This was our third cruise with Carnival and second in the Caribbean. We chose this one mainly because of the ports of call and because there was 4 of them.I am not a big fan of "fun days at sea" so 4 itineraries for a 7 day cruise was appealing.Also Belize and Honduras sounded very interesting.We were already familiar with Cozumel and the Caymans from a previous cruise.
We flew into Fort Lauderdale from the west coast the night before sailing and stayed at the Embassy suites.A very nice hotel at a good price.It was our 25th wedding anniversary but we still took 4 teenage boys with us and the suites work out great for 6.I had booked a shuttle on line to take us to Miami from the hotel,about 30 minutes away.The company I used was called ACE.Word of advice, don't use them.Although their rates were reasonable (but not the best)they said I had booked them for the return trip which I had not yet they still billed my CC for both trips even though I used someone else for the return trip.I learnt that the taxi/ shuttle services in this area are very competitive and unscrupulous.One taxi driver at the FLL airport quoted me an $80 fair which he came down to $60.I eventually got the fair for $20 from someone else.So be careful.
The Valor was in great shape and of course we had 2 cabins.My wife and had a balcony for the first time and I will never go back to an interior.It was really beautiful to see the sun setting and rising on the Caribbean waters.It really is worth the extra money.They are very private but remember they are not completely sound proof, so be aware of the noises you may be making if you get my drift.
As always the food and the service were excellent,not perfect but still excellent.The entertainment was also very good so we were all very happy cruisers knowing that there was no hurricanes on the horizon.We always cruise during September, the rates are great and the ship is not taken over by kids as I have heard happens during the summer.
Our first port was Grand Cayman.I always book excursions separate from Carnival as they are cheaper and more personal.In the Caymans I use "Nativeways".An excellent group of people and very reliable.Also they take CC and the tour is not paid for until it is over.If you go to the Caymans try Rum point beach.It really is the classic Caribbean beach setting and Nativeways will take you there on one of their tours.I would go back to the Caymans just to visit that place, it really is gorgeous.However be prepared, the Caymans is expensive.At Rum Point a teeshirt would cost you about $25 and 4 smoothies cost me $23.But it is still worth a visit.
Our next stop was the island of Roatan in Hondurus.Talk about one extreme to another.Hondurus is definitely 3rd world,but a great place to visit nontheless.If you are looking for a good tour guide check out Victor Bodden.We did some ziplining with him on his property which was loads of fun and his guide took us to various places on the island for $25 a head.The ziplining was $45 per person which seems to be the going rate.Take note, he does not take CC so if you are a big family take lots of cash.Our guide told us that crime on the island was very low and that Roatan only had 17 policeman.We had a great time with Victor and if you look at his website the testimonies are all true.
Next stop was Belize.We used Major Tom as our tour guides.If you are a young family visiting a strange country Major Tom is the sort of guy you want to greet you.Extremely friendly and a real take charge kind of guy.He has a great bunch of people working for him and you know they have respect for their boss.We did the cave tubing in Belize and it was a blast.Carnival had cancelled their cave tubing that day because the rivers were a bit volatile because the previous rains.But not Major Tom.His group were up for it and even though it did get a bit scary at one point we all survived.His crew were just great and they never let the river get the better of them.Our final port was Cozumel.Its a bit touristy but there is a lot to do .We took a cab ride to Paradise beach which is basically a resort and there is a lot to do there if you have kids or not.No entrance fee but you can parasail or jetski at a cost or pay $10 for a wristband so that you can use all the water toys there.The food and drink is a bit pricey but it is good and the service is excellent.
Finally the last day was another day at sea which was greatly appreciated after a fun but hectic 4 days of excursions.I have very few complaints about Carnival.They really do a great job and every cruise I have had with them has been great but they do not seem to know how to efficiently disembark the passengers at the end of a cruise.It took us about 4 hours to get off the ship.But a small price to pay for such a wonderful vacation and I have no reason to try any other cruise line.If anyone reading this would like more details please email me.