We booked a last minute Caribbean cruise with Carnival on the Victory for a quick get away, and had some trepidation about Carnival's overall reputation. We are fairly seasoned cruisers and tend to cruise on higher end cruise lines. With that said, we went with a good attitude and did not expect Holland America level service, food etc.
We embarked quickly and efficiently only to come on board a ship that reeked of stale cigarette smoke, had grossly dated decor, run down veranda cabins and a crew that seemed burned out at best. We could barely walk after sleeping in the horribly broken down beds (the beds visibly sagged even when fully made with a down comforter), and weren't thrilled with the 15 year old box television and pink/mauve/gold room decor. Our cabin walls and ceiling were dirty and grimy and the carpet had seen better days. This was true of all of the ship's decor. Thankfully, the Victory is headed to dry dock next year for a much needed overhaul.
We had hoped to find some saving grace in the food onboard - no luck whatsoever. Even in the formal diningroom the food was mediocre at best (although our staff was friendly and kind.) The breakfast buffet served something that was scrambled but not likely from a chicken, and the lunch buffet was lackluster and tasteless.
We are pretty mellow travelers and enjoy a variety of travel companions but this ship was the equivalent of a floating "Animal House". The cabin guests adjacent to our veranda cabin spent their days smoking marijuana, as well as many other guests on the exterior walkways/decks. Many guests were visibly inebriated and it was a loud and raucous crown overall. We spent 5 days just shaking our heads and wondering if it was all for real.
The staff seemed sparse for a ship this size and they appeared to be burned out. We could imagine that they were doing their best with the caliber of guests they were dealing with.
All in all, we really did try to have a good time despite the ship's condition and offerings, it was just darn near impossible. Money poorly spent and a good lesson learned.
Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Victory by gregg Southern Caribbean October 14, 2012
This cruise started in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The ports for this one week cruise were excellent, St Thomas, Barbados, St Kitts, St Marrtin, St Lucia. The staff were very friendly and attentive. I thought the food in the dining room was good and similar to other Carnival cruises we have been on. One reason My wife and I go on cruises is to dance and one big disappointment was that there was really very limited dancing on the ship, unless you only danced the merenge or cumbia with a latin band. The music was so loud in the latin area that we never stayed. There was an excellent band called inpromptwo on the ship that had a great variety of dance music but they were relegated to only playing in the lobby(no dancing) or next to the casino right in the walkway area with no dance floor. For others that don't really care about dancing west coast, foxtrot, cha cha rumba.... you will probably have a great time. We went on several of the side trips at eachport. The island tours were very informative and maybe a better deal than getting a taxi to show you around. try to get the early tours and then when you get back go and explore on your own. Have fun!
Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Victory by Erica Southern Caribbean August 14, 2011
This was suppose to be a very happy time for us because we had just got engaged at the begining of our trip! :) My fiance and I choose to stick with Carnival Cruise line again because we both enjoyed our first cruise with them so much.The people were friendly, the food was amazing and the boat was fun to be on. Sadly this cruise was a disappointment. The destinations were absolutely breath taking and very enjoyable and I would recomend them to anyone!!(We visited St.Thomas, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts, St. Maarten)
HOWEVER, our experience on the boat was not a pleasant one! Majority on the guests on this ship were VERY rude and pushy (all of the time). In my opinion a lot of the staff were getting irritated as well with this but instead of addressing it with the ones who were rude and pushy or handling it professionally, we were talked down to quite a lot, I guess for just being there. I can see why they were stressed out because these guest were stressing us outas well. But in the same sense, we were nice and polite and still treated rudely by staff. Where we come from in Kindergarten you learn how to stand in a line- apparently the guests on this ship didn't attend kindergarten! We would stand in line at guest services for 30-45 minutes and just as its our turn to talk with a staff member someone goes under the rope and cuts us off. Instead of telling the woman she will be assisted when it is her turn and that she will need to stand in line like everyone else, the staff member assists her, putting us off who have waited patiently!! That was VERY aggrevating! The sad part is that this wasn't just a one tme occurance, it happened to us several times. As for the food - the dining room meals were amazing! Their chef did and outstanding job in preparing each meal. On deck however, the buffett was lacking in taste and variety. Not to mention the rude people behind you pushing you like cattle or cutting in line because they were tired of waiting. Entertainment- the main shows were fun and exciting to watch, Great job! The fun games they would play, like the marriage game, was so much fun to watch as well. We laughed and laughed. The comedians however we very poor!! Not only did this one comedian cut down every working class person in there, I guess for having a job, the second one didn't even show up or make on to the boat. Seriously considering another cruiseline now after this experience!
PREVIOUS CRUISES This cruise on Carnival Victory was my tenth over all. It was my third cruise with Carnival, and the second on a Destiny-class ship. My previous cruises include Premier's Big Red Boat Oceanic to the Bahamas; Celebrity's Zenith to the Western Caribbean; Majesty's Royal Majesty (currently NCL's Norwegian Majesty) to Bermuda; Holland America's Veendam to the Eastern Caribbean; Holland America's Westerdam to the Eastern Caribbean; Princess' Crown Princess to Alaska (Vancouver to Seward); Carnival's Carnival Destiny to the Western Caribbean; Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas to the Western Caribbean; and Carnival's Elation to the Mexican Riviera.
THE CARNIVAL VICTORY Weighing in at around 102,353 gross registered tons, and 893 feet long, the Carnival Victory is the largest and currently the newest ship in the Carnival Cruise Lines fleet. She is currently the fourth largest ship in the world behind only the Explorer of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas, and Grand Princess. We had around 3,400 passengers on our cruise, so she was maxed out to capacity, but you could never tell it was that crowded. The Victory itself is beautiful. The ship's interior as a whole is much more beautifuland sophisticated than her sister ship, Carnival Destiny. Wood paneling and Formica grace the interior walls and elevators instead of the pink tin colored material on the Destiny. There is also practically no neon anywhere on the Victory. Instead of the darker color scheme of blacks, blues, and purples used on Destiny, the Victory has many greens, aquas, and blues, evoking the colors of the sea. The world's seas are the theme for the Carnival Victory. Every public room is named after a different sea or ocean. The first public room encountered on the Victory is the Seven Seas Atrium. This expansive and colorful atrium rises up nine decks, starting on deck three with the lobby bar. Here, at the base of the atrium is the information desk, shore excursions, and the entrance to the bottom floor of the Atlantic Dining Room; one of two dining rooms found on board the Victory. Up forward on this deck is the first floor of the Caribbean Theatre, the main show lounge on the ship. This theatre rises up three decks, and is quite an impressive sight. On Deck Three aft is the main entrance to the larger of the ship's two dining rooms, the Pacific Dining Room. On Deck Four, one finds the second floor of the Caribbean Theatre, the photo gallery that surrounds the atrium, the second floor entrance to the Atlantic Dining Room, and the Indian Ocean Library. On the aft section of this deck, there is the upper level entrance to the Pacific Dining Room, the Ionian Bar, card room, and Internet Cafe. Internet on the ship is $.75 per minute. Up on Promenade Deck Five, most of the ship's public areas exist. Starting forward, you have the third level of the Caribbean Theatre and the Victory shops, which include a Carnival logo shop, and several designer shops with perfumes, jewelry, and other fine items. Also on this deck, there is the Aegean Seas Sports Bar, the formalities shop, and Neptune's Way. Neptune's Way is the Victory's signature inside promenade that runs most of the length of the ship. Most Carnival ships now have this signature space. Along Neptune's Way is the South China Sea Club Casino, Neptune's Bar which is right across from the casino, the Coral Sea Cafe, Ocean Arcade, Club Arctic Disco, the Caspian Sea Wine Bar, the Irish Sea Piano Bar, the Black and Red Sea Lounge, and the Adriatic Lounge which was the ship's other theatre-type showroom at the very rear of the Victory. Decks Six, Seven, and Eight are all cabins. Up on Lido Deck Nine, there are most cabins on the forward part of this ship, and then there is the main pool area, Trident's Pool. Here, there is the main pool with two hot tubs, a stage, and two bars. There are also two al fresco buffets here that serve breakfast in the morning, and grilled items such as hamburgers and hotdogs in the afternoon. Further aft, there is the Mediterranean Restaurant, which is the ship's two story buffet restaurant. Here, there are two traditional cruise buffet lines; Yangtze Wok, a Chinese restaurant line; East River Deli, a sandwich shop; the 24-hour Pizzeria, and Mississippi BBQ - a grill type line for hamburgers, etc. Back in the back of this deck with the Pizzeria and BBQ place, is Siren's pool. Here, there is the pool with two hot tubs, and a bar. They are all underneath a retractable roof for inclement weather. Up a deck on Panorama Deck 10 are more cabins, and then there are sunning areas, filled with deck chairs, and the King of the Seas pool area. The King of the Sea pool area includes a small pool, a hot tub, and the base of the three story, 214-foot waterslide. Spa Deck Eleven features the Nautica Spa area, and Children's world, as well as the jogging track which circles around the funnel. Deck Twelve consists mainly of sunning areas, the Children's World pool and wading area, and around the funnel is the tops optional sun deck. This ship is plenty large enough. It was incredibly easy to catch an elevator on this ship since there are eighteen of them on the ship! There are ten in the forward elevator lobby, four at midship, and four aft. There was virtually never a wait for the elevators, and I very rarely took the stairs for this reason. For the most part, the Victory towered above other ships in port with the exception of the Voyager of the Seas in Miami, and the Explorer of the Seas in San Juan. Overall, the ship is pretty awesome. It took me no time at all to learn my way around her, but this was mostly because I had previously sailed on the Carnival Destiny, which shares a virtually identical floor plan of the Victory. All in all, I would rate this my second favorite physical ship I have ever sailed on.
