carnival valor 9-20-09
We arrived in Fort lauderdale airport and found the carnival reps at the luggage terminal holding up signs offerings transfers to the Miami pier.The cost is 30.00 per person each way.They will allow you to charge it to your sail and ship account.We inquired about a taxi,they told us that we were looking at appox.70.00 to take us to the cruise ship.If you are with a group or can split a cab this would be cheaper.
The embarktation process went very quickly,we waited about 15 min.The rooms are not ready until 130pm or so.They did have the buffet open so we had lunch and then were able to get into our cabin.We had been on carnival before and were glad to see they had gone away from the loud orange and purple colors all over the ship.
Our room was an ocean view,we were also impressed with the amount of storage space,the size of the port window and the overall size of the room.Here are some of the things that we did to save money on this cruise.We bought our own insulated More
mugs,they have free lemonade and ice tea.They offer a soda card for 50.00,why pay more when the lemonade and tea are free.They will also give you ice tea at dinner but you have to ask for it.I know they do not allow it however we bought liquor on board by putting it in our luggage.We bought water bottles and put liquor in the empty bottles.Many people we talked to do this to be able to cut down on the liquor bill.
I spent 3-4 weeks on line researching the ports through this web site and travel advisor forum web site to learn as much as possible.We did not book any trips thru the cruise line.We used local people at every stop.
We ate most of our dinners in the sit down restaurant.If you look on your room tv you can see the menu,a couple of nights we did not go and went to the buffet instead.We found the food to be good almost any where we went,however the selection on the buffet was reduced from previous cruises.They have a 24hr pizza place,it is at the back of the ship on deck 9 by the pool.They have daily drink specials,however make sure you order the 5 dollar one or they will give you the souvenir cub each time you order and its 7.95.
If you want to keep track of what you are spending you can do so thru your tv in your room,hit the menu button and follow the prompts.I discovered a problem with the internet charges by doing this.They charged me 4 times instead of once.We went to most of the shows and they were ok except for the 80s show,do not miss this one,it was one of the better shows i have seen in the 15 or so cruises we have been on.The comedy shows were just ok but beware of the adult comedy,do not sit anywhere near the front!Do not bring kids or teenagers with you it is very crude.The game shows they did all week were fun.The bingo is a rip off,you will spend a ton of money for one game.The other thing is the pull tabs,i did not see the friends we were with win any thing more than 5.00 and i know he spent a least 100.00.The liquor they sell on board goes up on the last day buy it early or buy it at the ports,the cruise line will hold it for you until the last day. Less
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Port and Shore Excursions
We booked a trip with a local company called cave-tubing.com.It was the highlight of the cruise for me.They took you on a bus ride and told you about the island on the way.It took about 1 hour and you arrived at a rain forest.There were 40 people on our bus with 5 guides.The place was awesome,you have to hike about a mile thru the rain forest with your tube to get to the spot were you get into the water.The reviews i read warned you to bring bug spray,however i left it on the bus.Bring it and tell the ladies not to wear any perfumes or lotions as that attracts the bugs big time.The cave tubing was very safe .They put 8 tubes together and had a guide with you the whole time.They give you a lantern that goes on your head to see in the caves.There is plenty of room as you float down the river.You spend about half the time as you go thru 2 different cave systems.Bring a underwater disposable camera with you,i bought one that straps to your wrist.It cost me 10.00 at Dicks Sporting goods.On the way back we stopped at a place at the edge of the rain forest that is owned by the tubing company.They had a place to change into dry clothing and afterwards they fed you lunch which was included with the cost of the trip.The cost of the trip was 46.00 per person and was well worth it.There were 4-5 kids aged 5-12 who all had a ball.Where shoes for the walk and for the tubing that you don't mind getting wet
Like the rest of the trip we did our own thing at this port.We went to a national park called Chankanaab National park reserve.We took a cab there for 10.00 for 4 of us.The park cost 14.00 per person to enter.They offered to take us on a free guided tour and we took them up on it.The park is beautiful.The tour started out at the botanical gardens and lagoon.They have replicas of all of the myan ruins that are built too size.Watch out there are many lagunas all over the gardens,bring your camera.Afterwards we went to the beach area to snorkel.They has adirondack style chairs with straw umbrellas to use.They rented snorkel gear also.The snorkeling was awesome.There is a floating platform about 50 yards out and the best snorkeling is right to the right of the platform.There is also a small beach area for kids and a dolphin experience area to do.They also offer diving groups at the park.I was very surprised that the park never got crowded at all.I am told that the food was very good,they have waiters that will serve you at the beach.They do have lockers to rent.Overall a great time and place to go for the day.
Got off the ship and talked to the local people offering trips.We found a lady who was willing to take us out on a local tour of the island for 15.00 a person.we went on a guided tour of the island going to a town called Hell where they stopped to get pictures and to see the black coral formations and to get post cards that were post marked with hell,it was cute.The next stop was a tortolla rum cake store.They offered free samples of the cakes and the rum.One buy on your bus claimed to have 15 shots,not full shots but smaller.We than stopped at a dolphin experience area where you could get in the water with the dolphins,however i do not think we had enough time,you were able to watch to other people doing it.The next stop was a turtle rescue farm.There was a 18.00 charge to get in so nobody from our bus went.Durning the ride the bus driver told you about the island and the history.We ended up at 7 mile beach where we could stay for half on hour.We decided to stay for a couple of hours and took a cab ride back to the ship for 5.00 for the both of us,it was only a few miles away to the ship.
Got off the ship and talked to the local guide services.We found one that for 100.00 got us a driver and a interpreter for the day.He pulled up in an van.The driver was young and were were a little apprehensive at first but he was very careful.The interpreter was a young lady who was 18 and going to college at night.She was very knowledgeable and friendly,We went on a driving tour and started out on the poorer side of the island.The place we should have stopped was the mayors house.There is not much to see after that.The other side of the island was a lot nicer.We stopped at a botanical garden.The cost was 6.00 a person.They has a tour guide who did a very good job.We then stopped at a place where you could zip line but we could not talk the ladies into it.They had some monkeys and parrots there and we got some pictures.The people that we talked to has a great time doing the zip line.There last place we stopped was the beach.I had read about this resort called Mayan Princess that got great reviews.Looking back i wish we could have spent more time here.We only had about 1 hour left before having to go back to the ship.It cost us 10.00 to get in and that got us the full use of the resort.One of the neatest pools an awesome beach and the food was great to.There were 4 of us so for 25.00 a person it was a great deal for me.We did tip the driver and the interpetor,her name was julie.