We were in a group of six, all of which has cruised several times on Carnival. We sailed on the Carnival Valor Feb. 3-10, 2013.
We flew in a day early to Fort Lauderdale and stayed at the Ramada Inn Fort Lauderdale Airport/Cruiseport.
We purchased transfers from John's Service and arrived at the Miami Cruiseport by 10:50AM and were on board by 11:20AM. Everyone was very helpful and the line moved very quickly.
Lunch was served on the Lido deck, with grilled hamburgers, hotdogs, chicken, etc. available. By 1PM we were allowed in our cabins. Our luggage was delivered in a timely manner.
The ship is decorated in the red, white, and blue theme, hence the name Valor. The ship was clean and attractive. It has the usual shops onboard with specials running throughout the week.
Food- The food in the dining was overall pretty good, though it seemed there could have been a wider selection to choose from. You can order from the "comfort food" list everyday and steak is available daily, also. Just a quick note- if you are eating in the dining room for breakfast you have the option of asking for real, not powdered, scrambled eggs, whereas on the buffet all that is available is powdered scrambled eggs.
The ham and cheese omelet in the dining room was very good
Lobster was available once, and there were several shrimp dishes available throughout the week. I ate the flat iron grilled steak one night and it was very good. .
One thing we thought was odd- when we were in port, after arriving back on the ship after an excursion, the only available place to eat was either Italian fare at the buffet, or the deli for a sandwich.
Entertainment- we like to dance to 70's- 80's music and the only band playing that type of music was playing in the casino, which has virtually no dance floor. So that was a disappointment to all of us. We felt like it had been planned intentionally in order to draw people to gamble.
The dancers were very good and entertaining, the juggler was great, as were the other entertainers as well. We did hear complaints about the "family friendly" comedian not actually being very "kid friendly" which caused several people to walk out of the show
The crew- everybody was very friendly- you would not pass a crew member without them smiling, telling you good morning, etc. Our cabin steward TokTok was fabulous!
Other services- after 13 cruises, for the first time ever, we had to use the infirmary. On a windy day my husband was hit with a lounge chair and needed glued/stitched. They were all very helpful. They had him come back after our first port stop so they could clean it and but a new bandage on it.
I have read many stories about how people are treated in the infirmaries and I have nothing but praise for the medical staff on the Carnival Valor. We were not even charged for this service.
In the past I would highlight the daily activities I was interested in doing and this time I did that the first day and then didn't do it again. It seemed there weren't as many activities going on, for free, as there used to be. I realize cruise ships need to make money and the money that is pulled in with gambling, bingo, drinks, etc. contributes a lot to this purpose so I'm not saying this practice is wrong but that maybe it should not be the only activities that are offered.
I can't really say much about the ships shore excursions as we booked our excursions independently.
We visited Grand Turk, St. Maarten, St. Thomas, and St. Kitts. At Grand Turk we purchased an excursion on our own. We arranged for rental of 2 golf carts to ride around the island. We used Nathan's for the rentals and I would not recommend them. When we arrived to pick up our carts there was a family of 4 that had also arranged to get a golf cart. There were only 2 carts available. We were told 1 cart had broken down a few weeks before and had not been fixed yet. My group took the 2 golf carts and one of them was not running properly. It broke down on us and we ended up pushing it to get it started again. We were so concerned about getting back to the port that we cut our day very short and returned the golf carts to the original starting point.
At St. Kitts we arranged for a tour with Javin's Island Tours. It was a great day and a wonderful way to see the island. I would highly recommend using Javin at St. Kitts.Javin is very knowledgeable and friendly and makes sure everybody
is having a good time.
At St. Maarten and St. Thomas we didn't do any excursion, mainly walked around.
Overall the cruise was okay. We weren't really disappointed about anything but just didn't come away with that feeling of excitement that we usually do after a cruise.