CABINS The biggest surprise of the week for us came upon check in. We had booked a category 4A inside guarantee cabin. We were pleasantly surprised to learn that we had been upgraded all the way to an 8D cabin; an outside cabin with balcony all the way up on Lido Deck Nine! Our cabin, #9280 was located on the port side of Lido deck, midship to forward, right by the atrium elevators. Our cabin was a very good size; it had plenty of room for two people. There was ample closet and drawer space for seven days. There was an electronic safe located in one of the closets, which you could open and close with your credit card. The balcony is beautiful. It is decked with teak wood; it also has glass railings so you can see the sea while sitting down. Solid divisions between balconies ensure a high amount of privacy on the balcony. There is a miniature lounge chair, table, and regular chair out on the balcony. The cabin's bathroom had plenty of room as well. The shower curtain; however, became annoying as the week progressed. Ships should look at the cabins on Voyager and Explorer of the Seas as examples of a perfect cruise ship bathroom...there are sliding glass doors on that ship instead of the annoying shower curtain. All in all, this is a great cabin, and it was appreciated even more considering we booked an inside originally!
SERVICE The personal service we received on this ship was outstanding. Our cabin stewardess, Jana from the Czech Republic was great. She kept our room clean, and our ice bucket full the whole cruise. What more can you ask for? Our waiter was Carlos from Guatemala. He gave us flawless and very quick service throughout the week. He has been with Carnival for twelve years, and you could certainly tell because this guy had our food out in no time! There was never a significant amount of waiting between courses. Our Assistant Waitress was Claire from South Africa. She is twenty-three and this cruise was her first cruise as Assistant Waitress, but you could certainly not tell. She provided excellent service all week long. Her, and her best friend from back home, Lobke were both on the ship, and Lobke actually was the Assistant Waitress of the tables right next to us. I thought it was neat how Carnival positioned the two best friends not only on the same ship, but also with tables right next to each other. The Maitre'd, Stany was very personable and helpful as well as we had to make a dinner change after the first night from the 8:00 seating to the 5:45 seating. The service around the rest of the ship was pretty good. Crew overall was generally friendly. Overall, I would rate service on this large ship very good to excellent.
FOOD Well I will start off by saying that Carnival has not changed their menu in the last three years! This is my third Carnival cruise in the last three years, and the dinner menu is still identical to the one I had two years back on the Destiny, and last year on the Elation. This didn't really bother me; just the food gets repetitive if you cruise Carnival as often as I have the last few years. On the Victory, there are two main choices for each meal: the main dining rooms, and buffet style up in the Mediterranean restaurant. I ate breakfast virtually every morning in the Pacific Dining Room. I prefer sit-down breakfast to the buffet since I can get my eggs benedict down there! However, one morning I did get the omelet in the dining room, and it was delicious! Though I never did eat breakfast up in the Mediterranean, there were two main buffet lines serving the standard cruise buffet breakfast fare. There were made to order omelet stations, so if I did eat up there, that is what I would have gotten. There are two other buffet lines outside right by the pool if you want to dine al fresco. Breakfast was overall very good on this ship, every morning but one, I was happy with my breakfast. There were several options for lunch everyday on the Victory. First, you had the sit-down lunch option in the two main dining rooms. This cruise, I never opted for this. Up in the Mediterranean, there were two buffet lines. These contained a substantial salad bar, fruit, four various dishes, a meat, and pasta. There was also a dessert bar. Outside by the pool, hamburgers and hotdogs were served at the two buffet lines by the pool. The Yangtze Wok served different Chinese dishes everyday. I ate this one day and had an excellent meal with spring rolls, fried rice, noodles and Kung Pao chicken. I was pleasantly surprised at how good this was. It seems that most of my lunches I ate at the East River Deli. Here, they served an assortment of warm sandwiches. My favorite was the Rueben. It was excellent, and easily the best Rueben I have ever had! The deli was open until 11 PM every night, so occasionally I would come up there at night and order a Rueben...they were soooo good! Of course, another choice for lunch was the 24-hour Pizzeria. Here, they served seven types of pizza, calazones, Caesar salad, and chicken Caesar salads. In my opinion, the pizza on Carnival is the best pizza on any cruise line. Yet another option for lunch is Mississippi BBQ. Here, they served hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hotdogs, chicken sandwiches served on a French roll, and steak sandwiches. The hamburgers I ate here were easily the BEST I have ever had on a cruise ship. They were the thickest and juiciest burgers I have had on a ship. Every time I go back on Carnival, their burgers seem to get even better! The dinner options are the same: dinner in the Main Dining Rooms, Pacific and Atlantic, or the casual alternative of dinner buffet style up in the Mediterranean Restaurant. The early seating dinners were at 5:45 in the Pacific Dining Room, and 6:30 in the Atlantic Dining Room. The late seating dinners occurred at 8:00 in the Pacific Dining Room, and 8:45 in the Atlantic Dining Room. We ate every night at 5:45 in the Pacific Dining Room. While we do like early seating, this unorthodox dining time may have been a bit too early. I guess we would have much preferred the 6:30 dinner, but we did not change because we had some great tablemates and the BEST waiter and assistant waitress on the ship! The appetizers and soups were all excellent. My favorites included the shrimp cocktails, southwestern egg rolls, and lobster bisque. The salads were always fresh and tasty. I enjoyed a Caesar salad or mixed salad with field greens every night. The entrees ranged from good to excellent. Highlights of the week included the lobster, fillet mignon, tiger prawns, veal parmigean, and some of the pastas. On many nights, I ordered two entrees because I simply wanted both of them! Carlos, our waiter happily complied with those requests. I'm not that big of a dessert fan, but the desserts on the Victory were outstanding! I loved the apple pie a la mode, cherries jubilee, and strawberry cheesecake. Every night, there was a midnight buffet. I never indulged here, but instead I would have a Rueben sandwich or some pizza late at night at the pizzeria. Overall, the food on the Victory was the best I have ever had on a Carnival ship. Better yet, there is so much of it; you will never be hungry on the Carnival Victory. Though the menu is pretty much the same, the quality and presentation of the food has greatly improved over the last few years. Way to go Carnival!
GYM Okay, this is the category of the ship that sets Carnival above all the other cruise lines. The gym facilities on Carnival, particularly the Destiny class ships are second to none. Although there are larger gym facilities on some ships (Voyager and Explorer of the Seas), I like the layout of the Destiny and Victory's gyms much better. You enter the gym through the lockeroom, which is complete with eight showers, a steam room, and a sauna. The steam room and sauna both have floor to ceiling windows overlooking the side of the ship, and both areas are very enjoyable. The gym/spa complex is actually two levels. It consists of the gym, the hot tubs, aerobics upstairs, and the spa treatment area for massages and other treatments. The actual gym has many free weights with different benches. There are about 8 treadmills and stair climber thingies. There are also many different machines in the gym. These machines are all air pressure, and they give you quite a good workout. There are eight upper body machines; six lower body machines, and two lower back and abs machines. The equipment in here is very adequate for a good workout. The best part, all of this has a view of the ocean through floor to ceiling windows! Also in the gym area is two hot tubs elevated between the gymnasium and the aerobics area upstairs. I used the gym facilities everyday, and I felt that they were very, very complete. If treadmills are not your thing, not to worry, there is a padded jogging track around the funnel. Ten laps are equal to a mile. Like I said, the gym facilities on this ship are hard to beat. While the gym on Voyager and Explorer of the Seas has more physical equipment, I like the layout of the Victory's gym much better.
