As VIP's, we were able to head right into the VIP lounge and at approximately 11:30 we were boarding the ship and headed right over to the LIDO deck for some cold beer and a quick lunch while waiting for our cabin. It was a nice balcony suite, very quiet and comfortable, with more than enough closet space to accomodate most needs. It's well worth the money to upgrade. The time spent on your own private balcony is priceless. You are far enough away from the LIDO area that you don't hear the noise. Always an ocean view. Robert, the cabin steward is there at your beck and call. He comes in and does his magic throughout the day...nothing is ever out of place. They clean these ships constantly. There was painting, cleaning, scrubbing on the decks, but it is a moving, working ship, and I like to see them working. They put a lot into their ships and it shows.
I hear so many people complain through this forum that Carnival is cutting back on help. I'd like to know where they are cutting. I sure didn't see any sign of it. The crew is like half the number of guests. They are constantly working. I commend the executives at Carnival for realizing that having a large staff improves service and there is never a need to wait on someone. They recall your name and it becomes as though you have met a friend. Sure, it helps them get nice tips, but who doesn't like to have personal service, whether in a bar or casino, or just walking to and from your cabin?
The food in Scarlett's was out of this world good. Steaks were perfectly cooked. I wish I had more. But, after seeing the dessert plate, it was best I did not. I had my fill of chocolate on the cruise, and it was very scrumptous and kudo's to the culinary staff for their presentations.
Let's talk about food some more. Where do you go and not see a plethora of food? Cut backs in food offered? I don't think so. Food in Rosie's, the Burrito Bar, Mongolian buffet, fish and chips....just so much offered, the optimum language here is "when is enough enough?" There are so many choices, you never walk away hungry. I will say that if you prefer the LIDO food, as we did, pay attention to the times in the Capers. They switch the menu over late in afternoon, and then you have to go to back area after 6. It's not a problem, but just keep that in mind if you see all the stations closed in the front and mid section. There is no point to run all of these when they have the main dining rooms serving food.
This vacation was purely one for relaxation and no excursions were taken. It was hot in Roatan and Belize, just got off the ship to check out shops and get some walking and a few pictures in. This is the 5th cruise with Carnival and purchased Future Cruise Certificate for next cruise that is unknown at this time. We will keep going back. I love the newer ships. Although Valor is a few years old, it is well maintained and a great ship.
Carnival had Express Baggage that we took advantage of and it worked perfectly. Some confusion initially at debarkation time, but it moved along quickly and we weren't dragging luggage through Miami Airport. Stayed at the Sheraton Airport on first night before cruise and it is perfectly situated on the way to the port. Restaurant, bar, comfortable room, well worth a visit for 1 night.