2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: December 2016
Chose for the itinerary and timing. The whole thing was pathetic. See other reviews about smell of sewage. Horrible lines for food all the time. One day in Key West it was boiling outside (we live in SW Florida and are used to it). ... Read More
Chose for the itinerary and timing. The whole thing was pathetic. See other reviews about smell of sewage. Horrible lines for food all the time. One day in Key West it was boiling outside (we live in SW Florida and are used to it). But the line to get on the ship lasted 45 minutes. We are used to boarding Princess cruises efficiently. We were in line for an hour to board. Staff was rude and dismissive. It took our waiter 20 minutes to even show up the first night in the main dining room. We never saw our cabin steward--the only ask we have is for ice. He was the invisible man. The ship was written up (by Cruise Critic) as being recently refurbished. Where was that? It was tired. Carpet was old. I love that they have DIY soft serve. it would have made it palatable had someone from the wait staff had bothered to clean up the spills that were allowed to sit there for not one but over 4 hours. And on and on. . . Don't waste your time and money Read Less
Sail Date: January 2013
We flew from Minneapolis to San Juan for our carnival cruise! First impression of this ship was, hey its exactly like the Valor that we had done the year before! but that was ok. We went right to the stateroom, since it was ready by the ... Read More
We flew from Minneapolis to San Juan for our carnival cruise! First impression of this ship was, hey its exactly like the Valor that we had done the year before! but that was ok. We went right to the stateroom, since it was ready by the time we had boarded the ship. our stateroom was dirty!! We had hair on the toilet in the bathroom, our bodywash was empty, there was 2 holes in the curtains so light shined in at night. And one thing that really erked me is that this ship does not give you a MINI BAR?!?! No bucket for ice either in your room. I thought that was crappy. As we were to sail...oh no, there was a problem with the propulsion system. They had informed us that we would be leaving later than scheduled. e partied well into the night, we were still in San Juan when we went to bed at 2AM. We got up at around 8am to get off the ship in St thomas...when i went outside to smoke, OH MY GOD, we were still in San Juan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We didnt leave the port till 11 am. we did not arrive to St Thomas till almost 5pm. That was the time we were suppose to leave that port. We were given 2 hours to spend on the island before we had to leave. For the change in itinerary we got a 100 credit to the stateroom. that was ok. the rest of the cruise went as planned! And IT WAS GORGEOUS!! all the ports were beautiful! The food on the victory was marginal at best. the service in the Pacific dining room was very slow. We had the 8:15 dinner, and we NEVER got finished before 10pm. The buffet's on the ship were almost better than the dining room, and that being said it wasnt the greatest either, it was the same thing everyday!!! burgers hotdogs fries and chicken tenders...got old the decor of the ship was very outdated and tacky. i thought that the Valor wa tacky, but this was worse. they should update the carpets and colors. over all i think that the victory cruise was much fun, i cant wait till my next years cruise, but i think we are going NCL next year!!! Read Less
Sail Date: January 2013
We went on the Carnival Victory for the itinerary mainly. We wanted to see all the ports. The ship was nice but rooms need some work. Bathroom had an odor that came from the plumbing. The room steward did all he could and the room was ... Read More
We went on the Carnival Victory for the itinerary mainly. We wanted to see all the ports. The ship was nice but rooms need some work. Bathroom had an odor that came from the plumbing. The room steward did all he could and the room was clean but still a smell came from the drains. The food is just average on Carnival. They could do so much better than they do. Service for the most part was good but food quality not up to what could be accomplished. Dessert and breakfast was the best things they did. This ship needs to be upgraded and steakhouse added and better food service. Entertainment in the lobby was great. Great duo performing a few nights and afternoons. the other shows were ok but nothing as spectacular as they advertise. The shore excursions in Barbados and St Lucia were not good. They should change the itinerary and skip these islands all together. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2013
This was our 4th cruise, 2nd with Carnival. The ship was clean and nice, the food was average, the service was bad. We simply went with Carnival bc of the ports we wanted to visit, no other cruise line offered this itinerary. The quality ... Read More
This was our 4th cruise, 2nd with Carnival. The ship was clean and nice, the food was average, the service was bad. We simply went with Carnival bc of the ports we wanted to visit, no other cruise line offered this itinerary. The quality of people they hire leaves alot to be desired. The room stewards were great, other than that service was not good. There were nobody around to take your plates in the buffet dining. The sitdown dinners were disappointing. The wait staff was very slow, not very friendly or accommodating. The average dinner took 1.5 hours, for only a table of 2 is a bit ridiculous. The cruise was not full, there were many open tables all over. The staff was not overly busy that caused delays. There was a magician one night,it was more for an age 10 and under crowd. We always enjoy going to the comedian shows. We saw 2 different comics, they were both bad. Of the half hour show they both spend 15-20 mins of that time asking the audience where they were from. The piano bar was nice, however there were no more than 5 or so people in it at any given time. The casino was always busy (very smokey). The lido deck had a big screen tv, it only had one movie on during the entire cruise which was a muppet movie. The ship is not that old, they keep it very clean. I was told this ship normally is 1/4 kids, it didn't have a lot of kids during our cruise. The gym is very nice, it never gets too busy. There is also a track to walk outside. It has a nice waterslide and spa as well. If the quality of service is not important to you this cruise will be fine. The ports are worth the cost for sure. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2013
This was the first time I was pretty active on the boards before my trip, and my first time to post a review, so go easy! Our first trip to push out from somewhere other than Texas or Florida. Embarking at San Juan is a great concept ... Read More
This was the first time I was pretty active on the boards before my trip, and my first time to post a review, so go easy! Our first trip to push out from somewhere other than Texas or Florida. Embarking at San Juan is a great concept and we'd absolutely do it again, but not, I repeat, NOT during the San Sebastin Patron Saint Festival. There were other pros and cons to the adventure, which we specifically picked for the ports of call that were new to us and the opportunity to try a seven day trip with only one sea day. While we would repeat the trip, it certainly had a different feel and reaffirmed our love for sea days! San Juan We flew into San Juan a day before embarkation. With a 10 PM embarkation, that might not have been totally necessary, but is our tradition and made a nice extra day to the vacation. The festival also limited hotel choices. We stated at the Verdanza Hotel. It wasn't state side luxury, but the special 8th floor rooms that come with a small balcony, gym, wifi, and breakfast were quite decent. Barrachina's is a mainstay for our trips to San Juan, and after catching a combination of cabs and walking about a mile, we made it. Fantastic as always. The festival was certainly a site to see. We walked through it all, two stages of live music, food stands aplenty, and a barrage of drums, whistles, and stampeding crowds. We snapped some pictures, hit up my favorite cigar guy down by the dock, and decided to start the journey home, which only included one cab, but did take some walking and negotiation to make that happen. Street closures made cabs a real issue on embarkation day. Some actually pulled into our hotel, heard the term Carnival, and drove off. Ultimately, we split a van with a couple from Wisconsin. We each paid the amount of what the van as a whole should, and got dropped off a good five blocks short of the boat. We dropped our bags at the side of the boat, and ventured back into the city for one last drink at Barrichina's, our first stop into the Old Harbor Brewery, and the chance to get a few last trinkets. Dinner was served through open seating, and we needed to eat a bit early for the 9:30 safety speech before we set sail. Crème brulee night was night one as well and, though rushed, it was still quite good, and off we were on time despite issues the boat had the prior week. We had read that here, and for a week leading up to our trip my wife called our boat the Titanic. St. Thomas Taking advice from the boards on CC and wanting something different from our prior treks downtown and to Meghan's bay, we discovered Sapphire Beach. I'm glad we did, the crowd was a little more sparse and a little more mature than our Meghan's Bay experience. We did discover late in the day that the waitress we had used for food and drink from the house bar wasn't the way to go. While adequate, she had to make a long run (slow walk) to the bar and the drinks were average. However, the makeshift bar that was on the beach and run by a local entrepreneur was the best kept secret around! While it didn't look open, turned out it was and you essentially poured your own ("Tell me when to stop" she says!). It may in fact be a very good thing that we didn't discover this until it was time to go. The one or two drinks we got there were more than enough to polish off the afternoon. Barbados We killed some time before a noon excursion downtown, but ultimately that wasn't time well spent and as the only boat in dock, we seemed to be sitting ducks for street vendors. That adventure didn't last long. The afternoon's excursion was among the highlights of the week though, we booked the Tiami Sail, Turtles & Beach through carnival. It was great, my wife got some amazing pictures, I may have had a little too much rum. Some friends did the Five Star Catamaran & Turtle Encounter which in comparing notes might have been a bit better, but you won't go wrong either way. St. Lucia Prior to our trip, a co-worker took a similar trip and said that she had some issue with vagrants in this port. Clearly, we found greater issues in the morning hours at Barbados, but to play it safe, we'd booked a private couples tour of the island. This also stemmed from some indecision of what to do. I found Serenity from comments here, and ultimately booked the private tour. I highly recommend this as a great way to see the island and enjoy it. We had a guide, a driver, and the two of us, not to mention a stocked cooler! They efficiently navigated us around stops that were overcrowded and then effectively doubled back to see those stops. We did more than could be imagined, and really only saw about half the island. A brief summary of the tour included short stops at the governor's mansion, the island's oldest church, and many roadside scenic overlooks. We ate an incredibly fresh banana literally on the shoulder of the road by the plantation, drank coconut water directly from a fresh coconut, and had lunch at a sweetheart's private balcony overlooking the famous Pitons. We also saw their natural sulfur sprints that are inside what's essentially an active volcano, one of the public gardens, and a silk screening store that makes all their wears on site. We took over 200 pictures throughout the day If the trip had fewer ports of call, we might have hit the beach, but this was a great break mid-trip, and we seemed to find a beach everywhere else! It was neat to spend one day learning some history and culture and seeing some sites. St. Kitts Speaking of amazing beach days! I'd love to see more of St. Kitts sometime, but our day here was really great. We initially hailed a cab to head to Cockleshell Beach. As we got in route, suddenly the price went up. Friar's Beach was on the way and another on our list to see, so we took the cheaper way out, and how wonderful that turned out! Both were recommended on cruise critic. The water was amazing, fish were active right up to the shoreline and even at its peak, it never really got too crowded. Robin attempted some fish shots, but the current was pretty strong. It was a bit pricy in terms of food and chairs. We were specifically on the sand outside the Carambola tapas restaurant, but there were other places down the beach that offered the same views on more