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My Carnival Victory review 4/1-4/8/2012 (Long with lots of pix!)

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A word of warning before this review begins. I tend to write my reviews journal style, so expect a very wordy, very long review with lots of details. And since I love photography as well, I‘ll be including lots of pictures! (Just not right off the bat!)

 

And a note of apology for such a delay. :o It’s been almost a month since we returned from our cruise and it’s amazing how life gets in the way of what you really want to do each day! Before I could write this review - of our cruise on Victory (April 1st – 8th, 2012) - there was so much I had to do. There were more than 2,000 photos that required sorting through, I needed to pick and label the ones I really wanted to use, I wanted to get all my information organized and finally I had to put it all into writing.

 

Having sailed the Victory before, and done one review already, I went into our cruise afraid I wouldn’t have anything new to write about. With having our kids along this time, however, we ended up doing new things we hadn’t done in the past, and got a fresh look at the cruise through their eyes.

 

A brief overview first, though. It was wonderful!!

 

Okay, I’ll elaborate, but just the bare bones here, to allow those of you who don’t want to wade through all the rest, to get a sense of how our trip went. It was a family trip, so you won’t find much on the casinos and bars, I’m afraid, although we did run up a modest drink bill. And we cruise mainly for the ports, so I concentrated much of my photo taking there. But there are plenty of general pix as well, and if you have any other questions, I will be happy to try and answer them as best I can.

 

Overview:

-our family: my DH, Jon, and I, early 40’s; our DD, Amanda (Mandy), 17; our DS, Tim, 12; and my aunt, Kay, 60’s; we have all cruised before – the kids once, my DH and my aunt two other times, and for me it was my fifth cruise, all mostly on Carnival. Jon, my aunt and I have been on the Victory before, as well, so it was rather a homecoming for us.

 

-our trip: we came down a day early, March 31st, and stayed an extra night after the cruise, flying home on April 9th. We stayed in the Embassy Suites, right next to the airport, the first night, and the Sheraton Old San Juan after the cruise. Both were well worth the extra expense, and it was a very relaxing way to begin and end our cruise.

 

-ship: I call the design “Caribbean Over the Top;” lots of blues and greens, lots of seahorses, very beachy eye-popping fabrics and textures, but overall not too gaudy, IMO. And sometimes even downright beautiful. I loved it!

 

-accommodations: DS, DH and I were in one of the aft wraps on deck six, 6434; DD and aunt were in an interior just down the hall from us, 6422. We used the aft wrap as a family gathering spot, which worked out fairly well. Definitely plenty of space! If I had to do it over again, though, I think I would have gotten balcony rooms next to each other, and opened the divider, so we could ALL roll out of bed and head right outside, as opposed to some people having to walk down the hall and knock to be let in each time.

 

-food: this was our first time with the new “didja” and “comfort foods” menu, and for the most part we liked what was offered. The kids were older this time, as well, and more up for trying new, adventurous things. We ate dinner each night in the dining room. We also managed to eat breakfast in the dining room a record four mornings, and each time around service seemed very quick. We ordered a range of items and were usually done within 45 minutes. Overall, we never found it hard to find something good to eat. (Food porn to follow)

 

-drinks: we brought three bottles of wine onboard with us, from the CVS in San Juan; one we had during one of the shows, one we brought to supper with us one night (our waiter never even mentioned an uncorking fee) and we actually ended up bringing back off the last bottle and drinking it after our cruise. We also ran up a modest bar bill, mostly buying the drinks in the specialty cups (blowfish and whale tail) or during the shows. We also allowed the kids to charge a few specialty frou-frou drinks (non alcoholic) on their cards and they never went overboard.

 

-Photos: We had five cameras among us. I use a Canon SX20 for above water and a Canon PowerShot D10 for underwater; DD had a Canon Powershot SX120; and my aunt had two Pentax, one for above water and one waterproof, of which I’m not sure of the model numbers. I have included pictures from all of our cameras throughout, so if you like a certain picture and want to know which camera took it, feel free to ask.

 

-Staff: We had wonderful waiters each night at dinner, although our assistant waiter was switched two-thirds of the way through the cruise (not his fault). Our room stewards were quiet, but always greeted us cheerfully, by name, each time they saw us in the hallway. And for the most part, the rest of the crew we came in contact with were very pleasant. Our cruise director, Felipe, was energetic and fun, not too overbearing. When we didn’t want to hear his announcements, we just shut our cabin door.

 

Although we had been on the Victory before, planning ahead of any trip is a huge part of the experience for me. I read and re-read prior Victory reviews, including my own, spent hours on all the relevant CC boards, and researched everything. All over again.

 

On to the main review.

 

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Thanks! I'm writing it up in segments on Word as I look over my pictures, then cutting and pasting, so it might take a bit. Most of the early pictures are in Photobucket already. My goal is to try and post at least a day of our cruise every day. Bear with me! :D

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Looking forward to reading your review. No need to apologize for delays. Isn't it funny how real life gets in the way once you return. I'm in a similar boat, still orgainzing pics and deciding which ones to post as well as writing up the review of our cruise which was a week after yours.

