Just a little background first.......there were 12 of us ladies on this cruise. Ages from 33 to 68.
Now, remember, this is just mine and the other 11 ladies opinions.....................I didn't get to do alot of what I wanted or planned as I was involved in an accident 5 weeks prior to the cruise and was just thankful to be able to go on the cruise.....so, this was a recovery cruise at best for me . The other 11 girls partied, danced and went to shows and was able to experience the Carnival Fun Ship. So here is all of our thoughts about the Valor.
Heading to the port of Miami: I had ordered 2 shuttles to pick us up at my house at 9:45 am on Sunday, May 6th. They arrived on time and we loaded the shuttles.......well, as stuff happens, one of the shuttles we had already loaded broke down and they had to call another shuttle in to replace that one. It took about 30 minutes and we were on our way to the port by 10:30. Arrived at the port at 11:00 and found the laziest porters in the world working at the Port of Miami. They didn't lift a finger to take out your luggage, which was ALOT, but expected to get their tip before they lifted a finger to THROW them in a bin that you had to walk your luggage over to. I could have done what they did and not had to pay them a tip.....but of course, that wasn't allowed.
Embarkation: We were herded into the terminal and luckily we had VIP status and was ushered to a separate line with no waiting. I have no idea why we got the VIP status, unless it was because we had 3 suites amongst us. Now, anyone who is going on Carnival out of Miami......make sure you take your walking shoes. You will be walking alot just to get on the ship. We were on by 11:30 and went to the Lido deck for some lunch. We were not permitted into our rooms until 1:30. The food on the Lido deck was normal buffet food.....nothing spectacular.
Cabin: My suite 7314 was on the Empress deck, port side, and in my opinion was small for a suite room. The beds were separated into twins, but we couldn't open the closet doors that were next to the bed more than 12 inches at best, so we called our Stewart in to figure something out. The only thing we could do was to push the beds together and then we were able to open the closet doors and utilize the space.............VERY BAD PLANNING CARNIVAL....VERY BAD PLANNING. In rough seas the door leading to the dressing room/bathroom open and close all night (it's a pocket door). Scared me to death the first night. The bathroom had 2 sinks and a jet tub and shower. The other set of closets were in the dressing room. Our Stewart was Mara and she was from Romania. Her assistant was Geoffrey and from Grenada. Both were very nice.
6 of the ladies were on Deck 1, the Riviera deck, and 2 of the ladies had kids on both sides of them. 4 kids ages around 6 to 12 in one room beside them and 3 kids around the same age on the other side of them. The parents were across the hall in separate rooms. These kids would bang on the wall until all hours of the night and into the early morning. Security was called a number of times, but to no avail. I was under the impression that children couldn't be in rooms by themselves or without at least one parent........especially that age. The parents were asked if they could make sure the kids didn't bang on the walls in the middle of the night, but their answer was basically......."it's your problem not theirs". And we wonder why some kids act the way they do.
Our luggage arrived after the muster drill and we unpacked and went up to the Lido deck to wave goodbye and blow bubbles.
Decor: It was a little over the top, but hey, it made a statement. What statement I'm not sure, but a statement never the less. Some areas I found to be decorated better than others.
Dining Room: We had dinner in the Washington lower dining room in the middle. There was much vibration there and seemed to be alot of swaying the first 2 nights. I never returned back to the dining room for dinner again. I ate on the Lido most nights and ordered room service one night. The only thing they serve on room service are sandwiches. The food the first 2 nights in the Washington was really good. Didn't know we could have asked the Maitre D and switch possibly to the Lincoln. Oh, well, live and learn. The motion only bothered about 3 of us, so we did the only thing we could do and that was not to return and opt for other alternatives. The others had a great time and loved the singing and dancing and really got involved in that dining experience. We did have breakfast twice in the Washington, by one of the large windows. That seemed to work fine for us. The breakfast was OK.
