Jump to content

My Looong, detailed Victory review 8/28 sailing


logcabin

Recommended Posts

Carnival Victory Review

 

 

We just returned Monday from the Carnival Victory 4 day cruise to St. John’s NB Canada. The following are my thoughts and opinions of this cruise and ship. These are just my opinions.

 

BACKGROUND: I am originally from the entertainment industry having worked in theatre for over 30 years. The later part of my career included management and operations of several dinner theatres. Some that were part of large catering operations and others free standing. So, I am experienced in entertainment and food/catering. We retired from theatre some 11 years ago. I am currently in sales. I have cruised steady over the past 8 years, our first cruise being the Canada itinerary on the CCL Triumph. That is the cruise that “hooked” us to cruising.

 

We cruise to relax. We really aren’t into “on board activities”, port intensive cruises, etc. Being in sales and in the public eye a lot, we cruise to just sit back, take a deep breath and relax a bit. We usually prefer to stay in suites and go on week long cruises. However, we had a very rough summer (family deaths) so we decided on a last minute, cheap, short cruise just to get away before the end of the summer.

 

EMBARKATION: We live only a little over an hour from NYC. So, we always drive in to the passenger ship terminal and park. We drove up, dropped off our luggage, parked and were down in the terminal in about 10 minutes. We waited in the seating area for about 20 minutes, were then called, through security, checked in and on by noon. VERY organized, swift and painless check-in process. Carnival does a nice job with organization here.

 

Once on we went directly to the Lido Buffet for lunch. We much prefer sit-down meals; however, there was no other option open. More on the buffet later. Cabins were ready by 1:30.

 

CABIN: We had an aft 9A corner cabin 7425. We usually stay in aft suites. However, this cabin was just perfect. Large enough for the 2 of us. Lots of windows and very bright. Bathroom was just fine. The balcony (most important part for us) was huge and private. It had 3 chairs, a small table and 2 loungers. However, the lounge chairs looked a bit shabby with white speckles of paint all over them. The deck itself was not kept up very well. The teak was badly bleached by the sun and stained with food stains, drink stains and gum. This just made for a “shabby” appearance. Our cabin steward, Jomar, was very good. Didn’t see him much. However, he kept our cabin spotless.

 

THE SHIP: The ship, overall, appeared in good condition. The décor, for the most part, was elegant and colorful, almost fanciful in spots. However, we did not like the design of this ship at all. We then remembered this same problem with the Triumph, and after returning home and looking over the deck plans of other Carnival ships, find this to be pretty common on all their ships but the last few. We did not like the “promenade” through the ship. Walking from one end of the ship to the other forced you to walk through the casino, through lounges, etc. On formal night this promenade was blocked with photographers every 25 feet or so. This created crowds and large back-ups along this promenade. The other design element we found poor was the fact that many of the lounges were also thoroughfares through the ship. Trying to find a place to sit and enjoy a peaceful cocktail and listen to jazz or the pianist was next to impossible. There was constant traffic walking through, along with noise, running children, etc. In addition, there was not one place that we could find that was smoke free. Every time we sat down to try and enjoy a cocktail in one of the lounges, inevitably someone would sit down by us a light up a cigarette or worse yet, a cigar. In all of our cruises, both my wife and I feel this ship was the “smokiest” we had ever been on. We also found this to be a very “loud” ship. Not sure if this is due to the lack of sound absorption materials being used or what. However, trying to find a quiet place to sit and relax or talk with another couple over cocktails was very difficult. We met a very nice couple at the atrium bar one evening and found ourselves yelling our conversation back and forth.

 

Another design problem for us was the fact that the Victory does not have a full promenade deck outside to walk around. Yes, it does have covered decks down each side of the ship. However, they do not go all the way around the ship as with most other cruise lines. In rainy, windy weather all you can do is walk back and forth a few times. No way to walk all the way around unless you are up on the top deck exposed to the elements.

 

We didn’t see much maintenance going on. This is something we see constantly on other lines, especially NCL. However, we didn’t see much here. While sitting on our balcony looking up at the structure of the ship I did notice a lot of rust areas, etc. No big deal, but just gave an overall “shabby” appearance.

 

Another big problem for us was the lack of sanitizer stations around the ship. Most cruise lines have these hand sanitizers around the restaurants, buffets, etc. NCL does the best job with this. This shows by the low cases of sickness aboard their ships. However, there were absolutely none to be found on the Victory. My wife and I ended up carrying our own little pocket bottle around with us. These sanitizers should be standard on all cruise ships now.

