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lcpagejr

Review of Victory Cruise Week of 4/4

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The following is quite a lengthy overview and review of our Victory Cruise. We had a wonderful time and you will find my comments support this. I hope this information is of assistance to future Victory cruisers.

 

We cruised on the Victory (E Caribbean) the week of 4/4. This was our 12th cruise and 5th on Carnival. This was our 1st cruise on the Victory but we had cruised the Triumph. WE were a family of four…Me, my wife, daughter (22) and son (17)

 

We flew in to Miami the day before the cruise and stayed at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Miami. I booked a room through priceline for $40. Prior to our arrival I contacted the Hyatt and requested 2 double beds. They did not commit but stated they would do their best to accommodate my request. We arrived at the Hotel at 10pm ($20 cab ride from the airport). The Hotel staff went out of their way to accommodate us. They asked if we had any special needs and I only requested a room with 2 double beds. I was expecting a room looking west (over the city). Instead they gave us a room on the 22 ND floor overlooking the Bay and Port of Miami. What a great view. !!

 

We woke up early and immediately looked out our balcony and could see the ships…Our excitement grew and my son and I took a walk to the Intercontinental Hotel to get a closer view of the ships (about a 5-block walk). We picked up Starbucks on the way back to the hotel (daughter’s request!) and prepared to depart to the Pier.

 

We took a cab to the pier ($10) and arrived about 11:15am. We had booked a Balcony guarantee (category 8) and a inside cabin guarantee (category 1)…so we were anxious to see if we had been upgraded and where we would be staying on the ship. A porter who immediately found a manifest list and provided us with our cabin numbers (#8428 and #8426) greeted us. My immediate reaction was they had also upgraded our inside cabin to a balcony due to the cabin number. I quickly pulled out the Victory’s floorplan and saw we had been upgraded to a category 9A (more on this room later) and our inside cabin was upgraded to a 4E…Not bad!! What impressed me the most was Carnival kept both cabins close together!! I had expected to be on different floors…especially with guarantee cabins. Our porter marked the room number on our bags and after tipping him $15 for 7bags we entered the terminal. The initial security line went very quickly. We were then ushered into the main line for registration. We had completed Funpass and it didn’t appear there was a difference in the Funpass line vs. non-FunPass line. However the line moved fairly quickly and we were registering within 15 minutes. We then went upstairs to the lounge area where we picked up our sail and sign cards and waited to board the ship. The last “open issue†was to see if we had received out late seating dining request. We were happy to see were assigned to table #515 at 8pm in the Pacific Dining Room. Just before noon we were instructed we could board. We took a long walk to the ships entrance, seeing the ship on our right for the whole walk. We went through a few more security checkpoints including getting our picture taken for the Sail and Sign card and then boarded the ship. We were on board by 12:15 and since were instructed not to go to our cabins until 1:30pm we immediately went to the Lido deck for a welcome aboard beverage and lunch in the Mediterranean Restaurant. We quickly got our bearings since we had cruised on the Triumph several years ago. A walk down Neptune way on the promenade deck and into the main Atrium area brought back all memories from the Triumph cruise.

 

While we were waiting to see our cabin we met up with our Cruise Critic “roll call†friends. We had originally planned on meeting at 3pm but we recognized each other (by the beads!!) and introduced ourselves to each other. It was great to finally meet everyone and we all had a drink and chatted before moving on to our cabins and/or exploring the ship.

 

Cabins

 

Our balcony cabin (category 9A) was on the Verandah deck at back of the ship. The room was large with plenty of closet space and a nice sitting area, What blew us away was the balcony. It was a wraparound balcony (30 feet long) which provided us a view of the rear of the ship and side. It was a great cabin and I would highly recommend it. We spent mornings and evening on the balcony and it provided great views when arriving/leaving ports. As well as when we were in ports. We took advantage of daily morning room service for coffee and pastries each morning. We also had evening pre-dinner drinks on the balcony. It was very relaxing and with such wonderful weather throughout the week…we definitely maximized its use!! The other cabin was roomy and met the needs of our kids…especially since they were only in it for several hours each day, many late evenings/early mornings for them (lol).

 

Food

 

We only ate breakfast 1 morning in the dining room…. Service was prompt…food was average but edible. I ordered Eggs benedict and it appeared to have been made several hours ago. It tasted fine though. Breakfast on the Lido deck was good each morning, Normal fair of fruit, cereal, pastries, scrambled eggs, pancakes, French toast, bacon, ham and sausage. They also had omelets custom made if you wish.

 

Breakfast was served from 8:30am to 10:30 am….They also kept breakfast available until noon at the outside buffets by the entrance to the Mediterranean.

 

Lunch in the Mediterranean was also good. Offered a variety of entrees each day. Their salad bar could use some improvement…limited options.

