My best friend and I began planning our cruise late last summer. We chose the Valor due the heavy port itinerary and the affordable price.
We flew from Dayton to Chicago to Miami the day before. I think next time I cruise I will fly into Ft. Lauderdale because I was just NOT impressed with Miami International Airport. Our flight was a little delayed and then we had to wait forever for our bags. We chose to stay at Days Inn Miami International Airport Hotel since they have a free shuttle from the airport and to the Port of Miami. It took quite a bit of time for our shuttle to arrive but that is my only complaint about the hotel. For the price ($50) we had a clean room and great service.
Day 1- We had no problems with the shuttle from Days Inn to the port. I was surprised at how easy embarkation was despite the fact that the lines were really long. They had numbers but the time we got through everyone was able to board. I think we were in the terminal for maybe 30 minutes tops. I was expecting on being there a lot longer. Since our room wasn't going to be ready until 1:30 we just walked around the ship and had lunch on the Lido Deck. We went to our room around 2 and were happy to see that some of our luggage had already arrived. We just spent the day walking around and having drinks. It was a great day and I was very excited about the week ahead!
Day 2- Fun Day at Sea- We spent a lot of time at the aft pool. This is an adults only pool and I am so glad that any time a kid got near the pool, they were told it was for adults only. We never even got in the main pool. The big screen tv is pretty loud and it's just crazy busy. It was so nice and quiet at the aft pool. A perfect place to relax. We had Fish N Chips for lunch. WOW! Excellent food! I am not even sure what we had for dinner that night. I know Warm Chocolate Melting Cake was my dessert every single night. YUMMY!
Day 3- Grand Cayman- We chose to do Carnival's Shore Snorkel excursion. We had to walk over to the snorkel area and it was nice to see the sights of Grand Cayman. Snorkeling was amazing! There weren't a lot of people doing this excursion so it was nice to be out in the water and not be crowded. Tendering to Cayman was quick and easy. We went to the Lincoln Dining room for dinner this night. We had a nice waiter, the food was excellent, our table mates were great, but I am not a person that really likes to eat on a schedule. We chose late seating and by 8:15 we were starving. This was the only night we ate in the dining room.
Day 4- Roatan- Wow, wow, WOW! This was by far my favorite port! We did Carnival's Tabyana Beach excursion. We got off the boat and took a crazy bus ride through the hills of Roatan. The views were spectacular! Tabyana Beach is GORGEOUS! I cannot even believe how blue the water is there. The staff was EXCELLENT. We had lunch there and it was a little pricey but tasty. I saw so much construction going on in Roatan and our cruise director even told us that it wouldn't be the same in a couple of years. I loved how unspoiled it was. I definitely want to go back there again before it changes.
Day 5- Belize- This was my least favorite port. We didn't book an excursion. Tendering took a lot longer and we had a small boat that made me feel seasick. The locals were pushy in getting us to buy things and we didn't like how every time the gate outside the port would open, people would push like crazy to get in. We stayed there for maybe 30 minutes and then took a much better tender boat back to the ship.
Day 6- Cozumel- My second favorite port. We booked an excursion through Dolphinaris. This was worth every penny. The staff was wonderful and we spent a lot of time in the water with the dolphins. I really like Cozumel. We did some shopping before heading back to the boat.
Day 7- Day at Sea- Just a lazy day relaxing in the aft pool area. We packed our luggage and decided to carry it off the ship ourselves.
Disembarkation- I was ready to come home. It took a lot longer to get off the boat then it took to get on. No complaints it just took quite a bit of time. Our plane wasn't leaving until 3 pm so we were in no huge rush.
Food- I was impressed with ALL of the food choices. Neither of us purchased a soda card as we were fine with the free beverage choices. Lunch was the best meal, followed by breakfast, and then dinner. There aren't a lot of buffet choices for dinner. I guess they figure most people eat in the dining rooms. The deli sandwiches are really good. The pizza- I know a lot of people rave about it but I found it to taste like frozen pizza...and not good frozen pizza. Cheeseburgers, hot dogs, fries, onion rings...all excellent! Deserts were all wonderful. Room service was fast but the food was mediocre. The cake they bring is tasty!
Crew- I cannot say enough wonderful things about the crew on the Valor. They were some of the nicest people I have ever met.
Seasickness- NONE. I took Dramamine the first night and once during a choppy sea night. I really don't even think I needed it, I just wanted to be safe.
Another room of the ship I really liked was Winston's Cigar Bar. It was a nice and quiet escape from the rest of the ship. It was NEVER crowded in there and the staff that worked in there were just so nice.
Internet- I bought a package but it was soooo slow. It felt like dial-up. I wasted so many minutes just waiting for pages to load.