 

STAFF: For the most part the staff was very accommodating and friendly. Many on these boards (as well as others) complain about service on NCL being bad because they “have a gratuity service charge. So the staff doesn’t give good service because they are not getting tips”… Well, for those who say this understand that Carnival is now doing the same thing. A $10 per person, per day service charge for gratuities automatically gets put on your room account. Be prepared, most other lines will be following. The pursers desk was very helpful, staff in the halls friendly, most bar attendants friendly. One thing I did notice was the lack of officers walking around checking things out. This is something we see much more of on others lines.

 

Malcolm was the Cruise Director. Charming and personable. His staff was pretty good. We did not like the assistant cruise director at all (cannot remembers her name, but often ran Bingo). She seemed almost bored at times. We found the cruise director staff member from South Africa (heavy British accent) just too much and obnoxious at times.

 

FOOD: Ok, here we go. I know how subjective this topic is. Also, remember my past experience in the catering field. First, everyone must accept that, in general, cruise line food quality has gone down industry wide. This is a fact. This is a cost cutting measure by ALL mass market cruise lines. In order to get really good quality food like the “good old days” on cruise ships, one must go and visit one of the “alternative” restaurants on board and pay a nominal extra fee. This is just the fact of cruising now and doesn’t bother this cruiser.

 

Having said that, we found the food on the Victory to be on par with a mediocre catering house. Think “wedding” food. Not bad, but just not great. However, where most other cruise lines make up for this fact with great “presentation”, the Carnival Victory does not. Appetizers had good presentation, and so did some deserts. However, most main courses were merely plated without presentation. The unfortunate thing about the Victory is that it does not offer an alternative dinning restaurant like some newer Carnival ships do. My wife and I found ourselves wishing that it did have one.

 

The Lido Buffet area was not bad. I found the food here to be on par with most other cruise line buffets. However, the thing that was really annoying here was the long wait one had in this line. The buffet lines just never seem to move smoothly or efficiently. On our recent RCCL and NCL cruises, we found the buffet areas far more organized and ran much more smoothly with far shorter waits. Breakfast was the worst of all. If you did not get to the buffet by 8am, be prepared to stand in line for 20 – 30 minutes to get breakfast. (took my wife 20 minutes one day, me 30 the next). Now, this was for a full, hot breakfast. If you were able to just have cereal, fruit, yogurt, etc. it was shorter. The lunch and dinner deserts were VERY good here.

 

We did opt for a sit-down lunch in the main restaurant one day. My wife and I both ordered the fish and chips. When they arrived they were nothing more than cool, soggy fish sticks. Very disappointing. In fact, other than the soups at dinner, most meals were lukewarm at best.

 

ENTERTAINMENT: Since this was a cruise to “get away” for us, we did not see many shows. The only real show we did see was the Welcome Aboard Show on the first night. What we saw did not impress. Choreography was very “dance recital’ish”. The “Carnival Mascot” came out and threw some beach balls around the theatre, etc. Not very imaginative. However, the female comedian that performed this night was very funny. I cannot say if the shows got better or not.

 

The Jazz band that often performed in one of the lounges, the pianist in the atrium and the classical trio were all very good.

 

ONBOARD ACTIVITIES: Again, we did not participate in many of these. However, the one thing I can say about them was that they were “LOUD”! The music on the pool deck was often way too loud. In fact, on Sunday afternoon we witnessed several people complaining at the pursers’ desk about this. Speaking with one of these ladies on line, she proceeded to complain that it was like this every day out there and there was just no way to relax around the pool. On our first sea day, while trying to nap on our “Aft” balcony, I kept being awakened by loud music and VERY heavy, loud bass. At first I thought it was a neighboring balcony or below us. However, after leaving the cabin and walking around the ship, I found it was the music from the pool deck mid ship and 2 decks up from our balcony. In all my cruise experience I have NEVER heard the pool deck music from our balcony before. It was just way too loud..

 

PORT: We have been to St. John’s before. It is not an exciting port to go to. But, it is very nice. We really enjoy St. John’s. The one thing about sailing to Canada is how nicely they welcome you when you arrive (a singer singing, roses for each lady as they exited the ship, Canada pins for the men) and when leaving there is a Bag Piper playing. It makes for a very nice arrival and departure. Much nicer than just sailing in, dropping the gangplank and disembarking with no fanfare or anything.

 

We visited the Market, mall, had GREAT fish and chips at a sidewalk café (the best meal we had of the entire cruise), visited the museum, shopped a bit, etc. Just a nice relaxing afternoon walking around St. John’s. We had a few beers at another sidewalk café and people watched. It was a delightful and relaxing port/day.

 

OTHER OBSERVATIONS: A few other little things that bothered us. Now, mind you I don’t usually “look” for things. However, being in a sales business that is travel oriented, I do notice a lot of things. “Little things”, individually don’t make much difference. However, many little things together give a shabby appearance or overall impression of disorganization, uncleanliness, etc.