 

Pizza and Caesar salad was consistently good. The deli made some great sandwiched. The Asian fare takeout was also good and offered a good variety of Chinese food,

 

The Burgers, Hot Dogs and Chicken sandwiches were tasty and hot. Fries were excellent. I spent a lot of time here during the week!!

 

The Ice cream flowed throughout the cruise and since we had many children (Spring Break) on this cruise it was a very popular meeting place.

 

Dinner was excellent every night. We had the 8pm late seating and were never rushed. What impressed me the most was that the food was served consistently “hot†throughout the week. Lobster was excellent and the Seafood dishes were very tasty throughout the week. Some inconsistency on the desserts. Some nights wonderful…other nights a bit disappointing. As an FYI dining times were 5:45 and 8pm for Pacific Dining Room and 6:15 and 8:30pm for the Atlantic Dining Room.

 

Midnight Buffets and Deck buffets appeared to be good. I was always too full to eat…but I did have some of the desserts, a few of the nights, and was impressed.

 

Ship Staff

 

Our Room steward was attentive and kept our room clean throughout the week. We had the usual towel animals. We didn’t see out steward very often…Now that tips are automatically billed to your Sign and Sail I got the feeling they stay more to themselves now. Past cruises we seemed to do more visiting and chatting with our Steward. Based on reading other reviews…it appears other fellow cruisers have noticed the same.

 

Dining Staff was friendly and professional. Our waiter Alexis from Colombia and Krasimir from Bulgaria were wonderful. Always filling our water, bringing extra rolls, and ensuring we had all the food we needed. Alexis often brought out extra entrees for us to try since many evenings we had difficulty choosing what to order since everything looked so good. We ordered a bottle of wine each evening which was served by Krasimir. He was very professional in its presentation. When we would taste the wine he stand in front of the person tasting it holding the bottle in front until we nodded that it tasted fine. It was a nice touch.

 

From reading previous cruise reviews I was expecting slow bar service in the dining room. This was not the case on this cruise. Tatjana was the bar waitress and a we saw her several times each evening during dinner. I ordered several drinks on certain nights and they were served quickly. She also had a coke waiting for my son when we arrived at the table each evening.

 

Mediterranean and Lido deck staff…was friendly and quickly cleared tables. Our assistant waiter (Krasimir) was stationed on the Lido deck for breakfast each morning…This made it more enjoyable as we always sat in his section which gave us the opportunity to visit and chat with him. A couple of new additions to their services included a wine cart which was wheeled throughout the dining areas. Nice touch. The staff also re-filled your water, lemonade, punch, tea, etc. Never experienced this on previous Carnival cruises. This is a nice service addition!! I kept on wondering if this was Carnival’s subtle way to justify the additional daily $1 of gratuities for the “alternative†ding areas. Either way…. It was a nice touch.

 

Carlo Lombard was the Cruise Director. I found him to be energetic and overall did a good job. His assistants were friendly and performed their numerous duties well.

 

The drink service on the decks was consistently good. As usual we met a few of the servers who would check on us throughout the week and provide us with drinks as requested.

 

Photo Staff was probably the best of any cruise. This has been a bit of a sore spot for me on previous cruises…but not on this cruise. They were friendly and accommodating. One of the photographers was extremely professional and he did an excellent job preparing you for the formal portraits.

 

Casino Staff was was good…..some very friendly others stayed to themselves.

 

Spa staff was excellent (according to my wife). My daughter frequented the work out area and used the equipment. She also attended several workout classes which she said were done very well.

 

Entertainment

 

The Victory Dancers and Singers were very good. Excellent variety show and non-stop entertainment.

Comedian was also good. Most of the shows appeared to be well attended throughout the week

 

Deck activities…Had the normal fare; Contests, trivia, and Reggae Band which provided good music.

 

Lounge entertainment was sparsely attended with the exception of the Piano Bar. “Ron†had them rocking and rolling in the Irish Sea Bar.

 

Arctic Disco – was full of kids until midnight. As this was more of a family cruise (due to Spring Break), they seemed to have rule of the Disco. Wasn’t overly crowded for the 18 and over group after midnight.

 

Casino was always a busy place. I personally spent a lot of time in the Casino. I would have been better off elsewhere (lol). Slots were tight although I noticed several big slot jackpot payouts. Table games were busy. I am pretty confident the Casino did well…as usual, based on my observations.

 

Wait Staff Entertainment – Very entertaining…Being on so many past cruises…..I expected similar songs and dances. We were pleasantly surprised at the different songs and level of performance. They performed 5 of the 7 nights and the highlight was the dancing of several of the waiters on pre- located tables on the lower level of the dining room. This was a huge hit and as the cruise went on several passengers took the opportunity to dance on these tables as part of the entertainment.

