This was second time my wife and I have been on the Valor within a year.
We were on the ship by 1:00pm. Staterooms were ready a little before 1:30. The room was very clean, first time we have tried an interior room I have no complaints except, I missed the balcony. There was plenty of closet space for our stuff. The room was set up the way we requested (beds together). We dropped all our stuff and went to the Lido deck for lunch. The emergency muster drill took place at 3:35pm and the ship departed immediately afterwards. Beautiful views of the port area as we left. Live band and party on the Lido deck. Selection of some food at Rosie's restaurant, also on the Lido deck. The large-screen display was a new addition from last year and it looked great. The ship was just as clean and well maintained as we remember.
In the Washington Dining room. My only big problem with the service was the Maitre d', every night before early seating he seemed to busy instructing the Wait staff ("very loudly") to pay attention to the gathering crowed out side the doors waiting to be seated. He was always late opening the doors for seating and never once gave a second thought that he was making his guests wait. Other wise, we received wonderful service from are waiter, assistant waiter and drink server and of course the food was exceptionally well pre-paired. I was very impressed with the portion size, quality, and presentation of all the meals. Just one other thing, last year the wait staff danced nightly during desert. On this cruise they only danced twice and we were a truly wounded, because the entertainment was a great treat during dinner last year. I truly hope the nightly dancing has returned when my family and I sets sail on the Valor in October of 2009. Rosie's Restaurant had a wonderful assortment of food at breakfast. The Mongolian BBQ is a good touch and taste great but the selection of ingredients needs to be expanded with more vegetable choices. The pizzas place and the sub shop were great.
Ports of Call: Grand Cayman was our first stop. Beautiful area with lots of shopping. Did the Best of Grand Cayman tour for around $40 buck apiece and went to Hell, the Turtle Farm and Tortuga Rum Factory store. One of the best excursions I have had with Carnival. Our second stop was Roatan Island, Honduras. We went to the Dolphin Experience. This cost around $100.00 apiece and it would have been a bargain at twice the price. I cannot explain the sensations you get being able to spend time with such an incredible animal. This is a once in a lifetime experience, you cannot pass up. Next was Belize. First a 20 minute tender ride to shore then you have a nice little area right at the pier, but beyond the fence it's not a great place to be. In my opinion, I think Carnival could find a better place for a port call. Then our final stop was Cozumel. Did some shopping and enjoyed the sites. The weather was great and the beaches are very inviting. It's just a great location to plan a easy relaxing day shopping and taking a tour of the Island.
The disembarkation process was the lengthy, because the customs folks were being VERY through. They started the process and called the first group at 7:30am. We were in the third group and weren't called until 10:30am. This is in no way a reflection on Carnival cruise line, the customs people just decided to take there time.
All in All a great cruise that could be made even better with a little attention to detail and some new customer service skills from the Maitre d'. I will be back in 2009 and hope to find those minor problems have been fixed.