This was my third cruise. My other cruises were on the Spirit (December 17, 2003) and the Inspiration (October 10, 2004).
My parents and I flew into Miami on Friday, so we could spend some time with my brother before we got on the ship. We stayed at the Holiday Inn by the airport, and their rooms had just been refurbished. We rented a car from Alamo, because they have a shuttle to and from the port as well as the airport.
Day 1: September 25th
It took 1-½ hours to embark. When we got on the boat, we headed down to our room on the Riviera Deck. It is nice sized, bigger than the Inspiration. The victory is a gorgeous ship and has a really nice layout. I had read some of the reviews saying it needed to be repaired on the walls and carpet. I only saw one wall that needed to be repaired, but everything else looked great.
After we unpacked, we ate lunch on the lido deck in the Mediterranean restaurant. Their hamburgers and fries are delicious. We went back to the room and took a nap. During which, they delivered our luggage, so it was a pretty fast delivery.
The lifeboat only took a half an hour. It said on the caper that it was supposed to be from 3 to 3:30 pm, but didn’t start until 4 pm. After the drill, we went back to the room and I noticed in the caper, that they didn’t have the in-cabin movies listed, like they did on our other cruises. Instead they have a channel on the television, that tells you what is on at the very moment, but does not give a starting time for the movies on TV later.
We had the 6:15 pm seating assignment in the Atlantic dining room. Two out of the three couples at our table were on our Inspiration cruise last year. We figured out that we all had the same travel agent. Our waiting staff introduced themselves, but didn’t bother to learn our names. We weren’t able to leave the dining room until 7:45 because of the service.
We read in the caper, that karaoke was supposed to be in the Adriatic lounge, but when we got there, the lounge was empty, so it was probably a misprint. We headed over to the Caribbean lounge to watch the ballroom dancing class at 8:30 pm and it was pretty hilarious to watch. Then Philippe, one of the social hosts from Brazil and Karl, the assistant cruise director from England, co-hosted “Game Show Mania” at 9:15 pm. Then another one of the social hosts, Monica, also from Brazil, hosted bingo at 10:00 pm.
After bingo, we saw the Welcome Aboard Show at 10:30 pm, where we were introduced to our cruise director, Dana Hodson, and Emma, another social host from England. This was the beginning of a lot of toilet jokes from Dana. He is obsessed with their speed and power. During the show, they had the victory dancers and the singers, Penny Gold and Marvin Lewis, performed some songs and then there was a comedian named Thomas Brown. After about 10 minutes of his act, he asked for 3 volunteers from the audience to lip-synch Motown music wearing Afros. I think he doesn't need to do the lip synching part and he is funny on his own.
Day 2: September 26th
It was our first day at sea and our first formal night. After eating breakfast on the lido deck, we went to the Caribbean Lounge to hear Dana’s travel talk on Cozumel at 11 am. Since we had already signed up for shore excursions, it was interesting to hear more about them. He also told us that if we have a tour, to be there 15 minutes early for each one.
After our nap, we went to the shopper talk hosted by the super shoppers Rick and Hector at 3 pm. They gave out a lot of free stuff, so it is a good idea to sit in the front at those talks. After the shoptalk, we went and had pizza for lunch, and it was delicious. While we were eating, we listened to the band “Cool Runnings” on the lido deck, and they were good. Then we walked around the shops on board. They have a lot of jewelry, t-shirts, stuffed Freddy’s, stuffed towel animals, etc.
After we got dressed for formal night, I waited while my parents got their pictures taken and then we went to dinner. The dining room service was worse and we were in there until 8 pm. We went to the 8:30 show of “Livin’ in America” and it was okay, but not greatest show I’ve seen from Carnival.
Day 3: September 27th
We woke up, ate breakfast on the lido deck, and got off the boat in Cozumel to meet our “Highlights and shopping” tour group at the end of the pier at 9 am. Our first stop was in Cedral, where there are some local shops and a Mayan temple. Our second stop was at the beach, where they had some more huts with arts and crafts. Then we were dropped off at the downtown shops. They have a Burger King, Carlos ‘N Charlie’s, Diamonds International, Del Sol, Hard Rock Café, Los Cinco Soles, Senor Frogs and Tanzanite International. Included with our tour price, is the museum. A lot of the shops downtown, are on the pier as well, so you don’t have to go far to shop. We were back on board the ship at 2:00 pm.