fiscal chairs and bar fare. They advertise a reef 100 feet from shore. I don't doubt it, but I wasn't venturing out that far. There is some significant topography and active fish very close to the shore, and I managed to do some snorkeling off the beach, but never really ventured out very far. We took a water taxi back. Evidently, those who used it to get there could get the return trip at half price, but they don't run on any enforced schedule, so I'm not sure I'd trust it. St. Kitts is known for having the trained monkeys that guys will allow you to pose with for tips. Of course, I had to do it. It was the end of the day, and telling a vendor I only had $3 left but wanted one picture, he obliged, and much to my wife's surprise, she was included and two shots were taken. Oops! How'd that happen! ? St. Maarten It was time to do something different, and we'd pre-booked an America's Cup Regatta excursion. It was a nice change of pace as well. Even better, some newly made friends agreed to pre-scout our favorite beach spot, so we knew we'd have two chairs waiting for us at the end of the race. Pretty cool experience and our captain said they've expanded into Cozumel recently. Not something I'd do frequently, but definitely something I'd recommend that others attempt if there's a stop like Cozumel without as much to offer and you've been a few times. We lost the race under protest, drank some rum punch, and wondered down the beach to find our chairs awaiting us. It was a very nice, relaxing afternoon sharing good laughs with new friends. That's frequently been the case in this port. We again used a water taxi to get back. In the past, we hadn't used this, but likely will in the future. While the walk isn't horrible, it was worth the $5 per trip, and might prove even better as a $7 day pass. This stop did mark the end of our trip, but being out on the beach definitely limited that feel of finality. MSS Victory Overall, we both really liked the Victory. It didn't feel like a 12 year old vessel. The blues and greens came together really well, the ships layout is one we've become very familiar with, and it was a great trip. With only one sea day and the prospect of getting off each day, we booked a second floor room and took the trip at a great price. I would do it the same way again for a trip with so many stops, though I might give the overall floor plan more consideration as I think we were under the kitchen, which brought some noise from above at ALL hours. Generally though, still better than some trips we've taken near the elevator and hearing it arrive on our floor throughout the night. We had a rear table in the rear dinning room. Regardless of the reason, my only real complaint was that our wait staff was fairly slow. We frequently entered the dinning room rigt on time. Our entire 10 top was fairly prompt, yet, nightly we were also the last one's out the door. The food was good, but the service from the waiters was well below that of our other trips. I'm guilty of falling asleep and missing the planned get together of us on the roll call. I take full responsibility, but a mid-afternoon nap, usually right around getting back on board, became pretty common this trip! The serenity area was among the nicest we've seen, except maybe the Dream. I would have no issue traveling again on the Victory. Comedy was great as always, but only offered four of the seven nights. Perhaps logistics caused this, or they just needed us to get out of the comedy club and spend some money a couple nights. For whatever reason, we seem to have more than the average flight issues for casual travelers. Our return home was impacted by two faulty cockpits and, I'm not joking, wild dogs on the runway in San Juan, leading to an extra night on the road without our luggage. All is well that ends well, and while not the way it was planned, we'd both taken the Monday off work. Instead of home Sunday afternoon, it was late Monday morning. Back to reality, winter, and not too much later, all those other responsibilities.... Time to book more trips! 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Sail Date: January 2013
This was our 8th cruise with Carnival. We noticed big cutbacks on activities, shows and anemities. Our cabin steward needed drug testing, the guy was weird, but his assistant was terrific. We normally pay a few bucks the first night for ... Read More
This was our 8th cruise with Carnival. We noticed big cutbacks on activities, shows and anemities. Our cabin steward needed drug testing, the guy was weird, but his assistant was terrific. We normally pay a few bucks the first night for extra ice at night- never saw it. No tolietries in the room as previous trips. We asked several times for a morning room menu- he'd say OK but never saw it until I went down the hall to another guy who gave me enough for the rest of the trip. We really like Carnival but this cruise felt all wrong. The morale of the wait staff and beverage servers was real low. We heard alot of them tell guests- "not my fault" "not me". In 7 nights we had one great waiter at our "anytime" dining. Food was good-but typical Carnival. Great Cruise Director "Goose' and then Emma the Carnival's ray of sunshine from the funcrew. Overall the ships Rivera and main deck had a bad smell- ?carpet chemicals or something. Our cabin was clean- but that room steward was something else. This was a re-positioning cruise so I wonder if that was part of it but still no reason for poor customer treatment. Many people we chatted with felt that Carnival indeed has slipped alot. The return guest reception was horrific- sweet drink and a cold hunk of looked like pizza. We just felt all wrong about this cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2013
We flew from St Louis to San Juan PR a day early and glad we did. We can never tell what the weather will do in Missouri during late January. We stayed at the Airport Hotel in San Juan and it was just OK. The room was very clean and about ... Read More
We flew from St Louis to San Juan PR a day early and glad we did. We can never tell what the weather will do in Missouri during late January. We stayed at the Airport Hotel in San Juan and it was just OK. The room was very clean and about average for a night stay. Nothing wrong with hotel but I would rate it at a 3 star at best. However, it was convenient. Carnival had a transfer bus in lower level of the airport but we had a tough time locating it. Nobody could tell us where it was. Eventually, we found it (Lower level of airport by baggage claim). They took our baggage and placed it on a truck and assured us it was going to the ship...and it did make it there. We boarded a bus and off through San Juan to the cruise terminal. This place was a madhouse. There were hundreds of people all over the terminal but it was organized chaos. Carnival had people everywhere helping you get through the process and it was not bad. * Note: We were told we could bring 2 bottles of wine with us on the ship. We read on CC that many people do this. There is a liquor store at the terminal and if you want to bring something other than wine (bourbon, scotch etc...) they will tell you that you can and how to do it...enough said. We got through security screening very quickly and without incident. We were on the ship with our two carryon bags within 30 minutes of arriving at the terminal. Rooms were not quite ready so we went to the Lido Deck for some lunch. We were pleased with what they had to offer and enjoyed sitting looking at the bay. After the 30 minute lunch break, we discovered our room was ready. We had booked an Ocean Suite and were so happy we did. The room has a lot more room than a standard balcony. It was awesome. Jacuzzi tub, dressing room, more than ample closet space, sofa (sleeper), chair, flat screen TV, mini bar, and a large balcony with four chairs and a small table. The room was very clean and plenty of space. We do like to spend a little time in our room to chill out and relax so this was perfect. I've read people saying the suites were not worth the money...I disagree. If you plan on spending any down time in the room and can afford it, please book a suite. I am hooked from now on. This cruise was a repositioning cruise and the last trip from San Juan for the Victory so we did get a free upgrade to a suite (watch for those) It did take some time to get our bags delivered. We were a little concerned and spoke to guest services. They assured us we would get them by 8PM and we did. * Hint: Bring a change of clothes/swimsuit in carryon with you so while waiting for bags you can enjoy the day even without all of your luggage. The safety meeting was short and to the point and they tried to make it fun. Finally we sailed. It's an awesome feeling to finally leave port and be on our way to sun and fun. The ports we visited were St Thomas, Aruba, Curacao, Nassau and we concluded our adventure in Maimi. We did not book any excursions with Carnival this time. We learned, with a little research, we can do what we want for a little less money on our own time. These ports were wonderful and we will repeat this trip! Food: Everyone has different tastes but we were content with the food. Buffet lines were a little long and selection was fair. Don't expect to be blown away. The Atlantic dining room fare was above average. Good menu options and the staff was excellent. We enjoyed it and recommend the anytime seating. I don't want to be on a schedule while on vacation. Room service was very good too. They were quick and we got everything we ordered. I like the idea of 24 hour pizza and I enjoyed it very much (again subjective). Chopsticks was just so-so. I was disappointed at people wearing clothing not appropriate for dining and nobody enforcing the dress code. I am not uptight but why have the rules if they are not going to be followed or enforced? Entertainment: The shows were just ok. I'm not a fan of the corny dancing and singing so no high marks here. I would rather sit and listen to music and enjoy a beer at a bar personally. The adult comedy club shows were funny but short. There is always something to do on the ship day or night. It's all about how busy you want to be. We did get to watch the Superbowl on the huge outdoor movie screen under the stars. We will never forget that fun experience. The Victory will now embark from Miami and I hope the standards will not change. The ship was very clean and I have nothing but high praises for all the staff. They do a very good job at every level! They are helpful, polite and make sure every need has been met. They want you to have fun and it shows. We didn't encountered one thing that took away from our experience. I understand not everyone has the same experience and expectations can vary but we will be back and cruise with Carnival again. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2013
This was our 3rd cruise, the 2nd on Carnival! We really are people that pick primarily for the ports, not so much for the ship. The ports were really great! Very easy to walk off the ship a short distance and find a taxi/tour for a ... Read More
This was our 3rd cruise, the 2nd on Carnival! We really are people that pick primarily for the ports, not so much for the ship. The ports were really great! Very easy to walk off the ship a short distance and find a taxi/tour for a reasonable price to explore the islands. We loved each port for different reasons! We were on board by noon and head straight to the Lido for lunch! We were some of the first on board, so there was lots of room. We headed to our room before 2pm and pleasantly surprised to find our luggage already there. We quickly unpacked and headed out to enjoy San Juan for the afternoon. Our cabin was very comfortable, and more spacious then our previous 2 cruises. I also found it to be clean and that is very important to me. I did not find issues in the bathroom like others have - we did not see our cabin steward very much but he did keep our ice bucket full as requested and we enjoyed our towel animals! We did notice a difference between this cruise and our previous one on the Conquest in that we did not receive very much information about our ports and rarely heard from the Captain! We had the late dining time and had thought of doing "dine anytime" until we met our service staff - they were wonderful and very friendly - and it is so nice to go to the same table every night, to be addressed by name, and for them to know which wine you enjoy and that you want coffee after dinner - without even asking - we love that! Having said that - the food was good - could it be better, definitely - however for the price we paid for this cruise, we were more then satisfied. The appetizers & soups are really, really good - the main meal was hit & miss but mostly for the guys who usually had red meat. They found the cuts to not be the best - but the seafood, pasta and chicken dishes were great! Of course - you cannot beat the chocolate melting cake - any other dessert does not compare! The Lido buffet has decent food for the most part! Like anything else - you get what you pay for - you can take a cruise with Carnival for $600, or take a cruise with Holland for $1000 and have a better quality of food - its your choice! We always enjoy the adult comedy shows, enjoyed a few of the big productions and also the "piano man"....there really is something for everyone. I think Carnival is "good value for the money" - if I expected 5 star food & entertainment - I would put out more money for my cruise - this was well worth the price! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
