As first time cruisers we were very excited to go! I cannot express how much Cruise Critic helped answer so many questions, give the best tips and lots of encouragement to relax and enjoy! Thanks so Much!
To book our Cruise we went to a TA and pointed to a cruise in the Carnival book and said this is what we wanted to do and she booked it. Not having many friends or family that have been on cruises to give us pointers - well let's just say that we won't do that again! Not after learning so much on CC - after we were all set up!
We flew out of Albuquerque at 6:00 am - during a severe thunder-storm that was washing out the roads, so it was an adventure just getting to the airport. Landed in Atlanta - quick change of flights to Miami. Carnival put us up at the Airport Hilton and we really liked it there. We took a taxi to Bayside for a late lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe and then to enjoy the music and just shopped around a bit. Back to the hotel for a much needed good night's rest.
Sunday, we were lined up and on the bus headed to the pier. Check in went smooth and we were dropping off luggage in our room by 1:00. Lunch in Rosie's and then the much dreaded muster drill. Went up on top to see us pull out of Miami - had a lot of fun watching the jet skiers alongside the ship! We were assigned the early seating in the Washington Dining room 5:45 - we weren't to sure how this would work but decided to give it a try.
Monday - Fun day at Sea! And it was! Went to the talk on shopping in Port and DH caught a very nice bag when she was tossing out the freebies! DD (24) wanted to try the Salsa dancing - the room was packed and we couldn't see what we were supposed to do, so we left. DH & I went to the Tea Time. We both enjoyed this! The live music and killer dessert and some warm tea - ahhh what a nice treat! Oh! At lunch we went to Rosie's for the Fish & Chips - very yummy!
Formal night was nice and we took our pictures before dinner. Changed clothes and went to the show - which was pretty good but we were noticing for the first time some movement on the ship - Hey! Were in the middle of a storm! Went up top for ice cream and watched the water sloshing out of the pool! Didn't realize how much we were moving until then. Still went to bed and slept fine and woke up to calm waters.
Tuesday - Shopping in Grand Cayman. Since we had the next 3 days of snorkeling trips planned we just wanted to explore and shop. Picked up Rum Cakes , a really nice ring for our Anniversary and the one shop I'm so glad we found is called Far and Away - it had linens and special things for homes that I loved. Bought a Tea Pot that goes great with my other ones at home. If your looking for something that you can put out at Christmas, or you have lace & linens in your home - be sure to find this shop!
Wednesday - Roatan - I had booked a day with Victor Bodden Tours-$30.00pp for 3. Ben was our driver and he was so great! He talked about the island. He took us to Fantasy Island where we saw monkeys, iguanas, parrots and the water was so beautiful. It is a resort place that was just completing a great pool and there is a shallow area in the ocean for swimming. This resort seemed to also be a spot for serious divers. Then to Half Moon Cay for snorkeling. Lots of people at this stop but Ben found 3 more chairs and we were set! Water was wonderful, had lunch and about time to head back - but not before we shopped some. Back to the boat in plenty of time! This is a beautiful stop and would love to go back again! To tired to get dressed up for dinner - Rosie's sounded just fine.
Thursday - Belize - This is the only excursion we did through Carnival - Snorkel and then to a beach $75.00pp. The water was wonderful and the extra hour at the beach was nice. A bit expensive - but still glad we did it. Back to the ship for showers, lunch and tender to the pier for shopping. Our trip back to the ship was fun - we rode up on top! Now that's the place to stay cool! Once again - Rosie's for dinner - and then to the Ivanhoe for the show. The singer that was supposed to be there missed the ship - but a guy named Lawrence Neil who is a performer on a different ship was on vacation on the Valor and he was willing to fill in - WE ARE SO GLAD HE DID! It was Motown and so much fun! Then the comedian that followed was Very Funny! A stop for ice cream and off to bed.
Friday - Costa Maya - I booked online a day at Maya Palms Resort - 45.00 pp. Found the taxis about ½ mile past the pier and shops. Didn't realize it was about ½ hr ride - $20.00 for 3 to the resort. But what a great spot! Only one other family there to snorkel and we ordered lunch @ 10.00 pp for when we came in from the water. Beautiful snorkeling and they took us to 2 different spots. After lunch and just relaxing at the pool waiting for our taxi to return - come to find out had broken down ½ from town. There were some divers that came in and were willing to share their rides with us so DH took snorkel gear back to the ship - DD and I head to do some shopping. We felt we were shorter on time because of the mix up with the taxi's so we didn't do much shopping in town, but just outside of the gates we found a nice store and picked up some nice things to bring home.
DH and I go went Scarlett's for our Anniversary Dinner - so well worth the extra $30.00 pp! Julia was our waitress and she was so great! Everything was delicious!! We decided to take some pictures which turned out so nice! Change our clothes and go to the 80's show - wasn't the best show of the week. Watched the break dancers after the show and ready to call it a night!
Saturday - Fun day at Sea - Slept in! DD went to the activity of making animals out of towels. DH & I went back for Tea Time again. Bought some jackets that were on sale. Last night for dinner in the Washington room. Packed and I went to sleep and DH & DD went to the Legends Show.
Sunday - Out of the room by 8:30 - Off the ship by 9:30. We had a 2:45 flight so we weren't in to much hurry. Found our luggage - through customs - on the bus and arrived to the airport by 11:00
Extra Comments: We loved the ship! Tried to be up top to see the ship pull away from each port. There was still so much to do - that we didn't do because of time or just chose to do something on our own. We thought that the Valor staff were all so pleasant and fun to be with !! I would take the Valor every time if I could - but it doesn't go to all of the places I want to go! Ha We aren't really pool people and good thing - their crowded! Liked being able to watch our S& S purchases on the TV and signing up for the Belize excursion.