This was the fourth Carnival cruise for my wife and I, having previously sailed on the Pride, Destiny, Paradise, and now the Valor. We arrived in Miami on the day of the cruise and found the transfer from the airport to be enlightening and enjoyable. Our driver provided us with a brief tour of Miami and some interesting facts on area sights and buildings.
When we arrived at the pier the boarding process went fairly smooothly for the number of people that were in line. Once aboard the Valor we located our oceanview cabin, which was ample in size and well appointed.
The room was on the Riviera deck about midship and provided us with one of the best room stewards we have had on a Carnival cruise. Octavio and his assistants were cheerful, attentive, and did a wonderful job in meeting our needs and keeping the cabin in great shape.
One thing about the ship that struck us was the decor. We were somewhat underwhelmed by the Heroes and Heroines theme. The main atrium has what looked like death masks of people such as Lincoln, Washington, Teddy Roosevelt, Betsy Ross, etc on the facades of the multiple level atrium
and the color scheme of the restaurants was a bit harsh. The walls in the main dining rooms (Lincoln and Washington) were decorated in a very dark pink which was contrasted by a strange color goldish yellow burl trim. I personally did not find this appetizing during dinner. The Rosies Restaurant on the Lido deck is decorated with lime green chairs and a yellowish green tile on the walls. It also had a huge tile mural of Rosie the Riveter of World War II fame. I thought they could have done a better job with the decor here as well.
The service in the dining room left something to be desired. Our head waiter Josue was moody and inconsistent. On the last night he was suddenly jovial and talkative probably anticipating some extra gratuity. His assistant Daniela however was cheerful, helpful, and friendly every night and made you feel welcome. We were also disappointed with the quality of the food. The lobster tasted old and the filet mignon was grainy and tough, something we were not accustomed to on Carnival. We did have a wonderful Riesling wine there however. We witnessed something that we thought needed immediate attention. A couple with a young child were seated in a booth behind ours with the child placed in a high chair in the aisle. The problem with this is that the childs chair was placed adjacent to one of the pillars in the main aisle and this caused some acrobatics on behalf of the dining room staff to maneuver trays of hot food while squeezing through this tight space. I'm amazed that no one did anything to move the family to a less congested area and equally surprised that no accidents occurred.
The entertainment was excellent. The comedy shows and Vegas style shows were above average and should not be missed. I highly reccommend the coffees at the Java cafe on the Promenade. Leona who staffed the cafe was always pleasant and was one of our favorite people on the cruise.
We took excursions in every port. In Belize we saw the Altun Ha Mayan Ruins, in Honduras we went to the Tabyana Beach Resort, in Grand Cayman we went to Seven Mile Beach which was fantastic, and in Cozumel we went to Passion Island with a wonderful tour guide named Irving.
Despite what this review may sound like, my wife and I had the most relaxing vacation we have ever taken and this ship provided the smoothest cruise we have taken to date. Would we cruise Carnival again? Absolutely, Would we cruise on the Valor again? Doubtful.