Carnival Victory was our latest cruise. We needed a cruise to get us through to our next cruise in December, and it was my birthday and our anniversary, so we decided to book. We looked at the VIFP (Very Important Fun Person) deals and found a 5 day cruise for a wonderful price in April. Below is my honest review of the ship.
Getting to Miami
This was our first time embarking out of the Port of Miami, or even visiting Miami. We drove in the day before the cruise, which was not a lot of fun because of the heavy rain that would not stop, and the crazy traffic towards Miami. We finally got off of route 95 since it was so hard to drive in the rain, and took a back way into Miami. We were going to see some of the Miami sights, but the torrential rain would only allow us to go to the mall. So, we went to the Dolphin Mall, which was pretty nice. We stayed at a hotel near the airport that was recommended as a Snooze, Cruise and Park hotel. Not a great choice. It was way too close to the Airport, right under the flight path, and the planes were continuous and noisy. Not a very restful night. I was not impressed with Miami, what we saw of it. Free Shuttle service was only one-way to the Cruise Port for some reason and it was confusing. I know that I was confused, and the clerk at the hotel was not all that helpful, he spoke too fast and didn’t make a lot of sense. So, we ate breakfast, then got our luggage and decided just to sit in the lobby for the shuttle. The shuttle driver asked us where we were going, and we did get on a shuttle fairly quickly. However, it was still confusing on how to get a shuttle back to the hotel after the cruise so we could pick up our car. We kept getting different answers. We finally decided to try a different shuttle service on our way back to the hotel after the cruise. We would have used UBER but couldn’t get the app to load.
Embarking at the Port of Miami was pretty easy. The shuttle driver dropped us off at the correct terminal. We got there by 10:30. We were checked in quickly and easily and got a low embarkation number. They already had our picture from our last Carnival cruise, so we didn’t have to get our picture taken again. Then we had to wait maybe half an hour until we were able to board the Victory.
The Carnival Victory was a small ship, but a pretty ship. There is a lot of green in the décor, and I love green. It’s so soothing. and a lot of Mexican tiles. We went straight to the Lido deck to the buffet. It’s been a few months since this cruise, but I will endeavor to give you the best review I can, along with pictures.
The Muster Drill was not very organized on this ship. We’ve decided that next time we’d go later. We were there on time, and lined up at the back along the wall. People straggled in, and we found out that we were squished back by a lot more rows of people. It was not comfortable at all, it was hot and hard to breathe, and it took a long time to get everyone there and get the drill going and done. Not fun at all.
We found that the best place to eat in the Lido Buffet is on the upper deck of the restaurant. Use the stairway all the way in the back. There is not a restaurant up there on this ship, and it was nearly always pretty empty. There’s plenty of tables up there, and there are waiters. It was up there that we met our favorite ship employee, “I’Nyoman”. He was the one person on the ship that always greeted us, and seemed to enjoy our company. The buffet is very pretty and decorated with Mexican tiles. The food was good. The lines were long because there weren’t as many buffet lines as normal, but it was tolerable. We ate breakfast and lunch there every day. And of course the Chocolate Buffet on the last Sea Day is my favorite. Also, Carnival no longer lets you bring water on board, but you can pre-order bottled water before your cruise and it will be in your stateroom when you get there. It’s fairly inexpensive.
Another place that we enjoyed eating on a Sea Day is the Sea Day Brunch. It was in the rear dining room. We enjoy it because the food is always so good. I always get the Huevos Rancheros, always so good! My husband ends up with this huge steak and eggs meal that he says is delicious. The waiters were very good for the brunch and made an effort to learn our name, even though we only ate there the one sea day.
We weren’t as impressed with the main dining room for dinner. The food was good. We were seated at a table for 10 away from the window. We love to share tables with others and get to know people during our cruises. We’ve made some good friends that way. We enjoyed the company of the others seated with us, but it seemed that the waiters weren’t as friendly as the waiters we’ve had in the past. There was no effort to even learn our names. Meeting people is one of the highlights of a cruise for me, and I wish that we’d felt that our wait staff was friendlier.
