Good cruise (but not great): Carnival Victory Cruise Review by Tluvstravel

Carnival Victory 3
Member Since 2009

Overall Member Rating

Good cruise (but not great)

Sail Date: May 2009
Destination: Southern Caribbean
Embarkation: San Juan

DM and I flew into San Juan the night before the cruise was due to leave.  We arrived very late (11:30pm) so we thought it best to just stay at the airport Best Western.  It was convenient in that we could literally walk there from baggage claim.  The hotel was fine although they had a bit of a humidity problem.  Everything felt very damp, but it was fine as a place to crash.


It was pouring rain the day of Embarkation so I think everyone headed for the port much earlier than Carnival would have liked.  We got there between 11am and 12pm.  The ship was not leaving until 8pm and Carnival suggested an arrival time of 4pm.  But Carnival did a great job of getting the ship "turned around".  We waited in the port terminal for a while (there was plenty of seating) before they let us on around 1pm.  We were not allowed in our cabins until 2:30pm which was fine because we hadn't eaten breakfast so DM and I More were perfectly content to take advantage of the buffet being open.  Lunch was fine except for the constant stream of waiters trying to push the "specialty" drinks on us.  Very annoying.


We had a balcony room (#8258) on the Verandah Deck.  Avoid this room.  First, it has a strange squeak in the floor and a weird hum in the wall.  Of course, these noises would come and go so we were never able to talk to our cabin steward about these problems (not that we had much of a opportunity to speak to him about anything).  I had some concerns about the room's location because it was right by the elevators, but this was not a problem.  The "outside" noise problem came from the pantry almost directly across from the room.  Every night they were doing dishes or something of the sort in there and making plenty of clanking noises.  Additionally, Carnival may want to work on telling its passengers that yelling up and down the hallways at two in morning is not acceptable behavior.  All in all, there was plenty of space for two people.  The only storage problem was that we couldn't get our suitcases under the beds (that's where I've always stored them on past cruises) so they had to take up valuable closet space.  This was the first time with a balcony and I don't know that I will ever be able to go back...

The room was well maintained and always clean.  We saw our room steward here and there in the hallway, but, other than the first night, we never had any real contact with him.  My first cruise was with Royal Caribbean where our room steward visited us every evening to ask how our day went and if there was anything we needed.  It may have been annoying at times, but that's the kind of service I expect now, especially from people who expect me to tip them at the end of my cruise.  Still , this was much better than the steward I had on the Carnival Legend who never seemed to learn that there were three of us in the room (which is why he didn't get a tip).


There really isn't much to say about our dining experience on the Carnival Victory.  The buffet was the typical Carnival buffet a.k.a just fine.  They still haven't managed to get much flavor in their buffet desserts which is disappointing.  We did the grill a couple times.  The burgers are fine, the fries are less than great.  I cannot recommend the pizza at all.  Just keep walking on past it.  I had a slice one night where the CRUST was actually stuck to the plate.  I didn't know that was possible.  We went to the main dining room every night except the first.  But the was only because we were fortunate to be paired up with another mother/daughter pair and truly enjoyed their company.  The food wasn't really special although they did a great job with the steaks and the pumpkin soup.  Our servers were nice, but english was not their strong suit.  Bar service was a little spotty.  Sometimes drinks just never appeared.  My two previous cruises had GREAT dining room service and some good food so this was a real disappointment.


We didn't participate in any activities or go to any of the shows.  The lack of days at sea meant using those times to catch up on our relaxation.  We did partake of one of the "discounted" spa treatments which was very nice.  Very relaxing until you get the product sell job at the end.  Also, I was a little disconcerted by the "claws" my massage therapist was sporting.  I have a friend who is a massage therapist and she is required to keep her nails very  short.  Somehow, the therapist managed to keep from scratching me except when she was doing my ankles.  I had to ask her to please stop.  There was also a little problem with the billing.  DM wanted to treat me and have my treatment billed to her.  She signed for both, but somehow I was still charged even though I never signed for anything.  It took a little effort and a few trips to the guest services desk to get things right.

Ports/Shore Excursions:

Please see my individual port reviews for more information.  I will say here that the excursion we booked through private tour companies were far better than the ones we took through Carnival.  In fact, the tour we went on in Antigua was quite possibly the worst tour I have ever been on (Best of Antigua).  This was not the tour we originally booked.  A note was slipped under the door the night before we arrived in Antigua saying that the beach horseback riding we had booked weeks before had been canceled.  The Shore Excursion desk gave me some vague explanation involving the water.  Still trying to figure out why this meant canceling the entire excursion.  I have actually had a tour canceled on both of my Carnival cruises.  I find this very disappointing and frustrating.


