My recent experience with Carnival Valor(2.15-2.22.09) was disappointing. I have cruised before and know about ship standards.
CONS: The disappointments on Carnival Valor began when we stepped into our cabin and found it to lack hand soap. It continued with the every day's same exact choice of distasteful food in the morning buffets. Then I began using the spa and while changing in the men's locker room, female employees were constantly walking through the men's area. Then we could not believe our eyes when during dinner in the Washington Dining Room, a female waiter spilled a big cup of soda onto the floor behind me, picked up the cup and left the straw, an abundance of ice and a huge wet area without placing any "wet floor" signs. She just let it dry up while guests were cautiously walking around in disbelief. Two days later, we were disappointed when the breakfast buffet did not have any hot water for tea or coffee. On another occasion, when we left the two beach towels on the floor to be replaced, only one clean one was returned to our cabin. We called housekeeping and then had to wait an hour which delayed our getting off the ship in Belize to get another clean beach towel. Furthermore, throughout our cruise it was often difficult to locate a set of knives and forks for during breakfast and lunch. Sometimes the Rosie's restaurant would be out of clean utensils forcing us to walk to another restaurant to find a set. Seating during lunch periods was also a difficulty for there were not enough small tables and too many large tables for about 8 people at which two people would sit. Cleaning of tables was also not often prompt and we'd have to sit behind a dirty table and then look for a worker to clean it up. Yet, perhaps the biggest single disappointment was at dinner on the 6th day of the cruise, when we arrived at our dinner table to find clean plates atop a disgusting and filthy table cloth which was obviously unchanged since the earlier seating. It was freshly stained with all kinds of food all over it. Whoever was in charge of changing these had to have been reckless to overlook it. We were stunned as we showed it to the maitre'd - he could not believe it himself.
Pro: comedy and live music areas There surely were some positives on the ship. Comedians were pretty good and almost on each night had a family and an adult show. Both were usually tasty. As for the live music, some of the singers were awesome and there was always a place to go if you wanted to sit at a bar and listen to a singer perform live. Most shows were entertaining although I've never seen a juggler make so many mistakes on stage. His plentiful mishaps were actually so funny that they were an additional entertainment if he didn't hit you with a heavy billiard-type ball.
In general, if you never cruised on large ship before Carnival Valor is not a bad start. However, if you have cruised and know what to expect and value quality, Valor is not for you.
P.S. It was always difficult to find the way off the ship. There were no announcements when we have arrived at a port, and no arrows leading the way!!!