 

Here are a few examples. The Cabin Directory found on the table of each cabin was very nice. It listed lounges, room service, shows, etc. However, these new books were for a different ship. Not the Victory. It listed lounges that were not on this ship, alternative restaurants and hours, etc. But for a different ship.

 

The TV station “Captains Log”, the one the gives weather, position, heading, wind, etc. was not up to date. We departed NYC on Thursday. I kept checking this station to see what our position was throughout the day on Friday. All day it said “departing NYC at 5pm”.. We had already departed the day before. Miles travel and miles to go before arrival were also wrong. It didn’t get up-dated until sometime Sunday afternoon while heading home.

 

The interactive TV was GREAT.. You could keep up with your account, check out movie rentals, and even check out the menu for dinner each night. Problem was, the dinner menus were not right. We planned our entire meal one night based on the interactive TV, only to find the menu completely different when we arrive at the restaurant. There were additional “little things” that we noticed as well. Again, individually none of these are a big deal or problem. However, collectively gives an overall impression of a lack of organization, a lack of care, etc.

 

FELLOW PASSENGERS: This is in no way to be an insult to anyone, just our observations. We noticed far more smokers on this cruise, than any other cruise we have been on. It was often difficult to escape the cigarette smoke and especially the cigar smoke. Walking past the Casino (on the promenade hall) was an exercise in breath holding. Every time we walked past there, the smoke was stifling. A major pet peeve of mine is people throwing their cigarette butts overboard. This is not only rude and bad for the environment, but EXTEMALLY dangerous (Princess Cruises fire). I notice more people throwing butts overboard on this cruise more than any other cruise I have been on. Each morning I would find cigarette butts on our balcony, I would stand at the railings of our balcony and witness people throwing butts overboard constantly. It was amazing to me the lack of consideration and down-right stupidity of these people. Especial after there being several MAJOR announcements about this during embarkation and how dangerous it is.

 

We also noticed a lot of yelling on this cruise from fellow passengers. Yelling across the pool deck to friends, yelling from one balcony to the other, yelling from one deck to the other in the atrium, yelling at their kids, just a lot of yelling. Also noticed an abnormally large amount of running children around the ship. Running up and down stairways, pushing all the elevator buttons, running around the pool, etc. This kind of stuff happens on all “mass market” cruise lines. But, this cruise just seemed to have a lot of them.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS: In closing, we did enjoy ourselves. Any cruise is better than no cruise at all. As with all vacations, a cruise is what “you” make of it. My overall opinion is that the quality of Carnival has dropped over the years. Our very first cruise 8 years ago on the Triumph was indeed a better experience. Both my wife and I agreed that if this cruise was our first, we might think twice before going on a cruise again. I had a client return from the Victory 3 weeks ago. This was her first cruise and upon her return she asked if in my experience were all cruise lines like Carnival. I asked her why. Her response was “next time I think we’d like something a little less Funship”.. I think that sums it up for us as well. I definitely rate Carnival as an “economy” line. Great for large families, large groups, younger folks, etc. because it is low cost and you definitely get the biggest bang for your buck. Especially if quantity is more important to you than quality. However, if your middle aged or older looking for a quiet, relaxing cruise, Carnival is not the line for you in my opinion.

 

There is no denying that I am a NCL loyalist. It amazes me the number of posts here on the Carnival boards that give negative comments about NCL. I can tell you that in 4 NCL cruises, all around, I have had far better service, food, less waiting on lines, more enjoyment, etc than on the Victory. In addition, NCL ships have a far better design (on the most part), much better traffic flow, far less smoking, more areas that are great for quiet cocktails and conversation, better overall maintenance, far more visible officers walking around talking with guests making sure everything is good, non-stop painting, waxing, shampooing of carpets, and general maintenance, no loud pool events such as the “Hairy Chest Contest”, etc. It is just a classier line more geared for relaxation. There’s a place for all cruise lines in the industry. Carnival is one of the most successful. However, they just aren’t for us. We did enjoy ourselves, but in the future we will cruise another line.

 

If you have any questions I will be happy to answer them the best I can.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice review, good detail, but it leaves me with the impression that you have let your profession get in the way of having a good time.

 

I knew this writer that was excellent and extremely picky on sentence structure, grammer, and choice of words... that was her job. I asked if she could actually sit down and read a book and enjoy it... she said yes, but said it was difficult for her to read past the grammer and such.

 

If I went on a cruise with such a critical mind regarding germs, entertainment, and food, then I too would not enjoy it as much as I could. Just food for thought. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with you totally. We have good friends that we use to go to the theatre with. They, too, were theatre people like ourselves. However, they could not enjoy a show without being critical of it. we stopped attending theatre with them for that reason.

