October 29, 2000
My First Cruise!
Having booked the Cruise about 5 months before, and searching the Internet for as much Cruise info as possible, the day to depart was finally here!! I was flying out of Halifax, NS for a 7 day Cruise in the Western Caribbean. I do wanna say a big THANK YOU to all the folks here at Cruisemates, cause they gave me more advise that I could have ever dreamed possible when I first booked the cruise :-))))
Travel Day: Oct. 28,
Pleasantly surprised at the quality of the breakfast served on the Hal-Tor flight, a nice Quiche dish with Hash Browns. Flight arrived on time in Toronto. The stopover in Toronto was a lot shorter than I had anticipated, because by the time I got off the plane found the luggage belt, got my luggage on the US bound belt, cleared US customs, they were just starting to board the Plane when I arrived at the Gate. Tor/Miami flight was uneventful, I sat with a Mom and her Daughter bound for a cruise on the Carnival Triumph (they were leaving that day from Miami). Lunch was ok, but I knew I'd have Chicken served to me some time or another this week, just wish it would have been later. (long story behind me not liking Chicken ;-(( )
Flight arrived late into Miami, because of leaving Toronto late. Mother and Daughter were a little bit nervous at this point, not me since I wasn't leaving till the next day. First impression of Miami, was very Hot and Humid which I felt as soon as I got off the Plane. Interesting seeing all the different Cruise Line agents waiting for the plane with their Binders as we entered the terminal. I found the Carnival one, and she led us to the Baggage carousel. What fun finding your luggage with all the other Cruise bound passengers :-))
(I had booked the Fly/Aweigh package from Carnival, so my one night in hotel and bus transfers were all included). After finding my luggage (the tip about attaching some bright cloth to your luggage is a Good One!). Carnival Rep. then sorted everyone out, Hotel people to One Bus, Pier people to the other. We had about a 5 minute walk to the Bus. I chose to wheel my luggage behind me, but their are Porters available to carry your luggage.
The Bus Ride to the Miami Wyndham AIrport Hotel is only a few minutes. When we arrived at the Hotel, the Carnival Rep. informed us about tomorrow and how we could do our pre-cruise check-in at the Hotel. I got my room key right away, headed up to my room (I had the choice of leaving my luggage in storage, and it would go to the ship in the morning, or taking my luggage to my hotel room, I chose the latter cause I wanted to do some re-arranging in the morning, making sure I had proper clothers for dinner on the ship).
Once I got organized in my room, I did some checking to see what it would cost me to go to the football game, or downtown to Bayside. At this time I found out what a Concierge was ;-) He gave me some prices for some different things, the one I preferred was the Shuttle Bus from the Hotel down to Bayside Marketplace, (only $10. return. Leave the Hotel at 5pm, come back at either 8, 9 or 10 pm).
It was now around 3pm, so I went for a swim and looked around the hotel.
It was at about this time I was really starting to clue in on how Spanish, Miami is! I don't think I talked to anyone without a Spanish accent the whole time I was in Miami :-)) Bayside Marketplace is very nice. I had supper at the Italian Place at the far end of the building, closest to the Hard Rock Cafe. Little disappointed that right after I finished eating at the Italian place I found Hooters :-(( (We don't have Hooters in Halifax ;-( )
I walked around Bayside till about 8pm, but I was zonked and I was nervous the whole time at Bayside (I was traveling solo), so I caught the 8pm shuttle back to the hotel. It was a fun group on the shuttle, very friendly but they had no clue where Halifax is (I soon discovered that most Yanks don't know where it is). They were going on Explorer of the Seas the next day. When I got back to the Hotel, I was feeling guilty of eating too much that day, so I went and for a 60 minute workout in the Hotel Gym. Then off to bed, a little bit worried that I was going to have problems dealing with the time difference and time change that night.
