Traveling were me, Keishawna (Kei) age 31, my husband Chris (46), sons Anthony (11) and Eric (8) and my mother in-law. This was my husband and Anthony's third cruise, Eric's second and my mother in-law's fourth. I'm the family's travel agent ? so; I selected the seven day Valor cruise because of the western Caribbean itinerary (Cozumel, Ochos Rios, and Grand Cayman Island). I booked us early saver in 6b ocean view rooms and we got at least three price drops
I have Fun Times for everyday and the tear offs for all days except Monday and Thursday and will email them to anyone that would like them. I also have Camp Carnival Activity sheets for ages 6-8 and 9-11. If you have any questions along the way, don't hesitate to ask.
THE DAY BEFORE
We drove from Blythewood, SC to Miami it took us about 9 and half hours and we didn't run into any traffic ?
I reserved two rooms on Priceline for $70 each at the Sheraton Airport. The Sheraton has free internet, but you do have to pay for parking. Self-parking was and valet was $15, so we did valet. The staff was courteous and the hotel was clean and the rooms were comfortable. My only complaint would be the long wait to check in. I waited in line 25 minutes before I was called to the desk.
DAY 1- EMBARKATION
Anthony and I (Kei)
My mother in-law wanted to go to Mass so I found one using my phone, so we checked out and went to church. After mass we found a diner for breakfast and then we were off to the port.
We gave the porters our bags and a tip, parked the car and headed inside the terminal. We purchased Faster to The Fun (FTTF) and it was well worth the $49 a cabin! No zone boarding cards were needed at all. There was a separate entrance for us and we went right up to security and we were sent to a line bypassing a lot of people. We went straight to the counter got our sign and sail cards and then we were on the ship by 12:30. With FTTF our rooms were ready as soon as we boarded, so we dropped off our bags and then off to lunch.
We went to the fish and chips and there was no waiting and plenty of tables. The food was great and the kids went for pizza too.
My son Anthony and I decided to explore the ship and took a lot of pictures. Exploring the ship before sail away is great because there is nobody around.
Please remember to check your Funtimes all the time. On the first day the video arcade had an introductory offer! Swipe your sign and sail card at any of the arcade games and receive 5 free credits until midnight. My boys loved this and used all of their credits and ours too. lol
Dinner in the main dining room was great tonight! I emailed the matre a week before our cruise requesting a table for five and to our surprise he made it happen. We were in the Washington Dining room lower level table 424 late seating (8:15). Our head waiter Nessa and his team were awesome. They always smiled, knew our names, constantly checked on us and were a joy every night. Sorry no food porn in my review.
Eric and Nessa
After dinner we were all tired and headed to our rooms. My intention was to freshen up and go to the Welcome Aboard Party, but I didn't make it. The sleep monster caught up with me and I fell asleep.
DAY 2- Seaday
Today we didn't do a lot. The kids went to camp carnival and the adults explored the ship. Tonight was also the captain's celebration, so we got dressed up. We haven't taken a family photo in years and I was adamant that we take one tonight. We got through the photo without any drama and then we were off to dinner. Tonight lobster was served in the dining room and it was great. My son Eric loves lobster and ordered four lobsters, but of course we didn't allow him to have four. Although we all had two ?. After dinner we changed clothes and went to see "Nightclub Express". The show was awesome! The dancers and singers were great and the show was filled with energy. I will say that some of the ladies outfits did show a little too much skin, so if you have small children you have been warned. Nothing much happened after the show, the kids were tired so we headed to the room.
Day 3- Cozumel
We didn't have any excursions planned, so we were not in a rush. We woke up around 8:30, got dressed and went to breakfast. After breakfast we disembarked and went to explore Cozumel. As we were walking down the pier it started to rain hard. It was so funny to see everyone running for shelter. The rain stopped and we went to the taxi area to find a tour or something to do. We found Ricardo and he took us on a 3 Â½ hour sightseeing tour for five in an air conditioned van for $100 roundtrip. We went by Mr. Sancho's, Chankanaab, I forgot the little city we went to, but it was small. We also went to a tequila factory tour with free samples! The tequila was great and smooth.
Day 4- Sea day
Today was full of relaxation. The kids went to their camp carnival activities and my husband I relaxed on the Serenity deck. The Serenity desk was peaceful and gave my husband and I time to talk and just be with each other without the boys. We hit the casino to play some slots and we didn't win much. My husband turned $5 into $20 on the penny slots, so we were happy ?
Day 5- Ochos Rios
I booked a sightseeing tour from Courtney Taylor ahead of time for $125. At the pier there is an area for prearranged tours and someone calls your tour guide to come to the front to get you. I liked that and found it to be very organized. Our tour guide was Errol and he was great. He gave us information on their schools, plants and history. Ochos Rios is not a rich area and I was happy that Errol showed us all areas. My boys are now more appreciative of what we have. After the tour we went back to the ship. We had some lunch and then hit the water slide and pool since the ship was still empty.
Tonight was the mega deck party and Mexican Buffet at 11:30 p.m. The food was good and the ice sculpture and carvings were beautiful. My son Anthony and I were the only two to go everyone else went to bed. The party was fun and of course there was dancing. Anthony is full of life and never meets a stranger. My baby was on the stage dancing and having a great time. No party is complete without the wobble, cupid shuffle, and of course the conga line! We partied until 1 a.m. then went to bed.
Day 6- Grand Cayman Island
We had to take a tender today and we went to guest services and someone escorted us to the head of the line since we had FTTF. We had a prearranged tour through Carnival so we waited until it was time to board the bus. The tour was great and took us to the Tortuga Rum factory, Hell, and the Turtle Farm. We were given free samples of rum cake and rum at Tortuga and we bought a bottle of pineapple rum. The store makes sure your rum is delivered to the ship, so you don't have to worry about it. We took pictures and sent postcards from hell. The turtle farm was nice and we got to see a 600 pound turtle.
We went back to the ship had lunch and then the kids ditched us again. This was another cruise elegant night so we dressed up again for dinner. Anthony didn't go he preferred camp carnival instead. Eric had dinner with us but went to camp carnival right after dinner for the fun til one party. Since the kids were going to be out late, my husband and I took advantage. We saw the "Far from Over" show that highlighted songs from the 80's and then went to the Punch liner comedy club. The comedian was funny despite having a drunken heckler. We picked up the boys and then went to bed.
Day 7- Sea day
Today was a sad day of packing and getting ready to go home. Not much to talk about.
A lot of people has been saying that the quality of the food has gone down. I have disagree. I never went hungry, and there were plenty of options. I loved the burrito bar, the boys liked the pizza station, and my husband loved the deli. We had dinner in the dining room every night and we were never disappointed.
We took lots of tours because we live far from the beach and can go anytime. We wanted to explore the ports and see what they had to offer.
Of course we bought way too many pictures, but hey were on vacation.
Well I that's it. If you have any questions feel free to ask.