First let me begin with this was the first time for many of us cruising in our family of ten. Only my elderly parents have cruised before and that was twenty odd years ago. Before I get flamed for anything I say let me preface all critique with this. Out of 10 of us five of us are planning another cruise within 6 months. Embarkation in Miami was fine. We flew out of NYC the day before to Miami and stayed at the Doubletree at Coconut Grove. Great hotel for $114, great staff, great rooms, full american breakfast. The Port was like any thing else but Carnival moved the lines quickly and all staff was very pleasant. We left the hotel at 10:30 and were on the Lido deck by 12 noon. Family of 10; ages 21-84. One couple in a suite, two with balconies, and the young adults (four of them) shared inside cabins. All cabins on the Empress Deck mid-ship. The Valor itself was a great ship. This was my husband and I first cruise and we had absolutely NO problems. Very rarely felt movement and never had to take any meds. Since I am a nurse I brought alot of meds, but only gave everyone GingerRoot tabs prior to embarkation. My sister in law did take Bonine daily for motion issues. Our rooms were fine but our steward left something to be desired. My kids and sister in law however, had an outstanding woman from Thailand we helped us out alot. Room service was very prompt but we really only used it for coffee and continental breakfast in the morning. My daughter and friend utilized it more frequently and thought the food was very good. Some in the family thought the ship would be gaudy looking from pictures but once onboard all thought the ship was wonderful. Grand Cayman: Great water, nice town, but very commercial and I felt like I was at the Mall on the beach. Went down to Royal Palms and stayed on their property. Family ate at the beach bar there and loved the food and service. Everyone was instructed to watch that they did not double tip and nobody was overcharged. Water was beautiful, we rented chairs for $5pp and had a nice time until my daughter, aged 24, got a temp and didn't look so good so we returned to the ship. That issue I will address later with the medical facilities. The tender to GC was a nightmare...reminded me of a cattle call:)) However either staff or cruisers got better at it because by the time we did Belize it was a breeze. Roatan: By far the most beautiful, surprisingly wonderful excursion our family did. My kids and friend did Ziplining at South Shore Canopy tours. Victor Bodden himself took us on a tour of the island. After ziplining he took us to West End Beach and we had a great time. The most magnificent water and kids kayaked for $15/hr. Beaches get crowded later but we disembarked early every time. Beer was 3 for $5 and the local platter of chicken,rice and beans, and tortillas for $6 was incredible. Loved Victor and this place. Would go back in a heartbeat!
Belize: Great tender easy and smooth on speedboat. Loved the port and the town. Kids went to Altun Ha and Belize City. We booked through Coral breeze tours and they thought their tour guide was very informative and funny. All who did the tour said it was very hot and required some activity. Costa Maya: I love Mexico so I am biased. Everyone loved this port and Tequila Beach. Otto himself came over and introduced himself to us. His waiters were the nicest guys although overwhelmed. They work very hard and appear to be new to the waiter thing.:)) My family all jetskied for $50pp for 1/2 hr and had the best time! They loved this port!! We bought great jewelry in the port stores and everyone was very happy. Food on ship: Overall it was very good although some repetitive dinners should be done away with. Sorry but nobody liked the chocolate melting cake but some really loved the Bitter and Blanc. Myself I loved the diet coconut cake (yes i said diet:) Scarletts had a great presentation and was beautiful. For $30pp you could not get that food anywhere in the country but I could have taken or left it. The hits in my family were the following; the Deli (everything from turkey to Rubens), Pizza and caesar salads, all fish dishes, and all steaks were done to specifications. Negatives about the ship; too many kids unsupervised and way too many kids in the pools. The pools were like a NYC public pool, rowdy, unsupervised children. NO ADULT pool and that is a big problem and enough to have us choose another cruise line. Not enough diversified activities at night for young adults (as per my young adults), Gym too crowded even at 7a, Movies need to be newer and my parents who are elderly would have liked to watch a movie during the day that hadn't been shown on tv the day before. TV...enough Carnival tv! Having said that, My husband and my children loved cruising! We loved the itinerary and all the ports. We will change some things we did but we thank each and everyone of you for your tips and suggestions all came in handy, even DUCT tape! Out of ten of us, 5 loved cruising and 5 did not like it. We will cruise again in six months but we will try another cruise line. Thanks again for everyone's help.