Sail Date: October 2011
We sailed from San Juan on the Carnival Victory on 10/23/11. Some of the suggestions I did use were the big thermal cups (great for lemonade while sunning on the deck), a mesh backpack (it took little luggage room and provided room for ... Read More
We sailed from San Juan on the Carnival Victory on 10/23/11. Some of the suggestions I did use were the big thermal cups (great for lemonade while sunning on the deck), a mesh backpack (it took little luggage room and provided room for everything while on the excursions), a dollar store car air freshner was great for the bathroom, an across the body purse, and our own beach towels (thinner than the thick Carnival ones). I didn't use the over-the-door organizer or suction hooks I took. The spacious medicine cabinet provided ample room for toiletries and there were several hooks provided for hanging wet clothing and towels. I booked our excursions before the cruise, but not through Carnival, which gave us much smaller groups (twice there was only one other couple) and saved us money. On St. Thomas we used Godfrey Tours (godfreytoursvi.com) and did tour #1 which was shopping and sightseeing w/ beach for $30 each. You could choose to shop 1, 2, or 3 hours, then the sightseeing including The Mountaintop with its delicious banana daiquiri. We went to Magen's Bay Beach ($4 each admission) for several hours. This was the most beautiful beach we visited the whole cruise. On Barbados we chose the Thriller Turtle & Shipwreck Snorkeling Adventure (thriller-ocean-tours@caribsurf.com or Thriller Ocean Tours on Facebook). We took a taxi to the Waterfront Cafe in Bridgetown ($2 each) and for $60 each we traveled on a speedboat and snorkeled with turtles, at a shipwreck, at a coral reef, and at a beautiful beach. A comparable excursion with Carnival is $99.95! On St. Lucia, we did the Land & Sea Adventure with Spencer Ambrose for $88 each (spencer7114@gmail.com). This tour gave us a great tour of the island, the volcano, and the Pitons by land then allowed us to board a speedboat and travel to Jalousie Beach for lunch and sun. We boated back to the port by way some of the bays that are home to the rich and famous. It was a day full (8:30 - 3:30)but a truly great tour! On St. Kitts we toured with Island Paradise Tours (stkittsislandparadisetours.com). Rosevelt Taylor was a wonderful guide on the Best of St. Kitts/Panoramic Tour for 3.5 hours + unlimited beach time ($48 each). Again there was only one other couple with us allowing us to ask questions and enjoy a very personable time with Rosevelt. On St. Maarten we took a taxi for an island tour and ended up at The Sunset Bar & Grill where we watched planes land very low over the beach. (Check it out on Youtube!) The best time for viewing is from 12-2 and the grill's pizzas are delicious! We paid $49 each, but I feel like we could have done better if I had lined a tour up beforehand. Victory's food is to die for and the staff made us feel very welcome. I think a balcony is a must so that you can view the sunrises as you come into each port. Awesome! An absolutely remarkable vacation that we will always remember! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2011
We spent the day before and after the cruise in San Juan. I would recommend spending at least the day before. We did alot of exploring in Old San Juan and did a Flavors of San Juan Tour (wonderful!). Embarkation was a little bit ... Read More
We spent the day before and after the cruise in San Juan. I would recommend spending at least the day before. We did alot of exploring in Old San Juan and did a Flavors of San Juan Tour (wonderful!). Embarkation was a little bit chaotic. We boarded around 12 noon and one of the porters was going to charge me $10.00 for express delivery to cabin?? We opted for another and didn't have a problem. Once we got through that, the embarkation was pretty easy. We took on a 6 pack of water (wish we had taken a 12 pk) but we kept filling the bottles with water on Lido Deck and our cabin steward (John) kept us supplied with an extra bucket of ice for our water and the wine that we brought on. We got the water/ice from the CVS, across the street from Pier 4. It was down the street a little way, but easy to get to and after all the walking we had done, was not that much of a hike. Our room was fine, everything in working order. The balcony was a little crowded with both chairs and the small table. The one chair just always seemed to be in the way, but all and all would not cruise without the balcony. The room was close to the elevators/stairs, but was directly across from the crew supply area, so was a bit noisy in the mornings. We had great service from John our cabin steward. Also dining room service was wonderful (Virgil and Iwayan) and from Petra at shore excursion desk. We had to switch out some tickets for our excursion in St. Kitts and she was very helpful. Usually on Carnival there is a questionnaire to fill out on the last day and there wasn't one delivered to our cabin. Really wanted to mention the great interaction with those crew especially, but everyone was pleasant (except the guy in the deli....LOL he did not want to be making those sandwiches!). As far as on-board activities. We did some trivia contests, did the Behind the Fun excursion on board and was well worth the $55 per person cost. We saw the first show of the dancers/singers, none after that, not really our thing. The adult only comedy show by Happy Cole and Hank McGauley was very funny. Also saw Al Romero and he was OK. Karaoke with Ana was very entertaining. It was a much younger crowd and with the Spanish influence, WOW, everyone that sang was very entertaining and fun whether you participated our not. The Amazing Juggling Talents of Victor Zuniga was very good as well. The magic show, with Randy Woodbury was not very entertaining. Overall, entertainment was very good. Food in the MDR was very good. One appetizer (eggplant) was not very good, but everything else was flavorful. The Jerk Pork was excellent! I did not try alot of the desserts, but the baked alaska was great! I got strawberry cheesecake one night and it was warm. Those were the only two desserts I got, husband got dessert each night and never complained. Debarkation was fast and super easy! We tried to self assist for the first time and we were off the ship by 7:30am. If you are able to get all your luggage off on your own, definitely try this option. Two of us had two large suitcases and a small carryon piece of luggage and I had a tote bag as well and we had no problems what so ever! Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
My wife and I are pretty easy going. We have cruised before a number of times on a number of different cruise lines, so we decided to try Carnival. In order to make this post more informative for those who are looking for some information ... Read More
My wife and I are pretty easy going. We have cruised before a number of times on a number of different cruise lines, so we decided to try Carnival. In order to make this post more informative for those who are looking for some information about the cruise, I'll divide the post into "pro's" and "con's". Pro's: Excellent ports of call. Few cruises go to the south caribbean and for the money, there is no way you are going to beat Carnival's price on this cruise. Royal Caribbean (RC) has a similar cruise out of San Juan, but you'll be hard pressed to find the RC cruise at the low Carnival price. Excellent sit down dinner dining cuisine. Whether in the Pacific or Atlantic dining rooms, the service is excellent, attentive, and there are many options every night. There are 2 menus to choose from every night. On one side of the menu is the every day options which you may order throughout the cruise. On the right "other" side of the menu is "today's menu" with as many options. In reality, if you can't find something to eat off that menu then you are the problem and are just too picky, not the menu. The Ship's Serenity (Adult's Only) area: The ships adult's only area is a nice touch on a cruise where children may be running around. The area has 2 hammocks (get there early or you will never know what it feels like to sit in a hammock on a cruise ship). There are ample chairs and couches to sit on as well in the serenity area. Cabins: Cruise ship cabins are not large no matter what cruise line or ship you go on. Anyone who tells you different has no idea what they are talking about. In fact, the newer vessels provide even less room than the older ships. If you are expecting a large room then book a suite, because anything less than a suit will buy you a small room that is big enough to suit it's purpose, sleep and hang out when you get bored from the cruise activities on a sea day. Having said that, the cabins big enough for 2-3 people to sleep and put their stuff away. The decor might not be for everyone, but there's no sense in knocking Carnival's decor...they have neon and bright colors for a reason and i'm not sure it will change any time soon. Comedians: 2 of the 4 comedians are very good and funny. Hank McGauly and Happy Cole were very entertaining and you could tell most people thought the same because their shows were packed. The other 2 putz's couldn't fill half the lounge because they were just not funny at all. You will enjoy the family friendly shows as well as the 18+ shows. Embarkation: Very easy process. No hassles as long as you have all your paperwork. Con's: The buffet food in the mediteranean restaurant is mediocre at best. I'd really compare the quality to the Old Country Buffet. Because this cruise is a port intensive cruise, many people want to just have a quick breakfast and get off the ship to the port of call. Obviously a buffet will allow that since you don't have to wait for wait staff to bring you this and that. The food is not great, it is bland...it doesn't change either. Every morning it's same scrambled eggs that are very watery, sausage, toast, hash browns, grits, oatmeal, fruit, and a few other items. While the selection seems good enough, the selection never changes....so variety is not really an option at the buffet for breakfast. Cruise Director and his Staff: I'll keep the comment here short. The cruise director is named Karl. From the minute you get on board you will be told his name is "Karl with a K". The guy is annoying and his "fun" staff is even more annoying. Just a little heads up. Entertainment on Board: The shows were pretty amaturish. There were many costume changes for every show and the dancers were pretty good, it's the choreography that lacks any artistic talent. Disembarking: Total nightmare. We docked at 7am into San Juan and the self assist passengers weren't off the boat until 10am.....very very slow which is not entirely Carnival's fault. US Customs is in part to blame for having 3 officers for over 2300 guests getting off. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
We are experienced cruisers on other lines, but decided to try Carnival because of their reputation for fun. On our last cruise, the entire ship closed down after 10pm and we enjoy late night entertainment. Carnival definitely knows how to ... Read More
We are experienced cruisers on other lines, but decided to try Carnival because of their reputation for fun. On our last cruise, the entire ship closed down after 10pm and we enjoy late night entertainment. Carnival definitely knows how to do fun. The sail-away from San Juan at 10pm was lively and festive. The Fun Squad and Matt (CD) were great at motivating the crowd during events. There were lots of opportunities even late at night, and our shipmates were enthusiastic. Dancing at the disco, singing karaoke, enjoying the comedy club -- we had a ball! Obviously this is Carnival's strength. However, our cruise was plagued with an aggravating lack of organization and quality service. Coming aboard, staff members wearing "Please ask" t-shirts could not answer simple questions about where to go or what was available. (Apparently band members and dancers double as customer service reps during embarkation but are not very informative.) The lines for the buffet are outrageously long at every meal -- unless you want hot dogs/hamburgers or pizza, you have to stand in line and nothing is arranged for convenience. Condiments are haphazardly placed, sour cream/salsa comes before the cheese & chips for nachos, and you have to stand in a separate long line if you want an omelette. The food gets cold before you even sit down to eat, and don't even think about going back for seconds -- the line is too long. The upper level of the buffet has generous seating, but no drink stations, so you have to go back downstairs for refills. If you prefer not to stand in line, you can get up early and eat in the dining room for breakfast, but they stop serving at 9:30am. We ordered room service, but breakfast options are very limited. We had late dinner seating, and our waiter was exceptionally friendly and entertaining. The food was slow in coming, though, and the mini-shows put on by waitstaff added to the length of the meal. It was hard to get to a 10:15 or 10:30 show. The overall food quality was only fair to good. Our room was very nice, with a larger bathroom than on some ships. Our balcony chairs needed some cleaning. The ship overall is not maintained well. There was mildew on the bathroom grout, a metal piece pulled loose on a cabinet that could easily cut your foot, light bulbs not working, and a distinct smell of garbage as you entered the buffet area. Tables were sticky and not wiped down after each use, and unlike other cruises we saw a distinct lack of attention to hand hygiene in the buffet area. We appreciated the staff keeping us updated about the tropical storm and while we missed our day in St. Maarten, we enjoyed an additional sea day in a sunnier place. A complimentary phone call home to apprise family of our change in itinerary was very much appreciated. The fitness area/gym is nicely appointed with well-maintained equipment. The spa staff seemed disorganized, making a 15-minute polish change last 1 hr, and incorrectly charged to the wrong card. The spa and bar staff were not as pushy as we have seen on other cruises, which was refreshing. But the quality of service we received from our cabin steward and dining services was not up to the standard set on other cruise lines. In general, we had a fun time, largely of our own making and helped by the Cruise Director and his excellent staff. We were aggravated at almost every meal, but made the best of it we could. We were reassured by other travelers that this cruise was not typical of their experiences on Carnival. If we took another Carnival cruise, we would go on a larger, newer vessel. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
