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mirrajay

Victory Oct. 2-9 Review

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I figured I would post this here and then paste it over in the reviews section. You will have to forgive me - I am a writer who hasn’t written in over 8 days, so this may get a little long winded :)

 

Embarkation from New York was much better than I expected. People made it sound like it was the worst experience ever, but we got through very quickly. We were on board by 12:30, had a few (okay, too many) drinks and then headed to our cabin around 2:00. In my opinion, the lifeboat drill was hilarious and I suggest anyone who is thinking of skipping it to go just to see everyone wearing their vests and running into each other. The actual drill is worthless - they really don’t tell you anything that they didn’t mention over the PA before the drill, but we got a very good laugh out of it. Four blue whatever-they-were drinks + lifeboat drill = fun for all!

Sailing away from NY was a great experience. The view was fabulous - it was a little cloudy, and very windy, but we stood on deck (starboard side if you want to see the Statue of Liberty) and it was a very nice way to officially start the cruise.

We skipped dinner the first night (and most nights after) and opted for the buffet in the Mediterranean restaurant instead. The food in there and the other "alternative dining" options were nothing to write home about, but they did the job of filling us up and I can't complain about that. Any other vegetarians out there: you will have trouble finding a lot of things to eat, but there is always something that you can have. It just usually isn’t the main dish – that most of the time was something with meat included. However, it was definitely a better selection than most land based resorts that I have visited. Thumbs up for Carnival on that subject.

In Boston, we did the Duck Tour; had an awesome guide and a really good time. We also went to Faneuil Hall, walked a bit of the Freedom Trail, had a few beers at Cheers, went to a few other little pubs and then ended up at the Union Oyster House and can now say we have been to the oldest restaurant in America. Yay! Part of me wishes we would have just stayed in Boston rather than get back on the ship, but we caught a cab and made it back just in time to reboard.

That night, we went to the much-talked-about Irish Sea Bar and had a very good time. We spent at least parts of every night there, but this brings me to my first in what became a rather long list of complaints about the cruising experience. Disclaimer: these are MY opinions, cruising isn’t for everyone, I do not want to hear the “well, what did you expect?” comments after I say these few things. Everyone agree with that? Okay, great - I will go on then.

My main concern before I left on this cruise was the mix of other passengers. I knew it would be an older crowd, I knew as a result of that there wouldn’t be much to do as far as night life and I was right. Really, the only option was the Irish Sea Bar which was great fun for a few nights, but after 4 or 5, it was very repetitive. The same crowd, the same songs, the same jokes, the same rudimentary sexual comments, etc, etc….over and over and over again. Now, I am not saying that we didn’t have a good time, b/c we have fun wherever we go, so that wasn’t a problem. What I didn’t like was seeing the same passenger faces over and over again (with the few exceptions of the great people that we did meet, of course). I felt like I was at a work-sponsored Christmas party or something - you knew who would be coming in and we let out a collective groan when a few select people showed up every time. There was never anyone new to meet, nothing new to do, nothing new to see, no new fun to have. Big time thumbs down for Carnival on that.

Ugh - Enough of that: on to Portland. Um…okay enough of Portland also. There was nothing there. We had lunch, walked around for about 30 minutes and went back to the ship. Many people took a trolley tour, and said it was great. We overslept and missed it. Oh well – too bad for us. This day was also the first formal night, which was a lot of fun to get all dolled up, but the food was horrid and our matre’d was a jerk. We swore off the dinning room after that. Pizza at 3am beats dining room food hands down.

The next day was a sea day which was nice to be able to really relax during the day. We watched part of the magic show this evening, which was actually quite good. I believe today was the day we won our famous (or perhaps infamous) “ship on a stick”. We each got one for being the phone-a-friend in a mock Who Wants to be a Millionaire game. Yay for us! We also played some Bingo – what a horribly frustrating (but strangely a lot of fun) game!

