snorkel and explore ... Read More
This was our fourth family cruise. we sailed out of San Juan the first week of June 2012 for 7 nights on the Carnival Victory. The reason we picked this cruise is because there was only one day at sea. We like to swim, snorkel and explore the islands. PROS: Embarkation was fast and efficient. Checked in at 12:30. left to sight see around Old San Juan and back on board and in our balcony rooms at 3pm. Our luggage soon followed. PROS: Best part of the caribbean we have seen. Visited: St. Thomas, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. kit ts and St. Marten. We did not go through the ships excursions because we have found a website called shoretrips.com that offers more for the same amount of money or less, without the crowds of the ship. We will always book through them from now on. Great experience and all day off the boat without rushing through the day. CONS: The rooms were tired. Mold in the bathrooms. TV needed to be replaced. Water pressure was pretty much not there in the shower. Just overall wasn't as clean as other ships we have been on.CONS: WARNING!!!! Don't stay in or near cabins 6380 or 6382. We heard the music from the Arctic Lounge right under us every night until about 3am. After several calls to guest services and a meeting with the hotel manager it was turned down some but we could still hear it. We are not complainers and don't expect everything to be perfect, but we weren't getting any rest. We were given a 20% credit for both rms and a 15% discount on a future Carnival cruise, which we will never use. CONS: We saw our rm steward twice. He filled our ice bucket 3 times and we had to ask for beach towels and sodas in the rm. only 2 towel creation the whole trip. We all really like seeing those when we come in for the night. CONS: Worst food of any cruise we have taken. Cruising is a great way to see the islands and get a taste of where you might want to vacation in the future. This experience will not keep us from cruising again, but we will be more careful in the future. NO MORE FUN SHIPS!!! Their not fun at all!!! Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
We arrived a day before the cruise and stayed at the Sheraton Old San Juan. Our one night stay was very nice. Had a room on the 4th floor and the room was very clean. No noise and we had a good night of sleep. Enjoyed the shops around ... Read More
We arrived a day before the cruise and stayed at the Sheraton Old San Juan. Our one night stay was very nice. Had a room on the 4th floor and the room was very clean. No noise and we had a good night of sleep. Enjoyed the shops around San Juan and had no problems at all. Everyone that we met was very helpful during our stay. The Victory is a nice ship and it was very clean. Some of the areas could use an update and I believe that will happen later this year. I reviewed the ship a lot before booking. We were in cabin 8356 and I never saw anything negative about this cabin, but there was a equipment locker across the hall from us and a pantry next to that, so I had a 0500 wake up call every morning from the noise from the pantry. Had to ask each day for ice and clean towels. My kid was looking forward to the towel animals, but we just received those the first two nights. We ate in the dinning room the first three nights and that was it. I never had a bad meal on our other 5 cruises, but this one was "Hit or Miss" for sure. Other than the pantry noise, room cleaning and the dinners...It was a good cruise. We went for the islands and not the ship for this trip. The ports of call were outstanding. St. Thomas: Scubadu Private Charters. Sailed over and around St. John. Barbados: Calabaza Sailing. St. Lucia: Herod's Land and Sea Tour. St. Kitts: Carambola Beach Club on South Friars Beach. St. Maarten: Soualiga Destinations with Capt Bob. All of the excursions were over the top and would do them all again except the Calabaza Sailing... They were good, but just not the same level as our other excursions. Getting on and off the ship was a piece of cake...Short lines and had no problems. We had a late day flight, so we dropped off our luggage at the Barrachina Restaurant and enjoyed another shopping day in San Juan. Barrachins's just wanted a $5.00 tip to hold our 6 bags. We ate there and had a few drinks. That is a nice place with some very helpful people working there. Overall: I don't think you can beat the islands on this cruise. We had all kinds of fun at each port and the weather all week was perfect. The Victory was in good shape and clean...Just stay away from a cabin by the Pantry and hope you get someone that will clean the room each day. Breakfast each day was good, but they can keep that dinning room food...Go for the ports...they were Awesome... Read Less
Sail Date June 2012
Boarded Carnival Victory on April 29th, 2012. Have travelled many times with Carnival. This ship was just O.K. While it was clean, it is a bit dated. The biggest disappointment was the meals in The Dining Room. There were 5 adults ... Read More
Boarded Carnival Victory on April 29th, 2012. Have travelled many times with Carnival. This ship was just O.K. While it was clean, it is a bit dated. The biggest disappointment was the meals in The Dining Room. There were 5 adults travelling in our group and we all agreed that the food on Lido was better and you didn't have to take nearly 2 hours each night to complete your dinner. The service was slow and the selections were not like they have been on past trips. Many nights the same selections in the dessert and appetizer categories. The quality of food on CARNIVAL or at least this ship was not good. Don't know if it is the chef on VICTORY or CARNIVAL is cutting back. The flavor just wasn't there. Many people on our excursions said the same thing. Don't waste your time...just eat on LIDO but the dining experience of course will not be the same. CARNIVAL needs to improve the entertainment as well. Tired of the NEWLYWED games and BATTLE OF THE SEXES. Come up with some new ideas...please. Went to see 3 comedians and only 1 was funny. Hardly anyone laughed for the other 2 and people got up and left. The ship was noisy and alot of people on our trip were rude running up and down the halls all hours of the day and night. That is not CARNIVAL'S fault obviously. The only quiet place on the ship to really relax was on SERENDITY DECK. My husband and I enjoy music but it is so loud you have to scream to each other to talk. CARNIVAL needs to provide a place where there is relaxing music where you can converse while relaxing. Overall, very disappointed with our experience this time with CARNIVAL. The stops we made were amazing and we planned some amazing excursions. Loved the Islands...St. Lucia, St. Kitts, St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Barbados. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