This went smoothly.  We stayed on the ship as late as possible due to a late flight time and because we wanted to spend more time with our dinnertable mates who we met up with for breakfast.

I'm glad that someone mentioned in one of their reviews about needing to go to the USDA "checkpoint" when arriving at the San Juan airport.  Because of a complete lack of signage, I never would have known that you have to do this before checking in your luggage which would have been frustrating given the long check-in lines.  You must have your bags x-rayed by the USDA so look for the directional signs for the USDA.


While I am already looking to go on another cruise next year, it will be some time before I give Carnival my money again.  If it wasn't for some great, private tour companies and some really wonderful fellow passengers, this cruise would have been a bit of a bust.  Everything, except the tour in Antigua, was acceptable.  But just acceptable.  The overall service was really lacking.  Carnival asks if anyone helped make your cruise special and I had to say "yes, but none of them worked for Carnival". Less

Published 07/01/09

Cabin review: 8D8258 Balcony

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Port and Shore Excursions

I feel as though I cannot give Antigua a proper rating given the fact that we went on possibly the worst tour ever there, but I don't want Antigua to take the blame for it. Originally, we booked a beach horseback riding tour through Carnival for this stop. Long, strange story later, our tour was canceled so we booked the "Best of Antigua" tour. If this was the best of Antigua, then I could not recommend Antigua to anyone (but I doubt it really was the best). We did get to see Eric Clapton's house and learn plenty about his history with the island (my life is now complete). The worst was the tour at Nelson's Dockyard. The official government tour guide was either staring off into space or checking her watch the entire time she was speaking. We were told the tour would be about 10 minutes and she wasn't going to give us a minute more. We then received our refreshment of a small plastic cup of watered down rum punch.

Read 1192 Antigua Reviews

Didn't book anything for this day and we totally regretted it. We just walked into Bridgetown to look around and do a little shopping. We really got no feel for the island and didn't see much of it.

Read 1226 Barbados Reviews

Booked a private tour through Bumpiing Tours (the famous Levi Baron). We took the Pools, Falls, and More. It was definitely worth it!!! Our tour guide, Kashma, was very knowledgeable and super nice. We made stops at the Emerald Pool (spectacular), Mr Nice's fruit stand (some of the freshest fruit I've ever had), and Trafalger Falls (the falls were closed to swimming because the falls were too strong and too cold that day). There were plenty of stops for pictures along the way and refreshments (water, local sodas, and the local beer) were included. Bumpiing did a great job and I would highly recommend them. You really get to see the beautiful island of Dominica.

Read 669 Dominica Reviews

Our plan for St. Kitts was to take it easy so we didn't book anything. We went into Basseterre and just wandered around with the help of a guide book. It's a lovely little town with some pretty old colonial buildings. I would recommend spending some time just looking around the place. We didn't intend on doing much shopping in St. Kitts, but we ended up doing quite a bit there (and the shops actually were on Carnival's recommended shopping list-who knew). We had a few drinks at the open air bar that is in the center of the port's main shopping area and watched the people go by. All in all, it was a relaxing day.

Read 1321 St. Kitts Reviews

COSOL...COSOL...COSOL!!!!!!! We are on the Cosol bandwagon. Every previous review that wrote about how incredible Cosol's tour was... they were so right! Book this tour!!!! It's not a tour. It's an experience. Baptist was our tour guide-request him if you can. I feel like it would take too much time to list everything we did, everything we drank, and everything we ate (all of which was in included in the incredibly low price of $65). Let's just say, I would love to go back to St. Lucia and do this tour again.

Read 1136 St. Lucia Reviews

We booked a shore excursion through Carnival to sail on a catamaran to Christmas Cove on St. James Island where we could snorkel. The boat was nice (it was our first time on a catamaran) and we got a lot of good information about the sites along the sailing route. The snorkeling was not great. We did see some stingrays and a barracuda. Overall, the tour was fine, but not anything spectacular. I will say that this was DM's first time snorkeling and the tour operators gave her and the other first timers some great instruction. They really took their time and were always there to answer any questions or help out.

Read 4002 St. Thomas Reviews

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