Our Thanksgiving cruise on the Valor was fantastic! We started off in Miami where the weather was in the 70's and just a little drizzly but that didn't stop us from enjoying the pool and giant screen on deck with our first cocktail while waiting for our cabin to be ready! We were traveling with a large group and everyone gathered there and the excitement grew as our party arrived!
Our cabin was wonderful. Balcony cabin. Never again will we cruise without one! The bed was absolutely comfortable and had plenty of closet space and room to move around for the two of us. We came to the point where the kids are adult size now and they were had an inside cabin just across the hall. (Mom and Dad had their own key to enter and be sure things were not out of control).
Our first night was great, we found our table, met our waiter, Donald, and had a great meal! Afterward, we wandered around to familiarize ourselves with the ship. The one comforting thing about having sailed with Carnival multiple times is that the ships all have basically the same layout. It only takes a few minutes to figure things out! I decided to call it an early night and about an hour later the ship lurched and stopped. Our cruise director came on over the speakers to tell us that we had a power loss and that they hoped to be moving again shortly. What I didn't know because I was snug in my comfy bed was that the ship was listing to one side. I guess it was a little scary. I think it was about an hour later when everything was back online. The first day of a cruise is always the most exciting!
Our sailing weather was fantastic! Sunny, warm. The party was in full swing and the kids were having a blast running around! Our first stop was Grand Cayman. Still a beautiful place, we spent the day at the 7 Mile Beach. It was a cheap and short cab ride. I was disappointed though how much more commercial it had become since our first trip there in 2000. My only grip here were the very long lines to get the tender back to the ship. We decided to head back about an hour and a half before the Valor was to sail and the line was literally two blocks long. I think Grand Cayman needs to supply larger tenders when the huge ships are in port. (there were two Carnival ships in port that day. Next stop: Isla Roatan. What a beautiful, lush, unspoiled place. Here we went with our group on busses to the West Bay Beach where we spent the day relaxing, snorkeling and enjoying the once again fantastic weather. Yes, the children were constantly coming around to sell bracelets and necklaces but they were so charming and very polite when you said "no" (how many bracelets can a person buy?) Men selling great Honduran cigars were plentiful too. This made my husband very happy! The cigars were cheap and good quality! The company that was hired to take us was great ! I wish I could remember the name but the busses were new, clean and air conditioned!
The next port was Belize. Thanksgiving Day on Belize. What a very special treat. My family and I went off without anyone else from the group to snorkel in the most unbelievable piece of paradise, Goff's Cay. Oh my God! I was going crazy with the camera! The snorkeling was guided which for beginners is great but I wanted to explore a bit more on my own, which is way more relaxing that a guy yelling at you to follow him. The snorkeling was great though. Afterward, we hung out on the island trying the Belikan beer and relaxing. The island had a small open hut with a guy barbecuing chicken and lobster for purchase. There were coolers for beer and pop. A boom box powered by a car battery provided Caribbean music for the background. This place was truly a slice of heaven. I will never forget spending Thanksgiving there.
Our final stop, Cozumel, was fun! We decided to go ziplining. Now, I was quite nervous to do this but when I saw the condition of the place we went, brand new equipment, good safety gear and great guides to help us move from station to station, I felt much better. After about 15 feet of the first run, the fear disappears and the fun sets in. I wish the area was a bit more lush but it was new and it was safe. A reasonable trade off It had been just as short cab ride to the location. We could see the Valor from the towers.
Our last day cruising was great. Back to the deck games, sunshine and fun! We were blessed on this trip with GREAT weather every day. During the entire week, we consistently had great meals, excellent service (thanks Donald for being patient with my niece and nephew who were experimenting with different foods) and good times. We cannot wait to cruise again and have already pre paid a small deposit toward our next one.