Next up was Sydney: It’s a very cute town, I am sure it has something nice to offer, but we sure couldn’t find anything other than a cute bartender at a restaurant called the Governors House or something like that. However, the big bonus about Sydney was that we kindly asked one of the customs officers to stamp our passport and he said as long as we promised to not tell any of the other passengers, he would do it just for us. This made the nerdy traveler in me very happy.

By this night I began to pinpoint my unhappiness with Carnival: it was the staff. But not all of them – the service staff (our steward, the bartenders, table bussers, etc) were all VERY nice and extremely friendly. However, the entertainment staff - the musicians, the DJs, anyone who worked in any of the bars/clubs/lounges (with the exception of the wait staff) - were insanely pretentious and lacking in professionalism. The girls would talk to each other non-stop and then roll their eyes when someone tried to interrupt them to ask a question. Everyone would offer the fakest smiles I have ever seen and then laugh about people behind their backs. It was astonishing to watch and immensely disappointing. I guess I should have known that working on a Carnival cruise ship makes you better than everyone else. How silly of me. Big thumbs down for Carnival again.

On to Halifax: This was a very nice city – I would LOVE to go back again and spend more time here. We did the touristy things – the Maritime Museum, the Titanic Gravesites and then found a great part of the city a few blocks west of the boardwalk with lots of pubs and restaurants and did our own little pub crawl and had a blast. If ever in Halifax – you must go to the Wooden Monkey and have some of their nachos. Ohhh…they were so good.

Then we had one more day at sea to end our cruise which was just a lot of winding down.

All in all, it was enjoyable – what vacation isn’t? However, Dana (the CD whom I cannot stand!), mentioned that Carnivals goal is to “exceed our expectations” and they certainly did not do that. I got what I expected and am happy I tried it out, but was not blown away or even really impressed by anything. Okay, maybe the towel animals – they were pretty awesome.

 

Would I cruise again? Not unless it was free :)

 

Thanks everyone for their help during my trip planning process. If I can answer any questions about this ship or anything else, let me know. I left out a lot of “first time cruisers should know this” or things that we discovered that are probably obvious to seasoned cruises, so if you have any first timer questions, I’d be happy to answer them.

 

~Carey

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Wow....u got in some pretty good rips at Carnival....lol.....so this was a first time cruise??.....im a lil surprised that u werent more impressed, being your first cruise......so u wouldnt cruise again even for FREE?...cmon now:).....i am curious to know what u found so horrid about the formal dining room food....any dishes that stand out as particularly bad?.....maybe being a veggie eater played a part in it, not being able to try some of the tasty entrees.....did the meat eaters that u sail with find the food to be equally as yuck?...............some of your comments about the staff and their attitudes certainly brought back memories of my encounters with many.........i dont think Carnival has ever exceeded my expectations.....after a few cruises you know what to expect and they generally deliver just that......some of its good, some of its not so good.....i personally dont think a 7 day cruise on carnival is worth what some spend.....if im gonna end up spending $1000 or more per person for a weeks cruise i personally would prefer to spend that $ for a weeks land vacation somewhere on a caribbean island.....but if your only spending $600-700 per person total for a cruise week its a pretty decent value........it never pays to set your expectations TOO high prior to a first time carnival cruise:)

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we were on this same cruise: i think you are misleading a lot of people.

we ate in main dinging room every night: if you think lobster, fillet mignon, lamb, etc is not good food then stay home and eat at burger joints!

my only problem was the ages of most of the people(seemed like the old folks tour), but cruising is what you make of it. i also agree Dana was not my favouite cd, as they tell the same stories on all the ships(such as top ten dumbest questions)

Anyone who will be cruising on the Victory in the future will have a great time.

The two production shows are awsome. Our waiter team did fantastic.

We have taken several Carnival cruise and will continue to do so. Next up is Miracle next June 26.

Do us a favor and stay home.

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Carey - you should have done some research before you left...cruises to the northeast in the fall are typically older passengers. Sorry you didn't enjoy your cruise!

