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Carnival Victory review Dec 7-14 VERY LONG



 
 
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Old December 27th, 2003, 02:14 AM
Lisa Hetherington
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Default Carnival Victory review Dec 7-14 VERY LONG

Carnival Victory Review sailing to Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Ocho Rios

Dec 7-14, 2003

CD Steve Cassell

Captain Agostino Fazio

I'm not a writer at all and my notes are not organized, but I'll try to
organize things a bit. I did carry my Palm around the whole cruise (call me
a geek) but I knew I wouldn't remember things when we got home. This might
end up being more of a persaonal record of our cruise than a review that
people can learn from. I don't know. Here goes..

About us:

My husband Gerry and I were cruising with our 2 daughters Trina (almost 10)
and Traci, 12. Third cruise for Gerry and I (Paradise 99, 01, and now
Victory 03), 2nd for the girls (Paradise 01, and now Victory 03).

Pre-cruise:

We live in Hamilton, ON, Canada. We drove 1 hour to Buffalo, NY on Fri Dec
5, stayed at the Days Inn (continental breakfast and free shuttle to the
airport across the road). Paid extra to leave our car in their parking lot.
Don't know how much.

Fly to FLL via Cleveland on Sat Dec 6, totally avoided all the snow!! (If we
'd flown through Newark, another Continental hub, we might have been in
trouble, but even then we had a day to play with). We ALWAYS fly in at least
a day early.

After arriving in FLL, we got a rental car from AVIS and drove to MIA.
Checked in at the Baymont. Lovely!! We got upgraded to a 2-room suite! The
kids loved having their own room!! Maybe this upgrade was a sign of things
to come on the ship?? Dinner at Johnny Rockets in MIA on Sat. Best
burger!!!!! I think I would pay to go to the JR restaurant onboard the RCI
(?) ship.

We flew BUF-FLL instead of YYZ (Toronto) to MIA because:

1)Toronto airport (1 hour the other way) is a zoo!!

2) Customs is easier at the border than at the airport.

3) Buffalo airport is nice, small, and easy to get through and fast.

AND

4) BUF-FLL is half the price of YYZ (Toronto) to MIA, even factoring in the
hotel in BUF and rental car (which we would probably want in MIA on Sat
anyway).


Embarkation:

In port in Miami on Sunday, 14th

NORWEGIAN SUN

RCCL VOYAGEUR

CCL VICTORY

CCL PARADISE

Dropped off rental car and AVIS shuttled us to the terminal. We were FIRST
in line at the terminal at (ready for this??) 9:18 am. (Some ppl still
waiting to be cleared to leave from previous sailing. Not quite sure what
was happening there) We weren't doing much in the hotel room so Gerry though
we should go to the terminal. He's one of those people who likes to be first
on and last off the ship. I'm in no hurry to get off the ship but I don't
care for waiting around to get on. Anyway, we had cards and backgammon to
keep us busy. Talking with other pax, etc. 10:45-check in begins.
11:50-boarding the ship. Checked out the ship, ate, etc.

Had the always fun muster drill, then up to Lido, watched Norwegian Sun
leave 4pm, then Paradise 4:10, then us 4:20


Weather:

Sun aft and Mon am were cloudy & cooler, but by Mon aft we had great weather
and it stayed great all week except for some rain showers in Cozumel.


Cabin:

We booked an inside quad cabin on Riviera deck (R1336). Alas, no upgrade!
Nice big cabin although we've only sailed Carnival so we *know* about
Carnival having bigger cabins but have never experienced the smaller cabins
of other lines. The 2 beds for the girls dropped down from the ceiling (as
opposed to the wall on the Paradise) and at first we thought our cabin wasn'
t a quad! We headed up to purser's desk and were told that YES there were 2
beds there for the kids. DUH!!

Common areas:

The cigarette smoke bothered me. Isn't one side of the ship supposed to be
non-smoking, the other smoking? I didn't see that adhered to. I had a
"tickle" in the back of my throat all week from the smoke. No smoking in
main show lounge or dining rooms of course. So we were thinking of going
back to the Paradise for our next cruise but then come home to read that the
Paradise is going to the Left Coast and losing it's non-smoking designation.
I must say, though, that we're ready for a change of itinerary.

Food:

We had early seating of 5:45 pm in the Pacific dining room. Table 407. Open
seating for breakfasts and lunches.

Wilton was our waiter, from Honduras but his family is living in MIA now so
he sees them every week! Our assistant was Elizabeth from S Africa. Both
were very nice. Didn't make/break the cruise.but nice.

I'm one of those people who eats to live as opposed to living to eat. J

I liked the food. A few things stood out for me, but food is not a huge
thing for me on a cruise.