DAY 1: Departure Day (Weather, Sunny and Hot, slightly overcast as we left Miami)
Actually slept till about 7am the next morning, very excited at this point, I was getting on The Cruise Ship Today!!! Got showered and dressed, then headed down to the Hotel Restaurant for Breakfast. (One problem I found with this Hotel, is that your close to nothing. It's right by the Airport in the middle of an Industrial Park, so theirs no stores or other restaurants nearby). I kinda took note of the number of staff on in the Restaurant, they know Customer Service. Restaurants back home tend to be under staffed and staff work their butt's off. Breakfast was your choice of ordering from the Menu, or the buffet, so I figured what the heck, I'm on Vacation I'm going for the Buffet!!! After breakfast, went back to my room and got my luggage organized. Then headed back down to the lobby to give the luggage to be put on trucks to go to the Ship. The Lineup for the Pre-Cruise check-in was about 100 people long by this time. So, I got into the line around 9am, and was checked in by 10:30am ish.
Then worked out till for about 40 Minutes, then headed to the lobby. What a Zoo! Cruise passengers everywhere. I started sensing something at this time too, that all the people I seemed to be meeting and becoming friendly with, were all going on Carnival Paradise ;-(. The wait in the lobby became worse when they herded all of us into the Hotel Lounge. At this point I was really starting to feel like Cattle, only thing missing were the prods ;-) The Buses started loading around, 12 pm and I was in the second Bus to leave the hotel.
As you drive up to the Pier, about a 10 minute ride from the Wyndham Airport, The first site of all the Ships is quite impressive and it is very easy to pick out the Victory. This is a very cool feeling, and ya can't help but get excited. So, we unloaded the Bus and entered the Terminal, another huge line! This was just to get through security. I had already did the pre-boarding, so thankfully I didn't have to stand in any more lines once I got through security. After picking up Sign n' Sail Card and doing the Photo, I finally got on the Ship around 1:20 pm.
First impression of the inside of the Ship is incredible!!! You enter in the Lobby, and compared to the Destiny, I like the colours in Victory a whole lot better. (I had gotten a Tour of Destiny when it visited Halifax this past summer). I had little problem finding my room, I did go down the wrong hall at first (realized I was on the Odd number side and going towards the Stern, when I need to be on the even number side and going to the bow. Quickly corrected this and found my room.
I had a 1a Outer, and it was awesome!! I loved the two Portholes. I had a ton of closet and drawer space. It was also surprisingly big. It only had the one bed, another bed does come down from the ceiling if needed, which made for lots of room. I visited a 8a with Balcony, and it felt very cramped compared to my room.
I had a robe and amenities basket as well. Not a lot of really useful stuff in the Basket, (did eat the Candy though ;-). Most people, as I did, bring most of the stuff (similar) in the basket with them. You have a 5 or 6 radio stations to choose from, and the TV has a different number of stations all depending where the ship happened to be located at the time. They constantly show the previous day video, don't know why anyone would buy this video, cause you get sick of them real quick.
First thing on the agenda was Lunch. I went to the BBQ grill by the Siren Pool. Hamburger was very good, but they do serve those poor excuse of a French Fries that MacDonalds serves. Next order of business, was the Health Club tour. Warning: they try to sell you everything when you go on this tour, if you are going to book something this is the day to book it though if ya wanna get the treatment at a better price. The Gym part of the Health Club is great. It's right over the Bridge, and gives you a 180 degree view, although the windows due tend to be on the low side. They also have a Hot Tub in the Health Club.
After this tour, I did a tour of the 5th Flood/Deck. This is the main traffic route when going back and forth on the ship. The Casino, and most of the Bars are on this Level. Most of the Bars are closed at this time for Private functions. I attended one of them in the Black and Red room from 3-4 the first day. I was invited by somebody I had met over the Internet to it (from Indiana). Fun group, but they seemed more intent on Drinking the whole week, so I kinda separated myself from them quickly cause I very much wanted to do my own thing.
