Carnival Valor Cruise Review by Kudos2Fly: Long awaited vacation!!
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Long awaited vacation!!
Day 1 - Sept. 6th Sunday - Miami
We had a 5 hour drive down to Miami. We started off about 9:30am which would have gotten us to the port by 2pm. But plans do change, sometimes not for the good. We got on the Florida Turn Pike, just near Clermont another driver signaled us that we needed to stop. We did pull over and found out our back left tire was low. We soon found out that we had a flat tire. We got off at the next exit and pulled in to a gas station and put air in it. Then went to ask where a tire place was, plus with our Iphone were able to find a Tire Kingdom open on a Sunday of all days... We called them to make sure they were open. They got us in quickly and got the tire fixed. We thanked them for what they did. It still took an hour for all this to be done. We would not get down to Miami until around 3:00-3:30pm. I called Carnival to see what's the latest time we could be on the ship. I was told as long as we are at the port before 4pm we would be able to get More on.
So we headed down there doing 85 to make sure we made it by 3pm. We did make it by that time. It was a little less then relaxing. I don't think I want to cut it that close again. We arrived at the port and drop our luggage off to the porters then went and parked and paid our $140 for the week.
By the time we did check in there were not many people in the building. So we got on the ship pretty quickly. We didn't carry any of our big luggage on. We checked all 4 pieces. One had our water, NA Beer, & wine. When we got our luggage one bottle of beer was broken and 2 bottles of the water came open. So next time I will have to pack the drinks better. This was my 1st time trying to bring our own "drinks" on board. Also I didn't need to bring as much NA Beer and wine. After unpacking, we had to do the muster drill which wasn't too bad. After that we "finally" were able to relax. We went back to our balcony and watch us sail out of Miami. We had 6pm dinner seating; I did change our table to a table for two.
Our waiter was name Dave from Guatemala. He was really nice to talk to. I enjoy all the meals in the main dining room. That night we went the Welcome Aboard show. Carnival only has one show that night which was at 10:30pm. It was a nice show and entertaining. It was their standard welcome aboard. This time they got people involved in the show. They threw big beach balls out to the audience. They had a hard time getting the beach balls back. LOL being everyone was having a good time hitting them around. It was even fun to just watch.
We ended heading to bed after that being we had a LONG day.
Day 2 - Sept. 7th Monday - Sea Day
This was a sea day. Our cruise director was Gary Brierley. I believe he is new to the job as the CD. But he seemed to do pretty well. He loved to say FANTASIC a lot. It became a joke with Ken and I on how many times he said it. Really the only things we did during the day was watch the "Men's Hairy Chest Contest". I also have to take pictures of that. I guess that game would not be good on an Alaskan cruise...
We then went to the Cruise Critic meet and great on the Lido deck. We were meeting were the back pool and bar is on the Lido deck. We enjoyed meeting everyone and also ended going on the same excursion with one of the families in Belize. The Cruise Critic group was together for about an hour or so when everyone broke up and went their different ways. We ended just relaxing for the day until dinner. This was the first "elegant" night. They did have the Captain's reception but didn't go to it. Frankly we didn't miss it. Plus the ship didn't make a big deal about it. If they did I didn't hear it. We had a nice diner in the main dining room.
The show that night was Far From Over. If you want a good seat near the stage you need to get to the theater 20-30 minutes early. The show was wonderful. We enjoyed it the whole time. So far I have yet to be disappointed in Carnival's production shows.
Day 3 - Sept. 8th Tuesday - Grand Cayman
Frankly this was a "lazy day" for us. As we have been to Grand Cayman many times on other cruises. We didn't even get off the ship right away. We didn't get off the ship probably until 11am or so. We tried about 9am but there was still a line of people waiting for the tender boats, so we went back to our cabin. When we did go ashore we just walked around and Ken bought some new shoes. We also had some drinks down at an out door bar we have been to before. Then we headed back to the ship. We headed back early enough that tendering was not a problem.
We went to the show at 9pm. We saw Manual Zuniga juggle. We have seen him before on other cruises. He was entertaining. Then there was Jim Brick the comedian. He was also good. After the show we just hung around. We also did some portraits, which is fun to do. It doesn't cost anything for doing the portraits. You can do as many as you want. But when you do pick the ones you want its $21.99 for an 8×10. We bought 5 photos. We stayed up a little late since we would not be getting in to Roatan until 12pm.
