Setting off for our first cruise in October to Western Caribbean on the victory.
Just wondering if anyone has been on this ship - what do you love and not love about it? We are going with 4 kids aged 9 - 20.
Getting more and more excited!
Any input would be appreciated.
We were on this ship July 24-31 and just loved it. In fact, we pretty much loved everything about it except the fact that you had to go up to Lido to get a cup of free coffee. It was available at all bars for a minimum charge though..............A very big ship. Long lines at Deli and chinese wok most days. No sushi though. Food excellent everywhere. Enjoy the drink of the day. Learn quickly what floors go all the way from end to end and which ones don't. Staff very friendly, shows pretty good especially the ones with the Victory dancers. We did the route San Juan, St. Thomas St. Maarten. St. Maarten was our favorite and could pretty much leave the other two................you will love the ship, the down comforters and the really really good mattresses. Slept like a baby every night (except last when kids ran up and down halls all night!) Can't say much about Miami as a port though. They definitely have some kinks to work out for people who drive in. Slow, snaking lines for everything until you get on boat.
Thank you very much! Every little bit of positive feedback just gets us more and more excited.
I'm glad you had a good time. My husband wanted to go that route but we opted for western instead. I think we might go that route in a year or two when just the 2 of us go!
My family loved our first cruise on the Victory so much that we booked another one the following year, once to Eastern and once to Western itinerary. My grandson was 12 at the time and loved all the activities (not the children's activities)....he liked learning to dance like Austin Powers, Bingo, ice carving demonstration, Men's hairy chest contest, galley tour, game room, 24 hr. soft serve ice cream and especially the 24 hr. pizza. If you have any questions regarding shore excursions, just ask. We booked the Stingray Sandbar tour in Grand Cayman (loved it), Dunns River Falls in Jamaica (grandson didn't like it) but went to Margaritaville in Ocho Rios and had a blast in their pool. I can't think of a darn thing we didn't like about the Victory, the food was very good, entertainment good, service from all Carnival staff was excellent, very clean.
on our last cruise we went to western carribean on the triumph we loved cozumel
we did the dolpine encounter at chankanaap park it was a short ride to the park
and it was very clean we had a great time
Thanks for the input!
Why didn't your grandson like the falls? I have read for and against climbing the falls and I have some hesitation. I keep reading that it is so slippery and dangerous. I also read it is wonderful and not to miss it! I'm a little concerned for my youngest - age 9. Is this something that needs to be booked ahead of time? We were thinking of booking a falls/horseback riding combo. However, I'm afraid that maybe my son and/or I (lol) might chicken out of climbing the falls.
I'm glad to hear that your 12 year old grandson had a good time on the ship. I have no worries about my 9 year old or my 17 year old daughter, but I get a little nervous that my 13 year old son won't have enough to do. He is at that awkward age where he's self-conscious about going up to other kids his age that he doesn't know.
Thanks for all your help!
We just got off the Victory, eastern trip, last Sunday. It was great! I agree with almost all that Boostermom has to say. The new beds are the best and except for uncontolled kids we had our best sleep in years.
I found the staff and food to be a bit lower in quality than my trip on Imagination 3 years ago, but that bar is set increadibly high. You couldn't get anywhere near this treatment in a hotel for twice the money
Our head waiter, Min, was excellent. He got our nieces to try foods they never had and they are very picky eaters. We didn't experience too many onboard lines because we ate most meals in the dinning room. The selection and server was just too good to pass up. Breakfast was the same menu every day and seemed to be about the same quality as the buffet so that got a little boring. Feel free to explore some of the alternative options there.
Since you are traveling with children you should try for the early dinner seating. The production shows for the late diners don't start until 10:30 while the early shows are during the late dinner at 8:00. There is a lot of energy and humor in most on board shows as well as the talks and seminars so feel free to take the young ones except for the midnight shows. However, keep in mind a lot of the music is geared to those of us that grew up in the 70's and 80's.
When entering ports, or anytime you just want a good view, take the 6th floor hallway as far forward as you can then go out the doors to the right or left (depending which side of the ship you are on). Continue forward and you will find open balconies below the Bridge with a beutiful forward view and very few people. You have 2 or 3 levels here where you can stand at the rail and watch as ports approach. We even got pictures of the captain as he stood on the bridge just above us.
Do you have a balcony room? If so, watch the water closely in the morning. Every now and then it looks like sparrows flying from the ship and plopping into the water. These are flying fish and we saw as many as 10 at a time jump out of the wake and sail up to about 60 feet. Once we saw dolphins jumping along the front of the ship at about 2 hours out of Miami. That was almost the best part of the cruise.
The best time to arrive at the Miami port is 11:30. At about noon the buses begin arriving from the airport and the lines get quite long. They may not be boarding the ship by the time you get checked in but having the lines out of the way and waiting in the terminal is much more comfortable that stand the average 90 minutes embarkation takes in the afternoon.
Line 1 - Give your checked bags to the porters outside. $1 or $2 tip per bag customary.
Line 2 - Security. Metal detector and cary baggage X-ray
Line 3 - Checkin. Show photo id and citizanship papers you will need to ger back into the US. Have your PrePass filled out online before your travel documents are sent to you. Go thought the booklet and fill out any blanks before getting to the port.
Line 4 - Sail and Sign Card. Up the escalators then another line to get you Room Key / On Board credit card. You can have them disable the purchase function of your children's key if you want. Otherwise just show the card and sign for any onboard purchase. Keep this safe, it's your pass back onto the ship at ports.
