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jakzak

Victory July 1st Review Part 1

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Here's part 1 of our 5-Night Victory cruise which, just returned today. Part 2 will follow tomorrow. Please let me know if you have any questions.

 

WHO’S WHO AND EMBARKATION

 

Very smooth and fast. We left our central New Jersey home at 9:20 with a party of 9. Consisting of myself, wife, 2 of our friends, 4 16-year old girls and my 10-year old son. This was a Sweet 16 cruise for my daughter and we were traveling with 3 of her friends. This was also the first cruise for my daughter’s friends. So to keep the trip as economical as possible we chose the 5 nights Victory from New York. (No airfare required). We arrived at the pier at 10:15, grabbed a porter who was still working on getting the previous cruises passengers out of the terminal and went in line to check in. Getting there early allowed us to pre check in. The pre-check in takes place in the same room where the chairs are they keep you in before moving to the larger room for the security check. Carnival boards by rows and we were seated in row 2. The actual boarding started at 11:15 and we were on the ship by 11:30am. Very efficient, would definitely suggest getting to the pier early to avoid any lines that might develop with a later check in.

 

Cabins

 

Our friends had a balcony cabin on the upper deck, while we had 2 adjoining cabins on main deck 2247 and 2251. Traveling and being responsible for 3 teens that are not your own, I decided to take adjoining cabins over balcony cabins, so I felt we would have a little more control. Cabins were a very nice size at 220 square feet. Both cabins had 2 lowers, 1 couch (turned into a bed at night) and an upper. Bathroom was your standard ship bathroom. You know the kind where you can use the toilet and the shower at the same time….lol. Room steward introduced himself the first day and we only saw him once over the next 5 nights.

 

SAILAWAY

 

We met up with many of the people we have been talking to at the Sirens bar at 5:00pm It was great putting a face to the print. For those we met, it was great sailing with you and we hope to meet up on a future cruise. FOr those we did not get to meet we hope you had a great cruise.

 

DINING ROOM AND FOOD SERVICES

 

We were seated at the main seating of the Atlantic Dining Room, which served dinner at 6:15. We were at table 216, which was a table of 8 that the turn into a table for 9. Our headwaiter and waiter, Robert and Claudia were 2 of the best we have ever had in our 18 cruises. They both were very friendly and outgoing. Robert new all of our names by the end of the 1st nights dinner and never forgot them for the whole cruise. Claudia always made sure our water and ice tea glasses were filled and always had a smile. Food in the dining room was good for the most part. Prime Rib was a little fatty, Veal a little greasy but all in all you could find something to eat. Desserts were very limited. Only 3 main choices per night, then you add the ice cream and sherbet. Only problem was there was no dining room ice cream for our 1st 3 nights. It seems Carnival buys ice cream instead of making it onboard. When New York, then St. John was unable to supply them, we had to wait until our last port Halifax to restock the supply.

 

The main ship buffet (Mediterranean Restaurant) had a menu that seemed to never change. I know they did but it all looked the same. Very few desserts again to choose from. The Mississippi BBQ is where you would get your poolside Hot Dogs, Hamburgers and such. This was very good but the lines did grow from time to time. The Deli was a very popular spot and they did make good sandwiches. Suggestion… if you’re sailing from New York and you are offering Corned Beef and Pastrami sandwiches switch from yellow mustard to a spicy mustard. Room service was fine. Varied menu and service normally delivered within 20 minutes. We never tried the Oriental stations, as the lines were long, but most of the Asians on-board seemed to like it, so I’m guessing the food was very good there.

 

The major disappointment was the Gala Midnight Buffet. The buffet took place at the Mediterranean Restaurant, which is where the breakfast and lunch buffets are also held. It was a very informal setting for what is supposed to be a very lavish event. With the exception of a few ice carvings, the buffet is what I would have expected at a normal buffet lunch not a GALA Buffet.

 

Port and final wrap up to follow……

 

Please let me know if you have any questions.

 

Alan

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Look forward to the rest Alan. We will be on her this October to Panama & Costa Rica and I can not wait! Thank you for taking the time to write a review.:)

 

Rob

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thanks for the review. we are on the 8/31 4 day sailing. love to hear what you did in Halifax.

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We leave on July 15th. I am looking forward to a current review. We asked for the 6:15 dinner too. Did you get out of NY before the dinner seating on the first night? I heard it was cutting it close time wise to see the Statue of Liberty.

 

Thanks again,

 

Scott

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Port and final wrap up to follow……

 

Please let me know if you have any questions.

 

Alan

 

Keep it coming and don't leave anything out!

 

I'm leaving on the Victory July 29th.

 

I have been on the Victory 2 times so far, so what's new in Canada and on the ship?

