Carnival Valor Cruise Review by Kim&Greg: Carnival Valor - Western Caribbean
Overall Member Rating
Carnival Valor - Western Caribbean
Destination: Western Caribbean
Let me start by saying all in all our group of 21 had a GREAT time, despite some issues that came up.
Embarkation was easy. Our Carnival Boarding picture shows the clock in the background at 11:50 a.m.. I think we arrived at the terminal at about 10:45 a.m. so that was good. Once on board, we went to drop off some items in our cabin, unfortunately, most cabins had not been cleaned yet.
Once ready our cabin was great, we had balcony cabin for two adults, which left us plenty of room. I have to say some of the other people in our group had interior cabins for four people, this was CRAZY. Definitely not enough room. Any cabins with four people were cramped. Another set of four was in an ocean view and it was cramped, too.
Everything was going fine until.... our entire group came down with the "cruise ship illness" a bacterial infection which caused omitting and diarrhea and lasted anywhere from 8-24 hours. The majority of our group missed the port of Roatan More (at least it was the port with not much to do). I ended up with the morning of Cozumel. Luckily, one of group had picked up a flyer in the Miami terminal that talked about the illness and how a number of people had come down with it the trip before ours. It suggested you go directly to the infirmary with any symptoms. People were given a shot down under and some Imodium AD and told to stay in their cabin for 24 hours. They also had each cabin cleaned and disinfected.
Of course the next day we were in Grand Cayman, and most everyone was feeling better (about 16 hours after the infirmary visit) so we all went to the gangway after sitting in the Ivanhoe theater for 1 1/2 or 2 hours, anyone that had been to the infirmary was not allowed on the tender until they went back to the infirmary, which would have been fine if they had told us about this while we were sitting in the Ivanhoe instead of waiting until we were swiping our Sail & Sign cards to get on the tender. I suppose they were trying to keep the illness as quiet as possible, so an announcement would have alerted everyone to the illness. This was very frustrating! Very few staff would even acknowledge that there was a problem. We did however get a couple of staff to tell us that the US Health Department had been on board the week before and would likely be boarding again. We did see a number of staff with buckets of disinfectant wiping down elevator buttons, handrails, etc.
The last issue was on Saturday, a glass was broken in the Ivanhoe Theater during the final horse race. We immediately alerted a waitress. However, no one came to clean up the glass (they did however continue to serve drink). Well, the glass remained on the floor through the rest of the horse race and through the Newlywed Game. At this time our group was departing from the theater, a 3 year old in our party fell and cut his head on a piece of glass that was still on the floor. Luckily, it was only a small wound. We took him down to the infirmary to make sure there was no glass stuck in his head and then went to the pursers desk to report the lack of responsiveness to clean up the glass. The woman we spoke to was, let's say, less than nice.
Well, the next day was Sunday, time to disembark, where do they have you sit? In the Ivanhoe. Guess what was still all over the floor?!? GLASS!!!!!!!!!!!!! We immediately went brought a piece of the glass to the pursers desk and let them know that after all of this time, and at least one injury that we know of there was still glass on the floor. A woman came through and made a quick walk through, not finding the glass. At this point we thought we would watch for a few minutes, then we showed the poor lost girl where the rest of the broken glass was.
But remember, like I started this review with. We all still had a GREAT time!! Disembarkation.....LONG Lines what else can I say...ARRGHH. It took us about two hours or so. ( one of the Carnival people indicated that the delay was due to someone getting caught with a lot of drugs)
As far as excursions; my cousin is quite the seasoned cruiser. She helped us book our excursions through a couple of outfits not part of Carnival. In Belize we did the Extreme Cave Tubing (Xstream Sports). It was FABULOUS!! It was $60/person plus tax. We got to go through two caves instead of one and had a smaller group than the ship tour. This was a bit on the physical side with the 40 minute walk through the Rain Forest and the paddling but I strongly recommend it. Our guides were great. They helped us navigate in our tubes and even let us hitch a ride (by hanging on to their tubes)whenever we needed. We even had our pictures taken by the Carnival photographer (he was actually standing in the water as we walked through on our way into the rain forest).
Grand Cayman - With Native Way Tours - Stingray City, Snorkel and Rum Point Beach (another self-booked excursion). This was a great trip and well worth the cost. He said he gave us a "Special Price" but I have a feeling everyone got the same price of $30 per person which included a great lunch at Rum Point Beach. Once again our guides were wonderful, they snorkeled with us and pointed out certain fish. They even got the nurse sharks to come out with some squid. With the stingrays they made sure everyone had a chance to hold one and feed them. Again, highly recommended excursion and well worth the money. We also tipped bother excursions pretty well.
Roatan - A few of us went to the Sante Wellness Center, which was one more non-Carnival tour. We had massages and just relaxed at the spa. We were the only four people there for most of their day, this was nice.
Cozumel - Well I was sick early in the day but the rest of the group went over to Play Mia beach and had a great time. There was plenty for people of all ages. After dinner we made the infamous trip to Carlos and Charlies. Which of course was a night to remember!! Conga lines of shots, and the famous shots from the waitresses. Ouch!!! They slapped hard!! A great time was had by all.
Camp Carnival - My nieces and nephews attended and had a great time. Most of the staff was wonderful. I think my sister encountered one person she didn't like (and neither did the three year old).
Overview: great time, a few problems. Excursions through Native Way Tours and Exstream (not Carnival) were a great value and smaller groups. There was certainly some attention to detail lost on this cruise. We will still cruise on Carnival again, however, we will be sure to wash our hands more often and probably pack some Lysol next time!!! Less
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