Where do I start? My family just returned from six days of sheer hell on the Carnival Valor, and it's a shame to say that we are happier to be home than on the ship! Usually, it's the other way around!! This was by far the absolute WORST cruise I have ever had on a cruise ship, and I consider myself to be a pretty well seasoned cruiser.
The most horrid part of this trip was the treatment we received from our cabin attendant on disembarkation day. If you want to have your cabin attendant do a "Knock, Knock, Open" in the morning while you are in your birthday suit getting dressed at 7:45 a.m. on the day of disembarkation, then this is the cruise for you. Otherwise, STEER CLEAR of the Carnival Valor!!!!! No privacy whatsoever! They even had the audacity to put the door stopper in my son's cabin, so that his cabin was completely open to the hallway until he left!!! Seriously?! Who does this at 7:45 a.m.?!
Thinking of having a leisurely breakfast on the day of disembarkation? Think again!!! The breakfast buffet on the Lido deck was shut down at 8:45 a.m. sharp, so if you have one of the last luggage tags for disembarkation, be prepared to sit on the Lido deck with NOTHING to eat until 10:00 a.m!! Seriously?! I mean, really?! The next batch of "suckers". . . er. . . I mean passengers =/ were being herded on simultaneously as we were getting off the ship. And don't think you're going to get ANY of their food while you're waiting to have your disembarkation number called either. Although there was no breakfast for over an hour while we waited for our luggage tags to be called, I watched in horror as a staff member practically snatched a slice of cheese right out of my niece's hand! I mean, come on! If Carnival is that low on cash that they can't give their guests a decent farewell after we've spent thousands of dollars for the cruise, then they won't have a client base for too much longer.
The wait staff on this cruise was not up to par at all!!! On formal night, my sister ordered lobster, and it NEVER came. My brother, who didn't order lobster, but later asked for one, was told, "Oh, here, we have an extra one." My lobster tail wasn't even cleaned!! I mean, has the cook staff ever heard the term de-vein?! Furthermore, if we have dinner seating at 8:15 p.m., how about trying to serve us before 9:30 p.m.? Nearly every single day, our dinner came out at about 9:30 p.m. A hot dish is best served "hot", not cold. My father's prime rib was colder than his cup of lemonade!! Seriously?!
Expecting a tidy stateroom? Well, think again. Our staterooms were only tended to once per day, even after we put out the "Cruising, Service Room Please" sign. I mean, is it so much to ask for fresh towels? We basically had to get our own towels off the towel cart just so that we could wash up for dinner. And God forbid the room attendant hadn't come into our hall way yet. We just had to re-use the face towel from the morning and use the pool towels for drying off after showering prior to going for dinner. Call housekeeping you say? Good luck. The housekeeping line was endlessly busy (wonder why!), and by the off chance they weren't busy, good luck having them actually bring you anything. A complete joke!
24-hour room service? Not on this ship! The room service line played endless elevator music, and never seemed to get through to an actual person. Once, a person answered and told us to hold on. Then when they came back on 10 minutes later, they told us to call back later because the food had not yet been prepared!!! Really?! Then why call it 24-hour room service, if it isn't available 24 hours?
Are you a chocolate lover? Well be prepared for some of the most tasteless chocolate ever known to man!!! I mean, my mother, who is a HUGE fan of chocolate was totally disgusted at the utter waste of ingredients used to prepare the so-called "chocolate extravaganza" menu items. Want chocolate covered strawberries? Sorry! But you can have chocolate covered apples, canteloupe, or pineapples. Sounds tasty, doesn't it? Yeah!
Bottom line, if you are looking for a vacation where you can get drunk off your rear-end (maybe, because the drinks aren't necessarily top shelf) and maybe you won't notice the crappy service and tasteless food, then Carnival Valor is the place for you! However, if you know what cruising is all about, and are used to having an excellent cruise experience, then sail on a different line.
After sailing on the Carnival Magic in Europe last year, I was so happy that Carnival's quality of service "seemed" to be much improved. But boy oh boy was I wrong!!! It is overly apparent that Carnival cruise lines realizes that those individuals who sail the European itineraries wouldn't put up with the total lack of service and low quality cuisine of the American itineraries. Therefore, the quality of service on the European sailing was much higher. However, if you are sailing from an American port, then you can forget about quality of service, because you won't experience any.
That being said, Carnival just lost me and my family as customers. Needless to say, we sent email requests from our phones from the Lido deck to our travel agent requesting cancellation of our next Carnival cruise sailing. If Carnival can't earn our money through consistent service, then it doesn't deserve it!