I'll try to keep this short but informative. We were cruising for our honeymoon, I turned 25 on the cruise and my husband is 26. He had cruised with Carnival once before, and it was my first cruise- and first time going where the ... Read More
I'll try to keep this short but informative. We were cruising for our honeymoon, I turned 25 on the cruise and my husband is 26. He had cruised with Carnival once before, and it was my first cruise- and first time going where the ocean is warm! (Loved that!) Pros: - cabin kept up really well by our stateroom steward, Emmanuel - awesome waiter and assistant, Darma and Ana - excellent bar waitress, Yuliya, who remembered our names after one order (and we didn't order many drinks, she was just that friendly) - Okay shows - Good activity selection, even though we didn't try many of them - Decent food throughout Cons: - Karl with a K. HOLY COW is that guy irritating! Every time his voice came on for one of his interminable announcements, we would cringe - tiny pools that did not entice us to get into them even once - huge lines at the buffet for breakfast and lunch - limited buffet options (particularly at breakfast) - confusing ship layout (why can't you go from one of the ship to the other without going up and down three floors?) Puerto Rico: We came in the night before and stayed in a hostel in Old San Juan. The hostel (Pasado San Francisco) was about three blocks uphill from the cruise terminal- awesome location! We woke up in the morning and could walk out and see our ship. The hostel was really affordable and very nice, run by a family. I highly recommend it. OSJ was okay, but there are a lot of guys walking around that will recommend restaurants "to be friendly" and then expect a tip. It seems rude, but you have to just walk away and not talk to them or they will follow you. Embarkation was pretty easy, even though we had to wait over an hour to board the ship after checking in because of "heightened security due to 9/11". We didn't really notice any more security than we would normally expect to see. St. Thomas: Our kayak and sea turtle excursion got cancelled because of TS Maria creating low visibility, so we caught a taxi to Coki Beach at the cab driver's recommendation. It was beautiful! It rained off an on the whole time (POURED!) but it was so great that we didn't care. There is excellent snorkeling here because it is right next to the Coral World aquarium and there are tons of fish that eat right out of your hand. This was our favorite beach that we saw on the whole cruise. Day at Sea: Not much to say. The photographers for formal night were very irritating, but only because they kept posing people in the main walkways. We found the photographers to be very respectful of a "no thank you" for pictures. The show was okay but we liked the second one, "Vrooom", better. Barbados: Pushy locals on Barbados! We got a taxi tour with a group of people that was decent and took us to Highpoint for the view, an old church, and dropped us of at the beach. He also stopped at a fruit stand so that we could get some local produce (this was not a normal part of the tour but he stopped just because we asked). At the beach we were constantly harassed by people trying to sell us things/excursions from the minute we set foot on the sands- before you can even see the water. They are hard to dissuade. One guy even rubbed aloe on us without asking and then expected a tip. No fish to see in the water, but it would have been fine if not for the vendors. St. Lucia: This was our favorite island. We had a zipline excursion booked (Treetop Adventures I think is the company name) and got in a bus with about 20 other people for the most terrifying and nauseating bus ride I have ever taken. If you get motion sickness, stay on the boat at St. Lucia as it is allllll mountain. I did not enjoy the ziplining and got off halfway through the course, but my husband really liked it and did all 12 lines. The jungle was gorgeous, if humid, and the operators of the excursion were all incredibly friendly and helpful to me when I was needed to leave the zipline. On the bus ride back, the guide got us fresh coconut, cocoa berries (which looked like brains, lol), sugar cane, and starfruit that he went "jungle shopping" for. It was great. St. Kitt's: We had an excursion for horseback riding with Trinity Stables in the jungle. We were the only two doing the ride, so our host picked us up in his wife's car and drove us to their apartment building- the horses were behind it which was confusing at first since they weren't visible! I guess they have a separate set of stables for beach rides. We got helmets and a guide and mounted up. I had Tonda (which I think meant "bushwhacker" since he kept trying to head into the barbed wire/trees/bushes/anything... thank goodness I'm an experienced rider but they did ask if I was so I suppose I got myself into that) and my husband, who is not very experienced, had Blanco. Blanco would pass gas with every step going up the trails. It was hilarious. After our three hour ride in the heat, we got an (air-conditioned!!) tour with Bernadette, who was great. We got an awesome view of both oceans and both islands. St. Maarten/Martin: We got another taxi tour on this island and it was mediocre compared to the others we had been on. I was very excited to go to Marigot and try a French bakery, but it wasn't as good as I was expecting. There was a flea market that we spent some time in, and we got the best smoothies and lemonade ever at the Exodus Juice stand. We also saw Maho Beach (the airport beach) and saw a plane take off. It was really neat! We didn't really care for St. Maarten... it just wasn't quite as friendly as the other islands (excluding Barbados of course). Overall, we really enjoyed the cruise and wish it could've lasted longer. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
The buffet was as I had read very busy, there were always long lines, and the food on the buffet was so - so. It was so busy that many times we either didn't eat there or went to the dining room. The dining room was very well ... Read More
The buffet was as I had read very busy, there were always long lines, and the food on the buffet was so - so. It was so busy that many times we either didn't eat there or went to the dining room. The dining room was very well organized and we had a wonderful head waiter and her assistant was also great. The food was always hot, well presented and timely. The deserts were very, very good, and we tried many of them. We had 2 staterooms which were side by side. 8319 and 8323, both were outside rooms with a veranda, which we had opened so we could enjoy the outside together. Our rooms were just below the Lido Deck, you could hear the tables and chairs being moved all day and night, it was so loud that it kept us awake until the early hours of the morning. Had I know that it was going to be this loud I would have gotten rooms lower down. Our room stewards were very efficient and kept out rooms neat and clean. The shows were all very good. There is always something to do, and something going on as can be heard while the those who have over indulged at the bar are returning to their rooms. Nothing really to say about the excursions they were alright, nothing to brag or complain about would do this trip again but would more than likely stay away from Carnival. Because of Tropical Storm Irene we were told that we could not go to St. Marrten, which was one of the islands we wanted our girls to see. We had another sea day, which was not we had signed up for. The storm was 350 nautical miles away the said it was for our safety, and the port of San Juan was also closed. The information from the Captain was very vague and caused more confusion than it did good. They all acted like this the first time that this had happened, and really didn't have a plan of what they had to do or what they should do. That was one of the shortcomings of the trip Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
my husband & I booked a cruise for our 30 year anniversary. Got a big room, wrap around balcony with a true-queen sized bed (not 2 twins put together). Guess what...no such thing as a queen bed in this room (even though we were ... Read More
my husband & I booked a cruise for our 30 year anniversary. Got a big room, wrap around balcony with a true-queen sized bed (not 2 twins put together). Guess what...no such thing as a queen bed in this room (even though we were promised it from Carnival's booking agent). Nice big room though and great balcony. But...every morning at about 7am and all day long...noise from above...chairs being dragged, stomping....our room was on the back of the ship just below the 24 hour pizzeria and hot tub area... Obviously there was no insulation between the floors. Very aggravating when you spend alot on a room. We could never sleep in with all the noise. And an afternoon nap is out of the question. Then the bed with the crease in the middle... Now for the Islands....They were all pretty. But the locals in St. Thomas were rude (yelling at tourists to move and cussing people out for not folding up shirts correctly while looking). Barbados wasn't any better. And skip the Taste of Island Tour in Barbados. Took a ride to a rum distillery where we got to look at rum casks...offered to buy expensive rum. Got a small sample (prob 1/2 tsp in a plastic sample cup). Then on to an old house...boring. Did get a small glass of rum punch. Then off to a guys shop where he carves mahogany roots into art. Interesting but, encouraged to buy one of a kind stuff. We thought it would be better for $50 a person. Skip it. Now the Rail & scenic tour in St. Kitts is well worth the money ($78 per person). You take a rail car completely around the island (great views-you could sit downstairs in the air conditioning or go on the top open air-canopy covered car). Got a great view of the island and it was educational as well. Thumbs up on this tour. San Juan, Puerto Rico was beautiful and had good sight seeing. Expensive local food. Fast food available. beautiful place. Read Less
Sail Date: September 2011
We chose this cruise because we loved Old San Juan and wanted to spend additional time in port, so we stayed one day before at Radisson Ambassador( Just OK, nothing special) and one day after at the Gallery Inn in Old San Juan.(Just as the ... Read More
We chose this cruise because we loved Old San Juan and wanted to spend additional time in port, so we stayed one day before at Radisson Ambassador( Just OK, nothing special) and one day after at the Gallery Inn in Old San Juan.(Just as the web site describes it!) Embarkation: Got to the port about 10:30 am, knowing we could not get on yet. We like to people watch so that was the plan, plus I turned Platinum this time and knew we could also use the VIP lounge. The lounge was smaller then I expected but a nice place to sit and relax. They had sandwiches and cookies along with coffee and lemonade. I want to say we were on the ship about 12:30 but I just don't remember the exact time. Once we were able to go to our rooms we headed to our 4j on deck 7. We have had a 4j before on the Glory deck 10 and let me just say that not all 4j's are created equal! Our room was very small and had one closet, set of 3 drawers and another cabinet with a few shelves and the safe in it. There was a T.V. that stuck out into the room but put so only one person could watch it while in bed. The bathroom was also smaller then a regular bathroom with the exception of the shower, it was built for handicap but I honestly don't think any one in a wheel chair could get around in this cabin! This room also was located at the end of the hall so when ever the kids( there were very few on the ship but I think they all were down our hall!) would run down the hall it sounded like a heard of elephants coming at you! This room also had a lot of movement, I don't mind it but some may think it was a bit much. We had no issues with our room stewards and they did a great job, brought us all we asked for and promptly. Food: We are early risers so never had an issue at breakfast and the food was good. We ate in the main dining room at night and had excellent waitstaff. There is enough on the menu for every one to find some thing they liked. No problems with ordering extra. The only thing I didn't like was the fact that they gave you a menu as soon as you sat down and didn't wait for the rest of your table mates. I am sure this is to move things along but I preferred to wait. Lunch was another matter, always long lines at the buffet! The food for the most part was good. Activities: This was a port intensive cruise with only one sea day scheduled, we ended up with 2 sea days because of TS Marie and missed St Martin. There was all the usual things to do and there was a midnight buffet, we didn't make it and another night there was another buffet I think, we also didn't make that one. This might have been due to the fact that we took on new pax in Barbados so it was like a sail away for them to. Plenty to keep you busy with shows every night. Ports: We enjoyed all the ports we visited and never felt unsafe at all. We did all our own planning and booked tours on our own.St Thomas was just shopping. We took the public bus in Barbados to Paynes Beach to swim with the turtles. On St. Lucia we took a wonderful tour with James Tours and on St Kitts we took a tour with Thenford Grey, another great tour. Passengers: This cruise originated out of San Juan and had a large number of Spanish speaking people on board. I was surprised that more of the announcements(which were fewer then any other ship I have been on)were not also said in Spanish, a few were but not all. There were few children on this cruise and outside of the the ones by our room, they were well behaved. Disembarkation: SLOW SLOW SLOW. Being platinum they gave us 2 choices, one we could meet at 6:45 with our bags to get off with no assist or 2Nd we could meet at 7:15 to get off and collect our bags. We were staying in Old San Juan for another day so there was no need to get off the ship right away and we could not check into our hotel until 3, so we decided to stay on the ship thinking we would just get off at the end. About 10 am they had only called a few numbers so we thought we would just go get in line and get off. We got in line on deck 1 to get off the ship on deck zero. I am not sure we would have brought our own luggage if we had known we had to take it down stairs , the elevators did not go to deck zero when we tried. Usually you get off on deck 3 but that was being used for non-US citizens. We were only in line about 30 minutes then let off and got into the customs line. They only had 2 agents for the whole ship so that is what was taking so long. I don't know if that was the norm but you would think they would have more. Miscellaneous: Loved the Platinum perks! The free laundry was the best! I always had special instructions for my clothes and they always came back the right way. I think there were less announcements on this cruise but I wish we could have had more information concerning the TS Maria, no weather channel on T.V. to follow. Also no comment cards, bring them back! Park West was always putting stuff under our door, a waste of paper!! The sales in the shops are a joke, same stuff over and over again and a very small selection compared to other cruises. There were always chairs available both pool side and Serenity. I liked the layout of Serenity on the Glory better then the Victory. Overall we had a great time and always love cruising. I am not sure if I will sail on the Victory again, cost to fly there is more then most other ports. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