We are a family of 4 (2 pre-teen kids) and we sailed the first week of April on the Carnival Victory with another family. Here's my review for the good, the bad and the ugly... The Good... We flew into San Juan in the morning and ... Read More
We are a family of 4 (2 pre-teen kids) and we sailed the first week of April on the Carnival Victory with another family. Here's my review for the good, the bad and the ugly... The Good... We flew into San Juan in the morning and grabbed a taxi ($22 plus #1 per bag) to the port. Embarkation and debarkation were both easy and quick. Our room was ready within an hour of boarding, and our luggage arrived outside of the room a few hours later. The ship was very clean and the crew was fantastic. Our cabin stewards (Agus you were amazing!) and waiters (Linton and Nikkola) were personable, attentive, and efficient. They knew our names and made sure we had whatever we needed throughout the cruise. We also loved the itinerary...5 days in port and only one full day at sea. Even though this was a spring break week, at all but one port, we were the only cruise ship there that day, so none of the islands or excursions felt over-crowded. We took advantage of many activities on the ship (trivia contests, bean bag toss, ping pong tournament)which were well managed by the actvity coordinators, who were very nice and made the activities fun. We also saw a number of shows. All three comedians that we saw for the family friendly comedy shows were fantastic. The juggler also put on an amazing show and the magician, who seemed to do more comedy/showmanship than magic, was entertaining. We did not attend any of the musical shows. Overall, we had a great time on the cruise. Excursions: - In St. Thomas we bought an all-inclusive day pass at the Sugarbay Resort, which was beautiful and relaxing (no one trying to sell you anything, braid your hair or give you a massage). We paid $85 per adult and half price for the kids, and it included use of the beach, kayaks, facilities and pool as well as breakfast, lunch and unlimited drinks. We had to take a taxi there, which was $10 per person, but for us it was all worth it since we had such a nice day. - In Barbados we booked Catamaran/swim with the turtles excursion with Silver Moon Cruises (we booked this on our own), which was very nicely run and a lot of fun. We enjoyed this so much, we're actually considering taking the same excursion with other friends when we cruise again later in the year). - In St. Lucia we booked an excursion through Carnival that was very disappointing. It was the Segway, Safari and Beach excursion. While the Segway portion of this excursion was quite a bit of fun, my husband ended up having to go with another group. Apparently they only have 13 segways. With 26 people on the excursion, they needed 13 and 13 to split us into 2 groups (Half of the group Segways first, while the other half does the safari, then the groups switch). Since our bus had all even numbered groups, they wouldn't begin the tour until they someone switched into another group. Needless to say, everyone wanted to be with their significant other or family, and no one was "volunteering". For $200 each, you want to enjoy this with your family/spouse rather than a bunch of strangers. When no one volunteered and they were going to forcibly split up a young couple, who were very unhappy about it, my husband said he would do it. It was all very tense and uncomfortable, and a big disappointment for our family, particularly since we had never done this type of excursion before. The safari portion of the excursion consisted of driving around the island in an open air truck, with a few minutes of offroading but generally through residential areas. They picked a few things off trees for us to smell or taste along the road, but I hardly consider this much of a safari. Finally the beach...they took us to a public park beach, and when the beach we were supposed to go to was closed for a wedding, we ended up with many other tours (think hundreds of people) on a tiny beach at the end of the park. We had to sit up the hill behind the beach since there was no room on the beach for us. Aside from the segways, the whole thing was a disappointment. - In St. Kitts, we booked a Beach Excursion through Carnival (we had signed up for a Safari/Beach tour, but after the issues we had with the similar tour in St. Lucia, Carnival let us switch excursions). The excursion included transportation to and from Cockleshell beach. Since we were the only group there, it wasn't too crowded, and we had a nice day. The food at the beach was actually delicious (try the brick-oven pizza) and we rented wave runners while we were there. There were lots of water sports to choose from. - In St. Maarten, we just took the water taxi across the bay to a local beach, rented some chairs and an umbrella and relaxed. The Bad... We were disappointed in the food, both in selection and preparation. That said, some dishes that we had were delicious, particularly the soups (the chilled strawberry soup was superb), others not so great, so overall, we were disappointed. We had sailed on the Carnival Valor two years ago, and loved the food, so our expectations were high. The Ugly... The only ugly thing on this cruise was the shower in our stateroom, which had lots of mold on the grout in the walls, and chunks of missing grout (and griminess in the gaps) on the floor. While the bathroom was kept very clean by our cabin steward, the bathroom shower was pretty gross. All that said, we had a fantastic time and enjoyed our cruise very much. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
I read a lot of reviews and recommendations before our cruise as we were traveling with our 13 month old daughter so I would like to give back to others what they gave to me. If my experience can help someone else then that is great! ... Read More
