We were a group of 25 people on this cruise, ages 7-70yrs old. My family of four flew into Ft. Lauderdale two days early so we could enjoy this destination. We are from Northern Calif. and my husband and I had gone to Ft. Lauderdale in January of last year and really wanted to share our experience with our kids. We spent one night at the Embassey Suites and the other night at the Hilton Grand Beach Resort right across from the beach. Both days were wonderful and a family friend of ours from Orlando joined us for the two days. Our friend drove us to the Miami port on Sunday. We arrived at 11:30am, were on the ship by 12:15 and had our room at 1:30PM. Very easy embarkation.
We met our cabin attendant, Shawn, right aways and he was absolutely wonderful throughout the entire cruise. Thought my 7 year old was going to stay on board just to hang out with Shawn. The cabins were very spacious and we were in an inside cabin. wonderful bedding. My mother-in law was in the window cabin across the hall with our 16 yr. old son. Now that cabin was absolutely large! Very comfortable.
The cabins and the itinerary were wonderful. We also had a great time being with so many of our family and friends.
Service, aside from Shawn, was really really poor! The dining room server couldn't have been less attentive or really less competent. After three days my mother -in law complained to the maitre d' but we only had one day of adequate service after this, and it again went downhill. I had heard things about Carnival in the past, but after my cruise on Elation, I thought these were just picky people. I don't think I am very picky, but the Valor really needs to look at service and apathy of their staff. couldn't even tell you our server's name as he never introduced himself or stayed at the table long enough to read his name tag.
Our first stop in Grand Cayman was wonderful. Went to the turtle farm and 7-mile beach. The beach was spectacular. My 7 yr. old loved the turtle farm.
Cozumel required a taxi drive to find a nice beach. We went to Mr Santo's Beach?? Anyway, it was wonderful and my kids again had a blast. Cab ride there was $15.00 each way for the four of us and we paid an additional $12.00 per kid to use this wonderful water "playground" in the ocean. My husband and I watched with cocktails from the beach. This place also has snorkeling, jet skies, ATV's and camel and horseback riding. Can't miss out on some activity here.
Belize, we did the cave tubing. It was a wonderful experience, but getting off the ship was the most disorganized i have ever seen on any ship. The Guest Service Agent actually gave us incorrect times to get off that delayed us by over one hour and almost made us miss our trip to the caves. Really the worst tendering experience I have ever had.
Isla Roatan was wonderful. Truly wish we had more time at this port. Many of our group went zip lining and had a great time. The Mahogany Bay Beach was wonderful, and we spent the day here. Would have gone to town, but didn't feel that we had enough time.
At one point on our last day at sea, we were notified that the ship was stopping to rescue 3 men and a cat, whose boat had lost power off of Cuba and who had sent out an SOS. This was very interesting to watch.
Had a great time, but Carnival really does need to look at some service training issues. Much of the staff just didn't seem like they wanted to be bothered with us pesky cruisers. Bottom line is, we are the customers, and if they don't like their job, Carnival needs to weed them out and find others who want to do a good job, like Shawn. I will look to try a different cruise line next time, even if it is a little more money.