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Rob

Age: 26

Occupation:Travel Consultant

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Victory

Sailing Date: June 13th, 2006

Itinerary: Canada

Carnival Cruise Lines
Carnival Victory Cruise Review
Halifax, Canada

Rob

Being my first cruise, I was very excited to step foot on board. Being a travel consultant, I know a lot about cruises, but nothing can prepare you for actually sailing.

Embarkation:
We stayed in Manhattan prior to sailing and took in some shows. Our hotel on 34th street was only about a 7 minute drive and it cost us $8 for the taxi. Entrance into the pier was fine, and there was lots of staff around to assist and collect luggage.

The line through security was quick. Then we got to the counter to check in. The woman who was checking us in was on her first day of processing non-US citizens, and her computer was acting up. We were there for about an hour, which was quite excessive. Then we had to stand in another line to get our photos taken and board the ship. The line moved quickly, but was several hundred people long. Once on board the ship, we had no problems finding our room, as the halls were well marked.

Stateroom:
Our room was an inside room and as far forward as you can get. The room was big enough, and there was ample storage and closet space. The only thing that would have been nice was a place to store our suitcases.The bathroom was large and had all the needed amenities. The shower was quite nice and had a massager showerhead. As other people have noted, despite the request to reuse towels, we found our towels were replaced every day.

There is no mini-bar in this room. There was some pop and water on the counter (for a fee) and an ice bucket, which was filled twice daily. A small fridge would have been great.

The TV was fine, and it had all the major US networks, as well as CNN and a movie channel. There is also a radio in the room that plays about 5 different stations. The beds were very comfortable and there is individual temperature controls in the room (on the ceiling, look up!) Our room attendant, Paul, was very friendly and helpful. And being that he was Haitian, I think he enjoyed speaking French with us.

Food:

My overall impressions of the food on board was that it was not spectacular, but plentiful. No food was amazing, but there was no bad food either.

We had late dining in the Atlantic Restaurant (at 8:30). I found this a little late, and would have preferred the 8pm sitting. Our waiter, Dennis, was friendly and he remembered us all. He was also quite concerned when I fell ill(more below).

I found the food in the Mediterranean buffet to be a bit bland and repetitive. Also the desserts were low in quantity.
The pizza was good, and if you are willing to wait 5 minutes for a calzone, they are great. The barbeque, the taste of nations, and the deli were good too, with different options. We didn't get to try the Chinese food.

We went to the Pacific dining room for one breakfast and one lunch. Both were good, but not quite filling. We still needed to get something at the Lido deck afterwards.

One tip I will give is unless you drink a ton of pop, don't invest in the soda card. It cost $25 (with tip) and I drank about $6 worth of pop. The biggest hassle I found was that when you were eating on the Lido deck, you had free juice, coffee, tea, and hot chocolate right there. Then if you wanted to get a pop, you had to hike down to the far end of the ship to the pool bar. So it was easier to get juice, and it was delicious too.

Entertainment:
I found the entertainment on the ship ranged from quasi-professional to cheesy. On the cheesy side, they had various activities going on around the pool, such as the hairy-chest contest. On the other end of things, they had two wonderful comedians who did midnight R-rated shows. The lounge shows were called "Las Vegas style" shows for a reason. They wouldn't be very successful in Las Vegas, but were still entertaining to pass the time.
I would recommend checking out the Newlywed Game when they do it. It can be a bit risqué because of the questions, but it was a riot!

In terms of facilities, the pools looked nice but were cold. The hot tubs were big but filled with children. The lounge chairs close to the pools are taken, but you can always find a chair somewhere. If you hit fog( like we did), go to the back of the ship to avoid the fog horn.

The casino was fairly large, and there were always free machines and tables.

The disco was large and fun, but a lot of that depends on the people on board. The DJ played decent music though.

The sports bar was nice, with great views of the ocean. You need to ask the bartender if there is something you want to watch. Otherwise they don't change the TV channels. We went in one day and ended up watching Dr. Phil.
However a nice crowd gathered for Stanley Cup Playoffs. It would have been nice if there was bar food available, such as wings or cheese sticks, not just pretzels.

Ports-of-Call:
On this cruise, the only port of call was Halifax. When we were in port, Hurricane Alberto was rolling in, so it was a rainy miserable day. Many of the shore excursions were cancelled, except for the bus tours. Halifax is a beautiful city and there is a lot to see and do, so I felt bad for the many people who were looking forward to exploring the city. For those who did brave walking into downtown, they didn't last long. I was fortunate that a friend of mine lives in the city, so we spent the day at her place.

When leaving, the ship encountered very rough waters due to the hurricane. The ship was hitting 20 foot swells, we were told by staff. I did not take any medication as I didn't want to sleep through the evening entertainment. This was a big mistake. I started feeling really sick. I went to my cabin, took two pills, and proceeded to be thoroughly sick. After about half an hour of misery in the bathroom, I realized there was no way to keep any medication down. I called the Pursers desk, who in turn called a nurse for me. She said to go meet her in the Infirmary. I was surprised to find that there was several other people in the same position I was. While the doctor was in surgery with a crew member, there were 2 nurses on duty taking care of patients. I received a needle that took care of my seasickness and let me sleep for 15 hours.

The needle cost $10 and the nurses fee was $30. It was the best $40 I ever spent. Plus I have travel insurance so that is being refunded to me anyways. So if you are quite sick, don't hesitate to call for help. That's what they are there for, and I found the $40 very reasonable.

Disembarkation:
We had to pack the night before and leave our bags out in the hall (a bit inconvenient). The morning of, we had to gather in a lounge with other non-US citizens. We were walked off the ship, made a brief stop at customs, and then were free to go. The ship was in port at 8am and we were at Newark Airport by 9:45am. Please note if you take a cab to Newark, the cost is about $70 with tolls and tip. That's the same as the ships transfer.

Overall we had a great time, despite being seasick and having a morning of fog  (with the fog horn going off every 3 minutes). The staff seemed very friendly and attentive. I wouldn't hesitate going on Carnival again, although I could see how passengers from Celebrity, Disney, or Princess could see this as a step down.




 



 

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