We ended up with an interior room for this cruise since it was a great price. I’d much rather have a balcony, but at least we were cruising. I tend to like to spend time by myself in the room to get away from all the stimulation, so it was good for that. The bad part about this room was that it was too close to the atrium, and I hadn’t paid attention to that when I booked. That meant that every single night when the DJ was playing music, we heard and felt the beat till the wee hours. I’ve learned my lesson. The room was the normal Carnival room. I’ll post more pictures at the bottom of this review. The beds are always so comfortable on Carnival. Does anyone know where we can get a Carnival Mattress? They are the best, and the pillows too. But our room steward acted like we were putting him out almost the entire time of the cruise and never seemed happy. I guess I can understand that because they are away from their families for months on end. I didn’t even realize that he knew our name till the last sea day. Part of my love of cruises is the personalized service that we get and getting to know the employees from other countries. This cruise was the worst of that we’ve ever seen. I was really disappointed in the personalized service on the Carnival Victory. On top of that, instead of the steward cleaning the room morning and evening like they always have, you had to choose which time you’d like to have your room cleaned. They ask you the first day which you’d rather have. There was the option of having both, but we decided that we’d just go with the evening turn down because we figured that Carnival was making the stewards do more rooms than they used to. Also, there are no longer robes in the cabins but you can request one.
We never use the pool or waterslide, and didn’t use the Jacuzzi on this cruise, so I can’t comment on them. They do have a serenity deck to get away from the noise and kids with loungers and whirlpools. I love to go up there and just relax. Shops on this ship were the same as any other Carnival Ship. I didn’t buy much, but I did get my Cruise Ship Christmas Ornament. I try to collect one from every ship I’ve been on. I’ve only missed one so far. The Carnival Magic didn’t have them for some reason.
Our ports this cruise were Key West and Cozumel. I’d never been to Key West before, so I was looking forward to that. I’ll post more on Key West in a separate review. We’ve been to Cozumel a number of times before. This time we just took a taxi into town and walked around. I’m not overly fond of Cozumel because it’s overwhelming to me to have people bothering you constantly to buy things. I was really glad to get back to the ship. I’ll post pictures of Cozumel in a separate review. I was kind of impressed with the taxi drive that brought us back to port though. I gave him an extra $2 on top of the $8 fair, and he got out of the cab and shook my hand. He was the most polite person I met in Cozumel.
One funny thing that happened in Cozumel. We found that if we went out on the deck on deck 3, it was really quiet and private. Not many people hung out there, so I spent a lot of time there just watching the ocean since we had an interior room. We were docked in Cozumel until late, we were supposed to be back to the ship by 9:30 pm, but it was already 9:30, and we heard them saying that 7 people were still missing. Then it was 10:00 pm and there comes a group, taking their time down the gangway coming back to the ship. The officers were yelling for them to hurry up, but they just took their time. The officers were so mad at them when they finally got onto the ship and they just gave the officers attitude. So, I guess that sometimes the ship will wait for you, unlike what they say. I won’t guarantee that though, so get back on time! I thought it was pretty rude of those people.
The shows were okay. My favorite was the music review featuring The Beatles, Elvis, and other oldies. That was one of the better shows I’ve ever seen on a Carnival ship. Most of the time you see the same shows over and over no matter what ship you’re on. We were hoping to win something at the Excursion show, as they were giving away a lot of excursions. However, the Cruise Director was making everyone who won do a Twerk dance. No way I’m going to do that ever, not in front of anyone. So, I sat there praying that I didn’t win. lol We always enjoy the comedian’s family friendly show, and this trip was no different. There were two different comedians, and they were both good. Our Cruise Director was Matey, and he was good, except for the Twerking thing. His tagline was “Cheerio!” I can still hear it.
Disembarkation was fairly smooth. We decided to carry our own luggage off and do the self-disembark. We had less luggage than normal since this was a shorter cruise. We got up early, went to the buffet to get breakfast, and then went back to our room to get our things. It’s never particularly easy to get an elevator to deck 3 to disembark but we managed. We got off of the ship and through customs pretty quickly, then went outside and called the shuttle service. They didn’t take long to pick us up, but then they had to pick up people from different terminals and then take some of them to the airport. Our hotel was last on the list. Luckily we didn’t plan on driving all the way back home that day.
One problem we’ve seen with Carnival is that they keep giving less service and charging more. We have a Gold card, and we used to get a Captain’s Party with our VIFP status, which was a party with free drinks and hors deuvres. And now we get a bottle of water, a pin from the ship, and a free drink after 5 pm the last night of the cruise. And we didn’t even get the drink for this cruise since it was only a 5 day. So, we’re getting somewhat disillusioned with Carnival. Our next two cruises are booked with Royal Caribbean.
See below for more pictures of the Carnival Victory.