Number of Cruises: 19
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Victory
Sailing Date: July 6th, 2006
Carnival Cruise Lines
Carnival Victory Cruise Review
Our group of 4 arrived at the pier around
11:20 a.m. We dropped half of our party & the luggage at the cruise drop off
area & proceeded to the parking area - Cost: $24. per day x 4 (# of nights of
cruise). There were relatively few people at the pier so when our group was
together we quickly proceeded through security. Check-in lines were short and
all passengers seemed to be handled quickly & efficiently. By noon time we were
on the ship, dropped carry-on in our cabin, ready for the Lido buffet.
My cabin was on Deck 2 - front of ship, had 2 portholes (Cat 1A). The other two people had a balcony cabin, Deck 6 mid-ship (Cat 8A). The water was rough on both full days at sea. This is the first time I have had a cabin on such a low deck. Although I had heard you feel the movement less when you are lower...not true. The rocking did not bother us, but the person in the balcony room could not stay for any length of time in our room. At times, you also heard unbelievably loud banging as the waves slammed into the ship. The spray was pretty amazing to watch below out of our little portholes. At times, the room creaked. I tend to think this was not a common occurrence but due to the days being very windy & the water rough. This was my 3rd time taking the Victory to Canada & found the weather, although sunny, rougher than in the past. For a 1A price - I feel I got a bargain. Our cabin stewardess, Floriana, was the sweetest, most efficient young woman you would ever want to meet.
One other point to keep in mind for those booking - the front section on the ship seemed to be booked in the Pacific Dining Room. Although I found it prettier than the Atlantic, since there was a wall of windows in the back of the room giving full view to the sea behind us, it is difficult to reach this dining room. You must go up to Deck 5 - walk to the back of the ship - then come down 1 or 2 decks, depending on if you are seated on the top or lower level of the dining room. This will be tiring to those with reduced mobility. If you have difficulty getting around, request a room mid-ship (near the atrium elevators) & the Atlantic dining room. This should reduce your walking. Speaking for myself, the walk did me good to burn off some calories from all I ate!
Speaking of food...for breakfast/lunch we tried the Lido buffet, the dining room and room service. The buffet's plus is being able to enjoy a made to order omelets while sitting out on a beautiful morning having your coffee or enjoying a big burger hot off the grill at lunch. The negative is I believe it is difficult to keep foods hot in chafing dishes, so if you like hot, you may want try the dining room. The dining room's plus was, as mentioned, no chafing dishes, slight variation in menu from Lido and the opportunity to meet other people, as you don't sit at your regularly assigned table. For dinner, there were menu choices to please all and our waiter was wonderful about bringing an extra entree (s) to put in the middle of the table for us all to try something new.
Entertainment: Although this was my third time seeing the two main shows, I still enjoyed them. On my last Carnival cruise we received a behind the stage tour and learned that shows stay the same for many years on each ship due to the fact that when the ship is built, the theatre area - stage, backstage, set - is built to accommodate a particular show. The cost would be prohibitive to change or rotate shows on a regular basis. The passenger talent show was interesting in that our ship carried a Taiwanese group of just under 300 people, celebrating a high school reunion. Some of those passengers entertained us with cultural dancing as well as other acts. One other passenger, not with the group, had a beautiful voice and sang "Danny Boy." We also had some sort of music organization group of 500 Indian passengers. This cruise seemed to attract not only the 2 mentioned large groups, but a number of smaller family reunion type groups.
Ship Personnel: One employee was nicer than the next (with the exception of the baggage help desk at Pier of NY upon our return). Carnival has instituted a Concierge Club service for Platinum Card holders (those who have cruised 10 or more times with Carnival). Although I had a Platinum Sign & Sail card on my last cruise, this was the first time I received any benefit from it. Therefore, I don't know if this service is ship based or cruise line wide. At any rate, for those of you who may be eligible for this, it is wonderful! Hats off to Carnival for showing repeat cruisers that they appreciate your loyalty. This service offered priority check-in and departure (when I stated short check-in lines I was referring to the general line, although we were not required to go to the main check-in desk). The ship offered us a tour of the galley, petit fours delivered to the cabin one evening, a nice tote bag (great for carrying home those extras you buy), and a special area at the purser's desk if service is needed. Again, it is nice that Carnival is keeping pace with other cruise lines & acknowledging that with all the choices out there, cruise line loyalty should be acknowledged and repaid a bit.
Port: Halifax - Although there are numerous bars/pubs, this is a pretty quiet place in the summer when all the colleges there are on break (fine with me - I left my college age kids at home!). We took a morning tour to Peggy's Cove, which we arranged on our own through a cab driver waiting at the cruise terminal. Cost $135. CD per car/van load. We had only 3 going so not a big savings over the cruise ship price, but if you had 6 in the van it would be worth it. The driver, although informative about some local information, gave a bit more personal info. than I needed to know. In his favor, he did take us a more scenic route than the cruise ship tour & pointed out the Swiss Air monument memorializing those who perished a number of years ago. This was my first time going to Peggy's Cove & it was very scenic. We only had time to really look around the light house area & I would have liked to walk to the fisherman's monument there and closer to some of the little fishing houses but he used some of our time showing us the Halifax city sites before starting out to Peggy's Cove (he was well intentioned). In the afternoon my friend & I also took the ship's Horse Drawn Trolley Halifax Tour, which was relaxing & gave a overview of Halifax. For those with kids (or kids at heart) I still feel my favorite is the Harbor Hopper (vehicle goes on land & in the water). You can book this on your own when you reach the Harbor-walk (you'll see the booth past the maritime museum) but do so upon arrival as the ship buys up blocks of the tour. Harbor Hopper has an on-line site for info. Another tour which looked adorable if you have young children (age 9 & under) is Theodore the Tug Boat.
The Reality of Your Cruise Being Over: Being this is a 4 night cruise, the majority of people tend to use the option of carrying off their own luggage. Although a staff personnel stated they didn't expect so many to do so...hard to believe - 3 cruises & same thing each time. If you plan on carrying your own luggage off, I would wait about 45 min. after they announce passengers are cleared to do so. Otherwise, you will wait on lines that snake down the hallway. Sit at the Lido with your luggage & enjoy your last bit of time left. The wait is long for elevators because Customs closes the main atrium area & those elevators are out of service & everyone leaving at the same time. We opted for placing our luggage out the night before (for those previous cruisers the time is now before 11:00 p.m. not midnight - we found out the hard way, but again the staff was accommodating). The only problem we had was the silver Concierge tags were mistaken for gray TBA tags & our luggage was not in the proper area. Although we were polite in requesting help finding our luggage, the Carnival rep. at the luggage booth was rude & yelled at me to just leave my carry ons on the floor by the booth & follow her to look for it (yeah right - a laptop & personal belongs left with some young guy - no uniform, no work tag ID - "watching it" who was playing games on his cell phone & never picked his head up even when telling us "all the VIP bags are already gone. I don't know what to tell ya." Oh well - bags were found - all ended well & you can't let one incident cloud the other wonderful ones. Just keep this in mind if you have the Priority tags & if the kinks are still not out of the system. Enjoy your cruise!