We sailed on the Valor 4/24 to 5/1, Exotic Caribbean. There were 5 in our party, 3 adults and 2 teens. This was our 3rd cruise. (2nd with Carnival) Embarkation - We used Carnival transport from Ft. Lauderdale Airport to the pier with no trouble. When we arrived at the pier at 2pm, the line was painfully long. We moved right through and were in our cabin in about 1 1/2 hours. Our 2 inside cabins were located on deck 6 AFT, which is on the back of the ship right over the Disco and Lounge. Most nights we were in bed before midnight. We heard music but it didn't seem to bother any of us. Oh and the beds were very comfortable!
In the Bahamas - We took a taxi from the pier. Negotiate! We got a tour of the island for $20 each, including a tour of Ft. Charlotte and a walk thru Atlantis Resort. In St. Thomas - We used Jolly's Taxi Service to get to Sapphire Beach. The cost for the ride is $16 round trip, per person. For $20 each he left us at the beautiful beach for 3 hours, picked us up and gave us an island tour, including a drive to mountain top for photos. Great Deal! Fantastic beach, great tour, lovely day. St. Maarten - Took the transport into town($3 pp) to do a little souvenir shopping and return on the water taxi for the same price.
Getting around the ship wasn't too bad. We brought our little map book and had it figured out within the first few days. The shows were fantastic! We loved the '80s show. Saw two comedy shows, loved one could have done without the other.
The food was excellent. We had late seating in the Lincoln Dining Room. Our waitstaff was excellent and very personable. We saw the Maitre' De every night! That's a first for us. He was very involved with the guests and we thought he definitely earned his tip! We loved the deli and the chocolate buffet! We attended an excellent wine tasting one afternoon in Scarlett's. During the days at sea there was an afternoon tea in the Cigar Lounge. The little sandwiches and desserts were wonderful. Very Nice. We took advantage of room service for our first cup of coffee each morning. Our card was filled out each evening and they never got our order right, from not enough cups and silverware to the wrong order all together. You would think they could, at least, get 1 out of 7? The casino staff were very nice, funny and pleasant. We managed to win a little cash which made it even nicer! Did I mention that we brought 2 teens with us? With the exception of the formal meals, we barely saw them the entire week. They met many kids their own age in teen club and stayed busy. They had a fantastic time. This was their first cruise, so they didn't have anything to compare it to, but other kids told us that there could have been more to do.
Our last morning, we got up early to see the sunrise and grab a little breakfast, leaving our luggage in our stateroom. After breakfast, around 8am, we returned to pick up our luggage before heading to the theater at 8:45 (the designated time). The room stewart had already been in our room and started preparing it for the next cruise. She returned and rudely told us to get out. This was completely uncalled for. If they wanted us out of the cabins before 8:30, they should have let us know and we would have gladly been out. Not a very nice touch, but we had already tipped her, right?
We chose the Everglades excursion in Miami for our last day, mainly because the tour ends with a drop off at Miami or Ft. Lauderdale Airport - or so we thought. The tour company not only tried to solicit a tip from each guest, they actually planned to drop us all off on the curb in Miami and leave it to us to get to Ft. Lauderdale! There were more than 10 of us that refused to get off the bus until Carnival was called. A Carnival representative was brought to our bus and arrangements were made for another bus to bring us to Ft. Lauderdale. All in all, we had a great time and proved that you can cruise on a budget!