My husband and I just returned from the Feb. 20, 2005, sailing on the Valor. We traveled with 3 other couples of various age groups. We arrived at the port of Miami at 12:30 and although everything looked very confusing it wasn't.
We arrived by private car and were directed right to the luggage drop off area. The porters took our luggage and we were off. It went very quick and painless. I highly recommend paying the porters to take your luggage on both outbout and return.
The next step was also painless, just have all documents ready before you step foot in the building and you will move through all the steps quite quickly. After all the steps we arrived on ship at about 1:15pm.
The first thing we did was make our reservation for the Supper Club, because we heard it fills up quickly and it did. We ended up with our third choice of times because all the rest were taken. We then proceeded to our room.
Our room was very nice. This was our first cruise so we had no idea what to expect. The bed was already made into a king size bed, which I might add the beds were very comfortable. The was lots of closet space and shelves for stacking clothes. I highly recommend bringing a power strip, only one regular outlet in cabin an it is at the desk area. I was pleased to find that there were plenty of hangers and all of our empty luggage fit under the beds. The bathrooms were very roomy and lots of shelving to put your toiletries. Water pressure was great but, the water was very very hot. After unpacking we went up to the Lido deck for lunch. There was a lot of people and long lines. I really didn't find anything on the buffet that I liked so I went to the deli and got a reuben sandwich. Awesome!!!!
The first day we were at sea. The issue with the deck chairs was as everyone said. You need to get up very early if you want a deck chair anywhere near a pool. If you don't mind being on an upper deck away from the action then there were plenty of deck chairs.
Our first port was Belize. We had to tender in, only about a 10-15 tender ride. We booked the cave tubing with Carnival and were directed to meet in the Ivanhoe Theater at 9:00am. We didn't get onto the tender until about 10:15am. For anyone considering this excursion it was wonderful however, be prepared to hike on rough terrain for about 45min at a quick pace. I was sick and had a lot of trouble keeping up with the group. But our guide, Kingston was wonderful and stuck with me the whole way. Some areas are very dark and a little spooky. Little fish do nibble at your bottom, but it doesn't hurt it just spooks you. Belize is a very poor country. A lot of poverty. Our next port was Roatan!!! I LOVED Roatan. We did not plan any shore excursions but, when we got off the ship there were tons of taxi's and vans available. All 8 of us took a van to the west end of the island and went shopping. We got a lot more than we expected. We paid $25 per couple and we got a tour of the west end and our guide showed us all the good shipping places and they stopped where ever we asked them to. Even on the side of the rad for pictures whenever we asked. It was wonderful. Roatan was my favorite port. Beautiful scenery!! There were some poor areas but, for the most part it is thriving county.
Our next port was Grand Cayman. Again we had to tender in but, it was only a 5-10 min tender. We booked the Sting Ray City Tour with Carnival and again we had to meet in the Ivanhoe theater at 10:30am but, this was quicker were on shore by 11:00am. We traveled by a/c bus to the boat. Sting Ray City was really neat. We got to hold a stingray and enjoy a very relaxing afternoon. There is still a lot of devastation in Grand Cayman from the hurricane. By the time we got back to the pier/shopping area we did not have a lot of time to shop, but that was ok because we found everything very expensive, aside from the jewelry, which we were not looking for. Tender lines to get back on ship were very very long. Gotta go for now I will write more later.