I read a lot of reviews and recommendations before our cruise as we were traveling with our 13 month old daughter so I would like to give back to others what they gave to me. If my experience can help someone else then that is great! Overall we had a great time but I will include the challenges to be aware of. Family: My husband, our daughter, my parents ( in the cabin next door!), his parents, his sisters, brother in law and our two nephews. Total of 12 including our little one. Arrival: From airport to ship was smooth...even with our large party the transfer seemed easy. Once we arrived we checked in very quickly and made our way to the Lido deck. We were actually allowed to our cabins earlier than expected. This was a small mistake as they were not really ready for us; still cleaning. Thus the stewards rushed to get the rooms done and when we entered our room was still dusty and had Bobbie pins on the floor from the previous guests. The rest of the week the cleaning was great. Condition of the ship: I expected it to be dated which it is but not in a way that bothered me. The only complaint that we all agreed on was that Carnival really needs to update some of the tiling and toilets that are starting to show true wear and tear. Showering for me wasn't the most ideal. Again I was not expecting The Ritz but still. Dining: The food on the cruise was very good. Breakfast and Lunch were the best out of the three. The dinners were a bit disappointing compared to our last trip on the Destiny. Not bad just not great. The sushi is just not good. We especially enjoyed the Deli and the Fresh Mozzarella and Tomato Sandwich with Pesto Mayo!!!! We had a slight confrontation with the Hostess Ivana at the Atlantic room the first night. Since the first night was not a formal dining experience we were sat at two round tables next to each other but not really close enough to talk to each other. We also learned that this was going to be our arrangement for the entire trip. A big disappointment. We kindly asked the hostess if this could be changed before the "real" dining experience started. She replied with a very smug and rude NO. There was NOHTING SHE COULD DO. Well I thought this was the FUN SHIP! Well to summarize Kavian the maitre d came in and took care of the situation. He apologized and arranged for us to have a long table so we could all be together. It was not the most ideal but they do not have round tables larger than 10. In addition with a 13 month old I was never sitting anyway :) Gym: Took a spinning class which was good. Different that what I am used to at home but nevertheless felt good to sweat and burn some calories! Entertainment: I can't comment: We were in bed by 9pm every night! However you should know that if you stay towards the back of the ship you will hear the music and karaoke late into the night. The Ports: All fabulous!!! Full reviews on Trip advisor. St. Thomas- Magens Bay Beach Barbados- I am reluctant to tell cause I don't want the secret to get out but we went to a hotel for the day and had a wonderful time. Amaryllis Hotel. St. Lucia- Asked to go to Reduit Beach but was taken to Rodney Bay. To summarize beautiful setting overrun by vendors! St. Kitts- Fantastic!!! And get the sushi here! YUM! Carambola Beach Club St. Martin- Even more fantastic....Divi Little Resort. Spent the day here and will return. Traveling with a little one: Our daughter is a great eater and sleeper. She ate great...sleeping was a bit of a challenge. The crib is much smaller than she is used to and most nights woke up crying and ended up in bed with us and for the trip it was fine! Sleep is sleep for everyone :) Bathing was also a challenge but we managed in the sink. Just know the cabin will be cramped with the crib. We had the balcony and most evenings let her run around on one of the top decks to get some energy out before bed. Since my parents were in the cabin next door we packed our baby video monitor. We knew she would never fall asleep with us in the room. We did a little bedtime routine and packed some of the toys/stuffed animals she loves plus her music starfish. We would put her to sleep sneak out with the snoozin sign on the door and go to my parents room and watch on the monitor till she was asleep. Then we would quietly sneek back in and go to sleep ourselves. Car Seat: I did a lot of research on this before we left. We got the Combi Coccoro Convertible Car Seat and used it forward facing which was fantastic. It is very light and easy to install on the airplane. We also got a travel cart and people were staring and commenting like I had invented it! It worked out great....as a place for napping. For those that tell you there are seat belts we did not find any. One minivan in St. Thomas was the only place that had a seat belt and to be honest I don't even know if the seat itself was still attached to the floor of the car. The return trip in St. Thomas was the first time she sat on my lap; I was not happy but again there was little I could do. By the end of the trip this was just the way it was and luckily nothing happened. These are things good to know ahead of time especially for a new mom! Also she was not allowed in the pool which we knew ahead of time. However there are benches around the pool and a good landing area with shallow water that she was able to walk in and around with us w/o going into the water fully and no one seemed to care or bothered us. Again this was only one day at sea! Leaving the ship was easy and smooth and we changed our exit time so we could arrive at the airport without a rush. No problems at all! There was also a Starbucks in the San Juan airport which was a nice treat of ice coffee! All and all we had a great time with lots of wonderful memories. My daughter first learned to walk in the sand in St. Lucia, learned to dip french fries in ketchup, and loved those ice cream cones and swimming with us in the ocean. My husband and I sleep later at home as does my daughter but we got to watch the sunrise as a family each morning! I can't speak for everyone but I know my husband and I had a great time as did my parents. The ports of call are great but the trade off is you have to leave each island really before you want to! We will return:) Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
I am a RCCL fan but booked this cruise due to the itinerary. This trip with Carnival was much better than my past experience with them. Dining: IMO, the breakfast buffet food was "ok" and lines were long when we were at sea ... Read More