 

As with theatre, I go on a cruise to enjoy myself, not pick it apart. I go to Broadway to see shows to enjoy them, not be critical of them. However, I do keep an eye out for things. I do let a lot roll off my shoulders for enjoyment purposes. However, I do also note things. All the things I have noted about this cruise were in no way anything that ruined our time. I greatly enjoyed this cruise, as I do with all cruises. However, there is room for improvement on Carnivals part with the Victory. I'm not sure is all Carnival ships are like this. However, the Victory could use some improvement.

 

Not all lines are for all people. I know people who hate NCL and RCCL. I personally enjoy those lines more. That's what makes the world go around.

 

Although I appreciate what you are saying, it is not the case in this instance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I agree with you totally. We have good friends that we use to go to the theatre with. They, too, were theatre people like ourselves. However, they could not enjoy a show without being critical of it. we stopped attending theatre with them for that reason.

LOL, that's pretty much the same reason DH won't let me watch any shows or movies about lawyers!:p

 

I enjoyed your review - we were in the aft wrap above your cabin on the August 18-23 cruise and fortunately didn't have problems with cigarette butts (although I found a sliver of glass one morning). Maybe Jomar was the cabin steward who found DH's glasses on the aft balcony next to your cabin (they fell off the strap around DH's neck during sailaway) - if so, he went above and beyond for us. First he found DH's glasses on the balcony - minus one lens - and the next night he returned the missing lens, which had bounced elsewhere.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Carnival has been doing the $10 a day tipping thing for years... I guess you haven't been since then and I believe the entire industry has suffered across the board because of it. I find the cruiselines service has gone way down since they implimented it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We found many of the complaints you have with the Victory on our Victory cruise in July 07... it really just seems to be this ship..I think I have read more negative reviews about this ship than any other...This year We went on the Miracle and found the complete opposite... We had almost nothing to complain about, let me correct myself.. we found nothing to complain about and I was a Celebrity fan.. I have cruised NCL also... The food on Miracle was great...

 

 

Usually the hand sanitizers are out when there is a problem on board... or at least that is what I thought I read..

 

You should give the Miracle a try.. You will be quite surprised...:)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

INot all lines are for all people. I know people who hate NCL and RCCL. I personally enjoy those lines more. That's what makes the world go around.

 

Many thanks for your detailed review. I've been considering a Canada/New England cruise with CCL and after your review I think I'd prefer to at least find a ship other than the Victory. We'd be traveling with a toddler and some of what you mentioned would be a definite turn off for me (the excessive smoke, noise, etc).

 

You said you've previously cruised CCL to New England, but have you taken either RCCL or NCL on the same routes? Of those two lines (or others you've taken), which do you prefer on that -or similar - route?

 

[/hijack]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wonderful review to read , but I must say, my family had a completely different experience than the original poster. We sailed the Victory in July 2008 for the 4 days to St John. It was myself, 40, my wife, 41, and my 3 year old son. We booked this about 3 weeks before sailing and stayed in an inside cabin.

 

Food - My wife and I consider ourselves foodies and have dined at some pretty high end restaurants in the DC and NY area. In fact, we dined at Aquagrill and Vice Versa in NY after the cruise. The food in the dining room was very good. It certainly was not fine dining or as good as the before mentioned places, but we always had a fresh piece of fish, steamed veggies cooked perfectly, salads, and one night lobster tails. Everything seemed very consistent. Again, it was not tasting menu quality but was certainly very enjoyable food. Our waiter was not great (he was fine, just not the best). Also, our son was at Camp Carnival from about 6:00PM-8:00PM, so we had a dinner date followed by a little jazz every evening. Man that was nice!

 

Room - The room was spotless and the stewards were all great. Whenever our son walked by they sort of yelled (not too loudly!) hello to him. The room was organized so well. Carnival used every square foot very efficiently.

 

Gym - Great. Cardio machines were up to date, clean and the view was great while I put in my hour a day. I also did a stretching class 2 of the mornings that was nice.

 

Camp Carnival - Free day care with planned activities from basically 10am-10pm with just a few breaks in between. Unbelievable! My son had a great time and it was a very secure place for him. My wife and I had a little freedom and it was just great. They give you a phone and will call you if there is any problem at all. They take down food allergies, drink preferences (no soda etc..) and food preferences. The staff was friendly and caring.

 

Ambience - It was certainly not the Ritz Carlton but still quite nice. The mood seemed festive but not party central. It was like being at a good Hilton I guess. If you don't go into it expecting the Four Seasons you will be fine. I did notice a little bit of smoke here and there, but nothing too bad at all.

 

Things we didn't care for -

-The lido buffet for lunch was "very cafeteria." We ended up eating a few lunches and breakfasts in the dining room because of this. The lines and crowds were too much...not much Carnival can do on that ship but still worth pointing out.

-The port of Saint Johns was not great but we knew that going into it. Since we have a 3 year old we didn't do an excursion though. That would have made it a much better port I'm sure!