We choose our ships largely because of the itinerary. This was my second time sailing on Victory (the first was in 2005) and it was great to see so many updates (most notably the seaside theater). Granted it is an older ship and this ... Read More
We choose our ships largely because of the itinerary. This was my second time sailing on Victory (the first was in 2005) and it was great to see so many updates (most notably the seaside theater). Granted it is an older ship and this showed mostly in our cabin bathroom (alot of cracks and wear and tear) but honestly it didn't even matter. I love Carnival and have been tempted to try other cruise lines, but if you truly want a fun ship cruise, Carnival is where it's at. My kids had a great time in Camp Carnival, although I think the babysitting fees are ridiculous, and I was quite shocked that Carnival had changed their policy of both 2 kids for $10 an hour without updating their website. As you can imagine I wasn't too pleased when I got my bill. As usual the shows were excellent (although it's definitely time to do away with the Legends Show - or at least introduce new celebrities). MATT was by FAR the BEST cruise director EVER!!!!! He was so vibrant and visible ALL over the ship. I wonder if he ever slept! He really did a FANTASTIC job. Sparkle was too old to be called Sparkle and did not sparkle too much. She should not work with MATT. She was too sparkle-less. The food was pretty good as usual. Although the Mexican midnight buffet didn't go over too well in my opinion. No-one wants to eat that so late at night. I say bring back the dessert buffet!!!! The islands were all beautiful (St. Thomas, Barbados, St. Maarten, St. Lucia, St. Kitts). Didn't do any ship excursions. We negotiated our own and got good deals. Kids should not be allowed in the hottubs. They seemed to think it was an extension of the pool and were diving in. I saw a security guard ONCE telling a kid not to jump in, but he didn't say they couldn't go in. Hence my trip to Serenity which is an AWESOME idea. Quite secluded and just great for couples. Another nice addition. All in all a GREAT vacation. Looking forward to sailing on the new Carnival Breeze! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
Fantastic trip! Carnival Victory is a beautiful ship with so much to do on board and off. The ports of call were all beautiful. We missed St. Maarten due to weather but had a great time on a sea day instead. Steward, Pepito; Servers Ketut ... Read More
Fantastic trip! Carnival Victory is a beautiful ship with so much to do on board and off. The ports of call were all beautiful. We missed St. Maarten due to weather but had a great time on a sea day instead. Steward, Pepito; Servers Ketut and Edy, all were the best. They made this cruise special for us. It was our first time cruising but definitely won't be the last. Everything was above what we expected. The entertainment was hilarious. Food spectacular. Lots of treats in our room, which was an ocean suite with balcony. We loved it. Sitting on the balcony watching the ocean go by is so romantic. All of the ports in the Southern Caribbean were magnificent. lots to do whether you go on ship excursions or hire a cab driver to take you to the best beach or shopping. Coming back in time to shower change watch the sunset and head to your next meal and entertainment. Going to sleep and waking up in a new port is a great way to travel. Ports on this cruise: San Juan to St. Thomas St. Thomas followed by day at sea Barbados St. Lucia St. Kitts St. Maarten All fantastic. We were unable to dock in St. Maarten due to weather but had a great day at sea. The crew made everything fun. Matt the cruise director was great as were all the staff. Met the captain and he was great too. I don't have one negative thing to say about it. Would go again in a heartbeat. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: August 2011
Embarking was fast and efficient. Do not believe the negative reviews. Food was great. Drinks were good. Make sure to have your wine (1 per person) in your carry on luggage, not checked. We flew, so we bought it at the CVS in San Juan ... Read More
Embarking was fast and efficient. Do not believe the negative reviews. Food was great. Drinks were good. Make sure to have your wine (1 per person) in your carry on luggage, not checked. We flew, so we bought it at the CVS in San Juan across from the pier. Good prices and decent selection of wine there. The staff was amazing as always. It blows my mind that people complain about the hard workers on the ships. The only complaints I would have would be towards rude passengers!! And please, if you are going to cruise, dont be cheap. These people leave their family and home for months at a time to make you towel animals and bring you yet another chocolate melting cake, so tip well and treat them with some respect and decency. Ship was always clean. No bad smells. I like the rooms on the first floor. Its quiet and peaceful. No sea sickness at all, but bring some Dramamine pills just in case. Didnt see any shows, not my thing. Didnt go to dance clubs either. The comedians were decent. Like the adult shows. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
Almost every September since 2001 my wife and I have taken a vacation to celebrate our Wedding anniversary. This year instead of taking a land based vacation we decided to take a cruse. Our choices were to either sail from Baltimore on the ... Read More
Almost every September since 2001 my wife and I have taken a vacation to celebrate our Wedding anniversary. This year instead of taking a land based vacation we decided to take a cruse. Our choices were to either sail from Baltimore on the Carnival Pride to The Bahamas or to travel to San Juan and take the Victory to the southern Caribbean. After much discussion it was decided that we would take the cruse on the victory and after a quick call to Carnival were booked on out first cruse. For our shore excursions were chose and booked them in June. On a sunny Sunday we arrived from Philadelphia in San Juan at 1:30 PM and after using the rest room and retrieving our luggage we were able to find the Carnival rep for our transfer to the Port of San Juan to board the Victory. Before boarding the coach for the short ride the the port our checked luggage was placed on a van for direct transfer to the ship. Once the coach was loaded we were off to the port. We arrived at the terminal at 2:30 PM just a boarding was underway. Check in was very quick and after receiving our sail & sign cards,getting our boarding picture and a quick security check were we on board the ship entry was through the mail lobby atrium located on deck three. We boarded the elevator and made our way to cabin 7310 our home for the next week the room was prepared and well stocked for the voyage. The only criticism I had was with the lay out of the bed it was placed against a wall which made it difficult for the person sleeping against the wall to get into bed. The close and drawer space was more than adequate. There was a selection of samples in the bathroom. Since out luggage had not arrived and we had not have had lunch yet we made our way to the Mediterranean Restaurant located on the Lido deck. After lunch we stopped a the shore excursion desk on deck three to pick up our shore excursion tickets our snocker excursion for the next day in St. Thomas was cancelled but we were able to move to anther snorkeling excursion. After getting our excursion tickets we made our way to deck 14 to get some pictures with Old San Juan in the background. My wife and I then attended a talk hosted by Matt our cruse director which was very entertaining and informative in the Caribbean lounge. By that time we decided to return to our cabin where our baggage was waiting out side our door. We then unpacked and made out was to the Atlantic dining room for a nice leisurely dinner we found the meals throuout the ship more than met our expectations the only restaurant we were disappointed with was the 24 hour pizza bar on deck 9. We visited the fun shops and bought some souvenirs. At 9:30 PM we had the required us Coast Guard safety briefing once that was over it was off to deck 9 for the Sail Away Party after the party and a late night snack it was off to bed. I awoke and got dressed and got a cup of coffee on the Lido deck as the ship was arriving in St. Thomas after breakfast we left for our fist of two excursions in St.Thomas since we were early we got some pictures in the port and did some shopping for souvenirs before going Parasailing which was a good excursions and very enjoyable. After parasailing we returned to the ship for lunch and it was off to go snorkeling the snorkeling was on board the Bimini Breeze and featured two stops to go snorkeling including one where you were able to view sea turtles. The water was clear and warm. The excursion crew returned to the ship in time to board bfred out departure form St.Thomas and out long sail to Barbados. After getting cleaned up my wife had some sushi, we had dinner and took in a comedy show that was ok and attended the welcome aboard show and took part in the late night buffet. Day three was a Fun Day at Sea my wife wanted to sleep in which gave me some time to walk around the ship and take part in some of the trivia quiz and play a round of Bingo. I alos attended a quick presentation by out cruse director on the reming ports of call. After lunch we went to the pool at the aft end of the lido deck which was not a crowded at the other two pools on the ship. After being at the pool it was time to get cleaned up and put on our formal clothing for the first of two formal nights. The evening started we getting out portraits taken, attending a reception where we met our Captain and the ships senior staff. We than had dinner and attended the night show in the Caribbean lounge. After the show ere changed and got a snack on the lido deck. Day 4 we arrived in Barbados where we were not very impressed with the port after some souvenir shopping at the port we had lunch and went on our Fun in the sun excursion to the Cockspur Beach Club which was very enjoyable but at three and ½ hours a little long. We returned to the ship got cleaned up and had dinner and attended the nights show and deck party and ended with the Mexican Buffet on the Lido deck. Day 5 we arrived in St. Lucia where we left on an excellent 4X4 Beach get away this involved a tour of the island on an open air Land Rover with a 90 minute stop at a local beach it was a great way to see the island up close. After the tour we retuned to the ship where we had lunch got cleaned up and did some shopping for souvenirs. That evening we got dressed up for the 2nd formal night on the cruse we had dinner and took in the evenings show in the Caribbean lounge. All in all it was an excellent way to celebrate out wedding anniversary. Upon returning to our cabin there was a memo from our captain notifying us due to the impending tropical storm Maria that our port call in St. Kitts would be shortened with a departure at 3:00 PM Day 6 we arrived in St. Kitts originally we were going to take a tour of the island and visit Brimstone Hill Fortress but my wife was tired so I was able to change our tour to the St. Kitts by Rail and Scenic Drive. After breakfast we left the ship and did some shopping before boarding our Toyota mini bus operated by the St. Kitts Scenic Railroad for the short drive to the train after boarding the train for a two hour ride on the railroad around the island. The railroad which was used to bring sugar to port was a great trip and an excellent way to see the island. After a short ride from the other end of the railroad we were back on the ship well before out scheduled 3:00 PM departure. In the evening we had our dinner, show and late night snack. When we returned to our cabin we found a memo from our captain advising due to tropical storm Maria we would not be able to make a scheduled stop at St. Maarten and would receive credit for all fees and excursions And that the next day would be spent at sea. Day 7 was another fun day at sea which after breakfast we spent at the pool on deck 10 where I tried the water slide which was fun but quick. After lunch we spent some time at the pool on the aft of the lido deck after getting cleaned up we began the process of packing since the caption announced that we would be arriving in San Juan on time on Sunday. After packing we had one final dinner in the dining room then returned to place our bags outside for pick up we than attended one final show in the Caribbean lounge and had our final late night snack. We awoke and found that we have arrived at San Juan after having breakfast and packing our carry on's we went to the Caribbean lounge to await debarkation after a two hour wait we left the ship retrieved out luggage, cleared customs and boarded our coach to return to the airport for our trip home. If you are looking for a wonderful cruse experience I would defiantly consider the Carnival Victory. We are all ready looking forward to our next cruse adventure. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
We flew to San Juan a day early and stayed at the Hampton Inn Isle of Verde. Nice accusation and hotel. They had overbooked and I had prepaid for a Suite 2 Doubles Pool view. To compensate they provided a king size suite and a second king ... Read More