 

Internet –

 

Several packages were offered …You could buy 100 minutes for $55 (55 cents/min) or 250 minutes for $100 (40 cents/min)…otherwise you paid 75 cents per minute. I found the Internet slow which was a bit frustrating knowing we were “on the clockâ€. I would recommend accessing the Internet when you are at the Ports. While in St Thomas I visited an Internet shop and only paid $7 for an hour off access (11cents/minuute) You could also purchase 30 minutes for only $5. Surfing was much faster compared to speed of access on the ship.

 

Ports of Call –

 

Due to nice weather we arrived in San Juan early. Took a walk around the Fort before dinner and visited Sr Frogs and the Wyndham Casino after dinner. Lines to get off the ship moved quickly.

 

St Martin was enjoyable…We spent the day at the Beach close to the town. Beach water was clear and beautiful. Took the Water taxi from the pier for $5 R/T. Rented 2 chairs and an umbrella for $10 and also a raft for $5. Beers at “Everything is Cool†were 99 cents for a 12 ounce Caribe. You could also buy a Heineken at McDonald for $1 ..However they were in 9.3 oz bottles. Some great shopping deals here. Jewelry very inexpensive. Cigarettes were 8.95 and 9.95 a carton!! Absolute Vodka $4.95 a liter…This gives you some idea of the bargain prices. Unfortunately you are limited on what you can take back to US (i.e.1 carton of cigarettes per person). This assuming you play by the rules and declare everything…lol. You could purchase more (higher limits) from St Thomas,,, however their prices were much higher ($8.95 for Absolute and $16.95 for cigarettes). Prices on the ship, for goods, were comparable to St Thomas prices.

 

St Thomas was beautiful as usual. We all had to wake early and clear immigration by 9:30 am. Those on excursions had to clear much earlier. We chose to relax and visit downtown and the mall located by the ships. Many excursions were offered and many of the passengers took advantage of the wonderful weather on these excursions.

 

Days at Sea –

 

With over 3000 passengers on the cruise and the abundant sunshine and warm weather,,, the pool areas and decks were always crowded. Yes, the normal chair hogs did their thing, but I never noticed a shortage of deck lounges. Plenty of deck space to layout albeit not near the pools.

 

Debarkation –

 

We had a flight out of Miami at 11:15 am and chose to use the self-assisted debarkation. We were told self-assisted would start between 7 and 8:30 am. They announced we could leave at 7:30 am. They called by decks…but we were in no rush and grabbed some breakfast …said some good-byes and were one of the last “self assisted†passengers off the ship before they began calling the tag colors for the other passengers. We found the self-assisted debarkation to be easy and very quick (assuming you can handle the carrying of your bags) Just needed to navigate down the escalators and you walked right outside to transportation. We quickly grabbed a Cab and were at the Airport at 9:10 am.

 

Final Observations –

 

I can’t express enough the enjoyment we gained by having the opportunity to meet and visit with our Cruise Critic "Roll-Call" †friends throughout the week. Friendships were developed and some of us will likely cruise together next year. Take advantage of the Roll Call forum and meet your fellow cruisers before the cruise!!

 

The ship is beautiful and in excellent condition. Constantly cleaning and maintaining its condition. In general the children on board (well over 1000) were well behaved. The hot spots for the kids were the Sirens Bar area (by the pizza bar), Neptune way they hung out on the seats…. but kept to them selves and of, course, the Disco. It was nice to see how they met and hung out together. This cruise met my expectations and exceeded in some areas. Carnival delivered on its mission statement as this was a FUN cruise and it was great to just relax and vacation. I observed the normal complainers…Had a good chuckle. A cruise is what you make of it….Sure certain things could have been done better…but that is the case for anything. If you want white glove service…. Take SilverSeas or Radisson. You’ll only get rubber disposable glove service on Carnival (lol)…But if you want fun, energy and good value for your dollars spent ….Carnival continues to deliver.

 

Would be happy to answer any questions. I did keep copies of all the Carnival Capers for each day.

 

Happy Cruising.

 

Until 4/4 Victory cruise

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[This message was edited by lcpagejr on 04-18-04 at 12:05 AM.]

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Thanks so much for taking the time to tell us of your journey, sounds like everything is still going well on the Victory!

 

Happy Cruising

 

Chris

 

www.LifeIsCruising.com

 

Next up:

Caribbean Princess 06/26/04

Star Princess 10/24/04

Carnival Victory 12/19/04

Carnival Miracle 03/13/05

 

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Thanks for taking the time to share with us your wonderful experience on the Victory. Glad you had a great time. Welcome back. The Victory sails several times a year out of our hometown but we have yet to sail on her. Perhaps it is time we did.

