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My husband and I have been on six cruises, both with Carnival and Royal Caribbean. In all of these cruises, there were pros and cons. What one person may like, another person may dislike. What one person may find acceptable, another person may find unacceptable. On each cruise ship, there is a particular set of circumstances and a particular environment that can change from one cruise to the other. The exact same cruise may be great one time and miserable the next. Conversely, as my husband and I experienced on the Carnival Holiday, the first cruise was mediocre while the second cruise was very enjoyable, especially the entertainment. Also keep in mind the fact that the larger ships will probably be more crowded and more difficult to navigate, but then the smaller ships, although less crowded and easier to navigate, may offer less in terms of shopping, entertainment or luxurious appearance. There are no guarantees and no absolutes when you book a cruise, even if you think you've researched everything thoroughly. Things just happen. The best advice that I can give is to approach a cruise with an open mind and don't expect everything to be perfect. Having said that, however, let me emphasize that most cruise ships and most cruises tend to demonstrate a certain pattern of behavior. Some cruise ships demonstrate a well managed and pleasant environment while others display an over-all behavior pattern that is more mismanaged and unpleasant. It is this pattern of behavior that we need to look out for. For this reason, cruise critic reviews have played a very important part in the education of both seasoned and novice cruisers. It doesn't matter if you agree with the reviews or not. There is no right or wrong review. The reviews are based on what is important to each individual person at a given time and what particular set of circumstances were present to influence that person's reaction to a cruise or a cruise ship. What does matter is that the reviews offer valuable information, sometimes in the smallest ways that may be very helpful to a person planning to take a cruise. In addition, the cruise line may find it helpful in evaluating and improving cruises or cruise ships. In light of what I've said, I'd like to give a little background information on the occasion of our cruise, followed by pros and cons we observed while cruising. We booked this cruise on the Carnival Victory about a year and a half ago in anticipation of our 35th wedding anniversary, but soon after as we boarded the ship, we began to feel that the ship and the cruise weren't going to be the way we thought. The following points illustrate the pros and cons. PROS: 1. Our ocean view room, with two picture windows, was located at the aft of the ship on deck 2. It was one of the largest ocean view rooms we've ever had, almost like a mini suite. We had to book it over a year in advance, but it was well worth it. 2. Our room Stewart, Kadek, was very accommodating and friendly. We noticed that most of the wait staff: staterooms, dining room, buffet, bars and all over the ship were friendly and anxious to help. We've found this true on most ships. 3. The food, both in the buffet area and the dinning room, was par with other ships we'd been on. The service in the dining room seemed adequate and par with other ships. 4. We can not comment on the excursions as we decided to rent a car in each port. That decision proved to be more economical and gave us a chance to go exactly where we wanted too. However, we would certainly not recommend renting a car in New York City or in remote areas in countries like Mexico. 5. The ports were enjoyable, depending on: what you liked to do, whether you had children or not, and how well you planned your day's activities. If you rent a car, and do not have a GPS, many car rentals offer them for a small fee. Get one! Also, go on the internet and order Visitor Information Packages for various tourist destinations. They are free and give you wonderful tips and advice about where to go and how to get there as well as information about discounted passes and tickets to various attractions. Before boarding the ship, we spent one day touring Manhattan. There is so much to see and do in Manhattan, that you need a week to see it. Getting around there is a hassle, even with the subways. We would recommend that if you only have one day, you decide beforehand what you want to see and the best route to get there. Don't try to drive a car in the city. You'll be sorry! My husband and I had to drop off our rental car in the city Saturday morning before we boarded the ship. We picked a location close to the cruise port, thinking that would make it easier and more economical than some place out of the city. We were wrong! After fighting one way streets, a parade, pedestrians walking right in front of our car, honking horns, rude people cutting in front of you—and getting lost, we decided never again. A route that should have only taken us five to ten minutes, took forty-five. CONS: 1. The Embarkation process seemed slower than other ships we'd been on. Some passengers commented that it was one of the worst they'd experienced. Debarkation went faster, especially after we were given a lower number in order to catch our flight on time. 2. The ship seemed crowded with people everywhere: the buffet lines, the theater, the elevators and all around the ship. 3. Don't expect to see anything but ocean until you dock at the ports. Unlike, the Alaskan cruises, you're far from the shoreline and unable to see any of the coastline scenery, although one of the booking agents told us otherwise. 