ACTIVITIES The Carnival Victory featured a number of activities during the day and at night. During the day, there were the standard cruise activities...bingo, quizzes, pool games, hairy chest competitions, and much more. During the day, I just chose to stay out by the pool or rest on our balcony. Camp Carnival runs an excellent program for younger children ages 3-17. There is a very large arcade along Neptune's Way right next to Club Artic disco. Here, there are numerous arcade games as well as an air hockey table. There is also an Internet cafe on the ship, but it is $.75 per minute, so I didn't find myself using it much. It is not in nearly as a convenient of a spot as it is on the Voyager of the Seas. But hell, at least Carnival now has these on board Internet cafes! It is a major improvement from our last Carnival cruise on the Elation. Overall, there is something to do for everyone on the Victory. You can pack your schedule and try to hit every scheduled activity, or you can just relax and not worry about the activities...remember, its vacation!
ENTERTAINMENT Carnival always has some of the finest entertainment in the cruise industry. Cruise Director Corey Schmidt packed full a great week of entertainment on board. There were three great comedians, and two or three midnight 'R-rated' comedy shows. There was also a juggler and a magician. Corey even had an act of his own! He did a show with his birds. He has been doing performances with his birds forever; he even performed at Busch Gardens for quite a while. While I did not attend the two production shows, 'Livin in America' and 'Vrooom,' I heard nothing but good things about them. Entertainment this week was definitely first rate. Getting back to Corey Schmidt, and his cruise staff - they were awesome. Corey was the funniest and most entertaining cruise director I have ever had! Cruise Directors like Corey, and the entertainment that occurs throughout the week is what makes Carnival the leading cruise line when it comes to entertainment, and it is one factor that will always keep us coming back to Carnival time after time.
NIGHTLIFE Few ships have nightlife that can compare to that on board the fun ships of Carnival! Especially the Carnival Victory. Every night, there were several places one could go for evening entertainment. Of course, there were the shows in the Caribbean Theatre and there is the South China Sea Club Casino, which is open to happily receive donations. There was always a light band playing in the Adriatic Lounge called 'Music Society.' The Irish Sea Bar is the ship's piano bar, and one of the more popular places on board at night. A guitarist played all evening along Neptune's Way across from the Casino. Of course, there is also the Club Arctic Disco! This is one of the more impressive dance clubs on a cruise ship. The whole room is decorated with an arctic theme. There is glass along the ceilings that emulate ice, and there are fur seats on the barstools! Club music is played here most nights except for the 50's/60's oldies night. The disco was open to everyone before 11:00, but after that, on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, only people over the age of 18 are allowed. Security asks for ID of anyone who is of questionable age on these nights. The rest of the nights, the club is open to anyone, and is usually over run with younger teenagers. Club Arctic is really a very fun place, and I spent most of every night in there! Overall, the nightlife on the Carnival Victory is excellent. While the disco does not really compare with 'The Vault' on Voyager of the Seas, it is certainly just as fun!
WHO GOES? We did this trip over the peak of Spring Break; so naturally, there was a much younger crowd on board. The Victory was traveling above maximum capacity with around 3,400 passengers! There we a ton of families, many spring breakers, college students, single people, younger couples, and older couples. There were hundreds of children and teenagers on this cruise as well. The younger people, college kids and all along with a very energetic general population of this ship made this a very fun cruise. It was overall a very fun crowd! I would say that the average age was somewhere from 30-35 years old.
EMBARKATION AND DISEMBARKATION Carnival has made great strides in improving their embarkation and disembarkation procedures during the past few months. On previous Carnival cruises, this procedure was a terrible process. It was horrible and took forever on the Destiny, and was even worse on the Elation. I am happy to report that it is now world's better on the Victory. We arrived at the ship in Miami at around 2:00. We walked through security, and without a line arrived at the ticket counter. We were processed and then we were on board within five minutes. Five minutes for embarkation is impressive no matter what cruise line we are talking about. Let alone a ship with 3,400 passengers! They now take your picture for the cruise card when you are boarding the ship for better security when boarding and exiting the ship at each port of call. As far as disembarkation is concerned, it has improved just as much. Carnival has changed to a relaxed disembarkation. Now, instead of having to be out of our cabin by 7:00 am and having to wait in a public lounge, you are allowed to stay in your cabin for as long as you'd like until your tag color is called. We were called off with the first disembarkation group, so we were off the ship by 9:00. All of the bags were set up in the terminal, so I don't see any problem with getting off with the first group no matter what color you are. There was not even the slightest line in getting off the ship. The procedure was very relaxed, efficient, and much better than the procedure I have endured through on other cruises. Great job Carnival on improving this procedure!
7 NIGHT EASTERN CARIBBEAN ITINERARY Though this was my third time cruising the Eastern Caribbean, it marked the first time I have been to San Juan and St. Croix. My other Eastern Caribbean cruises on Holland America had hit St. Kitts or St. Maarten and Nassau instead of San Juan and St. Croix. I was especially eager to visit St. Croix since my father lived there back some 25 years ago.
SUNDAY, MARCH 25, 2001 - Miami, Florida (depart 4:30 p.m.) * Also in Miami were Carnival's Paradise, NCL's Norwegian Sun, and Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas. We already drove to the South Florida area on Saturday from Auburn, Alabama and Houston, Texas. We spent the night at our family's house in Coral Springs Saturday night. Today, we arrived at the Port of Miami at around 2:00. We parked the car ($10 per day), and we were on the ship by 2:15. We got on the ship today, and happily went to our balcony room that we were upgraded to. Since we had already sailed on the Carnival Destiny, we were very familiar with the deck plan of the ship. After looking around the ship for a little bit, we headed up to the Mediterranean Restaurant and had a Rueben sandwich for lunch. We had muster at around 4:00. We promptly sailed away at 4:30. We passed the Voyager of the Seas and Paradise, cheering loudly while we passed the two ships. We had 8:00 dinner tonight, but requested a change to early dinner right afterwards and that request was happily granted by the Maitre'd, Stany. Tonight, I went to the welcome aboard show and then to Club Arctic to meet some new people! Dinner: casual
MONDAY, MARCH 26, 2001 - 'Fun Day at Sea' Today was a standard, relaxing day at sea. I explored the ship some and pretty much just took it easy after I worked out at the Nautica Gym. It looked like deck chairs went pretty fast this morning by the pools, and there was the ever-present saving of chairs for hours at a time with a towel or book. There was, however, plenty of deck space all over the ship, so I didn't have to be right by the pool so it didn't bother me. Tonight was the first formal night. We headed down to the Captain's cocktail party in the Adriatic Lounge and then went to dinner to meet our new tablemates and wait staff at the 5:45 dinner. Tonight I spent most of the evening with new friends I had met and ended up in Club Arctic for a good while. Dinner: formal
TUESDAY, MARCH 27, 2001 - 'Fun Day at Sea' and San Juan, Puerto Rico (4:30 p.m. - 2:00 a.m.) * Also in San Juan were Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas, Costa's Costa Victoria, and Seabourn's Seabourn Legend. The first part of today was similar to Monday. I worked out and just took it easy. We sailed into San Juan ahead of schedule, between 4:00 and 4:30. We passed the fort and had a beautiful sail in past Costa Victoria and Seabourn Legend as we docked right next to the largest ship in the world: Explorer of the Seas. We really had no intentions of doing much in San Juan since it was a nighttime stop. We found an Internet cafe right past the pier and called home. Then we took pictures of the impressive sight of two of the world's largest ships. The largest, Explorer of the Seas and the world's fourth largest ship, Carnival Victory. It was truly an impressive sight having these two behemoths right next to each other. We smuggled a bit of rum back on board so security wouldn't take it up, and then headed to dinner. Tonight, after dinner, I went on deck and watched as the Explorer of the Seas left San Juan. I took pictures of the ship as she left, and I got excited since I will be on her for my next cruise in June! Tonight I did the standard stuff -- hung out at Club Arctic. Dinner: extremely casual
