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Victory I Review

4.0 / 5.0
Editor Rating
5 reviews
Victory I
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Editor Rating
Very Good
Ginger Dingus
Cruise Critic Contributor

From the get-go, the 202-passenger Victory I has been a small, intimate ship, intended for warm weather coastal cruises to the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Seaway. While it's had various owners and names, the ship is currently owned by American Queen Steamboat Company, which also operates  sister ship, Victory II, as well as a fleet of American river boats.

Before relaunching in May 2019, Victory I received a refresh, giving the interior a nearly new feel. Upgrades included new carpeting, new wall coverings and, in the cabins, new mattresses. The casual dining venue was enclosed, making it usable in all types of weather. While there's a small gym and a handful of spa treatments are offered, a hot tub on the sun deck would be a welcome addition.

If you enjoy lounging in your cabin, note that all but two owner's suites are smaller than cabins on newer ships of comparable size. And, except from the suites, there are no private balconies, only deck space shared with passersby. In other words, plan on spending most of your onboard time in the lounge, the bar or on the open-air top deck. But, hey, that could be good news as cocktails are included, and the pub-style The Tavern is always lively and a fun spot to mingle with fellow passengers.

The ship excels with shore excursions that are included in each port. Cruisers experience the best of what a destination has to offer without hassle, be it a museum, historic hotel, local lunch, wine tasting, or a particularly beautiful bit of nature. That said, many excursions start shortly after breakfast, and there are no alternative tours for sleepyheads. On days when you return to the ship for lunch, you can spend your afternoon exploring near the dock or elsewhere on your own or, in some ports, take an additional included tour.



Bottom Line


Passengers : 202
Crew : 84
Passenger to Crew : 2.40:1
Launched : 2001, 2015, 2019
Shore Excursions : 0


Included with your cruise fare:

  • Shore excursion (at least one per port)
  • Cocktails, wine, beer and sodas
  • Wi-Fi
  • Tips for coach tour guides and drivers
  • Pre-cruise hotel night with transfer to the ship (2020)

Not included with your cruise fare:

  • Gratuities (\$15.50 per person, per day, going up to \$16.50 in 2020)
  • Premium alcoholic beverages
  • Spa services
  • Premium excursions
  • Port charges
  • Transfers between airports, hotels and piers (2019)
  • Tips for local guides or for special attention
  • 18 percent gratuities for salon services

Fellow Passengers

On the Great Lakes and St. Laurence Seaway trips, Victory I attracts well-traveled couples aged 60 and up, with a handful of solo cruisers. Most are Americans, many traveling with an affinity group such as Road Scholar, and all eager to explore closer-to-home destinations. Under American Queen Steamboat Company ownership, past passengers from the line's riverboats can be expected onboard. Announcements are in English. Younger couples and children are in the minority, if they are onboard at all. The cruise line retains the right to limit the number of children under 18.

Victory I Dress Code

Daytime: Smart-casual attire is appropriate during the day, right through dinnertime. It's wise to pack walking shoes, sweater or fleece, rain jacket and umbrella for shore tours.

Evening: There are no formal nights, though the captain's welcome and farewell dinners are a bit dressier. Women will be comfortable in skirts or slacks with a blouse or a casual, rather than formal, dress. Men generally wear slacks and shirts. Jackets are totally optional.

Not Permitted: No shorts in the dining room at dinner.

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Victory I Cruiser Reviews


The staff aboard Victory I were excellent, hard working and their service was impeccable. This was right up with the best service we've ever experienced.... Read More
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10+ Cruises

Age 60s

Ship, Officers, Crew, are all top notch.

Also on board was a Victory Cruise Lines director of programs and entertainment, and with that director was a party of 12 people.... Read More
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10+ Cruises

Age 70s

Great Lakes cruise

The Lounge was small and many times to me at least (I just turned 60) seemed lune I was in the lounge of my mother’s nursing home. Most of the people gathered to drink and do puzzles.... Read More
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10+ Cruises

Age 60s

Great Lakes Cruise - Toronto to Chicago

The next day, we took a city tour and then embarked on the Victory I.... Read More
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10+ Cruises

Age 60s

Victory Cruise Lines Fleet
Victory I
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