Also checked out the Ionian room, this is below the Disco. They have a see-through floor in the Disco, not that I would ever look up at Ladies through it, but they did have a Wedding reception going on at the time and the Bride hadn't removed her Garter yet ;-)).
Next order of business was Life Boat Drill. Now my advice for this would to be wear the coolest possible clothing going, cause it is very hot and uncomfortable by the lifeboats. Your in this very tight area of the ship, with no AC and in a very uncomfortable Life Jacket. Major relief when this is done.
After the Drill I headed up to the Siren Bar Pool to meet some other People I had met over the Net and had talked Online with here at Cruisemates. She (24 F, from Delaware) was traveling with her Mother and her Best Friend. Other was an Older Gentleman from Atlanta. Both turned out to be good people to talk to, but again we all had our own interests and went our separate ways for the most part. She did ask me to join them at their Dining Table, but I wanted to see what my arrangements would be like first.
I was scheduled for the Late Sitting in the Pacific Dining Room. I was hoping to get at a large table, with lots of singles. This didn't happen, I got stuck at a table for 4 (Couple from Toronto, with the Wife's sister). They seemed like nice people, but all they did was complain. Stuck it out, had a really great meal (Sweet n' Sour Shrimp on a Bed of Rice). Actually commented to the Waiter how good it was, next thing I know I got another plateful in front of me, I like that!!! ;-))
After Dinner headed to the Welcome aboard Show. Corey Schmidt is very funny, but I couldn't help thinking how stale this material probably is. He does a very good job of keeping it fresh. He did the Spoon game. This one woman, when Corey introduced her, the husband let out a Big yell. Corey then made a deal with him, that every time Corey said Baltimore. That he had to get up where ever he may be and do this lovey dovey speech to his wife, they could be anywhere on the Ship (he did do it up on the Lido Deck one day, when Corey mentioned Baltimore in his announcement). He did it the whole week, and at the end of the week he got a bunch of jewelry for his wife and himself. I went to the Singles gathering after the show, but I found it to be a typical Bar Scene back home (which I'm not into) so I made a quick exit and headed back to my Room, as I was very exhausted from a very hectic day.
Day 2: Sea Day (Weather: Hazy and warm)
Up early and went for a 30 minute walk on the Track circling the Funnel. Then did the Boxercise class in the Aerobics Room, this is a very good workout. Afterwards headed for Breakfast. Walked around the Lido Deck and found the Restaurant with the shortest lineup. Ordered the Omelet. Now the rest of the Breakfast is ok, lots to choose from but kinda on the luke warm side. I don't know of any Restaurant that can keep Buffet food warm though, so it wasn't a big deal. The Omelet on the other hand was Terrific. I think it was my favourite thing of the whole week, and yes I had one every day ;-)) After breakfast, headed back to my room, showered then headed out to explore more of the ship, and check out the Cozumel talk (I'm convinced Corey has share's in all the stores he recommends, cause he promotes the hell out of them). After exploring the ship, it was now time for lunch, you always seem to be eating on a Cruise ;-) I decided to head to the Dining Room. It was nice and quiet and I was starting to get used to being pampered by the Waiters. I had Spaghetti and Meatballs for Lunch, which was good. But the best part was I got to talk with my Waiter (think his name was Morris) and find out about him. After Lunch headed up to the Lido deck to check out the games. I ended up carving a Pumpkin for the Halloween Party the following day. A few of us went a little crazy on them and spent most of the afternoon working on these Pumpkin Masterpieces. Mine ended up on the Pizza Counter the following Night.
After this, I headed up to the Gym for a workout, I figured if I was going to eat like I wanted to, I really needed to get my exercise in as well. I exercised every evening before dinner, as well as my 30 minute walk almost every morning. This was Formal Night in the Dining Room, this would probably rate as the biggest disappointment for me. After getting all dressed up, none of my Tablemates showed up. So, I said the heck with this, changed back into normal clothes and headed for the Mediterranean Room for the Casual Dining.
