Funship, yes! Service, no!: Carnival Victory Cruise Review by HersheyKitty

Carnival Victory 0
Member Since 2007
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Overall Member Rating

Funship, yes! Service, no!

Sail Date: September 2011
Destination: Southern Caribbean
Embarkation: San Juan
We are experienced cruisers on other lines, but decided to try Carnival because of their reputation for fun. On our last cruise, the entire ship closed down after 10pm and we enjoy late night entertainment. Carnival definitely knows how to do fun. The sail-away from San Juan at 10pm was lively and festive. The Fun Squad and Matt (CD) were great at motivating the crowd during events. There were lots of opportunities even late at night, and our shipmates were enthusiastic. Dancing at the disco, singing karaoke, enjoying the comedy club -- we had a ball! Obviously this is Carnival's strength.

However, our cruise was plagued with an aggravating lack of organization and quality service. Coming aboard, staff members wearing "Please ask" t-shirts could not answer simple questions about where to go or what was available. (Apparently band members and dancers double as customer service reps during embarkation but are not very informative.) The lines for the buffet are outrageously long More at every meal -- unless you want hot dogs/hamburgers or pizza, you have to stand in line and nothing is arranged for convenience. Condiments are haphazardly placed, sour cream/salsa comes before the cheese & chips for nachos, and you have to stand in a separate long line if you want an omelette. The food gets cold before you even sit down to eat, and don't even think about going back for seconds -- the line is too long. The upper level of the buffet has generous seating, but no drink stations, so you have to go back downstairs for refills. If you prefer not to stand in line, you can get up early and eat in the dining room for breakfast, but they stop serving at 9:30am. We ordered room service, but breakfast options are very limited. We had late dinner seating, and our waiter was exceptionally friendly and entertaining. The food was slow in coming, though, and the mini-shows put on by waitstaff added to the length of the meal. It was hard to get to a 10:15 or 10:30 show. The overall food quality was only fair to good.

Our room was very nice, with a larger bathroom than on some ships. Our balcony chairs needed some cleaning. The ship overall is not maintained well. There was mildew on the bathroom grout, a metal piece pulled loose on a cabinet that could easily cut your foot, light bulbs not working, and a distinct smell of garbage as you entered the buffet area. Tables were sticky and not wiped down after each use, and unlike other cruises we saw a distinct lack of attention to hand hygiene in the buffet area.

We appreciated the staff keeping us updated about the tropical storm and while we missed our day in St. Maarten, we enjoyed an additional sea day in a sunnier place. A complimentary phone call home to apprise family of our change in itinerary was very much appreciated.

The fitness area/gym is nicely appointed with well-maintained equipment. The spa staff seemed disorganized, making a 15-minute polish change last 1 hr, and incorrectly charged to the wrong card. The spa and bar staff were not as pushy as we have seen on other cruises, which was refreshing. But the quality of service we received from our cabin steward and dining services was not up to the standard set on other cruise lines.

In general, we had a fun time, largely of our own making and helped by the Cruise Director and his excellent staff. We were aggravated at almost every meal, but made the best of it we could. We were reassured by other travelers that this cruise was not typical of their experiences on Carnival. If we took another Carnival cruise, we would go on a larger, newer vessel. Less

Published 09/13/11

Cabin review: 8C Balcony

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Port and Shore Excursions

We have been to Barbados before, and went to the Hilton based on other CC reviews. The tourist information said $4pp taxi ride but our driver said $15 each way -- apparently the $15 is for 4 people; there were only 2 of us so we had to pay the $15 anyway. $25pp day pass at the Hilton gets access to their glorious beach, wonderful pools, chairs, shade, and towels. A $35pp day pass also includes a very nice lunch at their poolside restaurant; we had flying fish sandwiches and a mixed drink. All was delicious. We highly recommend this venue because of the quiet (no band, no jetskis, no spring breakers) and the beauty of the beach. It was a perfect day. We would stay at the Hilton for a complete vacation based on our experience there.

Read 1226 Barbados Reviews

We had never been to St. Kitts, but we decided to go to Cockleshell Beach which is on the Caribbean Sea side of the island because Tropical Storm Maria was kicking up quite a surf on the Atlantic side. We saw the Marriott (which had been our original pick) and it looked very nice. But when we got to Cockleshell at 9am we were rewarded with a practically deserted beach for about 2 hours. Even the bar/restaurant staff didn't show up until about 10am. It is a very wide, very clean beach with lots of shade at one end. There is a nice restaurant and bar with clean facilities, chairs, beds, umbrellas. There is a smaller bar with cheaper prices if you just want drinks. The view of Nevis is spectacular and the water is amazingly blue and clear. We had a glorious time. We shared a taxi with 2 other people. Fare was $26 each way so we split that with the other couple. Best money we ever spent. Most of the ship people went to Frigate Bay or South Friars Beach because our port time was cut short due to the tropical storm. We had a wonderful time away from the crowd and noise, and decided we loved St. Kitts.

Read 1321 St. Kitts Reviews

We went to Rodney Bay, to Pigeon Island national park, based on the recommendation of the tourist reps at the port. It was not quite the beach we had hoped for -- narrow, rocky, and the snuba excursion was based there. We would have gone to Marigot Bay or Anse Chastenet but they are farther away (an hour & a half drive) and our time in port was limited. But we spent the day in the water, and there was some good shade for my fair skin to appreciate. There is a small restaurant/bar there with reasonable prices and some adorable (well-mannered) cats waiting on your merciful nibbles. The rain came several times, but it wasn't too bad. It's an adequate beach, right next to a Sandals resort. Don't remember the exact taxi fare, but it wasn't outrageous. Then you pay a little fee to get into Pigeon Island. There is a public beach just outside the national park, but there are no facilities. Our taxi driver picked us up just as pre-arranged.

Read 1136 St. Lucia Reviews

We have shopped in St. Thomas on prior visits, so we went to Magen's Bay for a day at the beach. Unfortunately, hurricane Irene left enormous amounts of seaweed that washed up on the beach in piles while we were there. We were told this is extremely unusual. It is a very nice beach with good facilities and nice gentle waves, but not the most picturesque we have seen. It is easy to get to by taxi ($8 pp plus $4 entry fee) and easy to make it back to the ship on time.

We also did some shopping and had an enjoyable day without a lot of crowds which can be overwhelming in St Thomas.

Read 4002 St. Thomas Reviews

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Member Since 2007
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