SPA: About 6 of the girls decided to get a facial and/or massage. They said they were really good, but when the massage/facial was over, the people in the spa almost badgered them into buying the product. One of the ladies was really upset at the things that this girl was saying to her and reported the girl to the Pursers office......and this lady has really thick skin. But the girl was being very rude and uncalled for.
Entertainment: The shows were great and the comedian was wonderful.
Cruise Director: We had planned this cruise over 11 months prior to going and I had been hearing about the cruise director being a real pain and not that good. Well, let me tell you.........there is a new Cruise Director on the Valor, Chris Jefferson (I think the last name is correct). He started on the Valor a few cruises before we boarded. HE IS GREAT. He is one of the funniest people I have seen in a long time. You will definitely enjoy him.
Room Service: We ordered room service most mornings and put out the card with what we wanted and times we wanted it. It was always there on time and exactly what we ordered. When we ordered room service over the phone, it was there promptly and was really good........how can you screw up sandwiches?
FOOD: As I mentioned earlier, the 2 times I ate in the dining room, it was very good. The Lido deck buffet was average. The 24 hour pizza was not as great as I heard it to be. The 24 ice cream and frozen yogurt was excellent. Never made it up to the Fish and Chips.
Bars and Lounges: I loved going to the lobby and listening to the piano player and violinist after dinner or before dinner. They were really good. I also loved the chocolate martinis at Jannes Wine bar, right outside the Eagles lounge.........excellent. The Eagles Lounge is where they had Karaoke.........as usual.......some were good and some were really lousy, but ..........my hats off to each and everyone of them who got up there and sang or made and attempt to sing.
Pool Area: Didn't see alot of the "Chair Hogs" that people have talked about. Maybe I was just lucky at the times I went out there. They had a really good band and fun games. The pool was rather small.
Casino: I played the 2 cent slots. Lost about 5 dollars, but had a great time.
Tea Time: On sea days, they have tea time around 3:30 in the afternoon. If you don't like the smell of smoke, don't go. It's in the Winston Cigar room.........go figure!!!!!!!
Layout of the Ship: Ok, so I was always lost. If I was supposed to be in the Ivanhoe Theatre........I was in the back of the ship. And visa versa. I was still getting lost even until the last day. I never could get my bearing.
Ports of Call: In Nassau, I never got off, as I have been there a number of times. We were only there from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm.
In St. Thomas, we took the Sunny Liston Tour. He and his wife Angela were great and we sang during the entire tour. I still have that crazy song in my head. He took us to some beautiful sights for pictures and gave us some history of the island. His tour included shopping, sightseeing, beach and then back to the ship. The cost was $25.00. They are a truly fun couple.
In St. Maarten, we hired Victor Bryan to take us on a tour of both sides of the island and who was absolutely excellent. I would recommend him to anyone. He was sooooooo knowledgeable about the island and took us to some excellent and interesting spots. We shopped on the Dutch and French side, did the tour, and went to the beach and he picked us up and returned us back to the ship. The cost was $30.00. If you want to book him, his email address is: email@example.com You won't be sorry. He picked us up at 9:00 a.m. and dropped us back off at the ship at 4:30 p.m.
DISEMBARK: We got up early and went to the Lido deck for breakfast and hung out there until 10:10 and they basically threw us off. We headed down to Deck 3 to get off the ship and ........What a Joke.......!!!!!!!!! We figured by waiting that long at the Lido deck, we would have a shorter time in line.........NOT!!!!!!!! All I can say is.........have patience.........LOTS AND LOTS OF PATIENCE!!!!!! We got out of the terminal by 11:30 and were headed back home. I think the porters at that terminal hide in the corners. It's absolutely unbelievable. We actually found a good one and he was well tipped. I hope I never have to cruise out of the Port of Miami again, but I'm sure I won't be that lucky. Ft. Lauderdale is a much better put together Port to go out of.
Conclusion: I'm not sure Carnival is for me. Would I ever go back on a Carnival Ship again?........probably not.........but I will never say never. You never know. I met alot of very nice people on this cruise who I will stay in contact with. I hope I have answered any questions you may have had. If you have any questions, please let me know.