For dinner, they had an open seating dinner from 5 to 8 pm, so we got to sit by ourselves. My dad had booked another shore excursion,
”Sunset Snorkel” at 7pm, so he had to leave for before dessert. He told us, they take you in a cap and give you a flashlight, but he saw a lot of ocean life, and thought it was neat.
It said in the caper to dress as your carnival color after 8 pm, so I would recommend packing some blue, red and white clothes just in case.
Mom and I went to the Caribbean Lounge after dinner and watched Cozumel Trivia, Dr Phil’s Love, Sex and Romance Quiz, and Victory Derby (Horseracing). The social host, Philippe hosted all of those activities and he did a good job considering how tiring it must be. During the activities, I ordered a non-alcoholic raspberry daiquiri, and my mom got a non-alcoholic Miami vice. We both loved them.
The show, “The Mexican Folkloric Show” featured the Mexican Junior Ballet and the Mariachis. If you have ever been to Hawaii, it will be like watching a show at a luau to you. After the show they had a midnight Mexican buffet and a lido deck party. The social hosts taught some line dances, such as the electric slide and the cha-cha slide, and they hosted a lip synching contest for the carnival colors competition. The band “Lifeline” was great and played a lot of music.
Day 4: September 28th
Our second day of sea and there wasn't a lot to do. Dana had a travel talk on Grand Cayman and Ocho Rios at 11 am, where he announced that he and members of the crew, including the captain, were sick, because there was a flu virus going around.
The assistant cruise director, Karl hosted Battle of the Sexes Sea Feud at 2 pm, and the men won after a nineteen-week losing streak.
They had a comedy matinee with Pete Michael at 4:15. He was all right, but forgettable.
At dinner, one of the ladies at our table got so fed up with waiting for our server to bring us some sauce for our prime rib and sour cream for our baked potatoes, that she went up to the serving stand and brought the gravy tray back with her to the table. After about 5 minutes, the waiter asked for it back.
After dinner, we watched bingo and the “Magic Moments” show at 8:30 pm with Rand Woodbury and the Victory dancers. Rand Woodbury was hilarious and did some neat tricks, especially the snow one.
Then we went to karaoke, and they were having auditions for “Carnival Legends.” Rick, Hector, and the airbrush tattoo artist were the judges. It was too loud with all the people, so we left.
Day 5: September 29th
After we ate breakfast, we took a tender over to Grand Cayman and met our “Turtle Farm, Hell, and Stingray City” tour group by the shops at 10 am. We boarded a bus across the street by the Hard Rock Café in Georgetown. Our first stop was the turtle farm and it was very incredible to see turtles of all shapes and sizes. My mom picked up on of them and my dad took her picture. Then we stopped in Hell, but it was raining so badly, my mom and I didn’t get off the bus, but we could see the rock formations when we drove in and out. Our final stop was to board a boat to go over to Stingray City. It would have been more fun, if the waves weren’t knocking us over. We were back on the boat by 3:30 pm.
During dinner, a girl was leading Fun Ship Freddy around the dining room. These kids at the table next to us went up to Freddy and asked if they could have their picture taken with him. The girl told them no and shooed them away and the kids’ mother went up to them and chewed her out. Freddy came back to their table with them.
After dinner, we went to karaoke. Tiana, the karaoke host got up and sang a country song, and did an awesome job. Then we headed to the Caribbean Lounge, where Karl hosted “Who wants to be a Millionaire” and Emma and Monica hosted “What’s in the Bag?” a scavenger hunt. The scavenger hunt was hilarious, because at the end, they asked one guy from each team to do a fashion show on the stage, dressed as women, makeup and all. The “Carnival Legends” was great and they found six incredibly talented people. During the show, Dana gave us his top 10 stupidest questions asked by guests. His number one was “What do you did with the ice sculptures after they’ve melted?”
