This was our first cruise and we were a little apprehensive with our large family (us and our 5 kids), but here is our story.
Came to Miami a day early and stayed at the Summerfield Suites by the airport. Shuttled to the port the next morning around 11:30 and found ourselves on board in less than 45 minutes. My general impression was that Valor has a great theme for kids and teens and found it especially appealing for a Memorial day cruise. While the ship is large, we and our kids found our way around pretty easily and after a couple of days had no problems getting anywhere.
Fun days at sea were our least favorite due to crowds (full ship), however, there were enough activities such as putt-putt, games, and ship activities to keep most everyone involved in something.
Ports of call were reversed due to a medical emergency on board, which actually made the ports more enjoyable as we tended to be the only ship in port (except Cozumel). I must give the Valor crew and the US coast guard Kudos for the sea evacuation of the sickly passenger. Professional all the way around. The first port was Cozumel and we took a taxi to Chankanabb Park. Great activities, friendly staff, and our kids loved the "real" mexican food. Second port was Belize. Went cave tubing on an independent trip and had a great time. Belize is a very poor country, however, we found the people to be warm and welcoming. Roatan was most surprising. I definitely want to go back before growth overtakes the island. Beautiful setting and again, very nice people. It was raining off and on so we changed our trip from Tabanya Beach to the Pirates, birds, and monkeys. Kids loved it. Finally, Grand Cayman, Stingray City was great and the snorkeling was terrific. High standard of living in the Caymans, but they are still recovering from the hurricane of a couple of years ago.
Back to the ship.
Dining - Great, much better than I ever expected. I did not anticipate that meals for 3000 people would be this good, but the chefs did not disappoint. The wait staff was the best. We had Cesar and Avy and we wanted to take them home by the end of the cruise. We ate in Washington every night and only wished there was a time in between the two choices of six and eight. The buffet was great for lunches and and we found the specialty items such as the mongolian and fish and chips to be very much above average.
Entertainment - This was probably the only disappointment. The shows were OK, but nothing spectacular. The kids yawned through most of them, but we found them appealing recognizing this was not Vegas or New York.
Overall we found Carnival and the ship to our liking only wishing there were a few more teens on board and a few less sex starved twenty something young men. Chris the cruise director was great, along with his main crew of Amy, Matt, and Michael. I definitely could not keep a smile on my face for weeks on end with so many people to please. Will definitely be going back. Thanks Carnival!