Just off the Victory from the 12/16 sailing. This was our very first cruise--and our first experience with Carnival. Not impressed. The ship is in DIRE need of renovations. Our shower had mold issues, a toilet that delayed emptying, and a ... Read More
Just off the Victory from the 12/16 sailing. This was our very first cruise--and our first experience with Carnival. Not impressed. The ship is in DIRE need of renovations. Our shower had mold issues, a toilet that delayed emptying, and a broken closet door which banged and swayed back and forth for the entire duration of the trip. Our room steward was top notch, however. He tended to the cabin twice a day and everything was cleaned to our satisfaction(with the exception of the shower issue). We found the ship to be overrun by rude Puerto Ricans who pushed and shoved their way through the crowds, apparently forgetting common courtesy and that there were other passengers onboard besides themselves. We sat in the Pacific Room and found the crew to be distant--even aloof at times. Twice my order was forgotten, the chicken arrived undercooked, and drinks are overpriced. They actually come around to your table offering an after dinner drink--and then have the audacity to charge you for it. Food in the dining room ranged from very good to downright bizarre. The best meals seemed to be served on the first two evenings, after that things went downhill quickly. Buffet food as OK, though by the time you found a table to sit at, it was often cold. Deli was VERY good. The one young fellow(I believe his name was Vushi)made the best Reuben I've ever had. Pizza was hit or miss. One day it was VERY good, the next time it was cold and tasted off. The only "free" beverages offered were lemonade/iced tea and the usual coffee/tea. I'm not a real drinker, but bar prices are about what I expected. We felt nickel and dimed on everything, and the large groups that amassed on deck 5 to have their picture taken with the photographers was often a disorganized mess with lots of pushing and shoving ensuing. Room service was VERY slow(It took almost half-an-hour to have breakfast delivered--making us almost too late for our shore excursion). Everything had a rushed feeling to it and at times we felt treated like cattle--with an emphasis on getting you to open your wallet as often as possible. The one black comedian in the Punchliner Comedy Club was VERY funny. The other three were mediocre to downright terrible. Singers were so-so. The older fellow in the Adriatic Lounge had a very limited vocal range while serenading us with Barry Manilow and Billy Joel tunes. Not stuff the younger crowds are familiar with. We took in one show in the Caribbean lounge, which wasn't half bad. Shopping aboard the ship was so-so. The gift shops were often crowded and overpriced. Not ONCE did I see any employees smile--even though I smiled first. They all looked like they really didn't want to be there. Although the constant scrubbing, cleaning, and polishing of the ship did instill a sense of confidence(especially with Norovirus making the rounds lately), there were plenty of other areas that were downright filthy(the self-serve ice cream and beverage areas for one). Also, I don't know if the stabilizers weren't working--or they just weren't using them--but this ship moved around WAY too much for my liking. No issues with motion sickness, but a vessel of this size seemed a little "cranky" to me. It was especially noticeable in the dining room and upper decks late at night. All in all, I rate this trip a 5-out of 10. The whole experience just didn't sit well with me, and it's going to be awhile before I consider cruising with Carnival again, or cruising period. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
This was our third Carnival cruise. I thought the first two represented good value for the money. This one did not. The ports and excursions were nice enough, but Carnival scrimped so much on the food and the staff that the on-board ... Read More
This was our third Carnival cruise. I thought the first two represented good value for the money. This one did not. The ports and excursions were nice enough, but Carnival scrimped so much on the food and the staff that the on-board experience was quite poor. Imagine Black Bean Soup with 3 or 4 beans per cup. What, are black beans too expensive now? How about Cherries Jubilee with not a single cherry? The cheese sauce for nachos was so thin that you could drink it through a straw. Something they called "lamb" was so tough it had to have been mutton. You could drive a nail with the veal shank. On most mornings, the coffee was so weak you could see through it. Everything about the food and the menu suggested that shaving nickels and dimes had overtaken providing acceptable meals in Carnival's priorities. The Lido deck buffet is now run for the convenience of the staff, not the passengers. Each night they would only open one side, then watch the line stretch around the deli and back toward the pool. Why make people wait like that just to get entrees that were consistently lukewarm or cold? Perhaps it was to give the staff more time to pick through the Seafood Newburg so they could grab the scallops before the passengers did. No, I am not making that up: we saw more than one of them doing it. Carnival has taken to playing "gotcha" with various forms of promotions and offers. They give you a coupon for a free drink, but no matter where you take it, they tell you that you can't use it there, or not for this drink, or not on a Tuesday during the full Moon. When the coupons are free, that's one thing, but they did the same thing with drink vouchers they sold for over $5 each. Again, no matter where you took them, there was some reason you couldn't use them. Sometimes when you collect people from around the world, trouble ensues. People from places where toilet paper is typically flushed do not expect to find used toilet paper on the floor in the stalls. This was just not a happy juxtaposition of diverse cultures. No one books a Carnival Cruise expecting Silversea. But until now, we'd never found a Carnival cruise to be actually bad, with cold eggs, cold baked fish, weak coffee and tough meat. Perhaps it's the economy and things will improve later. Until they do, we won't be back. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
I selected this cruise primarily for the itinerary & price, as I was bringing my 18-yr old daughter for a graduation gift (and wanted to see as many places as possible for the money). This was my 3rd cruise overall, and the first with ... Read More
I selected this cruise primarily for the itinerary & price, as I was bringing my 18-yr old daughter for a graduation gift (and wanted to see as many places as possible for the money). This was my 3rd cruise overall, and the first with Carnival. Although most of the CC reviews are favorable, I did make note of the few negative reviews (primarily bashing the age of the ship). Well, I can tell you a simple Google search will enlighten any prospective cruiser to the fact that the Victory is 12 years old - so no one should be "surprised" by this (and it is certainly no cause for a negative review). Although the Victory may not have all the "bells & whistles" of a more recently-built ship, I found her to be VERY clean, well-maintained, visually appealing, and much more spacious than I ever expected. Yes, upon a very detailed examination, the grout along the very bottom edge of my cabin's shower stall was slightly disintegrating - but it was very minor and I imagine this is the kind of normal wear & tear that would be remedied at the next dry dock (would be hard to do otherwise, since the cabins are only vacated for approx 3 hours between cruises). It was certainly NOTHING that put a damper on my vacation, and I've seen much worse at "nice" hotels. I truly believe that a vacation is what you make of it, and anyone who'd let a very small amount of discolored/disintegrating grout RUIN a perfectly good cruise is completely insane (and should consult a therapist). Victory is in BEAUTIFUL shape, especially considering her age. I believe the price of her cruises do reflect the fact that she is a little older than other ships; I was quite happy with the overall experience and she exceeeded all my expectations. ARRIVAL/EMBARKATION: We arrived in San Jan the afternoon before, and split a cab with another couple from CC on our same flight... total fare was $30 for 4 people/6 bags, or $15 per couple. My daughter & I stayed at a quaint little "hostel" (Posada San Francisco) in the heart of Old San Juan, which was recommended by a fellow CC reviewer. $55/person (inc. taxes) got us a clean room, comfortable beds, and warm shower for the night, plus it was the equivalent of maybe 4-5 blocks from the dock (which we walked to w/our luggage the next morning). I believe we got to the dock around 11am, checked our bags, walked right up to the registration area and had our ship ID's in hand by 11:45am. We were told boarding would not begin for another 30-45 min., but were given a boarding group # and told we could wait in the lounge area. We opted instead to go back out and explore Old San Juan some more, made the obligatory last-minute stop at CVS across from the dock, and was back inside the cruise terminal around 3pm. The security line to board the ship was considerably longer at this point, but I don't think it took more than 30 min. to get through. Our luggage had not all arrived at our room yet, but I think the last bag was delivered around 5pm. We had grabbed a snack at the Lido buffet first thing, then set off exploring the rest of the ship before returning to unpack and make the room our own. CABIN #6432: We had booked one of the few category 8A "Premium" L-shaped balcony rooms, which are priced the same as a regular balcony - but with twice the balcony length (due the unusual L-shape of the room). I had done a fair amount of research / weighed the reported pros & cons before booking this cabin, and I can tell you my initial hesitancy was completely unfounded. This cabin was FABULOUS in every way, and had no issues w/noise whatsoever despite being directly above one of the lounges below. The L-shape (built around a crew stairwell) made the room feel more like an actual suite, vs. the usual sardine can. Ours was the very last cabin on the port side of the ship, directly adjacent to the aft-wrap (corner) cabin. There was actually a separate door/entryway to access only our cabin and the aft-wrap, which provided additional privacy/peace and quiet (no little kids running outside our "actual" cabin door at all hours of the day & night)... it was pure heaven. Chaintai was our wonderful cabin steward, and greeted us by name after the first night/introduction, often engaging in conversation and asking how our day had gone, etc. We loved the towel animals set out for us each night, and my daughter actually bought the towel animal How-To book for $15 midway through the cruise. Our double-lengh balcony was THE BEST, and came furnished with 3 deck chairs and a side table plus room to spare (you easily could have fit 2 more chairs out there). I know some cruisers feel they don't spend enough time on a balcony to justify the add'l price, but I feel it's well worth it - if no other reason than to be able to prop the door open (bring a bungee cord for this purpose) and listen to the waves all night long while you sleep. I also love grabbing breakfast from the buffet (2 decks directly above us on this ship - quite convenient!) and bringing my plate back down to the room, so I can eat on the balcony while watching us pull into port. Balcony chairs are also great for drying your swimwear after a day in port (much easier than trying to line dry them in the air-conditioned bathroom). Rest assured, fellow CC members, I would NEVER dream of hanging my clothes over the railing - proper cruising etiquette (for all the newbies out there) forbids hanging your unsightly clothing/swimwear over the railing - not to mention it would likely blow overboard once you start sailing (*wink*). Anyway, the L-shaped cabins get 5 stars in my book, and I would take one again in a heartbeat! FOOD: We had Anytime Dining, and loved our head waiter/team the first 2 nights. The 3rd night I thought maybe they would just seat us with that same team by default, so I didn't specifically ask - but we were seated on other side of the dining room and didn't have nearly as much fun with that team. For the rest of the cruise I made sure to ask for Emiliano, our original head waiter - and never had any problems getting him (never