Carnival Valor Cruise Review by MollyDaDolly: Better than Expected...even Great!
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Better than Expected...even Great!
We took a shuttle bus that we caught at the Miami airport. We didn't book ahead but later found out that the county will only let people ride shuttles that pre-book them to protect taxi drivers. The shuttles will take you anyway obviously as they want business but run the risk of getting fined. So they will ask your name and put you in their log in case you go this route and are wondering why they are asking your name. It was $9pp each way which seemed to be the going rate for shuttles. It's $20-25 for a cab ride as we understood it. And I think Carnival charges $16pp each way. So those are the options.
Embarkation: We got there around 2pm and it was quick and smooth. No problems.
Stateroom: We had an interior room on the 7th deck. It was clean and not a lot of frills but fine. Our stewards did a great job. Someone else mentioned this and I will too. Remember the walls aren't made of steel and noise can travel through those hallways if you catch my drift so More beware.
Dining and Food: Many choices available most times of the day which was nice for variety. We ate at Rosie's everyday for breakfast which was fine but did become a bit repetitive by the end. We ate at Rosie's for lunch or the Deli or the pizza place. All were good and Rosie's offered a nice variety and different themes each day so unlike breakfast it did not get tiring. We ate in the dining room for dinner at the late seating. Service was excellent and food was very good. There was plenty to choose from. Some of my favorites were the beef stroganoff, blanc and bitter bread pudding, and that YUMMY warm chocolate melting cake!
Entertainment: Was good overall. The Cruise Director, Chris was good and so was his staff. They had lots of games and contests going on if you're into that. They also seemed to have a good attitude and kept things lively. The shows were ok. I'm not much of a show person. The Legends Show on the last night was pretty funny if you went to karaoke a couple of times during the week as we did. Karaoke was good too.
Excursions: In Grand Cayman we did snuba through the ship. It was fine. In Roatan we used Victor Bodden which wasn't through the ship. It was fine. I didn't like the way you had to push your way through a mob just off the pier and try to track down the Victor Bodden people. We took a tour of the island and then ziplined. Ziplining was fun but kind of strange as it went over a house where a woman was gardening with her two small children. Would rather have had something a little more remote I guess. In Belize we did cave tubing with cavetubing.com. They were fine as well. I guess I just didn't find it that exciting. I did cave tubing in Cancun and thought it was better so I had that to compare it too. But the company was well run and there were no problems. I didn't book this through the ship. In Cozumel we booked beach buggies through the ship. Fun excursion just wish we had more time at the beach. You will read on this site and hear from people on the ship how they never book excursions through the ship and they want to save a few bucks. I understand wanting to save a little but the ziplining looked better to me in Belize through the ship and I wish I'd done that. Also, ordering and getting to the excursions is much easier and less stressful through the ship. So, I can't say I'd book off the ship again unless there was really something I wanted to do that they didn't have.
Service and Staff: Great! No problems. Everyone was very friendly and helpful. Not a problem at all in this area.
Debarkation: This was a bit slow. They kept saying they were having a customs issue. We did self-assist and were the second to last deck called and got off around 11am. Then the line through passport control was rather slow but not a fault of the ship obviously.
We didn't bring kids so I can't comment on Camp Carnival.
The ship overall was very clean and well cared for. If you set your empty cup down for 1 minute it would be gone. Dishes were constantly being cleared from tables. You hardly ever saw a messy table. No debris on the ground. Pools and slide seemed well maintained. Not a single complaint on how the ship was cared for as it all seemed very good.
Overall, I was very impressed especially based on my expectations having only been on Royal Caribbean. This ship was as good if not better and I'd definitely consider Carnival in the future. Less
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