Day 6: September 30th
After breakfast, we walked off the ship in Ocho Rios and met our “Enchanted Gardens and Dunn’s River Falls” tour group next to the shops at 10 am. Our first stop was the Enchanted Gardens and it use to be a resort, but now is on sale for 16 million. It is really pretty with waterfalls, flowers, and trees, plus we got some exercise walking up all the cement stairs. In the gardens, they have a bird sanctuary. The birds are not shy and will land on your head and your shoulders, and it is really a unique experience. Next the bus took us to Soni’s plaza, where we were allowed to shop for 30 minutes. They have a lot of jewelry, t-shirts, key chains, dreadlock caps, hats, fake Rolexes and fake designer purses. Our final stop was at Dunn River Falls and I videotaped my dad walking up the falls, while my mom and I stayed on the stairs and balconies. Our tour guide told us not to exit through the craft market. I’m glad we didn’t, because some of the people on our tour were followed back to the bus by vendors. I had read reviews of Jamaica, saying how it was unsafe it was, but it was better than I expected. We were back on the ship by 2:30 pm.
They didn’t have any activities between sailing away from Jamaica and dinner, so I was disappointed. It was also our second formal night and a three people at our table didn’t want baked Alaska for dessert, so the waiter brought them 1 menu to share. When the waiters did their dancing, the maitre de wanted everyone to clap if they thought they had the best server, and nobody at our table even made a sound. We all just sort of rolled our eyes.
After dinner, we went to the show was “Vroom” at 8:30 pm. It was great and had music from the Beatles, Motown, Elvis, Disco, and the 80’s. It was a lot better that “Livin’ in America.” During the show, I had another non-alcoholic raspberry daiquiri and it was a lot more watery than the one I had on Tuesday. When we got back to the room, our room steward Elias had made a towel monkey and it hung from the air duct. It was the cutest towel animal I had ever seen.
Day 7: October 1st
The gift shop on the boat had their t-shirts 2 for $20, so both my mom and I got one after breakfast. Then we watched bingo and Dana gave his disembarkation talk at 11 am. They brought the entire crew up on stage and we gave them a standing ovation to say goodbye.
After our nap, we watched Dana host “The Newlywed Not so Newlywed Game” at 2:15 pm. After that, Karl and Philippe co-hosted bingo “5 games for $5” at 3 pm, and I won $100 dollars on the last game, so that was pretty great. After bingo, we went to the lido deck and listened to the “Cool Runnings” play.
At our final dinner, one of the couples didn’t show up, so we didn’t get to say goodbye to them. The waiters sang “Leaving on a Fun Ship.” Tonight was probably the best service we got, because they had 3 people working instead of 2. Our waiter gave us pictures of the Victory and said goodbye.
The 8:30 pm show as the world’s fastest juggler, Manuel Zuniga Jr. and a comedian named Jeff Laub. It was good, but I had seen both of them on the Spirit, I think.
When we got back to our room, we put our suitcases out in the hall, so they could take them off the ship. We knew we didn’t want to do self-assist, because it was such a nightmare on the Spirit.
Day 8: October 2
They started making announcements for self-assist debarkation at 7 am, and woke us up. So we packed up the rest of our stuff into our remaining suitcase and went to lido deck to have breakfast. After breakfast we went to the Caribbean lounge and waited for our brown tags to be called. We got off the boat a 9:30 am and the assistant cruise director Karl said goodbye to us.
Since our flight wasn’t until Monday afternoon, we took a bus to Alamo and got another rental car. Then we drove down to Key Largo and went to the Shell World shop, because we couldn’t check in to our hotel, the Holiday Inn on South Beach, until 4 pm. We got back to Miami at 3:30 pm and saw that the Victory and the Valor were still in port. It was windy and raining really bad, while we were driving back from dinner at Miami Subs. We turned on the TV and saw tropical storm Stan was hitting Cozumel. I bet the victory crew was glad they were doing an Eastern Caribbean cruise the next week instead of Western.
I enjoyed everything about the ship, except for the dining room service. I enjoyed the cruise director and the social hosts, because they were entertaining and full of personality. I also enjoyed the shore excursions in Cozumel, Grand Cayman, and Jamaica. I would recommend this cruise to anyone. I will definitely be cruising with Carnival again.