My husband and I went on the Valor Sept 1-8th. We had an amazing time.
We flew into San Juan the day of and were on the boat by 3p.m. We took advantage of the transportation Carnival provides to the ship from the airport. It was quick easy and cheap. I believe the cost was $15 one way per person. Once we got to the boat check in was easy. Waited in line for about 20 minutes and then went through security. We were able to go to our room and eat lunch and were off to explore San Juan by 4:15.
In San Juan, please explore the food trucks. My husband is half Spanish and we stopped at a Taco truck and it was the best taco I have ever had!! Super cheap too. We walked around Old San Juan so much that we almost forgot to check our watches as we were coming up on the 8:30 hr to be back on the ship. That night we ate at the Lido deck and enjoyed exploring the ship. Food for lunch and dinner were very good.
I wont go in detail at every port since I have noticed some people have done this.
St. Thomas went to a beach near the ship and it was beautiful. We had a great time and swam and snorkeled. There was a welcome aboard show this night. I have to say the shows really were not that good. I think this one turned us off because we didn't make it to another show after this. The dancers were not in sync and they were not really that good. I was actually kind of shocked. I wasn't expecting a Tony Award show just something that kept me from thinking of other things we could do the next day.
At Sea Day Slept in and went to the only at sea day brunch. Great that it didn't close till 1pm. Made for a stress free morning. Food was great! Service was amazing as well. We went to the Serenity Deck and lounged for half the day. Great music was playing and we were glad there wasn't much child activity or splashing water all over the place. That night we went to the comedy show and both comedians were pretty funny. We went there every night there was a show.
Barbados. By far our favorite port. We went to the Boatyard near downtown. For only $12 you get one welcome drink, free WI-Fi, two chairs and an umbrella, your transportation back to the ship and some activities on the beach. There are others walking around selling snorkeling, and other water activities. The water was beautiful, the staff was attentive and answered your questions. They could have easily charged $25 for what they offer!! When we go back to Barbados we will be going back to the Boatyard. Its a must see place!
St. Lucia unfortunately it rained pretty much the whole day off and on. We took the water taxi into town and explored and shopped. Ate at this great place called Chef Robbie's right where you get on and off for the water taxi. This place was sooooo good! Food was delivered hot and was delicious. The servers were great as well. The owner came over and spoke with us and he was so nice and down to earth!
St. Kitts we took a group taxi out to Cockelshell beach and enjoyed a beach day! There are several areas you can rent chairs & umbrellas. The cheapest we saw was $10 for both two chairs and an umbrella so we stuck with them. The owners building burned a few weeks prior, so she had a "shack" that she used to harvest cold drinks and beer. She was very helpful and spoke to us about where we were from since she had once visited. The beach was about 20 minutes away from the ship. You can get this excursion as soon as you leave the ship. There are always people selling excursions at a cheaper price.
St. Maarten the only time we used Carnival's excursion. My husband wanted to do the Regatta Cup Tour where two boats compete against each other. I honestly went into this thinking I would not have fun and that I was taking one for the team. Boy was I wrong! That was by far my favorite excursion ever!! I would suggest this tour for anyone traveling through St. Maarten. It was fun and my husband had the time of his life sailing a real race boat that competed at one point. Afterwards we went into town and shopped for a bit. This is definitely the place to shop if you are looking for deals. I found things I didn't even know I would want! :)
Every night except two we at our dining hall which was my time dining in the Lincoln hall. Never had to wait for a table. We kept requesting the table we sat at the 3rd night since we were treated like royalty our first night dining with them! Even our bartender remembered us and always came over and knew what each of us wanted to drink. The food was amazing!! We ate so much! I couldnt get enough.
We also went to the Steak House one night. We paid the traditional $35 per person and it was well worth it. The service was amazing, and the food was top notch. I couldn't believe how much they gave you and how well everything was seasoned.
We had a room on the 6th floor and never again. We were right above the O2 arena which is a club for teenagers. At first we thought it would be fine since it was the first week in September and most children just started school or started 2-3 weeks prior. Grant it we didn't see that many children but we did run into a few. The room would vibrate from all the bass from O2. And we weren't going to bed early either. We didn't get in our room till around 1am each night. I would have to say that was the worst part of our trip and it wasn't really that bad! We did have a balcony room which was amazing. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is willing to spend the extra money. It was nice to go out there at night or during the evening before dinner. And it was priceless to get out there in the morning before we hit the port or while they docked. The views were breath taking. They do need to update the rooms. The television was a tube tv. The bathrooms were old and so was the carpet. It looked like these haven't been updated since the late 80's early 90's. We were very concerned that we would have smokers near us, but we were lucky enough to not have any! We had a smoke free balcony!
I think Carnival has really taken all of the bad criticism and worked to prove that they are the real "fun ship." We had an amazing vacation and wouldn't trade our experiences for the world.
Every guest we encountered was usually nice. We met a lot of nice people on this cruise. I was surprised since we were not as lucky that last few times we cruised together.
One note of advice...don't buy an excursion on the ship. Wait until you get off the ship and there are at least 20 taxi drivers and excursion specialist that will provide the same tour for a lot cheaper!