Carnival Valor May 13-20, 2007 Western Caribbean
Ship I did not get to use all the ship's amenities. I enjoyed the eateries, piano bar, serpentine slide, pool, hot tub, and shows in the Ivanhoe Theater. The Washington Dining Room was not accessible according to deck plans. The dining room is located on decks 3 and 4. It was not accessible on 3 because of the Lincoln Dining Room and on 4 because of the photo gallery's closure. It was best accessible by walking aft on deck 5 and going down one deck. The ship's staff exceeded my expectations.
Onboard Activities I did not get to do all the activities I thought I would. I found many to overlap others. I had to choose the ones that were the most important to me. If you are a non-drinker like me or cannot drink alcohol, you can drink non-alcoholic drinks in the bars. I enjoyed singing at the piano bar while drinking a diet coke. I enjoyed a non-alcoholic juice at the Captain's Cocktail Party.
Shore Excursions The shore excursions were the highlight of my cruise. I love to travel, see, and learn new things. I visited Grand Cayman, Roatan Island, Belize, and Costa Maya. Roatan Island was my favorite port because it isn't commercialized or developed like the others. I found it picturesque. The cruise director said that it is like going back 50 years in time. At Grand Cayman, I took the Stingray City and Island tour. I enjoyed holding a sea turtle at the turtle farm and holding, petting, feeding and kissing stingrays at Stingray City. The gift shop in Hell was full of people and the cashier line moved slowly. At Roatan Island, I took the Garifuna Experience and Mangrove Tunnel tour. I got to dance with the Garifuna Indians and sample cassava bread baked on a mud stove. The mangrove tunnels and Jonesville's stilted fishing village were picturesque and full of photo opportunities. At Belize, I took the Xunantunich Mayan Ruins tour, and in Costa Maya, I took the Kohunlich Mayan Ruins tour. I enjoyed the Mayan ruins. When I booked my excursions with Carnival online, Xunantunich was not offered. After arriving aboard the ship I found out that it was being offered. I was able to change my Belize excursion onboard.
Before going on my cruise, I read many negative comments about Belize. I would not have liked Belize either had I not gotten past Belize City. Reader, I would like to give you the following advice I had when I was in the Navy: "Get past the ship, pier, waterfront, and the first bar." Take shore excursions. There is a world out there you might wish you discovered. You can't judge Belize by Belize City or any other country by its port. You might not get to go back to the ports you visited. The world expands beyond the places I suggested getting past.
Staff The staff exceeded my expectations. My cabin steward addressed me by my first name every time he saw me. My servers in the Washington Dining Room remembered the beverages and breads I liked. After arriving in Roatan Island, I could not open the safe in my cabin. I called guest services and told them that I had a tour at Roatan, and shortly after I called guest services, someone came and opened and reactivated the safe. I was able to retrieve my camera and enjoy my tour. I never had further problems with the safe. I never had a negative interaction with a staff member.