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Embarkation: As the Victory’s cabins are getting a facelift, we (my mom and myself-I’m 29, you can do some approximate math on Mom) received the expected but disappointing email a few days in advance notifying us that our check in time was delayed two hours. Having not sailed in almost 3 years, staggered check in was already an unpleasant surprise. We arrived to the port between 2 and 2:30 as instructed. The security line was about 10 minutes long, but the check in line was less than 5 minutes, and we were seated only about 20 minutes before we were called to board. THAT was a pleasant surprise! The other nice thing about this was that our room was already ready when we boarded and were able to drop our carry on items before lunch and exploring the ship from bow to stern. Many changes since the last time I sailed. Staggered check in was one. -No chocolates at turn down, which I was warned about too. -Our steward (I Wayan, who was amazing) asked us day one if we wanted service in the morning or the evening or both. I just asked for both. We were low maintenance but it was nice to have the room freshened twice a day. They did both automatically before. -We had to ask for the breakfast room service door hangar twice. -The change of VIFP perk from a free drink to a free bottle of water is disappointing as well. Oooh, free water. PLUS, it is a HUGE 1 liter bottle, completely impractical to take on shore, where it would actually be useful. I’d much rather have a free normal size bottle of water for every port day. Or a free drink. I only drank about 1/3 of mine and Mom even less. -It was very evident in the dining room that less staff have to cover more tables than they used to. This resulted in slower service and less interaction with the waiters, usually one of my favorite parts of cruising. -I did appreciate the pit orchestra on the Victory and the live shows; the last ship I was on was the Breeze (at the time the newest ship) the shows relied heavily on LED sets. We skipped a lot of them. -The cushions in the Serenity area were made of cotton or something instead of the vinyl plastic I’ve seen on other ships. I’m sure they absorb water and take longer to dry after it rains, but it is very nice that they are not 150 degrees in the sun. -Store merchandise has changed. There are far less options for ship specific items. Really only clothing actually said “Victory” instead of just “Carnival” on cheaper items like magnets, keychains, pens, etc. Dining: Ended up ordering room service twice because of an early schedule both at Key West and for disembarkation. Room service was delivered in the time we stated and all the items were there. Disembarkation day I’d called to request service promptly at 6, it arrived at about 10 after. There was a missing silverware set but we made do. Our day in Cozumel we ate breakfast in the MDR and were assigned a table with random strangers which tainted Mom’s enjoyment of the meal (she’s an introvert who has to deal with the public for her job). So for the seaday brunch we made a request to have a table just for us which was easily accommodated. The seaday brunch menu varied a little from the breakfast which was appreciated. -Lunch: Embarkation day the lines at the Lido buffet were long as usual, we chose to do off the grill and the workers were very efficient, just making plates of cheeseburgers with fries up for everyone and handing them out. We found a seat easily on the upper level on deck 10 where we could see the Miami skyline. We also ate lunch on the Lido deck when we boarded again from Key West. Lines were just opening as it was only 11:30. I got a deli sandwich which was quite good. The seaday since we had brunch I had French fries and ice cream for lunch. In Cozumel we had a late lunch at the pier area. -Dinner: We ate in the MDR every night, had Your Time Dining. We never had to wait. The service the first night was especially slow, dinner took almost 2 hours. I believe this was because the staff had been cut and probably because sail away was delayed. This was also the latest we ate. Most of the other nights we sat before 6:30 and got through a little faster. This was my first experience with American Table and it wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated. The only thing that makes me nervous is the reduction in the everyday choices. There are no more everyday choices for appetizers. For the main course, they are a chicken breast, flat iron steak, pork, and a fish selection I believe. I even had a few of the selections based on the port of call. My favorite was the duck. Nom. It’s also a bit disappointing that higher quality steaks are a surcharge now. As we sailed on Valentine’s Day there was a premade strawberry moose of some kind that everyone got, even if what you really wanted was warm chocolate melting cake. The strawberry moose was good and plated very well. The ship has the classic layout of other ships in its class where you can’t go all the way through on decks 3 and 4. And if you have a sensitivity to smoke, add deck 5 onto that with the casino. I missed some of the better laid out areas from the Breeze like the wrap around on deck 5, but the layout was familiar and there were plenty of indoor and outdoor nooks to enjoy and discover. I did find it hard to find a chair in the shade on one day, but I guess that’s just me being picky. I always found a (solo) chair on the Serenity deck. If you are sailing with more than 2 you might not get the luxury of having a perfect spot. Entertainment was good. We had plenty of activities to go to. Nothing overwhelming. There wasn’t as much trivia, which Mom enjoys, but I believe that was because the cruise was short. We enjoyed the PG comedy shows immensely. I didn’t try the R rated ones- on previous ships they have consisted solely of cheap blows (that would have been a joke right there). The production shows were a bit long. Without a plot or any comedy- it is an hour singing/dancing show. I fell asleep in the first one. The second we left after 45 minutes to catch a comedy show. Matey, the cruise director, was hilarious! Mom liked Lee as well (comedy club manager). Some of the classic audience participation shows had a sparse audience, which surprised me. Including the Gender Showdown and the Marriage Game. The only shows you had to get to early to get a decent seat were the comedy shows. Disembarkation: Getting off the ship in Key West was smooth sailing, but we didn’t’ get off right away. Cozumel we did want to and it was frustrating, they clearly needed someone for crowd control. Back in Miami, we received a note that due to our early flight (12:30) we had the option of waiting in the show lounge. Early fight times were advertised as before 11 from MIA, but we took the opportunity since we had it. We were not asked for the letter or boarding passes in order to get into the show lounge. The only terrible thing about this was that we were asked to be there by 6:45am, which is really really early for vacation (especially when you are not normally on Eastern time). But, I will say that we disembarked at the same time as the suites I think. The only group that went before us was the FTTF. It was a little after 7- maybe like 7:15 when we got off the ship and we were to the airport before 8. That included a pit stop at the pier. It also included a crazy cab driver, but hey, that’s Miami.