 

carnival.jpg

 

Tony

 

2004 Legend March 28th

2003 Paradise

2002 Paradise

2000 Destiny

1999 Fascination

1998 Fantasy

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Sounds like you had a fantastic time with your family!

 

What an upgrade! If I thought I could get a 9a, I would definatly do a guarantee! icon_wink.gif

 

Thanks for your thoughtful review,

Cathy

 

dolphin.gif

Ecstacy October 1992

Destiny October 1999

TRIUMPH May2003

TRIUMPH AGAIN! May 2004

 

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http://community.webshots.com/user/catrin0917

 

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Chuck---a great review! I felt like I was with you and I was. It truly was nice meeting our friends from cruise critic not just for the adults but also for the teens. We certainly will be collectively looking at spring break cruises for 2005.

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Excellent review, and makes us even more anxious to board her in a few weeks!

 

Lisa and Mark icon_smile.gif

 

Monarch of the Seas - '94

Royal Majesty - '96

 

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Until our date with Victory

 

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Chuck--great review. I have to agree with you that meeting fellow cruiser on roll calls made for a more enjoyable cruise. Seemed like every time we turned around there was someone we knew, whether it was on the ship or in port.

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Fantastic review! It is so good to hear so many positive comments! The self-assisted debarcation must be something new...sounds interesting. Glad you had a good time. We have 3 more weeks until we are Victory bound. Thanks again. roni

 

Roni

 

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icon_smile.gifSounds like you had agreat time I can't wait to board this vesel icon_biggrin.gif.The Pacific Dining Room I take it is located in the aft of the ship, icon_confused.gifwas the motion in the dining room as bad as some people say icon_rolleyes.gif?

 

MBABYDOLL1628

DESTINY11/99 TRUIMP11/01 ADVENTURE OF THE SEAS 11/02 VICTORY 5/04

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Great review Chuck!

 

I was one of those CC roll call cruisers and had a great time meeting everyone!

 

4/4 Victory cruise

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LC Lady I was on cruise with Chuck and it would be hard to answer because we had calm seas the whole cruise, I could detect no motion at all!

 

4/4 Victory cruise

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LC Lady- The cruise was very calm all week long. However, we did feel some motion in the Pacific dining room during dinners. It seemed the motion occured the most on the days we had just left a port. Sea days seemed very calm.

 

The motion was very minimal...Just a light rocking. You could notice it, but it wasn't major and it just became another conversation item during dinner. FYI -We sat in the upper level of the dining room.

 

Until 4/4 Victory cruise

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Great review Chuck...between your review and the pictures I got back today, I'm smiling at all of the memories we made! I too agree that meeting fellow CC'ers only makes the cruise better!

 

Hi to Caroline and the kids!

 

Laura

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Thank's JerrymaC and LCPAGERJR. I am not a person who is prone to seasickness,but so many cruiser's mention that the aft dining room is really bad with motion.

 

MBABYDOLL1628

DESTINY11/99 TRUIMP11/01 ADVENTURE OF THE SEAS 11/02 VICTORY 5/04

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So glad to hear you and your family had a wonderful cruise.

 

We will be on Victory Sept. 2004 New York to Canada and have read several reviews that she has been a little rocky lately. I sure hope not.

 

We have cabin right near the back of the ship Upper deck 6424 "L" shaped cabin and also have read that the Pacific dining room has a lot of motion. I'm sure that has to do with the calm of the ocean.

 

Anyway so glad you had a great time and really enjoyed reading your review.

 

Thanks

 

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Victory New York to Canada 09/25/2004 Cruise

 

Victory Cruise New York to Halifax

 

Carnvial Sensation 2003

 

Carnival Fantasy 1993

***So Glad To Be Back Cruise Again

 

 

Ship.gif Carnival Victory New York to Canada

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Thanks for your helpful information. How did you manage such a low price for the hotel in Miami. Was it school vacation week? We are going on the Victory in Feb. 2006 on school vacation week and may come in the night before.

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Frugalfannie - We also went on the Victory again this past Thanksgiving and I am pleased to say we had another enjoyable time... As for the Hotel in Miami... I have used Priceline in the past and knew the Miami area on weekends can offer a nice bargain...Unlike the FT Lauderdale area, you can get a 3 star hotel in the Miami downtown area anywhere from $35-$50 a night. Just be patent...I usually begin my bid process between 30-45 days before our scheduled arrival date. Don't give up if your initial bid is rejected. You can bid again in 3 days. I very rarely raise my bid more than a few dollars and have always gotten a low pice. Got the same price at the Hyatt the night before our Thanksgiving cruise as well. Good Luck

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Hey Chuck!!

 

Once again, great review!! It's great to revisit the Victory 04 cruise!!

 

Have a great time on the Legend!!

 

Laura

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