Carnival Victory Cruise Review by heidihesssaxton
- Sail Date: December 2018
- Destination: Bahamas
- Cabin Type: Ocean View
BOARDING: We arrived a bit early for our 12:00 boarding appointment. Wound up sitting in a lounge area for about an hour -- then discovered we could have checked in earlier. (Woops). But it was fun watching the other guest arrive and go onboard. The vast majority of guests on this cruise were African American or other ethnic minorities. (Tip #2.) We were seated at dinner with two single mothers and their teenage children -- they were very nice, and we got along. However, my husband would have liked other men to chat with.
CABIN: Our cabin steward met us in our state room within an hour of getting there (Tip #2: We had to wait about an hour after we got onboard to get to our room at 1:30), and immediately set to work getting extra towels and ice, and making up our daughter's bed from the pullout couch. We tipped her up front (and added a bag of chocolates), and this seemed to be greatly appreciated (we got a spa gift card)!
SEA SICK? We did not need Dramamine the whole time - we stayed on bottom floor near middle of ship, and could hardly tell the boat was moving. I was worried about being sea sick, and this was a nice surprise!
DINING: We ate in the main dining room (early seating) all three nights -- the food was great, the service attentive. The first night we had a problem when we discovered that we had misinterpreted the rules about wine in the dining room: Based on what I had read on CC and Carnival websites, I had understood that we would be charged $15 if the dining steward opened the wine for us. As it turns out, you will be charged the $15 if you even bring the wine into the dining room. We discussed this with the manager, and he insisted that this rule was firm. (Kind of pissed me off, since we had brought a cork screw for this purpose.) (Tip #3: If you want to avoid the cork fee, keep it in your room.)
One extremely pleasant surprise: at the brunch I had a slice of lemon cake (with glaze) that was superb -- just like my grandmother's signature poundcake, which I haven't tasted since she passed 15 years ago. The waiter saw how much I liked it and brought me three pieces!
We did try out the burger place (yum) and late-night pizza (double yum). The one thing I wish they'd had was a popcorn machine in the comedy club lounge. I suspect they would move more drinks if they had a few salty snacks! (Tip #4: Tried the Chop Sticks restaurant, but found that disappointing, very bland.)
ACTIVITIES/Shore Excursions: (Tip #5) The best way to get to Paradise Island/Atlantis from the dock is to go through the "Festival" building and make a sharp right. There you can get tickets for a water ferry that runs every 30 minutes for just $4 per person (each way.) The excursions can be a bit pricey. The Marina Village is pleasant -- just beware that (Tip #6) if you want to see the Aquarium at the Atlantis, it will set you back $40 or more. Apparently they greatly raised the rates from a few years ago.
We had hoped our daughter would want to spend some time in the Club O2 (15-17 year olds), but when we went up there wasn't much going on. Went up twice and didn't even see any staff in the club. Suggested that they focus on teen-friendly activities like the "Spa Pamper Party" my daughter attended, and loved. Maybe have a dedicated hot tub or pool for this age group.
SERVICE: The crew and staff we encountered were friendly and helpful. The singing and dancing wait staff in main dining room were a trip! There were just a couple of things that could have made the trip even more memorable:
(Tip #7: There is no chaplain or chapel, and no way to go to Mass on Sunday, which is a sea day -- I checked with customer service to see if any priests were registered, but they insisted that there was no way to know.)
(Tip #8: The Carnival APP is a great way to stay in touch with teenagers and other family members while onboard the ship -- though not on excursions. It would be great if they could find a way to include a way to contact customer service, room service, etc. through the App -- if there was a phone list for the different stations onboard, I must have missed it. I also suggested that Carnival might use the app to make general announcements … it is very difficult to hear the announcements from the Lido deck.)
DISEMBARKATION. (Tip #9) Even if you use Express Service (and carry all your bags with you rather than leave them outside your door on last night), it takes a while to unload the whole ship -- we had to be outside our staterooms at 8:30, and weren't called until close to 10:00. Once our level was called it went very quickly.
So … overall, I'd say it was a good value for what we paid, though I think we'll try another cruise line next year. I'd like to be able to use a hot tub without being assaulted with rap music. (The island beats were music enough for me!)
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The cabin was terrific -- much roomier than I'd thought it would be, with plenty of room for luggage. Bathroom "step up" was tricky (kept jamming my toe and chipping my pedi on the step-up). Asked for and received extra hangers within an hour of arrival. Plenty of drawer space, and six little shelves in bathroom for toiletries. Shower was nice size, plenty of hot water.
Teenage daughter on made-up sofa said she was comfortable, as were we in our king size bed! Limited TV (CNN, TBS, Cartoon channel, and movies for purchase). But that was fine -- who goes on a cruise to watch TV?