Number of Cruises: 1
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Victory
Sailing Date: August 12th, 2006
Carnival Cruise Lines
Carnival Victory Cruise Review
My first cruise! An easy 5 day (actually 4
full days + 1 evening embarkation + 1 morning disembarkation). The short time
period was very convenient, fairly priced and family friendly.
The crew and staff were all very hardworking and diligent in doing a good job. There where a few issues, that when brought to the attention of the appropriate crew member, was resolved in a timely manner. You just have to ask. The only surprise we got was when the room steward could not get us a shower cap.
We had an interior cabin. The bathroom walk-in shower came equipped with dove shampoo gel and bath gel. We had a bathroom basket with sample size toothpaste, 2 disposable razors (his/hers), a few chapters of a book sample, and some other stuff. The bathroom comes with a hair dryer (you are not suppose to use any of your own heating devices, because of fire danger.)
The pools are small, wading size, 3 1/2 feet deep, and somewhat chilly. The water is saltwater, pumped in from the ocean. There are a couple of hot-tubs throughout the ship, which we did not use, they where heavily chlorinated. The big slide was closed most of the time. If you want to take it, take it as soon as you see it open.
The ship is all about food and drinks. Bar drinks and soda costs extra. The special drinks are a good deal, $3.50 a mixed drink. Don't waste your time on happy hour frozen drinks, they use smaller cups to charge you $.70 less for happy hour. What doesn't cost extra: Juices, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, ice-cream are all available on the Lido deck.
The gym is nice, with many treadmills, elliptical machines, pneumatic weight machines and free weights. There are sauna rooms (heat and steam), showers, and towels available everywhere. I didn't like that the gym closed at 8PM -- too early!
I really liked the shows. The first day the "Victory Dancers" seems a bit amateurish, but after the last day and seeing them perform 5 different nights, every show totally different, with more energy and better than the previous one, I grew to love them. The dancers also double as bingo hosts, magician', assistants and life raft commanders. There was also a magic show (was pretty good) and 2 midnight stand-up comedy shows (which I did not watch.)
The karaoke bar was also great fun. I only found it the 3rd night. Practice your favorite songs before you get on the ship and perform them in front of a very appreciative and forgiving crowd. And on the last night 10 passengers are selected (by audition) to perform as famous singers in the 'Carnival Legends' show. It was great fun and a very impressive vocal performance by some of the passengers.
Victory has a team of photographers taking your photo everywhere from the moment you get on the ship. It's most impressive on the formal night when most passengers get dressed up in tuxes (a few), suits (most passengers), beautiful cocktail dresses, prom type dresses, gowns, and everyone's getting their photos taken in front of all different backgrounds. All the photos taken are displayed for purchase the following day. The big photos (8x10) are $20.
The Gala Buffet was another highlight. On this night the 115 chefs on board prepare their own dish or dessert, and there is a huge ice sculpture. The desserts usually aren't that good, but when given a free hand, on Gala Buffet night, the pastry chefs create some real gems. From 11:00PM to 11:45PM it's only viewing and photographing the food, and then from midnight on there is a long line to get some great exotic foods.
Now for the bad: The shore excursions. We took a bus and boat tour in St. John's for $81 per person, for 2 1/2 hours. The bus was a chartered city bus. The tour guide (Scott Sommerville) did not seem to know much about his own town as we where shuttled in a very uncomfortable and unenlightening ride to a few highlight spots. Then we where herded on to a flat bottomed boat with big dirty scratched Plexiglas windows. The boat captain gave some vague dialogue about the river and reversing falls, he stayed in the middle of the river most of the time, just letting the boat bob around and making most of us nauseous, trying to run a narrative audio tape without the boat going anywhere. We got back to shore after a final tour of just 2 hours, for what was suppose to be a 2 1/2 hour tour, and that was the end of the tour, and we where thankful that it was short. Instead of taking any tour I recommend you take the self-guided walking tour, you can get the guide in the information desk in the mall. Actually there are 3 very nice connected malls just about 1/8 a mile from the cruise ship dock, you can just walk down the boardwalk, you can't miss it. If you want to go further, like a hike or the Cove, you should rent your own taxi.
The Halifax shore excursion was also a waste of time and money. We paid for the hop-on hop-off bus tour. Very uncomfortable and slow double decker bus, which was a 1 1/2 hour circuit for $40 per person. What Carnival doesn't tell you is there is a free city shuttle bus, "Fred", that goes to all the same places, and makes the circuit in just 40 minutes. They hide all the information about "Fred" at the information desk on the cruise pier, but the person there will tell you if you ask, and you can get information at the first information booth in town or on the boardwalk. At the booth you can also get detailed town information in the form of a self-guided walking tour. All the main Halifax highlights, galleries, museums, eateries, shops, and the park are all within walking distance from the cruise ship pier.