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Oh, I was absolutely aware that it would be an older crowd and I was okay with that. I researched like a crazy woman...I knew exactly what to expect and perhaps that was part of the reason nothing really impressed me. The older passengers were not my gripe whatsoever. Some of them were a lot of fun, actually. My gripe was the same people over and over again - and this would have been the same complaint if the people were all my age. I just like meeting new people and having new experiences and on a cruise, your range of experiences and people are limited to whats on the ship (except when you are on land of course, but thats a whole other topic).

 

Food is always a matter of opinion. We only had one other table mate (a meat eater) and she said, in her opinion, the food was subpar as well. As I said - this was all only my opinion and as I also stated - cruising isnt for everyone and I just so happen to be included in that group that doesnt enjoy them as much as a land based vacation.

 

jdhoyt - There is no need to get defensive b/c someone doesnt like the same things that you like. I am very glad you enjoy your Carnival cruises - many other people do and I can see why - it just wasnt "my thing". I hope you have a wonderful time on the Miracle!

 

Robby - I said the only way I would cruise again was if it was free. I would never turn down a free vacation no matter what type it is :)

 

The Victory was indeed a great ship. I have nothing bad to say about the ship itself, so if you are sailing on it in the future, do not worry about that at all. Hopefully you will have a more friendly crew - maybe they were just burnt out on the New England thing. I overheard a few of them talking about how they couldnt wait to move on to a different itinerary.

 

I did enjoy my cruise - It just wasnt spectacular nor did it exceed my expectations thats all.

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Thanks for posting an honest review of your cruise from your point of view. I appreciate all reviews good and bad and I judge for myself.

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Mirrajay,

I want you to know that I have cruised many times and I found that my experience on the Victory was similar to what you describe. I took a New England Canadian cruise on the Victory in June 2003. I had a balcony room and thought that it and the ship were magnificent. The food was fine as was the entertainment. I loved the ports---can't wait to go back to Halifax for a week's visit!

Sadly, except for my cabin stewardess, I found the crew to be woefully unfriendly and in particular they were simply not customer oriented. I decided then and there never to cruise Carnival again.

I had cruised on the Sensation earlier that year and found its crew to be much friendlier. Still, I feel that my experiences on Princess, Royal Caribbean, and Celebrity have been much better overall---they just fit with my style of cruising better. Sadly, I think the Victory is a fantastic ship, but the crew just didn't measure up to what I would expect for the money.

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Thanks for that input Tarheelbelle. Thats very interesting - I thought that maybe we had caught them on an off week or maybe it was just us :)

Thats extra dissapointing to know that it wasnt just our crew that week that was below standards as far as customer service and just general friendliness goes.

I hope you filled out your comment card when you sailed - I know I had a few things to say when I got mine. I hope they really do all get together and read them as Dana said they would (although with this group, they will probably just scoff at any complaints or suggestions). Oh well...

 

By the way, any volunteers want to come to my house and do my post-vacation laundry? :)

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We also just returned from this same cruise. This was our 18th cruise. We have previously cruised on Celebrity, RCCL, Princess, NCL, and two other times on Carnival. We thought the dining room food was overall good. The food on the Lido deck, however was probably the worst I

I have had on any ship. Even the breakfast was far below the other cruise lines. As far as the service was concerned, I would rate it about average. The room steward, and the bar staffs were all very pleasant to us. The only service complaint I had was that he dining room wait staff rushed through the meal too fast. We were at 8:30 seating. They would sometimes bring the next course before you had even finished the one you were eating. They were friendly and helpful and would bring you any extras or make any changes you wanted, but they always seemed in a hurry to get done.

 

We loved the ports of call. The highlights for us were our private tour of the Cabot Trail in Sydney, and our all day private tour in Halifax where we went down to Mahone Bay and Lunnenburg. This was one of the best port days we have had on a cruise. If anyone wants more details, let me know.

 

Overall, we felt we got our money's worth. For a variety of reasons, we still prefer to cruise on Princess, Celebrity or Royal Caribbean. They just fill our needs a little better. We have two more cruises booked for 2005.

 

I will be happy to answer any questions or provide more details.

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