I am a RCCL fan but booked this cruise due to the itinerary. This trip with Carnival was much better than my past experience with them. Dining: IMO, the breakfast buffet food was "ok" and lines were long when we were at sea (expected this). Lunch buffet was enjoyable with a wide selection offered. We were early seating in the Pacific Dining Room and had wonderful service by Pravit and Ovi. Dining for my family was a pleasure because we definitely do not eat the variety of food served at our house. Excursions: St Thomas: Originally planned on taking son to Blackbeard's Castle and was informed via Trip Advisor to do Island Tour first and then be dropped off to save $$$. Glad that we did. Was assigned Denise by cab station and she was very personable and always had a smile on her face. She drove us to Blackbeard's Castle but we decided not to go there and ate lunch at a local eatery instead. Cost $25 USD per person. Barbados: Thanks to Trip Advisor, sent "taxicab or Sanjay" message stating our desire for his services. I cannot say enough good things about him. He was very patient with me while I was trying to decide what to do on the island, sent clear and precise information on where to meet him and was promptly waiting for us with a smile on his face. He even showed us a local eatery where I had the best rum punch. Cost $25 USD per person for 3 1/2 hour island tour. St. Lucia: Did not have any excursions planned for this island and wish that I had done more research. Hated being bombarded by people offering us "taxis" and finally said "yes" just to get away. Damien, our driver, reassured us that is cab was air conditioned. NOT! We were suppose to be going shopping but ended up seeing the poverty areas on the island. The only good part was a stop at a local rum factory where tasting was only $3pp. Cost $10 USD per person. St Kitts: My husband booked the "Fanta Sea Snorkeling tour" thru the ship and had a wonderful time. He commented that most people were interested in snorkeling but in the bar and party atmosphere on the catamaran. My son and I did the Heritage Tour thru Kittitian Tours. Once again, Akimbo took wonderful care of us. He took the time to call me and reassure me that he did not forget about us and he would meet us when we docked. He was there waiting patiently for us and had an "air conditioned van" with drinkings waiting. Cost $48 USD per person (this includes admittance to national park) St. Maarten: Booked snorkeling tour with "Soualiga Destinations" and Capt. Bob made sure all involved had a wonderful time. $100 USD per person Entertainment: Only seen a few shows but couldn't stand the lead female singers voice and felt the guy was adequate. Honestly, felt that there were better singers on the reality t.v. shows. Rooms: Inside stateroom did the job but wish that our room would have had a bunk bed for my son as opposed to a mattress on the floor as this limited the space. Had a great time on this cruise and definitely would recommend it to others. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
Post Cruise -- We flew to San Juan on Saturday and stayed at the Marriott Stellaris that I booked on Priceline for $115.00. The cab ride was funny because the cab driver didn't understand where we wanted to go. There was a Celebrity ... Read More
Post Cruise -- We flew to San Juan on Saturday and stayed at the Marriott Stellaris that I booked on Priceline for $115.00. The cab ride was funny because the cab driver didn't understand where we wanted to go. There was a Celebrity ship in port and although we said Marriott Stellaris she kept heading to the Celebrity port. The whole time we kept saying we were not going to a ship she just kept driving right up to the ship. When she stopped we said no "Marriot Stellaris Hotel". Speaking loudly must have worked because she said "Oh Marriott, OK", and off we went. We just shook our head and laughed. We were very happy with the resort. I wanted something on the beach and it was great. The room wasn't ready when we arrived so we changed in swim suits and had lunch at the resort. It was pretty pricey but we were starved and didn't want to waste time looking for something else. We wandered the beach and before we knew it the room was ready. They moved us to a pool cabana room and we were worried about pool noise, but there was none. It actually worked out great because as any family knows it seems like you make 40 trips a day to the room so having a close room to the beach was very handy. To save suitcase space & weight I decided to buy sunscreen and bath products at Walgreens in San Juan. It was a good idea, but it didn't work as well as I had hoped. The selection of shampoos and such were quite picked over and I had more trouble than I thought I would have getting what I wanted. So in hindsight I would not do this again. We had dinner at Orozoco's that was recommended on the San Juan board and we loved it. It was very good and nice and close. We just did breakfast at Starbucks. Embarkation Day -- After Starbucks breakfast we laid out on the beach for a little while then headed to ship. No problems getting on. Lines went well. We left the luggage with the porters and went to CVS for wine. Got our cards and got a few mini bottles of vodka for DH in the duty shop. We put the mini bottles in his short cargo pockets. Then at the security gate we put them through the x-ray machine then reloaded the pockets then on the ship. We got on the ship, ordered a bucket of beer, and got our first lunch on Lido. By the time we finished our cabin was ready and we dumped our carry-ons and left the ship. We spent the afternoon tour El Morro fort then made our way to Barrachina for a Pina Cololda (which was delious). Back onto the ship and our luggage was delivered and we unpacked, showered and dressed for dinner. The muster drill, which was not adequately announced, was at 9:30 then sail away. We did not like the late sail away. All evening we just wanted to move on from San Juan and seemed so late. St Thomas -- DH & DS scuba dove with Blue Island Dive and had a great dive. They were up and off the ship right away and there was only 1other person on their dive so you couldn't get more personal than that. DD & I slept in and wandered off the ship to head to Sapphire Beach. It would have great if it wasn't down pouring rain. We got there and no sooner got our chairs then the first downpour began. It let up after a while and did some of the beach snorkeling and that was wonderful and despite no sun was worth it. Then just as we got back out of the water it began to down pour again so we decided to go shopping instead. So we shopped for a while then met DH & DS for lunch. Then we did the port shopping then back on the ship. By then the sun came out so we laid out by the aft pool and got a drink of the day. Not bad. Showered, dressed for dinner, then did our nightly sushi and cocktail hour followed by late dining. At this point I say we wished we did Anytime Dining. Our last cruise late dining was fine, but for some reason this time 8:15 was just too long. Unfortunely when we inquired they said that there was a waitlist of 100 people wishing to switch to Anytime so we stayed with 8:15. Sea Day -- Slept in, worked out, ate on Lido, and then went to get a chair. We did not have any problems finding chairs for us. It was about 11:00am and we wanted toward the Aft Upper Level on the side. Quiet, great sun, and perfect for all day sunning. At one point we went