We flew to San Juan a day early and stayed at the Hampton Inn Isle of Verde. Nice accusation and hotel. They had overbooked and I had prepaid for a Suite 2 Doubles Pool view. To compensate they provided a king size suite and a second king size room for the same price. Breakfast was complimentary and very nice. The cabs were abundant to cruise terminal but be sure to check with driver up front on cost since some like to add tip automatically. Cabs are by zone with set charges and bags are $1 each. About $26 plus tip should get you there and the same back to airport. Ship was nice, nothing special but well maintain for its age. Our accommodation was an Ocean Suite forward on Deck 7 which was comfortable, plenty of room, nice balcony, but it wasn't as nice as other suites we had on Carnival ships including the Liberty and Pride. Out cabin attendant was efficient and satisfied all our requests keeping the cabin clean without being in the way. We dined manly in the Pacific dinning room which seem to be the nicer of the two dinning rooms, the other being the Atlantic mid ship. We seldom ate on the Lido deck where there were long lines and sometimes rude people. We used room service in the morning which was always on time for morning coffee and juice (remember to tip, they earn it). When on board we had lunch in the Pacific dinning room. Service was adequate but nothing special including our dinners. The typical Carnival dinner show times were daily and rather annoying and interpretive of meals, we could have done with less of them. We didn't use the pools or hot tubs. We were always able to find an abundance of deck chairs on deck 10 aft. We didn't get to see any shows due to my wife having an ailing knee which sort of inhibited her movement and enjoyment, she didn't get to get off the ship during any port visits and my daughter and I went by ourselves. We enjoyed the Seven Seas bar and entertainment in the lobby except for some annoyance by noisy rude passengers (which were present especially during embarkation, some of whom seem to think they were entering a fraternity party) which leads me to the worst part of our cruise which was the quality and manners of the passengers. There were many who appeared to never have been socialized. A minority of them pushed and shoved like they had no parenting or respect for others. While there were some very nice people we met during the cruise there were just too many whose actions distracted from the overall enjoyment of the cruise and give us pause regarding sailing with Carnival in the future. After four cruises with Carnival we find there are too many who cruise with Carnival that distract from overall enjoyment. But the crew was very good and as we do we rewarded the better service during and at the end of the cruise very well in addition to normal gratuity taken by ship to share among crew. Remember the guy/gals who deliver drinks work for commission based on business they get. They get very little salary. That's why you see so many running like chickens all over trying to osell drinks. Embarkation was a bit chaotic even though we had VIP boarding privilege. But that was partially our fault since we arrived around 12:30 when there were still people leaving the ship. But after we got through customs and the sign-in process we were able to board the ship and have our lunch on the Lido deck before the majority of passengers came on board and things became harder to navigate. I would suggest limiting carry-on baggage since you will need to carry them with you until your cabin is ready around 1:30PM or so. I've covered most things but would like to also cover the tours which I arranged directly and not through Carnival. I find doing that provides a more selection and are less expensive. And, don't worry they are dedicated to getting you back to the ship in time for its leaving the port. Just do research over the Internet by port. Some tours are better than others. I can recommend the tours we took. St. Thomas - We took a Sightseeing and Beach tour with Sunny Liston Tours and Sunny was our great guide. He was right there to meet us at the cruise terminal in Havensight where there is plenty of shopping and also a ski-lift to Paradise Point which provides a grand view of the bay for those not wishing to take tours. We did the ski-lift on a previous cruise along with a trip/tour of St John. Our tour started out taking us to Charlotte Amalie for some time to shop. Then we headed to Mountain Top for a wonderful view from 1534 ft above the ocean of Magen's Bay. We sampled some fine banana daiquiris, shopped a bit and then headed out to tour the island some more. Finally we headed for a beach break at Coki Beach which I think is a nicer beach than Magan's Bay. We settled on Coki over Magan by vote. After that we headed back to the ship via Red Hook where you can get a ferry to St John.. The total time for the tour and beach was around 5 hours and the cost was $35 per person paid in advance when scheduling (mine by Master Card).. In Barbados we chose Scenic Barbados Tours for 2 hours touring and 2 hours beach time, which cost $30 per person payable at the beginning of the tour by cash. Edwin Lovell was our tour guide . Edwin was very gracious even though only four of us showed up. Other scheduled but did not. I ensured I tipped him very well to help make up for the loss, We saw highlights of Barbados beginning with a drive to the west coast where we stopped at the oldest church on the island, an Anglican Church dating back to 1628. We next went through Rock Hall, the oldest village in Barbados, and then to Highland lookout for a wonderful view. We drove along the eastern coast to Bathsheba which is a surfers paradise and then on to beach for two hours of swimming and relaxing. Finally we headed back to our ship. St Lucia is my favorite island of the cruise. We schedule a tour and beach break with Cosol Tours, Baptist was our guide and he was great all during the tour. The cost was $65 per person and a real value. Drinks including beer, water, rum punch and soda were provided - all you want and all during the tour. We also stopped for a wonderful sampling of island food which include dozens of dishes including chicken and fish, Very well prepared and great eating. More than enough for all and free as part of tour. Highlights of the tour included: Visiting Castries, Capital of St Lucia where we were briefed on the island and the people. Marigot Bay, a banana plantation where we sampled fresh bananas and mangoes, Anes La Raye fishing village and Canaries. Then on to Soufriere, The Pitons, Piton and Petit Piton are two giant volcanic plugs located south of Soufrière and are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Saw the Toraille Waterfall, Sulfur Springs the world's only drive in and active volcano located along southwestern side of the island, near Soufrière. Then took a small boat ride to Hilton Jalosie Beach for time to swim and relax before heading back to our ship. The tour was around 6 hours. St Kitts was another wonderful island to visit. We schedule Best of St Kitts & Panoramic Tour with a beach break through Rosevelt Taylor Tours - Sheldon was our guide - we enjoyed his friendly expertise all during the tour. We had a wonderful informative tour of the island high point including visiting historical Basseterre, the majestic Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, a designated UNESCO World Heritage site perched on the top of a volcanic cone 800 feet above sea level with stunning views of mountain, and neighboring islands. We stopped at lush tropical gardens the home of Caribelle Batik to get a demo of batik fabrics being produced. Stopped at Timothy Hill for a panoramic view out to the sister island of Nevis. Then onto a beach break at Cockleshell Beach which had a wonderful bar and restaurant. Unfortunately we didn't get to dock at St Martin because of strong undercurrents and after attempting to do so our captain made a decision to have a sea day. This didn't bother me too much since we had already spent most of our days ashore. But I did want to see the beach where the airplanes come into the airport very low over those on the beach. Perhaps next time. I should add that all of our tours were professionally provided with the comfort of air condition vans with plenty of room. Debarkation was well handled although I missed not having the Express Baggage service since the ship did not offer it so we had to manage our luggage to the airport and check in and print boarding passes ourselves. But we did have Priority 1 debarking and after having a nice breakfast we were able to debark without waiting in any lines where hundreds of people waited. We were met by a porter and had our luggage delivered to a cab and a nice ride to the airport. Then a nice airplane trip back to PA. Of all the Caribbean cruise I like the Southern Caribbean the best. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
All - I will try to keep this brief. Pre-cruise 1 day stay - Priceline and ended up with Hotel Verdanza...staff was nice, property was decent but rooms were not so great. I would venture to say that I would not stay there ... Read More
All - I will try to keep this brief. Pre-cruise 1 day stay - Priceline and ended up with Hotel Verdanza...staff was nice, property was decent but rooms were not so great. I would venture to say that I would not stay there again. Embarkation - arrived at 11:30, VIP status - on the ship by 12:30ish. smooth operation and no embarkation issues. Note that you can buy duty free liquor here at good prices and we bought 2 additional bottles of wine here and had no problem getting 24 cans of soda, 24 bottles of water, 3 bottles of champagne, 3 bottles of wine all in 4 carry ons. Ship was lovely and typically had all the glitz of a CCL ship. Our cabins were ready at 2:30 so we dropped off our luggage and headed out to Old San Juan...or so we thought...apparently Irene was approaching and the Captain would not allow anyone to leave the ship. In fact we were given a letter upon embarkation that stated a possible itinerary change. By 5:00 we were told that no one was being allowed off the ship and we were leaving San Juan at 6:00 p.m. instead of 10:00 p.m. They even said if you knew anyone who had gotten off the ship earlier, you should try to contact them and advise as to the earlier San Juan Departure. Rumor had it that 80 people missed the ship and were compensated by either being flown to Barbados (our first port) or a refund for the cruise. Lesson here - always come in at least a day before your cruise is scheduled to leave. Original Itinerary - St. Thomas, Sea Day, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, St. Maarten Updated Itinerary - Sea Day, Sea Day, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, St. Thomas Two Sea days were lovely - Serenity deck was great, water slide was ok, pools were good, hot tubs were nice BUT - there were too many kids in the hot tubs and it was ridiculous the way they were doing hand stands and playing in them as if they were pools. I even saw one woman with a baby (under 2 yrs old) in the hot tub with her. There was no one around to supervise these areas and we just waited to use them by coming back from port early enough to enjoy them in peace. That's the one thing I don't like about CCL - they tend to turn their heads at ill mannered guests instead of maintaining any type of order in the public areas. Barbados - ah... I did all my research and them didn't follow through here. Take it from me...no matter what the locals say... GO TO THE BOATYARD. Apparently the locals have some personal issue with the owner of the Boatyard so they don't recommend it BUT... some folks we met went there and loved...beautiful sand, clear water and it's true what others have said about the $12 for umbrellas and chairs, 1 drink, and your ride back to the ship. On the other hand we went to Payne's Bay and it was just OK...rocky water and sand on most of the beach and you had to walk around to find a section of the beach where you could walk in the water without stepping on rocks or as someone told us, 'rock fish'. There was a jet ski accident where a mother and 7 yr old daughter (apparently driving the jet ski) crashed head on into a catamaran and were taken to the hospital. It was very scary as I saw the jet ski slam directly into the catamaran and the people fly off. There were life preservers being thrown in the water and people jumping off the catamaran to help. I asked when we got back on the ship but no one had an update. We saw from our balcony, the passengers luggage being taken off the pier..likely to the hospital. I really hope they are back in good health and spirits! St. Lucia - got off the ship and took an island tour for $35. It was very nice and everyone seemed to enjoy the tour. St. Kitts - again got off the ship and took an island tour for $15. It was great but I was sorry that the only monkey I saw was the one at one of the stops where you pay to take a picture with it. St. Thomas - take a taxi to Magen's Bay beach (rated one of the top ten beaches in the world) - can't figure out for the life of me WHY. We had fun but only because of the people we met but the beach itself was not very nice at all. Also when you rent a beach chair, you have to leave a $5 deposit to ensure that after you drag it down the beach to find a place to put it, you also drag it back. The shopping downtown was OK but the pier shopping was just as good, if not better. Liquor prices in St. Thomas were the best on this itinerary. Entertainment was good but we only got a 'taste' of the comedians at the opening show and every time after that the venues were too small for the number of people interested in the shows so we never got a chance to see the comedians. Cruise director, Matt was excellent...witty, fun, professional, approachable and very cute :) Food in the MDR was typical, mediocre dinners except for the first formal night where the lobster tails were delicious. They were Maine tails and were very tender. The steak was also very good. Lido lines were long and food was OK but I don't go on the cruises for the food so it doesn't really matter that much. It's always just average unless there is a steakhouse on board where the food is fabulous. The Victory, on the other hand does NOT have a steakhouse. All in all we had a great time and I would do this itinerary again for sure...just sorry we missed St. Maarten but...better safe than sorry. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
I'm probably not your target Carnival customer but over the years I've really come to like Carnival because it does so many things well. The price is reasonable and it is very family friendly. And at the end of every vacation my ... Read More
