Carnival Victory Cruise Review by CoachMattJS
- Sail Date: April 2019
- Destination: Western Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Interior
The embarkation process was quick and easy. We have paid for Faster to the Fun(FTTF) in the past but decided to save the money this time to see how smooth things went. My advice: Save your money. We were on the ship within 20 minutes of arriving at the Cruise Port. The lines moved quickly and the staff was accommodating. If you have all your forms filled out and a credit card on file before boarding, you are quickly shuffled through the port to board. In the past, you waited while your info was collected and waited for your Sail N Sign cards. Now you can go right to the Lido deck to enjoy lunch. If you do want to purchase beverages, you only need to give them your cabin number and they will charge accordingly. TIP: if you don't want to wait in line for Lido Buffet, the exact same items are set up in the Atlantic Dining Room on Deck 3. Grab a quick bite, then head up to the fun on Deck 9.
This was the first time we chose an inside cabin. We usually book a Ocean View or Balcony cabin. We chose an inside based on a quick, inexpensive get-away and it's location. We were located on the Lido Deck and as for location, it was perfect for our sons. They were able to walk 50' and be at the pools, hot tubs, and activities. A quick in the elevator took us to Camp Ocean or down to Casino/shopping. I will say that we will probably not book an inside for any future cruises. It was very tight for four people. There was no sitting area and the desk was unusable since the bed was nearly up against it. The cabin steward was okay, but surely not one of the best that I have had. He started off with good service, but by day two we were trying to find clean towels and picking up our room by ourselves.
As for on-ship activities and areas, our boys do enjoy the Camp Ocean activities. The staff is always friendly and genuinely seem like they love working with the kids. Our boys are 8 and 11 and were in the Stingray and Sharks age group. My 11 year old usually hangs out with kids age 10-11-12 because of sports and there were a few activities that he opted out of so he didn't want to hang with 3rd graders. The DJ was okay. He played a lot of the same Bob Marley songs every day and by day 4 I was over the music. The Steel Drum musician was on point. He created a great atmosphere when he was on deck. The Living in America production was well done. Great sets and costumes, however most of the music was geared toward over 50 crowd. Vast majority of those in the crowd had no idea what half of the songs even were. Our last cruise (Carnival Sunshine) had shows with Rock music and lots of modern hits. Crowd was more into the modern show, for sure. Cruise Director Felipe was okay. Some people seem to write reviews of how wonderful he is, however we have been on a dozen cruises and he rates as mediocre with us. He would come to events and if he was running late for the next, he would leave to start the next. He would always make comments about his staff doing all the work to get him around the ship. This made it seem like a job for him as other Cruise Directors in the past made the job seem like they were just there hanging out with friends and having fun even though it was a job. You can sense the difference. Although smoky, the Casino bar was always fun and we met some great people there. The bands played some great music that had everyone singing along and bartenders Geron and Benedicto made you feel like you were at your own hometown pub.
The food was good as always. The buffets had a different theme each day, but the staples such as fruit, salads, and sides were the same each day. The Blue Iguana taco and burritos were excellent. I highly recommend the pork tacos. Lines for pizza were always long late at night when the buffets closed. It was also awkward taking the kids back to get pizza in the adults only area of the lido. Kind of defeats the purpose of adults only by having food stands beside the pool. As for dining, we chose early dining in the Pacific Dining Room. Our waitstaff was superb. Our headwaiter Dedik was solid the whole cruise. Along with I Made and Marius, they made my family feel special and never let us wanting. They all felt like family when we were ready to leave. Our boys really enjoyed their company and always looked forward to going to dinner to see "D". I highly recommend trying different foods that you would normally not order at a restaurant. When would you ever risk paying for something you may not like? Here you can order Ox Tongue, take a bite, then order a chicken breast when you are not ready to take a second bite of the ox.
Debarkation was quick and simple as well. We had a quick bite to eat on the Lido Deck then chose to carry off our own luggage. The only hang up is trying to get around elevator area of Deck 3. There is no staff to direct anyone and there is a hug bottle neck of people waiting in line, coming down stairs, and exiting elevators. Some passenger's patience was wearing thin with the confusion of where everyone was to go. Getting through customs was a breeze and the shuttle back to the airport was quick and easy. We will definitely cruise with Carnival again and look forward to sailing on the Radiance when it is done. Great cruise, great price.
TIP: While in Cozumel, skip booking an expensive excursion through Carnival. There is a resort within walking distance (exit dock, take a left, and walk 3 blocks) of the cruise port called "El Cid". It is a beautiful facility that includes a pool, hot tubs, two private beaches, and so much more. For $22 per person, they will give you a day pass to use their facility. You can swing on hammocks in the ocean, use their snorkeling gear, swim in their pool, use their changing areas, etc. The best part is that they give each person a $13 credit for food and beverages. So a day pass is only $9! The only out of pocket expense is any overage for your purchases over the credited amount. Throughout the day, we had 6 beers, 2 mixed drinks, 2 smoothies, 4 sodas, a large pizza, fish tacos, chicken Caesar salad, and French fries an our total bill was $72. Minus the credit, I only owed $20. That meal/food at home would have been twice the amount. Service was great and grounds were 5 star.
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