 

This cruise was so relaxing and wonderful. Everything is taken care of for you and with a smile. We booked a cat 11 aft wrap on the Miracle for next year and I can hardly wait. We can't wait to sit out on our huge balcony and dine at the super club. Also, our room is a 2 room suite so it gives us a little privacy form our son.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Carnival Victory Review

 

 

We just returned Monday from the Carnival Victory 4 day cruise to St. John’s NB Canada. The following are my thoughts and opinions of this cruise and ship. These are just my opinions.

 

BACKGROUND: I am originally from the entertainment industry having worked in theatre for over 30 years. The later part of my career included management and operations of several dinner theatres. Some that were part of large catering operations and others free standing. So, I am experienced in entertainment and food/catering. We retired from theatre some 11 years ago. I am currently in sales. I have cruised steady over the past 8 years, our first cruise being the Canada itinerary on the CCL Triumph. That is the cruise that “hooked” us to cruising.

 

We cruise to relax. We really aren’t into “on board activities”, port intensive cruises, etc. Being in sales and in the public eye a lot, we cruise to just sit back, take a deep breath and relax a bit. We usually prefer to stay in suites and go on week long cruises. However, we had a very rough summer (family deaths) so we decided on a last minute, cheap, short cruise just to get away before the end of the summer.

 

EMBARKATION: We live only a little over an hour from NYC. So, we always drive in to the passenger ship terminal and park. We drove up, dropped off our luggage, parked and were down in the terminal in about 10 minutes. We waited in the seating area for about 20 minutes, were then called, through security, checked in and on by noon. VERY organized, swift and painless check-in process. Carnival does a nice job with organization here.

 

Once on we went directly to the Lido Buffet for lunch. We much prefer sit-down meals; however, there was no other option open. More on the buffet later. Cabins were ready by 1:30.

 

CABIN: We had an aft 9A corner cabin 7425. We usually stay in aft suites. However, this cabin was just perfect. Large enough for the 2 of us. Lots of windows and very bright. Bathroom was just fine. The balcony (most important part for us) was huge and private. It had 3 chairs, a small table and 2 loungers. However, the lounge chairs looked a bit shabby with white speckles of paint all over them. The deck itself was not kept up very well. The teak was badly bleached by the sun and stained with food stains, drink stains and gum. This just made for a “shabby” appearance. Our cabin steward, Jomar, was very good. Didn’t see him much. However, he kept our cabin spotless.

 

THE SHIP: The ship, overall, appeared in good condition. The décor, for the most part, was elegant and colorful, almost fanciful in spots. However, we did not like the design of this ship at all. We then remembered this same problem with the Triumph, and after returning home and looking over the deck plans of other Carnival ships, find this to be pretty common on all their ships but the last few. We did not like the “promenade” through the ship. Walking from one end of the ship to the other forced you to walk through the casino, through lounges, etc. On formal night this promenade was blocked with photographers every 25 feet or so. This created crowds and large back-ups along this promenade. The other design element we found poor was the fact that many of the lounges were also thoroughfares through the ship. Trying to find a place to sit and enjoy a peaceful cocktail and listen to jazz or the pianist was next to impossible. There was constant traffic walking through, along with noise, running children, etc. In addition, there was not one place that we could find that was smoke free. Every time we sat down to try and enjoy a cocktail in one of the lounges, inevitably someone would sit down by us a light up a cigarette or worse yet, a cigar. In all of our cruises, both my wife and I feel this ship was the “smokiest” we had ever been on. We also found this to be a very “loud” ship. Not sure if this is due to the lack of sound absorption materials being used or what. However, trying to find a quiet place to sit and relax or talk with another couple over cocktails was very difficult. We met a very nice couple at the atrium bar one evening and found ourselves yelling our conversation back and forth.

 

Another design problem for us was the fact that the Victory does not have a full promenade deck outside to walk around. Yes, it does have covered decks down each side of the ship. However, they do not go all the way around the ship as with most other cruise lines. In rainy, windy weather all you can do is walk back and forth a few times. No way to walk all the way around unless you are up on the top deck exposed to the elements.

 

We didn’t see much maintenance going on. This is something we see constantly on other lines, especially NCL. However, we didn’t see much here. While sitting on our balcony looking up at the structure of the ship I did notice a lot of rust areas, etc. No big deal, but just gave an overall “shabby” appearance.

 

Another big problem for us was the lack of sanitizer stations around the ship. Most cruise lines have these hand sanitizers around the restaurants, buffets, etc. NCL does the best job with this. This shows by the low cases of sickness aboard their ships. However, there were absolutely none to be found on the Victory. My wife and I ended up carrying our own little pocket bottle around with us. These sanitizers should be standard on all cruise ships now.

