Jump to content
Cruise Critic Community
April-in-NC

Carnival Victory Trip Report, June 17-24, 2012 (lots of pictures!!)

Recommended Posts

OMG... I am so tired today! I'm glad I took today off from work to recover and try to get unpacked!

 

June 16, 2012, Travel to San Juan

This will be a detailed trip report with a lot of pictures and I will do my best to get everything written and posted quickly (I don’t like waiting for reviews to be posted over weeks either!). I tend to write my trip reports journal style as I have time during a trip and then finish up after I get home, so some of you may notice verb tenses changing back and forth. Please don’t judge. ;)

 

This cruise is our first family cruise and we have three generations going. My 75 year old father (he suffered a stroke 7 years ago so there will be information about any mobility/access issues we experience), my 56 year old mother, me (I’m 31), my 29 year old sister, my 31 year old brother-in-law and my 15 month old nephew (so there will also be some information about traveling with toddlers). We have all cruised separately but not as a large group. This trip is to celebrate my Mom’s graduation from Nursing School! Yeah Mom!!!!

 

P6160004.jpg

These are my parents...

 

This is my fourth cruise (second straight Southern itinerary but some new islands this time), Mom and Dad’s second, my sister’s third (we sailed the Victory together in 2006) and my brother-in-law’s second. This will be my nephew’s first cruise (we are all excited and nervous to see how he does).

 

My parents and I are flying down today and my sister and her family are flying down tomorrow and meeting us on the ship. I tried to talk them into coming down on Saturday but they wanted to keep the baby on a schedule for one more day.

 

We landed on time with no real drama other than some screaming children during takeoff and landing. Baggage claim took forever but everything arrived. We hopped into a taxi to our hotel (Chateau Cervantes) which was about 4 blocks from the pier. The taxi driver had trouble finding it and when he dropped us off I wasn’t sure we were in the right place. The hotel is barely marked and the one small sign they had on the awning was hidden by umbrellas on the street. The taxi cost was $19 + $2 fuel surcharge + $1 per suitcase + tip. I did notice that the fuel charge went up from last summer.

 

DSC02512.jpg

 

Untitled.jpg

Edited by April-in-NC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The hotel is very small but the staff is very helpful. We found an internet deal for a junior suite (king bed plus a sofa bed) for $159 a night plus a continental breakfast. With taxes and fees it will be about $210. We had room 6 on the fourth floor. We were on the back side of the hotel on a less busy street and we didn’t notice a ton of noise but there was some yelling and throwing trash into the dumpster throughout the night. The bathroom is small but nice and the bed and sofa can be separated by pulling curtains together to provide a little bit of privacy. The sofa bed is not very comfortable… I am not very picky about where I sleep but I could feel all of the springs. I still slept pretty good I only woke up a few times. Mom said the noise bothered her more (she was closer to the doors to the balcony).

 

DSC02497.jpg

 

View from our balcony...

 

DSC02492.jpg

We ate an early dinner at the small restaurant next door called Genesis. Service was a little slow (probably island time) but the food was decent and prices ranged from $8.50 to about $20.00. The waitress brought out a small plate of mofongo which everyone raves about. We didn’t care for it, mainly because of the high amount of garlic. I love garlic, but this was a lot even by my standards

 

After dinner we dropped Dad back off at the hotel so he could rest. His legs couldn’t take any more walking after walking through three airports all day (again, limited mobility from his stroke). Mom and I walked down to the water front, did a little shopping and decided we were going to walk ourselves to the pier on Sunday.

 

DSC02503.jpg

 

Mom and I had originally booked a bio bay kayak trip but we had to cancel because there was no transportation available. When we booked the transportation option it was with the understanding that they had to have a minimum of 6 people from the same area before they would run the shuttle and we were the only ones who booked transportation and both tours were sold out. We also tried a few other companies at the last minute but nothing worked with our schedule or had the same problem with transportation. Oh well, I did it last year (it was AWESOME!!!) so it isn’t a crushing disappointment. If someone is interested in reading about it, click the link to my review from last year on the Serenade of the Seas.

 

Out of my four cruises (including this one) this is the third time I have flown in a night early but I never feel like vacation really starts until I board the ship. So wierd!

Edited by April-in-NC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sunday, June 17th: San Juan and Embarkation

We all woke up around 8:30 and started getting ready. The room package we had includes a continental breakfast in the restaurant downstairs. The water was hot and plentiful in the shower and the air conditioner worked VERY well in the room. I was actually chilly most of the night which is what I preferred because I sleep better when I am chilly versus hot.