It was okay, again Buffet food is never really hot, but they do have a very good selection. Afterwards, I headed to the Caribbean Lounge for the "Living in America" Show. It was awesome! I really enjoyed it. The Dancers put so much energy into it, I got tired out just watching. After the show I headed up to the 5th Floor to check out some of them Lounges. Noticed that the Piano lounge with Cam seemed to be more happening than the Disco. Again, I was tired out so I turned in for the Evening, as I wanted to be rested for Cozumel the next day anyways.
Day 3: Cozumel (overcast to start out, then Sunny and Hot)
After my Walk/Workout/Breakfast, I headed out to Chankanaab Pk ($8 in Cab, $10 per person to get in the Park). This Park is Beautiful! This is how I pictured the Caribbean! It has a little Lagoon with a small sandy beach, the majority of the beach has coral between the water and beach. I went snorkeling first, then went for a walk around the Park. Interesting seeing Iguanas wandering around everywhere. I asked one of the young guys working there if they bite, he laughed at me and said yes ;-) I didn't get close enough to find out for myself.
Now the whole reason for going to the Park was to Swim with the Dolphins, so after snorkeling and exploring the park of a couple hours, I headed over to the Dolphin Pen. I was like a little kid at Xmas I was so excited. My swim wasn't for another hour, so I just sat on the rock and watched the Trainers work with the younger dolphins. (I also took note of the Dolphin encounter offered by the ship, It's a huge rip-off, that I wouldn't recommend). I was entranced with the Dolphins so much I almost missed my swim, I heard them yelling my name, they knew I was there already. After watching a video we headed out on the dock to meet the Dolphins. It was Great, we spent about 20-30 minutes doing tricks with the Dolphins (6 people in my group), then had about 10-15 minutes of Free swimming with the dolphins. Thrill of a Lifetime! I would highly recommend the swim, although it is on the Pricey side.
After the swim, headed back to the ship for Lunch, then headed into San Miguel (main town in Cozumel) for Xmas shopping ($5. in Cab from Ship). Spent a fair bit of money, and did beat down the prices. But being I'm not use to doing that I think I paid a little more than I probably should have in some cases, but I was having fun just the same and didn't really care cause it was a whole new experience for me. I took a quick look into Carlos and Charlies, but it was surprisingly quiet after hearing so much about it (I was in there around 5pm 'ish). It got pretty crazy later from what I heard. I found an Internet Cafe there, which was much cheaper than the ship, $3. for 15 minutes, compared to the Ship which was 75 cents a minute.
I found it very fascinating in San Migual since I've never really been to a Foreign Country, just the way they do things is so different. I would like to go back there sometime for a longer visit. Headed back to the ship, exhausted, I parked myself in my room and ordered room service, to tired to be bothered sitting at the table by myself (I had decide to switch to the Mom and Daughters table at this point, but hadn't officially made the switch yet).
Kinda surprised my room Stewardess coming back early from Dinner, as she was preparing my room. She noticed that I was saving the Chocolates she put on my pillow each night. I told her they were for my Mom, I'm not much of a chocolate eater. Next thing I know she brings in a whole grocery bag full of these chocolates and starts filling a smaller bag I had on the Dresser with these chocolates ;-) Had a short talk with her, she was from Romania and had a little Boy back home. Can't for the life of me remember her name though. She was wonderful!
After eating had a major debate with myself, whether or not to go up to the Lido Deck for the Halloween Deck Party. Well, I didn't want to spend the rest to the Cruise regretting not going. So, I dragged myself up there around 11pm, didn't get dressed up as planned, took all my energy just to get up there ;-(. Surprising to see at least half of the people were dressed up. It was a Great Event, Ship was all decorated, Music Society was playing and they had the place Rocking. The Ship left Cozumel around Midnight. Headed back to my Cabin around 1am.