 

STAFF: For the most part the staff was very accommodating and friendly. Many on these boards (as well as others) complain about service on NCL being bad because they “have a gratuity service charge. So the staff doesn’t give good service because they are not getting tips”… Well, for those who say this understand that Carnival is now doing the same thing. A $10 per person, per day service charge for gratuities automatically gets put on your room account. Be prepared, most other lines will be following. The pursers desk was very helpful, staff in the halls friendly, most bar attendants friendly. One thing I did notice was the lack of officers walking around checking things out. This is something we see much more of on others lines.

 

Malcolm was the Cruise Director. Charming and personable. His staff was pretty good. We did not like the assistant cruise director at all (cannot remembers her name, but often ran Bingo). She seemed almost bored at times. We found the cruise director staff member from South Africa (heavy British accent) just too much and obnoxious at times.

 

FOOD: Ok, here we go. I know how subjective this topic is. Also, remember my past experience in the catering field. First, everyone must accept that, in general, cruise line food quality has gone down industry wide. This is a fact. This is a cost cutting measure by ALL mass market cruise lines. In order to get really good quality food like the “good old days” on cruise ships, one must go and visit one of the “alternative” restaurants on board and pay a nominal extra fee. This is just the fact of cruising now and doesn’t bother this cruiser.

 

Having said that, we found the food on the Victory to be on par with a mediocre catering house. Think “wedding” food. Not bad, but just not great. However, where most other cruise lines make up for this fact with great “presentation”, the Carnival Victory does not. Appetizers had good presentation, and so did some deserts. However, most main courses were merely plated without presentation. The unfortunate thing about the Victory is that it does not offer an alternative dinning restaurant like some newer Carnival ships do. My wife and I found ourselves wishing that it did have one.

 

The Lido Buffet area was not bad. I found the food here to be on par with most other cruise line buffets. However, the thing that was really annoying here was the long wait one had in this line. The buffet lines just never seem to move smoothly or efficiently. On our recent RCCL and NCL cruises, we found the buffet areas far more organized and ran much more smoothly with far shorter waits. Breakfast was the worst of all. If you did not get to the buffet by 8am, be prepared to stand in line for 20 – 30 minutes to get breakfast. (took my wife 20 minutes one day, me 30 the next). Now, this was for a full, hot breakfast. If you were able to just have cereal, fruit, yogurt, etc. it was shorter. The lunch and dinner deserts were VERY good here.

 

We did opt for a sit-down lunch in the main restaurant one day. My wife and I both ordered the fish and chips. When they arrived they were nothing more than cool, soggy fish sticks. Very disappointing. In fact, other than the soups at dinner, most meals were lukewarm at best.

 

ENTERTAINMENT: Since this was a cruise to “get away” for us, we did not see many shows. The only real show we did see was the Welcome Aboard Show on the first night. What we saw did not impress. Choreography was very “dance recital’ish”. The “Carnival Mascot” came out and threw some beach balls around the theatre, etc. Not very imaginative. However, the female comedian that performed this night was very funny. I cannot say if the shows got better or not.

 

The Jazz band that often performed in one of the lounges, the pianist in the atrium and the classical trio were all very good.

 

ONBOARD ACTIVITIES: Again, we did not participate in many of these. However, the one thing I can say about them was that they were “LOUD”! The music on the pool deck was often way too loud. In fact, on Sunday afternoon we witnessed several people complaining at the pursers’ desk about this. Speaking with one of these ladies on line, she proceeded to complain that it was like this every day out there and there was just no way to relax around the pool. On our first sea day, while trying to nap on our “Aft” balcony, I kept being awakened by loud music and VERY heavy, loud bass. At first I thought it was a neighboring balcony or below us. However, after leaving the cabin and walking around the ship, I found it was the music from the pool deck mid ship and 2 decks up from our balcony. In all my cruise experience I have NEVER heard the pool deck music from our balcony before. It was just way too loud..

 

PORT: We have been to St. John’s before. It is not an exciting port to go to. But, it is very nice. We really enjoy St. John’s. The one thing about sailing to Canada is how nicely they welcome you when you arrive (a singer singing, roses for each lady as they exited the ship, Canada pins for the men) and when leaving there is a Bag Piper playing. It makes for a very nice arrival and departure. Much nicer than just sailing in, dropping the gangplank and disembarking with no fanfare or anything.

 

We visited the Market, mall, had GREAT fish and chips at a sidewalk café (the best meal we had of the entire cruise), visited the museum, shopped a bit, etc. Just a nice relaxing afternoon walking around St. John’s. We had a few beers at another sidewalk café and people watched. It was a delightful and relaxing port/day.

 

OTHER OBSERVATIONS: A few other little things that bothered us. Now, mind you I don’t usually “look” for things. However, being in a sales business that is travel oriented, I do notice a lot of things. “Little things”, individually don’t make much difference. However, many little things together give a shabby appearance or overall impression of disorganization, uncleanliness, etc.