Breakfast was a little strange because we weren’t sure how it worked. When we came downstairs we were told to seat ourselves at the restaurant and we expected there to be a small buffet set up but we didn’t see anything. A few minutes after we sat down the waitress came over and asked us what we wanted to drink (coffee, tea, water and orange juice were our options) and about 5 minutes later she brought out a large plate of breads and pastries with a tray of butter, jelly and cream cheese. I had seen a few negative reviews about the breakfast so I had low expectations and was pleasantly surprised at what was available. Unless you are on a low carb or gluten free diet there should be something to for you to eat. Especially enough to hold you until you got on the ship. My only recommendation would be for them to add in a little bit of fruit.

DSC02509.jpg

 

DSC02510.jpg

 

 

We decided to walk to the pier from the hotel. It was about 4 blocks with one block being a downhill walk. Even with 6 suitcases and Dad having limited mobility it was an easy walk. At a snail’s pace it took us about 20 minutes (including a break to stop for some pictures). At a normal pace it would be less than 15 minutes.

DSC02517.jpg

(My Dad and me)

Getting on the ship was a painless process, especially since we were able to use the Special Assistance lane since we requested wheelchair assist for boarding. We only had to wait a minute or two at the check-in desk and then we were told to wait in a specific area for a wheelchair. We did have to wait about 15 minutes, but a very helpful woman let us know that they had just finished debarkation of the previous sailing so the wheelchairs were all in transit.

The wheelchair arrived shortly after that and we went through security (I had three bottles of wine in my carry on for all three of us and no one even blinked) and boarded the ship. When we boarded we were told our rooms were ready (this was right around 12:45-1:00) so we were able to go immediately to our room and drop off our carry-on bags.

DSC02520.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We have cabin 9257 and my sister and her family have an inside cabin (9255) across the hall. The location is perfect for our family’s needs. Steps to the pool and lido which makes it easy for my Dad to come and go by himself without us worrying about him getting lost or trying to manage stairs or elevators on his own.

My sister’s family arrived from the airport around 3:00. They were stressed from traveling with a baby and getting up at 4:00 in the morning. Mom went to take care of the baby so they could de-stress and unpack some of their carry-on bags. She brought him over to our cabin where he proceeded to dump out Cheerios to entertain himself.

 

DSC02527.jpg

 

Our luggage arrived around 3:00 and we unpacked. We never have enough hangers, so we requested some from our steward.

Dinner that night was open seating. You can go to any dining room at any time between 5:30 and 8:30. It was convenient (except for my nephew’s mini meltdown at dinner) but it seemed like it was more work for the waiters. Everyone was on different schedules and no one was with their assigned team so it delayed everyone’s normal requests, like food on the table for the baby, another night.

DSC02544.jpg

 

DSC02551.jpg

(My Brother-in-Law and my Sister)

 

The muster drill is way too late in my opinion. The baby was up way past his bedtime and it was a group effort to keep him from full melt down mode. Because of Dad’s special needs and the baby Carnival did let us do Muster Drill in the Ionian Room so we at least had a place to sit that wasn’t outside in the heat and humidity. We were able to leave early as well so we could get upstairs before the crowds took over the elevators.

We were almost an hour late leaving San Juan. I was barely able to stay awake until we passed El Morro. Sailing away at night is pretty, but a little anti-climatic since we had been on board all day and everyone was so tired. They still had the deck party going on, we could hear it from our balcony but we were all too tired to go check it out.

 

 

DSC02585.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

looking forward to reading the rest of your reveiw, hopefully you got some ship shots, lol we are booked on the Victory for our first B2B we have a 4J cabin on the lido, an inside that has a window overlooking the secret deck :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
looking forward to reading the rest of your reveiw, hopefully you got some ship shots, lol we are booked on the Victory for our first B2B we have a 4J cabin on the lido, an inside that has a window overlooking the secret deck :D

 

I didn't get too many shots of the interior of the ship because this was my second time on the Victory. I will post links to whatever I have!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Am I the only one that is grossed out that the baby is eating Cherrios off of the carpet?:eek::eek: Loving the review, otherwise. Sorry!!! You just never know!!!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh I can't wait for more!!!

 

So there's anytime dining the first night? by chance did you bring home your Funville Times? Also were there 2 formal nights? Do you remember which day they had the Chocolate Buffet? Thanks.

 

 

Nae

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Oh I can't wait for more!!!