Changes since 2014 and differences between older and newer ship

Carnival Victory Cruise Review by pshortie265

7 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Embarkation: As the Victory’s cabins are getting a facelift, we (my mom and myself-I’m 29, you can do some approximate math on Mom) received the expected but disappointing email a few days in advance notifying us that our check in time was delayed two hours. Having not sailed in almost 3 years, staggered check in was already an unpleasant surprise. We arrived to the port between 2 and 2:30 as instructed. The security line was about 10 minutes long, but the check in line was less than 5 minutes, and we were seated only about 20 minutes before we were called to board. THAT was a pleasant surprise! The other nice thing about this was that our room was already ready when we boarded and were able to drop our carry on items before lunch and exploring the ship from bow to stern.

Many changes since the last time I sailed. Staggered check in was one.

-No chocolates at turn down, which I was warned about too.

-Our steward (I Wayan, who was amazing) asked us day one if we wanted service in the morning or the evening or both. I just asked for both. We were low maintenance but it was nice to have the room freshened twice a day. They did both automatically before.

-We had to ask for the breakfast room service door hangar twice.

-The change of VIFP perk from a free drink to a free bottle of water is disappointing as well. Oooh, free water. PLUS, it is a HUGE 1 liter bottle, completely impractical to take on shore, where it would actually be useful. I’d much rather have a free normal size bottle of water for every port day. Or a free drink. I only drank about 1/3 of mine and Mom even less.

-It was very evident in the dining room that less staff have to cover more tables than they used to. This resulted in slower service and less interaction with the waiters, usually one of my favorite parts of cruising.

-I did appreciate the pit orchestra on the Victory and the live shows; the last ship I was on was the Breeze (at the time the newest ship) the shows relied heavily on LED sets. We skipped a lot of them.

