I sailed on the Valor on 8/19/07, Background I had a group of 16, ages from 2-52 and all had an enjoyable time and all stated that they want to sail again. This was my 6th cruise 2nd with Carnival other 3 on RCCL and 1 on NCL my DH it was his 10th cruise 2nd with carnival 7 with RCCL and 1 with Princess 2 others sailed twice both with RCCL and the rest were virgin cruisers.
I live in florida so I made the arrangements for the group to park by the pier at a garage for $55 dollars for the week rather than the $15 a day at the pier the group came from New York and Virginia so some drove while others flew in. We arrived at the pier at around 12:30p the line was very long but moved very swiftly and we were on the ship by 2:20p or so, eating lunch on the Lido deck my first impression of the ship was it was very big and colorful while others in the group thought it was gawdy but not me. We were a little disappointed, no let me tell the truth alot disappointed because we were suppose to do the western caribbean but Dean decided to do it for us so on ward and upward it was God's will still happy to be on a cruise and not canceled after a year of planning.
Our cabins for the most part were on the empress deck, with one on the rivera deck because it was a quad and for some reason it was not given the upgrade as the other 6 cabins were because I guess they were doubles. My cabin stewart name was Iriss and she and her assistant were wonderful she greeted me and my DH by name when we first arrived, my room was spotless all the time, ice, towels and anything else we asked for was given to us quickly and efficiently while others in my group who did not have Iriss complained somewhat about their cabin not being so clean all the time as mine was, love those towel animals :-).
We had dinner in the Lincoln dining room at 6:15, great seats together by the windows with a great view of the sea. The wait staff was great fun and entertaining I can't spell her name so I'm not even going to try we were at tables 101 and 103. Meals were very tasty for the most part my brother fell in love with that melting chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream but he was the only one who really cared for it to much chocolate for me. We ate dinner in the dining room almost every night except one because everyone was tired from the days activities to eat so we wondered aimlessly to the Lido deck at different times and ate there but only that one night. One of my brothers ate the soft cream everytime he passed the machine he had a cone I laughed at him eating ice cream all day but he was at the gym every morning so I guess they weighed each other off, Right.
What can I say, in so many words GREAT!! GREAT!! GREAT!! the children ranged from 2-7 and it was 4 of them and they woke up every morning ready to go to camp, some even cried if we took to long to get them their because they felt they was going to miss something. They loved the parties and the make your own bear with a recorder in it and even change of clothes nice touch I felt. The staff was nice and professional and the children ate and went to the shows with them I think 2 nights but their parents loved the late night baby sitting/pajama parties gave them a chance to enjoy the late night activities.
Some in the group went to the gym daily in the morning with no problems of working out and loved the sauna.
We loved Karaoke in the eagle lounge and the one step disco was nice on most nights we had a good time dancing to music of the 70's and 80's and reggae which lots of fun. Only complaint had to keep walking past that darn java stand and I just had to keep getting that Carrot Cake which was so delicious Carnival needs to move that stand to a different location I think. ?????
Nassau been there done that but others hadn't so we went to the Atlantis hotel via water taxi and just worked around and picked up a few t-shirts and things them back to the ship it was a short stop so we headed back to the ship because it was the first formal night, and we went to the dining room.
Next day at sea just relaxed and hung out by the pool didn't see those chair hogs that everyone has been talking about plenty of chairs all around for everyone, Lots of children but they were under control I don't do the pool thing so I can't speak on that yes they did look crowded but there seemed to be room for whoever was in there w/o a problem. I did do the slide with my sister got to love it was a blast tip remember to sit up at the end or the water will go up you nose and in your ears even though it does not enter into the pool.
I did not have time to book any tours because we did not find out the itinerary until the night before so we just played it by ear as we went along.
Worked around and shopped I have been here before also but others hadn't so of course we did the K-mart thing and bought liquor, they didn't have my DH's brand of smokes on the ship so I bought a carton in town for $25 which is about what we pay in Florida no savings there, hot, hilly and we ate at a restaurant that we were told by the locals was the best food in town called cousins if that was the best I feel for St Thomas because it really was not that great all that were in my group felt the same way. ok back to the ship tired worn out did the Lido thing that night.
THANK GOD for this stop it saved the ports of call for us,wonderful all the way around, liquor cheaper, cigarettes were believe it or not $11.99 a carton my DH smokes newport and he stocked up, t-shirts and bags were really a steal also my two little nieces had their hair unbraided and rebraided again for $40 on the beach for both of them. The water breath taking and 4 in the group went jet skiing while the rest of us swam and lounged all day at the beach, got burnt from the sun bad so make sure you have your sun block handy I know I will next time. Water Taxi $5 both ways all day if you want and children of 12 free.
Two days at sea relaxing and enjoyable watching the hairy chest contest and fear factor oh and the not so newlywed/newlywed game made me laugh till I cried good time!
some were more entertaining than others, the comedian wasn't as funny as I would have hoped him to be, the break dancers are not to be missed worth the time to go to the show. cruise director Chris was funnier than any of the comedians were, the legends show was also good to me
I felt that carnival was very apologetic for something they had no control over an act of god, the airlines states if it is an act of us (machinery) we compensate you if it is an act of god your on your own, and I have spent days at an airport because of that statement. I felt that the $50 per cabin that was given was a nice gesture even if others don't, they had no control over the coming of the storm but they gave everyone the opportunity to have a good time and my group embraced the chance and ran with it. I would recommend this ship to anyone, big! yes, confusing to get around! yes, but worth every wondering moment. My brother said it all when I dropped him and his DW and 3 daughters off at the airport, wonderful vacation sis can't wait to do it again. You know that's My feelings exactly!! We will cruise other lines because that's what the there for and variety is the spice of life, but me and my DH will surely cruise with Carnival again.