Day 4: Sea Day (Weather Hazy and Warm)
Started with my Walk, Aerobics and Breakfast as usual. Then headed to the talk on Grand Cayman and Jamaica. I'm now convinced that Corey or Carnival makes money off of the Stores that he recommends. He pushes them hard. Since I was taking ship excursions in the next two ports, I played closer attention.
I had pretty well decided what I was going to do before I got on the ship, but wanted to hear anything that might change my mind. For Grand Cayman I picked the Sting Ray City excursion, it was $34. I picked it over the $33. dollar tour, just for the fact you went to the Sandbar on a Sailboat.
After Lunch on the Lido Deck, I went up to the Putting Contest. I was too late to enter but I watched a bit of it, Internet buddy was in the contest. Had a good chat with the Golf Pro, turns out he's from Halifax and worked at a Local Golf course this past summer.
The rest of the afternoon, I spent lounging and playing on the Waterslide. Word of warning on the waterslide, hold your nose and close your mouth when ya hit the bottom. It's really SALT water, and yes I swallowed some and took it up the nose ;-(
At Dinner that evening, (I had switched my seating to the Atlantic Room to sit with the Mother and Daughter), they were happy to have me there. The Cruise now turned into a Soap Opera in some ways at this point ;-) Seems the Daughter and the Best Friend weren't getting along, Best Friend had found herself a Boyfriend on the ship and hadn't been back to their Cabin (other than to change clothes). Mother was in the middle of it, me, I was just an innocent bystander. The other person at the table, whose name I can't remember (I'm terrible with names if ya haven't figured it out yet ;-), shows up for dinner in a T-Shirt and Shorts. Nothing was said, and I couldn't give a heck what he wore, but I was following the Dress Code.
I had Sole for Dinner that Night, which was very good. It was at this point I started ordering two desserts ;-), one being the Nautica selection, since I an watching my weight ;-))
Afterwards, I went and caught Corey's Bird Show. It was very good, and the Comedian was enjoyable as well (forgot his name, but you were expecting that anyways ;-)) Headed to the 5th Floor, had a few Dances in the Disco with my Indiana friend, but wondered over to the Irish Sea Bar cause they seemed to be having a lot more fun in there. Cam the Piano player really knows how to get the room a rocking! Stayed there till about 1am then turned in for the night.
Day 5: Grand Cayman (Weather, Sunny and Hot)
Awoke early, as I had booked the early tour for the Sting Ray. Grabbed some breakfast then went to the Adriatic Lounge to meet up for the Tour at 7:15 am. Had the Cattle feeling again at the Lounge, as there were 100's of people waiting to depart on their tours at this time, we all had to wait for the Tenders.
As I headed in on the Tender I took note on how flat Grand Cayman is. The Tender ties up right Downtown, as you get off there are people trying to sell you tours and stuff. You can get the Sting Ray tour for $25. on the Pier, but I wanted to meet people from the Ship, and doing the Ship Excursion was better for that.
Tour Guide met us on the Pier and took us to the Bus (s). These are some Funky little buses ;-)! They have two seats on one side (Steering wheel is on the opposite side of the bus), and one seat on the other, then as people fill up the Bus, they have a fold-down seat between the seats on either side, it's very cozy on the Bus. It's about a 10 minute ride to the Boat for the Sting Ray Swim. This was a disappointment, cause I thought we were getting on a Sailboat, not a plain old boat.
As we approached the Sandbar, you see other boats already there, and you start seeing these dark things in the water. We anchored, and got in the Water (yes I was a little apprehensive at this time, no make that a lot ;-).