There are no delays in posting reviews, all good.

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Subscribing for sure!

Cant wait to read the review and see the pictures as I am sailing in less than 2 weeks :) Excited! Thank you!

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-accommodations: DS, DH and I were in one of the aft wraps on deck six, 6434; DD and aunt were in an interior just down the hall from us, 6422. We used the aft wrap as a family gathering spot, which worked out fairly well. Definitely plenty of space! If I had to do it over again, though, I think I would have gotten balcony rooms next to each other, and opened the divider, so we could ALL roll out of bed and head right outside, as opposed to some people having to walk down the hall and knock to be let in each time.

 

 

 

Loving your review already!!!!!!!! We have the aft wrap on the other side of the ship, along with the premium next door (kids) and the aft-extended (grandparents) - DH and I are sandwiched in with the aft-wrap!! Someone else had that arrangement and they were able to have the steward open the dividers!! Can't wait to read more!

Edited by ibcnusoon

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Looking forward to your review. I enjoyed reading your other Victory review when we were planning our Victory cruise this past January...thanks for all of the time and effort that I KNOW a review takes!

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ooohhhh....I'm so excited to read your review!! It will help me get through the next few months until my Victory cruise this fall....:D

 

Thanks for taking the time to write it!!

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Looking forward to your review!

 

I am curious what deck you were on and how the noise level was for you in the aft?

 

We are in aft balcony and I have read conflicting reviews about the sound.

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Can't wait to read more!! We are sailing Victory Oct.21 this year and the wait is more then I can stand :eek: This will be our first cruise !

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Subscribed! Sailing on the Victory in Oct and am anxiously reading every review on her. Can't wait! Thanks for taking the time and energy to write this review for others to enjoy!

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Subscribed too!! Looking so forward to this review! It's like looking at myself. My DH and I sailed the Victory last year with friends but we are sailing the Victory this January with our kids and my mom. It's fun to get a different perspective through our kids eyes. Can't wait to see what excursions you did. Haven't decided what all were doing so looking for ideas! My kids are 19 and 12 so similar ages.

 

Thanks

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Thanks for all the support so early, everyone! Really makes me want to keep going! Not only can I pay it forward, I can also relive the trip all over again!

 

 

We have the aft wrap on the other side of the ship, along with the premium next door (kids) and the aft-extended (grandparents) - DH and I are sandwiched in with the aft-wrap!!

If you haven't already found pix of the aft wrap, never fear. I will be posting my pix of ours later on. Just flip it around and you should have what yours will look like. I'm jealous that you managed to get all of those in a row together. Hmmm, maybe next time . . . :D

 

Looking forward to your review. I enjoyed reading your other Victory review when we were planning our Victory cruise this past January...thanks for all of the time and effort that I KNOW a review takes!

Thanks! I remember yours as well, so I know you sympathize!

 

ooohhhh....I'm so excited to read your review!! It will help me get through the next few months until my Victory cruise this fall....
Can't wait to read more!! We are sailing Victory Oct.21 this year and the wait is more then I can stand :eek: This will be our first cruise !
Subscribed! Sailing on the Victory in Oct and am anxiously reading every review on her. Can't wait! Thanks for taking the time and energy to write this review for others to enjoy!

Oh, yeah! Been there and know how you all are feeling. It seems like forever to wait, and then suddenly you're walking on board. Just keep logged in to CC - it helps time pass more quickly!

 

Subscribed too!! Looking so forward to this review! It's like looking at myself. My DH and I sailed the Victory last year with friends but we are sailing the Victory this January with our kids and my mom. It's fun to get a different perspective through our kids eyes. Can't wait to see what excursions you did. Haven't decided what all were doing so looking for ideas! My kids are 19 and 12 so similar ages.

That's pretty amazing, the similarities! Hope this gives you even more ideas for this time around! And boy, do the kids (as well as the older adults) add a different perspective!

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Saturday, March 31 – a travel day

 

After waiting almost six months, we were finally on our way! My aunt had come 45 min from her house and stayed over the night before, so we could get a relaxing start this morning. We drove about an hour to the airport (Philadelphia), arriving around 10 am. Wouldn’t it be nice if the weekday morning commute were always this easy? We were scheduled to fly out at 11:55 am, but had gotten a call right before we left the house, saying our flight was delayed until 1:15 pm. Of course, they want you to arrive as if your flight would still be on time, so we just stuck with our original schedule. DH dropped us and the luggage off at the terminal and went to park the car in one of the nearby lots (NOT airport owned long-term!)

 

Now, a little background here: the last time I cruised from San Juan, I made it but my luggage ended up taking a detour and only got to me an hour or so before we sailed. I did not want the same stress this time, so we prepared ahead. Everyone had their own carry-on, stuffed with just about everything he or she would need for the entire trip, as well as a backpack for essentials (iPads, DS, camera, etc. – you get the idea). It’s amazing what you can each cram into 19” when you need to.

