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Carnival Victory Review with lots of Photo's--July 5-12, 2009

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**This is a long and detailed review of our family Caribbean Vacation**

 

 

 

Sailing the Southern Caribbean in a ship 893 feet long, with 6 different ports of calls,

the Carnival Victory offers a busy itinerary full of beautiful sights and lovely beaches.

 

 

The Carnival Victory in St. Thomas

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Traveling with 2 teenagers and a 10 year old, there was never a dull moment!

But first, let me begin with our post-cruise experiences.

 

 

July 4--It was still dark when the five of us packed up our bags and left the Courtyard Marriott hotel near the Detroit International Airport. We arrived at DTW airport around 5:00 am, too excited about our upcoming vacation to the Southern Caribbean aboard the Carnival Victory to let our lack of sleep and weariness set in. After a smooth flight, easy flight connections (and a little shut eye), we arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico around 1:20 pm. We were greeted by bright sunlight and heat. Yes! We have arrived in the Caribbean! From the airport we boarded the Charlie rental car shuttle bus and proceeded to their office in Isla Verda to pick up our rental car. After that it was a short drive through heavy, congested traffic to get to the Hampton Inn, our pre-cruise destination.

 

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After picking up KFC in a restaurant that was hotter than the heat outdoors, we proceeded to Isla Verda Beach.

Being this was July 4th, the beach was very crowded.

 

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We enjoyed relaxing on the beach and cooling off in the warm ocean water. There was a fellow walking around on the beach adorned with a massive boa constrictor around his neck. If you were brave enough, he would let his snake drape around your shoulder for a photo. . .thanks. . .but no thanks!

 

My 10 year old was very excited to find a sand dollar in the water. Too bad it was a living creature--he would have loved to have it as a souvenir.

 

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After a few hours on the beach, we went back to the Hampton Inn and hung out by the pool.

For supper, we ordered delicious hamburger platters right from the grill by the poolside bar.

 

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July 5--After enjoying complimentary breakfast in the privacy of the Hampton Inn Meeting Room, (because the breakfast area was so packed, we were escorted here), we stuffed all of our bags into our rented Suzuki SX4 and took off to explore the forts of Old San Juan. As we entered the Old City, our excitement mounted as we caught our first glimpse of the familiar red Carnival smokestack. But our first stop was to visit El Morro, a Spanish Fort, dating back to 1539.

 

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After walking up the long pathway, in the scorching heat, we crossed over the moat and entered El Morro. This is a massive fort with very high and thick walls!

 

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In our exploration of the fort, we climbed down triangular and circular staircases.

The soldiers used these staircases for quick access to get from one level of the fort to another.

 

Descending the triangular staircase

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We also descended a steep incline which took us into a small circular area. This was the original tower of the fort.

This area is now swallowed up inside the walls of El Morro.

 

Running back up

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After enjoying the cooling breeze blowing through the windows in the Living Quarters, we climbed the stairs to reach the Santa Barbara Battery.

 

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Who’s on guard?

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There are numerous “Garita” or sentry boxes with very, very, narrow passageways leading up to them.

 

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Is this narrow enough for you?

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These sentry boxes offer great views of the fort and sea too!

 

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We also climbed up a steep ramp which was used to haul heavy cannon’s from one level to the other.

This was a very interesting fort to visit!

 

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After cooling off in the drinking fountains, we were ready to explore San Cristobal—another fort about 1 mile away. We were lucky that the trolley which offers a free ride from one fort to the other was just on its way! We squeezed onto the crowded trolley and were off!

 

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San Cristobal

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Entering the fort of San Cristobal.

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A view of Old San Juan and El Morro (in the distance) from San Cristobal.

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We came across a pyramid of iron balls which were actually found on the grounds of San Cristobal.

It wasn’t long before we heard thunder rolling and could see the sky over the sea getting dark and heavy.

 

Can you spot the Victory?

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From this fort, we got a good view ofthe Carnival Victory sitting majestically on the water waiting for our arrival,

while threatening storm clouds loomed overhead.

 

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It wasn’t long before it started to rain. It is good that San Cristobal has many tunnel systems.

There was one nearby which we could explore and get out of the rain.

 

We came across the gloomy, dingy dungeon and saw historical drawings on the wall. We also saw the troop quarters.

 

Troop Quarters

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From this fort, we got another great view from the observation post that was added to the fort by the USA during WWII.

 

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The main plaza led us back towards the exit.

 

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The rain cooled off the temperatures making it more comfortable for all of us. By now it was close to 2:00 pm.

The rain stopped and we began to make our way towards our home for the next seven days—the Carnival Victory.

 

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After dropping off our rental car at Charlie’s Condado office, we were shuttled over to the cruise terminal and arrived there around 2:15 pm. We dropped off our large luggage and proceeded with our carry-on’s through the long line to get inside the terminal building and the registration desk.

 

With our “S & S” cards in hand, we finally stepped onto the Carnival Victory around 3:15 pm. We boarded the ship from deck 3 and entered the 9-story Atrium lobby.

 

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Our stateroom was ready since 2:30, so we could go directly to our Oceanview cabin on the Riviera Deck.

 

Riviera Deck forward

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Our cabin 1250

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After dropping off our carry-on’s--we made our way to the Lido Deck for lunch. While my older two sons headed off to the Mississippi Grill for burgers and fries, my youngest immediately ran to his favorite eating place on the ship—the Pizzeria!

 

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Since the pools and waterslide were closed, this was an opportune time for us to explore this Grand ship.