The first time one of these Sting Ray brush by you it is one of the most incredible sensations/feelings you'll ever have!! I got some good underwater shots of the Sting Ray. After about 10 minutes I got a little braver and decided that I should probably feed one. So, I went to the bucket, and went looking for a Sting Ray to feed. Well with in seconds I had this Sting Ray come right out of the water at me for this squid, Scared the poop out of me, I threw the squid and she went (Big Sting Ray are females 3ft+, small Sting Ray, less than 2ft are males) and got it. In the meantime this Lady was just laughing/howling at me ;-)) It was funny ;-) This was such an Incredible Experience! And a bargain compared to my other excursions ;-)).
We spent close to 30 minutes in the water before getting back on the boat. On the way back talked with a Couple from Indiana, they were very fascinated with the Canadian Health Care system, well they asked a lot of questions about it ;-). 8
When we got back to the Pier I headed back to the Ship for lunch and to change, then made my way back into Grand Cayman for some shopping. This turned into a really interesting afternoon, as the first store I went into had Rum Cake samples, so I tried some. Being a Non-Drinker, I didn't think I would care for it, but I did! Anyhow by the 4th or 5th store if they didn't have Rum Cake samples, I wasn't going in it ;-))) When I got on the tender to go back to the ship, I had this strange feeling and was sitting there on the boat laughing. I had gotten a bit of a glow on from this Rum Cake. (Yes, I did bring a couple Home ;-)) Had to have a nap when I got back to the ship ;-).
At Dinner that Night, the Best Friend showed up. Seems the Mother had stepped in and corrected the situation. I had the Grouper that night for Dinner, it was ok. But I much preferred the Sole of the night before. I also had my 2 desserts ;-)
Afterwards headed to the Show (with Mother in tow, since the daughter wasn't doing anything with her, I told her she could hangout with me), It was the Guest Talent show night. Now I had planned on being in it, but when I found out you weren't allowed to do Comedy (I'm a Semi-Professional Juggler) I decided not to bother with it, I still hadn't recovered from the Rum Cake either ;-)). It was very good as well, most people sang (Baltimore woman sang and sounded almost as good as Whitney Houston), one guy played the Bag pipes, and another did this Superman dance routine. Oh, one guy did propose that night as well. Afterwards, Mom headed for the Casino, I went to the Irish Sea Bar to listen and sing with Cam.
Day 6: Ochos Rios (Weather, Overcast but warm)
As my tour wasn't leaving till 8:30am, I got a workout in this morning. I then headed to the Pier to meet up with my tour. I was doing the Ocean Kayak/Dunn River Falls tour (cost $68.) They recommend you do a tour in Jamaica cause they try to sell you everything when you walk out of the Cruise Ship compound, Corey calls it the "Gauntlet". Thankfully we got on the Bus and didn't have to walk the Gauntlet. It's about a 10 minute ride to the Falls from the Pier. Jamaica is completely different from Grand Cayman and Cozumel, it has lots of hills.
When we arrived at the Falls, we parked near the Top, walked down the stairs to the Beach to meet up with the Falls Guide's. They are interesting characters to say the least, they really don't guide you, they just hold on to your cameras and climb the falls with you, then have their hands out for tips when you get to the top.
The Falls are very beautiful, but it is such a tourist trap, you literally are competing with other groups to climb them. Once you do it once, you probably wouldn't do it again, I know I won't.