-The cushions in the Serenity area were made of cotton or something instead of the vinyl plastic I’ve seen on other ships. I’m sure they absorb water and take longer to dry after it rains, but it is very nice that they are not 150 degrees in the sun.

-Store merchandise has changed. There are far less options for ship specific items. Really only clothing actually said “Victory” instead of just “Carnival” on cheaper items like magnets, keychains, pens, etc.

Dining: Ended up ordering room service twice because of an early schedule both at Key West and for disembarkation. Room service was delivered in the time we stated and all the items were there. Disembarkation day I’d called to request service promptly at 6, it arrived at about 10 after. There was a missing silverware set but we made do. Our day in Cozumel we ate breakfast in the MDR and were assigned a table with random strangers which tainted Mom’s enjoyment of the meal (she’s an introvert who has to deal with the public for her job). So for the seaday brunch we made a request to have a table just for us which was easily accommodated. The seaday brunch menu varied a little from the breakfast which was appreciated.

-Lunch: Embarkation day the lines at the Lido buffet were long as usual, we chose to do off the grill and the workers were very efficient, just making plates of cheeseburgers with fries up for everyone and handing them out. We found a seat easily on the upper level on deck 10 where we could see the Miami skyline. We also ate lunch on the Lido deck when we boarded again from Key West. Lines were just opening as it was only 11:30. I got a deli sandwich which was quite good. The seaday since we had brunch I had French fries and ice cream for lunch. In Cozumel we had a late lunch at the pier area.

-Dinner: We ate in the MDR every night, had Your Time Dining. We never had to wait. The service the first night was especially slow, dinner took almost 2 hours. I believe this was because the staff had been cut and probably because sail away was delayed. This was also the latest we ate. Most of the other nights we sat before 6:30 and got through a little faster. This was my first experience with American Table and it wasn’t as bad as I had anticipated. The only thing that makes me nervous is the reduction in the everyday choices. There are no more everyday choices for appetizers. For the main course, they are a chicken breast, flat iron steak, pork, and a fish selection I believe. I even had a few of the selections based on the port of call. My favorite was the duck. Nom. It’s also a bit disappointing that higher quality steaks are a surcharge now. As we sailed on Valentine’s Day there was a premade strawberry moose of some kind that everyone got, even if what you really wanted was warm chocolate melting cake. The strawberry moose was good and plated very well.

The ship has the classic layout of other ships in its class where you can’t go all the way through on decks 3 and 4. And if you have a sensitivity to smoke, add deck 5 onto that with the casino. I missed some of the better laid out areas from the Breeze like the wrap around on deck 5, but the layout was familiar and there were plenty of indoor and outdoor nooks to enjoy and discover. I did find it hard to find a chair in the shade on one day, but I guess that’s just me being picky. I always found a (solo) chair on the Serenity deck. If you are sailing with more than 2 you might not get the luxury of having a perfect spot.

Entertainment was good. We had plenty of activities to go to. Nothing overwhelming.

There wasn’t as much trivia, which Mom enjoys, but I believe that was because the cruise was short. We enjoyed the PG comedy shows immensely. I didn’t try the R rated ones- on previous ships they have consisted solely of cheap blows (that would have been a joke right there).

The production shows were a bit long. Without a plot or any comedy- it is an hour singing/dancing show. I fell asleep in the first one. The second we left after 45 minutes to catch a comedy show.

Matey, the cruise director, was hilarious! Mom liked Lee as well (comedy club manager).

Some of the classic audience participation shows had a sparse audience, which surprised me. Including the Gender Showdown and the Marriage Game. The only shows you had to get to early to get a decent seat were the comedy shows.