 

Did they have a magician?

 

Who was the Cruise Director?

 

Thanks for sharing!

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Dana Hodson is the cruise director and did a very good job. The magician is still on the ship. and yes we did have the 6:15 dinner confirmed prior to sailing. Just check your sign and sail card when you check in. If you are given another seating you can always check with the Matre' d prior to sailing but to be honest very few were changed for the first night. It seems the Matre d' just takes down the requests and makes the move for the 2nd night.

As far as what is new in Canada, I really can't comment as it wa our first trip to Halifax and St. John. I will finish up the review later this morning and list all the things we did in each port. Nut, I can tell you we had picture perfect weather in both ports, 75 degrees and sunny skies.

 

Alan

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How was your experience with all the cigarette smoke? We were smoked out in non smoking sections. This made it miserable for my family and I.

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So glad to hear something about the Victory, haven't been hearing anything at all. We are leaving on the 26th of August. our second Canada tour, only because I am not fond of hot, hot weather. Last year we did Alaska on NCL, loved Alaska, wasn't crazy about NCL.:o

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We left last week for Cananda also. Family of 4--10 yr old and 7. Magician was more of a comedian. Magic was disappointing. Dana wasn't the greatest CD. We didn't go to many shows, but watched a lot of the tv happenings from the ship. Alot of his schtick was contrived. We did attend the Newlywed game, which is were we felt he was adding to answers to make it more funny, especially last one.

 

Highlight of our trip was the Black and Seas Lounge where Juda (or you can call him Buddah) was a lot of fun. The age to sing Karaoke was supposed to be 15 and older, but because it wasn't too crowded, he allowed my 7 year old to take the mike. She was in her glories, and we returned every night. She sang every night, and it made her trip the most memorable (she does sing well, otherwise we wouldn't have let her. The audience seemed to enjoy her--she got a lot of high fives and accalades from the listeners) Since we've been home, all she keeps saying is that she misses Juda.

 

My 10 year old made a great T-shirt with the campers on the last day, but that was the extent of her Camp Carnival experience. My 7 year old only wanted to perform in the Talent Show, which she did. 10 year old went swimming with her 13 year old cousin on the last evening in Sirens Pool which was in a covered area at night, and they enjoyed that, along with the pizza and ice cream.

 

There was an "ice cream sundae" party for families the first night, but all they offered was a few bowls of fixins (ie sprinkles, whipped cream, strawberries) and once they were gone, that was it. We got there 10 minutes after it started, and there was nothing left. My kids also wanted ice cream/sherbert in dining room, but there wasn't anything but butter pecan on the first night (our waiter took it apon himself to bring it to the table when it wasn't what they ordered--I guess to save himself a trip back to the galley) They did redeem themselves by getting icecream in Halifax.

 

Overall I wasn't too impressed by the food. The first night's steak was grizzley and fatty. The filet mignon was awsome, and so was the chateau brignon (sorry about the spelling). They were very good to appease my picky eaters, altering menue choices to their specifications. I couldn't tell you our water's name b/c he wasn't that memorable. He never had anything ready for us (ie kid's drinks, iced tea, etc..) until the last day. The asst. dropped a roll on me one night, and coffee on someone else at another table another night.

 

We went swimming first day at sea. Obnoxious children in hot tubs with no parental guidance spashing everyone was really bad--no staff to control. Pools were plentiful, but too small, and cold on first day out, so most were in hot tubs. Slide was fun for children, but line was long, so my daughter only went on 2 times during our trip.

 

Overall, the ports were fun. Canadians were very friendly and accomodating. Best part of the trip. Shopping everywhere. Too short in ports. Wish Halifax was two days--they should consider skipping St. John. We went on Hopper in Halifax, and did the museums. Would have liked Peggys Cove, but too far.

 

Ship needs some work. Last pull out from port was really shaky, and we were in the dining room where an entire tray of hot soup fell to the floor directly behind my 2 year old nephew (thank goodness he didn't get hurt).

 

Shows, other than the last were not great. I could hear most from our room as we were situated over the show lounge. I didn't think that the shows would be late most nights, but they were. Some shows only had one showing at 10:30, and if you weren't there by 10, there were no seats. That was annoying--especially the last night b/c they had BINGO right before the show, and the seats were already filled. My 7 year old and I sat on a seat that had a drink spilled on it.

 

Pictures are a rip off. Better off taking your own. I wanted to buy 2 5x7's, and was told $80 b/c you have to buy the proof (ours was already in 8x10 format). I opted to keep the 8x10's but wasn't thrilled. I didn't like the idea of having them thrown away. If they would just make them more reasonable they would sell a lot more. The area to view them was extemely crowded, and got a bit annoying b/c you couldn't take the photos from one side to the other due to sensors on the photos which would set off the alarms.

