Embarkation: We walked to the Port (Muelle #4)from our hotel - Villa Herencia on Caleta de las Monjas street in OSJ. It took us 20 minutes to walk there while pulling 2 pieces of luggage each. :)
We arrived at the Port at 11:10AM - There were around 5 people in line - We paid the Porter - Red Shirts & ID's - to take our luggage and because the lines were so short we decided to try to check-in. We already had our Boarding Passes that we printed from Carnival's website which made things a whole lot smoother - We were immediately sent up to Guest services - they gave us our Sail n Sign cards - and our boarding number (4) and asked to have a seat and wait until our number was called. Since we were waiting for my Mom to arrive from out of town (she lives in Puerto Rico) we asked if we had to wait or could we leave the ship. We were advised we could leave and that if we returned after 12:30-1:00pm we could walk in straight to the ship without having to go back through Guest Services. We left to meet my Mom at the bus terminal - It was now 11:30 :) 20 minutes total to check in 4 passengers is pretty fantastic.
Cabins: We were on Empress Deck - Balcony Cabin # 7447. The cabin was very nice; clean; spacious; with lots, n lots, of closet space. The configuration was also very nice. Left room to move around - well as easily as you can in 186 sq. ft. :)
Balcony: The balcony was very nice; however, this was the first time we choose an Aft cabin and would probably not do so again. The reason being that on these particular balconies your next door neighbor can see into your area without having to lean in. There is no privacy from side to side. It is curious to say that the cabin to our left while facing the sea was a wraparound balcony with ton of room; however, the passengers in the cabin would choose to come all the was around to the small area of our balcony and lean there. I still don't understand that. Anyhow, all in all I did like the roominess of it.
FOOD: I had read so many negatives about the food that I was expecting the worse and hoping for the best. I was also a bit nervous for my family who were with us on their first cruise and thinking what they would say about the food; etc...
I found the food to be very, very, good. My son and his wife ate numerous times in the dining room and they loved it. And trust me, my beautiful daughter-in-law is very picky about her food! They said the steaks they ordered melted in their mouths!
We found the soups to be awesome, even the mushroom soup. And I do not eat mushrooms.
We ate at Rosie's - the Grill outside - Lincoln Dining Room - The Deli - Mongolian Wok (hubby's favorite) Pizza and Room Service. No complaints.
Entertainment - Only did the Married Couples show and it was hilarious.
Public Areas - All super clean - nothing old or worn as so many reviewers state - I did not find the decor tacky as also stated by other reviewers. It was all toward Heroes and I thought it was neat.
All in all I am really glad we went on the Valor. It is a great ship with great staff; good food; and beautiful ports.