Having sailed with Royal Caribbean and Norwegian many times before, we tried to book a last minute cruise during spring break but could not find a cabin that would accommodate 2 adults and a child. With Carnival being the last/only option ... Read More
Having sailed with Royal Caribbean and Norwegian many times before, we tried to book a last minute cruise during spring break but could not find a cabin that would accommodate 2 adults and a child. With Carnival being the last/only option left, we decided to give it a try and go on a Carnival Cruise for the first time. From the moment we booked, we decided to go with low expectations since we have always heard Carnival is not really on same level as RCCL and NCL. Going with low expectations would perhaps allow us to be surprised in a more positive way.
Unfortunately that was not the case…
Let’s start with the fact that the Victory is currently undergoing some refurbishment of its cabins. Some areas on decks 10 and 11 were cordoned off and crews were working on refurbishing cabins all 4 days we were on the ship. While these renovations did not really affect us much, it would be nice if Carnival had mentioned it at the time of booking. We would not have changed our mind about going and it would have been nice on their part to give passengers a full disclosure of what to expect. The only consequence of the renovations were late boarding on first day (we got a notice 2 days prior to sailing advising that boarding would be delayed by 2 hours as they would be loading and unloading materials from the ship) and some areas of decks 10 and 11 which smelled like a construction area (well, it was…).
Knowing about the delay on boarding, we arrived later at the terminal (around 12:30) and the whole process of checking in and boarding did not take too long. Because of the later boarding, our cabin was ready for us when we boarded. This was a nice thing since it gave us the chance to drop off our bags before going to lunch. Cabin was good. I believe it had already been renovated because it looked fairly new, had a flat-screen TV and a mini fridge. Balcony was of good size with a small table and 2 chairs. Although cabin seemed clean at first look, we did see a lot of dust on the shelves and the bed sheet had a small red stain. Bathroom was clean.
Food for the most part was very disappointing. I hear people saying that RCCL and NCL are going downhill when it comes to the food they offer on board their ships but I must say it is still a thousand times better than what Carnival offered on the Victory. The Lido buffet did not have too many options and at times it was hard to find something that I wanted to eat (and I am not a picky eater). Food in the main dining room was not any better. From the presentation to the temperature and taste, nothing was good. The only good thing we ate in the MDR was the melted chocolate cake (I just wish they would add a little more ice cream to it). Service in the MDR was also disappointing with waiters running around like they were overworked and not giving us the attention one would expect. We were never asked if we wanted something to drink, never asked if we wanted more bread, never asked if everything was all right, nothing. Really poor service. We often had to wait about 30 to 40 minutes to get our food…
As for the entertainment, to our surprise, the 4 night cruise only had 2 shows. Really??? Both RCCL and NCL have shows every night. Of the 2 shows, the first one was a bit boring but the second one (Vroom) was really good. On the sea day coming back from Cozumel, we had some wind and pools and water slide were closed in the morning, only opening later in the afternoon (the weather is not Carnival’s fault). The one thing I did not understand is why they later opened the pools but did not open the water slide?
Kids club closed for 3 hours in the middle of the afternoon because they had a “Build a bear” workshop going on and it was a paid experience. Still don’t understand why would someone pay for it while on a cruise when you can do the same thing at any mall. Our daughter was a bit bored because there were no activities for her during most of that sea day (water slide closed, kids club closed…). Also, we did not like the fact that the kids club for our daughter’s age (6-8) was at random places. Apparently they don’t have a dedicated area for this age group and they move the activities around different areas of the ship. Did not like the fact that in some of these locations the 6-8 kids would have to use same restrooms being used by adults who were at the pool or casino. RCCL has a better setup in their ships with dedicated areas for each age group. This might not seem like a big thing but as a parent, having a dedicated area for the kids makes us feel more at ease leaving the kids in the club.
Another thing that bothered us was the frequent announcements from cruise director regarding spa and photo sales and casino activities. Dear Carnival, we know these options are there, available for us and it is not necessary to remind us several times a day!!! Quite annoying and made us remember every time that we were not on vacation to relax and have a good time, but only to spend more money at the overpriced spa and photoshop.
Despite all the negative things, we did manage to have a good time because we always kept a positive attitude and tried to have fun as a family. We had a good time visiting Key West and as always, had an amazing snorkeling in Cozumel.
All things considered, it was not a bad cruise but both my wife and I agreed not to sail with Carnival again. First experience did not leave a good impression… Read Less