My future wife Nancy and I took our first cruise in February 2007 on the Carnival Valor to the eastern Caribbean. This was a highly anticipated trip for both of us as it had been years since either of us had enjoyed a true vacation. We flew out of Toronto at 0630 on the day of sailing, arriving in Miami at 1000. Getting through the airport was a breeze with lots of signs pointing us in the direction of the Carnival reps and awaiting transfer to the Port of Miami. Arriving at the port about 1145, we moved well through embarkation and were handed our Sail and Sign cards by 1300. We were told our cabin would be ready after 1400 but decided to drop off a few things and change so we headed up. To our surprise , the cabin was ready to go. Great way to start !!
We had paid for interior cabin but very pleased to find we were upgraded to obstructed view looking out the bow of the ship right below the Bridge. It was great to walk out front and see what lay ahead. Bathroom larger than expected and well stocked everyday. Bed was comfortable and cabin steward Justino took care of our needs before we knew what we needed. Absolutely fabulous attention to detail.
We opted for late dining in the Washington dining room and shared a table with Doug and Jodi from Vancouver. They had cruised before and were amused by this 'first time ' couple. They gave great advice as what to see and what to miss. Our waiter Nicklas and helper Juan kept us well fed and entertained all week. The food was delicious each and every time, from the beef to the seafood to the pasta. We were so full but Nick always happened by with fresh fruit, a chocolate melting cake or pie of some sort .... just in case. The staff really look like they love their jobs and make you feel at home very quickly.
Our ports of call started in Nassau and our stop there was short. Did manage to take in the market just off the ship. and bought all sorts of souvenirs to take home. The market was fun to stroll through and haggle with the vendors. There are the high end spots with jewelry and clothes but we stuck to the cheap stuff. Took a cab to Paradise Island and a beach with great rum drinks in a coconut. 3 for 10 bucks and the lounge chair thrown in for free. What a deal. Got an hour of sun before heading back to the ship.
After a fun day at sea, we arrived in St.Thomas on Wednesday and took the Skyride to Paradise Point. The view is something we will never forget ( thanks to a few pics). Strawberry daiquiris are the best you will ever taste. More shopping , lunch on board, a little nap. The perfect afternoon. I asked my girlfriend to marry me that night. She said yes and I told her that in St. Maarten the next day we will find the ring to seal it.
So guess how the day in St. Maarten went. A wonderful salesperson helped us pick out the perfect one ..... and then more time in the sun. What a holiday.In the dining room that night the staff sang to our engagement.
The nightly shows were terrific and really engaged the crowd to participate. Las Vegas style is right ... they pull out all the stops. Casino was fun before before late night pizza and ice cream.
We did go to Scarlett's Supper Club one evening and the $30 cover was well worth it. The service was attentive but not intrusive and the wine selection a treat.
Debarkation took about an hour and transfer got us to the airport in plenty of time. Staff assisting with instructions and directions were plenty. Some people felt we weren't moving fast enough and stressed out after barely hitting landfall.
For my wife and I, we could not have been more pleased with the level of service received during the entire cruise from the entire staff. Based on that level of service we will sail with Carnival Victory to the western Caribbean in February 2008. We can't wait.