Hi Friends! Well, here is the much anticipated review of the Valor! What a great Thanksgiving! I cruised with a my college buddy, JT.
SATURDAY NOV 22: Pre Cruise: South Beach Hotel Final Score: Ohio State 42, Michigan 7. (an old fashioned Beat down!) Sunday NOV 23: Embarkation
We arrived at the port of Miami at 10:30, and at 11:30 were some of the first on the ship! Lido buffet was awesome! If you're ever first on the ship, check out the raspberries and blackberries in the fruit cocktail on Lido! I did not know about that! (Sorry if you were on the ship this week... I took a lot of the raspberries... oops.) During the afternoon, we watched football on lido, got Fun Ship Specials, and even met some Cruise Critic members at sail away! It was partly cloudy and warm enough. At Dinner we sat with Brandon and his mom and sister, and a mother/daughter from Florida via ohio! The Welcome Aboard show was fun! The bars were hopping! We are stoked for a great week!
Monday NOV. 24 Sea Day Sunny and Warm! We headed up to Lido around 8:30 for breakfast... lines not too long. We like to eat in the back of the ship... not crowded, fresh air, nice views... Ate too much food! Eggs, bacon, pancake and syrup, yogurt, 2 grapefruits, and maybe even some raisin bran. We then collect several cups of Passion-Guava juice for "drinks" later that day! (We ended up doing this more than once.) Hung out on Lido all day, SURVIVOR, ran on the track, pizza, cheeseburgers, and Rum-Runners!
Formal night #1: Captain's Cocktail: in the back lounges... Late seating dinner: Lobster tail night. Yum! The show was nice, but we'd seen it before on the Destiny! (Night Club Express... with the talking couch.) Went to see Ron in piano bar, but it was too SMOKY! Yuck. Went to Karaoke instead. Midnight comedy show.
Tuesday NOV 25: Grand Cayman! After a quick breakfast on Lido, we tendered over to Cayman, and took a $4 taxi ride to 7 mile beach... Sunny and Warm! We walked the beach, snorkeled near the Marriott, (we had our own snorkeling equip.) and then taxied back to Georgetown for free Rum Cake samples at the Rum Cake store! Yum! Went back to the ship around 2:30 to beat the long lines that we knew would appear for the tender. Headed up to Lido grill for a few hours of relaxation, music and sun! We ended up eating way up on Sky Deck near the slide. Great views all around! (and not quite so loud like it is down near the pool.) Past Guest party was this night in main lounge. After dinner...Karaoke that night. Fun times! Disco not too crowded, Piano bar too smoky. Yuck.
Wednesday NOV 26: Isla Roatan, Honduras Scheduled time to dock: NOON. But from 8:30 to Noon, the sail-in is awesome! The ship passes by several islands... mostly on starboard side... ship docks with island on port side. There were a few sprinkles when we got to the island. We walked off the ship and found a family going to the "West Bay" beach (same as Tabyana... there was a bar where we went: Banarama) round trip was $15.00 per person. If you've never been to a 3rd world country, you're in for an eye-opener. Everyone was very nice! But it is very poor... They said that the kids skip school on days a ship comes, so that they can hawk bracelets for a dollar... (I bought 3!) The ride up and over the hills was beautiful! RAINFOREST! Beach admission was free. Beautiful beach! Many vendors walking and selling... but very nice people! Walk along towards where the ship excursion takes people for wonderful snorkeling! (you'll see where... look for the breathing tubes!) Our taxi driver waited all day for us... we headed back to the ship when a big rain came around 5PM (Ship sailed at 7.)
Thursday NOV 27: Thanksgiving! Belize! Another SUNNY and warm day! Tender was about 4 miles off shore due to the Barrier reefs. Beautiful tender ride to the mainland... It was like a free excursion! Loved it! English speaking country. We took an hour taxi ride around Belize City, just to look around, and when we stopped in a little store, we ran into a couple of mission girls from the states... They told us a sweet spot to go to!... We took a water taxi ($11 round trip on the San Pedro-Belize Express) to "Caye Caulker"... one of the barrier islands. What a great decision that was! And what luck to run into those girls! The boat ride was about 45 minutes long, and another beautiful ride! This island was awesome! No motorized vehicles... just electric golf carts. Wonderful snorkeling... and there were small outfits that would take you out in their boat if you want to snorkel the barrier reef itself. We just snorkeled off the small beach near "the Lazy Lizard"... There were a few other bars, and places to rent. One lady we met said she goes there for a couple months at a time! Rent = $300! It was a quiet little paradise... great for relaxing, reading, and at night maybe some guitar around a fire on the beach... We had to head back to Belize city at 2:30, so we could catch a tender going back to the ship. That was sad. Back on board they had Football on the big screen on Lido deck, so we watched the Cowboys while eating a late lunch from the grill... even watched from the hot tub! Wow. What a great Thanksgiving!
