Carnival Valor - Western Caribbean: Carnival Valor Cruise Review by cruisinjean
Overall Member Rating
Carnival Valor - Western Caribbean
Destination: Western Caribbean
We stayed in Milwaukee on Friday night at the Sheraton Four Points. We chose this hotel because of the Park and Fly rate as well as the free 24 hour shuttle to the airport. The hotel worked for us as there was a Dennys within walking distance. Beds were comfortable but rooms were starting to show their age.
At the Milwaukee airport, we had an easy time boarding the plane and an uneventful flight to Fort Lauderdale. The Fort Lauderdale airport was easy to navigate. It didnt take long to get the entire luggage for 21 people and there was a lot of it!!!
We had reservations at the Hampton Inn in Plantation. This was a wonderful hotel! We had a free shuttle from the airport to the hotel. There was a shopping mall and Target store within walking distance to get drinks for onboard the ship! (As well as forgotten items!) The mall provided a food court which was great to accommodate our large group and wide More variety of tastes within a reasonable price range! The rooms were very nice with very comfortable beds. The entire hotel was very clean. The pool area was very relaxing. The breakfast was awesome and plentiful. The lobby/eating area was a nice area for our large group to congregate. The staff was wonderful&very friendly and helpful!
Sunday--cruise day! We hired Larrys Limo to take our group from Plantation to the Miami cruise port. They were right on time with a beautiful mini bus for our group.
Embarkation--We arrived at the port at about 11:00am. Our entire group was amazed at how easy this process was in comparison to past cruises. We chose to arrive at this time based on other cruise critic members recommendations. Boy, were they right! There were very few people in line. In fact our photo coupon was a number 1! We were on the ship in less than ½ hour. We dropped our bags at our cabin and then went to lunch on the Lido deck. Arriving that early allowed us to find our way around the ship as well as do some unpacking as our bags came in. We enjoyed our Sail Away from Miami with all the jet skiers jumping the wake with the crowds of South Beach in the background!
Sea Days--Awesome itinerary on this cruise allowing for some fun and relaxation before hitting the ports! (As well as relaxing and packing before heading back into Miami on the way home.)
The Valor--This ship is beautiful!!! We loved the heroes and American theme. This ship is not as gaudy as some of the others! It was very clean and the staff was great! It was easy to get around once you remembered that deck 5 was the thoroughfare to the rest of the ship. Our cabin was a balcony cabin (1061) on the Panorama Deck. Great location! Close to the pools and the Lido deck&close to the elevators and Spa, and not so many staterooms on this deck! Walk to the front of the ship and go out the side door. You can get out onto the front decks where there are hardly any people! Great for sail aways!
Dining--We ate in the Washington Lower dining room late seating. The food was very good. The wait staff works very hard. Ausrine from Lithuania really was very attentive to the children in our group, getting them up to dance and get involved. They miss her! The Lido deck food was good. The pizza, burgers, hot dogs, deli, fish n chips, ice cream&what can I say? It was awesome! The chocolate buffet was unbelievable! I even saw someone take a mug of ice cream to the chocolate fountain for a topping! What an idea!
Grand Cayman Island--We did the stingray and Island Tour with Native way sports based on the recommendation of others on the boards. What a great deal! $45 per person. We went to the turtle farm, the Tortuga rum factory, Hell, and then out on the boat yoyo to Stingray City. What an awesome time! There even was some time left for quick shopping before the last tender to the ship. By the way, the tendering was not bad at all! By far, this was a great tour!
Isla Roatan, Honduras--We did an island tour with Victor Bodden tours. Victor was our personal guide for the day. We went to the Iguana Farm. This was neat as the kids were able to feed the iguanas and pick them up. There were a lot of those iguanas running wild!!! There were also 2 monkeys in cages, parrots, and down by the water, Tarpin and turtles. We then went to West End Beach to snorkel. Everyone enjoyed the beach area. There were lounge chairs, shade, drinks and food available, and souvenirs. Hair braiding and massages were available. ($20 for half head; $1 minute for a massage) Victor was wonderful!
Belize--Getting onto the tender was not a long wait; however it was about a 20 minute ride into the port area. There is a lot of shopping at the port area which is secured by a fenced perimeter with guards. There is a free Pirate Museum outside the fenced area, which also has an area where local vendors are selling their goods. They are a bit cheaper and are willing to barter since they dont have to pay the rent inside the compound. People seem to be friendly and if you say no thank you, they dont bother you!
Costa Maya, Mexico--Long pier with a trolley to get you to land. Like everyone said, the beach on the right was deserted! Our mission was to enjoy ChaChi resort. We followed the directions from fellow cruise critic members and had no problems getting there. A few recommendations would be to wear good shoes as you trek through the jungle by the fence line. Also, sunscreen with insect repellant would be ideal! The resort is looking run down, but the owner was very friendly and welcoming! The food and drinks were great! Snorkeling was wonderful! (Wear your water shoes here!) Many people were taking pictures from the pier, probably wondering how we got there! We left after a few hours to do some shopping. Boy, the port area was crowded! (The Miracle was in port with us!) The pool was FULL! The shops were CROWDED!! I highly recommend Cha Chi to get away from the crowds!!!
The Casino--Slots seemed to be tight. Wide variety of slots ranging from 1cent on up. There were two roulette tables that we were able to do quite well on. There is only 1 craps table which was always crowded on our trip! I didnt care for the Shogun theme of this casino with all the tin statues standing around. They were scary looking and took up quite a bit of standing room! Also, I emailed the casino hostess before our trip and did not receive anything like others have mentioned&room decorations, wine etc. But, that didnt stop us from having fun there!
Debarkation--There was some confusion due to the terrorist plot with the liquids on the plane while we were gone. We were not really sure how to pack to get home! (Glad we didnt buy any liquor on this cruise!) We kept out our toiletries for use in the a.m. and when we found our bags, shoved them into the luggage that would be checked! (Carnival did provide a letter describing what to expect at the airports etc.) We all went to the Washington Dining room to have breakfast while waiting for the ship to be cleared. After that, we hung out on deck 5 for probably ½ hour; at the most, before our luggage color was called. We proceeded through customs and claimed our bags. As we got our bags together, we called Larrys Limo and they were there within 5 minutes in a beautiful and air conditioned mini bus to pick us up. (No standing in the HOT HUMID Miami weather!) We got to Fort Lauderdale and passed through security without a problem. The airlines seemed to be more accommodating about weight of luggage since we were gone when all the changes took effect! It seemed as though they were more conscientious with the screening but it was all for our safety. Our flight was uneventful until we had a layover in Kansas City. We were told we had to exit the plane for cleaning. As we were re-boarding, one person in our group had to throw away Corona salt and pepper shakers (empty) because they were glass. When asked why they passed security in Florida, they said things change hour by hour. The inconsistency just bugged me. The signs only mentioned liquids and gels! Anyway, we made it home with a wonderful trip behind us with great memories!!! Less
Carnival Valor - 3 Stars Solid
Overall, we didn't enjoy it. I...
Nice smaller ship