Still getting my land legs back and I thought I'd share a few impressions/experiences I had on the Carnival Valor. First, I have to tell you that I read the existing reviews of the Valor.
When I first read that the ship was decorated with a heroes theme I was concerned it would be rather corny. The ship is tastefully decorated, and I was pleasantly surprised.
The wedding: We had a few stressful days leading up to the event making sure we had everyones info (i.e. everyone's full name, date of birth, and driver's license number). It would have been nice if Carnival (The Wedding Experience, who conduct the weddings) could have contacted our guests and compiled this information for us. Other than that, everything went great.
We opted for guest access to the Lido Deck Buffet, which gave our non-sailing guest chance to get a bite to eat while we got dressed for the ceremony. Our ceremony was held in the Eagle's Lounge. They set it up with a runner and white columns and had a brief rehearsal with our wedding party (minus the bride). They then escorted my wife from our room to the lounge where she was escorted in by her father. We had a 1 hour reception in the Lindy Hop piano bar adjacent to the Eagle's Lounge. The food was excellent and the drink service was on the spot.
Our cabin: We had an aft balcony cabin, cabin 7446. The view from the balcony was great. It was also about twice the size (depth wise) of the standard balconies. The dividers between the balconies taper in toward the ship the higher they go, so there is NOT the same amount of privacy on your balcony as a standard balcony. The other downside that no one has mention is if you have bad weather. We sailed the Caribbean in mid-October (hurricane season) and it rained 4 of the 7 days of our cruise. There is no cover above the aft balconies, which is great on a sunny day but sucks when its raining. This is definitely something to consider if your sailing in the fall.
The other reviews also were mixed about the service in the dining room. We had 21 people go on the cruise, 4 went with free-style dining (Lincoln), the remaining 17 all did the late seating (Washington). Those with the free-style dining said the service was hit or miss. Sometimes they got a good waiter and sometimes they didn't. The 17 of us in the late seating split up into 3 tables for six. Two of our tables had one waiter and the other table had a different waiter. The waiter at the two tables was terrible (never asked for drink orders, mixed up orders or flat out got them wrong, rolled his eyes at some orders, etc.). The other waiter was great (very friendly, outgoing, always on the ball, even made little animals out of the napkins). After complaining to the maitre 'd about waiting 30 minute to order breakfast on one morning I understood why. The guy gave a half hearted apology and a flat out LIE as to why. I was surprised to see a drink steward in the washroom at one of the urinals with his serving tray under one arm the following night. The problems in the dining room start at the top. If some has a good service in the main dining room, they simply got lucky (not all the waiters suck).
Despite the service in the main dining room and the rainy days we did enjoy our cruise. We plan on taking Carnival again, but unless we hear about MAJOR changes in the dining room, we probably will not sail the Valor again.