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Carnival Victory: Quick trip report/review

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My sister, two friends, and i just returned from a week on the Carnival Victory. We had a nice time, although I think I'm not really the cruise type.

Impressions:

Cabins - we had two balcony cabins, side by side, on the 6th floor toward the aft of the ship (6405 and 6407). They were more spacious than I was expecting. Plenty of closet space, drawers and shelves. The beds were comfortable and the bedding quite nice. Our cabin steward kept things "ship shape" - always very clean. Nice bathroom with a good shower. If I go again, would definitely spring for the balcony. We really enjoyed having it.

Food -
Dinner - good to excellent, but not outstanding (about what I expected). Salmon was excellent - I had it twice. Chicken was also good. The one night they had filet mignon (as a duet with another cut of beef, I can't remember what) it wasn't particularly good. My sister had fried shrimp and liked it. The warm chocolate melting cake is exceptional - I got it three times. Skip the Baked Alaska - a slab of neopolitan ice cream surrounded by a layer of yellow cake - hardly any meringue and not flaming. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't my idea of Baked Alaska.

Breakfast and lunch are nicer in the dining room than at the buffet. Re the buffet, salads were fine, but most of the food was so-so, and the lines were sometimes long. Not as much variety as I'd expected. Pizza was ok, not great. French fries were good at the small grill in the back of the ship by one of the pools and the life-size chess board. My favorite "find' for lunch was the deli around the side of the buffet. Delicious turkey wraps and grilled ham/cheese sandwiches. Yummy.

My favorite treat was the 24/7 soft ice cream/yogurt machines. Some days they had chocolate and vanilla. A couple of times they had chocolate and strawberry. Excellent!

Ship and activities - The ship's decor was about as expected. The public areas were rather garish in decor and darker than I'd have liked - obviously an older ship. But again, everything was pretty clean for the most part and pleasant. The mini golf course was basic but fun. I also enjoyed the outdoor movies on the big screen in the evening. We didn't go to any of the comedy shows or magic show. The Vroom show with lots of Motown songs was good - maybe a little cheesy but fun, nonetheless.

Ports -
San Juan - point of departure. We had time for a brief stroll up to the main shopping area and the fort. Busy place, interesting area.

St. Thomas - we booked in advance over the internet with Godfrey's Tours. We had an hour of shopping (he offered 3 pickup times depending on how much shopping time you wanted - 9, 10, or 11). So much of the shopping was jewelry, which didn't really interest me. I did buy a really nice, large straw hat at a shop on one of the side streets. Then we went for an island tour up to some beautiful overlooks, followed by some beach time. We had a choice of Magen's Bay or Coki Beach. Unfortunately, we had a rain shower at that point. My sis and friends decided to skip the beach and go back to the boat. I opted for Coki's and it did clear up for part of the time, but it also rained part of the time. Still, it was worth it. Beautiful beach, extremely clear water. People were snorkeling off to the side, but I didn't because there wasn't time.

Next day was at sea - we mostly relaxed and got to know the boat. Did some reading, played some cards, went to the casino and played the penny slots for a little bit.

Barbados - we booked a 3-hour catamaran tour with Sasha tours. It's a small boat - there were 12 of us, plus the captain, Jason, and an assistant. We went snorkeling/swimming with the sea turtles. This was a trip highlight for me. They came right up to you and were so cool! I got bit, though, which really surprised me. I was swimming on top of the water and felt something grab my toe and chomp down! I jerked my leg and the turtle let go right away. It didn't beak the skin but left a bruise. Jason (the captain) said they don't see well and he may have thought it was a fish or piece of fish (Jason was feeding them). Next we went to a ship wreck site (just a trawler) where there was also a reef and lots of fish - it was beautiful. The water was a little rough in this area and the rocking of our boat made one of my friends sea-sick. She threw up over the side of the boat. Yuk. I'd recommend Sasha - enjoyable time. There was the option for a 3-hour snorkeling tour (which we did) or a 5-hour tour that included lunch. We didn't tour the island, but from what we saw, I wasn't impressed. It's relatively flat and not particularly scenic. We didn't go to downtown or to any of the beaches, so I can't comment.

St. Lucia - we booked a van for the day through Fabian tours (our driver was Tommy). It was a long day over windy roads but what a gorgeous island! Very lush, with banana plantations, a drive-in volcano, and the beautiful pitons. We sampled fried plantains, banana ketchup, cassava bread, coconut juice, and 1 or 2 other local delicacies. Very nice day.

St. Kitts - I went zip-lining through a ship excursion. It was easy (I'd done it in Nicaragua, so had some experience) and really fun. I'd highly recommend it. After lunch, we walked downtown - interesting experience. We saw Independence Park, a former slave market, and checked out the Catholic church.

St. Maarten - No excursion this day. We took the water taxi ($6 for unlimited rides all day) over to town and spent awhile relaxing on the beach. It was nice being right there in town, but the water wasn't nearly as clear as at Coki on St. Thomas. Our table mates at dinner took an island tour and visited Orient Beach, which they said was beautiful, but they didn't really like that it was clothing optional. They said a naked man was standing at the entrance to the beach offering to pose for pictures with people.

Debarkation was a long wait, but orderly. Ditto for embarkation. Overall, I was pleased with Carnival - good service, nice and friendly employees - and had a good time.

Happy to answer any questions

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