We just returned from our cruise on the Carnival Valor. I normally don't write reviews but since all the reviews on this website helped me, I thought I should pay it forward, so to speak. The ship was beautiful and very well maintained. It was very clean and I saw workers diligently keeping all areas clean, safe and well-stocked. I thought the food would be inferior based on some reviews, but found it to be delicious for the most part. I have sailed with Princess and thought the food and clientele there were better, but was still impressed with Carnival.
We had a balcony room which I would highly recommend. Outlets were sparse and we had to ask for an extension cord for my husband's breathing machine. The cord was there by the time we returned from dinner.
On board, we ate at the steakhouse one night - delicious!! One night we did the chef's table. This is such a wonderful experience!! It does not disappoint!!!!
Our waiter in the dining room for the remaining nights was Trinidad. He and his team were great! Very attentive and friendly! The buffet for breakfast and lunch was the usual fair. Good, not great.
In St. Thomas, we did the helmet dive and thought it was a lot of fun! Go early and stay for the day at the adjacent beach and snorkel and eat and drink. We returned after a short time to catch the van back but could have easily paid for our own taxi and been able to stay longer.
In Barbados, we hired our own taxi to take us to St. Andrew's plantation and then to a beach to snorkel. The plantation was interesting with rum samples. I wish we had hired a tour company for this island when we arrived on shore instead of coming up with our own itinerary. Our taxi driver was 88 and probably the worst driver I have ever seen. Funny then and funny now. We were never scared or anything, because we really never exceeded 15 MPH. We still laugh about it. I wish we had done this day differently but we definitely saw a lot of the island (very slowly) and our driver told us a lot of its history.
In St. Lucia, we did COSOL tours (not a ship's shore excursion. just google it) It was FABULOUS!! I cannot say enough about how wonderful this tour is and such a great value for the money (just $75 per person for all day fun and food and drinks). You will not be disappointed! Mud baths, waterfalls, water taxi to beach for snorkeling, food and drinks, etc!
In St. Kitts, we hired a tour company called Austin Powers tours when we arrived at port. A great deal. We toured the island and stopped at some interesting places including a botanical garden. Drinks were included and we had a great time. Again, well worth the money.
In St. Maarten, we booked the cruise ship tour a riding a Harley. What a fun time and a great way to see the island. Loved it. Our tour guide was not particularly friendly but we still love the ride. We returned to the ship early and enjoyed relaxing by the pool.
Overall a great trip! The floorplan of the ship was not as easy as others that I've been on but nothing they can do about that now. We managed.
I would definitely recommend this trip and this itinerary!