I'm probably not your target Carnival customer but over the years I've really come to like Carnival because it does so many things well. The price is reasonable and it is very family friendly. And at the end of every vacation my son and I have come away saying "wow, that was a really, really great cruise and we had a lot of fun!" The September 4th sailing out of San Juan was no exception. We traveled to St. Thomas, Barbados, St. Lucia and St. Kitts. St. Maarten was canceled as a port of call because of Tropical Storm Marie. And that's where I want to commend Carnival for the way it handled Marie. We were given plenty of information that a storm was approaching and when it became apparent that our return trip to San Juan might be delayed, Carnival responded with free phone calls from our cabin and free internet. A nice gesture and really helpful. Turns out we arrived back in San Juan on schedule, but it was incredible peace of mind to be able to call loved ones and employers (in that order) to let them know about potential delays. It was also nice being able to line up travel options in the event we didn't make it back to San Juan. This particular cruise was a great deal of fun. Apologies to fellow cruisers if my 9-year-old son Jake became over-explosed on the ship but he just loved taking part in the on-deck parties, the shows and on-board activities ranging from karaoke to comedy shows to kids activities. The ship is beautiful, the itinerary was good and there was always something going on on-board. Boarding was as flawless as I've ever seen on a cruiseline. This cruise left at 10pm so that spread out the embarkation process. Only line was caused by security at the dock. Once we cleared that, and things were in Carnival's hands, check in and boarding were amazingly quick. We boarded at about 2pm, your experience may vary. Particular shoutout to the cruise director Matt. I remembered him from a cruise about a year ago on the Valor, where he was an assistant cruise director, and wrote on the comment card at the time that he should be a cruise director! Imagine my surprise when I got on board and saw him again. He did a wonderful job, full of energy and really was everywhere all the time. Some cruise directors can be distant from the passengers, but Matt was right there and genuinely seemed to be having fun night after night. The rest of his crew was great. The shows were pretty typical cruise-fare but really want to recommend that everyone take in the "Carnival Legends" show on the last night. Yes it features your fellow cruise passengers, but it should not be viewed as a "talent show." The passenger-performers on our cruise were absolutely amazing and I thought it was one of the best shows I'd seen on a cruise ship in ages. The comedians were pretty funny and always had my son in tears with laughter. We also liked the informal magic shows on Deck 5. My son actually went to Camp Carnival and enjoyed himself. Our deal was I'd never send him to Camp Carnival, but if he wanted to go he could. Every time I went after an hour or so to pick him up he was having too much fun to leave (Jake loved those dance parties!) Food was good in the dining rooms. I do agree with other reviewers who've talked about the lines at the buffet, the deli and the Chinese place. Carnival should address that but it wasn't like we had anywhere to run off to. Cabin steward was great as was Robinson our waiter. A gentleman and a pro. All in all we had a wonderful time for the price paid. Just one piece of advice. Try to avoid the lower deck cabins at the back of the ship. I was woken up every morning when we came into port by considerable engine vibrations and noise that presumably from the winches used to tighten the ship's ropes when docking. We were on the "Main Deck" deck 2. So just be aware of that as you book your cabin. Next time I'll make it a point to be midship on a higher floor. Ship has a nice adult "serenity area" that was free of kids when I visited. It has 2 pools, the one at the back seemed to be fairly free. And my son loved the giant outdoor chess set. Enjoy your cruise and I hope you have as much fun as we did! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
Just beat the storm! We flew out of CT on Saturday morning at 7:55, a few hours before they closed down the airports for Hurricane Irene. Arrived in San Juan in the afternoon and were met by our pre-arranged taxi with car seats for the ... Read More
Just beat the storm! We flew out of CT on Saturday morning at 7:55, a few hours before they closed down the airports for Hurricane Irene. Arrived in San Juan in the afternoon and were met by our pre-arranged taxi with car seats for the kids (really wasn't necessary). We went straight to the Radisson Hotel in Condado, which was a nice location with plenty of restaurants and two Walgreens within walking distance. We stocked up at the Walgreens on diapers and wine (much cheaper there). The next day we headed to the port around 12:00 after a quick side trip to Baby's R Us for another stroller. I do not recommend arriving at the port at 12:30. The lines were longer than I've ever encountered. We were lucky to have two toddlers in strollers and they escorted us to the special assistance line (only one person in front of us). I estimate that it would have taken close to 2 hours to go through the regular line. Once on board, they directed us to the buffet for some lunch. Once again, long, long lines. This was consistent throughout the cruise. The only time I ever felt like there were a lot of people on the ship, was in the Mediterranean Dining Room (buffet). We had a category 8A Balcony room. It was pretty tight with the sofa bed and the crib, but that was expected. The bathroom and the shower were the largest we've ever had on a ship. They had plenty of soap, shampoo, lotions, toothpaste, etc in the bathroom. The balcony was necessary, as we were traveling with our kids, ages 3 and 1. When they went to bed at night, we could go out on the balcony and relax without worrying about waking them up. We opted for the anytime dining, which was in the Atlantic Dining Room on the Fourth Floor. It was pretty nice and the food was good. I only had one meal that I didn't care for and that was the Seafood Newburg (which normally I love). The service was very good on most days, but really depended on where you were sat. That's the only thing that I disliked about the anytime dining. You didn't have the same server each time, so you never knew how the service would be. They always greeted our kids by name (actually it felt like everyone who worked on the ship, knew our kids' names by the second day). We ate breakfast in the Pacific dining room on most mornings, unless we were in a hurry to get off the ship. The service in there was really slow. We waited 15 minutes one morning before anyone came over with coffee and water. This is not good when you have small children! If you went to the back of ship, behind the Mediterranean Buffet, there was an area that had hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken fingers and another that had pizza. There was never a line here, so we ended up there most days for lunch. In the morning, they serve breakfast there, including an omelet station. The kids club was a disappointment for us. We have two kids and only the older one was old enough to attend the activities during the day. We didn't bother dropping him off, because we would still have the other, so what's the point. We were planning on using the babysitting in the kid's club at night, which was an extra charge, but we could leave both kids. The hours were from 10:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. Great! We'll be able to leave them there after they fall asleep and enjoy the shows, comedy, etc. The first night we brought them up there, already sleeping, there was a party going on in the room for the kids. These are little kids, not the older ones. The party was from 10:00 pm - 12:00 am. Loud music, dancing, lights flashing. They offered to put our kids in the corner and if they woke up, they would call us to pick them up. I don't think so! The next time we tried to leave them, I noticed a party scheduled from 10:00 pm - 1:00 am. Therefore we weren't able to enjoy any of the onboard nighttime entertainment, so I can't give my opinion on that. I read negative reviews about the people on the cruise before leaving. I did feel this crowd was not your average cruise crowd. There were a lot of loud, pushy, inconsiderate people that we ran into all over the ship. The pool in the middle of the ship was consistently packed with people, jumping and splashing. We found another pool in the back of the ship, which was much calmer and my husband and older son swam in that one. My daughter wasn't allowed in the pools, because she's not potty trained yet. I did see quite a few other babies swimming in the pools with diapers, whose parents didn't listen to the rule. All in all, it was a good time. Will I be cruising with Carnival again? Probably not and definitely not in the Caribbean. It's not the employees or the ships, but the other passengers that have turned me off. This was our second Carnival Cruise and 9th cruise all together. It was the ports of call that made me choose this cruise, but I don't think I will be as easily swayed to try Carnival again after this one. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
We arrived in San Juan a day early and checked into the Sheraton near the convention center. The hotel was great and relatively close to the Cruise Ship dock (about a 10 minute ride). We got to the ship around 12PM because we had heard the ... Read More
We arrived in San Juan a day early and checked into the Sheraton near the convention center. The hotel was great and relatively close to the Cruise Ship dock (about a 10 minute ride). We got to the ship around 12PM because we had heard the warnings about Tropical Storm Irene as she was bearing down on Puerto Rico. Embarkation was very easy as we were able to drop off our bags and pick up our Sail and Sign cards in about 45 minutes. We were told that the ship may not be leaving port because of the storm, but were also told to stay close to the ship in case we were to leave earlier than the expected 10PM departure. I would recommend arriving in San Juan a day early. Old San Juan is a beautiful part of the city. I would recommend it to anyone who can appreciate good food, excellent shopping and old historical buildings and streets. The people are very friendly and many of the sights are very close to the cruise ship dock. DO NOT miss out on getting to see such a wonderful city! After stocking up on some supplies at the CVS down the block from the ship we headed back to board around 3PM. We had seen most of Old San Juan the night before and wanted to make sure we were on the ship in case they decided to leave early. Heavy rain bands from Irene had already started moving into San Juan at this point. The line to board the ship was a little long, probably took about 30-40 minutes but I think that this was the result of the rain and the threat of the ship leaving early. When we arrived at our stateroom our bags were already there. We had booked a balcony on the Verandah deck and were very pleased with the size of the room as well as the bathroom. It was not huge by any means, but was more than we expected and was more than comfortable. Having a balcony is a definite plus as you can see what is going on outside. Our room was cleaned twice a day and the housekeeping staff was outstanding. We were informed by the Captain that the ship was going to leave at 6PM instead of 10PM due to the Tropical Storm headed towards Puerto Rico. We were also told that we would have to miss St. Thomas and spend a day at sea because of the storm as well. We didn't mind this so much as we were just glad to be getting out of port. I heard that there were around 500 people left behind because of the early departure. I felt bad for them but find it hard to believe that so many people would book flights that landed so close to a cruise ship departure, especially with the uncertainty of airline arrival times. (Our flight the day before was 3 hours delayed for no good reason). I heard these people were put up in hotels and flown to Barbados to meet the ship a few days later. The first night of cruising was a little rocky due to the rough seas but the captain did an outstanding job getting out of harms way and leading us into beautiful weather for our two days at sea. The only complaint I have about the boat is the lack of swimming pools. The are a few pools but they were small and tended to be packed all of the time. The hot tubs in the Serenity section were nice, but often packed as well. Be sure to use the water-slide, no matter what age you are, as it offers a fun way to cool down. The ship itself is in great shape. Everything looks relatively new and all of the public areas were perfect. The layout made it easy to get around, but most importantly I did not feel that I was sharing the ship with 2000+ other people. There was always plenty of room to walk around and enjoy what the ship had to offer. Dining on the ship was great as well. The breakfast buffet lines on the Lido Deck were a little slow but the breakfast was very good. We had dinner every night in the dining hall, we ended up switching to the early dining option at 6:00pm as this gave us more time to enjoy the nightly entertainment. The dining staff was great and attentive. The food was very good as well. I'm not going to say that every dish was great, but you are able to order more than one appetizer and entree off the menu at a time, so if you cannot find something you like to eat from a large offering on the menu then you are too much of a picky eater. The waitstaff went out of their way to entertain and make us happy at dinner. Dining every night was a great experience. The boat had some great entertainment as well. We made sure to see every comedy show that was offered. The first two comics were great and had shows the first two nights at sea. The last two comics were not as good and had a hard time making the audience laugh. I would like to see a better quality of comics next time as well as shows every night instead of just 4 nights out of 7. We saw a musical performed by the Carnival staff. People seemed to enjoy the show except to me the cheese factor was through the roof. I am also not a big fan of musicals or anything Broadway so my opinion is biased as I could not stop laughing at how cheesy the songs and dancing were. I ended up leaving after 30 minutes because I could not take it anymore. I would definitely recommend that they review some of the live entertainment as I felt that some nights we were searching for things to do. The casino was always a good time except when we lost and found ourselves watching Karaoke and watching people make fools of themselves. Overall our first cruise was a wonderful time. We will definitely be cruising with Carnival again in the future. All of the staff was wonderful and friendly and went out of their way to make sure we were happy with our experience. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2011
