My husband and I just returned from our first cruise. We sailed the Valor 9/18 to 9/25 for our first anniversary. We absolutely loved it! I'll try to break this down into categories so it's easier to read.
Embarkation. We got to the port of Miami around 12:00 and found the process very easy. We were on the ship by 1:00. The lines moved very quickly and every staff member we encountered was very cheerful and extremely pleasant.
Our room. We were on the Panorama deck- room 1036. It was an inside stateroom and we actually loved it. We liked that it was totally dark-we got some of the best sleep we've had all year. We found the bed to be very comfortable. We did turn the television to channel 12 (which was just a blank, black channel) to have a bit of light in the room. We had pleanty of room in the closests and drawers to put our clothes away. All in all, for 2 people we found the place to be quite roomy.
I read a couple of posts from people who said that there was no music or television channels. I found that to be the total opposite. We had CNN and were able to keep up with the hurricane and all other events. We also had ABC out of NYC, NBC and quite a few other channels. We went back our room to nap or just rest every afternoon and I watched Oprah most days. There was also 3 music channels that played current music, plus a few video channels. So, if we wanted to watch something at night before we went to sleep we had quite a few choices.
Our Location. We loved our location on the Panorama Deck. We were just a short walk down the hall to get to the Lido deck and right down the hall from the elevators.
Our Steward. Alfred was our steward and he was great. He was always cheerful and happy when he saw us and if we asked for anything he was always eager to help us out.
The Food. We had breakfast every morning at Rosie's and found it to be pretty easy. We never encountered a horrible line, but with 3500 people on the ship you have to expect a line or two every now and then. We found all the food to be really good. There was a lot of variety and there's no reason that everyone couldn't find something to eat. The pizza and burgers are great! We had late seating in the Washington Dining Room (table 561) and Martin and Magda were our wait staff and they were great! We were at a booth for 4 people and were fortunate to meet a great couple that we hung out with all week! Dinner was always yummy and the staff usually did a little show for you! We did have dinner one night at Scarlet's and I cannot recommend it enough! It was worth the money. I had the best strip steak I've ever had..and the desserts were to die for!
Entertainment. We didn't go to the shows every night, but we hit a few of them. The 80's show was great as were the commedians. We went to the r-rated show one night and we laughed our heads off! The last day at sea we played Bingo and went to the Newleywed Not So Newleywed game and laughed until we cried! We also LOVED Josh the cruise director! We thought he was funny and very informative. We typically went to the casino and spent a little time playing the slots machines every night.
Ports of Call. Belize was great. We went Cave Tubing and used X-Streme. Our guide was great..she gave us a ton of information on the city. We are so glad we booked it through an independant company. Therw as only 11 in our group and Carnival had something like 600 people doing it with them! Roatan was absolutely beautiful. Stunning really. In Roatan you want to do something..either plan to go to the beach or plan an excursion. There's nothing to really do at the pier. We took at cab for $20 pp to West Bay and back and it was WELL worth the money. The drive was spectacular and the beach was gorgeous. Grand Cayman was really nice to. You have to tender and the water was really rough, so it took
much longer that it should have. I don't much care for the way Carnival handles their tender process. I think they make it more work than they have to. We just shopped here. Cozumel..we played mini golf at Golfito and loved it! The guy that ownes it is from Pennsylvania. We then had lunch at a "mexican" restaurant and hit Carlos and Charlies for a few drinks. The ports of call were fantastic- we couldn't be happier with our choice to do the Western Carribean.
The Ship. Once you got the hang of it, the ship was really easy to get around. Everthing was pretty simple to get to- but that might have just been the location of our room. We tried to get into Paris Hot a few nights, but the place was packed by the time we finished dinner. The casino was always jumping. We were in bed most nights by 11:30 or so and I think that's when things probably picked up a bit-especially in the disco. The Lido deck was always pretty busy. We thought the ship was beautiful and didn't find the dining rooms to be tacky at all. Everything was always super clean and the staff was always cleaning or painting something on the ship.
Disembarkation. We did the self assist disembarkation and if you can manage it I highly recommend it. Josh made the announcement around 7:30 (I think) and we were totally off the ship and waiting for our ride by 8:00. It was super easy.
All in all, we LOVED the ship and loved the trip. We'd cruise Carnival again in a second..and are already talking about planning our next cruise!