This is a beautiful ship and we found it very easy to find our way around from the first day.
This was my 26th cruise, having sailed before on Carnival, Holland America, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Norwegian, and the old Dolphin and Home Lines.
This is the first time that I've had a complaint go virtually ignored. Whatever you do, don't book any cabins aft on the veranda deck. They are directly under the all night pizza place and you will hear this noise all night. After 3 complaints, we received 4 free drink coupons from the Purser's desk.
When I went to the desk to see (yet again) what could be done about the noise, I was told that we would receive some sort of compensation for our inconvenience. This was given as $50.00 per person taken off our cabin charge. After saying that this was unacceptable, I was told that the amount of compensation is based on the amount you actually paid for your cruise.
My husband had developed an ear infection and had gone to the ship's doctor and we had a bill of $158.00, which we were happy to pay to get relief for him. That night again, no sleep.
We had a wonderful cabin steward named Manuelito from the Philippines. He saw to our every need and checked on my husband numerous times to see if there was anything else he could do. He was a joy, and we tipped him accordingly.
Our dining arrangements were fouled up, and we had early seating in the Washington Lower the first night.
The first formal night we went to Scarlett's and the meal was delightful, and service was very professional. Tuesday night the dining room service was horrible and our waitress was very rude. By Wednesday my husband was ailing, so it was Rosie's from then on, which is a dandy place for almost anything you'd want to eat.
The ship was constantly being cleaned, and there were never dirty dishes lying around or anything out of order.
The pool areas are very well designed and of course the ice cream and yogurt stations are right there! On that note, I remember the Grand Princess charged us $1.50 a scoop for the ice cream in March of this year.
We tried the casino, and had some luck with a variety of slots, but you can't stand the smoke for long.
The Cafe Java coffee place had delicious desserts and old fashioned milk shakes.
The shops were adequate, and full of the usual cruise stuff, down to the $29.00 watches that people were wiling to run you over to get to. We didn't get off the ship in Nassau, so I can't report on anything there. I was playing nurse the day we were in St. Thomas, so missed that port too, although I've seen it many times.
I did some shopping in Phillipsburg, St. Maarten at my favorite haunts. Had some lunch at a favorite place and headed back to the ship. I'd gotten a round trip on the water taxi from the pier to downtown. This is hands down the best port for shopping on the Eastern itinerary. I checked with a local realty company there to see about renting a place for us to go around Christmas. I would go on this ship again, but my husband says he's done.
I was assured by Carnival before we left home that our cabin wouldn't be noisy, that there was extra insulation below "all the public areas." Not so. You could hear high heels clicking till the wee hours and people laughing and chairs and tables were scooted about.
Carnival told me at the Purser's desk that they had no cabin to move us to. I know that wasn't true, there were at least 2 cabins left each in Category 11 and 12.
My husband and I still managed to spend over $1,000.00 on this cruise, counting new watches from the ship's jewelry store. Apparently, what your cabin bill is doesn't cut it with them, it is what you initially pay for your cabin. I don't understand.
On the day we were in St. Thomas, everyone on the ship had to go to the One Small Step disco to go through Immigration. This happened regardless of whether you were leaving the ship on the island. We had to stand forever, and later we found out that some of the passengers got off the ship around 7:30 AM to go out on their own, and never went through the Immigration check.
We were able to leave the ship at 7:15 AM on Sunday morning, as we were using the "self assist" program, which requires you carrying your own luggage. We made it to the airport at 7:45 and changed our flight from one leaving at 10:22 to one leaving at 8:10 AM. I pumped my husband full of nasal spray and decongestant before the flight, and thankfully, we made the trip home early and without incident.
The Valor is a beautiful ship and still not showing much wear. The food wasn't outstanding or awful. I've had better and worse. The cabins are adequate with plenty of storage and lots of amenities in the bathroom. The weather was perfect, and I utilized the balcony for quiet and reading.
Study the deck plans before you book your cabin, and expect no help from the Purser's desk. By the way, I returned the free drink coupons.