Carnival Valor's predominant color scheme continues throughout the passenger accommodations. The burnt orange color is carried by the carpeting and accented by the pastel orange upholstery. The reliance on wood as the major design accent is echoed as well. Cabinetry, end tables, moldings and other accents are natural-finished cherry. Sixty percent of standard outside cabins have balconies, though the verandahs are really too small for enjoying sunning or dining. (Ours had two reclining chairs and a small table, but there wasn't enough space to completely recline either of the chairs.) We found the amount of storage space available in both the bathroom and closets and drawers to be the most generous we've encountered on any other mass-market ship.
Each year Carnival ratchets up the in-cabin amenities, the newest addition since we last sailed being bathrobes. In the bathrooms -- all with stall showers except for suites -- there is a bowl of promotional samples, the sort that appear in your mailbox about the time Procter & Gamble launches a new product. Our selection included toothpaste, pain relievers, moisturizer and face cream, mouthwash, antacids, and disposable razors. Shampoo and body wash dispensers are in the shower stall. One nice inclusion in bathrooms was a swing-out magnifying makeup and shaving mirror.
Cabins include television with satellite feeds of the major networks, CNN and cable movies -- and a host of infomercial-style offerings hyping everything from onboard shops to casino, spa and shore excursions. There is also a channel devoted to re-broadcasting talks, activities or other events in the Ivanhoe Lounge. Interactive choices include onboard account review, and shore excursion descriptions and booking.
Each stateroom also has a safe and a minibar stocked with a good selection of beer, wine, water, juices, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages, as well as snacks. Cabin stewards check the fridge once or twice during the cruise and refill as needed.
Suites are slightly less than twice the size of standard cabins, and include the additional amenities of bathtubs and VCR's.
There are 18 family staterooms with floor-to-ceiling windows (so parents need not worry about Junior deciding to play "I am the king of the world!" while balancing on the balcony railing) located on Deck 11, one deck below the kids' pool area and Camp Carnival.
Prospective passengers should exercise care when booking to avoid surprises. Six Category 5A standard outside staterooms, for example, have portholes rather than windows. There are a few Category 6B outside cabins with obstructed views, and a good number of cabins with twin beds that can't be combined into a single king bed.
We had cabin 7326, which I choose because it was relatively close to the stair/lift well, but one removed so that we wouldn't hear people waiting for a lift. This worked fine, and the only noise we head was from people talking in the corridor after a big night out....continue