Friday NOV 28 Cozumel Guess what: Sunny and Warm!!!
We had an excursion scheduled for this morning: Deluxe Snorkel and beach Catamaran. (Thanks to our On-Board-Credit!) We sailed to our snorkel spot (5 minutes away), snorkeled for about 30 - 40 min... which was plenty.... Beautiful fish! Then on to a private beach... (Just south of Paradise Beach!) We played on the water trampoline and got free beers and margaritas! The ride back to the ship was fun! We danced to music and had more beverages! We just wished the excursion had lasted longer... so much so, that we took a taxi ride back to Paradise Beach! We heard a rumor that we would have to spend $10 on food or drink, but we just walked in and found chairs... We still had our bracelets on from the excursion and were tempted to walk the 100 yards down the beach where we could drink more for free, but we'd had enough by that time. It was sunny and hot! Another great day. Back on board, we headed up to Lido, got more burgers from the grill, and headed up to Sky Deck for some sun and music before sail away. We were docked next to "Freedom of the Seas" (Is that still the biggest cruise ship?) We were also next to the Conquest. After hot tub and sunset and sail away, we got ready for dinner. We were happy that it was not our last night on the ship! I think this was the night of the other production show... "Far from Over." (Might have been Thursday night!????) Anyways, the show was brilliant! All about the 80's! (midnight comedy show also)
Saturday NOV 29: Day at sea. Sunny and WARM! Hooray! After a relaxing breakfast on Lido, we headed up to find spots high above the pools to take in all the action, and views of the Caribbean! It's best to listen to Ipods before Noon, when the calypso band starts in. Either that, or move to the back of the ship... But we enjoy watching all the action, the flirting college kids, and activities... such as the Hairy Chest contest! Haha! A very relaxing day, we had to make more drinks to use up our supply... didn't want to be taking that home... After a full day of sun, it finally clouded up around 5PM? We reckoned it was time to pack... then we'd be free that evening to relax. After dinner we went to the "Carnival Legends Show"... the same show for 2 years now on the ships... Maybe it's time for a little change? At least new characters? But it was still fun and funny. And almost standing room! Afterwards, we headed up for one last slice of pizza, (and one last Pina colada while watching Terri Jo: the musician near the Casino.) We were her little 2 -man fan club all week! She's great!
Sunday NOV 30: Debark. RAINING! Haha. We didn't care. (we did feel sad for people just starting out though.) We stayed in our rooms until maybe 8:45. Then headed up to Lido for breakfast. We took our time, and waited until 10:30 or so when they started making last call.... Then we headed down, and walked right out! No hurry, no hassle, no fuss! Easy debark that way, and a good breakfast.
A few notes about our trip: A. While hanging out on Sky Deck all those afternoons, there was this one little girl that would run Full-Speed up all those stairs, go down the slide, and do it again! Over and over! It was hilarious! We would yell at her... "Go Go Go!" or "Here comes Speedy!" We chatted with her family. Very nice. B. Being Thanksgiving week, the ship was full of kids. The camp Carnival director told us over 900 kids were on board! But us, being country boys, like all the action on the ship! On our previous cruise (which was in January), there were hardly any kids... Boring! C. Service was great, as always on Carnival D. We had an inside cabin. Every morning we would turn the TV to channel 40: a live feed from a camera on Lido... That's how we checked the weather status! E. Food was great as well. Loved those Shrimp cocktails every night! F. Some of the movies on Lido: Transformers, I am Legend, Spiderwick, some movie about high school boys learning Ultimate fighting?, and a few others. There were movies every night at 8 and 10... except Thursday: football! G. The same little kids were in the hot tub every afternoon when we wanted to get in. (NO Hot Tub in SPA on this ship.) But we got in anyway. But where were the parents? These kids would splash us, take my buddy's drink, etc. What the heck? Anyways, I teach 4th grade, so I was OK. It was just kind of funny. Those crazy kids! A couple days we ended up going to the AFT hot tubs... Adults only! H. We ended up meeting a lot of fun people on the cruise! Hello to all of you!
The Best Thanksgiving Cruise Ever!