This is DH and my second cruise and our first with our kids, ages 4&6. We chose Carnival because of its family friendly reputation and that was beyond our expectations.
We flew down the day before which was a really good idea since we missed a big flight-cancelling snow storm. Cruise line arranged flight but it sent us to Ft. Lauderdale with bus connection to Miami. All connections were made but the timing left something to be desired. Lots of waiting around with bouncy kids. We stayed at Hyatt Regency in Miami - good room but hotel under major construction so no pool and limited restaurant.
The Valor was lovely. We found it large but navigatable, very clean well kept. The service was excellent everywhere. Our steward (Noor) took excellent care of us, always with a smile. Our serving staff was great too.
The kids enjoyed some time at Camp Carnival - warming up more and more as they went. My DS (6) has high functioning autism and the staff were excellent with him and accommodated when necessary. They obviously love what they do and both the children really enjoyed the planned and open programming. They even had the children participate in a Christmas show. It was wonderful to be able to have them have special meals with camp so we could have our special meals too.
The best meal was the night we did Scarlet's. Amazing food and service! The atmosphere was wonderful and the wine selection superior. I'd definitely recommend that experience. The other meals were very good - dining room great considering the numbers of people they are serving - well run. Rosie's very convenient and food was fine. I loved that they served early in the day too (our kids are very early risers and the coffee was quite good at 6:00 am!) Only did fish and chips once but I would highly recommend that.
I enjoyed the spa for a ginger lime salt scrub and massage one afternoon. (Took CC advice and booked on a port day for a 20% discount). It was really enjoyable. Fitness facilities were very nice too.
Nassau was fair. We had a combo of cold weather and tired travellers and didn't go to the beach or anything. Wandered through town for a bit but then enjoyed the ship for the rest of the day.
My husband did the America's Cup excursion on his 40th birthday in St. Martin and LOVED it. We are Canadian and he was thrilled to be on the True North (and win!). Lots of fun. We also all took a taxi to Orient beach which was beautiful and fun for all.
Loved St. Thomas! We booked a tour from CC member recommended Sunny Liston - musical, worry free and fun. Sapphire beach was very nice.
Slow disembarkation for us - luck of the draw I guess. It was a long day and I wish we'd booked a tour for the day as we ended up waiting in the airport. However, this did not make the cruise any less pleasant.