Carnival Delivers Again!: Carnival Victory Cruise Review by shoeman1958

Carnival Victory 4
Member Since 2010

Overall Member Rating

Carnival Delivers Again!

Sail Date: July 2010
Destination: Southern Caribbean
Embarkation: San Juan
My wife, teenage daughter and I were on the Carnival Victory from Sunday, July 24 to Sunday, August 1st. This made our fifth Carnival cruise in six years, but the first where we traveled outside the U.S. to begin our trip. We had a great time and visited four ports that we had never been to. I also surprised my wife and daughter with a beautiful suite with a balcony.

The Carnival booking agent suggested staying at the Sheraton Old San Juan which is just about a block from the Carnival pier. Accordingly, we went down on Saturday afternoon before the cruise. We drove to the Orlando airport from Jacksonville in order to catch a direct AirTran flight and in order to save money. We arrived at the San Juan airport about 6 P.M., retrieved our bags and caught a taxi. We had seven bags so we were delighted to get in a mini-van that had plenty of room for us and our luggage. Once checked in at the hotel we took a walk along the waterfront down to a festival like park where there were More numerous street vendors and musicians entertaining the crowd. We had been warned that San Juan has a rampant crime problem and not to leave the hotel after dark. We did NOT get that impression at all and felt very safe, especially along the main streets. The hotel was very convenient to the ship, but was quite a bit pricey and was not up to the standards of a U.S. hotel that you would pay $250/night for. Check out time on Sunday was 11 AM and they would not even discuss a late checkout since they have a crush of disembarking passengers on Sunday that want to check in. The hotel will hold your bags and provides a meeting room for waiting passengers to relax and grab some refreshments. We decided to walk down to the ship to get the lay of the land and were delighted that they invited to enter the terminal to register and obtain our key cards with the understanding that we could not get on-board until around 1:30 PM. If you are a light packer it is easy to simply roll your suitcase(s) from the hotel to the ship at boarding time. Unfortunately we had 5 large bags so we took a one block, $20 cab ride! When we boarded at 1:30 PM, the rooms were not ready and the fire doors to the stateroom hallways were closed. We decided to go up to the casual dining room on the Lido deck for lunch. Given that we have cruised with Carnival numerous times we always feel at home because the ships are so similar in terms of layout.

The suite I booked turned out to be spectacular. I had originally booked a regular balcony room, something we had never had. Several weeks later a Carnival rep called to offer a very affordable upgrade. I'm glad we got the larger cabin. There was a large bathroom with jacuzzi tub and glass shower door, two closets, mini-bar, dressing room and a larger living area and balcony.

Overall it was a wonderful trip and one I'm very glad we took. I would offer the following observations:

Traveling outside the U.S. to catch the ship significantly increased the cost of our trip. Our airfare and baggage fees were about $1,500. What you gain is more ports of call and no days at sea.

The Victory is starting to look a little tired and seems to need a face-lift. I assume this is partly driven by the economy and Carnival's desire to defer maintenance expenses. We spotted numerous areas where metal was rusted, carpet in some of the stateroom hallways very badly worn, soiled and in need of replacement. The most obvious place I saw this problem was on the putt-putt course. The green AstroTurf carpet was torn and threadbare. How difficult and expensive could it be to put down some new carpet? Please! The public areas inside were consistently clean and in nicer overall condition that some other areas on the ship.

Take lots of dollar bills with you on your trip. It seemed that every public restroom on land was being guarded by several "locals" who insisted on the payment of $1 per person to use the facilities. The payment was supposedly to cover the cost of cleaning the restroom and providing supplies such as toilet paper. That is an absolute joke because all of the restrooms we went to were filthy! In St. Kitts the bus driver that was returning us to the upscale market right by the ship told us specifically that he was dropping us off by the "free" restrooms. NOT! There was a woman there on a broken down old chair with her metal cash box insisting on payment. I told her what the driver had said and she just shrugged her shoulders and held out her hand. I found this whole issue disgusting. I don't understand why these cruise lines can't go to the local authorities and say "look, you patrol these restrooms and make sure your citizens aren't taking advantage of our passengers or we're going to simply bypass your country and go elsewhere. To end on a positive note, Carnival now offers "your time" dining. Rather than being forced to select early or late seating, if you have "your time" dining you can report to the mezzanine level of the dining room anytime between 6 and 9 PM. Previously we had always stressed about getting everyone bathed and dressed to get to dinner on time. This option was the highlight of the trip because every evening was relaxed. The only downside is that you may have a different wait staff each evening. I am not sure if you need a certain class of cabin to get this dining option, but I would highly recommend it. Less

Published 08/06/10

Cabin review: 117239

7239 is a suite on the Empress deck, starboard side. We hae never had a suite so we were quite pleased. I'd say the cabin was probably 60% or so larger than the exterior cabins we've had before. There were two closets, king size bed, coach and chair, mini-bar and a semi-enclosed dressing/makeup area. The bathroom was larger than normal with a jacuzzi tub and glass shower door.