had to wait, either, but we usually went to eat around 7pm each night - right between the 2 "scheduled" seating times). I had seen sample menus posted in a few CC reviews previously, and I thought everything sounded really marvelous - my hopes were quite high in this regard. I will say that while none of the entrees I ordered were bad, I wasn't "blown away" by them either. I was more impressed by the appetizers and desserts than by most of the entrees I had - but again, nothing was bad... I just thought that by some of the menu descriptions it would be the greatest food I'd ever had the pleasure of swallowing. The service and presentation were fantastic, though, and in Carnival's defense I consider myself a bit of a foodie. I had sailed on the NCL Jewel 6 years ago, and I remembered those entrees having a "blown away" factor... or maybe I was more of a newbie and too easily impressed back then, who knows. The chilled (fruit) soups on the Victory were delightful, and something that was never offered on my NCL cruise. The salads on Victory were lovely and flavorful, and we were pleasantly surprised by most of the "Didja" appetizers - particularly the alligator fritters and shark rolls (both breaded items) which we thought were delicious. The chocolate melting-cake quickly became a favorite, and the few times we ventured out with other dessert choices usually came in a distant 2nd compared to the melting cake... so we ended up ordering that most nights. The entrees again were never bad, but just "okay" in my opinion - I was never so excited to get back home and hit up a Chili's. ENTERTAINMENT: The only shows we ever went to were the 18+ comedy shows featuring a guy named Happy Cole... he was THE BEST comedian I've ever seen, my daughter were literally in tears from laughing so hard (highly risque and inappropriate)! We do have an ACME club back home in Minneapolis, so I've been to a few comedy shows before - and this guy was top-notch. I believe he's a veteran cruise comedian, and left the Victory partway through our cruise to move to another ship. In my opinion, he needs to be on SNL... seriously funnier than Eddie Murphy back in the day! We did peek into some of the big production shows in the theatre on various nights, but could immediately tell they were not our cup of tea (over-the-top costumes and glitz, the total "cheese" factor if you're into that kind of thing ). I actually love a good broadway show as much as the next girl, but broadway this wasn't. We instead migrated to the piano bar on several occasions, as that guy could sing/play anything we threw at him and was VERY good at it as well. We found it a very laid-back, unpretentious, and relaxing place to hang out with others we had met on CC or on the excursions we'd taken. The piano bar was toward the aft of the ship, directly opposit from the cigar bar (YUCK!) and just before you reached the comedy club at the very end. Also spent an hour or so in the casino on 2 different nights, where I'd given us each a $40 allowance. My daughter left the cruise with $60, and I left with the same $40 I started with (was up $18 at one point, but played that until it was gone). Keep in mind we only played penny slots (maximum lines), so I think we did quite well. :) There were several fun poolside activities on the sea day, most notably an ice carver who was pretty amazing and drew quite the crowd (I suggest scoping out a good viewing area BEFORE he starts, or you'll never be able to see him otherwise). SERENITY DECK: simply amazing, peaceful, and everything I wanted for my sea day. There are cusioned loungers, chairs, and couches everywhere... though they do fill up by noon. Being a whitey, I needed a shady spot and there a few (but not many) of those to go around - I was able to snag one around 11:30am. I was up there for maybe 2 and a 1/2 hours, to read a book and enjoy some "me" time while my daughter hung out on the main pool deck with another girl she'd befriended. I didn't see anyone offering drinks or foot massages, and I don't know if those are ever offered on the Serenity deck - but (*note to Carnival*) I gladly would have paid for either! PORTS: Enjoyed each one for different reasons, and had done much research of each before the cruise - so we pretty much knew what we wanted to see/do at each island, what it would cost and how to get there. I've learned from previous cruises that the ship's excursions are overpriced and limit you to what you can actually see/do (since they are only 3-4 hours at max). Going with reputable private companies, or doing it on your own, is generally much less expensive and you can see/do many more things (over a longer period of time). I have no interest in wandering aimlessly through shopping areas at each port, so I wanted as much time out & about / exploring the islands as possible - which rules out the 3-hour ship excursions. We took the $2 public taxi in St. Thomas to Sapphire Beach for the day (then later rode the tram up to Paradise Pt.); took the $.75 public bus to Payne's Bay in Barbados and snorkeled out to the sea turtles for free, then bussed it back to the port/walked down to Carlisle Bay; took a private land/sea tour of St. Lucia through Herod's Tours; took a ferry from St. Kitts to Nevis (my only regret of the cruise) before catching a ferry back and spending some time in the impressive shopping area there; and took a $2 public bus to Maho Bay in St. Maarten before coming back and exploring the port area/more shopping. I will review the ports in more detail under the Port Review sections of this website, but in summary we had a GREAT time doing things on our own. I'm not necessarily cheap, but nor did I want to spend $300 on each island doing private tours/excursions. I planned accordingly and brought more than enough cash to see/do what was important to us - with plenty of extra built in for souvenirs, snacks/lunches on the go, etc. - and thanks to info provided by other CC reviews, we pulled it off beautifully and my daughter had the experience of a lifetime! DISEMBARKATION: We had a later flight (1:30pm) so were slotted for group #16 or something ridiculous like that. By 10am, they had still only called for group #8, I believe - and I was getting somewhat anxious. So, by the time they called for group #10 my daughter and I headed down to the gangway and walked right out (no one checks the group #'s). We had kept our luggage with us in the cabin the night before, because I was nervous something would happen and it would disappear on us - but it was kind of a pain to wheel it around the boat while waiting to get off (the cabin hallways are full of cleaning crews, carts, and other passengers w/luggage the last morning and in hindsight I should have just set it out the night before. From what I could see when we got out to the terminal, everything was very well-organized and people had no trouble locating their bags by the posted group #s. From the time we got down to the gangway to the time we were out of the terminal/hailing a cab, I would estimate maybe 30-35 min. (the line to get through the customs check is the longest part, which I'm sure is why they try to release passengers by small group #s). Outside, we looked around and found another couple who looked like they'd be heading to the airport, and asked if they wanted to share (took me all of 10 minutes to find a group of only 2, and they were of course willing to split the cab fare). Overall we had a BLAST on the Victory, and I wouldn't hesitate to sail on her again. This itinerary can't be beat, and neither can the price. I could have spent more on a newer ship and saw less ports of call, but I'm still pretty active/adventurous and have not yet become a "cruise snob" - I have absolutely NO complaints about the Victory and would recommend her to anyone looking to get some real bank for their buck! Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
This is our 30th anniversary trip -- just the 2 of us. We read previous reviews of this same ship/itinerary and saw a mixed bag in many areas so we weren't sure what to expect. Some of the negative reviews were about things we ... Read More
This is our 30th anniversary trip -- just the 2 of us. We read previous reviews of this same ship/itinerary and saw a mixed bag in many areas so we weren't sure what to expect. Some of the negative reviews were about things we weren't overly concerned with so we went with an open mind. We viewed this as a great vacation where we didn't have to cook, clean, plan (too much) and got to see great ports and have built in entertainment. We went on a New England/Canada cruise in October 2012 on Royal Caribbean so we had a recent trip to compare it to. Demographics of this particular cruise ship: Not sure if it is typical but since we left from San Juan, over 1/3 of the passengers were from Puerto Rico and many of them didn't speak English which I thought was a little unusual (but not bad, just different). We were also surprised to have 700 kids on the trip as we thought we chose a time of year when kids wouldn't be there. We learned PR schools just started their Xmas vacation. So only a few kids from the US and all the rest from PR. The kids were relatively well-behaved but a little rowdy in the pools and whirlpools. Ship: the decor was not as elegant at the RCI ship but it was overallfine and clean. The ceilings were low and the main steps to each floor were a little uncomfortable to walk on. Not a fan of the metal strips at the end of each step, and it didn't help the decor. This is pretty typical of some of the other reviews we read. Again, not a deal breaker for us. It was still pretty nice. Room: we had an interior room by choice -- we prefer it to be dark. The bed is very comfortable, and the nice robes in the closet to wear during the trip was a plus. The room looks small but everything fit in the closets and drawers. We really liked the shower -- the RCI shower was smaller if you can believe it! This shower had great water pressure which added to the relaxing part of the vacation. Layout of the ship: overall ok but we didn't think the flow of traffic made sense in a few key areas. The walkway through the Casino was also an entertainment spot and where you met the Captain/officers one night. It was hard to be there because it was also smoky from the Casino. It made it difficult to walk from the lobby area to any of the lounges (or to the stairs down to the main Pacific dining room. There was no easy way to get to this dining room so you had to walk up stairs and then walk downstairs a short distance away. Dining Room: low ceilings in the upper room and parts of the lower room. The decor was fine; nothing that stood out as great but not bad. We had the late seating at a table set for 8 but only one other couple joined us for dinner. A 3rd couple who only spoke Spanish came for one night but never came back. They were polite but it was obvious we couldn't converse so it was a little awkward. Many tables were relatively empty so maybe more people were at the anytime seating or chose the Lido Deck buffet. Most of the food was pretty good; especially the desserts (not that we needed so many desserts, but they were good). The steak and lobster and shrimp dishes were good; some of the other fish dishes were just ok. We didn't go hungry so honestly we can't complain. We know what to expect in terms of food quality. The servers were very good but not very outgoing which is different from previous trips we have taken. Again, not a complaint, just an observation. We enjoyed several sit down breakfasts in the dining room. Good opportunity to meet new people as well. Housekeeping: similar to the Dining Room staff -- very good but not very engaging which is not a problem for us. I kept moving the trash basket out from under the chair and the staff kept moving it back under the chair. A little inconvenient but not a deal breaker by any means. Lido Deck: food choices were decent - some food better than others. Salad bar was decent; grill food was good (tried not to eat too much of it but the burgers, fries and chicken nuggets were tasty. We liked the deli and tried some new foods (Caribbean style, curry, Italian) -- some were good; some were just ok. We wanted to like the Chopsticks (Asian) food but it was very oily. The 24 hr pizza is really good. The soft serv which isn't good for you was also very good. Even some of the desserts were pretty good. Favorite beverage was unsweetened iced tea with just a topping of lemonade (available on other ships too). The coffee was good which was very important to us. The lines at times were longer than we would have liked but not horrible -- with the exception of the omelet station which had a separate line so if you were in a line for other breakfast foods and wanted to also order an omelet you had to complete one line and then go into a separate line for the omelets. After 2 days we chose to eat breakfast in the dining room and glad we did. Drinks: we are not big drinkers but we had wine with dinner a couple of nights -- oddly reasonable price for wine; the mixed drinks were much more expensive. There