We sailed on the Carnival Valor 5.16.10 from Miami. This would be my 4th cruise and my buddy that came with his first. We flew in the day before to see a little bit of Miami prior to the amazing vacation we were about to embark on. Stayed on the Marriott Biscayne Bay as I nabbed it on Priceline for a great deal, couldn't go wrong with saving a few bucks and the cab ride would be quick in the morning. Arrived to the POM at around 11am to start getting checked in. Process had changed some since I was last there in they had the kiosk setup, and I have to say if the prior group hadn't been delayed in debarkation, we would have probably made it through the whole process in no time. The delay was a little bummer, but gave my buddy time to do a little research on the layout of the ship. I sailed prior so the layouts are all fairly similar but different so I just listened to my iPod as he read.
Found our way to the Lido deck around 12:30 to nab some lunch and explore a little bit before our rooms were ready, found our way to the rooms at around 2 o'clock to drop off our stuff and finish exploring before the ship was going to set sail. Ship started moving right on schedule it seemed, music cranked up and the vacation was under way!
Found our way to the Washington Dining room at 6 as we had assigned seating and would meet up with two ladies traveling together that fit our personalities well. Went to the show that evening as it was the welcome aboard and then explored the ship some, decided as a group we'd hang out in the disco for the evening and added a few more people to our group that would have a great time for the next 7 days.
Excursions: Grand Cayman: Booked the stingray city tour privately and it was awesome. I had done this one the year prior with a different provider and it wasn't as good as the year prior, but non the less we had a blast and got to snorkel in two different locations, well worth it.
Isla Roatan: Booked the zip line trip with Clip'n'Zip and it was amazing. These guys know how to make a trip worthwhile. We all loaded up in the back of their 4x4 pickup for the trip up the hill and into the jungle a bit, and then started tearing down the lines over the tops of the trees. It was amazing to say the least. After this we decided to catch lunch on the ship and then hang out at the beach for the rest of the afternoon as the rest of our group decided they were going to just beach break it, and by this point the weather was cleared up and make the beach a great way to wrap up a day.
Belize: Booked an excursion through cave-tubing.com and these guys were amazing. We had a great time from the minute we walked onto the bus to the time we parted ways back at the pier. They did an amazing job at managing the time to ensure we were going to make it back by the time we requested. They fed us lunch on the way back to the ship, and overall wouldn't have missed this excursion.
Cozumel: Booked Snuba at Chakanaab Park and being that I'm a certified diver had a little bit of an idea what this would be like. My buddy on the other hand only had experienced snorkeling so this would prove to be interesting for him. After he adjusted to the experience of being able to breather underwater and figure out the setup, it was an amazing time. I stayed close with the diver and made sure I got to capture any pictures that I could with my camera. After the snuba trip, we decided to just head back, grab lunch and then we shopped a bit and would then add a few more people to our group as we met a few other walking around and then we meet up with our group from earlier in the week at Three Amigos. We all had just a blast hanging out before having to get back on the ship to head back to Miami.
Set sail for Miami at 5pm and all knew the adventure was coming to a close. Not without fail we all had an amazing week. Carnival has never disappointed me with food selection, shows, or any of the entertainment. I believe vacation is what you make of it, and if you choose to let the small stuff set you back (our delay in Miami) then you're only setting yourself up for disappointment. I was probably most excited to get to shut my cell phone off for an entire week and not have to worry about anything other than what I wanted to see for entertainment, or what I was going to be eating later that afternoon. The Carnival Valor superseded my expectations in every aspect. It was as some had put before me one heck of a good time. Any questions or comments, please feel free to throw them out.