to the Serenity Deck to check it out. It was very full and there was no room to sit. Most people were napping up there. The kids wandered here and there and except to get lunch we just stayed, read books, and chilled. Perfect sea day. Barbados -- We spent the day with Gina and her crew on Calabaza. This was the best day. If you can book with Gina I can't recommend it enough. She and her crew did everything to make our day great from wonderful rum punch, great food, to beautiful snorkel locations. The boat was great and there were not too many people. This was a memorable day for my family and the one we were looking forward to the most and it did not let us down. St Lucia -- This is such a beautiful island. We were in awe of the mountains, rainforest and beautiful little towns. On this island we did Cosol's all day tour. This was not the best fit for my family. While during the planning part of trip everyone thought the tour would be a good idea, it didn't quite workout that way. We are more of a do/action family where we like to participate in our tours and not just driving tours. So while the tour was everything that was promised, it wasn't a good match for us. Plus this is very long. It begins just after you pull into port and goes right up to when you need to get on the ship. This island also was not our favorite beach island. The location of Jaseclouse beach was beautiful, the beach and water was the rockiest. St Kitts -- We booked the ½ rainforest tour with My Island Tours with Javin. This was better because we got to do things and get out of the car for activities. Plus it was a shorter tour and we got spend our afternoon a little more on our own schedule. Javin was a great tour guide. He was interactive and personal which was so nice. It was great getting to know him and his island. St Kitts is so cute and just lush and green. We got to climb onto the black rocks for some amazing sea pictures that reminded us of Hawaii then we hiked in the rainforest. We were a little disappointed the hike ended so soon, but it was beautiful seeing the bamboo forest and all of interesting plants of the rainforest. St Maarten -- Orient Beach Day on our own. Last day we just slept in, worked out, and wandered off the ship on our own. This was such a relaxing way to spend our last day on our cruise. We loved Orient Beach. It was like a picture postcard with crystal blue water and white sand beach. I had picked Orange Fever for our beach location and we had a little problem finding it since we were dropped off at Bikini Beach instead of Pedro's. I know where it was located from Pedro's not Bikini Beach. Eventually we found it and were very happy. We parasailed and had lunch and drinks and called it when the clouds moved in. By the time we got to port it was raining. We wandered port to clear out the last of the kids souvenir money then went back on the ship for our last night. If you are worried about naked people, don't. Kids don't notice them, just us adults do. This beach is too beautiful and fun to miss it because you may see some boobs walk by. General Thoughts: Ship -- We loved the ship. Our last cruise was on the Valor and DH did not like the patriotic theme for that ship. We did like the sea motif of the Victory. It is circa "Kathy Lee Gifford Carnival Commercial" so it was fun and bright and we like it. The layout was similar to the Valor so we found everything very well. The Photographers set up everywhere caused traffic headaches on the Promenade deck, but we managed. Room -- We were in a category 4J cabin. It was great. It was our first window cabin and we liked it. No noise from the theater above us. We could not hear anything from outside or any noise from the door that leads out to the deck. We did very careful checking for what people could see from the outside and you cannot see in. It was strange opening the curtain in the morning and seeing people right outside our room but we knew they could not see in. Staff -- Everyone was so nice and pleasant. Our room Stewart was great; our servers were very attentive and knew what we asked for regularly, cocktail servers were happy and pleasant. We always like to find a bar where no one is there and we always end up talking to the bartenders. Everyone we spoke to has worked for Carnival for over 9 years. They say that they like Carnival and are happy with the company and how they treat them. They do rotate ships and like different things about each one and they go home every 6 months. They all seemed very genuine in their comments. Food -- We were happy with the food. Buffets -- For breakfast some mornings were worse than others with the lines. I had trouble getting an egg white omelet. One morning it was no problem and I had it fast, the other 2 mornings, both at a different omelet station, it was a problem and took a long time. If I didn't want an omelet I just went to the aft food stations and got my food really quickly, then went to the desert station and got my fruit and I was out. The lines were for the main buffet lines. For the bacon lovers, and there many, bacon was served by staff in the main buffet line but at the rest of the stations you could serve yourself to your little hearts content. I was amazed by the amount of bacon people got. We did eat in the MDR on the last morning and that was fine. Lunch - no problems food was good and fast. Snacks -- We had sushi every night and that is our favorite. Some afternoons we hit the French fries for a midafternoon snack. Dinner -- We at in the MDR every night. We enjoyed dinner. I would say our steaks were hit a miss with how they were cooked, and the flavor of something's were a little bland, but I didn't have to cook or clean up and had great service. So that made dinner great no matter what the meal was. I didn't see any big attire mistakes and my DH & DS did wear shorts every night except for formal nights. Miscellaneous --Workout Facilities (Spa) --We used them almost every day. There were fine and the classes where OK. I did a total body class, yoga class, and ab class. They were all doable for a novice person for those types' classes. The machines where fine and usable, although I did struggle for balance using them while we were at sea ?. Entertainment -- We a couple of comedians and the Welcome show. They were OK. I don't remember the names. I do like the addition of the Punchliner's club so we can see the comedians right away that are new from our last cruise. The past guest cocktail party was different than our last cruise also and we really were happy on how they handled it on this cruise. Having it in the theater with drinks and hors d'oeuvres being handed out was very nice. Last time it was in the disco