was a drink plan for $43/person/day not including tip. Every adult in the group would have to participate. You have to drink at least 4+ drinks to break even. 15 is the limit and we heard some people came close. I don't know how people used this because we were at 5 ports so not much time to drink THAT much. Plus many excursions provided alcohol (and non-alcohol drinks). Carnival used a good cross-Marketing strategy in the Punchliners Comedy Club. If your bar tab was over $10, the wait staff would mark it on the receipt which you could then take to the Casino that night to use as cash. We didn't do this, but it's a good strategy. One negative thing to note: since we cruised with Carnival before we received vouchers for a free drink but it could only be used at breakfast or brunch which was hard to do. We tried to use ours on the last morning but the server either lost our order or forgot about us. I sought her out and she said she was sorry and offered to fulfill the order but it would take a while. At that point, we already finished breakfast and had to get ready to disembark. So we never got the chance to use the drink vouchers. Serenity Deck: this was the most pleasant surprise for us. Nice cushion seats, plus a couple of hammocks and quasi-cabanas (with an overhead covering to protect from the sun and wind. It was sometimes hard to get a seat here but we were successful a few times including the day we were at St Kitts and we stayed on the ship and read and napped in the cabana. Unusual location as it is right next to the start point of the water slide. Spa: normally I don't partake in these services because I have access back home for a lot less $...but we went to a couple of spa "lectures" which were really great, and I ended up trying 3 sessions of the Ionotherapy which were great. The staff were pleasant and knowledgeable and professional. The gym was fine too (did the treadmill to counter the desserts!) Activities: not as many offered at reasonable times. We were at port 5 days so I guess it was hard, but we usually go to trivia and other games but didn't get to any this time as they were offered less and at times we were either at port still or eating dinner. We saw the Newlywed Game which was ok -- we've seen it so many times it gets kind of old, but it was ok. We saw bits and pieces of the mixologist creation and did a little of the line dancing. Entertainment: another pleasant surprise -- there was a punchliners comedy club in one of the lounges featuring 4 comedians during the trip. 3 of the 4 were fairly good; one was just ok. The main shows were good but we have seen better. The juggler was really great; the magician was good but had a little unusual attitude and didn't do as much. The dancers were very good as was the mail lead singer, but it appears they were missing the female lead singer so the shows were a little off because of this dynamic. Not very crowded for the shows -- possibly due to the demographics of the passengers. Other cruises we have been on had a much higher attendance for the shows. You can see the downsizing of the entertainment as there was no show on Day 1, and the last day was a karaoke performance by the passengers (with some of the dancers). No Broadway or Movie theme show. The holiday show was cute and involved the kids. The piano bar was good; the Latin lounge was pretty full and had great music. We didn't do karaoke because it was located in an area within the Casino which was odd. The few outdoor concerts on the big screen were good but the screen wasn't used too often even though it was on all the time (not sure why). The lobby singers were also good and they sometimes performed on the Lido Deck as well. Logistics: boarding the ship was the easiest and we thought our last boarding from B'more was pretty easy. We flew in that day and took a taxi to the port. 2 people via taxi is almost the same price as the Carnival Shuttle so if you have more than 2 people, the taxi is definitely less $. Most of our luggage arrived early; for some reason the tag was missing from our large luggage and we had to find it at the front desk to "claim". A little worrisome at 1st, but the staff was very nice to deal with. Exiting/entering the ship for ports was also relatively simple. Final disembarkment was a little slow but overall not a problem. Shopping experts: they were nice and were on board because we went to several ports known for good shopping. These experts do not work for the ship. They work for the shops. Not a bad thing but interesting to know to see who has your best interests in mind. Cutbacks: It appears the midnight buffet is not offered now at all. Years and years ago there was one every night; The last 10 years, there was one at the end. Neither RCI or this cruise had one this year. There was one Mexican buffet at 11 pm and it was nice and not over the top by any means. A lot of people ate fruit -- we had just eaten dinner at 8:15 so we weren't hungry but went to check it out. No free drinks with the Captain this time (there were on RCI's); shows were scaled down; not as much entertainment. Pricing: the trip itself was fairly reasonable. The cruise lines make money on the bar, casino, excursions and the spa. The excursions and spa services were overpriced (but see above because I enjoyed the spa) so there's a price for everything. We booked all of our excursions on our own after researching both Carnival's offerings and those recommended on Cruise Critic/Trip Advisor. Ship Schedule: I saw 2 other reviews noting that the port dates changed. We did not notice this so maybe they booked much earlier than we did. We always had the correct dates so not sure what that's about. Cruise Critic: it was nice getting to know some people in advance and making excursion arrangements with them. Also had a nice meet and greet. I had my Cruise Critic imprinted bag that I won which generated interest by other passengers who were not previously familiar with Cruise Critic, so Cruise Critic, you are welcome for the free advertising. Ironically, I sell imprinted items so it was funny that I won a backpack (that I actually sell to clients). Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
First off let me say we had a great time on the Victory. Overall we had a fantastic time. Ship design was a little irritating. This was the first time on a cruise that I needed a ship map more than one day. In fact the flow of the ship ... Read More
First off let me say we had a great time on the Victory. Overall we had a fantastic time. Ship design was a little irritating. This was the first time on a cruise that I needed a ship map more than one day. In fact the flow of the ship is poor at best and at times just flat out bad. But we found our way around and I had spent time researching out room locations and the one we picked was perfect for us. We had 1357 which is an ocean view and the first time that we didn't have a balcony on a cruise. Embarkation was the best we have ever had. We were in Puerto Rico a few days early so we didn't have to worry about getting to the ship from the airport. We decided not to embark until 6pm. Great choice for us. There were no lines anywhere. We NEVER waited at all. It took us longer to walk from the drop off zone through the terminal then it did to check in. I think we were on the ship within 15 or 20 stress free minutes. We then went right to the Atlantic dining room for dinner to our cabin from there where we found our luggage waiting then ship drills at 9pm then let the fun begin. Save yourself the money and get there a little later rather than pay for the FTTF program. We really enjoyed the food in the main dining room where we had Your Time Dining. I will say that if you went to dinner earlier rather than later it was much better as one of the few issues we had was the poor organization of the ma'tre d'. We asked for the same server every night because he was fantastic but the one night we got there at 8pm the ma'tre d' was flustered and disorganized. We ended up waiting 30 minutes to be seated and then ended up be led to the wrong table. We made the best of it but the reason we waited 30 minutes was to be seated with the serving staff of our choice. We had breakfast 5 days in the dining room and it was good and we got to be seated with new people each time which we like. The food in the Lido buffet was average at best and bad sometimes. We did like the Deli a lot where we got freshly made sandwiches made the way we wanted. The one amusing thing here was we asked for a Panini sandwich and was told that they didn't make then so we asked for grilled and they put them in a Panini griller. I had to laugh at that one. Never tried the pizza and the outside grill was okay although the chicken nuggets were good. The staff was great although you could tell there have been cutbacks. Servers in the dining room spent less time with their tables then past cruises. Room steward was fantastic. Getting a drink could be a pain though that was not always a bad thing. We found the staff to be friendly and warm and except in one case where a staff member must have been having a bad day. The entertainment was good but little was offered during the day even on a the only sea day. I can understand the port days but I found the lack of events on the sea day to be unusual from the other cruises I have been on. I think it is obvious that staff cutbacks have played a part in this. We love the shows in the main showroom and we enjoyed the first 2 comedians not so much the second 2. Had a great time in the piano bar but found the serenity deck to be a bit small and hard to find a place to sit. Plenty of places to catch sun on the lido deck though. Great island itinerary, we had a lot of fun visiting the islands. One issue was that the itinerary was changed from the start and we had booked 4 tours ourselves. We had to cancel 2 but were able to go on the other 2 we set up. The 2 we canceled we went with Carnival tours and they were great. We really liked the train ride on Saint Kitts which we booked through carnival. So you got to be flexible because stuff happens. Never let it ruin your vacation. Disembarkation was a bit slow but this was not Carnivals fault. We stayed an extra day in Puerto Rico so we were in no hurry to get off the ship and carnival kept their food and drink service going. Over all it was a fantastic cruise and we had a great time but I must say you can tell they are cutting back and we will probably explore other options for our next cruise. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
On embarkation, we were supposed to be in VIP boarding. There were no signs or special lines that we could see to receive our sail and sign cards. The only VIP sign we saw and went to was security so we went through there. When we got on ... Read More
On embarkation, we were supposed to be in VIP boarding. There were no signs or special lines that we could see to receive our sail and sign cards. The only VIP sign we saw and went to was security so we went through there. When we got on the other side to board the ship, we had to turn around and go back through the line for our sail and sign cards. Not very VIP in my opinion and not enough signage to let you know where you were supposed to go. I was of course disappointed in the change of port dates because I had to pay for internet service in order to change my dates. I would not have paid that money otherwise but since our tours were booked prior to sailing and not through Carnival, that was my only option to change them. Also related to the change of itinerary was the food and beverages. Most of the time, only certain areas were open to get drinks and many were closed. I felt they needed all open for the amount of people using them. Also, the food was cold one evening when we went to Lido deck to eat dinner. We chose the buffet instead of Pacific lounge because it was Cruise Elegant night and the line was very long to get into the restaurant. Many people were doing that even though they were dressed up for dinner, so "anytime dining" was not a good choice in that respect. The choices of food were limited and I am assuming that is because it was well into the cruise before we got new supplies. I have only been on one other cruise line, but the Victory was very unbalanced and swayed the entire time we were at sea. The other cruise line we took had no movement except for one night when we had a storm at sea with 38ft. squalls. Other than that, perfectly still. I am not sure of the reason but others on the cruise said they had been on other Carnival cruises and all were the same regarding constant movement. The ports overall were great and we had great ease in getting off the ship each time. Only one port did we have to wait very long to disembark and I believe it was due to the fact that we were late coming into the port and everyone was trying to get to their excursions, etc. We bought an ocean-view suite but I would call it a verandah room as the suites on the Holland Westerdam had an extra bathroom (toilet)and separate sitting area with a much bigger balcony. The room had a very tiny bathtub. It could have been bigger for sure. The room was adequate except for the bathtub, but just not what I thought I had purchased. Overall, I would not recommend Carnival because of all the issues but I would recommend the ports we went to as they were all gorgeous and customer friendly. Read Less