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 28, 2001 - St. Croix, U.S.V.I. (7:30 a.m. - 12:00 a.m.) St. Croix was our longest stop. We got off the ship right after we docked, walked down the pier and found a rental car place where we rented a jeep. It was $55 for the day, and well worth the money. Since my dad used to live here, he pretty much knew his way around the island. We drove around the island all day. We went to the east end, which is actually the eastern-most point in the United States! We drove atop some mountains for a scenic view of St. Croix and neighboring Buck Island. We drove through the scenic town of Christiansted, and had lunch there. We proceeded to drive around the rest of the island, by beautiful Cain Bay, and on through the rainforest. We arrived back at the ship around 4:30, and got ready for dinner. After dinner, we went back off the ship and into the town of Fredricksted. Here, the locals put on a party called Harbour Nights. This was one of the highlights of the cruise! This is a festival that takes place every other Wednesday night (every night the Victory is in port). Locals and tourists from all over the island converge on this four block long area for a festival. There are exotic foods, shops, and drinks for sail. It was incredibly fun, and it really made St. Croix my favorite stop of the cruise! I headed back to the ship around 11:00 and partied well into the night! Dinner: casual
THURSDAY, MARCH 29, 2001 - St. Thomas, U.S.V.I. (8:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.) * Also in St. Thomas were Holland America's Veendam and Radisson's Seven Seas Navigator. We woke up this morning to go diving. We booked the tour through Carnival's shore excursion. We originally thought it would be a boat dive, but we were mistaken. We had about a twenty-minute taxi ride out to Coral World where we ended up doing a beautiful beach dive. The dive lasted about 45 minutes. We then were able to spend about another hour on the beach before heading back to the Carnival Victory. I got back to the ship, worked out, ran, and laid out by the pool. I then watched the Veendam leave port, and went to dinner as we were pulling out of the harbour in St. Thomas. Tonight I did the same as usual: hanging out at Club Arctic! Dinner: casual
FRIDAY, MARCH 30, 2001 - 'Fun Day at Sea' Today I slept in a bit, recovering from three port days in a row. I then went up for lunch, worked out and just took it easy the rest of the day. It was a very relaxing day. Tonight was the last formal night. We headed to the Carnival Repeat Passengers cocktail party and then went to dinner. Tonight I did the usual! Dinner: formal
SATURDAY, MARCH 31, 2001 - 'Fun Day at Sea' Well, our last full day on the Victory has arrived. Today was basically the same as Friday, except I decided to spend most of the day laying out up on deck most of the day after I worked out. We headed to dinner and said our goodbyes to our wait staff and tablemates. We then went back to the room and backed. You are supposed to have your bags out in the hall by 1:00 a.m. Tonight I partied as usual, and said my goodbyes to all the friends I had made in the past week. The last night is always one of the most fun and saddest nights. I was sad to see the cruise drawing to a close =( Dinner: casual
SUNDAY, APRIL 01, 2001 - Miami, Florida (arrive 4:30 a.m.) * Also in Miami were Carnival's Paradise, NCL's Norwegian Sun, Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas, and Radiance of the Seas. This morning I woke up and we were already in Miami. We went to eat breakfast in the Pacific Dining Room, and then headed back to our room where we waited until we were called to disembark around 9:00. To my surprise, Royal Caribbean's brand new ship was docked in Miami! I was happy to get some great pictures of that beautiful ship next to the Voyager of the Seas, as well as some last pictures of the Victory. We sadly drove back to Auburn, Alabama because our cruise was over. Luckily, I have another cruise on the horizon to look forward to: Explorer of the Seas on June 9th of this year.
ODDS & ENDS -Hint: to avoid paying high prices for beer, pack a case in the bottom of a bag that is not a carry on. We did that, and figured it saved us about $50. -If you want a deck chair by the pool, get up there early, before 9. There is never a problem getting a deck chair, but it just may not be by the pool. -Carnival, once again, please give us trays up in the Lido restaurants of your ships! It is hard to carry multiple plates and drinks with only two hands, and a tray would help tremendously! -The Purser's Deck is very crowded on Saturday, so I would recommend getting cash for your tips on Friday instead. -I know I hated doing this, but the later you get to the ship, the smaller of a line you have to wait in. We arrived at 2:00, and had NO line for embarkation. -In my opinion, San Juan was a waste. I would have much rather stopped at maybe St. Maarten or Tortola or something. I realize San Juan is a cruise hub, but it is kind of like stopping at another Miami. -If they are having it the week you are in St. Croix, go to the Harbour Nights Party!! It's a blast! -Victory's gambling age is 18; drinking age is 21. -There is a ton of security on the ship. I thought there was too much security until the last night when they really needed to use it because a fight broke out. -Once again, to try to avoid the high drink prices on the ship, pick up some pints of liquor in port and stuff them in your pockets to take back on the ship. It can save you a little cash. -Go in with a positive outlook, and you will have a great time!
IN CONCLUSION... This was a great cruise. The Victory is a beautiful and very fun ship, and it is my favorite in the Carnival fleet. Victory was the second best ship I have sailed on, second only to Voyager of the Seas. Once again, I would do this cruise again in a heartbeat, and I would most definitely sail on the Carnival Victory again. Carnival gives the cruiser one of the best cruise values, especially on a ship as nice as the Carnival Victory. And this is one of the many reasons why we will continue coming back to cruise with Carnival.
Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Victory by Malcolm1 Southern Caribbean November 9, 2008
Unfortunately, Carnival was an incredible disappointment in so many ways. We're stunned as to how this company remains in business. We've resisted writing this review but finally decided it is important for others to be aware of our experience. Please seriously consider our insights below and spend your hard-earned money elsewhere.
From our experience, the key areas where Carnival falls dramatically short of delivering their services are:
(1) THE CREW: Overall, Carnival crew members simply do not care about their guests. The general attitude is that they are just there to do the minimum of their jobs. There are a handful of crew members who did seem to care but they are unfortunately grossly outnumbered. Even the purser's desk personnel repeatedly gave either wrong information or no information. They were generally not helpful at all -- even though they are the primary source for information/help on the ship. We even found some crew members in very customer-facing roles to be flat out rude. As noted on other reviews as well, many of the crew members do not speak English very well. We lovethe international experience yet firmly believe that if you are interacting with the public in a service industry, a mastery of the primary language is a must. We also agree with other reviewers that the Carnival crew members do not do anything about the very loud and overpowering guests. They blatantly disregarded signs at the pools and hot tubs yet Carnival employees did nothing, even when it was quite clear that guests were disturbed by this. While we all certainly want to have fun, we are also looking to Carnival to keep some order, enforce their own 'rules' and help all guests have a good and relaxing time.
(2) THE FOOD: I'm not surprised by other reviews that state there was an outbreak of stomach flu. The food and serving stations were flat out disgusting. We definitely enjoy our share of high-caloric food. However, the quality of the food was incredibly poor. The lowest quality buffet near your hometown would have outshined the majority of the food. Furthermore, even though we were in the tropics, fresh fruits and vegetables were nearly non-existant. We ordered the grapefruit and orange slices multiple times in the dining room and each time received a total of four tiny slices each about one inch long. It was truly pitiful. Weren't they embarrassed to serve this to their guests?! Also, if you're interested in a chocolate fountain or a famous midnight buffet, this is not the cruise for you. The only 'decorations' were hunks of carved cheese with fake flowers stuck in them behind the buffet. The same 'sculptures' stayed there all week and were quite disgusting by even mid-cruise. There weren't any Purell stations anywhere, which led to very gross buffet tongs etc. I would not be surprised if many people got sick during or after the cruise.
(3) THE ENTERTAINMENT: While better than the crew's attitude and the food, the entertainment was generally poor. One comedian was okay. The rest of the acts were tacky and pretty much a waste of time. The cruise director was entertaining when he appeared but otherwise was MIA. Even the purser's desk said they could not reach him or let us know where he would be when. The 'entertainment crew' was also generally MIA. The deck 'games' were completely lame or non-existent. No 'not so newlywed' game or other cruise classics -- or any new, innovative games/events. The decks were generally just filled with loud, obnoxious guests and Carnival pushing overly-expensive drinks. Also, the magician was incredibly unprofessional by actually getting angry at the audience when he could not convince someone to be a helper during his show. If he is going to have audience participation, he needs to be professional enough to handle possible 'rejection' and to have a plan B -- not to get mad at people who have paid to be on a cruise and receive entertainment. Furthermore, events were published in the daily Carnival Caper but they never happened. We spent our vacation time going to these events but Carnival was so disorganized they repeatedly disappointed their guests by not showing or doing the advertised event.