Nice touch: mashed potatoes were available in the dining room at dinner for
my 10yo dd when she wanted them

Pizza and calzones were great and available 24/7!!

Hubby raved about the East River Deli!!
According to hubby, the beef dishes, esp prime rib really fatty, but tasted
good -but beef tenerloin not fatty at all

One night in the dining room (the night of our anniversary actually), a
plate slipped from Wilton's hand as he was serving it to Gerry. Plate banged
on the edge of the table and shattered. Food and glass everywhere. He
apologized profusely. Gerry had a cut on his hand. Hostess (I think) got him
a Band-Aid. He was OK. But then Traci noticed blood on Gerry's arm. He had a
slightly larger cut on the inside of his forearm. Off to the infirmary. It
just required a Band-Aid too. Gerry was complaining of a ringing ear as
well. But he was at the shows, casino etc later that night. He was fine.
Kind of disappointing Maitre D' didn't stop by our table the next night to
see if he was OK. They couldn't get his pants clean so they reimbursed us
for his pants.

Food Standout's:

broccoli & cheese soup-dinner app

tuna on baguette-lunch main

cappucino pie!!!-dessert I'm going to look for that recipe!! It's so good I
remembered it from the Paradise!!

bowtie pasta with turkey-app/main

fresh fruit with peach schnspps-app

baked alaska-dessert

banana split-lunch dessert

caesar salad avail at any lunch, dinner even if not on menu



Entertainment:

Sunday night show: Welcome Aboard Show-comedian Anthony Acosta-he was quite
good, he did adult show later but I didn't go

Monday night show: (at sea) "Livin in America"-Victory Dancers-see below

Tuesday night show: (in Cozumel that day) Mexican Folkloric Show

Wednesday night show: (at sea) magician Rand Woodbury. I really liked this
show. He posed for photos and autographs after the show which I thopught was
nice and my 10 yo dd thought was neat. I heard people later talking about
how he did his tricks. It kind of spoiled it for me, I just want to be
entertained, I don't try to figre out (or really want to know) how magicians
do their tricks.

Thursday night show: (in Grand Cayman) Entertainer "Jerome-I don't even
remember him. I do remember hearing a passenger saying how good the show was
going to be, and that got my hopes up, but I remember being disappointed.
But I don't even remember the show!!

Friday night show: (in Ocho Rios) "Vroom!"-Victory Dancers-see below

Saturday night show: (at sea) Win A Cruise bingo and the guest talent show.
(we were "B1" away from a bingo!! Two people got bingo at the same time so
they ended up each choosing a bingo ball on stage, bigger number won! The
guy won. I felt sorry for the poor lady who'd got a bingo, thought she won a
free cruise, and then walked away with nothing! They kept repeating that
only 1 free cruise was available, but Carnival could have given her
*something*.

It was good except for one thing that upset me.

The 2 Carnival Vegas shows: "Livin in America" and "Vroom!!".the dancing was
great but the women were wearing thongs!! I'm sorry but that's not
appropriate!! Esp. when there are kids watching! I walked out of "Vroom!"

The guest talent show, OK singers, some better than others. One 80-something
man from Canada was awful!!! But he got a standing ovation because he had
the guts to get up and sing his wife a love song on their 60th anniversary!

Friends:

I had met quite a few people online who were going on this cruise too. Some
of us hooked up in the sports bar on Mon aft, took pictures, talked.

We met two great families that we spent a lot of time with. One couple from
San Jose, CA sailed with their 3 girl's ages 2, 6, and 7. (Traci ended up
doing some babysitting on the ship for them.. left the ship with more money
than she came with even after buying souvenirs!!)

Another family from LaSalle, Quebec we spent 2 days in port with. Family of
Mom, Dad, daughters 8 and 10, son 14 and Grandma.

Great times with these 2 families!! Great memories!!


Kids programs:

We saw very little of Trina!!! At each meal we would talk to her about where
she was going (Camp Carnival.she loved it!! Loved the campout!) and arrange
what time/where to meet her next. She was with us in all the ports, of
course. But basically saw her at meals and at the shows! And even a couple
of meals and shows she partook of with CC!!

We tipped the counsellors. Don't forget them when tipping!

Ports/Excursions:

Grand Cayman

5 ships in port-

Voyageur of the Seas

CCL Victory

CCL Conquest

Rhapsody of the Seas

Radisson Seven Seas

We had booked an excursion with www.nativewaysports.com for GC. 3 hour
excursion..20 min bus ride to their boat, 30 min. boat ride to snorkelling
spot. First time snorkelling for all 4 of us. We only had 20 mins
snorkelling. Not long enough at all to get comfortable. Saw some great fish,
coral but needed more time. Back in the boat to the stingrays. There were
about 12-15 excursion boats already there when we got there. Hence, not a
lot of rays about .they were all spread out. (when we went in '99 we were
first boat out there and there were rays EVERYWHERE) This was the first time
for the kids, though and they liked it. Traci took a while; she was scared
at first. Trina was right at home with them right away. We were in the water
for maybe half an hour. Back on the boat (fruit punch or water available on
the boat), then the bus.

