We just returned from the southern Caribbean itinerary of the Valor. This was my 6th Carnival Cruise and it if probably my top rated for cabin/deck, food, service and ports. It was a 100% positive experience.
I booked cabin number 6483, a corner wraparound balcony, and it was worth every penny. (I think it was about $250 pp more than the standard balcony cabin option that was available to me.) Carnival calls it the Premium Vista Balcony Cabin when you're booking.
The interior of the cabin was about the same size as a standard balcony cabin, but the layout was different, so it was a nice change. Also, the large wraparound windows were beautiful.
Our private deck was 4.5 times the length of a standard balcony deck and about 1.75-2.0 times deeper. It was ridiculously huge, actually, but it was awesome. We had two loungers and three regular chairs. I was able to sunbathe throughout the day and never had to fight anyone for a chair on the top of the boat.
There was no hallway noise, because we had two doors between our room and the hallway due to a small breezeway area. We also had no noise from any of the other decks. There was some "boat noise" when we were pushing into port, but everyone experiences that to some extent.
Other reviewers have mentioned soot on the decks of aft cabins--we experienced none of that.
I have had cabins mid-ship, forward, mid-back and now aft. This cabin definitely had more motion than any of the others, but I like knowing I'm on a boat. If I wanted zero movement, I would stay at the Hilton ;-) The movement is soothing, though, not rough and raucous.
Another plus on the cabin: the buffets, our dining room, the comedy club, pizza place and sandwich/burger bars are all on located aft, so we were right where we needed to be most of the time.
I loved sailing out of San Juan. It was much less stressful than Port of Miami or NYC and it was a more festive start to our vacation. Sailing at 10 p.m. took a lot of stress off of the boat and elevators, as well. This may seem like a small thing, but in Miami, you can expect to use the stairs for the entire first day and public areas are very congested. But with this late sailing, it was a very pleasant and relaxing first day onboard.
I was worried about the back-to-back at-sea days, afraid that it would be too hurried, but it was great. Being in port each day put less pressure on the ports. We were okay with getting off the boat and going to the beach for just a couple of hours--we didn't feel like we had to wear ourselves out each day, because we knew we would have another opportunity the next day. Also, we actually stayed onboard in St. Kitts and had our own "sea day," so the boat was totally our own.
This was probably the best food and best service of my Carnival experiences and I've sailed on the line's newest ships. I was a fantastic trip--totally positive.