 

Here are a few examples. The Cabin Directory found on the table of each cabin was very nice. It listed lounges, room service, shows, etc. However, these new books were for a different ship. Not the Victory. It listed lounges that were not on this ship, alternative restaurants and hours, etc. But for a different ship.

 

The TV station “Captains Log”, the one the gives weather, position, heading, wind, etc. was not up to date. We departed NYC on Thursday. I kept checking this station to see what our position was throughout the day on Friday. All day it said “departing NYC at 5pm”.. We had already departed the day before. Miles travel and miles to go before arrival were also wrong. It didn’t get up-dated until sometime Sunday afternoon while heading home.

 

The interactive TV was GREAT.. You could keep up with your account, check out movie rentals, and even check out the menu for dinner each night. Problem was, the dinner menus were not right. We planned our entire meal one night based on the interactive TV, only to find the menu completely different when we arrive at the restaurant. There were additional “little things” that we noticed as well. Again, individually none of these are a big deal or problem. However, collectively gives an overall impression of a lack of organization, a lack of care, etc.

 

FELLOW PASSENGERS: This is in no way to be an insult to anyone, just our observations. We noticed far more smokers on this cruise, than any other cruise we have been on. It was often difficult to escape the cigarette smoke and especially the cigar smoke. Walking past the Casino (on the promenade hall) was an exercise in breath holding. Every time we walked past there, the smoke was stifling. A major pet peeve of mine is people throwing their cigarette butts overboard. This is not only rude and bad for the environment, but EXTEMALLY dangerous (Princess Cruises fire). I notice more people throwing butts overboard on this cruise more than any other cruise I have been on. Each morning I would find cigarette butts on our balcony, I would stand at the railings of our balcony and witness people throwing butts overboard constantly. It was amazing to me the lack of consideration and down-right stupidity of these people. Especial after there being several MAJOR announcements about this during embarkation and how dangerous it is.

 

We also noticed a lot of yelling on this cruise from fellow passengers. Yelling across the pool deck to friends, yelling from one balcony to the other, yelling from one deck to the other in the atrium, yelling at their kids, just a lot of yelling. Also noticed an abnormally large amount of running children around the ship. Running up and down stairways, pushing all the elevator buttons, running around the pool, etc. This kind of stuff happens on all “mass market” cruise lines. But, this cruise just seemed to have a lot of them.

 

FINAL THOUGHTS: In closing, we did enjoy ourselves. Any cruise is better than no cruise at all. As with all vacations, a cruise is what “you” make of it. My overall opinion is that the quality of Carnival has dropped over the years. Our very first cruise 8 years ago on the Triumph was indeed a better experience. Both my wife and I agreed that if this cruise was our first, we might think twice before going on a cruise again. I had a client return from the Victory 3 weeks ago. This was her first cruise and upon her return she asked if in my experience were all cruise lines like Carnival. I asked her why. Her response was “next time I think we’d like something a little less Funship”.. I think that sums it up for us as well. I definitely rate Carnival as an “economy” line. Great for large families, large groups, younger folks, etc. because it is low cost and you definitely get the biggest bang for your buck. Especially if quantity is more important to you than quality. However, if your middle aged or older looking for a quiet, relaxing cruise, Carnival is not the line for you in my opinion.

 

There is no denying that I am a NCL loyalist. It amazes me the number of posts here on the Carnival boards that give negative comments about NCL. I can tell you that in 4 NCL cruises, all around, I have had far better service, food, less waiting on lines, more enjoyment, etc than on the Victory. In addition, NCL ships have a far better design (on the most part), much better traffic flow, far less smoking, more areas that are great for quiet cocktails and conversation, better overall maintenance, far more visible officers walking around talking with guests making sure everything is good, non-stop painting, waxing, shampooing of carpets, and general maintenance, no loud pool events such as the “Hairy Chest Contest”, etc. It is just a classier line more geared for relaxation. There’s a place for all cruise lines in the industry. Carnival is one of the most successful. However, they just aren’t for us. We did enjoy ourselves, but in the future we will cruise another line.

 

If you have any questions I will be happy to answer them the best I can.

 

Thank you for posting a review

for the Victory ship

 

I always look forward to hearing about the ships

I have upcoming cruises planned on...

 

I was wondering if you might be able to post it over on this thread :

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=837159

and if you might have photos

that you are willing to share with us

 

Thank you so much

Carolina

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wonderful review to read , but I must say, my family had a completely different experience than the original poster. We sailed the Victory in July 2008 for the 4 days to St John. It was myself, 40, my wife, 41, and my 3 year old son. We booked this about 3 weeks before sailing and stayed in an inside cabin.