Bought some "Blackbeard" brand rum cakes back in town. They were cheaper
than Tortuga. And I think they taste better. Bought 6 small cakes and got 1
lg one free. For the same price as 6 small Tortuga cakes.

Cozumel

2 ships in port

Norwegian Dream

CCL Victory

Met up with our friends from Quebec at Mr Sanchos beach. Free admission.

Blue blue water and sky!!!

$14 for a cab (4 of us) each way to/from Mr Sanchos. They paid $18 for 6 in
a van each way.

Clean washrooms, pool there too, and canoe avail for rent $10 half-hour??
Lounge chairs on the beach, tables & chairs w/ umbrellas a bit further back
from the water, trampoline was broken and unavailable. L

Bar right behind us with swinging chairs instead of bar stools!!

We loved it!!

Ocho Rios

Victory ONLY SHIP in port today!

We met our friends from Quebec had told they'd booked an excursion with Phil
Lafayette online before cruising so we hung out with them at the pier,
hoping we could join them. Phil's prices were good, $20 for adults, and $10
for kids. (www.geocities.com/ochorios4u)

I'm sure he was thrilled to have 10 people instead of 6!

Great tour, great guy!

A/C large van.. Just the 10 of us

Funny guy, He called himself the 'P' man, using all adjectives starting with
'P'

Showed us a local NICE resort, Fern Gully, rain forest, a local 'fire man',
a 'private' waterfall (just the 10 of us there!), not Dunn's River Falls,
that was a little disappointing but where we went was awesome!

Phil was going to take us to a local eatery but Bob had stepped on a "sea
egg" (according to Phil) (in bare feet even though Phil had said to be sure
to have water shoes on) and was in a great deal of pain. We cut short our
tour, heading back to the ship (I was getting tired by then anyway. I tire
easily) and getting a wheelchair for Bob. He went right away to the
infirmary; they couldn't do much for him. They said stinger would dissolve
in a couple of days. He was in a wheelchair for a couple of days and in
quite a bit of pain.

Disembarkation:


We left our tipping just as it was on our Sail & Sign cards. Didn't tip the
Maitre D'.He never came to our table once, not even to check on Gerry after
the accident in the dining room.

Heard about Saddam Hussein captured on the day of last cruise.

Wake up call at 5:30 on Sun, we had to be at Immigration at 6am.

Ordered room service ---coffee, danish, hot choc--sustenance for the
immigration wait/line

up to lounge at 6 am, hundreds of people in line, line is moving, though

finished by 7 am, then to breakfast

SLOW service in dining room again for open seating b'fast

Self assisted debarkation from 8-8:30 (US citizens only, couldn't be over
limits and had to carry off all luggages).

Had to leave cabin at 9 am, up to Lido for eats and to wait for our colour,
colour calling began at 9:25, our colour-light brown, second last to be
called, off the ship at 10:30 L L L


Post cruise:

We'd planned to stay in MIA Sun night so we didn't have to arrive home at
midnight!!

AVIS shuttle to the lot, got upgrade from midsize Grand Am to full size 2004
Grand Prix!

Went for a drive in the aft.

Saw NCL Sun leaving, Paradise just starting to pull out.

CCL Victory and RCI VOTS still in port

Back to hotel (Baymont) by 7:30

Put 2 loads of laundry in, then to watch 2 hour Survivor Finale, 8-10

up at 7:30, pack, b'fast, drive to Avis, shuttle to MIA, flight little late
leaving, turbulent to New Jetsey (EWR)

had to run for connecting flight to BUF, got to gate 10 mins before 3:45
takeoff, alas flight was delayed (3:15 flight to Allentown, PA before us
hadn't left )--went for coffee, Gerry then had to come running for me ----PA
flight was cancelled, now leaving after ours

tiny express commuter plane, embarked onto tamac, COLD

took off at 4:19, great sunset pictures from the plane!, landed at 5:20,
snow on the ground--- called our neighbour from the plane to turn the heat
up in the house---Days Inn shuttle picked us up within 5 mins---we were on
the way home at 6 pm, stopped at the first Tim Horton's we saw, home at
7:20pm

This and that:

They ran out of peach yogurt on Moday on this cruise!

And ran out of orange sherbet on Wed!!

Service was slow in the dining room for open seating breakfast esp. the last
2 or 3 days.

