First of all, we had an amazing trip. The ports of the western Caribbean are amazing. We were really organized and had done a lot of research beforehand. We booked all of our tours separately using cruise critic and tripadvisor. We had the best time.
To get to Miami, we took a red eye from LAX to FLL and then took a shuttle to the Port of Miami. Ride SAS was cheap and very flexible. He even stopped at a Walgreens for us to pick up sodas and energy drinks. We arrived VERY early and thought we would have to wait forever. Somehow we were one of the first groups to get on the boat. We were so excited until it started pouring! We didn't really have anywhere to go since there was rain, thunder and lightning. We get to the lido and got some food and then decided to look around. Once we got into our room we found hairs on our bed. We were not enthused by this. We asked immediately for our sheets to be replaced. The sun came out so we decided to get our bathing suits on and lay out. Everything was getting better until our luggage came and it was soaked. Everything inside was wet. The couple we were traveling with have several ruined items. Next, for dinner I found a large bug in my food. We were started to get pretty grossed out and disappointed. We decided to visit the customer service counter to see if they could fix some of the issues we were having. They were very helpful and made sure to get my friends dresses dry cleaned and follow up the next day. One last thing to mention would be the beds. They are awful. In May 2010 my husband and I were on the Freedom and absolutely loved the beds. We couldn't wait to go on another cruise and get some rest in the comfy beds. The beds on the Valor were terrible. When we complained we got a towel under the sagging areas which made it harder and misshapen. I just gave up and woke up sore every morning. I don't know if this is an issue that comes along with it being an older ship...
Day @ sea... Make sure to go to the afternoon tea in the dining room. It is a lot of fun and the food was delightful.
Grand Cayman ... we booked with Spirit of the West Horseback riding and it was AMAZING. We all agreed we would have paid much more than we did and would remember it for the rest of our lives. Paul was a great guide and we really enjoyed getting to know him. I would book the private ride if you can afford it so you get that extra special treatment. I bought a diamond ring in Grand Cayman but I think the deals are better in St. Thomas and they are willing to deal with you more there.
Isla Roatan .. we booked with Victor Bodden tours for the Zip N Dip Excursion. It was VERY hot but they picked us up and had the AC going already. We drove about 25 minutes to the Mayan Jungle Canopy site and got fitted right away. We thought nothing would be able to beat our previous day horseback riding but the Zip lining was just as fun. When we were finished zip lining we got to go and play with all their animals. The monkeys were a lot of fun and the birds were beautiful too. After Zip lining we were taken to a beach and got to take a quick "DIP". All in all it was a wonderful day and we did a little shopping in the cruise port. I wish I got more things from there since they were all handmade and had really great prices. One tip for Isla Roatan would be to bring plenty of protein snacks and Gatorade. I almost passed out from the humidity and heat.
Belize... we didn't have anything booked because we didn't want to go Cave Tubing or to the ruins and we weren't sure what the weather is going to be like. We got off the tender and decided to book with Eco tours and go to Goff's Caye. I had already read about them online or else I wouldn't book with any random person or company. It was a 25 minute boat ride to this tiny beautiful island. It was nice and the snorkeling was OK. The water was really chopping so my husband and I got back in the boat and the other couple we were with decided to come back too but the boat left and never returned. They were not happy about having the swim all the way back in the choppy/dangerous water.
Cozumel... we wanted to relax our last day and we booked the Nachi Cocum beach break. It was $50/ person and we would get unlimited drinks and food. We also got our own little hut and lounge chairs. We had to get our own taxi there which was $15 each way for 4 people so that wasn't too bad. We were introduced to our server for the day when we arrived and he was GREAT. The food was amazing and the drinks were good too. I would recommend the garlic shrimp and nachos ! We decided to ride a banana boat behind a jet ski for $60. We had so much fun and laughed hysterically until the last fall. That one hurt and we were done. We were very impressed with the food, service and scenery at Nachi Cocum. I would go back in a heartbeat.
Day @ Sea .. We were very tired and didn't do much
This was one of our best trips and all the ports were amazing. I was just not impressed with the some of the service, and state of the ship ( Beds, and old TVs) For us there was a big difference between the Valor and Freedom. If you can do these ports on a different boat, I would go for it!