Our review of the Carnival Valor, Oct. 23rd, 05. By Roger & Karen
As usual we took the Cruise Connection bus to the port. It was running late due to cancellations because of Hurricane Wilma. Embarkation though, was very organized, easy and fast. We found our room, unpacked our carry-on and headed for the buffet for some lunch and then to the aft pool and bar for some liquid refreshments and some R&R.
I'll break this down into the following paragraphs for easy reading.
Embarkation: It was very organized, fast and easy and we were through and on the ship in about 15 to 20 minutes.
Cabins: We were upgraded along with my daughter and son-in-law from an inside bargain basement "guarantee" to the Panorama Deck, rooms 1037 and 1033, next door to each other. Our room was great and at least on the Conquest class ships the bathrooms are the biggest we've ever had.. Plenty of space for large luggage under the bed and enough closet space to make Imelda Marcos happy. Our steward Santiago and assistant Sarno were the best, never had better, and they've all been great, but these two guys were exceptional and worked as a well oiled team.
The Ship: Beautiful in all respects. It was very well laid out, easy to negotiate and find things. One thing I would change or add would be to put a double headed arrow with an A for aft and a F for forward in the corridors as you exit the elevator lobbies. With mile long corridors, it would help you to know which way you were headed before you walked a hundred feet or so, and realized you are going the wrong way. Maybe they could be added during refurbishing.
Dining Rooms: We were in the lower level of the aft Washington Dining Room, table 404. Both of the dining rooms were absolutely gorgeous; soft colors, beautiful furniture and place settings. We had an absolutely fantastic waiter named Agnelo with assistant Nyoman. From the very first night they knew our preferences or dislikes and were always one step ahead of us. Dinner was always enjoyable every evening we were there. Agnelo is an exceptional employee and completely dedicated to Carnival. Someone at Carnival is missing it. I would definitely move this man to a position where his dedication and talent could be put to a much better use than waiting tables. Another pleasant surprise was that our waitress from our cruise on the Carnival Glory was on this cruise serving tables near ours. I went over to her to say hello and she remembered Roger and I. Her name was Liliana and whenever we saw her on the ship she always greeted us warmly. The food in the Dining Room was excellent, very good choices every night and, as always you could order as much of anything that you wanted. One night our SIL who never eats much, ordered two lobster tail dinners and a prime rib dinner and ate it all!
Buffet Area: The buffet area is very attractive with miles of stainless steel and chrome. You feel like you're eating in a '60s diner. The selection of food was always adequate and excellent as buffets go. The Fish and Chips bar upstairs as usual served extraordinary food; fish&chips, calamari, etc. The Deli Bar on the port side was open daily and served a variety of hot and cold sandwiches. The Oriental Bar on the starboard side served a nice variety of oriental foods. There were two grills - midship Lido and aft Lido serving burgers, hot dogs, fries, etc. Also, there was the Sushi Bar which was just aft of the coffee bar which was just aft of the casino. If you like sushi, Carnival's is to die for. We cannot leave out the Pizza Bar open 24/7 with many different kinds of pizza, calzones, etc. Last but not least is the ice cream bar which has self serve soft ice cream and low-fat frozen yogurt open 24/7.
Lounges: The lounges on Carnival are SECOND TO NONE and is one of the biggest reasons we love cruising Carnival. The performances and entertainers in the main show lounge were extraordinary and for once seat saving was at a bare minimum. If you are on vacation and want to have a good time dancing or just hanging out, Carnival has a lounge "just for you." The majority of the lounges are non-smoking and have excellent musicians, singers or DJ's. The teen lounge is exceptional also, as it looks like an adult lounge minus the alcoholic beverages.
Lido Deck/Pool Deck: Well laid out, very sunny and always supervised by uniformed security people which kept the chaise hogs at bay for the most part. We never had a problem finding a seat in any of the areas. One word of warning though, the aft pool decks on both Glory and Valor are as slippery as walking on glare ice when wet, which is most of the time as it surrounds the aft pool. Unfortunately we saw at least one or more people land on their butt every day because of it. I wrote a letter to Carnival pointing out the problem and I hope they will get the surface roughed up to improve traction and prevent injuries.
Service: This was our second Carnival Cruise and the service contrary to popular belief by all the "never sailed Carnival bashers" was some of the best we have ever had. The Valor, as well as the Glory are a class act and great value for your vacation dollar.