What was good? The ports and the shore excursions. We loved being able to visit so many ports in only one week. Waking up at a new island each day (with no 'sea days') was fantastic! Those running the shore excursions were all professional, well-organized and personable. Our favorites were the aerial tram ride over and through the rain forest in Dominica and the trip to the wildlife reserve in Barbados. Note that there are very few 'green monkeys' at the reserve though. The fun part was the 4x4 wild ride through the sugar cane fields!
Thank you for reading and happy cruising!
Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Victory by michelle Western Caribbean February 24, 2008
My boyfriend and myself, along with another couple, took a cruise on Carnival Victory.
Getting to the cruise port was a breeze we used Easy Express Shuttle and they were great! Highly recommended!!
Getting checked in was super easy -- less then 15 minutes and we were on the ship.
The ship is beautiful and very clean, but a little confusing to get around.
Our room was as expected -- a good size and always kept clean. The room steward was great.
The food was really good in the dining room. Lunch was just ok. I really liked the deli which was open from 11am-11pm.
We went to the r-rated comedy show, but were disappointed. On the last night there was a big show called Living in America that was entertaining.
The ports of call were fun. Our first stop was Cozumel where we shopped and went to Playa Azul beach. I would not recommend going there. With all the rocks you can't even swim.
In Grand Cayman we had to anchor on the opposite side of the island due to bad weather, butwe went to the Seven Mile beach anyway and we got beat up by the huge waves. It was a ton of fun!!
Our last stop, Jamacia, was the greatest. We booked the canopy tour through Carnival and had a blast!
So, in all I would recommend this cruise to anyone young, old, or even kids. All are guaranteed a good time!!
Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Victory by Wendy Eastern Canada September 8, 2007
Carnival Victory was our second Carnival Cruise. The ship is nice in the usual Carnival Style. It is, however, cut up differently and can be difficult to get from one end of the ship to the other making it necessary to go up or down a floor or two.
Embarkation out of NY was long. A lot of the older individuals complained at not being able to sit down. It seemed that many didn't have their documents ready. Suggestion to Carnival would be to have someone going up & down the lines seeing to it that all had whatever they needed ready.
Once on the ship all was fine. It was a beautiful trip out of the NY harbor. Passing by the Statue of Liberty and under the Verrazano Bridge was an amazing experience. Our luggage was delivered to our room timely. The ship was spotless and kept that way throughout the cruise. Kudos to the cleaning crews all over the ship, dining areas included.
All the cities and towns visited were beautiful. Getting back on the boat in Boston wasa nightmare. We waited almost 2 hours in line. The port terminal was a disgrace to Boston. The cruise ship had only one gangway to get on and all the excursions seemed to be done at the same time. Thankfully they had the foresight to have open sitting for dinner that night. I'm sure the dining staff wasn't happy though as everyone on the ship wanted to eat at once. It was noted by everyone that on that evening the dining staff was less friendly and efficient.
Saint John and Halifax were delightful. The Canadians really made us feel welcome. They had people at the port in costumes. In Saint John they gave out roses to the women and in Halifax they greeted us with a Town Crier and a Fife & Drum band and saw us off with a Bagpiper. Very friendly people. We did the Kayak & Lobster lunch excursion in Saint John. The bus ride out of town was great with sight seeing information given. The kayaking was great but it takes a lot of time getting ready & showing newbies what to do. We only got about an hour in the water. Saw one eagle. I was disappointed we didn't see more wildlife. The mussel and lobster lunch was great. It was served outside. Guides were great and food delicious.
In Halifax we did the Peggy's Cove/Double Decker Hop on/Hop off excursion. This involved a trip in a bus to Peggy's Cove. This was a beautiful ride and narrated throughout the trip, however, I was stuck in the back and there were no speakers back there so I never heard a thing! The trip there took about an hour and they gave us less than an hour to visit the cove. The cove is breathtaking with a lighthouse. I didn't see everything even though I moved around pretty fast. We really needed more time there. When we got back we dropped our stuff on the ship & went back out to start our hop on/hop off Double Decker bus ride. When we got outside we realized spending the money for the bus would not have been necessary. The town has a bus you can ride for free called FRED. But we had already paid when we booked the excursion so we did it. The city is built on a hill so we really just took the bus to the top (to see the Citadel) and then walked back down stopping at sights on the way. The Public Gardens shouldn't be missed.
Back on the ship -- I love cruising, but much is wasted on my husband and I which is the reason I like a balcony room. We enjoy spending time on it watching the ocean or other sights. We don't participate in the contests but watched parts of some. Don't like going to the bars or casinos as they are all full of smoke. We did see the shows and they were really good. They have a new group of dancers that were terrific. Also saw the R rated comedians. One was good; the other not so good. All in all, I hated to go home.
Debarkation was much better that embarkation. We waited in our room until called. They have a new choice to self-assist, meaning you take all your luggage off yourself -- no crew can help at all. Next time I would do that. We didn't because we were in no hurry as we were taking the train home. Had no early flight, but I would do it next time to avoid trying to retrieve your luggage once in the terminal. It wasn't hard to find, just a lot of people trying to do it at once.
Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Victory by Beyondships Eastern Canada July 19, 2007
Embarkation The Victory departed from the Passenger Ship Terminal in Manhattan. This is the oldest of the three terminals serving the New York area. It is the easiest to get to as it is in midtown on the west side and all the taxis, car services, and limo drivers know where it is. It also has the benefit of having the spectacular ride down the Hudson as the ships heads out to sea. The other terminals border on the upper bay and thus you do not have as great a view of the skyline when you are sailing in or out.
The Passenger Ship Terminal is an older facility and when there are several ships in, there can be gridlock in the surrounding streets. Also, the currents in the river make it a challenge for ships to dock there. However, on this day, the Victory was there by herself. In addition, using the ship's powerful bow and stern thrusters, the captain was able to take the Victory away from the pier without any problem.
There were some lines waiting toboard. However, these moved along fairly quickly. The ticket agents seemed to know what they were doing and did not take a long time processing each passenger. As for baggage, since this was a short cruise, I had packed everything into one roll on bag and had no difficulty getting it onboard. I noticed that the crew was still delivering some of the checked luggage after we sailed.
Atmosphere The décor of the Victory is like a good modern hotel. It is not a grand hotel like the Waldorf Astoria or the London Ritz, but it is not a motel either. The multi-story central atrium is done in muted blues and greens with lighted glass elevators moving up and down. It is not over the top and there is no shock and awe. It is restrained compared to many cruise ships.
The theme running through the ship is oceans of the world and this theme has been interpreted in different ways in different sections of the ship. For instance, the Black and Red Sea Lounge connection with the seas of those names is that the walls of the room are done in contrasting patterns of red and black. The Ionian Lounge is done like a gentleman's club with leather stuffed furniture and the connection to the Ionian Sea being the Greek vases in the display cabinets along the walls.
Dining Guests are assigned to either the Atlantic Dining Room or the Pacific Dining Room. Both are two seatings for dinner. Both are decorated very similarly. The Pacific is at the stern of the ship and thus has natural light coming in on three sides whereas the Atlantic only has light from two directions. The Pacific is used for breakfast and dinner on an open seating basis while the Atlantic hosts afternoon tea.
The dining rooms pride themselves on being able to serve 1,500 main courses within 20 minutes. Of course, this means that the food is being mass produced and thus one cannot expect things cooked to order. The line does best with dishes that can be mass produced with more adventuresome dishes being more uneven. For example, they do an excellent hamburger at lunch time but the salmon can be good one time and not so great the next night.
There is considerable variety on the menu with several main course options each meal. This includes a spa option. One can order as many main courses as one wants. Thus, one can have steak and lobster and make a surf and turf. However, since the galley is mass producing plates of food, a guest who places such an order will receive a plate with a full steak dinner and a plate with the full lobster dinner.
One does not have to eat in the main dining rooms. There is a very popular buffet restaurant at the top of the ship near the pools. In the same vicinity are the Mississippi BBQ (hamburgers) and the Arno Pizzeria. The pizza is very good. One can also have meals in the cabin.
Accommodations I had an inside cabin on this voyage. The two Carnival Comfort beds had been put together to form a giant expanse of bed that was indeed comfortable. A large television was suspended in one corner, conveniently angled to be watched from the bed. There was also a small table and chair as well as a desk area with drawers -- efficient in design but not memorable in decoration.
As on most modern cruise ships, there were closets and cabinet space in the area across from the bathroom. This provided plenty of space for the clothing required for a short cruise.
