July 24, 2005
We just returned from our cruise on the Carnival Victory, leaving out of Miami on July 24th, and returning July 31st. We sailed on the eastern Caribbean itinerary to San Juan (evening), St. Thomas (day) and St. Maarten (day). We stayed on the Empress deck in room 7280.
Embarkation was a disaster. This was our third Carnival cruise (second out of Miami) and we have never experienced anything like it. We also took a later flight than we usually do therefore bringing us to the terminal later than usual (which was probably the problem). The line when we arrived was so long it was wrapped around the parking lot. It was brutally hot and by the time we made it into the terminal the air conditioning didn¡¦t even feel cold! Once inside the terminal we were lead from line to line, first security, then check in, then sail and sign and finally onto the boat. By the time we got on it was about 3:30 and all of the food areas had closed in preparation for the muster drill. We were STARVING!!!
Other than that the cruise was wonderful!! We spend a full day at sea on Monday (formal night for dinner), and a majority of the day Tuesday at sea before docking in San Juan. We got into port early and our tour was moved up. We did the Bacardi Rum factory evening tour which was interesting. There are not many excursions to choose from at night. We got back earlier than expected so we headed out to Senor Frogs to eat. It was an interesting scene, not so much ¡§us¡¨ though, and we left pretty much right after dinner.
The next day we docked in St. Thomas. We did the new Sea Blaster excursion and choose the later time of the two choices. We did this so that we could get off the boat early enough in the morning to go shopping, come back on the ship to eat lunch and change before heading out on the tour. The Sea Blaster was great! It was a nice sized boat and they took us out to a very secluded area to go snorkeling. They supplied any and all equipment you need. Our group stupidly decided not to wear the flippers and regretted it!! We kept drifting out and were fighting the current to get back in towards the boat. If you do the excursion make sure to use the flippers!! fº On the way back we had a yummy rum punch and they were even pouring extra rum into the glasses!! They were an awesome crew and it was a lot of fun.
In St. Maarten we decided to do the 4x4 jeep adventure. We had a group of six so we split into two jeeps in groups of three without a problem. The jeeps were pretty new and in decent condition. We really took the grand tour of the island and made some stops for shopping (not enough time though!) and the beach. The only problem with this tour was that there were a LOT of jeeps and people kept letting cars in, and then would fall behind. My favorite part was when we went off-roading briefly after the beach. It was a nice way to see the island, but if you are not a good follower when you drive then this probably isn¡¦t the best excursion for you!!
We spent a fair amount of time lying around, playing Bingo and hanging out in the Casino. We didn¡¦t go to any shows except the talent show, and caught the end of the magic show (which looked great!). We did attempt the three comedians on the ship¡K the first was AWFUL (we walked out), but the second two were pretty good! We weren¡¦t in the bars too much; the boys went to the Sports Bar a few times looking for sports scores but other than that we just grabbed drinks wherever we were. The last night we were wandering around and stumbled into the piano bar (Irish Sea Bar). The pianist was singing a mix of normal and very dirty songs (which were kind of funny but if you are sensitive to that kind of stuff, it is not the place for you!).
Food as always, was plentiful!! Buffet on the lido deck for lunch was okay- I usually grabbed a sandwich from the deli and hotdog from the grill. We didn¡¦t eat breakfast or dinner there at all. We ate breakfast almost every morning in the dining room, as well as an occasional lunch and dinner every day. Our waiter, Anil, was the best we have ever had on a Carnival cruise. He just could not do enough for us. The night in San Juan happened to have been the best selection of food of the entire cruise, and when they asked if they were having fillet mignon another night he just offered to have it for them the next night. I am a picky eater and he made sure I was happy. He was just so personable as well; we truly enjoyed our dinner every night and spent quite a few hanging around when most guests had left. Our assistant waiter, Denise, and bar waitress, Kathryn were terrific as well!! Food was always good and you could order as much as you wanted!
The staff on this boat is terrific. I would be walking down the hall and a steward would stop what he was doing in a room to stick his head out and say hello. The ¡§Super Shoppers¡¨, Rick and Hector (who is also a dancer), were hanging out with guests on the last night drinking¡K The cruise directory Dana Hodson and assistant cruise director, Ronan, were great as well. Social hosts did a great job too¡Xlots of new games and activities that we hadn¡¦t seen or done on our other cruises.
Disembarking went fairly quickly as we were the first group called off the boat. We piled onto a bus and were at the airport by about 12 or 12:30.
That¡¦s about all I can think of for now¡K hope this helps any future Victory cruisers!!