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Carnival Cruise Line
MS Carnival Victory
Reviewed by:Brandan "Rex" Thomas
# previous cruises: 1
Date of Trip: August 11, 2001
Itinerary: Canada/New England
The ship made the cruise for me because the weather was so damned uncooperative - cloudy, drizzly, humid. Carnival has outdone itself with
the DESTINY-Class sisters, and the VICTORY more than made up for the cruises' shortcomings, at least in terms of amenities and cuisine...
There was not one public room on this ship that wasn't
tastefully decorated - a little Art Deco, a little classical, a little
modern, a little bit of everything. I remember cringing at pictures I have
seen of the other Carnival ships, so the VICTORY was a very pleasant
surprise. My personal favorite was the Black and Red Seas Lounge (most
people know by now that the VICTORY's theme is the world's major bodies of
water), with it's startling geometric patterns and decent jazz combo. Next
would be the beautiful Adriatic Lounge, which is done in soft beige and gold
tones with faux classical columns and busts of famous people in history.
The band there was okay, nothing to write home about. The Indian Library
was also tastefully done, but way too small with a poor selection of books.
The Ionian Room was also a stunner, but is located underneath Club Arctic,
the disco, and it's hard to relax there with a martini and cigar with Snoop
Doggy Dogg and Destiny's Child blaring overhead - there should be a
closeable door there or something to muffle the annoying dance music. The
Caribbean Lounge pretty much looked like show lounges on other ships, but
compensated for its been-there-done-that decor by being quite large and
commodious - three decks high. The Atrium is also quite beautiful, with
judicious use of stained glass and twinkle lights, but not nearly as garish
as other Carnival ships. In short, I loved the public rooms, all of them,
but I thought the Indian Library was way too small, but this is a party
ship, so who really reads?
I had late sitting in the beautiful Pacific Dining Room on
the upper level. The upper level is much quieter than the lower level, so
the ambiance is more intimate. I only ate dinner here, and each meal was
superb. Sirloin with peppercorn sauce...honey roasted quail, and the best
chateaubriand I have ever tasted. My table waiters, Mladen and Jose, were
great and attentive, but a little harried.
I ate breakfast and lunch in the Mediterranean Buffet. Except for the
powdered eggs, the meals here were good, but hardly gourmet. Carnival needs
to increase the selection of cold cuts, there seemed only to be bologna, ham
and pimento, with about three or four cheeses. The salads were pretty good.
Meals here the first couple of days were not so hot, but for me they got
better as the cruise progressed. I also ate at the Mississippi BBQ and the
East River Deli. The staff up here are constantly cleaning and wiping down
tables. There was a nasty leak in the Trident Pool area after one rain
squall, and the puddles sat there for a couple of hours. But all in all,
the food was great. I stayed away from the Patisserie, they charged way too
much for tiny slivers of cheesecake and things like that.
I was in cabin 1202, outside, Riviera Deck. It is a standard
outside cabin, but a bit smaller than the other cabins, because it is all
the way forward and curves with the bow of the ship. But it was very
comfortable. The furnishings were of a very high quality. Outstanding
storage space, at least for one person. The bathroom was also of a good
size with an excellent medicine cabinet. I was glad to have the cabin to
myself. Panya, my cabin steward, did a superb job of cleaning my stateroom
and made the neatest little animals out of towels. I am a bit of a slob,
but he always kept the stateroom clean and was very pleasant. Insulation
was decent, but I could hear the little brats running up and down the
The entertainment was outstanding. One of the singers, I
think her name was Sherell, has an excellent voice, and the dancers were
very good. There were also two comedians, who told raunchy jokes, which I
like (I HATE G or PG humor). The social director, David, is a complete
lunatic, and he even made the disembarkation lecture fun.
I tried to do a little bit of everything. If only the weather
had cooperated a bit more. It just seems that the ship is set up so in
order to enjoy yourself, you have to spend money. I actually did spend a
lot of time in my cabin on sea days, watching movies, which I like doing.
If the weather had been nicer, I would have done more.
Saint John, New Brunswick, is a dull-ass town with not a lot to do - once
you get past the tourist area, it looks like the serious boonies. I did
find a couple of rare bookstores and things like that. Everyone who went on
the Reversing Falls Tour told me it was a rip-off. You could probably see
the whole city on foot in about three hours. There are a couple of nice
parks, including one that was once the town's original cemetary, but other
than that...you could have more fun in Allentown PA.
Halifax, Nova Scotia, is a bit nicer, more modern and sophisticated. The
Maritime Museum has some wonderful full scale ship models of lesser known
ships like EMPRESS OF BRITAIN and others who are tired of hearing about the
TITANIC, QUEEN MARY and NORMANDIE. There is also a fine exhibit detailing
the 1917 munition ship explosion that destroyed half the town.
I also took a tour of the Black Cultural Center in Dartsmouth. This should
be of interest to all people regardless of skin color (there were actually a
few white people on the tour, which I thought was cool). Afro-Canadians
have a similar history to Afro-Americans with a few differences that make it
interesting. The DRI tour guide, Lois, was a absolute sweetheart (and a
cutie), and when the weather prevented us from touring the farm areas, she
gave us a quick tour of Halifax. I would really like to spend a weekend
For me, one of my favorite things to do was to stand out on the promenade
deck at night, drink in hand, and watch the ship's wake; I am not a
religious man, but for me, smelling the sea and being in it puts me in a
very peaceful place.
I really got along with my table mate, Barry, and Jerry and
Kathy, who sat across from us. We had a great time. It was kind of a
challenge for a single man like myself, as it was mostly families and small
tour groups on board. But I could usually talk to people who sat down next
to me in the lounges, the bartenders and stewards, and even the hotel
director was very friendly and talkative. So was the young man running the
Internet Cafe. But there were too many teens with not enough parents to
watch them. There were not enough activities for teens, and many of them
refused to leave the disco after the designated teen hours were up. Kids
running up and down the passageways - unacceptable. On the last night, a
bunch of teens held a mini-orgy on the wooden dance floor of the Ionian
Room - and the bartender lost it because she had told them to leave several
times. They really had no business there.
All in all, I like the CARNIVAL VICTORY - it is a straightforward,
unpretentious but beautifully designed cruise ship (but the bow is WAY too
short), that offers great accommodations. I say get rid of Saint John, add
another port on the five day cruise, and create programs that will keep the
teens out of grown-ups hair.
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