Line 5 - Boarding Photo. First of many oportunaties for Carnival to take your picture and sell it to you. 5x7 $9.99, 8x10 $19.99. Most candid shots are printed as 5x7 while the pictures taken on formal nights are printed as 8x10. We spent about $100 on these.
Line 6 - Boarding (finally). Shortest and fastest of all the previous lines.
After that, enjoy
If you have the Pacific Dining room, it's at the back of the ship on the 3rd and 4th floors (depending if you have upper or lower). You will need to go to the 5th floor and go to the back elevator / stairs to find this. The Atlantic dinning room and the galley blocks access on floors 3 and 4 to the back. You sail and sign card will have your dinning room, time, level, and table number for dinner. Breakfast, lunch, and port day dinner are all open seating.
Too much fun to list it all. Let me know if you have any questions.
Thank you so much for all that information! Yes, we do have a balcony room so I am very excited to watch for all the above mentioned. And the more I read, I think I will change our dinner to the early seating. Our travel agent recommended the late seating so we weren't rushing but I think we'll do alright if we change to early.
We have an early flight so I am hoping that they will bring us right to the ship since we are a family of 6 and not wait for any later flights.
You gave such detailed information that we might look like we're ole pros at the cruise thing! We are getting so excited! I just can't wait to see the look on my kids' faces when they see that ship for the first time. Of course, since I've never seen one close up either, I bet my face will have the exact same look as theirs.
I am going to print out a lot of these posts from these boards and make a little folder so I can remember all the stuff I need to. Too many secrets to remember them all!
Thanks for your help!
Unfortunanty the Carnival bus will wait until it is full before leaving the airport. Bring some cards or gameboys to pass the time and just try to be relaxed. Once at the port, you will wait on the bus with the attendant unloads luggage for the Valor then unloads the Valor passengers. (They have furthur to walk to their terminal)
Then they will unload the Victory luggage then the Victory passengers. The buses seemed to all arrive about 12:00 to 12:30 and unload about 20 minutes later.
You should be on board by 1:30 or so. Drop your stuff in your room and go to lunch at the buffet on the Lito deck. Fill your plates and go up the stairs (by the dessert station). Most people will not have found their yet and you can get a good table by the windows. The drink stations are self serve so help yourself to ice tea, lemonade, water, etc and get ready to enjoy a great week.
You are good! Wish I had found the 6th floor opening! Did you ever go out the double doors next to the pursers desk and find the padded lounge chairs..........so peaceful and you could take a fruu-fruu drink out there from the lobby bar. I want to go back again sooooo bad! I'd even go through that long line in Miami again just to get back on Victory!
That was our first cruise 4 years ago with our family. My 2 kids were 17 and 19 which was a little "in between" for them. Too old for the "kid" stuff and too young for what they called the "fun stuff". They both will definitely cruise again, with a group of their friends.
We did the falls, grabbed a bus at the port (which went round trip). did the falls no problem. Your 9 year old will be far ahead of all of you !!. It is really not that hard. We wore those water shoes (which we rented at the falls for cheap). It is well worth doing.
the most difficult thing is getting through the vendor stalls when exiting the falls. Keep your 9 yr old close by. They kept grabbing the arms of our kids a pulling them into their stalls as a ruse to get my husband and I to follow.... VERY high pressure... my kids just wanted out of there quick.
Our bus came and got us, we went back to Marguaritaville right by the ship, relaxed on their private (fenced off) beach, sipped a cold one, swam and listened to the music.
Also, I HIGHLY recommend the early seating as mentioned above. You have plenty of time on the islands to make the early dinnner, then you have the whole evening to take everything in.
Thank you! Thank you!
I just love these message boards. People are so helpful!
We are still debating on doing the falls. My husband spoke with a woman who did it and she said it was COLD!!! I think it would be neat for the kids. I guess maybe we should just ask them if they want to or not!!
I still have to talk my husband into the early seating. He thinks we should stick with the late but I will convince him! After all, women, we know who's really boss in the household, don't we? (wink, wink!!!)
Missdeals....totally agree with all the posts who recommended main seating (5:45 or 6:15)...there is plenty of time to get ready for dinner even if you've been on a shore excursion and my grandson had plenty of time after dinner to participate in some activities and was totally pooped by 10:00, there is no way he would have made the late seating for dinner, he would have spoiled his appetitie with pizza and hot dogs instead of waiting for yummy lobster and prime rib and we had plenty of time to watch the early show in the lounge and grab some ice cream before he fell asleep. If you're traveling with a group of adults, it's a different story, late dining might be the better option. As far as Dunns River Falls are concerned, I booked this excursion with my daughter, son-in-law and grandson and when we arrived, my grandson started up the falls but saw a couple of people fall and the water was very cold so he decided not to climb and I stayed with him on the beach while my daugher and son-in-law climbed (my son-in-law fell also and banged up his knee so badly that he had to go to the infirmary on the ship when we returned, he was limping the remainder of the cruise). Do the Falls and have your husband take the lead and hold everyone's hands tight and you should be o.k., they're beautiful to see. As mentioned previously, my family loved the pool in Margaritaville (they had great wings too) and we stayed there for a good three hours before we had to return to the ship, no one rushed us, it was great fun, loved wasting away in Margaritaville!!