Our cruise was booked by a company we travel with as a group. We do not get to choose the cruise, but I feel I have the right to voice my opinion since we pay our way.
This is our 3rd cruise with Carnival. The other two cruises were enjoyable, but not what I had always expected a cruise to be like. The food on Carnival ships is my main complaint. Valor had bad food. If it hadn't been for room service, which was decent, the pizza place, and the ice cream machines, I would've just chosen not to eat at all. I thought the desserts were suppose to be just delicious on a cruise ship. The best dessert I had was the Snickers bar I bought in the gift shop! I am not kidding, I am not a picky eater when it comes to dessert, but although they looked good, let's just say looks can be very deceiving. I heard tons of people complaining about the food. By about the third day even a McDonald's Happy Meal would taste pretty good!!
Embarkation was very smooth. We even got our luggage fairly soon after we arrived in our stateroom. However our room was not clean. The bed was made but the carpet was dirty and the bathroom smelled like urine. Someone finally came and cleaned the room, but the bathroom still never smelled clean. Our room steward was not very friendly at all...at least not like what we experienced on past cruises.
The staff was always SO sweet and caring before. The employees on Valor didn't seem to be happy with their jobs. I met another couple on the cruise who said their bathroom smelled like urine too. What was up with that??
As for the excursions. Carnival does not have their act together here. Nothing is organized. There were 50 million people trying to get from the theatre room down the stair cases to the bottom deck to board the tender boats. People were crammed together like sardines trying to make their way down several flights of stairs all at the same time! We booked a dune buggy tour in Costa Maya where we had read we would be driving our own dune buggy through what we understood would be jungle and down beaches. We ended up in the back seat of a dune buggy while some couple we didn't know did the driving. The entire 45 mile (not really sure how far, seemed like forever) trip was down paved roads! We ended up on a dirty beach, had some cheese nachos, watched the Iguanas crawl on top of a block long pile of trash bags full of trash and then back down the never ending highway. It was not worth 110.00 per person!! What can you do? YOu are at the mercy of the cruise line.
Let's just say if I ever get to take a cruise on my own I won't book it on a Carnival cruise ship. Don't get me wrong, we enjoyed the beautiful water, sunsets, and most of all the relaxation!!Oh yea, the casino sucked! C'mon Carnival! Loosen up the slots. You know if folks win any money, they will just put it back in the next night. Whoever takes money home from a cruise??? Let people have a little fun!
Getting off the ship wasn't bad, but trying to claim your luggage to take it to the airport was a nightmare!! They pile the luggage in rows...after row, after row. It's like hunting a needle in a hay stack. Finally after locating your luggage, you have to try to make your way through the crowds of people doing the same thing. Our new luggage looked like it had been on several trips around the world. It was dirty and had scratch marks and rips.
Oh by the way, when we arrived at the airport when we first got to Miami, we were boarded onto a bus. Our luggage sat on the sidewalk for what seemed like forever. We were all ready to get to the ship. The bus driver finally announced that some sort of mistake had been made and there was not enough room in the cargo hold for all the luggage. Around 40 bags would have to go on the bus down the walkway between the seats. He seemed to be very nervous and frustrated and began loading the bags by himself. Finally my husband said "if we are ever going to get to the ship, I'm going to have to help that guy". So he got off the bus and sweated and lifted bags on the bus until we could finally leave the airport. Hey, if he hadn't we might still be sitting there! But I hated seeing him have to sweat and lift on bags. It was vacation. He works hard enough at home! Oh well,I guess all trips won't always be perfect. Hope you have better luck on your cruises!