Number of Cruises: 3
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Victory
Sailing Date: July 29th, 2006
Carnival Cruise Lines
Carnival Victory Cruise Review
My husband and I and our two teenage
children (ages 16 & 13) just returned from our cruise to Canada from New York.
We originally chose this particular itinerary because it leaves from New York (so we could just have someone drive us to the port and save on airfare), we had never been to Canada before and heading north seemed like the best choice to try to escape from the sweltering summer heat of New Jersey.
Boarding was easy. We arrived around 2:30, handed a porter our luggage and waited in rather quick moving lines to pass through security and get our Sail & Sign cards. Then, we just walked onto the ship and found our room. At first it was difficult to find our way around, but it got easier once we became familiar with the locations of our favorite spots. Our luggage did not arrive until after dinner, but the staff in the dining room did not care that we were dressed in shorts and tee shirts (unable to change). In fact, no one seemed to care what anyone wore on any of the casual nights...we were told by our waiter that just long sleeve shirts would be fine for the guys on formal night but we had decided not to participate in formal night prior to boarding. We figured it would cost less to buy a lobster dinner at a restaurant than outfit a family of 4 in never to be used again formal wear.
The most awkward time on the ship for us was during formal night. Since we had chosen not to participate, we ate in the Mediterranean dining room. The food there was alright but nothing spectacular, and everyone could find something they liked. Afterwards, we wanted to avoid going back to the room so our room steward could prepare our room for bed (turn down the sheets, leave a towel animal and chocolate mints). We tried to go on deck and all of them were being roped off and hosed down. The lounges, etc. were full of people in fancy clothing and we felt out of place among them but we had no where to go! We finally settled back in our room and put the privacy sign on the door to keep out the room steward.
The room was small, but adequate and we used the veranda a lot. It was clean (except for dust around the edges of the pull down from the ceiling bed) and they did a great job of replenishing our towels, sodas and usually our ice. There is an ice machine way down the hall if you want to get it yourself and you are charged for any of the soda or bottled water that your drink from the little supply left in your cabin.
There was a small bar of soap in the bathroom and a dispenser in the shower containing shower gel and shampoo. That was it for amenities...no lotions or razors as some other cruisers have mentioned receiving.
The weather was gorgeous, though too cold for swimming in the pools. The pool water...and the "hot" tubs...were quite chilly when we tried them, only once and never again. Only a few brave souls bothered to swim on this voyage. We had thick fog on the night we left Halifax and the ship had to keep using its foghorn. It made you jump when you were on deck, but we slept easily through it in our room on deck 8.
We went on the Reversing Rapids excursion in Saint John and had a lot of fun. It consisted of a bit of a bus tour around Saint John before arriving for the ride on the Bay of Fundy. You dress up in rain pants and a rain jacket along with a life vest and they give you a 20 minute ride on the reversing rapids/falls where you get sopping wet. Bring a change of clothes. You won't need fresh shoes though...you ride barefoot. We all enjoyed the ride and wished it could have lasted longer.
On the following day in Halifax, we went on the excursion to Peggy's Cove. It took an hour to get there and back so we had a tour guide who told us about the area each way. Peggy's Cove was pretty, but I wish we could have spent more than an hour there. We did not opt for the excursion that included the Salmon lunch for everyone because of the added expense, but with only an hour there, there wasn't even time to sample a cup of clam chowder, walk to the lighthouse, walk down to the fishing boats, and check out all of the little shops. Another hour would have been nice.
Onboard the ship, there is quite a variety of food. We ate on the Lido deck for breakfast and lunches. There are areas for made to order deli sandwiches, pizza (excellent and available 24 hours!), burgers and hotdogs, Chinese food and a changing buffet. Beware the scrambled eggs at breakfast...they aren't even the right texture...they look grainy/gritty. The breakfast buffet food was not very hot...warm at best. We had our own table in the Atlantic dining room and we all enjoyed the food there. The menu changed every night and our waiters were very nice (and funny). My daughter wasn't feeling well one night and the waiter gave us a meal for her when we left to take back to our room. Then he even asked about how she was feeling the next evening.
We did not use the casino or the kids/teens clubs. We did a lot of relaxing on deck and on the veranda. My husband and son woke up early every morning to exercise and really enjoyed the gym. You must be at least 16 to use the gym. I saw quite a few people walking and running on the little track around the smokestack.
The shows were ok. I was sorry I missed the R rated comedian, but I was in bed by the starting time of midnight.
My kids loved the 24 hour soft ice cream and pizza and became masters at room service. No one was ever hungry!
Overall, we all had a nice time. Once we stopped comparing everything to Disney (the only other cruise line we've been on), we were able to enjoy ourselves. The cruise was not luxurious, but the service was good, it was clean, we saw someplace new and we had a good time as a family. I would definitely consider cruising with them again.