4. The entertainment is very loud and nothing special. The first night's entertainment was so loud, we had to get up and leave. One couple said that they brought ear plugs. When we told a Carnival representative, he acted defensive and unconcerned. Also, the theater was so crowded; people were standing and sitting on stairs, blocking the aisle. That overcrowded situation could have created a hazard in the event of fire or other emergency situations. What little entertainment we saw, after that, was nothing special. We've seen much better on other ships. In addition, we never found a place on the boat that we could enjoy dancing. What little dance music there was seemed to be Disco and not age appropriate for most of the people on the boat. 5. The ship was cold most of the time. People were walking around with jackets and sweatshirts on. When we cruised to Alaska and Canada on Royal Caribbean's, Vision of the Sea's, we were never cold once. 6. The gift shops seemed more expensive than usual, especially the jewelry shop where the prices were some of the highest I've ever seen. In addition, none of the fine jewelry prices were displayed so that you had to ask someone to come open up the display cabinet every time you wanted to see a piece of jewelry. Then once they showed you the price, it was so high that it would discourage anyone form asking again. Some of the staff in the jewelry shop seemed unfriendly and arrogant at times. I've always enjoyed the jewelry shops on other ships, but not this time. 7. The ship was very poorly designed, making it difficult to get from point A to point B. There are diagrams on each floor but who wants to stop and look at a diagram every time you want to get somewhere. The Vision of the Seas, mentioned above, is only slightly smaller than the Victory, but is laid out much better. 8. Offering more than a song and a piece of cake on special occasions would be nice. On our anniversary night, and my birthday, nothing special was done except singing happy birthday and bringing us a piece of cake. When I asked about a complimentary glass of wine or champagne, I was told that they couldn't do that. It would be so easy to do more! 9. Carnival's shuttle service to the airport was just as expensive as other forms of transportation, and in some cases, more so. Carnival could certainly improve public relations by offering a more economical form of transportation both on embarkation and debarkation. 10. There were photographers everywhere wanting to take your picture. There seemed to more of that on this particular ship. We kept saying no thanks, but it's like the persistent telemarketer that won't quit calling. Summary: If you want to eat, sleep, play bingo, gamble, have your picture taken, love crowds, or want to buy lewd, expensive artwork, this is the cruise for you. However, my husband and I were very disappointed and felt that it was an expensive mistake! Although only certain ships go to Canada and New England, and some may be more expensive, we feel that there has to be a better choice. In light of the above review, it is our hope that the information we've given will be helpful to you as you plan your first cruise or your tenth. Happy Sailing!

Disappointing Cruise

Carnival Victory Cruise Review by J&J

Trip Details
My husband and I have been on six cruises, both with Carnival and Royal Caribbean. In all of these cruises, there were pros and cons. What one person may like, another person may dislike. What one person may find acceptable, another person may find unacceptable. On each cruise ship, there is a particular set of circumstances and a particular environment that can change from one cruise to the other. The exact same cruise may be great one time and miserable the next. Conversely, as my husband and I experienced on the Carnival Holiday, the first cruise was mediocre while the second cruise was very enjoyable, especially the entertainment. Also keep in mind the fact that the larger ships will probably be more crowded and more difficult to navigate, but then the smaller ships, although less crowded and easier to navigate, may offer less in terms of shopping, entertainment or luxurious appearance. There are no guarantees and no absolutes when you book a cruise, even if you think you've researched everything thoroughly. Things just happen. The best advice that I can give is to approach a cruise with an open mind and don't expect everything to be perfect.
Having said that, however, let me emphasize that most cruise ships and most cruises tend to demonstrate a certain pattern of behavior. Some cruise ships demonstrate a well managed and pleasant environment while others display an over-all behavior pattern that is more mismanaged and unpleasant. It is this pattern of behavior that we need to look out for. For this reason, cruise critic reviews have played a very important part in the education of both seasoned and novice cruisers. It doesn't matter if you agree with the reviews or not. There is no right or wrong review. The reviews are based on what is important to each individual person at a given time and what particular set of circumstances were present to influence that person's reaction to a cruise or a cruise ship. What does matter is that the reviews offer valuable information, sometimes in the smallest ways that may be very helpful to a person planning to take a cruise. In addition, the cruise line may find it helpful in evaluating and improving cruises or cruise ships.
In light of what I've said, I'd like to give a little background information on the occasion of our cruise, followed by pros and cons we observed while cruising. We booked this cruise on the Carnival Victory about a year and a half ago in anticipation of our 35th wedding anniversary, but soon after as we boarded the ship, we began to feel that the ship and the cruise weren't going to be the way we thought. The following points illustrate the pros and cons.
PROS:
1. Our ocean view room, with two picture windows, was located at the aft of the ship on deck 2. It was one of the largest ocean view rooms we've ever had, almost like a mini suite. We had to book it over a year in advance, but it was well worth it.