A word about clothing -- people seemed to wear whatever they felt comfortable wearing. On the formal night, no one wore formal attire except the captain, his officers and the cruise staff. Most of the men broke out a sports jacket and quite a few wore ties. The women mostly wore dresses but no gowns.
Returning to the accommodations, the bathroom in the cabin was rather large by cruise ship standards. There was a basket of name-brand samples of various useful items including razors and toothpaste.
Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Victory by Ed Burke Eastern Canada July 9, 2007
Embarkation City: New York
Sail Date: 07/09/07
Return Date: 07/14/07
Ports of Call: St, John, and New Brunswick, Canada, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Cruises Sailed On CCL: 11
Total Cruises: 31
This summer, I decided to do a cruise to Canada. I completed this cruise in July 2004 and really enjoyed the trip so I elected to do it again, this time with my friends Joe and Charlotte Cognato. George Leppla of Countryside Travel booked our cruise. The ship was Carnival's Victory, built in 2000. I purchased a Cat 1A guarantee and was upgraded to a 4A Cabin # 1229.
Due to the high cost of private transportation to the New York City piers located on West 55th Street and the Hudson River, our group decided to take public transportation into Manhattan via the Long Island Rail Road into Penn Station and cab it to the ship. Our plans worked out just fine and were at the pier in just an hour and a half after boarding the train at the Wyandanch, NY train station. Upon our arrival, the embarkation process was infull swing. Joe and Charlotte checked their luggage while I rolled mine onto the ship. Since this was my 11th cruise on Carnival, I was given VIP Platinum status, which enabled me express check in. Carnival now has a dedicated area on the pier for VIP status and I was on the ship ten minutes after arriving at the pier. I was given a unique Sail and Sign/room key, which clearly indicated my Platinum status, and many fellow passengers asked me about it, as there were very few passengers on the ship with this level. Staff asked me consistently about how many cruises I completed with Carnival. Even at the repeat cruisers party, the cruise director asked if there was any Platinum level passengers in the room and I was the only one who raised my hand. I was asked to stand up and I received a round of applause from the repeaters when I disclosed the number of times I sailed with Carnival.
The ship was in great shape, even for its seven-year age and continuous use. The crew was polishing and cleaning consistently and the ship remained spotless through out the voyage. The ship sailed well in rough seas based on what I experienced on Deck 1 where my room was located. I did see some areas on the ship, especially in the casino area, that needed to be attended to such as a ripped seat by one of the slots. I will post my usual complaint here, as the casino was so smoky from second hand tobacco smoke. I was surprised that so many people continue to smoke even with all its health warnings. Passengers did appear to adhere to the port side smoking only rule, but the casino was wide open and Carnival permitted smoking anywhere in the casino. Elevator service was good on the ship with six elevator banks available in each elevator area. Waiting time was minimal, even with a full ship. Crew was friendly and always gave me a smile. The ship is tastefully decorated with a few touches of Joe Farcus here and there. The atrium bar located on deck three midship was a popular meeting area for fellow passengers. The area soars ten decks skyward and provides a great ambiance, especially after dark with its green lighting effect, which adhered to the nautical/oceans theme.
The Stateroom - 1229-Riviera Deck
Since I lacked a roommate for this cruise, I elected to purchase a 1A guarantee and hoped for the best. Carnival did upgrade me to a 4A, which is a standard ocean view room without the ocean view. I made the sacrifice and lived in the inner sanctum of the Riviera Deck. The room was adequate and provided me with the standard amenities, including a bowlful of various samples of personal and household products, which did come in handy during the trip. Service was A+++ with my room attended to twice a day by the room steward and his helper. My room was spotless when I arrived and continued to be spotless throughout the cruise.
Carnival raised its prices on soft drinks hauling in $2.01 every time you would order a coke or any other beverage in a can. This price included the 15% gratuity. If you are a family with a lot of kids or you are just a soft drink addict, perhaps the $30.00+ soda card would work for you. Food on the Victory was OK; nothing really to shout home about. We had one bad experience on the first morning of the cruise at breakfast in the informal (Lido) dining area. Out eggs and bacon were like ice. Perhaps there was a breakdown of a warming device in the self-service area, but this only happened once. Our evening dining was located in the Pacific Dining Room table #440 late seating. Our service was superb thanks do our waiter Charlie from Mumbai, India and assistant Shaun from South Africa. They worked as a team and their service showed it. I only wish the food was up to par. Everything from the kitchen came out piping hot, but some of the dishes I ordered were tasteless. Do not ever order the Veal Parmigean…totally a waste and tasteless. The lobsters served on the one formal night were great. The prime rib I ordered was 50% fat and Charlie, who knew I was not satisfied with the cut that was served to me, replaced it with a much leaner piece. I had lunch daily in the informal dining area and prepare yourself for lines, lines and more lines. Many times, I dodged the lines and just had a hamburger and fries served in the pool area, which were very good. When I did wait on the lunch line, it was a real slow mover. Food served there was average…again nothing spectacular. The pasta bar was good along with the carving station, which served prime rib, pork, lamb and ham on a rotating basis. I did not like the sauce served at the pasta bar. I thought my jar of Ragu, sitting in my cabinet at home tasted much better. The pizza served from 24-hour pizza tasted terrible….definitely not like pizza from my hometown, but I did expect this. To sum it up, the food on the Victory did not exceed my expectations, but I did not go hungry, that's for sure. Oh yes, I highly recommend the chocolate melting cake for dessert in the dining room -- real delish!
I love spending my sea days either using the exercise equipment or soaking my aches and pains away in one of the two hot tubs located in the gym area aboard the Victory. I never use the optional massage services as I feel they are way overpriced. The gym provides several different types of exercise equipment that can be used by passengers free of charge. There is a separate men and women's changing room, showers, sauna and steam facilities, again all complementary. On our last sea day I was all set for a warm whirlpool session and found that the hot tubs in the gym were drained of water and were being sanitized for the next cruise. Why they picked a sea day to do this was beyond me, however they were reopened late in the day with ice-cold water in them, making them totally useless. I did comment on my comment card about this situation that really annoyed me. There were other outdoor hot tubs on the ship, but they were filled with kids making a lot of racket playing that "Marco-Polo" game. The signs did say adults only above one of the whirlpools, but Carnival did not enforce that posted regulation. I am not against kids on a cruise, but I just feel that they should have more responsible parents to ensure that the kids adhere to cruise regulations and that the cruise lines enforce their requirements.
did attend most of the shows aboard the Victory in the Caribbean Showroom. This is a beautiful state of the art facility, however, it fills up quickly when there is one show. The shows were as follows:
First Night: Welcome Aboard Show hosted by Malcolm Burn (Cruise Director) and the Victory Dancers. Also a comedian, Will Marfori. This show was great and the Victory Dancers provided great entertainment. The cruise director, from the Bronx, NY, was funny at times, however his "WOO-HOO" comment after everything he said began to be annoying by the end of the cruise. The comedian, Will Marfori, was a victim of cerebral palsy at birth and he uses his handicap as part of his act, which, I thought was totally tasteless. I felt bad if there were any CP patients in the room or any parents of CP patients. I refused to go to his adult only midnight show.
Second Night: A dance and song review "Living in America" by the Victory Dancers, The kids worked real hard here and received a well-deserved standing ovation.
Third Night: Magic Moments starring Rand Woodbury. A great illusionist and a lot of audience participation. Don't miss this one. I also saw this act aboard another cruise ship and is well worth your attendance.
Fourth Night: "Vrooom" starring the Victory Dancers. Great show with lots of lighting effects. Songs from the 60's to Current. Don't miss this one.
Fifth Night: "Carnival Legends," a passenger talent show. Missed this one. Retired early as I was really tired and needed to fill out my cruise comment card and custom's forms for the next morning debark in NYC.
Ports of Call: St. John, NB
Having cruised this itinerary before, I recommended the horse drawn trolley through the streets of St John. It would be great for my cruise mates, Joe and Charlotte Cognato…especially for Joe who has limited mobility. We plunked down our $35 PP for this hour-long tour (up $10 since my last visit in 2004). We booked this tour on our first sea day prior to arriving at St John's. Upon our arrival to this port, we were greeted with cold, misty and foggy weather. We took the tour and Joe had a tough time boarding the trolley as everyone rushed the trolley like a NYC rush hour subway scene. We were stuck in the back of the trolley and felt every bump as we passed over the streets of St John. We were given blankets to ward off the chill and the drizzle, which passed through the open sides of the moving vehicle. Joe took pity on the two large horses that powered our vehicle through the hilly streets. The poor animals strained at the harnesses as the trolley negotiated the many hills on the tour. If only the weather had been nicer, I would have enjoyed this tour much more. I came off the tour, damp and cold, and cursed the unseasonable weather.
