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I invite you to come and sail with us on Aboard The Fun Filled Carnival Victory!!!
Hello everyone, and welcome to another Gambee review. It has been exactly one year since my last cruise review aboard MSC Divina(that is not counting Bimini Superfast for a day). Life has kept me busy, between two jobs, volunteer hours, and school, I just have not been able to cruise as much as I would like. But like they say, you have to grow up sooner or later, and I guess my time has come to do so. Anyway, you’re not here to hear me whine about my life, we are all here for what I expect to be a great review.
Like I said, it has been a while since I sail, so as you can imagine I have been having cruise withdrawals. We started planning this cruise back in March. The cruise was being planned similar to the Divina cruise. It was a family with the same people (including my uncle with all his shenanigans), in addition of another aunty.
There was one conflicting aspect when booking this cruise. Since this could possibly be my only cruise this year, I really wanted it to be at least a 7 day cruise. Unfortunately, you don’t always get it your way. Most in our group had the added travel expense of flight cost, and they simply could not afford a 7 day cruise. So I guess someone would have to give, and that someone would be me. Well, unless I did a solo 7 day cruise, but then I would miss all the family fun.
So after mom gave me a range of days, and a budget, I started looking around. To be quite honest with you, I actually ended up expanding the budget a little. There was no way that my only cruise of the year was going to be a 4 day cruise, to ports that I had already been multiple times (Key West and Cozumel). Fortunately, mom saw my point and agreed that we needed at least an additional day with a better itinerary. Once everything was settled and booked, it was time for the emotional buildup leading up to the cruise.
Let me tell you one thing, and I have to be honest here. I have not been this excited about a cruise since our NCL Breakaway cruise. That means that I was technically more excited about this cruise than I was for the Breeze and Divina. It is all due to that year lapse in between cruises. I guess my other cruises were too close together to really get to appreciate the anticipation as such.
In addition to my excitement, mom actually started a countdown about 150 days ahead of the cruise. She would send silly pictures each day to those in the group. It is beyond me how she found the time and ideas, to actually maintain such a task… Then again some of them were just plain ridiculous, I hope she does not read into this .
The itinerary of this cruise had some fun new ports for us, Half Moon Cay and Grand Turk. Half Moon Cay was really appealing to us, mainly because of everything I had heard about it. White powder sand, clear water, and a long stretch of beach. And let me tell you something it did not disapoint. Likewise, Grand Turk is a good port for snorkeling, and just enjoying a relaxing day by the water. And well Nassau… What can I say about that… Ummmmm, yeahhhh, you figure it out. But overall it was a good itinerary, the only thing that I would rather be different was the direction of the cruise. I much rather have the first day being a Sea Day than the last one. But that is just personal preference.
Overall, a good itinerary, with something new for us.
Those who know me, know that I am a balcony loyalist, or at least I try to. The private outside space is something that I really cherish and enjoy. So I would at the very least try to get a nice balcony for us to enjoy. The only thing is that one balcony would have to do, since the others in the group rather save the extra cost. Nonetheless, I manage to find a balcony that could fit all of us in it. To make things even better, both rooms were close to each other making it really convenient to go from one room to the other.
As you can see, the balcony of room 6424 is about double the length of the average balcony. The caveats with taking this room are the crew stairs running through behind it, and the awkward layout of the room. But I would much rather have the large balcony than a normal shaped room. You can’t win them all.
How do I go by this without sounding snobby? OK, let’s see. Other than my first cruise aboard the NCL Sky, I have sailed on the newest and largest vessels of each cruise line. I tend to get bored easily, and I love innovation, and technology. So it is clear why I have done so as such in the past. Please note that I work extremely hard to afford these vacations, and I am by no means rich. I just enjoy spending my money where it really matters, making memories with love ones.
So why the Carnival Victory? She is not large at 101k gross tonnage, and not exactly new built in 2000. Even more critical is the lack of the 2.0 upgrades that I enjoyed so much on the Breeze. Like I said, it mainly came down to economics and trying to please everyone in the group.
Ironically, I have had multiple people tell me that I should travel aboard an older Carnival ship. Mainly because I am always bragging about how much I enjoyed my cruise aboard the Breeze. I guess they do have a point, but then again one of the main things I like about Carnival is the energy aboard the ship. Vibe and ambience is something that usually carries throughout a company, or so I hoped. More on this later…
So I guess in a way this was a new experience for us. Cruising without all the frills and thrills, would bring us back to what got us addicted to cruising in the first place. Just us and the love of the ocean.
And like I said even taking all this into consideration, I was overwhelmed with excitement about this cruise!
And then there is this little number…
So um, yeah…… Mom made this poster to go pic up my family at the airport paired with her sailor hat. And yes, she actually went ahead with the plan. I could not tell you how it went, since I decided to stay back. But I can only imagine . Not sure if you notice, but she used the decals from our Allure door decorations. I had no idea that she had kept them for so long.
I usually get some kind of internet plan to stay in touch with family, and blog a little. Let it be said that I was really excited about the new internet plan that Carnival is offering aboard some of their ships. This is by far the best value out of any cruise line I have been on. And let me add something, every time I mention getting internet aboard a cruise, I get bashed over it. I am not sure what the big deal is, we all travel with different intents, and lifestyles. I enjoy being connected as does mom and the others in our group. It is just part of the fun. I am sure others enjoy being disconnected, and that is good too. Just be yourself
Gratuities aboard a Carnival ship will run you $12 per person per day. That goes along the lines with the rest of the industry, although maybe on the low side. I usually tip more on drinks and food, as I know how hard the crew works at making the cruise a perfect vacation for everyone. We prepaid ours in advance, this is the first time I do so.
One of the reasons why this itinerary interested me, was that all the ports had possible free shore excursions. Mainly the option to hit a free beach in each port is a good deal for us. I was still considering doing a separate shore excursion, but I left that decision to be made on board. The main problem with that is that I did not want to go alone on a shore excursion, and spending the set price for 5 just adds up.
When I buy trip insurance for my cruises I go to Insure My Trip and shop around for a travel insurance. Here is the thing though. The last time when we were on MSC Divina my mom slipped on the pool deck, and landed really hard on her wrist. We had insurance for that cruise, but we did not use it (for more on that, read that MSC Divina review). Anyway, after that incident, I learned that most travel insurance companies deny claims if you have any sort of alcohol in your system. And since I rarely drink at home, I tend to drink a lot on cruises. That is why on this cruise I did not purchase any travel insurance.
For Miami parking we use Premire Cruise Parking. Be careful there are two premier companies, and while this one is just ok, the other one is horrible. We had used this one in the past with good results, so there was no reason not to use them again and save a few bucks. The only issue here is that they claim that they only take 4 people in their shuttle. While I am not sure if this is completely true, we had no plans on finding out that day. So I decided to drop them off with all the luggage, and then I would go on my own later on.