 

Dana never called our floor for disembarking. He even reiterated all the floors he called, and still missed us--UPPER DECK. My advise...after he calls the first floor, if you are self disembarking, just go.

 

I am still rocking. I hope my equilibrium returns soon, along with my sanity after being in a room with my children in bunk beds for 5 nights. By the way, the rooms are smaller than they tote them. I was on Celebrity Horizon where all inside cabins were 172 sq ft. This ship toted these cabins as being 195 sq ft. (I think they've since removed the measurements b/c I can't seem to find them). They are way smaller. There was only 3 drawers, and hardly enough hangers (my parents called for more and never got them) We had one chair and no table.

 

Overall I wan't thrilled with Carnival itself. I guess they can get away with it bc they are a more reasonable cruise line. I would stick with Celebrity or RC if you can afford. But we had a good time anyway, and so did the rest of the family. If you have nothing else to compare it to, it's great. Most people we spoke to who had other cruise experiences on other lines, agreed that Carnival does not stack up in all areas--food, shows, friendlieness of most staff, and cleanliness of areas other than the rooms. Also, fitness area machines--most inoperable--new carpet though.

 

Have fun if you sail Victory, but if you have preconceived notions about perfection, check them at the door. Bon Voyage!!!

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Cruise 68,

Your review is so similiar to mine in many ways. Please read under Jazak's combined review. I was on same sailing. While we enjoyed the cruise, our next cruise will be on another line. We too did self assist and were on upper. We called Info when he never called Upper and left. The ice cream thing was a pain as were the pools. My 7yr old also swam last night until about 11:45 in Sirens Pool. He did go on waterslide many times. We hit it at right times. We too thought magician wasnt that great nor tDana. The lack of activities during Sea Days was unusual. We were in Pacific 5:45 but our service was very good as was our cabins steward. We have always cruised OV on Carnival until this cruise. We cruised inside and found it much smaller, also. We found the drinks lacking in alcohol. I'm not much of a drinker and could tell.

I have never cruised in July. We were limited on vacation time and this week was our only option. In past we have cruised Feb school vacation week. We found ship less crowded and activities much more plentiful in Feb. We have enjoyed Carnival tremendously in past. The Miracle in Feb 05 was the best vacation we have ever taken. While this was a nice vacation, it certainly was not a mememborable vacation. We have decided to take a break from cruising for a couple of years.

Glad overall you had a good time.

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We liked our cabin steward too. I think due to the size of the ship, we couldn't expect to have the same level of service you get on the smaller ships. I had a feeling that we would not be seeing our cabin steward much, and we didn't, but when we passed him in the hall, he was very friendly. My husband and girls met Alberto on the first night. I, along with the rest of my family, were sampling the wares at the duty free gift shop (Alcohol always tastes better when it's free--We did buy some too.) As for our wait staff (5:45 Pacific upper dining area table 526), I still think they could have done a bit better, especially since we had 4 birthdays we were celebrating. They brought a piece of cake for each with a candle, but after we had already ordered dessert. We had a bit of a language issue with our waiter who was from Indonesia. We could never really understand him that well. And my mother said the Maitre'd was even harder to understand. He wasn't at all personable. He went around to all the tables one night, passed our table twice, and never said anything. Needless to say, we didn't tip him with the envelope they left in our room for that purpose. But, I think when you have children with you on a cruise, and you are paying almost full price for them, and the same tip scale, I think they should treat them special. Alberto did, with his towel animals each night. The kids couldn't wait to see what he was going to leave next. We even bought some souvenier towel animals in the gift shop. We attended the seminar on how to make them, and it was the first thing my 10 year old did when she got home. I hate leaving a lot of negative criticisms because it wasn't the worst vacation experience. There were a few areas that could be improved apon that's all. Heck, anytime I don't have to cook, clean, do laundry, or make beds is a good time for me!!! I would trade being home for another 5 nights despite any sub par experiences. I left a lot of positive comments on the card, but I also acknowleged the areas that did not meet my expectation. That's all you can do.

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Thanks for all of the information. We leave on the Victory this Monday. We have been upgraded to a balcony room on the Verdanah deck (We were on the Upper).

 

We appreciate the tips on arriving early. We also live in Central Jersey and were planning to get to NYC around 11.

 

How did you find the cigarette smoke to be on the ship? That is our one big concern.

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To be honest the only place I really noticed the smoking was in the casino, other then that no real problems.

