First let me state that the majority of the crew were attentive, friendly, and eager to please. The exceptions to this were the services desk, lots of shoulder shrugging and the reply use a thousands times a day by drones trying to protect their jobs, "That's our policy", and one night in the Lincoln room where we and our tables mates were hustled out rather rudely at 10:20.
The food for the most part was good. Both the duck and the grilled Cornish Hen were the best I've ever had. Other dinner dishes such as the prime rib were also excellent, but often served luke warm. Stay away from the chateau unless you have a hacksaw handy. Rosie's, especially the usually nearly empty fish and chips place upstairs, was good although the lines downstairs were often daunting.
THE REAL PROBLEMS
The real problems began before we even boarded the ship. Shortly after I book the cruise the price for our cabin was lowered by $380. On Celebrity we had as similar occurrence and were immediately offered a refund or ship board credit. But on Carnival, Nooooooo. My travel agent, Donna Smeal, had to fight tooth and nail to get us a modest upgrade. I'm sure the bean counters at Carnival smiled at $38 per extra 10 sq. ft. we got in the cabin.
A request by email for information about an anniversary took several days to get a reply. I was informed that a cake could be supplied for a fee ($7-$10). On Celebrity a wonderful, small cake was presented to each of us on our birthdays free of charge.
The photographers, as annoying and bloodthirsty as a swarm of jungle mosquitoes. On formal dinner nights, when perhaps 1,000 guest are trying to make their way to dinner, they set up with backdrops that block half of the passageway which further congest the area and is a real irritation.
The final Straw was when a bottle of good champagne, that I was hoping to have with dinner on our anniversary, was confiscated when we boarded. It was in my baggage. On Celebrity we each brought a bottle on board and there were no problems with this at all. All I got at the Services desk was the "Our policy" litany and that it would be returned at 7:00 on the last evening of the cruise. The motive for this is all to obvious, More Greed! "You vill buy our champagne, our drinks. Unt you vill love buying zhem at our zo reasonable prices. " To add insult to injury, after we decided to try and make the best of it by sharing the bottle with our table mates at the last dinner, the bottles return time went from 7:00 to 7:30 then to 8:00 then to 8:30. There was no time to chill the bottle! A complete fiasco. The whole situation was a "cheap shot" by a management that sees only dollar signs and not the comfort of their guests.
Let us not even get into the overpriced with handling charge excursions offered by Carnival. NOTE: Go to the dock in Belize and ask for Manny. For $45 each he will take a small group of 6 to Atun Ha. He grew up there, was inside of two of the structures as a youth, knew the Canadian archeologist Pendergast who found the jade head, and knows the jungle and how to survive. He lets us stay as long as we wanted and knew everything about the site.
The crew of the Valor only followed their orders. It is the greed driven policies, instituted by a pack of Mammon worshipping weasels that nearly ruined the cruise for us. So, if you really want to be exploited and gouged at every turn then Carnival is the cruise line for you.