My husband, three-year-old daughter, my mom and dad cruised on the Carnival Victory April 3.
Because my husband does not like to fly, we left late Friday night because we were expecting an 11-hour drive to Miami from just north of Atlanta.
We drove all night and arrived in Miami early Saturday morning. We were able to check into our hotel around 10:30 AM and spent the day Saturday resting. We went to to port to check everything out, and just get a feel for what we would be facing on Sunday.
Late Saturday evening, we got bad news. My husband's grandmother had just passed away. We were told by his family not to worry about coming home, but that just did not feel right. I called CCL, and was told that my husband could embark in San Juan, Puerto Rico, our first port of call. I was able to get him a flight into San Juan on Tuesday. CCL was very understanding and helpful to us during this time.
Embarkation went smoothly. No complaints. We were in our rooms by 12:30. We changed into our swimsuits and we were eating lunch on the Lido deck about 1:00. We met our room steward, Rene. He was very nice, and helpful. We toured the ship and our vacation began.
I toured Camp Carnival, and my daugther instantly wanted to stay and play. I talked with the counselors, and had a good feeling about the program in general. I registered my daughter that night at orientation, and she could not wait to go in the morning.
Monday morning was a Fun Day at Sea. The Carnival Capers are so helpful in giving you an idea as to what is going on. I decided to let Hunter (my daughter) go to Camp Carnival that morning. Check-in was easy, and she went right on in...no worries. My mom and I went to the Lido deck to get a couple of chairs. It was 9:00 or so. Wow. The chairs were saved by towels, book, sandals...you name it. Some people were already lounging, but not many people occupied the chairs. It was almost impossible to find two chairs together at 9:00 AM. Eventually we did find a few chairs. It was a little chilly that morning, and by 10:00 or so, I was ready to get active, so we toured the ship...no we did not "save" our chairs...we gave them up...
I visited the Ionian Room quite a bit. That was the Internet Cafe. I was able to keep in touch with husband that way and see how things were going at home. It was so much cheaper than a phone call from the ship. I think a call was $6.99 per minute, and Internet access was 75 cents per minute. We have MSN Messenger, and chatted for quite a while. Much more economical if you have to be in touch with people back home.
Our first port was San Juan, and previously I had not cared too much about going there, but since my hsuband would be there, it became the most-looked-forward-to-port of all. I was actually surprised by how well I liked San Juan. I wish we had the opportunity to see more of it, but I was afraid to book a tour because I wasn't sure how the timing would work out with my husband.
The Purser's Office was in charge of my husband boarding. I talked to them on Monday and asked what we needed to do, what I could tell my husband to expect. I was told that they would get him onboard before anyone debarked...so when we pulled up to the pier, I was on the Lido deck looking down for him. I could see him at the gate, and then I noticed people getting off of the ship! A little panicked, I went down the purser's desk and they said that there had been a little confusion because we arrived earlier than expected. It was a little before 4:00, if I remember correctly.
I was told that I could go get him, so I did, which went smoothly. After boarding the ship, he had to get his Sail and Sign card from the Purser's desk, and activate his account. We received a letter the next day apologizing for our inconvenience, and they gave us a $50.00 onboard credit. We were a little surprised to get the credit, but we took it to mean that they truly cared about us and our experience on CCL, and specifically, the VIctory.
Our next port was St. Maarten. We did not get an excursion booked in time, so we chose to take taxi to a public beach, Dawn Beach, I believe. It was nice. Nothing really to write home about...mainly...free. We paid $10.00 for two chairs and an umbrella, and to my husband's delight, that included two rum punches. No. He didn't share with me because I had found out two weeks prior to sailing that I am pregnant...
St. Thomas was our final port. We booked a snorkel tour to St. John's Trunk Bay. Beautiful. The water was just goregous. I wasn't too impressed with the snorkeling aspect of it, but I loved just being out in the water. Our daugther loved it as well. She was just so cute on that beach and swimming in the ocean "by herself" (with floaties...but "by myself.")
Leaving St. Thomas that night, we encountered some so-so rough seas. They actually posted bags at the elevators. That night, Hunter got sick, and we thought it was due to the rough seas. She was fine the next morning, and we enjoyed our last two days at sea.
Sunday morning around 3:00 AM, I woke up, and I was sick...very sick...and it wasn't due to pregnancy. We had chosen to self-disembark...I can't really offer an opinion on how well that went...I had my head stuck in a bag the whole time we were getting off the ship, and once we got off the ship, the diarrhea set in. Did I mention that we drove 11 hours to get to Miami? Which means we had to drive back to our little hometown of Loganville?
Miserable drive. I can not put enough emphasis on the word miserable. Luckily, no one else in teh car with us got sick...no small blessing...
Anyway, all in all, despite how our trip began...and ended...we had a wonderful time. We were treated very well by all staff that we encountered. We were under the impression it was truly "My pleasure" to help us out in every way we needed help. From the Vacation Planning Specialist who arranged my husband's alternate arrangements, to the Purser' Desk, we were well attended to, and we received superior service.
We will travel CCL again.