Carnival Victory Cruise Review
A good option for short, inexpensive cruises, but those who want Carnival's latest upgrades might wait until promised renovations are in place.
Spa & Gym
The facility is managed for Carnival by Steiner Leisure, a company that oversees spas for the majority of cruise lines. Treatments were on-par with or slightly higher than at most resorts. The 50-minute facials ranged $119 to $169 and massages ranged from $119 for the 50-minute Swedish massage to $199 for the 75-minute Lime and Ginger full body exfoliation and massage; the 50-minute couple’s Swedish massage was priced $269. As is typical on most ships, specials blossomed on port days, and there were discounts for multiple treatments.
Other procedures available included teeth whitening, acupuncture, Ionithermie, waxing and men’s grooming. The men’s and women’s changing areas had private sauna and steam rooms, open to those not signing up for a treatment. There was a spa “ice cream” party for pre-teens—foot scrub, massage and pedicure ($39) and a teen spa pamper party adding in a facial and scalp, neck and shoulder massage ($99).
Elemis products were the primary brand used for spa and facial treatments and many of the products were available for sale, along with Phyto and ME! Bath.
Carnival Victory’s gym was an imposing, cavernous space that looked like the bridge on an Imperial Star Destroyer. It wasn’t the warmest facility to work out in, but there was ample LifeCycle cardio equipment—bikes, treadmills and elliptical—and we never saw a line for the machines, most of which faced the forward ocean view (except we couldn’t really enjoy the view out these windows).
Fitness classes included daily stretch, abs blast, and body conditioning—all at no charge—plus yoga, pilates and spinning, priced $12 each ($30 for three sessions). The Body Sculpt Boot Camp was $69 for two sessions or $120 for four. A body composition analysis was $35, and a 30-minute session with a personal trainer was $45 ($100 for three sessions) or $85 for one hour ($180 for three).
Triton’s Pool and Bar
This was Carnival Victory’s main pool area. The pool itself was fair-sized (4-feet 6-inches deep), while the decks around it were laid out in a sprawling amphitheater setting. This allowed for lots of loungers and on sunny sea days this area became the ship’s hub of action—getting an empty lounge chair (especially two side-by-side) was no small task.
With the grill close by, this area was very crowded around lunchtime, when live music was scheduled. There was a pair of hot tubs next to the pool, both of which were usually packed. A video screen towered over this area, but it didn’t get much play.
The ship’s standard cocktail list was available at Triton’s Bar. Special tropical drinks came out some days.
Siren’s Pool and Bar
Located on Deck 9 aft, this was the ship’s second pool area, with a retractable roof that could be closed during inclement weather. There were two hot tubs flanking the pool. Surrounded by a bar, the pizza counter and ice cream station, this area was as much about the food as going for a swim.
The ship’s standard cocktail list was available at the Siren’s Bar.
King of the Sea Pool
This was kind of a supplement to the main pool area, a smaller pool (4-feet 6-inches deep) that didn’t see as many bathers. The Twister Waterslide rose above, emptying out next to the pool. There was a hot tub and a small, covered throne-like perch with three loungers.
Towering above the ship’s main pool area, this slide was plenty of fun, departing from a platform next to the Serenity Retreat. Since we made the 48-inch height requirement we took a few spins down it.
Decks & Sun Areas
Serenity Adult Retreat
This was a chill, adults-only outdoor lounge on decks 12 and 14, the highest public areas of the ship. Surprisingly, it was not usually crowded, which made it a good place for relaxing in peace—we always found a lounger, though the day beds and hammocks were more in-demand. There were two shallow, rectangular whirlpools, and a wall of showers provided hot and cold options for rinsing off.
The ship’s standard cocktail list was available at the Serenity Bar.
Deck 11 – Jogging Track
A jogging track circuited Deck 11, but covered less than half the ship’s length. There was also a shuffleboard court here, loungers and an outdoor shower.
Panorama Deck 10
This deck provided outdoor sun areas for most of the length of the ship. Ample loungers were stationed along its length, along with outdoor showers.
This would be the Promenade Deck on most ships, but it didn’t circuit Carnival Victory; the forward and aft portions were closed off. Additionally, there were few seating options (no loungers), so this deck was primarily used for smoking (allowed on the starboard side).