Day 4 - Sept. 9th Wednesday - Isla Roatan, Honduras
Isla Roatan was one of our favorite places. My dad works as a captain for a merchant marine company. One of the engineers he works with grew up in Roatan and has family there. He arrange for his niece and her husband to take us around the island. Her name is Myrna. I spoke to her a few times over the phone, which was hard to do with the phone connection. But we did make contact and gave her all the important information on when we would be there. I was a little concern that our times would get messed up due to the fact they are two hours behind us.
The ship got in to Roatan around 12pm. We watched the island come in to view and we watched us dock. We got off in short time with out any problems. We then looked for gate 7, which is the gate she told us to come out. I looked across the street I saw a sign that said "Welcome Kim". I knew that was her. She was there an hour and half before that ship showed up.
We head to meet her husband Willie. He was bringing the van to pick us up. When we all met up then headed out of town. He started taking us on a tour of the island. We didn't have much planned, but I did want to go see the Iguana farm. Willie started to tell us a little about the island. He seemed to have cousins all over the place. It became a running joke that everyone on the island was his cousin. We headed to the Iguana farm but on the way there we stop at their house. He also took us by a place were they build the boats the islanders to use.
We went to the Iguana farm which was $8 person. Willie and Myrna didn't have to pay as it was one of his cousin's that runs the farm. I think we stayed about 30 minutes there feeding the Iguana's and taking pictures of the birds and two monkey's they have there. It's a great place. We also drove through a newly built beach resort. It was nice, but I liked seeing the "real" Roatan not the developed one that is starting to take place. We also stopped at a few 'small' towns were the locals live.
We stopped for a late lunch at a place called The View - Chill & Grill. It's an open air restaurant and bar. It was real nice. It had a nice over took to the ocean. Willie wanted to take us to the West End where there are a lot of dive shops and local shops all on this very small road that only one car can go down it. When two are trying it's a very small fit. Plus the road has BIG pot holes all over the place. About this time it was like 5:30 our time. We had to be on the boat by 6:30. Willie wanted to take us to another park. It turn out to be Gumbalimba park. By the time we got there it was 6pm. We did ask what it cost to get in to it. It was $20 per-person and takes 45mins.-1 hour to go through the park. We thought it was to much money and we really didn't have the time either. But we did go see the beach they have.
By this time it was 6:10pm and needed to head back to the ship. Willie and Myrna said they would get us back on time. But Ken and I had a little concern. But they did get us to the ship on time. We thank them for taking the time to take us around. I think it was one of the best tours that we could have gotten. We finally got back on the ship probably a few minutes after 6:30pm but we made it.
Since we got back after our diner time, we ended up eating at Rosie's. We just relaxed that night. We did watch the show which was a comedian ventriloquist named Paul Hughes. He was okay, I have seen better. We went to bed early because we had to get up early for an excursion to Xunantunich which would start at 8:30am.
Day 5 - Sept. 10th Thursday - Belize City, Belize
We got up early so we could eat and shower. We needed to head to Ivanhoe Theater to get our tender ticket. We were pretty much the 1st ones off the ship. The tender ride wasn't that bad although a bit slow. I think it takes 15-20 minutes to get to Belize City from the boat. Once we were on land we headed the bus that was going to take us to Xunantunich Mayan ruins. It's about an 2 hour bus ride. Xunantunich is 2 miles from the Guatemala boarder. While they drove us to the ruins our tour guides gave us history on Belize and how the government works, like the schools. It was very interesting.
Once we got to Xunantunich they gave us a great tour of the ruins. Plus these ruins you can climb. Of course you have to sign a waiver.... and climbing the ruins is not easy and getting back down can be a bit tricky. But everyone in our group made it down in one piece. It is worth the climb to the top. You have great views of the area. It's one of the best ruins I have seen. It's a 7 hour excursion and worth every penny. On the way back we stopped at a local restaurant to have lunch. This was included in the price of the excursion. It wasn't a bad lunch either. I did take a lot of pictures from the bus.