 

Food - My wife and I consider ourselves foodies and have dined at some pretty high end restaurants in the DC and NY area. In fact, we dined at Aquagrill and Vice Versa in NY after the cruise. The food in the dining room was very good. It certainly was not fine dining or as good as the before mentioned places, but we always had a fresh piece of fish, steamed veggies cooked perfectly, salads, and one night lobster tails. Everything seemed very consistent. Again, it was not tasting menu quality but was certainly very enjoyable food. Our waiter was not great (he was fine, just not the best). Also, our son was at Camp Carnival from about 6:00PM-8:00PM, so we had a dinner date followed by a little jazz every evening. Man that was nice!

 

Room - The room was spotless and the stewards were all great. Whenever our son walked by they sort of yelled (not too loudly!) hello to him. The room was organized so well. Carnival used every square foot very efficiently.

 

Gym - Great. Cardio machines were up to date, clean and the view was great while I put in my hour a day. I also did a stretching class 2 of the mornings that was nice.

 

Camp Carnival - Free day care with planned activities from basically 10am-10pm with just a few breaks in between. Unbelievable! My son had a great time and it was a very secure place for him. My wife and I had a little freedom and it was just great. They give you a phone and will call you if there is any problem at all. They take down food allergies, drink preferences (no soda etc..) and food preferences. The staff was friendly and caring.

 

Ambience - It was certainly not the Ritz Carlton but still quite nice. The mood seemed festive but not party central. It was like being at a good Hilton I guess. If you don't go into it expecting the Four Seasons you will be fine. I did notice a little bit of smoke here and there, but nothing too bad at all.

 

Things we didn't care for -

-The lido buffet for lunch was "very cafeteria." We ended up eating a few lunches and breakfasts in the dining room because of this. The lines and crowds were too much...not much Carnival can do on that ship but still worth pointing out.

-The port of Saint Johns was not great but we knew that going into it. Since we have a 3 year old we didn't do an excursion though. That would have made it a much better port I'm sure!

 

This cruise was so relaxing and wonderful. Everything is taken care of for you and with a smile. We booked a cat 11 aft wrap on the Miracle for next year and I can hardly wait. We can't wait to sit out on our huge balcony and dine at the super club. Also, our room is a 2 room suite so it gives us a little privacy form our son.

 

Would you mind posting your review over on the Victory thread too ?

I am trying to get all the reviews on the ship all in one place

so that they are easier to find ...;)

Would you mind putting one over there too?

I would so appreciate it

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=837159

Thanks

Carolina

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Log Cabin~

I was on the same ship as you and i totally agree with you!! I consider myself young, 41, and i found the pool area to be sooo loud especially in the morning. We too noticed if you didnt get your lunch or breakfast early, the buffet lines were ridiculous. I refused to wait. The pizza line or the deli sandwich line was much better. Did you happen to try the sandwiches? We thought they were great ~ they had turkey, pastrami, ham..... very tasty.

Now, i dont know if you read my post from a couple days ago, on Carnival vs. RCCL, but our service is the dining room was horrible!!! :mad: I was so happy that i did ask the pursers desk to credit the gratuities on my account. I did tip the waiters but not as much as they should have got. We have had fabulous service on RCCL and Disney magic, and carnival was horrible in the DR. But we managed to make the best of the trip and overall we had a great time. The weather was beautiful! Thanks for taking the time to post your review!!! Happy Cruisin~:D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Everyone has their own experiences. We hated RCCL and thought the service, and almost everything else, was horrible so it really depends on what you are expecting and what you may be used to. We did, however, tip the dining room staff what was suggested. I've read a lot of great reviews about Victory so it really is personal preference and how much fun you are having with the group you are with.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I just want to say thanks for an honest review. I can relate - I have sailed the Victory twice now and she is my least favorite ship so far. I will say that we gave her a second shot this year and things were much improved (our first sailing was full of rude people, unhappy crew, and closed areas of the ship) but this year was much better.

 

If you haven't tried a Spirit class ship like the Miracle you might want to give it a shot - especially if you are into relaxation. They layout of the ship really lends itself to a more quiet, relaxing cruise. I also have sailed the Liberty twice and while the ship layout is very similar to the Victory - they fixed a lot of the problems with the traffic flow around the buffet and promenade. The Liberty at least also has less smoking areas - for instance, you can still smoke in the atrium and at the aft pool on the Victory, but not on the Liberty.

 

Having been on a cruise with obnoxious fellow passengers, I can also sympathize with that. It's not the norm, but you just never know until you get onboard who you may end up with on any particular sailing. If you decide to try Carnival again - try one of the newer Conquest class ships or a Spirit class and I think you will see a world of difference.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Welcome to Cruise Critic
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Cruise Critic News & Features
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • Canadian Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations
×
×
  • Create New...