My friend and I cruised on the Carnival Valor that left Miami on 8/18/2012. The ship was nice (a fairly typical lay out), and the food was good. Now that I'm home, I miss having dessert with every meal! We really enjoyed seeing the comedians, as well as watching the Carnival Legends Show and the 80's Show and Break Dancing. We had multiple days at sea and noticed that there were not really very many activities to do during the day that sounded interesting. I would have liked to have attended more of the trivia games during the day, but they were almost always in the Casino, which allows smoking. One day time activity that we really enjoyed was tea time. I would recommend you get there on time so you have the best selection of food. We also really enjoyed the Adults only pool and Serenity. Such a great idea!
We ended up being out at sea an extra 36 hours due to Hurricane Isaac. Overall, I think Carnival handeled this situation very well. The staff was very professional, worked very hard, and never complained. The only complaint I have is that no one every warned us that we were going to be hitting any rough waters. (We started hitting the rough waters when we were hundreds of miles away from Isaac, so we weren't expecting it.) We were woken up one morning at 4 am and the boat was rocking back and forth very strongly, the bureau drawers were opening and slamming shut, and the hallway and bathroom doors could be heard rattling. We had never experienced this before, and it was frightening. Looking back, I realize we were very safe but it would have been reassuring if they had made an overhead announcement to just reassure everyone.
Overall I really enjoyed this cruise. I think I may not cruise during prime hurricane season again, although this is the 3rd cruise I've been on this time of year and this was the first time we ever had any problems. Like I said before, I think Carnival responded very well to the weather. I really do appreciate that the safety of the passengers and crew was their # 1 concern! I highly recommend this cruise! :)