Sail Date: December 2012
We took a taxi from San Juan airport to the port. Embarkation was a little tedious given the long lineups, but it may have been due to the time we arrived. Don't forget you're allowed to bring 2 bottles of wine with you on board ... Read More
We took a taxi from San Juan airport to the port. Embarkation was a little tedious given the long lineups, but it may have been due to the time we arrived. Don't forget you're allowed to bring 2 bottles of wine with you on board - you can pick these up at the liquor store on the 2nd floor of the cruise terminal itself. You can also bring bottled water and/or pop on board with you. Once we were settled in, we left the ship for about an hour to walk around the port area. We stayed in a balcony cabin on the Spa Deck. The cabin itself was very spacious and we will always pick a balcony cabin going forward. When we arrived, the toilet seat was dirty - we didn't notice it right away but later noticed it had been cleaned properly. That was a little off-putting! The bathroom was a little small but this is to be expected on a ship. The cabin had thin walls - we could hear our neighbours and we could also hear people talking above us. This didn't really bother us but may annoy others. The Serenity Deck above us was a hidden gem. Perfect secluded area for relaxing with a book, sun bathing, or using the adult-only hot tubs. We were not very impressed with the dining. The food at the buffet was okay but nothing special. We definitely got tired of the buffet food within a day or so - we're not picky eaters. The lineups at the buffet were always very long. The dining room offered better options but nothing was spectacular. Service was always great. Entertainment was sufficient for us - we always found something to do. The comedy club was lots of fun - Happy Cole put on a wonderful show! We went to the nightclub a few times as well - loved the music. They do play a lot of reggaeton music - so this may not be for everyone, but we really enjoyed ourselves. The dance floor was half empty on some nights, but I do think this depends on who is on the ship during your specific cruise. The shops on board will match prices at the ports. We purchased some watches on board - got awesome deals. It's worth checking out the shopping on board. Service was always wonderful. Please keep in mind that you will be charged auto-gratuity when you settle your folio. This is something we were not aware of. We disembarked in St. Kitts so cannot comment on the disembarkation process back in San Juan. Overall this cruise was a good value for money. You get to see 5 islands in 7 days! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2012
We traveled from Nashville and arrived in San Juan on Sat.,like a previous review we had rooms at the Casa Blanca in OSJ, 1 week before leaving got an e-mail telling us they overbooked. We searched for another hotel, booked Embassy Suites ... Read More
We traveled from Nashville and arrived in San Juan on Sat.,like a previous review we had rooms at the Casa Blanca in OSJ, 1 week before leaving got an e-mail telling us they overbooked. We searched for another hotel, booked Embassy Suites in Dorado, good hotel, expensive, charged a resort fee, but good happy hour and breakfast included. Arrived at the port at 11:30 and able to board then. Brought 2 bottles of wine at CVS. Our room was not ready until 1:30. We were on deck 8 aft right below the lido deck. Great location. Walked around OSJ for the rest of the afternoon and picked up two more bottles of wine. No problem with bringing them back on. Room steward Waylan from Bali was great, ice, towel animals and kept it spotless. Shower stall needs to be redone but didn't bother our trip. The ship was much better than we expected reading some reviews. Only major complaint was one of aft hot tubs worked only on one day. We do late sitting, thinking that it provides better service having the same waiters and gave us a chance to relax before dinner. and was very true on this cruise. Dinner in Atlantic dining room was very good our lead waiter John and his two assistants were great, meals were hot and delievered in a timely manner. Good choice of entrees. We ate breakfast on the aft lido deck by Sirens bar, The omlett station there seldom had people and plenty of places to sit while the inside was crowded. Did the 10 or 11 pm comedy shows, just ok. The juggler was as funny as the comedians in the late shows. Dancers and singers were good, the show on Thursday night the dancers didn't stop for 45 minutes. Disembarkton went smoothly got off at 9:00 caught a cab to the airport, we use porters makes for a quicker exit and we didn't have to lug suitcases. The cab costs us $28 for two couples. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: November 2012
The Carnival Victory is a fairly nice ship. The cabins are standard, showing their age a little bit, especially the bathrooms where the tile is aged and the toilets are older. Everything is still in good repair though, and everything ... Read More
The Carnival Victory is a fairly nice ship. The cabins are standard, showing their age a little bit, especially the bathrooms where the tile is aged and the toilets are older. Everything is still in good repair though, and everything worked fine and was clean. The food was plentiful as usual, however the lineups were fairly long. There are only two regular buffets, which made getting food slower than on our last cruise. There was a good selection, and of course they had the other options which on this cruise were a sandwich bar (delicious), grill (burgers, hot dogs, fries etc), pizza bar (greasy), chinese food, and of course the 24 hour self serve ice cream! There were lots of activities planned, so if you like trivia and games, there is always something to keep you entertained. The asst cruise directors were very friendly and made sure everyone was having a great time. The comedians were hilarious (although remember that family friendly comedy time only means no swearing - it's still kind of risque). You can spend several hours a night just listening to the comedians if you don't want to watch the other shows. I was very impressed with the quality of entertainment. The shows themselves were very good. The dancers were great and the singers were pretty good. There were lots of fantastic costumes and really elaborate sets. This was only our second cruise, so I don't have a lot to compare to, but the shows were 100% better than on our last trip on Carnival Freedom. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2012
We sailed on Carnival Victory in November 2011 and there was simply not enough time to see it all. We knew we would need to do this trip again, so we decided to go the same week in 2012. We flew from Charleston WV to Charlotte and then ... Read More
We sailed on Carnival Victory in November 2011 and there was simply not enough time to see it all. We knew we would need to do this trip again, so we decided to go the same week in 2012. We flew from Charleston WV to Charlotte and then to San Juan one day prior, the flights were all on time and smooth. We secured a room at Casablanca in Old San Juan from Hotels.com for pre and post stays. Hotel is charming great location, but no elevator so they will hold your bags downstairs if you don't need them or they offered to help carry them up for you. Check in time is 3 and they mean 3. Hotel was full on the first night we stayed and we happened to get the room with no hot water.No big deal, we made sure when we checked out that we would get a different room after the cruise. We checked out at 12 noon and headed on over to Pier 4 to drop bags and check in. There were no lines, the time from bag drop off to ID check in and receiving the S & S card and on to security was maybe 20-25 minutes as boarding had already begun. Took maybe another 15-20 minutes to get through security/picture up the gang way and then that magical ding. Room was already available so dropped carry ons off and then to Lido for lunch. (PS security was tight and all bags were being searched for booze, they even made sure the 12 packs of Diet Cokes we bought were Diet Cokes)After lunch we decided to get back off the boat and walk around to kill a little bit of time since dinner the first night is open seating. Sail way is not until 10 pm. The safety drill was miserable, long and hot and much longer than last years drill, but necessary. Pay attention people and it can go quicker. Staff was extremely friendly and helpful, except for some of the Photo Team Members. Food excellent and always available. Lines at breakfast could be long long and longer, but just be patient. VIFP Party, thought the food and drinks were better than on the previous Past Guest Parties. Embarkation/Debarkation were extremely fast/easy and efficient. Did see people get pulled out for customs inspections and they did have dogs coming through the lines to sniff your bags. Ports and what we did will be noted below. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2012
Our decision to book on Carnival Victory was a last-minute one, as friends were going, and urged us to come along. We had cruised to the Eastern Caribbean on Celebrity Solstice from Fort Lauderdale in January, 2011, so we were eager to see ... Read More
Our decision to book on Carnival Victory was a last-minute one, as friends were going, and urged us to come along. We had cruised to the Eastern Caribbean on Celebrity Solstice from Fort Lauderdale in January, 2011, so we were eager to see more of the Caribbean islands. Some reviews of this cruise have been on the negative side, so my husband and I had drastically lowered our expectations, only to be pleasantly surprised! The decor, while over the top in places, is interesting and appealing. The Sleep System in the staterooms is very, very comfortable. The stateroom as a whole was well-organized. But what was most remarkable on the cruise was how friendly other passengers were. First off, a large contingent of passengers were Puerto Ricans who spoke Spanish. A Spanish-speaking Assistant Cruise Director hosted activities for them. A number of other cruisers hailed from South American nations such as Colombia and Uruguay. The cruise is also sold as a Barbados round-trip, so about 50 or so folks from Barbados come aboard on Day 4. And of course, there was a diversity of passengers from the U.S. with a number of African-Americans from the South and East. This was just the friendliest cruise I have ever taken. You could not leave the elevator without folks saying good-bye to you and telling you to enjoy your evening. Once I entered a hot tub where four Spanish-speakers were already congregated and talking. They acknowledged me right away and engaged me in conversation in English. I would describe this cruise as welcoming and accepting of all peoples. Carnival's focus on having fun, with the upbeat music playing on the lido deck and throughout the ship, the great shows, and the comedy, made this a very upbeat experience for me, my husband and our traveling companions. We flew into San Juan, PR, and stayed one night at the Sheraton Convention Center hotel. One of Puerto Rico's political parties had a huge rally there the day we left, and from our perch in the Sheraton's pool, we were overlooking the high-energy rally. For me, it was a huge bonus to see the politics and culture in action. The hotel room was extremely comfortable, and the hotel overall was fine for a one-night stay, though dining options are limited and seemed expensive. We arrived early at the cruise terminal, and experienced a smooth and fast embarkation. We were able to get to our stateroom early, and leave hand luggage in order to venture into San Juan where we toured the tropical garden at Casa Blanca, checked out the cathedral, and got a drink and appetizer at Picoteo in Hotel Convento in Old San Juan before returning to Victory for our 10 p.m. departure for St. Thomas. Our party of five enjoyed the early dining option in the Pacific Dining Room. We had an excellent waitstaff who learned our preferences on the first night -- things like a plate of lemon wedges for our water, and decaf coffee at the end of the meal -- and flawlessly served throughout. A note on Carnival dining room food: No, it is not Celebrity, though I found a number of very tasty appetizers, main courses and desserts. The buffet could stand serious reworking of its menu and quality, though. I liked the complimentary sushi bar, and the pizza was tasty enough. Entertainment on the ship included a fantastic juggler from Mexico, a motown crooner, a magician, and of course, the house band and dancers in City Lights. We saw three of the four comics who were on board during our cruise, and enjoyed the family-friendly shows. The music on board gets high