 

We also decided to take a 24” checked suitcase for “fancy clothes,” (what I termed “unnecessary” it case it was lost!). It had been almost three years since we cruised last with the kids and I wanted to get some nice updated formal family pix. Well, do you know how heavy mens’ shoes (dress or otherwise) are nowadays? And Tim, even though he is only 12, takes a men’s size 9 ½ shoe. Sigh. On a trial packing before the trip, we were well over the 50 lb. airline limit.

 

In the long run, DH finally agree to an extra $25 checked fee (each way) and we brought along another 24” piece of luggage. Now we had plenty of room, and I snuck in a few extras, including my snorkeling fins. Painful to replace if the luggage was lost, but still stuff I considered unnecessary. Good thing we had two in the end, though, since we ended up buying lots of bulky souvenirs! My aunt ended up with one carry-on, one backpack and one piece of checked luggage.

 

We ate lunch at the airport – Wendy’s – then boarded our flight around 1 pm, and left the ground about 1:30 pm. It was an uneventful, but very full, flight. (All!) the kids (big ones included) managed to keep themselves entertained quite nicely on various electronic devices.

 

 

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My genius DS - takes after his dad!

 

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Gotta love that iPad PhotoBooth setting!

 

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Sailing on Victory January 13th, booked aft cabin 2 days ago. Trying to turn it into a friend gathering. Moved to Colorado right after graduating college and its hard to get back to east coast to see the friends. Looking forward to the review and cant wait for my actual trip. My wife and I are so excited. I think she might be a little more excited then I.

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We landed around 5 pm. Despite the crowded flight, we never had to gate check any of our carry-ons, and thankfully all of our checked luggage made it.

 

Our hotel, the Embassy Suites, was almost literally a stone’s throw away from the airport runways. Took us all of five minutes to get in the taxi, go down the road and exit the taxi at the hotel. Total bill: $10 taxi ride, $1 per bag fee and something new recently added – a $1.50 fuel surcharge per trip, plus tip. Guess gas prices are hitting everyone hard.

 

Our room was ready, so we dropped off our luggage, changed into cooler clothes, and headed back down to the lobby to explore.

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Looking up at the hotel roof

 

 

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Looking down from outside our room

 

 

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Lobby near the elevator

 

One of the perks the Embassy Suites offered was a “manager’s reception,” from about 5:30-7:30 pm. Free (alcoholic) drinks (10oz plastic cups), virgin drinks or punch for the kids, and simple snacks like chips/salsa and popcorn. Even though we had to wait in line a few minutes, they were very generous with pouring the alcohol. My aunt and I ended up with two rum and cokes each, and Jon ended up with a shot of whisky.

 

arrival12_edited-1.jpg

 

 

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Around 7 pm, we moseyed over to the Outback Steakhouse, very conveniently located right inside the hotel lobby. We timed it just right, because by the time we came out an hour later, the place had a waiting line to get in. The day must have really been hard on Tim, because he could hardly keep his eyes open during supper.

arrival13_edited-1.jpg

 

Once we returned to the room, though, he perked up when we decided to head for the outdoor pool. It was a little on the cool side

 

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but quite nice for us northerners to be swimming outside in March. The hotel even offered a few pool toys.

 

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Not sure who enjoyed the shark the most - the kids or the adults!

By 9:30, it was cooling down enough that everyone was ready to get back to the room for the night.

 

As for the room itself, it was ok, but not quite as nice as I had hoped. I neglected to take pix here, but it was arranged like this: as you entered, you had a “living” area, where the pull-out sofa was. My aunt took that to sleep. Then a short hallway, with the bathroom to one side, and a door at the end leading into the main bedroom, with two double beds, where the rest of us slept. Very soft beds and the kids are getting too big and squirmy for us to share a bed with them anymore. I think we’ll be getting two rooms in the future. But it was just for one night, so it worked.

 

Next up: embarkation day

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If you haven't already found pix of the aft wrap, never fear. I will be posting my pix of ours later on. Just flip it around and you should have what yours will look like. I'm jealous that you managed to get all of those in a row together. Hmmm, maybe next time . . . :D

 

 

 

I booked EARLY, over a year in advance!

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Loving the review so far! FI and I looking at booking this as a honeymoon for the Christmas cruise, our first on CCL, but 3rd cruise overall. Just waiting for holiday time to be finalized!! :)

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Did you find a good deal on the Embassy Suites? I can't find anything cheaper than the AAA rate of $164 a night!

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Did you find a good deal on the Embassy Suites? I can't find anything cheaper than the AAA rate of $164 a night!

 

To me, that's actually pretty good. We ended up at $224, but we really wanted a place that took all five of us in a room, and that wasn't quite so easy to find. Most places said we were over the allowed number in one room.

 

And I'm rather a novice at Priceline and other such sites, so I didn't want to get a hotel I didn't like. Plus, we shared the cost with my aunt, so it wasn't as bad for either of us. I figured that it was our vacation and I was going to do it as right as I could. :p

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