We enjoyed our March 3rd, Southern Caribbean cruise on the Valor very much. There were 2 other couples with us...one of those were first timers and they bought an FCC so I believe they had a good time.
We had a long drive to Miami and had to take 2 cars. We stayed the night at the Best Western in Stuart, Fl. We have stayed there before and it is clean and just fine for a night. We parked off site and were leery of this as we had never tried doing that before. It was fine going to the ship but a 30 minute wait when we got off. Still, for a third of the price of parking at the port, it was worth it.
Four of us had VIP embarkation and debarkation. This was a snap. Debarkation was the quickest I have ever experienced. We were outside at ten after 8. So even with the wait for the off site parking we were on the long ride home by 8:45.
We cruise for the food and the casino! and the food on the Valor was really excellent. Hot foods were hot and cold foods were cold. The deli was great as was the burrito bar. Breakfast on lido was especially nice because there was always an extra dish besides the basics. The egg quesadillas were good as were the eggs benedict and the small quiches.
We used anytime dining and this was disappointing. We expect a wait on elegant night...but an hour and 15 minutes? We thought this was a bit much. We waited other nights too...sometimes for a table for 6 and sometimes for a table for 2. Two nights we ate dinner up on lido. It was just easier. And I think 3 nights we had little to no wait at the main dining room. I understand that sometimes we have to wait--even at home we often have to wait at a restaurant. But 30 minutes and up seems to be pointing to something wrong with the system. We never had such waits on other Carnival ships.
The weather on our cruise was just perfect every day. Seas were mostly calm and it was sunny and hot. We went to Grand Turk, where we walked down to Jack's Shack and enjoyed watching their dogs frolic in the surf. and then we ended up back at Margaritaville for a drink before heading back to the ship. We did not buy any souvenirs...the cheapest tee shirt i saw was 25 dollars.
Next we went to the Dominican Republic and wow, do we all regret not booking an excursion here. We took a van downtown to a park where there was a big flea market. Anyone been to Nassau? They are meek compared to these people...lol...but we bought a lot of their trinkets and went back to the ship knowing we had donated a little to this poor country.
Curacao was the highlight of our cruise. We had planned on walking and shopping here and that is just what we did. But the people here were so nice. You could look all you wanted and they did not pester you. We got to see the floating bridge open and close and then we found a little place at the end of a street to have a couple of beers and some dutch snacks. It was peaceful and a very nice memory.
Aruba was a bit of a let down for us after Curacao, which was so clean and friendly. We did a ship's excursion here to DePalm Island, an all inclusive resort with snorkeling from the shore. The drinks were small, watery and the line to get one was often at least 50 people long. and there was just the one bar. If there was another we never saw it. The food meant another long line and consisted of burgers, hotdogs, chicken fingers and fries. The fries were really good. Nuff said. The snorkeling was pretty difficult. The water was rough and it was very shallow-so that you kept bumping your knees on the hard coral and rocks. The huge blue parrotfish were definitely cool to see though. and when we got back to town the tee shirts here were 3 for 18 dollars and were very nice quality.
The ship itself was very clean and the crew was nice. We went to a comedy show that was really good, but when we tried to go to another later the small lounge was filled. We saw Marcus Anthony sing one night...never miss him if you get the opportunity! The music all around the ship was very good from the Caribbean duo to the Filipino rock band. The singer and pianist in the Atrium were so good too! We also went to the Quest show and this was a riot! It is an audience participation game and was a hoot.
We nearly broke even in the casino which is always a plus for us. We enjoy playing and it was nice to get off the ship and not be completely broke as we so often are...lol...Everyone in the casino was very nice and I had earned the free drinks by the third night from playing slots. a nice perk.
no telling what i spent to get them though...hahaha...
We will cruise Carnival again as we are VIP and enjoy the benefits we get, the excellent value for the price and the enjoyment we get from being away from it all and on the ocean. Hope your next cruise is wonderful!