marks for quality -- especially the Latin dance band. If anything, disembarkation was smoother than embarkation. We literally breezed through customs and were shepherded onto our bus #57 with Manuel for the transfer to the airport. There, a bellhop, whisked our luggage through agricultural inspection and checkin, and we suddenly found ourselves in the security line. Highest marks here. We did not do any of the ship's port excursions, so cannot comment, but people we talked to seemed happy with their excurions. Carnival focuses on activities such as snorkeling, zip lines, beaches, ATV and more, though always has one or two beach-and-shop excursions. Our stateroom service by Diah was excellent. Once she figured out we liked a bucket of ice, it appeared regularly. Room service breakfast of bagel, cream cheese and smoked salmon was excellent. The service was good, though one morning they lost our order, but rushed it to us when we phoned. Service in the buffet was a low point. If you were a worker removing the skim milk cartons because they had turned sour, wouldn't you indicate as much to a cruiser who chose one? My husband ruined his cereal, and had to completely start over to get his breakfast. The pizza service one day was very poor due to lack of clear communication. One suitcase was damaged after we handed it over to Carnival. We have been assured that they will pay for repair, but we will see. I found the six ports very interesting, and we found fun things to do on each one. Due to a back disability, I need to avoid jarring roads, and that was easy to do on St. Lucia where the roads to Reduit Beach are good to start with, and our excellent taxi driver took particular care over speed bumps and broken pavement. I cannot say the same for Barbados, where our taxi driver assured us he would drive gently, then proceeded to drive a shortcut on horribly rutted, barely paved roads when other, better roads were available. On St. Martin, we solved the problem by renting our own vehicle to get to a far beach. In summary, the Victory cruise was a winner because of the friendly folks, the nonstop fun onboard and in each port, the very good service and comfortable staterooms and beds. I would cruise Carnival again. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2012
We sailed on the Carnival Victory this past week. We were a little weary at first, considering November is still considered hurricane season...let me say, DON'T BE AFRAID TO SAIL THIS TIME OF YEAR. We had beautiful weather, very ... Read More
We sailed on the Carnival Victory this past week. We were a little weary at first, considering November is still considered hurricane season...let me say, DON'T BE AFRAID TO SAIL THIS TIME OF YEAR. We had beautiful weather, very little rain, lots of sun! Embarked in San Juan. We embarked the ship in no time and our room was ready right away. We spent the afternoon orienting ourselves to the ship, had lunch and kicked back before our safety drill scheduled for later that evening. If there's one thing they could change about the safety drill is maybe have it earlier and INSIDE where it's air conditioned. It was so hot standing outside on deck considering I still had long pants on since our luggage had not yet arrived in our room. Speaking of luggage, it took them FOREVER to get it to our room. We got on the ship around 3pm and we didn't get all of our luggage until midnight. This surprised me. I sailed with Princess Cruises in February and they had our luggage in our room before us! Also, one of my friends luggage wound up on the wrong floor which took a search brigade to find it...not much help from crew either. Our room steward was good at giving us fresh towels each day, turning our beds over, and making sure things were clean. Our only complaint was that he did not give us our luggage tags for debarkation and considering our luggage had to be out by midnight made things a bit chaotic in terms of packing! We had to go down to guest services, which had a mile long line up with people paying off their on board accounts. My complaints re: room servicing was that they only provided wine glasses the first day and there is no fridge in the room so you're constantly asking for ice. Carnival Victory is in need of some modernization in terms of modern conveniences (new TV, fridge in room, and updated hair dryer). Overall, we were comfortable in our room. Loved our balcony. Wouldn't cruise without one. As long as you have a clean safe place to stay at night, that's all that really matters...at least that was our motto. Food was decent, however I think the food was better on Princess Cruise lines. I liked how the menu in the dining room changed each day and that they offered their popular dishes on a regular basis. Dancers in the main dining rooms were fun. We had good service overall, no real complaints here. The shows were actually pretty good! Especially the singers and dancers in the Caribbean Lounge. The comedians were pretty funny. Overall, on board entertainment was good. What made this trip was the itinerary! San Juan, St. Thomas, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, St. Maarten...only one day at sea! It doesn't get any better than that. Beautiful weather. We booked several excursions through Carnival and all were exceptional. Worth the money spent. Unfortunately, our room was situated around some VERY LOUD people, which was annoying at times. Also, I found there to be A LOT of rude and pushy passengers on this ship, which was a rude awakening after having sailed with Princess. This fact may be just coincidence though. I didn't let it ruin my trip. All and all we enjoyed this cruise very much. I don't think I'd sail on the Carnival Victory again (it needs to be dry docked and updated a bit). I would however sail with Carnival again. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2012
7-Days Caribbean from San Juan, Pr, St. Thomas, Sea Day, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, St. Maarten. Positives: Had an entire day at each port. The room Stewards were awesome, The servers that were assigned to our table was awesome ... Read More
7-Days Caribbean from San Juan, Pr, St. Thomas, Sea Day, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, St. Maarten. Positives: Had an entire day at each port. The room Stewards were awesome, The servers that were assigned to our table was awesome table 414 (pacific dinning room). Was able to purchase alcohol before boarding the ship to take to my room in San Juan, PR. Negatives: The staff in the buffet area on the lido deck were rude, one morning I went to the omelet station and I caught one of the passenger licking a knife that was used in the peanut butter, I ask the passenger not to put the knife back in the peanut butter because that was just nasty, he put the knife to the side and I placed it on the other side of the counter so no one else to get to it, I then proceed to call one of the guys behind the counter and he just ignored me. Lack of wait staff to assist with getting coffee and water and such items that the passengers needed. The ship catered to Spanish and to the diverse culture that was on the ship (the clubs played a lot of Spanish music). Lacking in activities. Food selection in the dinning room after day number three went down, it went from OK to bad. Room: The shower curtain at the bottom was brown and not white as the rest of the curtain. The shower wall had black areas that looked like mold. The room was small in comparison to Princess Cruises. The room had a bad odor, I could definitely tell that the ship was old. The balcony was small as well. The excursion on the cruise was over priced, therefore I did the excursions with the locals. I was told that Carnival is trying to cut out the Reggae band on this cruise and that would be a mistake because they were awesome. I will try other cruise lines. I will not get on this ship again. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2012
I've been reading reviews for MONTHS on here and boarded the Victory with a very low expectation based on many of the reviews. Hope this helps! Embarkation: Your documents say 2:30 but we got there about 11:00 and walked right ... Read More
I've been reading reviews for MONTHS on here and boarded the Victory with a very low expectation based on many of the reviews. Hope this helps! Embarkation: Your documents say 2:30 but we got there about 11:00 and walked right through the signup process. They started boarding at 12:00 and we were right there and got to go on immediately. We were in fact the first people into the lido area for lunch. There is a duty free liquor store right there and we were being all sneaky trying to figure out creative ways to get them through security. Not one person checked us so we after buying lots of little one ounce bottles we got back off the boat after lunch and visiting our room and dropping off carryons and went back to the liquor store and bought lots of bottles. They were in a carryon bag and as long as it wasn't obvious -- they didn't ask and we didn't tell. It was this way at every port. As long as it was in your bag and not an obvious liquor bag -- they didn't take it. We had quite the liquor collection by the end of the cruise. Back to embarkation day -- got off the boat after lunch and walked around San Juan. By about 1:30 the line to get on the boat was huge! Glad we went early (flew in the night before). San Juan is very quaint by the docs and we had a great time walking around. Back to the boat about 5:00 to get ready for dinner. It was casual and anytime dining in the dining room. My husband had been dreaming of his chocolate melting cake and it was cooked solid like a hard brownie. They did manage to pull it out and get it better the next night. The muster drill was late at 9:30 but it wasn't awful and was over shortly. I did see kids with their jammies on ready for bed after! My 8 year old was fine and we went up on the deck for the departure party and they had fun music and dancing while we pulled out. Decor/cleanliness: I read so many awful things about the boat and how old and gross it looked. Every ship has a theme. They are always flamboyant and loud. This one was no exception with its nautical theme. But it was fine. The boat was clean for the most part. I did see where people had thrown down empty food containers, fries spilled on the stairs, an ice cream dropped. I don't blame the employees of Carnival for that. I blame the white trash passengers that can't clean up after themselves. The ship was clean and there were constantly employees wiping things down, moping, vacuuming, and cleaning. There were also hand sanitizers in lots of places to use which I like. Overall -- it was great. Our room steward was awesome. Knew our names, made sure we had ice in morning and night (to go with our bar!). Very attentive. Food/dining: I was equally prepared for mediocre food based on reviews. I've traveled a lot and eaten in some of the best restaurants so I have a high appreciation for excellent food. This was not bad. I mainly stick to seafood of sorts when traveling and I was never disappointed. There were a few appetizers that I didn't think were fantastic (oysters Rockefeller) but my entrees were always good. Many people in our group ordered multiple apps and two entrees never without a problem. Prime rib one night was ordered and my son ordered it medium rare and it was very good. Others ordered it done and it was not so good, they ordered another one cooked differently and Carnival was happy to do so. I can't say they were the speediest of sorts and our waiter was very difficult to understand. Sometimes after entrees it was difficult to find a waiter to get a drink ordered. I do agree with the service of the waitstaff -- could use a bit of improvement there. But not awful. They did get to know us and learned I liked hot tea with my dessert and my kiddo liked hot chocolate with his and they would automatically bring it. That was nice. We ate every night in the dining room. The entertainment was cute and we were upstairs next to the railing so always grabbed our drink and stood by the railing to watch. We enjoyed. We ate breakfast two times in the dining room and found that we could get the same stuff for the most part on the lido without the slow wait time. Breakfast seemed to be painfully slow in the way of service. So the rest of the trip was eating outside by the pool. We only had lunch one time on the boat -- the first day and the day at sea. Lido -- mediocre buffet food what you would expect. Entertainment: We attended a couple of the family comedian shows and it was cute. The kids enjoyed it. We walked in late to one of the dancing/singing shows and there were men half dressed in football jerseys dancing around with flair. I don't know if it was supposed to be sexy, funny, or what. We couldn't take that. Cheesy. The juggler was entertaining and adults and kids enjoyed. Most of the nights we spent in the casino or having drinks walking around the lido deck. Can't say a whole lot on the entertainment or the seminars and shows. Casino is fun -- won some nights, lost some nights. Typical options for any casino. We attended the Minute to Win it show (although called something else) and the 50 or so people in there were mainly kids but they only had people over 18 participate. Debarkation: We had a late flight Sunday so we were one of the last groups to get off. Out of the room by 8:30 we sat around the pool until about 11:00 and got off. It was easy and quick. Grabbed a taxi at the port there. Overall: It was a great cruise with a great itinerary (see excursions). The ship was perfectly fine. Loved that we could bring on our alcohol. This was my fourth cruise and third on Carnival. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2012
