Sailing: New York to
Saint John, New Brunswick and Halifax, Nova Scotia
August 11-16, 2001
From Philadelphia, PA
Previous Cruises: 2
I booked my cruise online and saved around $200, even with the single
supplement. It was my first time on the water in about ten years.
Everyone knows by now that the Destiny-class liners are the third
largest series of cruise ships afloat -- 102,000 tons plus and all
that. The Victory, along with her sisters, is Carnival's attempt to
get a larger, more upscale piece of the US cruise market. I took a bus
on a rainy Saturday morning on August 11, 2001 and arrived at the Port
Authority Pier #88 at around 1 PM. Embarkation was very chaotic and
the porters would all but ignore you unless you flashed a ten spot in
their faces. Once I got my luggage checked, embarkation got a lot
easier. A breeze, in fact. I could spot the Victory's massive profile
through the windows of the pier. It was like looking into a wall of
red, white and blue. The bow is very short, evidence that this is a
ship built primarily for calm weather sailing. Other than that, she is
certainly better looking than the boxy Fantasy-class Carnival liners.
And she also has Carnival's signature winged funnel.
Cabin: Once aboard, I got directions to my cabin on Riviera
Deck. It was Category 1A, Cabin 1202, the most forward cabin. It had
two portholes in lieu of a window. It is a very attractive cabin and
quite roomy. Loads of storage space and a decent-sized bathroom. My
room steward was Panya from the Philippines. He was excellent and
every night he made my bath towels into goofy little animals, which I
loved. I took a picture of every one.
The weather was crappy the entire cruise, save for Sunday morning, the
12th, which was a sea day. The rest of the time was quite foggy and
rainy. The ship rode smoothly, but the foghorn went off like every
five minutes or so. Can't really relax on deck with that mess
Public Rooms: This is where the ship is a dramatic improvement over
her fleetmates. No gaudy glitziness was in evidence anywhere, although
lots of color is used. The main atrium, the Seven Seas Lobby, is
gorgeous and done in tones of green and blue, colors of the seven
seas, which is the Victory's design theme. There is extensive use of
colored glass too, which gives it an ethereal quality. The railing on
the stairways all have beautiful gold-toned sea horses. There are
almost too many bars, The Irish Sea (piano bar), Aegean (sports bar),
Black and Red Seas (jazz/karaoke), Ionian (martini bar), Club Arctic
(disco), and many more. The Ionian is a beautiful lounge done in warm
wood (both faux and real) and buttery soft leather seating. Why it is
located underneath the disco leaves me. The Internet Cafe is located
right around the corner, and can be expensive if you don't watch out.
I spent more money there than I planned.
Dining: There are two beautiful bi-level dining rooms, Atlantic and
Pacific. Two seatings are featured at each, with staggered hours to
cut down on passenger traffic. Good idea. I had late seating in the
Pacific on the upper level. I liked this because the lower level
seemed very noisy. The wait staff is for the most part attentive, but
a bit harried. My table staff, Mladen and Josť, were pretty good and
made no mistakes. But the bar waitress kept fudging my order because
she was from Romania and her English was quite bad.
The food in the dining room was quite good, in fact better than the
buffets. On Deck 9, there is the Mediterranean Buffet, Mississippi
BBQ, East River Deli, and Yangtze Wok. There is a Pizzeria Arno, but
the pizza there is awful. I had breakfast and lunch at the buffet and
dinner always in the dining room. Burgers, hot dogs and fries are
For the most part, the food ranged from fair to excellent. I would
recommend trying everything except the pizza.
There was a leak near the Sirens Pool, creating a HUGE
puddle of water that sat there for two hours before anyone cleaned it
up. I think this was because the crew was SO busy everywhere else.
They work very hard cleaning up behind the passengers, some who were
very sloppy and thoughtless.
Entertainment: The Caribbean Lounge is three levels high and very
impressive looking. I had heard a lot about Carnival's entertainment
and I was not disappointed. The dancing, singing, even the comedians
were superb. The downside was too many teens wandering up and down the
aisles. There were a lot of teenagers on this cruise -- too many. I
don't think Carnival does enough for this group. Everything seems to
be for children or for adults. On the last night at sea, a bunch
of teens decided to camp out on the wooden dance floor in The Ionian
Room. The bartender lost it and told them to leave. I don't blame her.
They were on the floor necking and being very inappropriate. The
Cruise Director, Peter I think, was an absolute nut, and kept everyone
in stitches. We only saw him on stage, though. I thought cruise
directors mingled with the passengers more, but I guess on a ship with
3,400 passengers onboard, that is kind of impossible.
The Nautica Spa is okay, but I hated the Keiser hydraulic equipment.
The staff REALLY pushes the spa treatments, which were a bit pricey to
me. I got talked into a massage/aromatherapy/skin treatment tour, and
snuck out during the seaweed wrap.
Ports: Saint John, New Brunswick is a dull little town. Maybe I would
have liked it better if the weather had been nicer, but even if the
sun were shining, it would still be dull. Did some shopping at the
pier; mostly T-shirts and things for my family. I talked to my
tablemates, who took the Reversing Falls tour. They said it was a
rip-off. There is an attractive row of shops, bars and restaurants
near the waterfront, but it is very touristy. I did get a good lobster
Halifax, Nova Scotia was a LOT better. Larger, more sophisticated, and
able to handle crowds of people. There is an excellent maritime
museum, with artifacts from the Titanic (Halifax sent out rescue ships
to recover bodies and wreckage from the disaster). Pieces of wood,
deck chairs and a life preserver too. There is also a fascinating
exhibit of the 1917 munitions ship explosion that destroyed the town
and killed over 2,000 people. A lot of people didn't know about this.
Very interesting. Also excellent models of famous and not-so-famous
passenger liners and freighters.
I took a tour of the Black Cultural Center and learned a lot about
Afro-Canadians, whose history parallels that of Afro-Americans more or
less. Because of the weather, the bus tour of the Afro-Canadian
farmlands was canceled. For some reason, we went through the
"inner city" Halifax, and the tour guide pointed out a crack
house! Huh? Other than that, it was a great tour, and I would do it
Disembarkation was a breeze. I carried my own luggage off and got off
the ship without a hitch. I spent three days in New York City at a
B&B in Chelsea. New York in the summer is an absolute blast. (Maybe
blast is not a good word to use when mentioning New York anymore.)
The Victory is a great ship with beautiful and imaginative interiors.
My only qualms were the weather and the number of obnoxious teens on
board. Parents seem to think everyone else should watch their
children. I would recommend this trip for anyone weary of the
Caribbean. Just hope the weather is better for you than it was for me.
Ciao, Brandan Thomas
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