We arrived the night before our cruise and took a taxi to the pier. Embarkation was fairly easy. Dropped off our baggage before we checked in. No hassle. We arrived at check-in apprx. 11:45 am. We pre registered on line and it only took about 45 min. to get through the check-in process. Our cabin wasn't ready till around 2:30, so we went to the lido deck where we found a nice selection of food to sample. We had a 3 category up grade on the Lido deck with a balcony. Loved it! Very spacious, comfortable, and we really enjoyed the balcony. Our cabin steward, David, greeted us and his service was outstanding. This was our third cruise and second with Carnival (the other being with RCCL) . The food has gotten even better that what it was the last time we cruised with Carnival, and I thought it was good then. Had dinner every night in the Lincoln dinning room and the service and food was excellent. Lobster was served the second night out (first formal night) and everyone enjoyed it and one person at out table ordered two tails and there was no questions asked about it. Each night had a different menu with some items offered every night. (uummm, jumbo shrimp cocktail) The last night of our cruise, we made reservations at Scarlet's, the alternative dinning room ($30.00 pp surcharge). Well worth the price if you want a special night. Fantastic food, ambiance, presentation, and selection. All in all food and service on the Valor was Very good!
We caught two shows. One a 80's music song and dance review. (super) and the other a comedian, that was pretty funny. (grade of B) My wife loved the casino and made it to the finals of the slot tournament. We don't drink much alcohol, so we purchased an unlimited soda card the first day. Best deal of the cruise. There's lots of lounges and bars to suit anyones taste. Free sushi bar, and a a nice coffee bar (extra for that). I really liked Paris Hot Jazz bar. Had a nightly jazz group playing. Winston's Cigar Club was pretty neat too. Like a London Gentleman's Club. Overall, the entire ship experience was wonderful. The only thing I didn't like was the daily pushing of the daily "drink special". But even that seemed to lessen as the cruise went on.
Ports of call were, Grand Cayman (tendered) Roatan Island (dock) Belize (tendered) and Cosat Maya, Mexico (docked). All were very nice. We didn't have much time in Grand Cayman. We pre-booked a Sting Ray City tour with Moby Dick tours. Fantastic. I highly recommend them. Zack and William were wonderful. The explained everything well and took us to another snorkel site where we saw much marine life, including a friendly Nurse Shark, beside the usual Sting Ray City tour. I think anyone going to Grand Cayman the first time, must see Sting Ray City!! Roatan was our favorite stop. What a beautiful Island and very friendly people! We booked Victor Bodden Tours on line and it was a most wonderful experience indeed. William, Victor's brother, showed us much of the Island. He also took us to a wonderful restaurant, where I had the Biggest coconut Shrimp I ever had. 8 LARGE shrimp with french fries. $8.00 US!!! $2.00 beers served ice cold too. My wife had a marvelous snapper lunch for only $6.00. There was 2 lobster tails on the menu for $16.00!!! What a beautiful place Roatan is. I want to return there again. Again, if you go, book Victor Bodden tours on line. You won't regret it. Belize was nice too. We did a snorkel trip to the Barrier Reef, and then spent a little time on Chaulker Key. I would have liked to have spent more time on the Key. Very nice, but not enough time there to fully explore it. Costa Maya was our least favorite port. Built just for tourist from cruise ships, you can spend about 3 hours there and see and do most what's available. Actually, they have a free giant salt water pool available. Plenty of food, drink and shopping available. I like the Mayan Riviera much better.
Okay, I've told you just a bit about the cruise which all in all, was a wonderful time. Now the only BAD thing we experience all week. Coming back to the Port of Miami. Debarkation of the ship was no hassle at all. You can self debark yourself if you don't mind taking your own language off the ship. Some friends of ours did that and they told us it was a snap and were off, through customs and heading back to the airport by 9:30am. Our flight wasn't schedule till 4:00, so we took our time, had breakfast on the Lido deck and just waited our turn to leave the ship. BIG MISTAKE!! The thing was, it was a virtual Monsoon that morning in Miami. We got off the ship alright, but when we got to the port customs area, the power went out, had to wait till the escalators stated to work again (about 25 min.) then we found our language which you must get through customs yourself. It took 2 hours to get through!! When we finally got up to the customs check, we found out why it was taking so long! In front of the terminal where buses usually come to pick you up, was flooded almost 3 ft, high!! NO one wanted to go out there, so they were all blocking the exits. I don't know who to blame for this mess! Carnival, the U.S. Customs Service, or my prime suspect, the Port of Miami!!!! Very POORLY ran operation. In a town that has that much rain (I'm not used to it as I'm from sunny California!) you'd think they would would have better drainage in an area where so many people are trying to move. Now the worst part, was what happened next. Having 4 fairly heavy bags to carry, my wife and I were trying to find a little shelter before looking for our bus to the airport. (not much luck in that) Anyway, two woman from Carnival (they had name tags but I forgot their names) came to what we though was our rescue. I told them what airline we wanted at Miami airport, she pointed to a bus and said we must move ASAP. Well, as I said, there was an almost 3 ft. high "river" out there. She said she'd help us with our bags. Great I though, what nice service! WRONG! She got two of our suit cases and proceeded to DRAG them Through the flood! Totally getting them soaked! I thought my wife was going to cry she was so upset. Other than that, our trip was great. By the way, when we go home about 9:00PM CA. time, almost all of our cloths were either really wet or very damp. We had to get everything out that night!