After climbing the Falls we headed back down to the Beach and met up with the Kayak guides. Since I was the only person traveling solo, I ended up with one of the guides in a Kayak. It kinda sucked, cause we were the rescue boat at the back of the pack, so I couldn't really get into the paddling (I paddle at home). We were also between a breakwater and the beach, so the water was calm/flat as well ;-(. We made our way to this Beach (they shot the James Bond Movie "Dr. No" at it). Nice little spot, actually had almonds right off the tree and sugarcane for the first time. After a short walk we headed back to the Kayaks, they asked me if I would mind going in a Solo Kayak at this point. I gladly said "not a problem Mon" ;-). At least I could get into the Paddling, and be at the front of pack in it ;-)). This Excursion got really exciting at this point! We had to paddle out and around this point (no Breakwater here). You had to go out and around as well, because if you tried staying close to shore, you would get flipped and washed up on the Rocks. Thing was, there were 10 ft waves out further which we had to paddle through. I was intimidated, and I'm use to being that close to the water, can't imagine what those that never see water were thinking at this point. Well, it turned out to be a blast!!! A few of us even managed to Surf our Kayaks down these waves. We must have played for about 30 minutes in these waves. When we got to the end of the excursion we were exhausted, but couldn't believe how much fun it turned out to be!! Problem was, not all of us got into these waves, some people tried cutting the corner, and you guessed it, they got caught up on the rocks :-(. We had to wait for over an hour for them to rescue everyone and get the Kayaks back. Some of the passengers were not impressed with this excursion (one lady was scratched up pretty good), me I thought it was great! ;-)))
We got back on the Bus and headed back to the ship. I was kinda undecided what I wanted to do after I had lunch, go into Ochos Rios on my own, or do the Bridge Tour?? I chose the Bridge tour, I really didn't feel like being hassled by the locals, although in the right frame of mind I might have really enjoyed that. Bridge was very interesting, basically computers do everything, other than dock the Victory. They could dock it, but the Captain likes docking the ship :-)
After my afternoon workout, I got dressed up again for the 2nd Formal Night. I had to make sure I got a picture of me all dressed up or my parents (and Donna & ML here at Cruisemates ;-) would not have been impressed with me ;-(. The Soap Opera continued at Dinner, turns out the Daughter and Best Friend had gotten in a fight that morning 4am'ish. The daughter ended up in the Brig, ( the Best Friend had pressed charges against her for pushing her). The Best Friend left the Ship that day (with the Boyfriend) and flew home to the States. Also the young guy at my table, showed up for dinner with a Open neck shirt and casual pants on. Just had to laugh at his impression of the Dress Code. Forget what I had for supper, I know I had three desserts that night ;-)) (I tried Baked Alaskan for the first time). After dinner, I headed with Mom to the second Production show of the week, "Vroom". It was Great, I was still amazed at the Dancers energy, although I was so tired, I barely made it to the end. I headed to bed right after the show and was asleep in no time.
Day 7: Sea Day (Weather Slightly Overcast and Warm)
This was probably the 2nd worse day of the trip, cause it's very depressing knowing that your vacation is almost over ;-(. After my workout and Breakfast, I went to the departure talk, checked out the pictures and found one of the 20 (formal pictures) that I liked ;-( and bought it and a couple others. Also, bought a few things in the Gift shop. They do have decent sales, don't rush in and buy everything the first day at normal price.
After lunch, I went to find a lounge chair by the Pool. This would be a complaint, because the number of chairs being saved is incredible, 99% of the chairs are taken, but never do you see them more than half full with people. I did find a chair, but I really came to realize, I really suck at relaxing :-( I couldn't just lie there I needed to do something, but since I had done almost everything to do on the ship that week (Galley Tour, Game Shows, attended most of the Shows, etc..) I was Bored :-(
I got in a workout before dinner that night, Dinner that night was the most uneventful one of the whole week. Daughter didn't have nobody to fight with, but you could feel the tension between her and her mother. I tipped the recommended amount to the Waiter, Assistant Waiter, and Room Steward. I also tipped the Head Waiter, Sid (Hey! I remembered a name!!) in the Pacific Dining Room. (He had working on Premier when it went under) He knew I wasn't completely happy with my Dinner arrangements and made other arrangements for me, but I chose the Soap Opera table ;-( He was Great!
After Dinner headed to the Caribbean Lounge for the Last Night Show. They had a Juggler and a Comedian, and Yes, I can't remember either of their names ;-(( Since, I'm a Juggler and have seen some of the World's Best live, I wasn't all that impressed (he did miss most of his big tricks). The Comedian was OK, but some of his American humour I just didn't get ;-(. Fun show though and it was enjoyable. After the show I headed to yeah you guessed it, Irish Sea Bar :-) Definitely my favourite Bar on the Ship. After singing for a bit, I turned in for the night, as I knew Sunday was going to be a long day :-(.