 

So there's anytime dining the first night? by chance did you bring home your Funville Times? Also were there 2 formal nights? Do you remember which day they had the Chocolate Buffet? Thanks.

 

 

Nae

 

There were two formal nights, Tuesday (sea day) and Thursday (St. Lucia).

 

I kept the Fun Times but my Mom has them 2.5 hours away. :) I don't remember seeing a chocolate buffet but there was a Mexican Buffet one night at 11:30 pm. We didn't go because we were already asleep. lol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Am I the only one that is grossed out that the baby is eating Cherrios off of the carpet?:eek::eek: Loving the review, otherwise. Sorry!!! You just never know!!!!!

 

Well, if they didn't run the sweeper before we arrived they did daily after. :p We tried to keep the Cheerios picked up, but he likes to throw things on the floor and some of them got stepped on. That was a daily game he played. LOL

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Oh I can't wait for more!!!

 

So there's anytime dining the first night? by chance did you bring home your Funville Times? Also were there 2 formal nights? Do you remember which day they had the Chocolate Buffet? Thanks.

 

 

Nae

 

The chocolate buffet is on the Lido, on your last sea day. :(

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Can't wait to hear more! Especially with the mobility issues.

 

Be sure to ask if I don't answer a question you have... The biggest issue all week was that a lot of people just don't pay attention and assume everyone is moving at their pace. Dad almost got knocked over several times (almost a daily occurance). I try to give people the benefit of a doubt, but no doubt about it there are some RUDE people out there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Monday, June 18th: St. Thomas

Our goal was to get everyone off the ship by 9:00 so we could head to Sapphire Beach. Mom and I wanted to snorkel, Dad was along for the ride, and my sister’s family decided to come with us so we could take turns entertaining and watching the baby. I was glad they came with us because it was so much fun to watch him play in the sand and water. This was his first trip to the beach!

DSC02599.jpg

 

We ate breakfast on Lido and it was a zoo around 8:00 when we were there. The lines were long but everyone was pretty patient. The eggs tasted weird to me but the pancakes were good! We all thought the bacon tasted weird. Mom thinks it is “old” bacon.

We ended up getting off the ship around 9:15. The taxi to Sapphire was $10 per person (baby was free and did not need a car seat) and we were dropped off at the reception area where the dive shop was located. Chairs were $7 each and there were no umbrellas for rent but they weren’t needed because there were plenty of trees that provided shade if you wanted it.

DSC02658.jpg

 

Snorkel gear was $10 to rent for the day and another $10 for the vest. I had my own gear and chose not to rent the vest.

DSC02607.jpg

 

I chose to stay pretty close to shore because I didn’t have the vest and didn’t want to worry about getting back to where my feet could touch. We started out over the sea grass (to the left facing the water) but didn’t have much luck, just a few fish. The second time we went out we went out over the coral (to the right facing the water) and had much better luck. A good variety of fish and coral but my pictures didn’t turn out very good because the water was a little murky and some of the fish just blended in. I’m not sure if it is my camera settings, the water conditions that day, or if I’m looking for an excuse to buy a new waterproof camera. LOL (Mine is 4 years old)

P6180069.jpg

P6180060.jpg

 

P6180095.jpg

 

The beach isn’t rocky, but there were a lot of broken bits of coral that can make getting in and out of the water a little tricky in spots, especially if you have tender feet. You don’t NEED water shoes, but if you have space for them it wouldn’t hurt to bring them along.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We called our taxi driver to come pick us up, he promised us a “free” mini tour on our way back with a few stops for pictures if we used him again. He made four stops, one to show us how they built their houses into the hillside, one to show us their public housing and tell us how strict the rules are, one place that had a view of the port area (the Victory was the only ship in port) and then the last stop was overlooking Maegen’s Bay. After the tour we were dropped off just a few steps from the gangway. I got back on to drop off some of my stuff and then went back out to do some quick shopping. I collect Christmas ornaments from all of my trips (both business and vacation) and this was my first trip to St. Thomas.

DSC02706.jpg

 

DSC02718.jpg

 

DSC02726.jpg

 

DSC02785.jpg

Pictures before dinner that night...

Untitled.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Excellent review so far! :D Thanks for taking the time post it. By the way, your eyes are stunning in that snorkel picture! ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • 2019 Cruisers' Choice Awards
      • NCL Sail-Away Giveaway Sweepstakes - Win a 7-Day Cruise on Norwegian Joy!
      • Forum Assistance
      • New Cruisers
      • Community Contests
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Member Cruise Reviews
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...