The Carnival Valor was my second cruise with Carnival. The overall experience was sensational. My trip was very recent from Nov. 18th-25th, 2007. The islands we hit included the Bahamas, St. Thomas and St. Martin which was the most beautiful. The best of each island includes: for the Bahamas take a taxi to the Atlantis resort. They have a public beach you can use but if you're lucky like we were, we utilized everything the hotel had to offer. I don't recommend paying for the excursion tour because you can see everything on your own and save yourselves $50.00.
St. Thomas was also very beautiful. If you have never been it's better to take an individual taxi as the week we went 22 of our fellow passengers had a major accident. They put you in like cattle in these buses that don't have seat belts and no doors so there is no protection. It's definitely worth the wait. One of the best beaches was next to the Marriott Hotel. Just ask to be taken there and it's close to the beach. The water is so crystal clear and you can do your own snorkeling by the mountain side and see all kinds of pretty fish, coral reefs etc. and save yourself another $100.00 from not going on a snorkeling safari. Bring your own snorkel equipment.
St. Martin was our favorite destination. Take the water taxi for 5.00 and you can ride it all day. Don't go to the restaurants for liquor the islanders sell it for a buck or 2. The sand is as pure as sugar and the terrain was like over looking a mountainous jungle. If you have ever seen the movie "The Beach" this is certainly it! Hit the flea markets, lots of exotic wood carvings and yes... tee-shirts 4 for 10 bucks... If you don't mind buying the liquor and then lugging it back to the ship you will do a lot better than the ship. We were there about 10 hours, but it honestly will be a moment in your life that you will remember forever. Oh, some of the locals will want you to look at timeshare - it's a waste of time don't do it. Enjoy the islands!!
The rest of our journey was spending another 2 days at sea. It can get a bit boring but the nightly entertainment is excellent. Bring plenty of money for the casinos. I recommend playing the slot machines the 1st day at sea, for some reason they seem rigged every other day. Remember they will gladly take your money. The black jack tables are the best... Stay away from the tournament slots a big rip off. The food "I can't say everything enough" was "simply excellent!" No long lines and plenty for everyone. When you sit down for your main course meal at diner don't be afraid to order 2 or 3 appetizers as the portions are small. Always ask the waiter what do you recommend. Our waiter was a gentleman named Ivica from Croatia. I've never had better service in my life!
Bring plenty of sun screen! Have an awesome time! The Valor is definitely worth a peak as it's one of Carnivals newest and cleanest and largest ships! Take the ship tour you will be in for a treat! Enjoy!!!