On our second ever cruise, my husband and I decided to do something different from Alaska (our first) and go to the Carribean! Like most people we talked to on the Carnival Victory, the itinerary for this ship is the draw for most ... Read More
On our second ever cruise, my husband and I decided to do something different from Alaska (our first) and go to the Carribean! Like most people we talked to on the Carnival Victory, the itinerary for this ship is the draw for most visiting 5 different islands with a departure port of San Juan for the 6th island visit. We had never been to any of these islands and were very excited for the itinerary. This review is only for the ship (I'll do separate port reviews) for each island. The good: -The room stewards were all very friendly, always greeting us with various salutations throughout the time there and our steward always addressed us by our names. -Towel service at the Serenity Adult Only Space was a nice convenience -Sauna, steam room, and fitness facility was in great condition -Your time dining gave you great flexibility but of course this means you don't get the same waiter every time you dine which we were fine with. -Having healthy eating options on the menu was definitely a plus The mediocore: Serenity Whirlpool-Having an adult only space was definitely a pro but the material the whirlpool was made out of was this thick cheap looking plastic. Entertainment-overall decent, but nothing to write home about. Comedians were horrible though, see below. Food-In the Pacific Dining Room it wasn't bad. The menu varied each night with certain staples every night. The molten lava cake and cheese plates were very good dessert options. The appetizers on a whole were also very good. Lobster was available on the first formal night. Filet mignon (way overcooked) also available on a different night. We generally didn't eat at the buffets in the evening although we did participate in the midnight mexican buffet. Overally the buffet food quantity definitely exceed the quality. For breakfast the scrambled eggs were not palatable so we always ordered omlettes or eggs cooked to order. It was nice to have food available-although the pizza was terrible, the chicken tenders were quite good. Having 2 formal nights is really random. We dressed up for the first one like 90% of the ship participated in that one but for the second formal night, it went the other way with only 10% of the ship dressed up. It's the carribean so people were definitely dressed pretty casual on a whole. The bad: Noise level-We had to call security once to quiet down our neighbors who were so loud at 12:30am on the first night that they woke us up! The cabin walls are really thin. Another time we heard a couple fighting pretty loudly and we could hear their whole argument just walking through the hallway. Comedians-they ranged from unfunny to terribly unfunny; the best act was actually the juggler surprisingly. Cabins-For those thinking of getting an aft cabin, be aware there is a trade off. Sure the cabin is more spacious, but every morning when the ship pulls into port and every afternoon when the ship leaves, the whole cabin rumbles for a good 5-10 minutes leaving for some very uncomfortable moments. Booker beware! Overall tips: -cab ride to port from airport is about $24 -they let you on board as early as 12 noon and offer a buffet lunch -you must be back on the ship by 9:00pm -you can bring a whole case of water on board; there were only 2 of us and we brought a 24 bottle pack with no problem -The whirlpools were very busy right around 4:30-6:30 but it dies down after that -the lines outside by the pool for breakfast buffet seem to be quite a bit shorter than the lines inside. -don't waste too much time going on the land tours-hit the beach! Read Less
Sail Date: November 2012
We loved this Carnival cruise! It was everything we hoped it would be. We chose it because we got to travel to San Juan PR and see beautiful Old San Juan before the cruise, and then set sail for five wonderful southern Caribbean ports. ... Read More
We loved this Carnival cruise! It was everything we hoped it would be. We chose it because we got to travel to San Juan PR and see beautiful Old San Juan before the cruise, and then set sail for five wonderful southern Caribbean ports. We were celebrating our 1st wedding anniversary, so we wanted it to be special and decided to spend three nights pre-cruise in San Juan at the historic El Convento Hotel. The hotel is an old convent converted into a 4 star hotel in the heart of Old San Juan. The hotel was everything we hoped it would be with great service, food and authentic charm. It was convenient to everything in Old San Juan, and we thoroughly enjoyed exploring the old city while enjoying the beauty and comfort of the hotel. San Juan Sunday: After three great days in San Juan we set sail Sunday night at 10:30 PM on the Carnival Victory for a fabulous, relaxing cruise. Sailaway was really memorable as we had a balcony cabin and we were able to enjoy the stunning views of San Juan Bay at night as we sailed away, sipping wine on the balcony and enjoying the warm breezes, city lights and ancient walls and fort of Old San Juan. St.Thomas Monday: Didn't book an excursion in St. Thomas as none of the Carnival excursions interested me, and I knew we'd be tired because our hotel package had included an all day trip to the rain forest, Luquillo Beach and a kayaking trip to see the bio-luminescent bay at night. Didn't enjoy this port too much as I was tired from the day before and sleepy from a seasickness pill. Walking around the shops off the ship was okay, but there isn't much to see within walking distance of the ship except usual souvenir and jewelry shops. Walked 15 minutes to downtown and saw nothing interesting. Asked a local if this was "downtown" to make sure we weren't missing something, and he said "yes" this is it." Had a drink at a bar on the way back to the ship. Sea Day Tuesday: Not much to do on this ship in the day except lay by pool or drink at the bar, in my opinion. We knew this was a port intensive cruise and the price was good, and not to expect much in entertainment, so didn't mind the lack of choices for entertainment on board. They had some shows at night, but not every night. It was fine because we were so busy in ports we were too tired to stay up late to see shows a lot of the time. This was formal night and happened to be our anniversary as well, so we dressed up, and enjoyed champagne and lobster at dinner. What luck! A memorable 1st anniversary. Wednesday Barbados: Booked a tour online with Sarah Taylor at Glory Tours. It was a great half-day tour of the island that included St. Nicholos Abbey and Huntes Garden. Our tour guide Lisa was great, giving us local history and insights. After the tour she dropped us off at a local beach where we changed into swimwear and enjoyed the warm waters, hot sun and a nice lunch, then were shuttled back to the ship. Thursday St. Lucia: Booked a private half-day tour with Real St. Lucia Tours, and Danny was our guide. A wonderful day! Can't say enough about this wonderful, personalized tour and our great guide. The price was a reasonable $75/ person and worth every cent. Saw everything we wanted to see and sampled local foods, bought some locally mad spiced rum. This is an incredibly beautiful island and my favorite. Friday St. Kitts: Didn't book an excursion here because this is a great port to walk around, see the local architecture, take pictures and shop. We did that for hours, walking all around, even to the new International Cricket stadium. Shopped and I bought some duty free perfume at a good price. It was incredibly hot and humid as usual, so were really tired when we finished, but really enjoyed this port! Very pretty island with lots to see right off the ship. Had and incredible rum drink called "Creeps Up" in a shady bar right before getting back on the ship. Perfect ending to a perfect day. Saturday St. Maartin: Didn't need to book an excursion in this port either. Packed our swimwear and took the water taxi close to the ship to the shopping area and beach. You can walk to it as well, but it's so hot and humid we preferred the water taxi as we we'd walked so much in the heat the day before in St. Kitts. Decided to walk past the shops and head to the beach past the crowded areas, and then shop later on the way back. We went to the end of the shops and paid a guy on the beach $10 for two chairs and an umbrella for the day. Beers at the bar next to the sand were $1.50. Great! But then lunch was really expensive, so we decided we'd had enough sun (got burned that day--the Caribbean sun is brutal and a 50 sunscreen is needed, but when you're in the water it's impossible not to get burned!) Headed back to the ship on the water taxi and had lunch at the buffet, then out again for some quick shopping before we set sail. Shopping in St. Maartin and St. Kitts was the nicest in my opinion, with more variety and nicer quality than the other islands. Went back aboard, watched sailaway from our balcony for the last time, packed, went to dinner and went to bed happy and tired. Sunday morning: Had breakfast in the dining room for the last time, and said good-bye to a wonderful week on the Victory. Summary: The service on this cruise in the dining room was excellent at every meal. Carnival has it together, no question. Great cabin steward named Mark was always friendly and accommodating. Cabin was comfortable and balcony was a perfect choice to maximize enjoyment, especially since the pool deck wasn't the most relaxing place with loud music, no shade and crowded. Food was often good, sometimes great. If I didn't like something I could send it back and ask for a different entry, which happened only once. For the price, this cruise can't be beat. The number of ports and quality and beauty of the southern ports is exceptional. The service was excellent. I highly recommend this cruise! Read Less
Sail Date: October 2012
My wife and I drove from Ontario to Buffalo for our flight to San Juan on the day of departure. We arrived in San Juan around 1:30 p.m., prepurchased a Carnival transfer to the ship and were in our cabin by 2:30 p.m. We had lunch and ... Read More
My wife and I drove from Ontario to Buffalo for our flight to San Juan on the day of departure. We arrived in San Juan around 1:30 p.m., prepurchased a Carnival transfer to the ship and were in our cabin by 2:30 p.m. We had lunch and then left the ship for some sight seeing. Old San Juan is an experience in itself. On our way back to the ship, we stopped and purchased some soda and some wine. The Victory is an older ship as many have mentioned but we found it met our needs in every way. The ships staff do a remarkable job of maintaining and cleaning. Our cabin steward, Ali, was exceptional in his duties. We always felt we were treated like a special person and every member of the staff that we met were smiling and very pleasant. We selected Your Time Dining and usually arrived at the Atlantic Dining Room around 7:00 p.m. with little or no waiting involved. Most mornings we had breakfast in the buffet area as we had pre-arranged island tours for every port. The entertainment is very good especially the comedians and the musicals. One negative note involves the muster drill at 9:30 p.m. The scheduled time was late when considering travelling and when considering every piece of information is given in two languages. On the day of disembarkation, you are asked to be out of your cabin by 8:30 a.m. We had a 4:45 p.m. flight so we requested a late zone and we were off the ship by 11:00 a.m. which allowed us to add some additional sight seeing to our trip. We left our luggage at a little restaurant/bar called Aloha, right across the street from pier 4. Fee was $3.00 per bag. On our return to retrieve our luggage, we had a drink and then met a couple who asked if we were interested in sharing a cab to the airport. Cost per couple was $14.00. In summary, we really enjoyed our first Carnival cruise and of course the different islands. Read Less
Carnival Victory Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.1
Dining 4.0 3.7
Entertainment 4.0 3.7
Public Rooms 3.0 4.0
Fitness Recreation 3.5 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.9
Enrichment 3.0 3.4
Service 4.0 4.1
Value For Money 5.0 4.0
Rates N/A 4.3

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