Rainy and Rocky but Fun: Carnival Valor Cruise Review by vbtech
Overall Member Rating
Rainy and Rocky but Fun
Destination: Western Caribbean
I flew out of Newark, NJ. Check-in was easy, but my gate could not have been any further from the ticket counter. Also I didn't have an assigned seat so I was freaking out a bit. I was able to get a seat and was happy to be on the plane. I suppose one passenger on the plane felt as though people were not finding their seats quickly enough. This guy said very loudly, "Tighten up people, there are people waiting to get seated. If you are talking in the aisle, take your seat." I cracked up because he was with a large group and I thought he was joking. But then he again in a very loud, angry voice said, "Again people, there are people waiting to be seated. Tighten up, tighten up!" At this point I was beginning to think that this guy was going to delay our plane. He piped up one more time but then was quiet the rest of the trip. Although he was loud, I More was thinking that there was no way a terrorist was going to mess with us. Clearly that loud guy would have kicked their terrorist butts.
I found a little old man from Carnival near the Miami airport luggage claim that was selling vouchers to the port. After a bit of a wait we were off to the port. The driver was actually really funny. He gave us a bit of a tour and I saw the place where they filmed one of the scenes from Scarface.
The lines for the cruise check-in weren't too bad. There was a confused little old man giving out Zone numbers. I asked the lady at the check-in counter if I needed a Zone number and she said if I didn't have one, then I could board the ship right now. I thought this was awesome since there was a bunch of people waiting to board. I tried to go up the escalator to board but I was stopped. The lady there asked me for my Zone card and I explained that I didn't get one and was told that meant I could board. She told me that wasn't the case and would find the guy giving out Zone numbers and then look for me. She completely ignored me after that and I soon realized that I would not be getting a Zone number.
I asked the group next to me if they had a Zone number and they said, "Yes." I gave them a sad face and said, "Oh, I didn't get one." They asked if I wanted to be with them and their Zone. They were Zone 3 and Zone 1 was just called. I told them sure, unless I make friends with someone from Zone 2 first. When our Zone was called I followed them up to the escalator. The lady that was so rude to me before tried to stop me, but I pointed to my new friends and said, "I'm with them." I also took my Embarkation Photo with my adopted family from Wisconsin.
I looked for my room but the hallway was closed for cleaning, so I headed to the Lido deck for some lunch. After exploring the ship for a bit I found my room and decided to unpack. Our group had a get-together at 3pm so I went to the meeting spot to find everyone.
We did the muster drill and later ate in the dining room. I spend the first night at the Bronx Sports bar to watch the Phillies play Game 4 of the World Series.
Monday was our "Fun Day" at sea. Our group had some ice breaker events and I met some more people. We played in a volleyball tournament. It wasn't what you might call a standard size court. It was a 10ft by 10ft court. It was very difficult to get the serve to land in the court and I was eliminated in the first round. I met up with several people from the Cruise Critic web site during the day. Later, we had the captain's welcome party and formal night. Formal night also means lobster night. I ate two lobster tails. Yummy!
Tuesday was our first day off the ship. My roommate told me we were anchored on the other side of Grand Cayman. The seas were very choppy and I was surprised that we ever stopped at the island. Our group was supposed to go swimming with the stingrays and snorkeling. But Mother Nature had other ideas. A very dark cloud formed and we got soaked for about 20 minutes. We were told the excursion was canceled and that we could do what we wanted for the day. I was disappointed but since I have done the stingray excursion before, I wasn't too disappointed. We ended up taking a taxi into George Town and I got to see Seven Mile beach. We did some shopping and I tried the sliding board at Margaritaville.
Wednesday we were docked on the island of Roatan, Honduras. This was by far my favorite island. I found their Spanish very easy to understand. Before the cruise I had booked a zipline tour with ShoreTrips. I met up with some of my friends from Cruise Critic and we did the South Shore Canopy Tour. Some of the people from my singles group did the same excursion but I didn't see them while on the island. The zipline was crazy. They strap you in and you fly through the jungle. At one point I think I was over 100 feet above the jungle. The longest zipline was 800 feet. Later we stopped at the beach for a drink.
Thursday we anchored off the coast of Belize. Our excursion for the day was schedule to be Cave Tubing. I'm not sure why, but apparently in Belize, they don't have local news. Our bus was on the main road headed toward the caves when we were told that the road had been washed away. I'm not sure why they didn't know this before leaving, but we were told it would be about 4 hours for the road to be repaired. So we turned around and some people wanted to get off the bus. We were given the option to see some Mayan ruins instead. That sounded cool since I've never seen any ruins. Then they told us that they had good news, we would be able to go cave tubing since the road was now open. We dropped off some people and then picked up some more. Some lady on the bus was from another ship. She asked the guys on the bus if they would guarantee she would be back by 3:30. The guy said that they would try their best. She said you have to promise me. Shortly after that they told us, sorry but the road is washed out up further. So we turned around again. I'm not sure if the road was washed out or that annoying lady screwed up our excursion.
On the way back to the port we stopped at a local school. One of people from our group, had organized a collection of school supplies. This trip was probably more memorable then cave tubing would have been. A few of us got off the bus and visited the school. We handed out school supplies and were swarmed by children. It was a unique experience and something I probably will never forget. Later that day a few of us drank some of the local wine with the locals. We met a guy who said he had a place for us to sit down and drink the wine. I was pretty sure he was going to take us to some back alley and kill us, but it turned out okay. My roommate gave him a dollar and he went out and bought us ice. The wine had a bitter after taste and it felt a bit like the ground was moving. We watched a show at the comedy club that night. I had to make sure I got a good night's rest since I had my scuba diving excursion in the morning.
Friday was Halloween and our first sunny day on the trip. We docked in Cozumel, Mexico. I signed up for the beginner's scuba excursion with Carnival. The tour was run by Sand Dollar Sports. I think if this had been my first scuba experience, I would have hated scuba. The lesson was very quick and we didn't get much time in the water to practice. When I was in the Cayman Island two years ago the training was much longer. Scuba is so cool. I saw a puffer fish and a baby stingray. After the excursion I had lunch and then headed out to the end of the pier to meet for our Carlos and Charlie's excursion. I love this place. I don't remember much after my second yard of Margarita, but from the pictures, it looks like we had a pretty good time. Our whole group dressed up as pirates and wenches. We ate dinner that night in our Pirate costumes. As you might expect after a day at Carlos and Charlie's, I had a really bad headache that night, so it was sort of an early night for me.
Saturday was our last "Fun Day" at sea. The last day of the cruise always sort of sucks. You just start getting used to the ship and all your new friends and then you realize you have to say goodbye to them all. It was too windy to play in the second volleyball tournament so I was unable to redeem myself. I played the slots and lost some money. We had a private party for our group in the disco before dinner. We went to the piano bar for a bit and I finished packing. We stayed at the dance club as long as we could and then had 4am pizza one more time.
Getting off the ship took forever. From what I have been told, the port was on heightened security due to the election. I don't blame Carnival for this since they have no control over Customs. I heard a bunch of people missed their flights. I didn't get to the airport until almost 1:30.
The seas were really rough on this cruise. Again, something that is not Carnival's fault. We you book in October, you have to expect some weather issues. The rates are cheaper for a reason. Despite the rainy weather and rough seas, I would still book another cruise with Carnival and also book in October. Less