 

Arriving at 11:00 should have you on the ship by 12:00pm. When we arrived at 10:25a they were doing pre check in, this was in the same room as where they ask you to sit in rows. They then call up row by row to embark. At around 11:15 they stopped pre-checkin and all check in was moved behind the closed doors. Hard to explain but you will see shortly. All in all a very easy process. Have a great time.

 

Alan

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We leave on July 15th. I am looking forward to a current review. We asked for the 6:15 dinner too. Did you get out of NY before the dinner seating on the first night? I heard it was cutting it close time wise to see the Statue of Liberty.

 

Thanks again,

 

Scott

For those of you who will be cruising 5 day Victory to Canada, I want to let you know that there are 2 formal nights. We were unaware of this, as we were told there would only be 1 (and I believe that was what our brochure from Carnival even stated). The first was on the second night, and the second was the day we pulled out of Halifax heading back at sea. The Carnival Capers stated that the first formal night was "Formal Wear Required" and the second was "Formal Wear Suggested". We didn't get overly dressed for the second--my husband wore a button down shirt and Dockers, and I wore a pair of white pants and dressier blouse. We actually saw a large family seated at the entrance of the upper Pacific dining room dressed casually both nights. There was a guy even wearing a baseball hat at the table. So, I wouldn't worry, but thought I'd give a heads up so you're not taken aback like we were when we saw it in the Capers.

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We saw people dressed on the last night also. We asked a family and were todl their capers said formal. Our Capers only said Formal on the 1st day at Sea. All other nights it said casual.

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I was on the same cruise as Lulu and there was only 1 formal night. That was the first sea day. The rest of the days were casual.

 

Alan

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I was on the same cruise as Lulu and there was only 1 formal night. That was the first sea day. The rest of the days were casual.

 

Alan

 

I was with other family members all on the 7/1 Victory cruise to Canada. Total of 4 rooms. Capers from all 4 rooms said "Formal Wear Suggested." It was in the Tuesday Capers. I'm sure that it was not supposed to be a formal night, but that's what it said. Most dressed casual. Just wanted to give heads up in case you see the same, not to panic as some of my family members did, since all women in our party only brought one dress.

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4 couples it's a shame you didn't come up to the sirens bar for sailway. It would have been great to have a larger turn out. Oh well maybe next time.

 

Alan

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4 couples it's a shame you didn't come up to the sirens bar for sailway. It would have been great to have a larger turn out. Oh well maybe next time.

 

Alan

 

 

Alan,

Would have loved to have had a drink with others in the Sirens Bar, but we all had young kids with us who wanted to do other things. Unfortunately, that didn't include much of Camp Carnival. It was an enjoyable trip, but much too short.

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To be honest the only place I really noticed the smoking was in the casino, other then that no real problems.

 

Arriving at 11:00 should have you on the ship by 12:00pm. When we arrived at 10:25a they were doing pre check in, this was in the same room as where they ask you to sit in rows. They then call up row by row to embark. At around 11:15 they stopped pre-checkin and all check in was moved behind the closed doors. Hard to explain but you will see shortly. All in all a very easy process. Have a great time.

 

Alan

After being on the same cruise but in June, I have to say I had the best cabin steward named Lynda and a great waiter named Lawrence. I agree with most ,when you say Dana the cruise director was a little on the annoying side. And how about the cigarette smoke filling up the promenade more and more each night as the cruise went on? Try to find alternating passage ways from one end of the ship to the other if you dont want to stink of cigarette smoke during the evening hours. I dont smoke or drink alcoholic beverages as well as my family, and I would say we spent more than the average cruiser for the entirity of the cruise. Pictures, souvenirs, bingo and a ton of those $4.14 smoothies several times a day. So when they say they only make money on smokers or drinkers, I am definately an exception from that rule!

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To be honest the only place I really noticed the smoking was in the casino, other then that no real problems.
We were on the same cruise as Alan. (Hi, Alan!) I agree that there was not too much bothersome smoke on this cruise. The only place other than the casino that I noticed it was in the Ionian Bar -- but that was to be expected as it's a cigar bar. :) Only thing was that this was where the jazz band played, so we kept our visits short, even though we would have liked to have stayed longer. But, there was more than enough to keep us busy.

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Leaving in 5 days on the Victory, and this thread is only adding to my excitement! Thanks for all the recent feedback and observations. Just one thing I still need to know...who is the entertainer in the piano bar and is he/she any good???

 

Thanks!

Susan

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Hi all, we are sailing the Victory Aug 3rd, I wanted to ask about the jazz band, do they have a place to dance? and is it more like big band sound? Dh and I had a ball dancing on the Conquest right on the stage to a big band (jazz) the year before Katrina! Glad to see the reviews, my motto is , "A bad day of cruising is still better than just about anything else!"

Fran and Ed

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