and we had to stand in line trying to get drinks and food and didn't get much of anything. This way we could sit and relax and there was plenty of food and drinks being brought to our table. Club O2 -- My DD loved the club. She joined the first night and enjoyed all of the evening activities that they had. It took no time till she and her new ship friends spent all of the on board time together. One issue that we had is that the sign up for Club O2 was at 11:00pm on the night that we set sail. My husband said that the hallway was jammed packed with teens that didn't have parent with them so they were not allowed to sign up for Club O2. We believe that since it was so late most parents went to bed or were already involved in their own activity. These teens are not allowed to bring the paperwork with them since they could forge their parent's signature so they were stuck till they could bring their parents another time. I believe if they sign up could have been earlier in the evening much of this could have been avoided. Now for my 18 year DS he did have problems meeting kids. The first couple of nights he hung out with us, how lame, and even went to bed early after seeing a comedian alone, even more lame. Eventually he got to know my daughters friends, many who were close to his age and grade since he is a senior in high school, and hung out with them when they were not in the club. While I do get all of the arguments for not allowing 18 year olds in the club, it was rough. One girl turned 18 while on the cruise and she was not kicked out of the club. The only 2 things I would do differently is do Anytime Dining, and make sure to skip the car ride tours, otherwise it was great. Read Less
Sail Date April 2012
First of all I would like to say that the Carnival Victory may be one of the older ships in the fleet but has been maintained in all her glory and charm. We have sailed on one of the newer ships and much prefer the quiet elegance of this ... Read More
First of all I would like to say that the Carnival Victory may be one of the older ships in the fleet but has been maintained in all her glory and charm. We have sailed on one of the newer ships and much prefer the quiet elegance of this ship. Arrival via American Airlines from Canada to San Juan was flawless. I was worried about our connection thru JFK and that we would not make the ships departure in time but had no problems. People always comment and say that you should arrive a day before your cruise to make sure that you make it there but we had no problem, the trick is leaving early and arriving approx. mid day. We left at 6am and arrived in Pueto Rico at 1:30 which left plenty of time to pick up our luggage and get to the ship. We took the Carnival transportation from the airport to the port and was worth the price of $15 each. They took care of our luggage and we never saw it again until it arrived in our room around 9pm that night. It is perfectly safe this way, and all we had to carry was our carry on luggage. Arrival at the port was without flaw and we were quickly on the ship after the necessary check ins in approx 1 hour after leaving the airport. Once we arrived on board we were given our room keys #2454 and deposited our carry on luggage there, were able to grab a quick bite on board as the buffets were open and then we still had time to go back into old San Juan to visit this beautiful heritage city. Don't miss this city, worth the time. We also were able to pick up our two bottle of wine we were allowed to have on board and a case of coke. We made it back on the ship well before the 8:30 cut off time and had time to grab a quick bite to eat and make our way up onto the Lido Deck for sail away party. Excellent time and quite spectacular St. Thomas was our first port of call, and after visiting the Harley Davidson store, which is right across the street from the ships port, we found a lovely open air jeep type of taxi and were given a extensive tour of the island for $20 per person, which included several stops along the way for photos. Our tour guide was very knowledgeable about the island and this showed in his tour. We were then taken to the outside market in the downtown area where he let us have some time to shop before taking us to whichever beach we wanted to go to for the afternoon. We choose Megans Bay where there was a $4 entry fee per person. I don't think this was worth it for the beach, however it was lovely and the water was warm and calm, but in hindsight I would have gone to Sapphire Beach, which was much nicer and had lots of areas to snorkel and quieter. Our tour guide was back to pick us up at 3:30 and deposit us back at the port which still gave us time to catch a drink at a local bar before getting back on the ship.. The next day was at sea and believe me, there is always something to do aboard the Victory. From ice carving demonstrations to various contests and dance lessons. You also are invited to several information sessions which describe the next ports of call and of course the shopping adventures at each port, well worth the time to go to these, and a nice break from the hot sun. The kids took part in the slide and pool activities but really, who wants to swim in a small 15x15 pool that has a whole bunch of sweaty people in it????. We were also given the opportunity to change our late seating dining to the early seating and I suggest this to everyone. The early seating just gives you more options for after dinner entertainment. Barbados was the next port of call and a beautiful island. We had read about swimming with the turtles but with four of us I thought it was too expensive to take the excursion at between $90 and $110. So I did some research and found out that the excursions all go to Payne's Bay and dock approx 20 yards off shore to let people off to swim with the turtles. We took a taxi there and did the same thing for the $25 taxi ride. We rented two chairs and umbrella on the beach for $15 and had a glorious day. Walked the beautiful beach and then took the city bus back for $2 per person, and it was safe and not scary in the least. If the girls had let me we would have taken the bus there as well but were not quite sure where to catch it in town. It is only about a 5 min walk along the ocean drive to the stop. St. Lucia was the next stop and I had pre booked a tour with Spencer Ambrose Tours here for $85 per person. We were picked up right from the port and taken by bus on a 2 hour tour from Castries down to the bottom of the island where we boarded a speed boat to a beach located between the two pitons. Here we were given lunch and allowed to snorkel and beach for 2 hours. The beach was not one of my favourite