had a flight on u.s air that really got our vacation off on the wrong foot.we arrived at the airport two and a half hours prior to flight time.once at our gate we were told there was a weight restriction on the flight and we may not get on it.mind you i made the flight reservation in october.as it turned out we learned they had over fueled the plane and had no way of getting the fuel out.we sat on the plane for an hour and a half before they gave up and got us another plane.luckily we had a two and a half hour layover in north carolina.we made our connecting flight by 10 minutes.we made it to Miami and i will probably not fly u.s.SCAIRLINES again.
stayed at the la Quinta airport east hotel in Miami.would not recommend this hotel.stayed here because of free airport shuttle and free cruise shuttle.this offering was truly the only highpoint of this hotel.i had booked the first shuttle from the hotel to the ship when i made my reservation in October.they had no record of that and had to put me on a shuttle an hour later than i had requested.hotel is tired and planes fly directly overhead all night long.nothing located around hotel at all.television was not working,so we called the desk.we were told that as soon as their shuttle driver got back he could take a look at it.this was at 10:30PM.in the morning we went to take showers but we only had two towels for 4 people.we called the desk to request more towels.we were told that the shuttle driver was not there but we could come and get our own towels.boy i sure hope nothing happens to the shuttle
we had a very smooth transfer to the valor.arrived at 11:45 and was on the ship at 12:15.platinum member really paid off.we were escorted to a private room to be checked in and escorted onto the ship.
the ship was in great shape.sailed on the conquest 3 years ago and it showed it's age much more so than the valor.went to lido deck and had lunch.everything was good,food was hot ,and plenty of choices.staff was very friendly and helpful.
dining room staff was some of the very best i have ever encountered.only complaint i may have is that some dishes were so hot i burned my mouth.our waiter ray and his assistant hootie were the best.i will say that many times waiters are what you make of them.we had a blast playing tricks on them and engaging in conversation with them.it always helps to pass along a little extra cash on the first night of the cruise.we were given a prime table in the center of the aft dining room.perfect location for all singing and dancing during dinner.
cabin steward,henny was the best.it was my daughters' 11th birthday on the cruise.henny made a display of 6 or 8 towel animals on her bed and even left a wrapped present on the bed for her.we also had a fun week of playing tricks on her and she responded by playing tricks on us.one night she took all the towels in the room and made a life size man out of them.we came back from dinner and he was asleep in our bed with my sons hat and sunglasses on,in a bathrobe,with my sons flip flops on.again,i believe if you present yourself as a fun loving individual out to have a good time that is exactly what you will experience.
entertainment on the ship was a little hit and miss for us.family comedy shows were great.we went to 4 and enjoyed all.we did not make any of the adult shows.we preferred to spend that time with our 11 and 15 year old kids.magician on board did an up close magic show every night at 11:15.he was one of the highlights of our cruise.he was funny and a very good magician.he also did a show where he taught us how to do magic tricks.went to 2 of the shows in the main theatre.one was a comedy show,an Asian man that juggled.he was very good.the other was a magician.he was o.k. but we preferred the other daily magician by far.
now a couple of negatives on entertainment.the piano bar was the worst i have ever experienced on 12 carnival cruises.the piano player brad was truly in love with himself.he did not engage with people.you were more or less expected to sit an admire his piano capabilities.he lets you know every half hour that he was a piano teacher.maybe that is what he should go back yo doing.you were required to write down any request you wanted to hear and hand them in.you could not talk to the person next to you if you were sitting near his side of the piano.my wife got in trouble for that.his song list was poor and he was not half as good as he thought he was.
another entertainer we encountered that was not up to par was a guitar player named Joel.he sounded pretty good but had no personality what so ever.he looked like the cruise ship was the last place he wanted to be.a passenger bought him a beer and proceeded to bring it to him in between songs.he blurted out 'i ain't drinking today".that was it.no thank you or anything else.
lido deck band was great.everything you would want and expect from a reggae band getting you in the cruising mood.only complaint i would have is the volume of the music.they could turn it down a notch.
first port was bahamas.went on a segway tour.we booked it on our own and it was great.tour took us to the other side of the island.we got a good look at the area and arrived at a private 400 acre site where we did the segway.we rode for about 2 hours,ended up at a beach with some swim time.view was great and the guides were very entertaining.
next port was la romana Dominican republic.here we booked the speed boat beach trip.we had a great time.i was in the back of the speed boat and got soaked on the way to the beach we went to.everyone on the boat was entertained by my misfortune.we arrived at a real tropical island for two hours of swim time.it was like being on gilligan's island.on the way back we stopped at a sandbar to swim.here we saw and picked up huge starfish.water was 3 feet deep and crystal clear.this was true paradise,as was the rum and beer they were serving us in the water.we had a great Day
next stop was curacao.got a taxi and went to a beach.beach was good but would have preferred a more tropical setting.we were at a man made beach in an area with hotels.after the beach we wanted to go to town and shop.it was now 6 pm.all stores were closed.it was a little crazy that our port time was 2pm to 11pm,but the town shut down at 5pm.
last stop was Aruba.we went on the nautilus submarine.we had a great time.we saw sunken ships lots of marine life, coral,and a couple of big barracudas.we had enough time to shop afterward and then back to the ship.
our kids do not participate in camp carnival.they prefer to hangout with us,and that's fine with us.we entered all trivia challenges and contests on the boat.everyone came home with a medal and a trophy.we me a lot of great people,had a great time,made total fools of ourselves and wouldn't trade a moment for anything.
i purchased the future cruise discount certificates so i will be on another carnival cruise.just look for the shipheads wearing the crazy hats.
debarkation was very quick and easy.our number was called and we were out of terminal with luggage in 20 minutes.we had a carnival transfer back to the airport.only glitch here is that we sat on the bus for an hour while it was loaded with people and luggage.next time i would get a taxi to the airport.
had a great time and look forward to my next cruise