We got a balcony guarantee for two that cost less than $1420 including all taxes, port charges and had an extended balcony so we feel we got a little more than we paid for. That being said... The lines the lines- I hated the buffet lines. The food was not bad but it was institutional. Frozen vegetables, not fresh. Desserts were a little less than average in quality. Nothing seemed fresh baked. Cakes were dry. Frosting was plain. I did lose weight on this cruise which was great for me because I wanted to lose weight and wasn't tempted by the tasteless desserts. After the shows ended the only thing to eat at night is pretty much pizza or hamburgers or hot dogs. The line at the pizza counter was more than 18 people waiting to order. I waited almost 35 minutes to get two pieces of pizza. They should pre-make the pizza at peak times when they know shows are ending so the pizza will be ready to serve. The main pools were standing room only. The adult pool in Serenity was standing room only as well. The new waterslide is awesome. Lots of fun but there were lines. The floor drops and off you go. No hair dryers in the spa and their were children allowed in the spa pool which surprised me. When parents would come to the spa they would leave their kids in the spa pool. So when I tried to seek refuge in the spa whirlpool there were kids in it. All staff throughout the ship were exceptional. Everyone was pleasant.
The one thing that I felt needs to be addressed by Carnival is we booked an excursion in Roatan and the vehicle they put us in was not safe. The van was packed to the max and over crowded. Initially the van was three seats across with a small aisle. We were the first in and sat in the back because my husband is 6 feet 6 inches tall. They kept adding people and once every built in seat was taken they added more adults putting jump seats down in the aisle area so we were trapped in the back. It was hard to breathe and we were packed like sardines.The jump seat they put down in front of him hit his knees and they were bruised because at each bump his knees knocked the seat although he tried to turn sideways. I kept thinking there is no way out if we have an accident. Our other excursions we booked privately and we were in vehicles that were safe with seat belts for each person. On the Carnival website they ask you to rate your excursion and they print the reviews. When I mentioned I was concerned about the safety they sent me an email stating they would not print my review which I thought was not fair of the company as safety is a valid concern.
The Entertainment on the ship was exceptional. They had three comedy shows on most evenings - one was for families with kids and the jokes were clean, the other two were 18 and over shows. All of the comedians were a high caliber and as good or better than what we see at Zannies Comedy Club in Chicago.
I have booked another Carnival cruise on Valor for August. I did this because there is one sea day so I won't have to deal with the over crowding but that one day. I am going for the ports which if I had to fly to these islands I would pay much more. I know I won't have to cook and clean and coming from Chicago I can enjoy the snorkeling and diving the locations have to offer. I really hope the food will be a little better but again for what we are paying I can have two Carnival vacations for two people for what I would have paid for one person if I went to an all inclusive or went on a more expensive cruise line. My husband and I love Oceania, Windstar, Regent and Seabourn but they are not in the Caribbean during the summer months. So we know we are at a lower price point and accept the shortcomings of the food and the lines and celebrate the fun we have at the comedy club and on the water slide.At Christmas/New Year when there are more choices in the Caribbean we will likely pay more and relax with more comfort, better food and no lines on more of a luxury vessel.