Carnival Valor Cruise Review by CostaCruiser1: Great Cruise at a Reasonable Price
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Great Cruise at a Reasonable Price
You certainly can't beat the price and itinerary. Flew into San Juan a day ahead of departure and stayed at the Caribe Hilton. Boarded the ship at about 2pm and got on in about 10 minutes, thanks to our Platinum status. But at 2pm the boarding process was orderly and efficient and the regular line seemed to have about a 10 minute wait.
Ship is clean, lively and credit as to go to cruise director Felipe. This guy was a bundle of energy and a lot of fun. He's proud of the fact that he's involved in a lot of activites and certainly did not disappoint. The Motown singalong and trivia was a lot of fun.
While I'm singling out people by name, have to mention Jules in Karaoke. Sweet, intelligent and a talented singer who also did a great job as part of the Carnival Legends on the final night at sea. She was very accomodating to my son Jake who might have been a little overexposed in the karaoke lounge, but she nicely balanced his desire to perform for the crowd and More the audiences need not to have the same person performing over and over! Only criticism of karaoke is that was held a couple of nights in a ridiculously smokey cigar bar that smelled putrid. Clearly the cigar bar is a money maker for Carnival, otherwise it wouldn't be open. But if I ran things I'd shut down this malodorous cancer hole or put it at the very, very, very back of an open deck.
Food was good. Again, you have to balance price paid versus your expectations. We didn't pay a lot to be on this cruise and it more than met our expectations. My son loved the Mongolian Wok. I enjoyed too many deserts. And Carnival has daily menu options that don't change (basic comfort food) in addition to the regular menu. Dining staff worked hard; waiters Wardana and Anthony at table 502 did a great job. These guys work their asses off. Any additional gratuity in cash at the end of your cruise is appreciated!
Only criticism, and it's a minor one for the dining room staff, is that despite all the great singing and dancing, our table had a crappy view and the action seemed to be downstairs or on the stairs. All we could see was the backs of the waitstaff.
Cabin guy was pleasant and efficient, and we hardly saw them.
Also a shout out to the piano bar entertainer. He was extremely entertaining and accomodating.
One weird thing that bugged me. We sent a few items to be laundered and 2 shirts came back ruined. Actually they were delivered to the cabin wet by the laundry manager and the laundry employee for a humiliating apology. Totally unnecessary. The shirts were ruined, yes. But the total value for both shirts could not have been more than about 30 dollars (great shirts, but bought on sale at an outlet mall and easily replaceable.) While no one ever discussed compensation, I let it go. But it was just weird having two grown men show up at our cabin bowing and apologizing profusely. A note and a small credit of some kind from guest services might have been appropriate. Truly humiliating for the employees (perhaps the goal) and embarassing for us.
Enjoy your cruise. We only did 2 excursions: horseback riding in St. Lucia and the turtle snorkel/beach/wrecks in Barbados. Both were great memories.
You're picking a great ship and I hope you have as an enjoyable vacation as we did! Less
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