Disembarkation: Getting off the ship in Key West was smooth sailing, but we didn’t’ get off right away. Cozumel we did want to and it was frustrating, they clearly needed someone for crowd control. Back in Miami, we received a note that due to our early flight (12:30) we had the option of waiting in the show lounge. Early fight times were advertised as before 11 from MIA, but we took the opportunity since we had it. We were not asked for the letter or boarding passes in order to get into the show lounge. The only terrible thing about this was that we were asked to be there by 6:45am, which is really really early for vacation (especially when you are not normally on Eastern time). But, I will say that we disembarked at the same time as the suites I think. The only group that went before us was the FTTF. It was a little after 7- maybe like 7:15 when we got off the ship and we were to the airport before 8. That included a pit stop at the pier. It also included a crazy cab driver, but hey, that’s Miami.
pshortie265’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
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Cabin Review

Interior
Cabin 4B 1292
Our room was on deck 1, so had been renovated. The USB ports are nice. We never even had to use the power strip I brought. Flat screen TV is sleeker and takes up less room. The safe did not work so we just went without. The room was fine for Mom and I space wise, but having sailed before with 3 of my girlfriends and I sharing a room, I’m baffled at some of the “upgrades” as they have taken away precious shelf and storage space from the room. The three closets were as follows: the one near the door had the safe on one shelf, the life jackets on the floor, and a very tall shelf over 5’ high that was not practical for us to use. The middle one only had a rod with 5-6 hangars. Except for the lack of hangars, it would be more than enough space for dresses for 4 women, unless they were there for a wedding or something. The last closet had the mini fridge on the floor, one useable shelf on top of that where I kept my clothes. There were three pull out drawers, one of which was partially taken by the hair dryer. There were two small shelves below the vanity and store space in the little bedside tables. Our cabin did not have the pull out upper bunks so maybe cabins with the upper bunks are situated differently. The two beds were separated per our request when we arrived. We did rearrange the little bedside tables so that my bed was against the wall and we had more space in the middle. It was quite narrow (I had to turn to my side) at one spot between the bed and the vanity.
Main Deck Inside Cabins, Outside Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • Mayan Village and Beach
    : I have been here before, 4 ½ years ago with my girlfriends. With Mom we booked an excursion. We did not see the sign for our excursion right off the pier, so we looked at what company it was booked through and saw one of their representatives who pointed us in the right direction. This turned out to be right in front of a restaurant we’d read about and wanted to try, Pancho’s Backyard. We were among the first to greet Pablo, our tour guide. Pablo is only 20 but did very well at keeping the “family” together. He had good knowledge of the Mayan history associated with San Gervasio. You can probably go there yourself without a guide with a taxi but you’d definitely miss out on the history. The ruins here are not as impressive as Chichen Itza or Xunantunich, thanks to the Spanish dynamite, but still very interesting. We then got an unscheduled (?) stop at the beach next to a recommended restaurant. It was very picturesque but I wasn’t prepared for it so we just walked around and took pictures and got back in the air conditioning. Others did eat at the restaurant and enjoyed. It did add time to the tour which was supposed to end at 4. We got back to the pier at 5, then ate at Pancho’s Backyard as we had planned and very much enjoyed the chimichanga and the views and the wifi there. Lots to do right at the pier, even a small beach if you like which chairs and coverings.
    View All 55 Mayan Village and Beach Reviews
  • Key West
    This was my first time in Key West and I enjoyed it! Wonderful port for cruising, safe, lots of options, easy to walk around. Mom and I walked to the southernmost point in the continental US for the obligatory photo op. We took Duval street to get there and I loved the “Main Street USA” feel of it. Many, many shops along the way. We took some back roads along some housing developments from there to get to Fort Taylor. $2.50 admission, well worth it. Scenic views, interesting history. There are also walking paths and a beach that we unfortunately did not have an opportunity to enjoy. It is easy to get to from the pier and they are constructing a new entrance which should make it even easier. Get a map though- the one they hand you off the ship is not sufficient.
    View All 1,775 Key West Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Key West Cruise Port Review