High on Deck 12, this isolated little 9-hole course didn’t offer any surprises. Being totally exposed to the elements, it could be a little difficult to play when the wind kicked up. Clubs and balls were available from the towel station on Deck 9
We’d call this our secret hangout, but we weren’t the only ones who knew about these hideaways. Above and below the bridge were a series of forward-facing decks. While there was a minimum of lounge chairs here (and no other amenities), there was also a minimum of bodies angling for them, so something approaching quiet privacy was available. The decks could be accessed from the interior hallways of decks 6, 7, 9 and 10.
Shows & Entertainment
Occupying the forward portion of decks 3, 4 and 5, the Caribbean Lounge was Carnival Victory’s showroom for big productions. Most of the ground floor was flat, so sightlines here sometimes depended on the hairdo sitting between our seat and the stage. The upper levels had a steep rake, and we’d say the front rows of the balcony were probably the best spots for viewing—these seats were generally taken well before show time.
There was a show nightly here, but they varied in scale. The big event was City Lights, a musical review featuring late 20th-century hits such as Viva Las Vegas, Georgia on my Mind, Fame, Physical, Muscles, the theme from Rocky. The show had a cast of 12 dancers, two singers and a five-piece live band. Carnival calls the show “PG,” which was presumably for G-string outfits that the Vegas-style showgirls wear for first third of show. There wasn’t much in the way of sets, but lots of lights (including lasers).
Other shows here included a juggling act (better than it sounds), a Motown review, and a show bringing guests on stage (previously rehearsed) for impersonations of Madonna, Garth Brooks, etc. The space was also used for Bingo, cha cha dance classes, and game shows.
This somewhat nondescript venue on Deck 5 aft was the setting for the Punchliner Comedy Club, which took place several nights of our cruise. The usual schedule would be two comedians performing 25-minute sets, every hour. The first two shows, at 7:45 and 8:45 p.m., were designated as family-friendly; the remaining three shows (starting at 10 p.m.) were adults-only, which we found—mostly—pretty entertaining, if raunchy. But we noticed that the same comedians struggled during the family shows, delivering acts that were neutered of personality or humor.
Other events that took place here included singles gatherings, karaoke, church services and shopping lectures.
The bar had the standard cocktail list available, along with a Punchliner menu featuring drinks not found elsewhere on the ship. These included the blue Punchliner (rum, vodka, gin, blue Curaçao, citrus and lychee syrup), the Giddy Cosmo (pear vodka, Cointreau, citrus and cranberry juice) and a raspberry mojito—priced $8.75-$8.95. Shooters were $5.95 each, or a round of four was $20.
The casino on Carnival Victory has an Asian theme. The facility was busy any time we were at sea (the casino was closed while in port), with slot machines staying open as late as 4 a.m. There were 187 slots covering the gamut of traditional games, and video poker was also available. Table games include roulette, craps, blackjack and various types of poker.
Gambling was allowed for guests 18 and older. Guests could charge up to $2000 to their room accounts. Smoking was permitted in the casino, but while there were designated non-smoking tables and slots the smoke had willful ways—the casino was easily the smokiest area of the ship.
The ship’s standard cocktail list was available at the Trident Bar. Although one side of the bar was ostensibly a non-smoking area, the smoke went where it wanted. Anyone purchasing a drink received a $5 match play coupon.
This small facility next to the Ionian Room provided eight PCs for us to use; the area was usually unattended. The basic internet usage plan was .75 per minute, plus a one-time $3.95 activation fee; this covered computers in the Internet Café as well as WiFi around the ship. There were various packages available that brought the per-minute price down to .64 per minute (45 minutes for $29), .49 per minute (120 minutes for $59), etc. There was a printer, available for .50 per page.
This small but striking library was open very limitedly during our cruise—generally just an hour or two each day to check our games and books. Then again, the collection was not much to get excited about.
This was the room in which the Chef’s Table dinner was conducted on some evenings.
Seven Seas Atrium, Bar, Lobby
This is Carnival Victory’s soaring lobby, rising six decks. At the base of the atrium, on Deck 3, was the front desk, shore excursions desk, and Seven Seas Bar. Behind the bar was a small stage with a piano. Though fairly subdued during the day there was live (and DJ) music here each evening, before and after dinner. With the entrances to the Atlantic Restaurant, the casino, the shops and more nearby, each night this was truly the bustling hub of the ship.
The Seven Seas Bar had the ship’s usual selection of cocktails, plus we found Carnival’s home brew, Thirsty Frog Red, a malty sweet dark beer available at this bar on tap.
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