The Carnival Victory is over 10 years old and maybe it shows it's age a little. I must admit I have been on newer and bigger Carnival ships so maybe to other people it is a great ship.
The itinerary is the reason why I booked this cruise and I was not disappointed!!! I have been to St. Thomas, Barbados, and St. Maarten 15 years ago and I absolutely still love St. Thomas and St. Maarten. We decided on this cruise not to take any excursion through the ship and instead did private tours which saved us money but make sure to bring even more money than you normally bring on vacation as you are paying cash for these tours/taxis and not your credit card.
Now for the cruise itself. I was a little disappointed to see that the nice dessert buffet was not held. I always loved taking pictures of all the beautiful desserts and carvings. The only midnight buffet they had was a mexican buffet and I'm sorry at that hour I really don't want to eat a bunch of food that will upset my stomach. I know alot of cruise lines are cutting back but I really feel that is what makes cruising such a great thing to experience different foods that you normally wouldn't get to eat. The entertainment was good and I don't think I ever had a complaint on the entertainment. A nice thing is how they show movies each night on the pool deck area. I watched a couple of movies while I cruised.
I know this has been a lengthy review but just a couple more things. The duty free allowance back into the US is $800 per person. Now if you buy anything in St. Thomas you are allowed an additional $800. So if you are looking for jewelry you are better off buying it there because of the additional allowance. Now you can buy expensive jewelry at the other islands and not claim them when you go through customs but you will be taking a chance in case you get searched or really questioned by an agent.
Overall, I would recommend this cruise just based on the itinerary. If you are going on this cruise have fun!!!
Our room was good except we had some kids next door to us who would be quite noisy after midnight, so basically the walls are really thin. I think that is my major complaint about the trip. I don't recall hearing people on the 5 other cruises I went on, but maybe it was just the rude people next door. There were 3 of us in the room which Carnival provided a rollaway bed. If you are traveling with a child it is fine for them.
The first stop is St. Thomas. From there we went to the taxis which is about a 5 minutes walk from the pier and took the taxi to Red Hook Ferry. The annoying part about the taxis is they wait a while to get more people to go to that area. We probably waited 15-20 minutes on the taxi for more people. The taxi fare is $10 per person to Red Hook. From Red Hook we took the ferry to St. John's for $6 per person or $12 round trip per person. When we got to the island we decided to take a taxi tour for $25 per person which ended at Trunk's Bay. Personally, I didn't think it was really worth it. If you do go to St. John's go straight to Trunk's Bay; it is one of the top 10 beaches in the world. It has great coral reefs for snorkeling, the water is crystal clear, and the sand is like baby powder. The only negative about the beach is that we saw alot of ants this time and they have signs advising you not to sit on the sand. I can't remember what we paid to take a taxi back to the ferry from the beach. If you stay on St. Thomas I heard Megans Bay is really nice. Also, there is shopping downtown along with some locals selling items.
Second day is at sea. Third day is in Barbados which I was never really crazy about. Bridgetown is really run down but I have heard from other people if you go 20 minutes outside of Bridgetown there are some really nice parts of Barbados. Carnival had a beach excursion for $35-$40 per person. I looked up some information about the beach which is the Cockspur Beach Club. The charge to get in is $10 per person and you get a free drink. They have changing rooms and one toilet in the women's room. The taxi fare was $10 each way for three of us, although at first we were told $5 per person so we gave the driver a nice tip. So for $55 three people enjoyed the same excursion which would have cost us as much as $120 had we booked through the ship. Another benefit of doing our own thing is that we could have stayed as long as we wanted but we ended up arriving at the same time and leaving the same time as the rest of the cruisers. For the price I think it was worth it and you don't get as hassled by locals as you do on the public beaches. I mean you will still have someone approaching you but there are only 2-3 people and they are not as aggressive as they are on the public beaches.
Fourth day was St. Lucia. It started to downpour as soon as we docked but luckily it stopped before we got off the ship. Throughout the day there were some sprinkles here or there but it didn't really bother us. So on this Island we reserved ahead of time a private tour with Cosol Tours. They do not take credit cards all you do is pay at the end of the tour in cash. They charged us $65 per person whereas similar excursions with the ship ranged fro $90-$100 per person. Our driver was Baptist, try to get him if you book with this company. This tour was awesome!!! You get to see so much of St. Lucia and they have a beverage van that follows you to about 4-5 stops where you can have rum punch, beer, soda, and water. You stop at a banana plantation and get to taste the bananas and some other fruit. You also stop by a house to eat some local food/fruits (there is alot of food). You see the Pitons, go to the volcano, take a speedboat to a beach between the Pitons, walk through a botanical garden, and then you get some local bread and cheese at the end of the tour. Warning - the bread is right out of the oven and will burn your fingers but they look like Turkey Legs that you get at an amusement park and they are very tasty. I'm rating this island a four because it was nice to visit this time around but I am not sure if I would want to go back there again.
Fifth day was at St. Kitts. I used Poinciana Tours which charges $45 per person for a 3 hour island tour. We ended up having our own private tour as the other two groups scheduled for the day had canceled. David owns the tour company and is the tour guide. His wife made us some really yummy raisin bread and he gave us each a bottle of water. He took us to the Cabrielle Batik, which we skipped because we weren't really interested in it. After that we headed to Brimstone Hill Fortress which was awesome. Great views from up there and you even see St. Maarten. He then took us to the other side of the island to see the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea. The tour normally ends at the beach but we skipped that as well. I only rated this a four because I don't know what the beaches are really like or the shopping.
Sixth day was at St. Maarten. We just took the water taxi to the downtown area for shopping. Definitely do this and pay $6 for the day pass. There are two drop off points from the pier. The first drops you off on one end for shopping and it also has some beaches right there. If we go there again we are definitely going to spend some time at those beaches. The other stop is just the other end of where some more shops are. St. Maarten has two sides, the Dutch and the French. On the French side you will find the nude beaches. Since we toured the island 15 years ago we decided just to walk around and shop.