This was our 4th cruise with Carnival, our 3rd on the Valor, and our 3rd in the Western Caribbean.
We love Carnival, as they always seem to have the Itinerary we have chosen at the time we want to cruise with the best price available.
It did seem like they were cutting back a little on services; two years ago we had little gifts in our cabins but not this time and it seemed like they were shorter staffed in the dining room and housekeeping. However, the staff was friendly, hard working, and patient with all our requests.
The 4 ports of call were Grand Cayman, Rotan, Belize, and Cozumel. I think all these ports are fantastic.
We started with Grand Cayman (which we had been to before) where 5 of us went on the Dolphin and Stingray Encounter. I must say that I was very disappointed this excursion and there was no way it was worth the money we paid. My wife and I went to the dolphin encounter on Rotan last year and it was a thousand times better and worth the money. You went into the water waist deep in Rotan for around 30 minutes and actually interact with the Dolphins. However, in Grand Cayman you had to balance on the edge of a dock to try to interact with the dolphins for all of 5 or 10 minutes. I think Carnival needs to evaluate the Shore excursions more closely; this was the worst excursion I have ever been on and it came highly recommended by Carnival's Excursion Desk. Then we went to Rotan. Fabulous beach, sand, snorkeling, and more enjoyed this port very much. The new shopping area was great, but could use more of the local wears inside the dock compound.
The next day was Belize and we took the whole group to Altu Han. This excursion was terrific all 10 of us enjoyed the information presented by tour guilds on the way to the site. This tour is a must see. Our last stop was Cozumel, and we did the shopping thing and just hung out on the beach. Great day
With our last day being a fun day at sea, we came into Miami rested and you always return feeling rested and wishing you could turn around and go right back out again.
Debarkation time was on us faster than we would have liked. We took our bags down ourselves so we all gathered by our rooms and headed off the ship ready for the lines to see our friendly US Emigration Officers. We probably only stayed in line for about 15 minutes and then it was out to the bus and to the airport for the long trip back home.
I have to say the trip turned out great, but I was extremely disappointed with the information I received from the Carnival's Excursion Desk. I think it is time to follow others cruisers and looked for excursions on my own.