I have never cruised before but I would highly recommend the carnival victory ship. Although it holds a lot of passengers it never felt full or over crowded anywhere. Here is plenty to eat and food all round. Alcohol is quite pricy (for a ... Read More
I have never cruised before but I would highly recommend the carnival victory ship. Although it holds a lot of passengers it never felt full or over crowded anywhere. Here is plenty to eat and food all round. Alcohol is quite pricy (for a Yorkshire girl) however you need to have some money set aside for them before you go! All the cocktails were fantastic (and I had them all) as well as the food. The ports you visit are breath taking. At St Martin I recommend you go to the airport beach, it is an eye opener (not for the faint hearted). Don't pay for a taxi or tour just go two streets back and little busses come along all the time with the name of the place and it is only 2 dollars each way! The only negative I have is if you board at Barbados you have to get off the ship and go through immigration at San Juan and it is a long process getting off and on so take a book or something to entertain you and get their first of last. I recommend a room with a balcony however all the rooms were lovely. Soft bed, lovely couch, plenty of room to store clothes. There are lots of photographers around the ship, don't get in the big queues, just wait a little and then go for it! All the staff are really friendly and know you by name by the end of your trip and if you are a couple then I recommend the over 21 area found at the top of the ship. . It has a bar, hammocks and hot tubs! We spent most of our time there! There are clubs for children up to 17 years so I hardly saw any the whole week. Over all, great fun, plenty going on and if you are British, much of the night club is American R&B music so hit the casino and comedy club (get there early it fills up) and other music going on in the main areas. There are plenty of good singers and music. Shopping is St Lucia is good as well. Get souvenirs there! Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
We are experienced cruisers taking a family vacation. There were 7 of us, a 60 Plus couple, a 40ish son and daughter-in-law, and 3 children , Boys 12,9 and a girl 6. First I have to say if you are under 30 Carnival is the only ... Read More
We are experienced cruisers taking a family vacation. There were 7 of us, a 60 Plus couple, a 40ish son and daughter-in-law, and 3 children , Boys 12,9 and a girl 6. First I have to say if you are under 30 Carnival is the only cruise line for you. There were constant dance parties. Even at dinner the waiters danced and got the audience involved. It was a lot of fun. We have been on princess and Royal Caribbean and it is like pulling teeth to get anyone to dance. Of course the crowd was much younger on carnival. We traveled on the Victory. Nice ship, water slide, several pools. Jogging track, nice exercise room. One large theater and several smaller venues. Besides the production shows they had comedy shows every night in one of the smaller bars. They had 2 comedians who did both general audience and adult's only shows. Shows were about 30 minutes and were different every show. Generally good The cabin was nice, spacious with a couch. We had a window cabin. One thing carnival did was eliminate refrigerators. While they did keep the ice bucket supplied. I like to keep water and pop cold in the fridge and sometimes snacks I bring back. Food was so-so. Breakfast and lunch was fine. Several omelet stations so it was never very crowded. Lunch had burgers, pizza, a sandwich deli(great sandwiches) and the hot buffet. I will have to say I was not crazy about dinner. Maybe I ordered poorly. There were many choices and steak was always included. I would have liked more fish and pasta dishes. I tipped the waiters on the first night and in the middle of the cruise. Service was outstanding. They really took care of the kids like I asked. Drinks were expensive. Beers $6, Martinis $11. I didn't drink much so it wasn't an issue. BTW, carnival makes bad martinis. Get something else. Since we were a family we went to a beach at most every port. At St. Thomas we went to Magens Bay. We have been there lots of times. Easy to get to by taxi. $7 taxi and you have to pay the $4 admission. Chairs rent for $7 and you can rent floats and other things. Bar on the beach and a snack shop. Burgers, hot dogs, pizza etc. Nice place On Barbados we went to harbor light's which is down the beach from the boatyard. $5 cab ride and $20 to rent 2 chairs and umbrella. Beautiful beach. They have guys taking you snorkeling and jet skiing. Also tube rides. I went jet skiing. $25 for 15 minutes. Lots of fun in the ocean. They have restaurant there also, kind of expensive for burgers, hot dog's etc. In St. Lucia we went to smugglers cover on a carnival tour. I would not do that again. Rocky beach with lots of seaweed. We ended up in the pools. On St. Kits we went to cockleshell beach by the spice mill restaurant. 2 chairs and umbrella $15, taxi $6.50 each way. They had a great bar there and a restaurant. Expensive to eat so we ate at the ship when we returned. In St. Maartin the kids stayed on the ship since they have international beaches. Chris and I walked thru town. Very nice town. Has an old European architecture with very tiny winding streets. Lots of up scale shops. They have a beach right in town. Restaurants behind the beach. I saw signs 2 chairs, umbrella, 2 red stripes for $15. Beer cheap in st.Maartin. We like orient beach better so we just walked around though we did have lunch in town All in all a great vacation. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
I would like to get the negatives out of the way before I write the rest of my review. 1. Food: This was really a hit or miss. I was not impressed at all and this will be a part of the cruise I will not miss. 2. Smells: there ... Read More
I would like to get the negatives out of the way before I write the rest of my review. 1. Food: This was really a hit or miss. I was not impressed at all and this will be a part of the cruise I will not miss. 2. Smells: there was a foul smell around the pool area. I could not figure out what it was but it was always there. 3. Dining service: Service was really slow. Our family had three tables and mine was the only one served by a different person. Although I was always the first one there, sometimes by 30 minutes, the other tables always got their food first. 4. Debarkation: Although they require everyone to be out of their room by 8:30am, which meant waking up at 6am for me, they were on zone 10 at 10:30am. There were a total of 32 zones. I was zone 25 and since I had to pick up a car rental at Avis and their sunday schedule was until 1pm they allowed be to get out early. I'm not sure at what time the last person from zone 32 was able to get out of the ship. Now, on to the rest of the experience: Embarkation: Super quick!! My family was there at 11am and the first group went in right away. Since I had to take my rental car back I got there a bit later with my brother in law. I was ready with boarding pass and passport but my brother in law didnt (my sister had it with her inside the ship). In order to enter the port all he had to say to the person waiting there was his name. Shockingly the guy answered "I remember your name from the list" and let him in. With that kind of memory this guy should be working in a more challenging job. Entertainment: I was very impressed by the amount of activities they had. There was no room for boredom unless you slept in all day for the whole week. They had four different stand up comics, two of which were super funny; the other two were just funny. They each did two family friendly shows and two adults only shows. I only went to the family friendly ones because I traveled with my two children. They also had a juggler. He was great. The magician's show was very weak. I did not like his show. He did not seem to want to be there and he only did like three tricks during the whole show. The brodway style shows were very good, although the female singer was much weaker than the male singer. The final show, which included passengers, was good as well... Staff: They were all super friendly. "Karl with a K", the director, was funny and seemed to be present in all of the activities. He sang, danced, did comedy and of course, was the host of many of the shows. He did a good job. He had a good team as well. I could not understand one of them because he had a very heavy accent, but the rest were good. The cleaning crew was always present. Not sure where they would come from but our room was always made and clean. Room: I was in the main deck, midship, and did not hear a sound. Around 9:30 I did hear the cleaning crew out in the hallway but I would be up by that time already. The room was very dark and the bed was really comfy. I read from other people that the rooms on Carnival ships were bigger than other lines but I did not find this to be true when compared to the Norwegian Spirit; I thought the room were about the same. Camp Carnival: My kids loved it and always wanted to go. They were not there all the time because I like to spend time with them during our vacations but the times they did go they always came back with fun stories. 24 Hour Ice Cream: THE BEST!!! I would recommend this cruise to anyone who wants to have lots of fun. If food is your thing then I would go with a different cruise line. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
On July 31st my husband & I flew to San Juan where we boarded the Carnival Victory. Having cruised with Carnival several years ago when it was quite basic, and knowing that they are regarded as the "fun" "party" ... Read More
On July 31st my husband & I flew to San Juan where we boarded the Carnival Victory. Having cruised with Carnival several years ago when it was quite basic, and knowing that they are regarded as the "fun" "party" ship and since cruised with Royal Caribbean, we were a little hesitant about the reputation of Carnival however the selection of cruises to Southern Caribbean at this time of year is limited. I can honestly say we were not disappointed and it was the best cruise and would highly recommend it. As we were booked into a Grand Suite, checking in was extremely quick and easy and we were on the ship enjoying the buffet lunch in no time. By 2.30pm we were able to go to our cabin and our luggage was delivered shortly after. This was amazing as on all previous cruises, regardless of company, our luggage did not arrive until after dinner. Our cabin was awesome - very clean and spacious and our steward, Rosario was very helpful and friendly. As we were not leaving San Juan until 10pm we were able to leave the ship and explore the town - we enjoyed this as it made the cruise seem longer. We had selected open dining and our initial server, Ana was wonderful. The hostesses actually remembered our names by the second evening and were very accommodating in that they ensured we were seated at Ana's table every night for the rest of the cruise. We were pleasantly surprised by the food at dinner - Carnival have definately upped their game! The selection and quality of food was excellent and there was always something for everyone. We highly recommend the roast lamb and the warm melting chocolate cake and of course the lobster - there are no restrictions so if you want more just ask. On the days we were in port and had excursions booked we ordered room service -it arrived exactly on time and even received more than what we had ordered. We did try the buffet breakfast one morning - would not recommend it as it was chaotic. Breakfast in the Pacific Restaurant was much better, and gives you a chance to meet other passengers. There was a huge selection for lunch ranging from every salad imaginable, several hot dishes, Asian dishes, freshly made sandwiches, burgers and pizzas, not forgetting a large selection of deserts. The pizzas were some of the best we have eaten and are available 24 hours. The only downside of the buffet lunch is the number of passengers who are determined to get their money's worth by loading up as many plates as they can and so hold up the line. There is a sushi bar open early evening, serving freshly made sushi - very good. There was a wide selection of entertainment and something for everyone. The entertainment staff were very friendly but not over-powering. The comedians were very good and would highly recommend finishing the night in the piano bar with Tom who is extremely talented, knows and sings every song you can suggest. It's amazing how many friends you can make while singing along to your favorite tunes! It became a regular meeting place. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
This is a long review /day trip. Day 1. We flew down to San Juan on Friday June 3, 2011. We had been to San Juan on a previous cruise but did not have time to see all that we wanted to do so we decide to add a couple of days to our ... Read More