Ports of Call: Halifax, NS
This city, located on the Atlantic, played an important part in history….in both World Wars, the Titanic disaster and in England's defense of its territories during the revolutionary war. I loved Halifax, when I visited it in 2000 and 2004, which were both sunny and beautiful days. The Victory arrived in port right on schedule and were greeted by Celtic pipers and a judiciary welcome read by an elderly gentlemen, who now sits in a wheelchair. Yes, we were greeted by the same terrible weather that we left in St John, the day prior. Today we added a steady rain to the mix of fog and drizzle…just to make things a bit more miserable. We had booked another trolley tour of the city, but decided to cancel this tour when we saw the rainy weather. The tickets did say no refund, but we flexed our Platinum level status at the tour desk and were given a $41 credit to each of our sail and sign accounts. I did go off the ship and did some shopping at the pier, where a nice shopping area was located just a few steps from the ship.
To sum it up, the weather did ruin our days portside, but there is nothing you can do about the weather. I am sure my next cruise in January 2008 to the southern Caribbean will be sunny and warm, I hope!
Carnival now offers and has been offering a carry your own luggage debark process. Just get on line at 6:45 in the atrium area and get off the ship as soon as the ship is cleared by US customs. The problem here was that many folks do not understand the process as they entered the line void of any luggage, thinking that the gang way would lead them to the luggage area, which it did not. The luggage area on the pier was only accessible from Deck 0. If Carnival personnel did not see you carrying any luggage, you were asked to leave the line and wait in your appropriate color area aboard the ship. Some people did get through and could not get their luggage, which was on the lower pier area. This caused total confusion and many passengers were extremely upset. I was pulling my small piece of luggage, but I waited with my cruise mates as they had VIP tags and we were the second group to be called once the chaos of the first group was finished.
I would not do this cruise again, not because of any on board experiences, but that three times to this area was enough for me. The cruise was nice and I enjoyed the VIP Platinum perks, especially the board and debark process. I still feel that Carnival gives you the best bang for the buck, after all I have sailed in eleven of them. No this was not my best Carnival cruise, but I would still give the Victory a passing grade, even with its food problems, lines and tons of passengers under the age of ten running about unsupervised. Will I sail Carnival again? You betcha.
Carnival Cruise Lines Carnival Victory by Kellie Eastern Canada June 30, 2007
I am a 27 year old non-party girl. This does not mean I am God fearing or Christian, I am actually a secular humanist. This does mean I do not like it when those around me are too drunk to stop themselves from falling on the floor. That said; I chose this cruise because of the horror stories I heard about cruises to the Caribbean. Also, this was my first cruise. I'll tell you upfront I was thrilled with cruising! I would most definitely do it again. I loved it. I am sure this was thanks to Carnival's attitude toward "Fun". They make it a priority and it shows (as far as I can tell).
When I was researching this trip a few weeks before I left I wanted a few bits of information that were hard to find. I have included this information in my review to help those like-minded out there.
We arrived around 1pm. The line to go through security was a little slow. I think that's because people didn't have their tickets and passports out. Once throughthe security the rest moved pretty fast. The people were very friendly.
We walked into the lounge, it was huge, and reminded me of Vegas. It was very, aquamarine. We got into our room (room number 1211) which was an inside – no window. I was a little worried about this before we got on, but the room was very spacious and clean. The beds were very comfortable and the temperature was maybe 5 degrees colder than I like but that's perfect for sleeping. We dropped our bags off and went exploring.
First Day (June 30 from 2pm to 1am)
Mostly sunny about 80 degrees: After exploring the ship we tried the buffet. GROSS!!! All of the food was pretty bad. I mean, it was digestible but not something I would eat unless I was pretty hungry. The desserts were OK… the best part by far. By the time we were done it was 4pm and time to get ready for the life boat drill. I believe they had stated you must be there by 4:30. We were there at 4:15. figured we could sign in and get out. Not so much. Actually, it didn't really get started until about 4:45. DO NOT COME EARLY TO THIS MANDATORY DRILL!!! No one else did and you'll just feel like a dip. By 5:15 we were out of our life jackets and trying to get up to the deck to watch the boat pull out of the Hudson. I guess everyone was really fast getting out of that drill because the decks were already full up! So we went to the gym and watched the harbor go by there. It was nice and quiet. Children under 13 aren't allowed in so no one was there. And the gym is the front of the ship. The only down side was the windows were kinda dirty. This was fine for looking through but not for taking pictures through. After we went under the Verrazano Bridge we went back to our room to get into our bathing suits. By 6:15 we were in the pool area. Everyone had these great huge fluffy looking towels that we couldn't find anywhere. Finally I asked someone with one and she said it was in her room. I didn't remember seeing these towels in our room. So I asked a crew member, he said we could get a towel from the pool supplies cart but the cart was closed for the night. We had to go back to our room to get our thin bath towels (which we are told by a large plaque to not take from the room but they left us no choice). There was no one in the pool so we thought we'd have it all to ourselves. Then we found out there's no one in the pool because it was FREEZING! The official temperature was 64 degrees! Way too cold even on the hottest of days. So I went to the hot tub which was also relatively cold compared to average hot tub temperature. By 7:30 we got out and showered for our late seating dinner. The shower was really nice (great temp range and really good water pressure) but the shampoo was weird. There was no conditioner and while it didn't say it was a shampoo + conditioner I think it was. my really thick hair was really easy to brush afterward (doesn't normally happen with out conditioner). But it was really watery. It took 4 handfuls to get my head covered. At 8:30 we get to the Atlantic Dining Room Lower Level for our seating. There was a line as people didn't know where their table was and had to wait for a waiter to come over and seat us. We sat with a few nice people. I ordered the Caesar salad, salmon and chocolate melting cake (all A+!). The after dinner coffee tasted like instant coffee (Nescafe or whatever) so I didn't like it. Service was decent (Kenroy was our waiter) but a little slow (can't say that's the waiters fault). At 10:30 we went to our first show. It was a tiny taste of the shows we were to see for the rest of the week. The two main singers (a male and a female) came out and danced around, sang some oldies. Then the cruise director (Malcom) came out and talked for a few minutes. Then there was a (horrible) comedian for a while (we didn't stay long after he came on). At 12 we went to the casino to check out the tables and machines. Every dealer was really nice. One of them (Jerilee I think) taught me how to play blackjack and Fun 21 (same as blackjack, kinda). At 1 we went back to our cabin and our bed was turned down for us with a paper detailing the stuff to do tomorrow (called a Caper).
