GENERAL INFO Carnival Valor: March 4th 2007 Western Caribbean Category: Outside View (Cabin 7201)
This was our first cruise. I sailed with my boyfriend. We are both 24 years old.We are from Ottawa. This is my first cruise review.
BEFORE BOARDING/BOARDING We booked this cruise with an online agency around December, booked the flight by ourselves. We booked for an inside Guaranteed. Because there was a price drop near sailing, we got upgraded to an outside when we asked! That was really nice.
We completed all the boarding info on the internet.We received our documents about 2 weeks prior to the cruise.At that point,our cabin assignment had not been confirmed on the documents, even thought our agent told us we would have cabin 7201.We flew in Miami the day before the cruise and stayed with family for the night. The day of the cruise, we showed up at the Port around 11h30 even though boarding time was starting around 13h30 according to our documents. Family drove us to the Port. Finding the ship was really easy. Finding where to drop our luggage was also really easy. We gave a 1$ tip per bag. We got confirmation of our cabin number. There were already many people waiting to board. We could already start the boarding process, which is quite fast. Less than an hour after, we were having lunch on Lido deck. Our cabin was ready at 13h30.
OUR CABIN We had been upgraded to an ocean view and were thrilled. Our cabin was right at the front of the ship, deck 7, which we though was really great. We had a big window. To see outside really well, we had to sit on the bed or kneel on it, but it didn't matter. We could see outside, right at the front of the ship! Wow! The room was big enough, queen made made with the 2 beds put together. There was lots of room for our luggage. The washroom was great too. In the shower, there was liquid soap(lever 2000) and shampoo (dove). We also had a basket with trial sizes of toothpaste, 2 razors, hair cream, vitamins...There were plenty of huge towels.All in all, the room was perfect!
The room was taken care of by our Stewart. We didn't see him very often but I can say that our room was always very clean!
THE DRILL There was a life boat drill before we left, it was ok...Takes about half an hour. And is mandatory, of course.
THE SHIP Is nice. I have never seen another ship, so it's hard to compare, but I liked it. It made me feel like a huge hotel. It was really clean. There were always people cleaning, everywhere! It was easy to find our way on the ship. We used the free deck plans on the first days.
THE FOOD WOW. I think it was the best part of this trip. I was really impressed. For breakfast, we order continental breakfast a few times in our room. There are limited options if you want to do that but you still have many choices of toasts and cereals, muffins,yogurt, beverages and so on. We always got what we ordered. The rest of the time, we went to the buffet on Lido deck. If you could not find something you liked....I think it is not possible! There were so many choices!! Fruits, hot and cold selections, many beverages, yogurt...Many choices in each selection. To give you an idea, there were about 10-15 kinds of cereals. There were 4 different kind of milk. You could have eggs, bacon, pancakes, and so on...There was even a place where they made omelets with vegetables and whatever you wanted in it! There was also an option to go in the dinning room for breakfast but we never did.
24h a day, you could have ice cream and drinks(coffee, hot chocolate, lemonade, apple juice, punch and iced tea,water) There is also 24h complimentary room service for many different food selection.
For lunch, you had many choices! There was a huge buffet every day. Salads, hot meals, many choices of dessert... Other options were: 1. Deli: Sandwiches of all kind(smoked meat,smoked salmon on bagel with cream cheese, tuna sandwich,..) 2. Asian food: Daily selection. Very good! 3. Fish and chips (Also calamari, fired oysters and so on!) 4. 24h pizza (many choices) 5. Grill: Hot dogs and hamburgers
For dinner, you could go to the buffet again. You could also go to 1. sushi (Few selections but good!) 2. Scarlett club (30$ I think) We never went. The main option was the dining room. We were seated with 3 other couples. We got along fine.The choices you had there were amazing and changed daily. There was always an alternative menu with chicken, steak,hamburger and others.You could have: appetizer(about 7 choices), salad(2 choices), main course(about 7 choices) and dessert(3 choices) There were about 20 alternatives choices all in all. I know the menu can be found on the forum. Take a look at it. It was so good! I ate giant shrimps, lobster, indian food, delicious creams, cesar salad, creme brulee, grand marnier souffle, exotic fruit plate....
Drinks are not included and cost anywhere between 4,50 and lots of money! Soft drinks are not included. The bottled water they put in your cabin is not included. please, don't open it unless you want to pay 4$!
SERVICE Great! Our stewart was really efficient. Our waiters were amazing. Thank you Suteja and Sladjana!Every body was helpful.
ENTERTAINMENT There are many activities on the ship. There are pools, whirlpool, a water slide, you can sunbath. The entertainment team has many activities and contests every day. There is a casino. There is a library. You will not get bored. You receive the list of activities the day before.
Every night, there is a main show. The show were awesome. Mostly singer and dancers, although one night, we had an hypnotizer! Wow!
PORTS OF CALL Grand Cayman: We never stopped because the sea was too rough...We were very disappointed but it was for our safety. We received 25$ per person and had another day at sea...
Roatan: All morning, it was raining cats and dogs! It cleared in the afternoon. Knowing the main attraction is the beach,we kind of missed that port too. I went walking the opposite direction of where all the shops are. It is poor, but like all South america. We had a nice time walking and seeing how people live!
Belize: Yeh! Nice weather! We did the cave tubing. We had booked with cavetubbing.com. It was great. Very relaxing and safe.
Costa Maya: Nice weather! We did the mayan ruins with David and Ivan. It was great. After, we had time to go in Mahajual at the beach and that was also awesome...
DEBARKATION Smooth process. Was done in about 1 hour.We got off with all our luggage, it is called self-debarkation and takes place between 7 and 8 in the morning!
POST-CRUISE We tooks the bus to a youth hostel in Florida City because our flight back home was the day after the cruise. The place is call Everglades hostel and is about 2 and a half hour away from Miami by bus (half hour by car). I highly recommend this place if you are looking for a cheap option near Miami and you have the time to travel. It was so clean and there was a huge garden,free internet, free phone calls in USA, movies, books, free pancakes for breakfast, fridges, a kitchen...Please remember that it is not a hotel but a hostel...We took a private room for 50$ (for the room!) Bus to go there was 2$...
PROBLEMS I think the thing that bothered me the most in this cruise is how everyone on the ship tries to sell you something all the time. At the end of the cruise, I felt harassed! They will always tell you about the shops, the spa, the bingo games. People try to sell you drinks. They have talks in the gym that are free, but then, they try to sell you something to become fitter. There are free classes in the gym but not many and they won't tell you about those. However, they will boost about the Pilates and others you have to pay for. There are talks all the time about things that seem interesting but are just disguised talk to sell you something. (Example, debarkation talk is useful and mandatory but they try to sell you stuff at the shop, luggages, and so on. Spa talk about beauty is nice but they want to sell you massage, beauty treatments...) You have to pay for the casino, for the drinks, for art auction, for many activities, for many things!! I thought, I paid my cruise, please, leave me alone?
CONCLUSION Nice cruise. Rough seas. We missed Grand Cayman. Bad weather in Roatan. Other days great, great cabin, great food. Great entertainment even though too much selling...Would I cruise again? I think so but I would try another line than Carnival.