and I found it very crowded for my liking, not much to see snorkeling as well. We were then taken back by water on a huge catamaran where the rum punch and music were free flowing. We stopped briefly at a small area called Marigot Bay and this is where I would have preferred to stay, beautiful beach and swimming so if you do not take a tour go here. St. Kitts was the next stop, and I must say my favourite island. We hired a taxi to take us on a tour of the island for $20 per person per day and it was well worth the money. He took us all thru the city and thru the countryside up to Brimstone fort. We stopped at a beautiful mansion that was once owned by a relative of President Jefferson. Here there was beautiful gardens and the local people made batik cloth, a must to see. We then traveled to Frigate Bay which is a newer development on the island, good opportunity for time shares and beautiful, down to cockleshell beach where we stayed for 4 hours and then were picked up by the same taxi driver. Just a note, where they let you off at the beach, walk farther down to the blue umbrellas where the beach is nicer and chairs are in better condition, cheap bear, bucket of 6 for $14 and good hamburgers and pizza at the restaurant. Loved this island, if we ever return we will rent our own car, and they pick you up at the port, to see the island at our own pace and can stop at several beaches. St. Maarten was the last stop, here we just took the water taxi over the the main beach and spent the day between the beach and shopping which was just behind the beach on the main drag. We got 2 chairs, umbrella, 2 water floaties and a bucket of 6 beer for $20...great deal but again don't go to the first place as soon as you get to the beach, walk a short way to get a better deal. The beach was amazing here and because it was so hot, had to wear flip flops to walk on the sand, we spent a lot of time in the water. We didn't make it to Maho Beach to see the planes, much to my children's dismay, but will on another trip to this island. San Juan was our disembarkation port and I must say Carnival handled this in an efficient manner. You are given tags in your room the night before you leave and place these on your luggage and that gives you the number of group you are in to leave the ship. We were number 27 which was near the end and so we did not get off the boat until around 9:30 but it gives you lots of time to have one last breakfast in the dinning room and wander around the ship for one final time. We spent the day in San Juan and stayed overnight before leaving for Canada the next day. A nice relaxing final day at the beach and a great way to end our holiday. Final Pros: Siguel our drink waiter in the dining room was the highlight of our trip. He always had a smile on and my girls loved his antics...which made up for the sour-puce faces of our waiters who I don't think really liked their jobs. Don't forget to go to the front of the ship to find the workout area, thru the spa...did not find to the second last day. Equipment new state of the art and plenty of aerobic and yoga classes, beautiful view from the front of the ship. Tip your room stewards, they work hard and long hours...and just the thought of them cleaning our daughters room was worth their tip. Don't pay attention to those who say the lineups for the buffet are long...they aren't we never had more than 5 people in line before us. Sandwich, BBQ and sushi place are all worth it. Even the dessert and coffee place is worth the extra money you have to pay, we had a 6 layer piece of carrot cake and 2 Spanish coffees one night and it only cost $9 and soooo worth it. Don't miss the chocolate buffet lunch on the St. Maarten day, worth going back to the ship for lunch. Cons: can't think of much other than trying to walk the long hallways in high heeled shoes, ha. Also they are very strict on attire for breakfast in the dining room, but its much nicer to eat up on deck at the buffet while you are pulling into port anyway. I wish they had the hot tubs up and running in the morning...closed until 10...would have been nice to take a hot-tub with a coffee while you were pulling into port!!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
We traveled with a group again for our 8th consecutive Spring Break cruise. Most of us were from the Chicago area. Most of us left 2 days prior to the cruise on Sunday to get to San Juan and enjoy that port. We stayed at the Howard ... Read More
We traveled with a group again for our 8th consecutive Spring Break cruise. Most of us were from the Chicago area. Most of us left 2 days prior to the cruise on Sunday to get to San Juan and enjoy that port. We stayed at the Howard Johnson Carolina PR. 2 nights. This hotel was picked b/c of proximity. to airport, van rentals (3), pool, and price. Vans were rented at: National airport location and Charlies (2). We used Charlie's b/c of shuttle to cruise pier at their Condado drop off location. It worked out very well. Shuttle to pier was fast and easy. National was less money and Charlie's gave no multi vehicle discount. HoJo was acceptable, clean,and location for what we needed was good. Communication prior to arrival was poor as I tried several times to email and fax them concerning confirmation of 8 rooms/bedding type needed. Lobby was nice, rooms a little dated, elevators on Sunday morning were extremely slow. After waiting 15 min for elevator on 6th floor, we lugged our 45 pd bags down the stairs 6 floors. Continental breakfast on top floor provided an adequate meal but nothing special. Views were very nice and items for breakfast were refilled consistently. Pizza/Italian Restaurant in hotel was good. We enjoyed our meal arrival night and would recommend if staying at hotel. Saturday night we walked several blocks to another restaurant which was good but not outstanding. Several restaurants are located so you have plenty to choose from. Embarkation: drop off at pier with rental vans is a zoo. A Lot of congestion at the port, however after return of vehicles and using Charlies Cars shuttle, we had an easy time at embarkation. It took us 45 min. to get on ship and up to Lido deck for lunch to meet the rest of our group. Very much enjoyed the 10pm leaving San Juan as we love walking around OSJ and the various sights. Our Stateroom on the Victory was in a good location for us, and easy to get to dining room, atrium, disembarking. Our room was slightly worn, room steward never introduced himself, and no amenities basket in bathroom on this ship/sailing. The room steward however always took good care of our needs and we have No Complaints. Dining Room: We had Early dining for most of our group. We loved