Day 8: Departure Day (Weather: Who cared! Vacation was over :-()
Definitely the worse day of the whole week. For starter, Non-US passengers had to go to the Adriatic Lounge to clear Customs at 6:45 am. I got there at 6:45 am, and there were 200 people in front of me, standing in the lineup, and not in the Lounge :-( Well, I stood in line till 8 am, and realized this line wasn't moving. So, I said to heck with this and headed back to my Cabin to finish up packing. Went back to the lineup around 8:40 am. It was moving at this point and I got out of the line by 9 am. The crew is working very hard at this point to get the ship ready for the next passengers, so ya kinda get the feeling they want you off ASAP as well ;-( I headed up to my Departure point, the Lido deck, and grabbed my last meal on Victory (yes, I had an Omelet ;-)) I ran into the Mother after breakfast (Soap Opera continues ;-), she was waiting on the Lido Deck as well. Turns out she had gotten the Daughters Sign n'Sail card bill. It was over $700. and that was all from the Bar (No Pictures or Excursions). [Mine was $180. for the week]
Mother was not in a good mood, she had paid for the Daughters Cruise and expected to spend some time with her Daughter. Instead her Daughter ends up fighting with the Best Friend, problem was what the Best Friend was doing to her, she was doing to her Mother and the Daughter didn't see that. Mother would have liked a few pictures and an excursion or two with her daughter. I think the Daughter owed her at least that. But no, she wanted to Socialize with everyone else on the ship. Enough of that, thankfully, I had distanced myself from this situation it really didn't affect my Cruise.
Our Floor got called off the Ship around 10:30 am, it was interesting making our way out cause they close off some of the Passage ways that you had been using the whole week. So, I went down to the 3rd Floor, back up to the 5th, then down to the 3rd to find the Gangplank ;-( It's a bit of a walk from the Ship to the Baggage terminal. Took about 10 Minutes to find my Luggage. (Tying something Bright to your Luggage is a really smart thing to do. Not only does it help here, it also helps in the Airport when your luggage comes down the belt). Finding the right Bus wasn't a problem, (Miami was the most Humid of the places I visited ;-( ). It was about 30 minutes total on the bus, till we arrived at the Airport. Now, the Driver of the Bus turned me off with the aggressive manner he asked for tips. Being I'm 6'4 250 lbs nobody intimidates me for anything, so there was no way I was tipping him. He even as much as asked me for a little something.
Waiting in the Miami Airport was surprisingly one of the Highlights of the trips. I ran into some fellow Canadians at this point :-) and we compared our vacations. One family (from Toronto) I had met, when I had competed in the Game Show onboard. Other was from outside Calgary. They each had a different view of their week. Plane was delayed leaving Miami, but since I had a 3 hr waitover back in Toronto, didn't bother me. Rest of the trip back was uneventful, arrived home around Midnight.
Despite some of the Problems ( the Toilet not working sometimes, Dinner seating not the Greatest, and being bored the last day, long lineups). I had a Great time! The Shore Excursions were my Favourite. Ship is incredible, Food is very Good (loved the 24 hr Soft Yogurt machine), Shows were very Good and if I was traveling in different circumstances it would be ideal. But as a somewhat quiet (not outgoing but friendly) Single traveling Solo, I felt lost at times on this Big of a Ship. I think I would prefer a much smaller ship, with more Port Visits. If you love relaxing and the Party scene, Victory is perfect.
Most Important thing I could recommend to anyone thinking of going on Victory, Be Positive. Yeah, your going to run into things that will irk you, but the quicker you let them go (don't dwell on them) the better off you are for enjoying the whole week.