2. Our room Stewart, Kadek, was very accommodating and friendly. We noticed that most of the wait staff: staterooms, dining room, buffet, bars and all over the ship were friendly and anxious to help. We've found this true on most ships.
3. The food, both in the buffet area and the dinning room, was par with other ships we'd been on. The service in the dining room seemed adequate and par with other ships.
4. We can not comment on the excursions as we decided to rent a car in each port. That decision proved to be more economical and gave us a chance to go exactly where we wanted too. However, we would certainly not recommend renting a car in New York City or in remote areas in countries like Mexico.
5. The ports were enjoyable, depending on: what you liked to do, whether you had children or not, and how well you planned your day's activities. If you rent a car, and do not have a GPS, many car rentals offer them for a small fee. Get one! Also, go on the internet and order Visitor Information Packages for various tourist destinations. They are free and give you wonderful tips and advice about where to go and how to get there as well as information about discounted passes and tickets to various attractions. Before boarding the ship, we spent one day touring Manhattan. There is so much to see and do in Manhattan, that you need a week to see it. Getting around there is a hassle, even with the subways. We would recommend that if you only have one day, you decide beforehand what you want to see and the best route to get there. Don't try to drive a car in the city. You'll be sorry! My husband and I had to drop off our rental car in the city Saturday morning before we boarded the ship. We picked a location close to the cruise port, thinking that would make it easier and more economical than some place out of the city. We were wrong! After fighting one way streets, a parade, pedestrians walking right in front of our car, honking horns, rude people cutting in front of you—and getting lost, we decided never again. A route that should have only taken us five to ten minutes, took forty-five.
CONS:
1. The Embarkation process seemed slower than other ships we'd been on. Some passengers commented that it was one of the worst they'd experienced. Debarkation went faster, especially after we were given a lower number in order to catch our flight on time.
2. The ship seemed crowded with people everywhere: the buffet lines, the theater, the elevators and all around the ship.
3. Don't expect to see anything but ocean until you dock at the ports. Unlike, the Alaskan cruises, you're far from the shoreline and unable to see any of the coastline scenery, although one of the booking agents told us otherwise.
4. The entertainment is very loud and nothing special. The first night's entertainment was so loud, we had to get up and leave. One couple said that they brought ear plugs. When we told a Carnival representative, he acted defensive and unconcerned. Also, the theater was so crowded; people were standing and sitting on stairs, blocking the aisle. That overcrowded situation could have created a hazard in the event of fire or other emergency situations. What little entertainment we saw, after that, was nothing special. We've seen much better on other ships. In addition, we never found a place on the boat that we could enjoy dancing. What little dance music there was seemed to be Disco and not age appropriate for most of the people on the boat.
5. The ship was cold most of the time. People were walking around with jackets and sweatshirts on. When we cruised to Alaska and Canada on Royal Caribbean's, Vision of the Sea's, we were never cold once.
6. The gift shops seemed more expensive than usual, especially the jewelry shop where the prices were some of the highest I've ever seen. In addition, none of the fine jewelry prices were displayed so that you had to ask someone to come open up the display cabinet every time you wanted to see a piece of jewelry. Then once they showed you the price, it was so high that it would discourage anyone form asking again. Some of the staff in the jewelry shop seemed unfriendly and arrogant at times. I've always enjoyed the jewelry shops on other ships, but not this time.
7. The ship was very poorly designed, making it difficult to get from point A to point B. There are diagrams on each floor but who wants to stop and look at a diagram every time you want to get somewhere. The Vision of the Seas, mentioned above, is only slightly smaller than the Victory, but is laid out much better.
8. Offering more than a song and a piece of cake on special occasions would be nice. On our anniversary night, and my birthday, nothing special was done except singing happy birthday and bringing us a piece of cake. When I asked about a complimentary glass of wine or champagne, I was told that they couldn't do that. It would be so easy to do more!
9. Carnival's shuttle service to the airport was just as expensive as other forms of transportation, and in some cases, more so. Carnival could certainly improve public relations by offering a more economical form of transportation both on embarkation and debarkation.
10. There were photographers everywhere wanting to take your picture. There seemed to more of that on this particular ship. We kept saying no thanks, but it's like the persistent telemarketer that won't quit calling.
Summary: If you want to eat, sleep, play bingo, gamble, have your picture taken, love crowds, or want to buy lewd, expensive artwork, this is the cruise for you. However, my husband and I were very disappointed and felt that it was an expensive mistake! Although only certain ships go to Canada and New England, and some may be more expensive, we feel that there has to be a better choice.
In light of the above review, it is our hope that the information we've given will be helpful to you as you plan your first cruise or your tenth. Happy Sailing!
J&J’s Full Rating Summary
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