our location in the back next to windows to see sunsets and wake of ship. Our wait service was OUTSTANDING and personable. Experienced new Carnival menu and found it to be adequate but liked previous better. Most of the time our food was very good and cooked to our liking. We ate every night in MDR. Our group did enjoy the entertainment in dining room. Excursions: Booked independently St. Thomas: Took public bus ($2 p/p) to Red Hook Ferry(RT $12 p/p) to St. John. Cab ($3p/p) to Trunk Bay. Enjoyed 3 hrs then back to Havensight for shop. Sea Day: Group sunbathed, slept, Hairy Chest Contest, Ice Carving on deck. Wine Tasting, Fun Shops, Spa. Barbados: Took cab to Mt. Gay Rum Tour ($7 p/p) then another cab to Boatyard Beach ($12p/p) for the day. St. Lucia: Booked Cosol Tours for full day adventure. Very good! St. Kitts: Booked Rosevelt Taylor for 4 hr tour. Another great tour with beach time at end. St. Maarten: Booked Bernards Tour (again !) for fab tour. I have more details of all our tours within the ports section of CC. San Juan: Pre-Cruise We walked OSJ with free touring guide available online. With van rentals we drove to OSJ and parked in lot near Sheraton. After breakfast at La Bombonera, shopped, walked to several sites, and then left and drove to Bacardi Rum Factory. Spent several hrs enjoying and then drove to El Yunque Nat'l Forest. It was pouring rain so we drove thru stopping at waterfalls. Good thing we all had waterproof camera's and rain ponchos. Post Cruise: Stayed one add't night at Verdanza Hotel near airport. Lovely hotel with nice rooms and beautiful pool area. Rested at hotel and left next morning for airport. Ship Entertainment: Shows were good, however they do repeat if you go consecutive years on same cruise line. Comedians were hit or miss. We were lucky we had gone to the better show. Group enjoyed the Karaoke Bar and several lounges, disco. Kids Club: The kids (13-17) did not go to any kid club activities because they hanged around together as their entertainment. With the many port activities we planned they were pretty tired at night so we did not have any curfew problems. Disembarkation: We had one family in our group who did self assist and they were quickly and easily at airport in plenty of time for 11am flight. The rest of our group had flights on Monday so we were one of the last to get off ship. After taking our time to get downstairs(no rush) when our number was called, we still had to wait 10 minutes and it started getting very warm. People were stuck on stairwell too, so take your time when your called. There is still a wait time and it can get uncomfortable. Once we were allowed off ship, we got a Porter to assist us and he got us transportation to hotel quickly. There were 20 of us going to same hotel. Summary: Ship a little worn. Staff very friendly. Food was good but liked previous menu better. Don't wait in lines at Buffet like cattle. Many venues had no lines (like at bkfast for eggs)and we got service right away. The scrambled eggs in buffet are POWDERED and YUK!! I got fresh eggs at the Yangtze Wok (anyway you want them) and GREAT service. They were very friendly and knew our Chicago group well as we all went there b/c of service. Did not spend much time on ship as with previous cruises b/c of port intensive itinerary. What we did experience was very good and I would certainly recommend this ship to those who like the itinerary. Be prepared for not too much down time to relax. I could hardly make the deck party on Wednesday night or late night comedy. We had a great time. Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
We were very excited about this cruise this was our first time sailing out of San Juan. We arrived a day early and stayed at the HOJO Plaza De Armas. They have luggage storage if you arrive early. We dropped our bags and headed out to ... Read More
We were very excited about this cruise this was our first time sailing out of San Juan. We arrived a day early and stayed at the HOJO Plaza De Armas. They have luggage storage if you arrive early. We dropped our bags and headed out to explore the city. We walked all over old San Juan checking out the sites and making sure we knew how to get to the cruise port. After that we rode the free trolley over to the fort. It was a beautiful day with many of the locals out flying kites and having a picnic on the huge grassy area. The fort is a wonderful place to explore and you get awesome views of the water. We ate the local cuisine at a little restaurant around the corner from the hotel. I do not remember the name of it but it was almost across from Barrinchina. The hotel was clean with ice cold air. We had a nice little balcony room overlooking the plaza. On Sunday we headed to the cruise ship. We were in line about 12:15pm and were on the ship within 30 minutes. We headed to the Lido deck for the buffet and then went to check on our room. Our room was ready by 1:30pm. We had room 1402 on the Riviera deck. It is an inside cabin with a twin bed and bunk above. It has a small couch. We booked this room on purpose as we were excited to have more legroom. The room was clean and we really enjoyed having the legroom. We took turns sleeping on the bunk the deal was whoever had the lower bed had to get up and answer the door for room service. The only problem we had with this room was that the remote control for the TV was broke and Carnival wasted no time getting a new remote for us. Our cabin steward was Ozzy and he kept our room neat and clean and the ice bucket full. We alternated our meals between the main dining room and the buffet. The food was good both places. We almost did not find the sandwich place we were used to it being in the back of the ship but it is in the buffet hallway instead. We enjoyed the piano bar player. The shows were great. J.R. McCullum gives a great comedy show the family and adult were equally good. We enjoyed the hot tubs on the Serenity deck and working out in the gym. We did not use the pool but never had a problem getting a chair on the pool deck. The worst things I can say about Carnival are they make me eat two desserts on the night the serve the Tiramisu and Bitter n Blanc. They will not give me a carton of the fruit juice they serve on the lido deck to take home and they make me get off the ship when the cruise is over. As always the staff are the best!!!! Read Less
Sail Date March 2012
Carnival Victory Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 3.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 3.5 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 3.0 3.4
Service 4.0 4.1
Value For Money 5.0 4.0
Rates N/A 4.3

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