This is a long review /day trip. Day 1. We flew down to San Juan on Friday June 3, 2011. We had been to San Juan on a previous cruise but did not have time to see all that we wanted to do so we decide to add a couple of days to our itinerary. We arrived on the Friday afternoon and checked in to our room at the Sheraton Old San Juan which was our home for 2 nights prior to the cruise. We had arranged with Debbie from the Legends of Puerto Rico for the walking tour "Night Tales". It began to drizzle as the tour began but cleared as we progressed. Our tour guide Debbie was very knowledgeable and showed us many places and explained the history. We really enjoyed this tour. The architectures in San Juan are so beautiful. http://www.legendsofpr.com/nighttales.htm We saw many places and ended up close by the marketplace. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the marketplace does double duty: After the vendors have shut down their stalls, people gather for one large block party. There's music, food, laughter, and of course, dancing in the streets. We stopped at Senor Frogs after the tour for some nachos & beer and the required butt chair photos. Then back to the hotel. We hardly slept (did we sleep at all?) as it was prom night/weekend for Puerto Rican teens. There were so many parties going on and it was very, very noisy. Teenagers ran up and down the halls, screeching like banshees, banging doors, yelling, throwing stuff. etc. It was a night from hell. We and several other people called down to the main desk and they sent up security. They would remain quiet momentarily until security left and then resumed their partying until 3:30 in the morning. The next day we went to the front desk and we were moved to a quieter room however, we had upgraded to an ocean view room so they gave us a complimentary breakfast buffet voucher. Well done Sheraton. Breakfast was a lovely buffet style and the food was very tasty. Everyone we came in contact at the Sheraton was very pleasant and helpful. However they forgot to give us our Starwood Points. Day 2. After breakfast at the Sheraton we did the walking tour of Old San Juan on our own and visited the 2 forts and other historic spots. The forts were really interesting and some wonderful views. We stopped for lunch and then we then headed to the shops along Calle Forteleza for some shopping. It was a fun day. That evening we were picked up at the Sheraton by Yokahu Kayak Tours for our Bioluminescent Bay kayak tour. We here told it was a perfect night for viewing as there was no moon. It was just okay. There is very little to see. Not sure what the rave reviews were about. There were a lot of wanna be kayakers that should stick to land. We were rammed several times and received an oar to the side of the head. When you are paddling against the current, it can be strenuous on your wrists. For groups with children I would recommend you look into one of the companies that has kayaks for 3 people or one of the boat tours. Several people on our tour had to be towed. The company was to take pictures of the individual kayaks and post them on their website. Well they took pictures of 3 kayaks together. Half of my head was cut off and I have no idea who those 4 other people are. Pretty tacky I thought. Later we were driven back to the Sheraton. Thankfully, that night was a quiet night and we slept. There was a lot of construction happening at this time as Obama was visiting the next week so traffic was brutal. Day 3. We had breakfast and packed up our bags and headed over to the pier for embarkation. We were on the ship within 45 minutes. Our stateroom was not ready so we headed for lunch on the Lido deck with our carryon luggage. The food was good and line ups were minimal. After lunch our stateroom was ready. We unpacked and then we then disembarked and did some more sightseeing. Then back on the ship for sail away. We ate at the Buffet the first night and the food was good. After dinner we explored the ship and the art gallery and shops. The ship is beautiful with its nautical theme throughout. Seahorses adorn the railings, even the names of the swimming pools are of a nautical nature. We did not watch any shows that night as we were just too tired. Cruise: Day 1: ST. THOMAS: We had booked an Island tour with Henry from Triple E excursions. A Big Mistake! We waited on his bus for 40 minutes for others to arrive. He tried to get us to go with Godfrey tours but Godfrey's tour itinerary was different. Finally his Aunt & niece joined the tour and we set off. About 15 minutes into the tour his Aunt said she had to be back at 11:00 as she had an appointment. What the ??? This was supposed to be a 4 hour tour: 2 hour island tour + 2 hours beach + leaving 2 hours for shopping before ship sailed. [This is taken from his website: "We'll fit as many of the sights as possible into your schedule: Magen's Bay, Drake's Seat, Coki Beach, Bluebeard's Castle, Coral World, Mountain Top, Paradise Point, Fort Christian. And don't forget shopping for jewelry or souvenirs on the Charlotte Amalie waterfront and at Havensight Mall".] At 10:00 am he received a phone call that there were people were waiting for him back at the pier and he was turning around to go back for them cutting our time short. We were very upset so he located Air Force One ( Papa Bear ) to continue the tour. However we did not see all the sights Henry had promised though and had no beach time. At the Mountain Top we purchased a Pina Colada (expensive but tasty). There was a beautiful view from the observation deck but it is really just a large store. Later, Papa Bear dropped us off for some shopping in town and a little site seeing on our own. You can see the red brick walls of Fort Christian, Government House, second oldest Jewish synagogue in Western Hemisphere, then the famous 99 steps. At the top of the steps is Blackbeard's Castle hotel & restaurant (not to be confused with the Blue Beards castle which is on the eastern edge of town. The view from the top of the 99 stairs is amazing. Go to the visitor's bureau for maps & brochures located down the street from the main post office close to the waterfront. We then sampled a couple of Medalla beers and Don Q rum. Then we were back on board for sail away. That evening we had dinner in the dining room. Dinner was very nice. There was only one other couple at our table the first night. The dinner show was very good. The comedians were awful. Day 2: At sea. We counted 2 chair hogs saving 16-20 chairs for their friends who didn't show up until late in the day or never. We went up to the adults's only area later and found 2 chairs in the shade but right next to the children's wading pool. What is with that? Wailing kids in the Adults only area? We made the most of it and just read and listen to our tunes. Dinner was the formal night in the dining room and again only the one couple was at our table. Dinner was delicious and the melting cake as always, so yummy, Day 3: BARBADOS: We booked with Glory Tours for an Island tour. Sights included Harrisons Cave, Flower Forest Bathsheba, East Coast (lunch stop) St. Nicholas Abbey(Not really an abbey just a store to sell their rum), Earthworks Pottery. It started off on a sour note (they had overbooked and then passed us off to another driver who was useless. He gave no information on any of the sites. At the gardens he said you are on your own. Off we started down a path not quite sure of where we were or what lay ahead, when I overheard the other tour operator with Glory tours ( they had just arrived) telling the other group about the history of the place and then he was handing out umbrellas. We doubled back and got our umbrellas (and a good thing too as the heavens opened and we would have been soaked). He then took us to the Pottery place and did the same thing. He just dumped us there. We started to walk around but it wasn't very impressive. We then saw the other group arriving and they were being given a demonstration of how the pottery is made! So we joined their group once again. I had read bad reviews about Glory tours on this website before I went, but we had already booked. We made the most of the rest of the tour. It ended well. Harrison's Cave was the highlight of our tour. You ride on a tram down into the cave. It was just amazing. We stopped for lunch at a roadside restaurant. The Flying fish was excellent. We were then dropped back off at the pier. I would never again book with Gory tours. We purchased our rum cakes and looked around the shops and then we stopped for a bucket of beer and then boarded the ship. That night we went to the dining room for dinner and the second couple was there. We were still missing one couple. We exchanged our experiences from the day's tours and then we went to the show. The show was good. We didn't spend any time in the casino this trip, so I can't comment on it. Day 4: ST. LUCIA Cosol Tours: 5.5 - 6 hour Island tour. We chose Consol Tours for the Island tour and snorkel. We had a great time and even though we didn't drive with Consol, he was present at all our stops. He's really a lot of fun. The food was very good at the stops and it was neat to try the local cuisine. There is a beverage van that follows you to every stop with water, rum punch, beer. St. Lucia is a beautiful island. We took a water taxi from Castries to La Soufriere on our trip to a beach between the pitons. There are a lot of stones in the water. Suggest you wear your water shoes. Once you got out further it was better. What a wonderful day. We got one lounge chair to put our stuff on and went to the Tiki hut for some beers. I had brought along water and sandwiches from the ship so we ate our sandwich on the beach with our beer. And then back in the water Cosol tours gave us some warm bread and cheese (straight from the oven)( to die for) . We saw the beautiful Marigot's Bay Beach where Dr. Doolittle was filmed, Caribelle Batik at Hewelton House; sulphur springs park, drive in Volcano and Diamond botanical gardens, waterfalls and mineral baths. We saw the 400 year old Samaan Tree in Dereck Walcott Square. The two forts: Fort Rodney and Fort Charlotte. We picked up some of the famous St. Lucian Banana Ketchup and Banana Wine. Note: The Caribelle Batik is very nice but very expensive. The Third couple showed up for dinner.and we exchanged tales of our outings. We went to the show that evening. Again it was enjoyable. Comedians were just so so Day 5: ST. KITTS We went on the BEST OF ST. KITTS/PANORAMIC ISLAND TOUR with Rosevelt of Paradise Island tours http://stkittsislandparadisetours.com, for 3.5 hour tour plus unlimited beach. We were provided complementary bottled water, plus the entrance fees to the fort was included ($8. per person) to Brimstone Hill Fortress, National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. For those that don't want to do the beach they will return you to Port Zante where the ships are located, it's also the shopping area, 25 acre of open mall (shopping center). We opted for the beach and we really enjoyed it. We visited the Caribelle Batik factory at Romney Manor west of Olde Town. This tour was very good and I would recommend Rosevelt Day 6: St. Maartens: We have been to St. Maartens several times. We stayed here for one week on a previous trip. We had done the Island tour to Marigot and Orient Beach, Simpson Bay and Maho Beach as well as Mullet Bay. So this time we just did some shopping and then some beach time. We had a few beers and then back on the ship. This was our last night. Dinner was again very delicious and service was wonderful. Day 7: San Juan and disembarkation. We had early self assist so we went from breakfast in the Buffet and then took our bags down. Disembarkation was quick and we caught a taxi to the airport for our return home. Our flights were delayed in Washington due to weather conditions so we arrived home after midnight. What a long day. The Carnival Victory is a beautiful boat and all of the employees that we came in contact were wonderful. We really liked the itinerary of this cruise And would do it again in the future. Read Less
Sail Date: July 2011
Our family (mom, dad, 16, 13, 9 yr old boys) just returned from the Carnival Victory 7/31/11-8/7/11 and had an amazing time. This was our first Carnival cruise (before this we regularly cruised RCCL and DCL) and we were pleasantly ... Read More
Our family (mom, dad, 16, 13, 9 yr old boys) just returned from the Carnival Victory 7/31/11-8/7/11 and had an amazing time. This was our first Carnival cruise (before this we regularly cruised RCCL and DCL) and we were pleasantly surprised! Don't have time to write a super detailed review (so backed up at work) but I did want to share some of the highlights.... especially from the perspective of an avid RCCL/DCL cruiser. Rooms - We had two aft extended balconies - wonderful! The balcony divider opened up so even though our rooms were not adjoining on the inside, they were on the outside. We will remember this trick next time when we can't get adjoining cabins. Unfortunately, the captain always went straight into the ports though so we didn't get the best views until leaving the ports. We did enjoy sailing away in the afternoons though because the captain would turn around the ship to get out. Our room steward's name was Dewah and he was fantastic. Definitely one of the best we have ever had. Ports - We planned multiple off-ship excursions with the exception of St. Maarten (we did the Tiki Snorkel Hut with the cruise line). We went on "Forever Young" in St. Thomas (lovely sailboat & snorkeling trip to St Johns) - no other guests except our family so it was a very special day. Larry and Betty took us snorkeling and then to a beach on St. Johns. Beach was amazing- almost deserted. Incredible experience. Larry also let my 13 year old take the helm for a little while which thrilled him. Food very tasty. Drinks were sodas, water, powerade and beer. Weather was mostly good despite Emily coming our way. We booked Calabaza catamaran in Barbados - had absolutely wonderful day sailing and snorkeling. Gina and her crew treated all the guests (we had about 12 total) like kings and queens. Food was wonderful and her rum punch is so good. My kids had a blast. Snorkeling with the turtles was an experience to remember. We also snuck in some beach time after the second snorkle. I would book again anytime. Wish I could go tomorrow!! Definitely one of the best tours we planned. St. Lucia was not quite as successful as far as our trip planning. We chose Spencer Ambrose and the van we were in was in terrible shape. There was very little room for our feet and the seatbelts did not work. He drove pretty fast through the mountains and I was concerned for our safety. The other Spencer Ambrose tours were seated in newer air conditioned vans. We were placed in Small's vehicle and after the first stop, his radiator overheated so we had to wait in a fishing village for it to cool off. It was rainy and the locals were very aggressive, trying to sell us anything and everything. One local child actually asked my 13 year old for his shoes. Finally Small said we could get back into his van but we had to shut down the air conditioning so it would not overheat until he could get another radiator cap. It was also raining that day so it was raining inside the van. He never did get the cap & our trip to the volcano was abbreviated because we needed to hurry to get onto the boat to Jalousie Beach. The main reason we booked the tour was to get to the volcano. Instead, we did not get to go down to the volcano and instead got a five minute speech from the guide from the top drop off level who did not understand why she could not take us on the regular tour. The side of the beach for the Ambrose folks was pretty pathetic and no room to sit/stand or anything. We went to the resort side and sat on the beach. Food was not great but honestly we were all so happy to be out of the van. Other family with us that we met that day was also not happy and told Small. Oh well- we had fun anyway at the beach but I definitely would never book Spencer again mainly because of the inconsistency in how he handles his tours. All we got for all the problems was a $10 discount per person (which was not much considering how much we paid). As bad as St. Lucia was, we had that much fun in St. Kitts. We booked Pereira Tours for city tour and beach. Thankfully very nice van, had room for legs, and air conditioning the entire day. WOW. Very nice driver (Everton). Would book again with Liz. Don't miss the Brimstone fort - views are amazing. We went to Cockleshell beach- also beautiful. Countryside is amazing. All folks so friendly. Definitely one of my favorite stops. Can't wait to go again but will focus on beaches next time. On Saturday, we were in St Maarten. Did some shopping first and then went on Tiki Hut snorkel excursion. Fish not plentiful and they found roach in the frozen drink machine (while they were making my drink of course - I told them I didn't want it anymore) - probably would not do again. Not worth the money because low quality snorkeling - we should have found a beach. We know better for next time. Ship- As far as the ship, the decor is definitely unique but we found the staff to be outstanding. We have sailed on other cruiselines at least 20 plus times and this crew was wonderful. I do not understand how the captain did it but we had very little rain when we were sailing, except at night when we were sleeping. We loved the comedians and every night at 10:45, a magician would do some tricks. His name was Ian Fernandez and he was so nice to my boys. My nine year old asked him for his autograph! On the second to the last day, Ian had my son participate in a magic trick and ended up giving him an autographed card. My 13 year old was fascinated and Ian even showed him how to do one of the tricks. If you get a chance, go see him and let him know Adam and Matthew say hi -- tell him Adam was the little boy who asked for his autograph. He will remember since it was the first time anyone had ever asked him for his autograph. Ian also did some amazing tricks, in fact my kids have been doing card tricks since we came home. As far as our servers, our waitress (Stoyanka) and her assistants were amazing- the best servers we have ever had. We were in the Your Time Dining group but we loved our servers so much we always went at 5:45pm. We were always out of there by 6:30 or so unless we came in a little late or wanted to linger. I really was not sure what to expect from Carnival but we were very pleasantly surprised. So many of the employees went out of their way to help the guests. Absolutely top of the line service with very few exceptions. Food- From someone who has been complaining about the decline in RCCL food over the past two years, I can say that I was very pleased with Carnival's selections and quality. Stoyanka did steer us in the right direction (I chose against her suggestion on night and I regretted it) but the food really was much better than RCCL in my opinion. Room service was definitely on the boring side but my kids ordered chicken fajitas and p-b jelly sandwiches with cookies/chips almost every night. Obviously the kids liked it.... In the mornings, we sometimes ordered room service- we were disappointed one morning when they came late so we missed them due to an excursion time. We called before we left the room but the food came anyway after we left. Dewah told them they were late & what did they expect on a port day. Other than that, no problems. We can forgive one faux pas. Honestly, cruise food is not going to be five star quality but if we all (two adults and five kids) can eat and basically like what we are eating, that is success. Much better than RCCL in my opinion (and my kids wholeheartedly agree on that point). On the other hand, pizza not very good according to the kids but definitely go for the deli sandwiches (made to order) on the Lido Deck. The country white bread was SO good. And as far as the buffet lines, yes they are sometimes long but there are ways to avoid the crowds. Got to go with the flow sometimes. Kids' Program. We were very surprised about the kids program not being better - none of my kids liked it and usually they are the ones that can't get enough. Lots of video game time and dance parties - not as many activities as they have had on RCCL and DCL. Maybe due to port-intensive itinerary but didn't seem to be as many kids as we have seen on other ships so maybe that was why kids club not that exciting.... At this point, without any other Carnival experiences to choose from, RCCL definitely wins out. I think though that a different ship might have better programs. I enjoyed seeing my kids on this cruise for a change which was a plus for me anyway! Wild Behaviors? Years ago Carnival had a reputation of having wild guests, out of control adults, etc.... well, maybe because we were so exhausted and in bed when all the Wild Things came out but I did not see any people who were behaving any differently than they would on any other cruise. I found the guests to be respectful and kind to each other. Everyone seemed to be having a good time. No wild kids or adults around the ship! I actually feel embarrassed for harboring all those preconceptions all these years. RCCL, DCL or Carnival Next Time? Depends on the itinerary, the ship, my bank account..... no longer will I only look at one company over another. All these cruise lines offer different benefits and I am so happy to have a new option to add to my list of possibilities. Any questions, please post on Carnival thread. So many amazing memories and fun times. Probably one of our best family vacations ever! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2011
The Carnival Victory is over 10 years old and maybe it shows it's age a little. I must admit I have been on newer and bigger Carnival ships so maybe to other people it is a great ship. The itinerary is the reason why I booked ... Read More
The Carnival Victory is over 10 years old and maybe it shows it's age a little. I must admit I have been on newer and bigger Carnival ships so maybe to other people it is a great ship. The itinerary is the reason why I booked this cruise and I was not disappointed!!! I have been to St. Thomas, Barbados, and St. Maarten 15 years ago and I absolutely still love St. Thomas and St. Maarten. We decided on this cruise not to take any excursion through the ship and instead did private tours which saved us money but make sure to bring even more money than you normally bring on vacation as you are paying cash for these tours/taxis and not your credit card. Now for the cruise itself. I was a little disappointed to see that the nice dessert buffet was not held. I always loved taking pictures of all the beautiful desserts and carvings. The only midnight buffet they had was a mexican buffet and I'm sorry at that hour I really don't want to eat a bunch of food that will upset my stomach. I know alot of cruise lines are cutting back but I really feel that is what makes cruising such a great thing to experience different foods that you normally wouldn't get to eat. The entertainment was good and I don't think I ever had a complaint on the entertainment. A nice thing is how they show movies each night on the pool deck area. I watched a couple of movies while I cruised. I know this has been a lengthy review but just a couple more things. The duty free allowance back into the US is $800 per person. Now if you buy anything in St. Thomas you are allowed an additional $800. So if you are looking for jewelry you are better off buying it there because of the additional allowance. Now you can buy expensive jewelry at the other islands and not claim them when you go through customs but you will be taking a chance in case you get searched or really questioned by an agent. Overall, I would recommend this cruise just based on the itinerary. If you are going on this cruise have fun!!! Read Less
Sail Date: June 2011
It saddens me to say this but some people go on vacation to gripe, thats the only way i can explain the negative reviews. This was my wife and i first cruise and it did not disappoint. We embarked out of san juan and while the flight there ... Read More
It saddens me to say this but some people go on vacation to gripe, thats the only way i can explain the negative reviews. This was my wife and i first cruise and it did not disappoint. We embarked out of san juan and while the flight there was one to forget that has nothing to do with the cruise so i wont hold that against the cruise line like the review a few down about the horrid flight. Ill tell you what you need to know. Arrived at the airport and was at the cruise ship within 20 minutes of getting our bags.. Cost us $23 to get there which is overpriced but its the start of vacation so pay it and go. I read previous reviews so we went straight to the CVS to get our bottle of wine and our 12 pack of non alcoholic drinks. CVS was packed but we managed to get in and out pretty fast. We also put some extra cokes in my carryon backpack. It never got checked so it wasnt a problem. We breezed onto the boat and made our way to a quick dinner as we were starved. The room was nice,small but nice. Everything was neat and organized. After dinner our bags were already in our room. We unpacked. The room while small actually has a surprising amount of storage. There was no fridge in our room but they managed to keep ice in the ice bin everyday. There was soap and shampoo in our dispensers though ive heard people complain there was not. we never experienced any of those problems. Our bed was made each night and our bathroom was kept tidy for us thanks to those wonderful workers. FOOD--- The complaints on the food, i just dont get. Dinner was fantastic, way above the standards i had expected.. Every night i felt like i was being fed like i was a king.. the waiters were terrific and i cant even begin to tell you how good the food was at dinner. yes dinner took almost an hour and a half every night but it didnt matter b/c the food was great and we were lucky enough to sit with a couple we really enjoyed getting to know. food was lobster tails and shrimp and filet and fresh fish and soups and salads and all sorts of good things.. Dessert every night. Warm chocolate melting cake was to die for.. i was spoiled.. Breakfast was great, fresh fruits and cereal and breads and the normal buffet type breakfast. The passo guava juice is so delicious. its a must try. I had read reviews about the pizza not being good at the 24 hour stand, i enjoyed it. more gourmet then say pizza hut but delicious none the less.. only ate the regular buffet once it was good, i have no complaints. The food was good and the nice dinners were absolutely wonderful and delicious..The sushi bar every night was great, i always got 2 plates(they give you 3 pieces) and then went back for another. The drinks on the boat are way overpriced. that would be only real complaint. I did smell smoke a couple times but mainly in the casino area and never overpowering or even strong anywhere else on the boat..Hot tubs were more warm then hot. but that didnt bother us and all the shows were neat. .the magic show was neat, a show called vroom and the comedy were all good. we did those shows on thur, fri, sat and spent the first half of the week relaxing and turning in early to a movie..there was some noise but nothing that kept us up and i am a very light sleeper. Sorry, if you are looking for the complaining type its not me, its vacation roll with the punches.. now for the islands.. Day 1 St. Thomas we did snorkeling in st johns at trunks bay, which may be the most beautiful place my wife and i have ever been.. Snorkeling wasnt great but it was better then when we went in jamaica, thats all i can compare it too.. Nice shops not far from the boat.. its like $8 into town and $8 bucks back but if you are in good shape its about a mile walk.. most things were closed as we got an early and eager start.. Day 2 at Sea Prob our most boring day, we laid out for a while and had a couple over priced drinks and road the slide like 3 times each.. very fun and i went very fast.. It was fun. We checked out the ship but didnt do a whole lot, took a nap and turned in early as we were exhausted from our long trip to san juan and early start to day 1. Day 3 Barbados Well, it was quite a bummer the first half of the day as we went to the beach and it was completely empty and it rained the whole day. we took the public transport back to ship and i would not ever recommend that. its cheap but not worth it.. We did the rum tour at mount gay that afternoon and it was quite a good time as the tour guide pretty much let us drink freely during the taste test i prob had about 7 shots worth in that 10 or so minutes which led to another drink at the bar. Cab was $5 per person there and $5 pp back. It was worth it. We then tried banks beer which is a very heavy beer before we made our way back to the boat where we napped aka passed out till time to get ready for supper.. day 4 st lucia Caterman to the pitons.. i highly recommend this, we stopped for a quick swim and then checked out the pitons and it was such a beautiful site. well worth the money...booked it thru carnival and they served rum punch and they werent shy with the rum day 5 st. kitts. we wanted to do our own thing and this is a good place to do it. They have taxi services right outside the ship and it was very organized. We were told $6.50 roundtrip to the beach per person. not bad, its actually a good distance but we decided to do an island tour and it was great. We got grouped with other people on the cruise and it was $30 per person for a very awesome informative trip with lots of stops for photo ops.. So for $60 we got what would have cost about $150 if we booked thru the boat.. we ended up at cockshell beach, very crowded. Highly suggest friars bay.. so much more beautiful, the beach the water the crowd, much better.. Cockshell just felt trashy. if you go you will understand.. We saw wild monkeys.. prob 20 or so total at friars bay.. its a much better choice. Day 6 St. martin.. we went to mullet bay, we got there early, got our chairs.. $5 per person and laid out and enjoyed what was by far our most beautiful water scene. and the beach was nice.. We stayed there and drank caribs till lunch time. We got there early. St. Marteen seemed much cleaner and newer then the other islands, i want to vacation here for a week.. After a few good hours at mullet bay, we took about a 10 minute walk down to the airport beach to watch the planes come in, very neat but beach was crowded and kinda of a party scene, not really our thing. Traffic on the way back to the boat was really bad but we got there in enough time to try the guavaberry coladas which were delicious, big and had a good little kick for $6 not bad compared to the boat drink prices. By far our best island. Day 7 San juan, got off boat in like 5 minutes. no problems at all.. we did self assist and took our own luggage, only downfall was we got to the airport far too early.. So glad to be home but had a good time and i would give carnival an A for sure.. it was a wondeful experience.. GO, i dare you! Read Less
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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