Sailed on the Valor out of San Juan Feb 2013. We chose the Valor for its itinerary.
Embarkation was very quick - we all had carry on's so this made things alot easier. They do allow adults a bottle of wine to bring on. We bought a bottle at each port and had it before/during dinner. Markup on ship a little high - $5.00 bottle of wine was averaging $25.00 or so.
- 4 stars. Bit of a strange layout but the ship is immaculate. All carpets looked clean, common areas clean, plates/tables always being bused. Deck was always being swabbed by someone. Just wish there were enclosed smoking areas as when you walked by the casino area and promenade it stunk of cigarette smoke (hence the 4 stars). This was a very mixed crowd on this boat two, lots of elderly couples, families, not too many party/single types...
- Cabin - 5 stars - Our Cabin steward, Panji on Riviere was fantastic. Very friendly and remembered our names from the get go. Always had a smile and greeted us every time. Cabin kept immaculate.
- Dining - 2 stars - in the Lincoln dining room, the Assistant Hostess REALLY needs to smile and look up from her computer terminal. She barely greeted people sometimes and didn't even look up at you! Maybe its cultural, but if so, either she needs retraining or replacing, that is her job to greet people! Occasionally you'd get a smile out of her. There was an assistant maitre'd who walked around smiled a bit but did NOT ask any of the guest how their meal was -isnt' that his job as well? I have to say though the headwaiters, assistant waiters, etc.. were fantastic. Though service for breakfast was not as good and often very slow. Can only give two stars because of the hostess and maitre'd - just couldn't get over that
- 3 1/2 stars - You aren't getting gourmet meals on Carnival but its not cafeteria food either. Though at one point I had a salad and it had something in it that looked like raw meat, not sure what it was but I immediately threw it out and could not finish it. I didn't want to know really what it was!!!
Lobster tails one night, Good assortment of beef, chicken and fish dishes.
Wish there were more Italian themed dishes offered. Salads were very fresh and well prepared and very tasty. Most dishes served hot on hot plates. Though at breakfast by the time we got toasted items they weren't warm . Having been on Victory 3 years ago, found the menu was almost identical with a few new entrees. Most desserts were good, not great. Souffle was really good as was the fig cake and bitter and blanc. Chocolate melting cake was sometimes too melted, almost uncooked..
- 3 stars. Comedians were really good. Shows a bit dated. Wish they had more broadway like shows RC appears to do (Chicago, etc..). But we enjoyed them enough. During Sea Day there really wasn't much going on. Since there was only 1 Sea Day, I was expecting more activitieds. Felipe the cruise director was always on the loudspeaker and seemed to be everywhere. Not quite sure what the assistant cruise director did - didn't hear much from him.
- 4 stars. Very port intensive itinerary. You really need to do your homework and know what you want to do at each port so you aren't wandering aimlessly around the port when you get there as often is the case, you are only close to shop after shop. Put money aside for taxis, St. Thomas being the most expensive, minimum of $10.00 per person to get pretty much anywhere. You have ample time each port as well.
- Probably try another cruise line next time if we cruise, especially since the menu hasn't changed much and want to try one of the bigger ships with more activities and (hopefully) better service ..