Let me start off by saying that I was very open-minded and had no expectations when I set sail on the Carnival Valor as this was my very first cruise.
Embarkation in Miami was painless. We had Super Shuttle pick us up at the house and take us to the port where we were very early and the first ones there. When the time did finally arrive to embark, it was painless and simple. We got to our cabin, dropped our stuff and explored the ship.
The ship is beautiful and easy to maneuver as decks 5 and 7 run bow to stern. I had printed and laminated a small paper with what venue was on each deck. Finding our way around was painless.
The first thing we did was head straight to the Deli where we each ordered a Reuben Sandwich which came highly recommended by a Cruise Critic poster. It was simply delicious. DH had some ice cream and we went back to the cabin to unpack. Later that evening we caught two Broadway shows. AWESOME.
Oct 3, 2005 - 1:30 am - Announcement over the intercom. Captain has noticed what appears to be a flare signal from a raft. Everyone runs to see. The Valor has happened upon a raft with about 7 people on it. Refugees from Cuba. We picked them up and I do suppose the Valor Staff fed and clothed them. That's all we had heard about it - so really do not know what will happened to them. Will probably be sent back to Cuba. Very sad.
PORTS OF CALL:
BELIZE -- Booked the snorkeling through Carnival to Rendezvous Cay. Calm seas in Belize. Beautiful deep, blue water. We took a tender from the ship where we boat on a power boat for about 45 minutes to Rendezvous Cay. There were little to no fish, but it was fun and we snorkeled a lot. We got back on the boat and they took us to a little place called "Sergeants Cay" You could snuba, kayak, scuba or snorkel and it was a lot of fun and saw lots more fish. We had unlimited Rum Punch and soda. We got back to Belize, looked around a little bit and then headed back to the ship.
ROATAN -- What an awesome time we had in Roatan!! We got up real early and had breakfast. We booked an excursion through Carnival to Tabayana Beach. What an awesome day we had. We disembarked from the ship and a native lady grabbed me and danced! They had a local band there playing music! It was really exciting to have the opportunity to see Roatan and its famous reef. Met the tour right off the ship and took a bus ride through Roatan to Tabayana Beach. There were lounge chairs, a bar, kayaks, Scuba divers and snokelers. There is the most amazing reef at Tabayana. Say Sergeant Majors, Trumpet fish, Blue Tangs. The reef was teeming with life. TOTALLY AMAZING! I do suppose I enjoyed Roatan the most. Tabayana Beach Reef was amazing and was made so enjoyable as a local followed us out on the reef in his paddle boat. We followed him and snorkeled at all the ideal locations. I had the most amazing time there and cannot wait to go back.
GRAND CAYMAN -- Today we went on the Stingray City and Reef Tour through Carnival. We were one of the lucky ones as there was bad weather and a lot of snorkeling trips got cancelled. We got onto a tender to GC and then got onto a bus to the place then got onto a boat to the middle of the ocean where, suddenly, it becomes shallow. We immediately get into the water to encounter HUNDREDS of stingrays. To me, it was kind of scary, but the rays were friendly and I got lots of cool pictures of the rays. We fed the rays squid and they suck it out of your hands. Got a picture of a guide holding a ray above my head. We then boarded the boat and headed to a reef where we got to experience the "Cayman Pirahanas" Beautiful yellow and black Sergeant Majors swarm all around you when you feed them. It was so beautiful. We got to see pretty blue tangs and other beautiful fish. The reef was crowded, but it was fun.
The tender back. Wow. We waited a long time for the rain to stop to get back. We got rum cakes and finally boarded the tender boat which was filled to the hilt with people. Quite scary in the rough seas, but we made it.
I got some rum cakes in Grand Cayman and had a beer at the local bar. Pretty enjoyable time.
COZUMEL -- Let me preface this by saying how much I enjoyed Cozumel. The people were amazing and so calm. I want to live there. On our way to Cozumel, we were sitting in Rosie's and the ship turned a 90 degree angle and all the ketchup bottles fell over and dishes went everywhere. It was trip!
What a day we had. We took a cab on our own to Chankanaab. We got a locker there for our stuff and our day of fun began! We saw lots of fish swimming throughout the reef. Big fish (Well big enough for me) swimming in schools right in front of my face! I got some great pics. We saw iguanas and parrots at Chankanaab. It did rain towards the end of the excursion, but it stopped and went back into the city and decided to shop. I will definitely be visiting Chankanaab again. Totally amazing place.
Great deals in Coz to shop. I absolutely LOVE this place. The shopping is AMAZING! We bought ourselves dive rings. I had so much fun shopping in Coz. Later that night, we made our way into the town and found the town center (I suppose it was) and we watched the locals dance and sing. We also watched as this young man painted these incredible pictures of fish and the reef. We bought a picture from him. Cozumel was an awesome experience. Next time, I will bring lots more money to buy more stuff in Coz.
CONCLUSION AND RETROSPECT -- I enjoyed this cruise so very much. I had been looking forward to it for many months, planning and packing way too much stuff. Next time I know not to pack all that crap.
I would've utilized the free sauna and steam rooms daily. I would've eaten in the main dining room all three meals. I would have gone down the slide more than twice.
I enjoyed seeing the sunrise and sunset from the ship. I will miss that so much.
I also wanted to say what an amazing staff the Valor has. Very friendly, informative and upbeat. Will definitely sail with Carnival again.
I also got engaged on this cruise. I will remember this cruise for the rest of my life as being proposed to was the happiest moment so far in my life.