Second Day (July 1 from 8am to 1am)
Canada Day, Mostly sunny about 60 degrees: Because this was the first full day at sea there was a lot of things to do. At 8am we got up and got dressed. About 8:30 we head down to have breakfast at the restaurant. The food was OK. I ordered Eggs Benedict. DO NOT ORDER THE EGGS BENEDICT! The hollandaise sauce was gross and the poached eggs were hard. My boyfriend ordered poached eggs with hash. His eggs were hard too. The coffee was that Nescafe sludge again. The OJ was good. The service was nice and this dining room (the Pacific lower level) had nicer views than our dinner dining room. At 10 we head over to the ships bingo. They sell cards at 1 for $10 or 3 for $20. We bought two $20 cards, played one game and it was over. We didn't win. $40 pretty much down the toilet. I have had better, cheaper, and longer lasting times in a church basement. At 10:30 we stayed in the lounge for the Canadian Trivia (it was Canada Day). This was fun and we got a surprising amount correct and would have won the "ship on a stick" trophy had someone actually kept anyone honest. She basically asked us all questions, had us write down our answers, when she was done with questions she told us the answers, we told her how many we got right. My boyfriend legitimately got 20 correct. After someone heard that 20 correct was the best anyone did, he said he got 21. So he got the ship on the stick. It's no big deal but it was annoying. This was the case for most trivia contests. At 11 we went to the casino to try our luck at slots and tables. No luck today. At 1:30 we went up to the miniature golf. It was miniature miniature golf but it was still nice. We were kicked off at the second to last hole because of the Camp Carnival kids -- they had it reserved for 2pm. At 2 we went to lunch at the restaurant and it was closed! The lunch is only from 12 to 1:30. We had to settle for the buffet. This time though we tried the "taste of nations: India" and the sandwich bar. Those were both VERY GOOD! The ruben was a little fatty but just fine and theIndian food was delicious! While eating lunch we saw there were Canada Day activities going on. There was a "Hairy Chest" contest (fun to watch), a Watermelon Carving contest (I participated in and therefore ended up in the ships video which was playing in the casino and bar 24-7. sigh), and a Hot Dog Eating Contest. Those were fun to watch. At 3:30 we went to the general trivia going on. The same thing happened at this one. My boyfriend (which has a wide shallow pool of knowledge to draw from, this is why we play these) got a 22, someone decided at the last minute they got a 23. oh well. At 4 we went to another Bingo game, this time it was the same price but 7 games played on a card. This was a little more fun but we still didn't win. At 4:30 we went to the DVD Movie trivia. Same thing all over again, this time it was a group of boys who decided they got all of the questions right. Glad they get a nice trophy to bring home. At 5 we went back to the cabin and took a nap. At 7 we got ready for dinner. It was the formal captains dinner night. I wasn't really into it, I don't care for dressing up but my boyfriend likes that kind of thing. So we got all fancied up. At 8:30 we went to dinner, which went a little smoother because we all knew where we were going. I ordered Caesar salad and lobster tail and chocolate melting cake again (all very good again). This time we ordered espresso and cappuccino instead of coffee and those were very delicious. At 10:30 we went to the show: Living in America. This show was hilarious. I am sure it wasn't meant to be. The dancers were just so. into it. It was nice because the costumes were pretty. But otherwise, it was something to laugh at with your best friend. At 12 we went to the casino and tried our luck again. No luck yet!
Third Day (July 2 from 7:30am to 12am)
Partly cloudy, spots of rain, about 60 degrees: Our first day at a port. St. John, Canada. We purchased the Bay of Fundy day trip so we needed to be at the bus at 8:15. At 7:30 we went down for a quick breakfast buffet. GROSS! Oh man, if this buffet was bad for dinner, it was DISGUSTING for breakfast. The eggs were nasty, the French toast and pancakes were dry, the bagles were hard. eew. We ate what we could and waited to disembark. At 8:00 we get off the ship and are bombarded with different cameramen wanting to take our picture. We took some but I don't remember with whom (maybe an old salty seaman?). At 8:15 we were sitting on our little 25-seater bus, on our way to the Bay of Fundy. The driver and the tour leader were hilarious! They were both so nice and had this adorable charm to them. I don't remember their names unfortunately. At about 9:30 we arrived at the gate to the national park and we saw 2 moose! One mother and her 1 year old baby. We stopped there and took pictures. At about 9:15 we picked up an "interpreter". They are like park rangers in the US. He was AWESOME! He was hilarious, just like the tour leader. This subtle -- "Fargo"-like humor. Humble and charming. He told us all about the park and why it's special while we drove down to the beach to see the high and low tides of Fundy. He told us about the flora and fauna that live there. It was great. At about 11:30 we had lunch. They packed a sandwich, apple and candies in a brown paper bag and handed them out. They were decent. At about 12 we had a new interpreter. She brought us to the woods of Fundy. We hiked to a waterfall, everything was beautiful. At about 2 we went back to the same beach to see the tide difference -- it was huge! The tides go out 39' and boy can you tell! We went to take pictures and saw something shiny on the beach. Some of us went to investigate and it was a baby seal! We thought it might have been stranded as the tide went back out but it looked at us then turned around and went back into the ocean. It was amazing! At about 2:15 we headed back to the ship and saw the same moose again with another one as well! This was a red letter day for animal life! At 3:30 we were the last ones back on the ship as they got ready for disembarking. At 3:45 we went to the buffet to eat a snack, we stuck with what we've liked so far -- sandwiches and desserts. At 4:30 we took a nap. At 7 we got ready for dinner. At 8:30 we got to dinner. I ordered the Caesar salad, NY strip steak and a cream pie (the steak was a little tough and I should have stuck with the chocolate melting cake). At 10:30 we went to see Rand something, Illusionist. It was entertaining enough but there wasn't a lot of illusions. The only tricks he did were pretty easy to figure out. And he was a little melodramatic (not unlike Job on Arrested Development). At 12 we went to bed.
Fourth Day (July 3 from 8am to 12:30am)
Mostly cloudy, about 60 degrees: Second day at a port. Halifax, Canada. We didn't purchase any excursions today. At 8 we got up for breakfast. We tried for the buffet; we heard the omelets were very good. I guess everyone else heard this because the omelets line was HUGE and everyone was mad at everyone else. I didn't really eat any breakfast. At 9 we disembark to Halifax. We asked an information desk how to get to Deadman's Island (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deadman's_Island,_Halifax). It's a pretty obscure tourist area. She suggested city buses. They were OK. We expected them to come more often than once an hour. We ended up wasting most of the morning and just getting in a cab. At 11 we get into a cab and ask the cab driver to bring us to Deadman's Island. He had no idea what we were talking about. So he pulled over and turned off his meter and called his dispatcher. His dispatcher couldn't understand he cab drivers accent so the driver handed the phone to my boyfriend. He tried to explain to him what we were looking for. Eventually he understood. We got to the area but couldn't find the plaque that was the actual monument. So the driver called the dispatcher again. He was so nice! He even waited for us when we did actually find it. At 12 the driver took us to the Citadel. It cost about $28 total (with tip) for this guy to drive us around. Way worth it. The Citadel was nice and the seafood chowder in the café was amazing! At 1 we walked to the Natural History Museum. It was adorable. There was a working beehive demonstration I found fascinating. At 2 we walked around downtown waterfront. At 3 we found a restaurant on the harbor "Saltys". It was very good but a little pricey. Next door was "Cows" which had great ice cream. At 5:00 we got back on the boat and headed back for home. At 5:30 we went back to the room and took a nap. At 6:30 we got up and got ready for dinner. At 8:30 we went to dinner. I had Caesar salad, some river fish and chocolate melting cake (all very good). At 10:30 we went back to our room. I was all set on seeing another ludicrous song and dance (called Varoom this time - ugh). We played some card games amongst ourselves. At 11:30 we ordered room service which was fast friendly and free. My three favorite "F's" when it comes to room service. At 12:30 we went to bed.
Fifth Day (July 4 from 8am to 10:30pm)
I don't know what the weather was, I spent most of the day in the casino. Second full day at sea. At 8 we got up and went to breakfast. I had the bagel and lox which was pretty good (but the bagel was hard). At 9 we went to the casino. We were there from 9am until 12pm. We broke even most of the time. At 12 we went to lunch at the restaurant. I ordered a spinach and ricotta ravioli. It was very good but heavy. At 1 we went to the art auction preview. There were a few nice pieces up there. At 1:45 was the art auction. It was interesting at first then got very boring very quickly. It went from something people wanted to do and bid on to a sales pitch for every other ugly piece of artwork that went up. We left at 3 and it was still going on. At 3 we went back to the casino. I won a jackpot of $1100+ on a 2 cent slot. I then won several of the smaller progressives (about $20 each) and then $100 with one quarter in a quarter machine. Needless to say, we spent most of our afternoon/evening in the casino. Thankfully, I kept most of those winnings. At 8:30 we reluctantly pulled ourselves away from the casino for dinner. I ordered Caesar salad, quail and cappuccino cake (should have stuck with the chocolate melting cake). At 10:30 we went back to our room and went to bed.
Disembarkation (July 5 from 5am to 9am)
Foggy, choppy seas. At 5 am I was woken by announcements from the crew to passengers that needed special attention. I have no idea why they didn't just call the passengers room. Why did I have to wake up so freaking early!?! At 7 our wake up call came, I ignored it as I had been in and out of sleep since 5 am. I wasn't in any hurry to get off the ship so I wasn't really in a hurry to get up. At 8 my boyfriend demands I wake up. We are up and dressed watching CNN waiting for our floor to be called. At 8:45 our floor is called, we gather our stuff and go up to the 3rd deck that was PACKED! Why in the world would they call all decks if they clearly are not ready to accept them all. I was pretty serene, still living off the high of the great vacation and winnings from yesterday so I didn't really care or complain. However, this large annoying couple behind us could not stop bitching about the situation. The whole time it was how they are done with Carnival and done with cruising all together. I would have told them to shut up if I wasn't already in my happy place. At 9:45 I was on my way to work while my bags were on their way home with my boyfriend.