This was our third cruise with Carnival. First "alone" cruise. Got a great deal on a Balcony Suite.
We live in K.C.. area, and booked our flight to Ft.Lauderdale ourselves on Southwest. Flew in the day before sailing. Wanted to stay south on connections to avoid weather delays. Thank God Southwest does not fly thru Atlanta!They got 5" of snow the day before we left! Connected in Nashville no problems. Stayed in Ft. Lauderdale at the Airport Hilton (used points) Nice Hotel. Ate dinner at the the Rustic Inn 1 1/2 miles from Hotel. Great Seafood!!!! Went back to airport Sun. morning and took the Carnival Bus to Port of Miami around 11:00am at the port at 11:45.
Embarkation terminal was already crowded. Took maybe 10-15 minutes to get thru security. Since we had a suite we had VIP status and got our documents checked and Sign & Sail in a separate area. 5 minutes and we were on the escalator to the ship. Could not have been easier.
We had an Ocean Suite on the forward 1/3 of the ship. Large, plenty of closet space. Great location, quiet, close to elevators.
The Valor is a great ship. Similar layout to all other Carnival ships we have been on. Easy to get around on. Everything was clean and in good repair. The Valor is about 5 years old now, but everything appeared to be in great shape, no complaints.
We had early seating in the Washington Dining Room. Was a little strange to have a cabin in the forward part of the ship and dine in the rear dining room. Food was very good. Wait staff was ok, not great but ok. This is the luck of the draw. Other cruises, the staff was excellent, this cruise we got ok.
We ate at Scarlet's Steak House one evening. Food was very good. Was it the best steak I have ever eaten? Not by a long shot. Was it worth the extra $30 dollars per person, you bet.
The overall service on the Valor was Great. Most everyone was helpful and attentive.
The Cruise Director on the Valor is "Big Tex" he and his staff did a great job of providing entertainment onboard. Their was always something going on. The shows were very good. The lounge entertainers were great on this cruise. One gal think her name was Ryann was fabulous.
Shore excursions are covered separately.
Disembarkation went as easy as embarkation. Off the ship and thru customs in about an hour. More organized than on previous cruises. Luggage separated by disembarkation #. Easy to find.
In Summary it was a great vacation. Was everything absolutely perfect? No. Life rarely is. There was absolutely nothing that was Bad. Carnival really does try to do it right. I think they are a tremendous value for the money. In talking to other people in the ports we visited, on other cruise lines all had similar things to say about their cruise. A lot of people that write reviews here seem to focus on the negative, and not the positive.
I would take a Carnival cruise anytime.