Dressing for first formal night.couldn't find Gerry's tux shirt!!! (I though
it was inside his jacket) Ran up to Formalities, got a shirt for the 2
formal nights for $15. (We would have paid almost anything!)

We met Raoul on board. He is now a Head Waiter, but was our busboy on our
Paradise cruise Dec 99. He remembered us too!!

I took Bonamine (called Bonine in US). Started on Sun am and took one every
moring of the cruise thereafter. I LOVED the motion of the ship this time,
instead of being nauseous like I was on our first 2 cruises! Bonamine is
great!!!

Gerry won $100 at Caribbean Stud Poker

At the Coz tour talk, "Jeff the super shopper" gave me a bottle of rum cream
when he was giving things away. I yelled, "It's'' my birthday'! (Egg nog and
rum cream is to die for!!)

That's about all I have!! Any questions, email me and I'll try to help you
out. I'm not sure if I gave you a good feel of our cruise and some
information or if this is the equivalent of "the dreaded vacation pictures"
people foist on others.

I got kind of tired and toward the end of writing this, I reverted to pretty
much using my point form notes from my Palm. Sorry. I hope it's readable.

We were thinking of doing the Caribbean Princess going to St Thomas, St
Maarten, and their Princess Cays in Dec 2005 but might have to rethink that.
Our oldest daughter is going to be in grade 9 (a freshman in US-speak) and I
'm not sure about taking them out of school. So we might be looking at the
summer or March Break. But it's more expensive at that time of year..... It'
s a brand new ship in 2004, which will make it more expensive too, but we
like the itinerary. We'll see.

How does Princess compare to Carnival?? Food? Entertainment? Kids programs?

If you've got this far, you deserve a medal!!

Thanks for reading!

..Lisa.aka hamiltoncruiser


  #2  
Old December 27th, 2003, 02:46 AM
fishman
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Posts: n/a
Default Carnival Victory review Dec 7-14 VERY LONG


"Lisa Hetherington" wrote in message
...
Carnival Victory Review sailing to Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Ocho Rios



We took our girls on Voyager of the Seas when they were 13 - one had mashed
potatoes and the other Caesar salad whenever nothing on the menu appealed.
The waiter had no problem providing it for them.

Chris


  #3  
Old December 27th, 2003, 04:33 PM
George in NY
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Posts: n/a
Default Carnival Victory review Dec 7-14 VERY LONG

Lisa,

No problem getting through review, thought you did one heck of a great job.
I enjoyed the read and apprecciate the time it took you.

George in NY
http://members.verizon.net/~georgeny/dawnrev.htm


"Lisa Hetherington" wrote in message
...
Carnival Victory Review sailing to Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Ocho Rios

Dec 7-14, 2003

CD Steve Cassell

Captain Agostino Fazio

***snipped***


  #4  
Old December 27th, 2003, 08:37 PM
villa deauville
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Default Carnival Victory review Dec 7-14 VERY LONG

Welcome back Lisa and thanks for your great report.

SUNNY.......hopes Gerry's arm has healed.

S'nd I






  #5  
Old December 27th, 2003, 08:53 PM
Eileen Garland
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Default Carnival Victory review Dec 7-14 VERY LONG



Lisa Hetherington wrote:


That's about all I have!! Any questions, email me and I'll try to help you
out. I'm not sure if I gave you a good feel of our cruise and some
information or if this is the equivalent of "the dreaded vacation pictures"
people foist on others.


I certainly enjoyed reading it.

I got kind of tired and toward the end of writing this, I reverted to pretty
much using my point form notes from my Palm. Sorry. I hope it's readable.


It is! Stop being apologetic for posting a review - reviews are
interesting to read and often very useful to the people that read them.
You are doing us a FAVOR by posting a review.

We were thinking of doing the Caribbean Princess going to St Thomas, St
Maarten, and their Princess Cays in Dec 2005 but might have to rethink that.
Our oldest daughter is going to be in grade 9 (a freshman in US-speak) and I
'm not sure about taking them out of school. So we might be looking at the
summer or March Break. But it's more expensive at that time of year..... It'
s a brand new ship in 2004, which will make it more expensive too, but we
like the itinerary. We'll see.

How does Princess compare to Carnival?? Food? Entertainment? Kids programs?


In my opinion, the food on Princess compares very poorly with Carnival's
these days. I think the entertainment is pretty similar. Can't tell
you anything about kids programs. I can't tell you about inside cabins,
but Princess' balcony cabins are quite a bit smaller than Carnival's, so
you might want to look at cabin size carefully before you decide. In
other ways, I'd say Princess and Carnival are very similar.

If you've got this far, you deserve a medlyal!!

Thanks for reading!


Thanks for writing!

Eileen

 




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