We just got off the Valor yesterday. This was my second Carnival cruise and the first for everyone else.
The conclusion was basically a toss up between Royal Caribbean and Carnival. Carnival would have won if the ship layout was easier to follow. When you check in be sure to get your zone card. We forgot ours and had to wait longer than we should have to board. We did check-in online (Funpass) and it was painless. We got to the port at 11am and boarded around 12:15ish. They said there was a delay due to passengers not getting off early. Yeah, that makes since....
Last year I was on the Pride and the cabins seemed larger than Valor. I had a single cabin this time 1212. It was wonderful. 2 portholes, couch, 2 easy chairs and a table. Lots of storage space. Bathroom the same as other ships. I had heard that I would be awakened by the anchors, but I didn't hear them. I must be a sound, sound sleeper. Did I say I had two portholes in my cabin.. Being on Deck 1 there was hardly any ship movement noticeable. The other cabins we had were inside, one was a quad (looked smaller than my cabin) and a double which also was smaller, both with less storage. All of our cabin attendants were super. They have 2 to a cabin. I hadn't noticed that before. Bedding was comfortable and nice looking. One night I requested that the upper berth be made up for my grandson who was in another cabin and it was done very graciously. He liked sleeping up top. Had his own little light up there. Extra tipping was involved...after the fact. There was a Laundromat on our deck, which was handy. $3 a load. You need quarters, no machine! The ones with kids found it most helpful. Also an iron and board were there .
We went straightway to deck 9 to eat of course, and then checked out some public places.Some of the elevators were closed to passengers due to loading luggage until about 10pm. This was a bit of an inconvenience, but no tears were shed by us. We were happy to be there on the ship. There were lots of activities. Some were fun to watch rather than participate. I don't know much about the kid's camp. The kid's with us only went for a couple of hours. After 10pm they have babysitting for $6 an hour.Time depends on the day.Some of you have asked about corn hole. Yes, they have a tournament in the lobby. (now I am thinking random) the kids have a scavenger hunt and you see them from time to time singing and sometimes with some types of costumes walking around the public spaces. They seem to have a good ratio of helpers per kids. They have a basketball court, putt putt and shuffleboard and ping pong. Lazer tag at 7pm costs $5 for 5 minutes. The 10 year old said the arcade was up to date. First of all let me say. I am not a picky eater. I do like hot foods to be hot and cold foods cold. They were! I enjoyed the dining atmosphere and the service. Our waiters were Arnold and Swatchi and they were good but In my opinion had too many tables. They had a lot of people to serve. About half way thru the week the service got very slow. We had to wait between courses, remind them of beverage refills, etc..Over all I thought the food was great!. I think Carnival wins over RCC in food. More variety, especially desserts. There was a lot of moaning when the chocolate melting cakes were tasted the first time and second and again and again. I like the bitter and blanc, similar to bread pudding and the warm fig cake is to die for.The food in the buffets is good, contrary to some I think there is a lot of variety. The dogs and burgers by the pools were ok too. I never got any hot or good fries. I don't eat sushi but the sushi venue is by the arcade where I sat a good bit of the time waiting for the kids and the lines were busy and I asked if it was good and got yeses all around. I think it is only a certain time of the day. I don't think the pizza was as good as on the Pride. (random thoughts again) The big movie screen outside was on day and night. The entertainment in the Ivanhoe theater was about a 3 and 1/2. Colorful costumes, music and dancing. The Motown singer was good. The usual fare with the usual flair! The casino has slots, black jack and roulette. i am not sure about anything else. I did not hear of any big winners. They have slot and other tournaments. I won a $25 T shirt lol.. Bingo $10 a card.
I have had a hard time finding my way around on the 2 Carnival ships I have been on. Sometimes to get to say dinner. You have to go to a deck and then go down or up stairs to get where you want to be. I can't understand their reasoning for doing this, but I am sure there is a profitable one. This is however, one of the reasons Royal Caribbean won out on our little survey. The Main reason. Over all we each had a wonderful time. It was really really hot and humid but expected this time of the year. We had a couple 5 second showers. I couldn't do excursions because of a shoulder problem, but some in our group did. We all agreed we would try another Carnival ship sometime. I used room service late at night. Not a long wait, friendly service.