We left for Fort Lauderdale a couple of days early, because we were expecting there could be a lot of snow, flying out of Buffalo in January. not this year. Made it to Fort Lauderdale, under clear, beautiful sky's, and were welcomed by hot humid air. In January, this was wonderful. don't like Fort Lauderdale Airport much, its too small, crowded, and always interesting to get a shuttle. you have to pull your luggage, down a couple of blocks, after you've called your hotel, and wait and wait, sucking in the air of all the taxis and shuttle, sand planes. After an hour of waiting and finding out our shuttle broke down, we got in a cab. Very hostile drive to the hotel, with no meter running, we had agreed on $20, we got there. Stayed at the Marriott in FLL, on Griffin. Very nice hotel, pool a bit small and very busy with cruisers coming and going. spent a nice day by the pool the next day, where we kept meeting Canadians going on other cruises.Even neighbors we knew walked in and surprised us.
took the shuttle the next morning to the airport, where we caught the Carnival bus to our cruise port of Miami. got processed quickly, all self serve now with Carnival, and at 11 am they started boarding the ship. By 11:30 we were on, with cards in hand. got lunch and explored the sip until we could enter our room at 1:30. room was on the 6th deck near the front. We always get a balcony. Lovely and clean, with lots of storage. first night they were offering a free bottle of wine with dinner, if you went to the Steakhouse restaurant. Since we had booked this for Tuesday, we decided to go and take advantage of the free wine. Its $30 a person extra and well worth the cost. Fine dining, supreme service, excellent food choices such as a 24 oz porterhouse steak, fillet Mignon, lobster, shrimp. amazing. Took us about 2 hrs, and were glad we did it. The Valor was amazing in every aspect. We had been on the glory and Triumph, very similar in layout, so had no problem finding our way around. They offered excellent food choices, lots of healthy stuff, salad and fixings to satisfy every taste. American food, the carvery which featured, roast beef, ham, turkey on a rotating basis. Also a deli which made amazing sandwiches, such as grilled Reuben, smoked salmon on a bagel.A burrito bar, where you can pick and choose what you want on it, fish and chips which were excellent, located on deck 10, always the grill offering the spectacular hamburgers, hot-dogs with yummy mushrooms and onions, french fries, etc.The ship is lovely, laid out well, very, very clean. I couldn't believe the diligence in which I saw the staff always cleaning.The ports were great. We had our first port on the first day- Key West. This place was amazing, full of history, easy to walk around, friendly, and tons of places to eat, things to do, and shop. Had all day there, so didn't feel rushed.The next port was Grand Cayman. Wanted to snorkel there, so we did it on our own. got off the ship as soon as it docked. took the tender which in all takes about half an hour. Then we walked down about three blocks to Eden Rock. they were just opening up and we waited a few minutes, got our snorkel stuff on. Great staff, who gave us good instructions, went down the ladder into the water, and did the most amazing snorkeling we have ever done. You got out about 150 feet, where there is lots of coral, and I saw a sea turtle, a stingray, and my husband saw a sand shark and a flounder. There was fish everywhere. It was simply the best. Lots of blue, black, yellow fish. Water is crystal clear, and we snorkeled for about 2 hrs. Wish now we had even stayed more. Wasn't hard at all, even for the beginner. Wear the vest, it helps a lot. Puttered around Grand Cayman, ate lunch at Jimmy Buffets, which is a fun place. Get a seat on the front balcony if you can and you can watch all the action, from the ships. very clean, friendly. Americans thought it was expensive, but as Canadians who overpay for everything, we didn't think so. took the tender back, which takes a while. There were 6 ships in port, so it was busy. Tendering is well organized and moves fast.
We had great entertainment on the ship, always something going on. Staff were great,Main dding room, we were anytime dining int eh Lincoln, seemed a little unorganized at times, but they got the job done. Anytime dining is becoming a bigger thing, so we had the bottom of the dining room this time. That was nice. Waiters are always friendly, never waited more than two minutes to be seated, and food was good. Sometimes it takes about 2 hrs to get through dinner though. this is nice as it forces you to eat slower, and visit with new people at your table. Lots of Canadians on board, and people from every walk of life, so always interesting to talk to people and people watch. Didn't get off in Jamaica, as we have been there before, and don' like the aggressive nature of the local people. But, hey everyone should try it once. Had lovely days at sea, bit windy, and rainy coming back into Miami, ship was bouncing. Easy to disembark, as with embarkation, Carnival has got the system done pat. We love the Cruise director Goose, lots of fun. Always so much to do on the ship, you just can't make everything. all in all, a great cruise, highly recommend. Can't wait to cruise again.