The Carnival Valor was a beautiful ship. It makes you proud to be an American. I cruised on Dec 26th out of Miami. The itinerary was excellent. The weather was not. However, we had a fantastic time with family and met some new friends. For us, the highlight of a cruise is always seeing new places and meeting the people who live there.
[We were in] an 8a Balcony room # 6457. It was a family of 4 and no insurance. This was a holiday sail over New Years. It was a little pricey but it worked out with our teenager's school schedule. I booked Feb. 2 2004. This room was an excellent choice for our family because it was easy to get up to the pizzeria and down to the Washington Dining Room. My parents had room # 6458 (which is on the back of the ship) and it was really cool, nice size balcony, double deep if not more.This balcony is not a totally private one if that matters. It was noisy from the Eagles Nest lounge from deck 5 below. (The lounge closed at 12;00-12:30 am so it did get quiet after that. ( then it was quiet in the am.) I would book a room on the back every time. Just be careful what is above and below. My sister had a room for two on deck 7 and paid a few dollars more to be away from noise on deck 5. She had room # 7434 almost to the back and she had a really wide balcony. It was the width of two regular balconies. The room was a different layout because of being by the crew stairs and they were not loud at all. And yes we snuck up and down them daily. Excellent room. The other family members were in an inside room deck 6 and it seemed a little cramped with four people. Go for the balconies. It looked like the balconies on the corners would be the prize room. I think they are called Category 9 and I am not sure how many people can fit in them.
We flew in form Arizona and stayed at the Port of Miami Holiday Inn. It was excellent. Ask for Bayside rooms and our room was very large.( Room # 801). Room # 701 and 901 would be just as big. My brother was in room #800 and it was nice but not quite as big as ours. $10.00 Taxi to pier and breakfast over at the Bayside Market Place. It was really cool looking out at the ships in the morning.
Embarkation went as smooth as can be with the Fun Pass by registering early on the Carnival web sight.
There were some problems with the Valor because of the newness of the ship but I am sure those things will work better as time goes on. The service in the dining room was excellent. The food was just as I expected from Carnival. (Actually some really good beef and soups.) Since we have been on four cruise lines I now see that there is definitely more troublemakers on Carnival. It is the fun ship right!?! I guess they like to cruise out of Miami. We will never cruise out of Miami on Carnival again. These people were so rude and inconsiderate.
The shows were good and our teenagers enjoyed all of the neat things to do. The comedians were really poor.
The food choices were great and the hot chocolate was excellent. My husband really liked the Deli. I liked the Sushi Bar, My son liked the Pizzeria. My daughter liked the soft serve Ice Cream. Burgers were good at the grill also.
I would say the Western itinerary is great normally, we just had some rainy weather. This ship is great. Just stay away from the holidays cruising out of Miami on Carnival. Too many people are just down right rude.