This was my first cruise we chose Carnival because my cousin had taken a Carnival Cruise and loved it. It was just by chance that we went on the Valor. Our original plan was to leave in Feb. on the Victory but when we went to our travel agent we decided to go at the end of Jan. and so the ship changed.
We flew in to Ft. Lauderdale the day before our cruise and rented a car and drove to Miami. We booked a hotel near the airport so it would be easier to take the car back. The hotel was the Airport Regency (it sounded like it would be nice and looked nice when you entered the lobby but our room was disgusting. There was a white substance on the head board the carpet was dirty and our shower leaked Thank God we were only there one night NEVER stay at this hotel.)
Embarkation -- We rode a shuttle bus from our hotel to the pier and dropped our luggage with the porters and went to check in. Embarkation was really easy. It was very well organized there were employees there making sure you went the right way. We arrived the the pier at noon and were on the ship just after 1:30 but the wait didn't feel very long. The ship is really nice I was worried it would be hard to navigate but I learned fairly quickly (although by the end my mom and aunt still got lost)
We booked 2 rooms side by side they were balcony room. There was some left over alcohol in one of the closets that we just threw away. We met our room steward that day and he was really nice and helpful.
Food -- Our dinner assignment was for the Upper part of the Lincoln dinning room at 8:30pm. We really like the dinning room and the area we sat in there was maybe 4 other people that the waiters had to help so we had there undivided attention. Our team waiters were Suparta and Nygomen they were awesome. My dad does low carb and after the first night Nygomen would always bring him low carb rolls and I drink ice tea and they would leave to glasses for me. The food was awesome I tried so many new kinds of food it was always good just the right way and tasted awesome. We ate breakfast and lunch and mid day meal at Rosies Restaurant. I thought it was a good buffet and I loved the Grille and the Pizza (although the Pizza didn't look like it would taste good I took a chance and it was Awesome)
Ports -- We went to Nassau, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten. We weren't in Nassau very long so we didn't do any excursions but spent the afternoon shopping its a beautiful island. In St. Thomas we did the Pirates Tour with shopping it was ok kind of a waste of money and we went to Paradise Point which is an awesome view. You ride up to the highest point on the island and you can see most of the island and St. John it is an amazing view and at $11 a person worth the money (if you buy tickets at the place its $4 more) In St. Maarten we spent the day on the beach and shopped it was a nice relaxing day.
Entertainment -- The shows on the ship were awesome the 80's show and Legends were the highlight. Michale Macy and Tim Brick 2 of the 3 comedians they brought on the ship and the are hilarious especially if you go to their adult shows I never stopped laughing. The juggler was funny and very talented. Our cruise director was Rebecca Lewellyn and I really liked her. She was funny and entertaining. Her staff of assistants were a lot of fun. 2 in particular were the girl that did the Karaoke and the Assistant Cruise Director who hosted the Newlywed show. One night during the cruise they do a dance party in the Disco for all ages and the CD and quite a few of the staff lead us in YMCA, The Macaranea, The Electric Slide and The Cha Cha Slide it was a blast.
Debarkation -- We made our flights for the day after the cruise came back to Miami so to get off the ship faster we took the Art Deco tour of Miami where they drop you off in Ft. Lauderdale. We got of the ship quickly the only problem I had was when we were trying to get our luggage there was so many people it made it really hard to find our luggage and when we did find it it was hard to get out of the area where they had the luggage. But customs was really easy.
Note: We had no kids in our party so I don't know exactly how the Child Care was but I do know we found out there were 750 children on the boat but I think I saw maybe 20 of them the whole time so the Camp Carnival Staff must be pretty good.
All in all the cruise was awesome. Best place to go swimming is all the way in the back of the boat less people and I felt it was really easy to get a deck chair. I loved this trip and will definitely take a Carnival Cruise ship again.