April 2015 - 5 Night Western Caribbean (Miami Roundtrip) Cruise on Carnival Victory
We were debating on trying Carnival as this is only our 2nd cruise. Our 1st cruise was on Norwegian last year and we fell inlove with the whole cruise experience. So-in order to save a buck, we decided to go with Carnival and overlook the negative reviews and advice from friends who have sailed Carnival. Apparently, this cruise line is known as the "party cruise". Mind you, I am only in my thirties (not too old!) so it's not like I can't hang once in a while! The boarding process was actually quite quick and they were pretty on top of things. The problem was that the music was so loud even when checking in as I was trying to talk to the customer service rep about some questions I had.
Well, it didn't stop there. We got on board and the buffet was going on...which wasn't great...the buffet food tasted like elementary school lunch. Not fresh...and no taste. We tried to sit in the area where there are tables to eat outside and the music (DJ) was BLARING! Speakers were everywhere in the pool area and surrounding areas. There was no relaxing, no talking comfortably unless you went "inside". They did have a small "adult" area at the back of the ship, but problem was we have 2 children whom we could not leave alone at the main pool area. They were also doing some serious revamping work to the back of the ship too, so there was no quiet time.
The 2 "fun days at sea" were anything but. The DJ was there and the speakers were blaring with rap and pop. Which I don't mind usually, but come on...for those of us who just would like some background music while we sit and relax by the pool with a nice daiquiri, it makes for a miserable time that involves a lot of Tylenol. The 2nd "fun day at sea"...a child got sick in the pool, so the pool and water slide were closed for a while, making it not so appealing as well.
The dining room was disappointing as there were no windows. We were on Atlantic-upper. We had a set time to dine, which I was not a fan of. On Norwegian, we could go to 3-5 dining rooms at ANY time we were hungry. Although I didn't care for the location, the food was good in the dining rooms and the service was very friendly. They really tried their best to make you feel comfortable and the servers even were entertaining! That part I cannot say anything negative about.
When we arrived at the ports, it was OK to get off the boat, but getting back on the ship was a long nightmare both times!
We had a FABULOUS time off the ship on our excursions!
The kids area wasn't anything to write home about. It was a normal "day care" room. The problem I had was that there were no family activities being held in general areas. The activities and the fun was geared towards those who liked the party boat and the loud music.
Definitely not geared toward families.
The buffet times are limited. Not one time did I get sushi like I was looking forward to since it was only open at certain times. The omelet I did have was great, but it took 40 minutes in the line, so my family was finished with their breakfast by the time I got to the table.
OK-here is the kicker for me. Outside of our room (ocean view room 1247), there was a loud knocking sound. I brought it to the attention of guest services who came down and informed me it was something loose in the engine. They couldn't do anything about it until we arrived back in Miami. They couldn't move us because the rooms were sold out, so they gave us $200 onboard credit. Whoopie doo. We couldn't sleep or even relax in the room so it made for a negative experience in room as well.
All in all, I am so very disappointed in the ship, but so very thankful that our Jamaica and Grand Cayman excursions were so memorable to our family, that we can still chalk this up as a great vaca! As for Carnival, this will be our first and LAST time.