I'm just back from a week on Carnival's Valor. I am tired but I wanted to write while everything was fresh on my mind. Plus I've been in withdrawal from the computer! I know how desperate I was for opinions and advice before we sailed so I'll pass on my experience. If anyone has a question please ask. I sailed with my husband, daughter 18, 2 sons 22 and 14 and my son's friend who is also 22.
We spent the night before the cruise in Miami at the Embassy Suites. They picked us up at the airport and we paid $8 pp the next morning for a shuttle to the port. Once outside Embassy other shuttles yelled $25 to take all 6 of us. Maybe we could have gone cheaper?
Embarkation: We left the Embassy about 11:00 a.m. and headed for the port. There was a huge traffic jam around the port. It took about 30 min to get there. Once inside we stood in a line for an hour and 15 or 20 min. I don't think they let anyone in until 12:30. There was a HUGE line behind us. Once in everything was smooth. Lunch was waiting and our cabin was ready in an hour.
Cabin: I loved it! The room was big with a nice balcony. The bed was comfy and had a down comforter. I tried not to think about whether they washed them or not.
Alcohol: I took 2 small boxes of wine for my room. I found these cute little cubes that are made by Kendall Jackson. They packed easy and seemed safer than bottles. I also took a liter of Vodka in Nalgene bottles. I had no problems and every morning and night my wine had ice.
Food: I thought the food was excellent. My family is really weird about food and they always offered alternatives to the menu. I am now on a BIG time diet.
Tenders: Oh gosh, that was a nightmare. We had a early pickup for our tour and I think it was 11:00 before we got off the tender in belize. People were getting very angry and yelling at the guy running the tender deal. I don't think I'll book a tour that isn't through the ship again.
Belize: We we scheduled to go Cave Tubing with Wet N wild Cave Tubing. The caves flooded and we didn't know what to do about canceling our tour since it wasn't through Carnival. They told us the caves were closed. We went on and met Marvin who gave us our deposit back with no problems. There really isn't anything to do there if you don't go on a tour. We left the gated area and were sorta scared. We were SWAMPED by locals begging to sell us a tour. I mean SWAMPED! We shopped in the few stores that were there and went back to the ship.
Roatan, Honduras: My husband and sons went diving through Carnival and said it was WONDERFUL. Excellent dive with a wonderful crew. My daughter and I went to Las Palms (or something similar) on a shopping trip. This was one of Carnival's recommended places. I paid $20 for the taxi we shared with another couple. Don't waste your time. There was about 4 tiny tiny stores there and NO people. There was a deserted beach, not very pretty but nice, but I felt funny being there alone with my daughter swimming. We went back and the taxi guy took us on a detour up a hill. We got the most amazing view of our ship. When ww got back we had a wonderful time shopping in the flea market right across from the ship. The people were so polite and gracious. My sons friend rented a motorcycle and had a blast exploring all day.
Grand Cayman: Men went diving again. They said it was very good but not as great as Honduras. My daughter and I took a taxi bus to 7 mile beach, It was very beautiful but the drinks were expensive. I wanted to do Stingray City but she was scared of them.
Cozumel: My husband kids and I went to San Francisco beach. It wasn't the prettiest but we loved it. There was a huge inflatable rock climbing thing in the ocean and my son stayed on it all afternoon. They also had water trampolines. The beach chairs were free and the people there were awesome. They even cleaned the sand off my chair for me. The food was good and they had a few little stores. I tipped the server $2 for my $3 beer and he hung around real close after that to see what I needed. I think we paid $14 for our taxi each way.
Disembarkation: After 9:00 you can just leave when you want. No colors or numbers. It took about an hour to get out the door. We had Tri County pick us up and take us to fort lauderdale airport for $80.00. It was simple and easy. He was waiting for us when we got outside.
I could type more but now I'm getting tired! I didn't talk about night life on the cruise or the activities, but if anyone has questions please ask.