Western Carib on Carnival Victory
Carnival Victory Cruise Review to Caribbean - Western
Sail Date: February 07, 2015
Ship: Carnival Victory
Cabin Type: Oceanview
Cabin Number: 1306
Traveled As: Couple
Reviewed: 2 years ago
Strong Positive - Chef's Table - This was the highlight of the cruise. Passengers must get on a waiting list as early as possible in advance of the sailing date, as it has a limit of 12, and only occurs one night. The cost ($75 per person) is money well spent. For this, you have unlimited champagne with multiple appetizer courses, followed by seven additional courses with unlimited wine. The courses were all what would be expected in a five-star restaurant. While portions were not large, there were so many of them that I don't recall when I had a larger meal. Chef Michael Wisdom, in charge of all food preparation on the Victory, was our host for the two-and-a-half-hour evening. It truly was the best part of our trip.
Positive - After boarding, we decided to change our Jamaica excursion from a Montego Bay driving/walking tour to a day at the Secrets Resort. While more costly, the day was very relaxing, as it was all inclusive of non-motorized water offerings (snorkel, etc.), food and drink.
Negative - Due to local conditions, our ship was unable to tender from our planned anchorage near Georgetown, and our excursion (scuba) was cancelled. This is apparently not a rare occurrence in the February time of year. The ship ended up anchoring on the other side of the island and tendering to the local beach area from there. That beach had little in the way of shade, tables, etc. so we decided to stay aboard ship for the day. It was not clear from the announcements whether Carnival would be providing shuttle service from the tender dock to Georgetown, where the other excursions originated.
Negative - The process used by Carnival for debarkation for excursions was very poorly planned. Gathering hundreds of people in the main theater at specific times, then announcing that several tours were leaving at once, cause very long lines to the gangway, frustration and frayed nerves, Additionally, people who did not assemble at the correct time (late by almost an hour) were still able to leave for their excursions well before those who followed instructions. Carnival needs to review their entire process for handling debarkations.
Strong Negative - The baggage claim process in Miami at the end of the trip is extremely inefficient and poorly executed. For the first time, we "checked" our bags, leaving them in the hallway the night before arrival. We were in group 2, since we had also purchased the transportation to the airport. As it turned out, bags from all the groups were haphazardly loaded and distributed among the three baggage carousels, even though the signage indicated specific groups were on specific carousels. We got one bag on the designated carousel, and after waiting approximately thirty minutes for our second bag to show up, went in search on the other ones, where we found it. It seems like a pretty simple exercise - if bag has number X, and all X bags are supposed to go on carousel Y - that your bag would show up where it was supposed to. Wrong. I can only attribute this to a certain indifference on the part of the individuals doing the baggage transfers. I believe that these are not Carnival personnel, but they should know that poor baggage service reflects poorly back on them.
Since we've now covered the Caribbean, we will be looking for other itineraries. I would recommend this cruise for a mid-winter break or for first-time cruisers, or for anyone looking to "dip their toes in the Caribbean cruise waters".