We arrived early for check in and the check in process was efficient we then waited to be called to board the ship which we did at about 12:40 -- cabins were ready by 1:30 and we had our lunch on the Lido deck.
The ship has a number of places to relax during the day and we used the sanctuary area on deck 11 mainly as I managed to have a minor accident in the Spa on day one when housekeeping left a metal "skirting board" lying in the spa which I cut my foot on -- no pool for me this week ?
I am a regular cruiser and have cruised with four other major cruise lines and a couple of the smaller ones -- this is the first time that I found the service staff were not chatty -- it looked like they had been asked not to chat to passengers -- very strange.
The itinerary was three port stops and three days at sea so entertainment was going to be important.
The evening shows were generally upbeat singing and dancing and whilst the microphones were a little over modulated overall the quality was good and energizing.
The alternative entertainment and daytime entertainment were all poor by comparison and we struggled to find anything interesting to do during the day. When we booked the cruise we had no experience of Carnival and wanted to try something different -- unfortunately, the "fun" side of the Carnival experience seems to involve people drinking large amounts of beer IN the swimming pool.
I though the itinerary was good and enjoyed the ports of call.
The other cruisers
There were a much higher than usual number of aggressive, uneducated and rude people on this cruise than I have ever come across on any other cruise or holiday in my life -- I have no idea if we were just unlucky or this is typical of the type of people attracted to this particular cruise.
The restaurant service was very poor and lacked the intimacy of other cruise lines -- who was my waiter -- I have no idea!!
The alternative dining had some reasonable options but the quality of food was just OK and the queues meant that I was unwilling to wait the 30 minutes required to try the Mongolian Wok which I believe was better quality.
Coffee was the poor but typical for a US audience.
Alcoholic drinks -- the prices were similar to Miami Beach so not cheap but not extortionate.
The Captain and Crew
The one area where this cruise really stood out was the fact that I do not know the names of any of the people on board including the captain -- the only exception being the Entertainment director.
Safety and Cleanliness
I had a minor accident on the first day during a tour of the Spa.
The lifeboat drill was a complete joke with people arriving late carrying alcoholic drinks and generally talking over the announcements.
A big difference between this ship and the more recent RC cruises I have been on is that RC is actively making people sanitize their hands before eating touching doors etc. Valor had Purell in the restaurant but very few people used it and many more people needed to judging by the dirty toilets around the ship.
I enjoyed the ports of call and some quiet time on the ship -- but I would not cruise on the Valor in the future.