 

The Pool Decks

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“Secret Deck” under the Bridge

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The Coral Sea Café along Neptune’s Way

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Virtual Sea Game Room

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The South China Sea Club Casino

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Looking down 9 stories into the Atrium

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The Carnival Victory is themed after the Seven Seas. I thought it was very nicely decorated and seemed fancier and glitzier than the décor on the Carnival Triumph. Even the shiny black floor tiles are made with crushed seashells!

 

Glass Elevators

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Elevators

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The Caribbean Lounge

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Promenade Deck—Club Artic Dance Club on the right and the Caspian Wine Bar on the left

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Mediterranean Restaurant

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In keeping with the Seven Seas theme, the carpeting by the stairs and elevators had wave designs with fish motifs designed right into its fabric and there are sea horses everywhere.

 

On the stairs

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On the sliding glass doors

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and even under the tables!

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Some of the themed bars include:

 

The Black and Red Seas Bar

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Irish Sea Bar

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Ionian Room

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We leave in February on this cruise. Our first. We're taking our 10 and 11 year olds. We'll all be following your trip report. Great pics.

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A singing duo and piano player called “Two Tone” were performing in the Atrium’s Seventh Sea Bar. DH and I sat down and enjoyed their music, while the boys went back to the stateroom to watch some TV. “Two Tone” did a really good rendition of Michael Jackson’s song, “Billy Jean”.

 

After their performance we went back to our stateroom to get ready for dinner. Dinner tonight was open seating and was offered in both dining rooms from 5:30-8:30 pm. It was around 7:00 pm when I noticed that our camera bag was missing—and no one remembered seeing it since we loaded up our bags into the rental car this morning! Could we have left it behind in the rental car or in the shuttle bus? In a frenzy, we made a call to Charlie’s rental car from the Pursers Desk. Their main office is opened 24 hours, but the Condado office, where we dropped off the car, was already closed. The main office asked us to check in with the Condado office tomorrow—but since we would be in St. Thomas the following day, this option was not possible. Luckily, DH took our camera with one spare memory card and batteries out of the camera bag in the morning and kept it strapped onto his belt, so that we would not have to lug the camera bag around while touring the forts. This is all we had to work with for the remainder of our cruise—we lost our battery charger and batteries, three extra memory cards and more importantly our brand new waterproof camera which I just bought specifically for this vacation. Moreover, we had no tripod either to catch those Kodak moments with our entire family—as DH had misplaced this somewhere in the forts already. What a great way to begin our vacation!

 

Anyway, we went to dinner around 7:45 and finished shortly after 9:00. Of course we all had to enjoy Carnival’s famous, mouth-watering, warm chocolate melting cake for dessert!

 

Warm chocolate melting cake with extra ice-cream!

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After dinner we went back to our staterooms, to get into our life jackets and prepare for the Muster Drill beginning at 9:15 pm.

 

 

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After the Muster Drill, we went to the Lido Deck to catch some of the Sail Away Party and music as we watched the lights of San Juan fade away.

 

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Our Cruise Critic “Sail-Away Meet and Greet” was scheduled after the Muster Drill. We planned to meet on the Panorama Deck wearing Hawaiian leis—but since it started to rain. . . again. . ., we ended up meeting at the back of the ship by the Sirens’ Pool and Bar. Even though not everyone showed up, it was nice to be able to put faces to names.

 

Sirens’ (Adult-Only) Pool, Lido Deck Aft

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Coming up next. . .Our day in St.Thomas

Edited by dz63

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Im loving your review so far. Keep it coming!! Did you happen to keep your capers? If you can will you post those as well?

 

Thanks

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Thanks for posting your review and especially the pictures...keep it coming!!!!!!!!!!

 

I do hope you got the camera bag back...we had major camera trouble on one cruise and understand the frustration:mad:

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Thanks for posting your review and especially the pictures...keep it coming!!!!!!!!!!

 

I do hope you got the camera bag back...we had major camera trouble on one cruise and understand the frustration:mad:

 

As of yet, we did not get our camera bag back.

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Im loving your review so far. Keep it coming!! Did you happen to keep your capers? If you can will you post those as well?

 

Thanks

 

 

Yes, I have all our capers.

DH is working on scanning them--when this is done I will post them.

 

cz

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what a great review so far, can't wait to read more this is the ship and itinerary we are looking at for our all adult cruise next summer.

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As of yet, we did not get our camera bag back.

 

Sorry to hear that.

 

We are still missing a camera that we took to Victoria years ago.

 

Did you have anything like a luggage tag on it so that at least the finder could make an honest effort to get it back to you?

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Love the review! So sorry to hear about your camera, we lost ours on a roadtrip home after visiting my husbands terminally ill mother. The memories that we snapped and have since lost forever still haunt me.

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Sorry to hear that.

 

We are still missing a camera that we took to Victoria years ago.

 

Did you have anything like a luggage tag on it so that at least the finder could make an honest effort to get it back to you?

 

No, we did not have a luggage tag on our camera bag and I don't know if there were any papers inside that would identify us or not. We checked with the Hampton Inn where we stayed pre-cruise as well as with Charlie's rental car and they had nothing! Charlie's even phoned the people who rented the car after us to see if they found it, but so far we have heard nothing! We left our email address with them, so if it does turn up somewhere, they can contact us. (This is a time when a tracking device would come in handy:p). But most likely, there is someone, somewhere in Puerto Rico enjoying a brand new waterproof camera!

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