We headed back after the lunch. We got back in time to get on the last few tenders to the ship. This time we had a faster boat, which didn't take that long to get back. The 1st thing I did was go back to our room and take a shower. It was a long and hot day. The only thing about this tour is it's probably will be VERY hot to do during the summer time. It probably would not be as much fun.
Keep in mind to get back early or go on a ship excursion. The ship was calling two women right before we were supposed to leave. I found out latter the two women did not make it back on time and was left behind in Belize.
The show for this night was comedian JR McCollom. He was pretty good. They had the deck party this night. We went out to watch it for a while before heading to our room to read and relax.
Day 6 - Sept. 11th Friday - Cozumel, Mexico
This day we didn't have anything planned at all. By the time we got up the ship was already docked. We just hung out on the ship for a while before getting off. We probably got off around noon. Then we only went off for about 30-45 minutes and just stayed in the "tourist" area. It's just around the Carnival dock. The rest of the day I went and took pictures of the ship while most of the people where off doing excursions. It was pretty much a relaxing day. I'm glad we didn't wait to the last minute to get back on the ship. Because about 30 minutes before people had to be back on board there were LONG lines. I got to watch from my balcony. It was nice being on board and not have to deal with the RUSH.
This was the night I made reservations for Scarlet's Steakhouse. They say to allow two and half hours for the dinner. But it really only took us about an hour and half. Of course we had our dinner at 6pm. So it was pretty early, there was not many people there yet. I picked the "Elegant" night for the dinner. We where not at all disappointed in the dinner. It was the best dinner we had. It's was worth the $60 dollars. We plan to do another specialty restaurant again on Carnival. I would love to do that every night, but that would get expensive.... Plus for us it wouldn't make it as special.
After we eat we ended up heading to the Ivanhoe Theater to get a seat. In order to get a good place you have to be there at least 20-30 minutes before the show. The show this time was Nightclub Express. We enjoy every minute of it. I have never been disappointed in Carnival's shows. The dancers and signers were really good on this ship. They were one of the better groups we have seen. Carnival is really Las Vegas type style shows, but Ken and I love them. After the show we went and did a "formal" picture of us then headed back to our room to change.
We decided to read some and found out the ship was stopped. We were stopped probably for at least an hour or even more. We didn't know what was happening, so we went up on deck and found out that there was a "small' boat that broke down. The ship had herd their distress call and came to help. They were waiting for the Mexican navy to come and get the boaters. I took some pictures but they didn't come out that great. It was pretty interesting to see that happen. Plus I'm glad that they got the help they needed.
After that Ken and I went to the adult comedy show. JR McCollom was the comedian. We missed the 1st part of the show being we where watching the rescue of the boaters. But JR McCollom was really good. He didn't do a lot cussing just for that sake of cussing. His adult show was one of the better ones I have seen. He was enjoyable to listen to.
Day 7 - Sept. 12th Saturday - Sea Day
Not much to say on this day. It was a Sea Day so we either hung out in our stateroom or walked around the ship. We didn't go to the "Farewell" party. We could have since it started at 5pm. But we just decided not to. We did do our last dinner in the dining room which was enjoyable. After dinner we went back to our rooms and started to pack. We carried a few more bags off. If you don't want anything broken carry it off. We headed to bed pretty early knowing we would have a long day on Sunday.
Day 8 - Sept. 13th Sunday - Debarkation Day
We had luggage tag number 9. That turned out to be great. We were off in the 3rd calling of people. We went down to get out luggage off the carousel. We got 3 of our bags, but where waiting for one "light" garment bag. We waited probably for about 30-45 minutes waiting for the bag. Finally Ken went looking for it, it turn out it was only a few feet from us on the ground. Someone had taken our bag off the carousel and didn't put it back. We think it was one of the porters. We saw them do that to someone's else bag. They were helping someone look for their bags and took the wrong ones, but never put them back. I was not a happy camper for that one. When we finally got all our bags we then headed for the lines for the US emigration. We probably stayed in line for about 15 minutes or so. After that we lugged our luggage to the car and started our 5 hour drive home.
We had a wonderful time on the Valor and look forward to another Carnival cruise. Less
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