Port and Shore Excursions

I not one to hold back my opinion so at the risk of upsetting someone, I'm going to tell say that Barbados is the "armpit" of the Caribbean. The ship docked in a very industrial port with warehouses and shipping containers. As we scanned the horizon looking for civilization all we saw was a low, coral type island with little in the way of vegetation. We disembarked and walked through a shopping building that was nothing more than an un-airconditioned warehouse that was about 100 degrees F. at 10 AM. We quickly exited the other side looking for a taxi to town. Most of the transportation is in vans and we were offered the last three seats in a van. As the driver opened the door we saw a van packed with sweaty, unhappy tourists. We declined the driver's offer and returned to the dispatch building and insisted on a private taxi. The dispatcher called over a driver who was so drunk he was unable to string together a whole sentence. I became very angry and returned to the ship and didn't spend a penny in Barbados. Nor would I ever return to the island. In my opinion it was a wasted port of call.

Read 1223 Barbados Reviews

Our approach to Dominica was spectacular with rain clouds cascading over the towering volcanic mountains. The whole island is covered with lush vegetation. We had signed up for a motor coach tour which terminated near waterfalls. There were a few stops along the way to take pictures and the young female tour guide was absolutely great with all of the information she shared. The walk from the parking area to the waterfalls was short but difficult with numerous steps and uneven pathways. This would not be an appropriate tour for anyone with limited mobility. I was told that Dominica has not been a cruise port for a long period of time and it was apparent as it was very unspoiled by tourist traps and upscale stores. The concrete pier is right in their very small and very primitive downtown area.

Read 669 Dominica Reviews

This island, like all of the others except Barbados was mountainous...a real attraction for someone from flat Florida. We had signed up for the St. Kitts Scenic Railway tour. It was a little pricey at $80 per person but it was highly recommended by a friend. The railway is a narrow guage railroad that was built in the '20s to transport sugar cane from the coastal areas of the island to their port city. The train cars are two levels with downstair being air conditioned and upstairs open air. Each level will accommodate all of the passengers on that car, but I'd recommend the upstairs area as the view from higher is much better. The train originates in the morning from a station near the airport, a short van ride from the ship (included in the tour price). The train trip lasts about two hours and probably never went above 10 MPH. It goes about half way around the island along the coast so you get to see both the Atlantic and Caribbean side of the island. You also pass over a number of railroad trestles. The tour guide in the first car provided a running dialogue describing what we were seeing and was easily heard over the public address system. You are also provided with free drinks and snacks during the trip by a hostess that is on each car. At the terminus of the morning trip you'll find passengers for the afternoon trip who have been transported to the far end of the island. The buses they've just vacated then take you back to the ship, a trip of about 45 minutes. The van driver continues the great description of the island and the communities you pass through.

Read 1318 St. Kitts Reviews

St. Lucia is a beautiful port with the town ringing the small harbor. It looked as though the pier was only large enough for one ship at a time so you don't have to worry about the town being flooded with tourists. Our day in this port was the only one with rain. We hired a taxi for two hours to just drive around and show us a few sites. We visited Carabelle Batik where we saw a brief demonstration of Batik. The driver dropped us off at a straw market type facility along the harbor opposite the ship. After briefly shopping we decided to walk back to the ship. Remember it was raining! The ship was much further away than it appeared and it was quite a hike around the whole harbor. By the time we got back we were soaked. We boarded to ship to clean up and put on dry clothes, had lunch and then disembarked again to enjoy the shopping right by the pier.

Read 1134 St. Lucia Reviews

We had also been to St. Marteen on a previous cruise but I'll always enjoy going back because of the absolutely beautiful greenish blue water. If you like to walk, the downtown area is about a twenty minute walk from the ship. Most people take a van that charges $3 per person. As much as I would have enjoyed snorkeling, sailing or just swimming in the beautiful water my wife insisted on dragging my daughter and I from store to store as she bought the last few tee-shirts and fake handbags!

I would love to go back to St. Marteen by plane and spend some time there. There is so much to do in this island that is divided between a French side and Dutch side.

We had been to St. Thomas while on the Glory. It is a beautiful port with a nice shopping area. We rode the sky lift up to the top of a mountain where we enjoyed a beautiful view. There is also a restaurant up there if you want to have a meal or drink. There is a street vendor area as you enter downtown and there are numerous shops, both tourist traps and upscale stores carrying expensive merchandise. I think any type of shopper would find something they like.

Read 3993 St. Thomas Reviews

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