Just got back from our March 11-17 Cruise on the Carnival Valor.
Our last cruise was 15 years ago on the Carnival Destiny with just my wife and myself. Now that we're a family, we thought it was time to take the kids!
The staff were incredible, friendly and hard working. All of the staff members that we interacted with regularly knew our name and took an interest in us. Our waiter in the dining room always knew how each of us liked how our meat was cooked. Our room steward always had a smile for us.
Embarkation and debarkation has much improved over the last 15 years. They are well organized to avoid rushes or big crowds
The food in the dining room was incredible! Fillet Mignon, Prime Rib, etc. You will gain weight on this cruise!
The Bad (and it really isn't that bad...)
The layout of the ship is not that great... at certain spots, you may have to go up or down a floor to get to the back of the ship or walk through a bar or dining room. One thing that drove me nuts were the photographers would set up on the 5th floor, blocking a major customer thru-way.
Some of the food stations (i.e. Deli and Sushi) seemed understaffed. The one or two workers at the stations seem overwhelmed trying to feed everyone. Sometimes the lines were 10 minutes long.
We chose an inside room on floor 1. The room seemed smaller than on my previous cruise. (But then again, do you really want to spend time in your room other than to sleep?) The mattresses were the perfect hardness for my family... very comfortable sleep! (Being that the room was on the bottom guest deck, I almost expected an oar to be sticking out of the wall too.)
Also, only ONE OUTLET in the room... bring a power bar to recharge your phone, camera, DS, etc. Also recommend to bring a digital clock. If you're in an inside room, you'll have no idea what time it is when you wake up!
Boat Tender (Grand Cayman) - I noticed at the dock in Grand Cayman, all of the other cruise line (Celebrity & Royal Caribbean) had set up rest stations with refreshments. We all felt like second rate citizens with no such luxuries for Carnival Cruisers... it looked bad for Carnival.
The outside big screen also needs some love... lots of pixels out (or installed backwards) made it distracting to watch movies on.
If you can get past some of the minor negatives listed above, you'll have a great time.
SUMMARY (In case you didn't want to read the above.)
- Bring a power bar - only one outlet in your room
- Bring a digital clock if you're in an inside room.
- Waiting in line for a Tender boat sucks.
- The photographers block main customer thru-ways and are kinda rude & pushy
- The food is awesome, fresh and well prepared.
- The staff is what makes your cruise. They bend over backwards to make you happy!
Hope this summery helps future Carnival Valor Cruisers!