Carnival Valor Cruise Review by LizzieTrowbridge: Fabulous family vacation on the Valor!
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Fabulous family vacation on the Valor!
EMBARKATION We flew into Ft Lauderdale (cheaper flights than Miami) the day before the cruise and stayed at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites. They had a free shuttle to/from the airport, and a free breakfast buffet. the hotel was clean and very nice with a lovely outdoor pool area. we were very comfortable! Took a cab to Ft Lauderdale beach for dinner and a walk on the beach.
Returned to airport the next morning and caught the Carnival transfer to Port of Miami. Embarkation was easy-arrived at Port of Miami around 11:30 am and was on the ship enjoying lunch in less than an hour!
THE SHIP The Valor is beautiful-liked the decor better than the Carnival Miracle, which we sailed on a few years ago. Had two inside cabins on the Upper deck and we were very comfortable. Plenty of room and space for clothing. I missed having a balcony a lot this time as you had to go all the way up on deck to see what the weather was like. Yes, the TV has a view of the deck, but it can More be hard to tell what it is really like. Pools were small, but the kids loved the water slide! Stadium seating on deck was actually great. While most deck chairs near the pools were occupied on sea days, you could always find an empty chair somewhere further from the pools.
ENTERTAINMENT The 80's show on the second to last night was entertaining. Other entertainment was not so great. the magician was not very good. We did enjoy the late night comedian in the Eagles lounge, and we loved the rock cover band, Music Asia who played nightly in the Pris Hot Lounge-these guys were great!
There were not very many craft activities offered. On the miracle we enjoyed crafts every day-bracelet making etc. there was scrapbooking offered twice, but this was very disappointing as you were su[posed to bring your photos and just work on a scrap book with little guidance or suppies from the staff.
CAMP CARNIVAL Our children never ended up using camp carnival. There were limited afternoon activities for 9-12 year olds as all the afternoon activities seemed to require parent participation, so if you are looking for something fun for your child to do while you work out in the spa, relax with a book, or spend money in the casino, you are out of luck. Wish they had more afternoon options!
FOOD Overall the food was very good. We ate at the late seating (8:15) in the Upper level of the Washington Dining Room. Our wait staff, Anthika and Glenn were wonderful! The food was very good. On the first or second night there was a delicious Indian dish on the menu that I highly recommend! Lobster tail was yummy, but should have ordered two because it was small. If you drink wine, I definitely recommend doing the wine package-5 bottles of wine for about $100 or $150 for premium package, but you end up saving an average of $10 per bottle. You can purchase the wine package when you get on the ship as there are tables set up in the lobby and the lido deck when you first get on board.
Elegant nights were the two sea days.
Buffet food was good, and plentiful. We especially liked the Fish and Chips station on the second story of the buffet (deck 10). If you like seafood-check this out. The second floor of the dining room was also empty for most meals so even if you don't eat from the fish and chips station, it is worth the hike up the stairs with your tray of food to find peace and quiet.
We enjoyed the sushi bar on the promenade deck every late afternoon-yummy! Many people don't realize it is there, or that it is free until late in the cruise.
The deli station was excellent, and open all afternoon. the pizza station was also good, but the Caesar salad there was disappointing as it had way too much dressing.
Our only real complaint about the food was the lack of fresh fruit. Bananas were gone by the fourth or fifth day, and we never saw any strawberries, blueberries, or pineapple-only peaches, apples, and oranges. Never ordered room service. Never ate at Scarlett's Super Club, but heard it was wonderful. With children, we felt the dining room was just fine.
Enjoyed the kitchen tour on the last sea day.
DISEMBARKMENT Disembarkation was a bit slow. We had number 19 to disembark. we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast at 8 am in the buffet, collected our bags from our cabin, and sat on the promenade deck for a long time before our number was called around 10:15 am. After collecting our bags, custom lines were long so we were not out of the terminal until about 11:30-uhg! We took the Carnival transfer back to Ft Lauderdale airport. We were the first on the large bus, and had to wait about 20 minutes for the bus to fill up before leaving. Luckily our flight was not until 3 pm so we were not in a rush.
Overall this was a great family vacation-we will definitely cruise with carnival again in the future!
A few TIPS: Bring a power strip as there is only one plug, which is oriented such that we couldn't even plug our charger in because it was too close to the surface of the table. The second story of Rosie's buffet on the lido deck was always empty-a peaceful place to eat! Sushi bar is open every evening from 5-8 pm and is free! If you eat at the late seating, this is a great early evening snack. Ask for as many extra pillows as you need/want-they are happy to provide these! Less
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Cabin review: Carnival Valor Interior Upper 6459
Had cabins 6455 and 6459, both inside cabins on the Upper Deck aft. We were very close to the aft elevators/stairs, which was very convenient. We loved the location. One floor below was the promenade deck where everything was-night clubs, bars, sushi bar, game room, etc. Only three flights up was the aft deck and lido buffet. Only on the last night did we hear the bass beat of music coming from the lounge below, otherwise it was very quiet and comfortable. The rooms were very comfortable with plenty of storage. having stayed in a balcony room on a previous cruise, I definitely missed the balcony, but otherwise the room felt plenty spacious.
Port and Shore Excursions
On our way back from the ruins we took the option of being dropped off at the town of Majahual, a small fishing village. We sat at table with umbrella on the beach and had a delicious late lunch while the children played in the ocean. It was beautiful- a perfect setting for relaxing after a busy morning of touring the ruins. When we first arrived a man tried to get us to pay for beach chairs, but we walked down the beach a few yards and were invited by another establishment to sit at their free tables, so don't take the first offer you get, scope things out first. Took a 5 minute taxi ride back to the port where we enjoyed some shopping and a dip in the port pool, which has a swim up bar, and plenty of lounge chairs.
We took a cab ($5 per person) to 7 mile beach, and made the mistake of going to the second cab stop-Seagrape beach, Public beach, and Courtyard Marriott were all at this stop. The first stop was Royal Palms and the reef grille, and that was probably the better stop as we found out too late. The beach was nice, but only a very narrow band of sand, and the ship took their beach tour there so it was very crowded. We paid for 4 chairs and an umbrella ($50) at the Courtyard Marriott, and were disappointed in the amount of dead coral in the water as it was difficult to swim. At the end of the day we walked down the beach and found that there was more sand, and nicer swimming-live and learn! The other complaint on the beach was that there were cigarette butts in the sand, and it seemed dirty-not the paradise we experienced in Cozumel. In addition, everything in Grand Cayman was very expensive-$10 hot dogs! If we had had more time, I would have one to Rum Point, or some other more remote beach. In any case, we still had a nice day, it just was not what we had hoped for. Leave plenty of time (at least 45 minutes) to get back to the port by cab as there seemed to be a lot more traffic at the end of the day.