Carnival Valor's cabins are comfortable and serviceable. The burnt-orange decor accents, combined with the cherry wood finishes on night tables, drawers and closet doors, create a welcoming ambience. More than 60 percent of the outside staterooms have balconies, most of which are too narrow to fit lounge chairs that recline. Still, the balconies provide an oasis where you can read a book, look at the stars and catch sea breezes in private.
Closets, plus a desk and room shelving, provide adequate storage. An in-room refrigerator comes stocked with water, juices, soda and beer, but charges apply if you drink them. In-room safes are free to use, but they lock by use of a charge card, not a code. That makes it harder for your cabinmate to use the safe when you leave the cabin with the charge card.
What surprised us most about our balcony cabin was the cathode-ray television. The fat-bodied sets are an anachronism. Nonetheless, you can watch ABC, CBS, NBC, TNT, CNN International, the Cartoon Network and the Discovery Channel, plus pay-for-view movies ($11 each). Suites feature flat-screen televisions.
Bathrooms, while compact, are functional, each featuring a small curtained shower, one sink vanity and storage shelves on either side of the mirror. The magnifying mirror is set high on the wall -- best for tall people and not useful at all as a makeup mirror for most women. Bathrobes come with the cabins. In conjunction with promotions, the bathrooms are typically stocked with a basket of free samples. On our sailing, the only two giveaways were toothpaste and dental floss.
Standard cabins include 185-square-foot inside and porthole cabins, and 220-square-foot outside cabins with picture windows. Balcony staterooms are a cozy but functional 185 square feet with 35-square-foot balconies, but the aft-view extended balcony staterooms feature larger 60-square-foot balconies.
Suites include 275-square-foot wheelchair-accessible ocean suites, each of which has a balcony, and 275-square-foot junior suites, also with balconies. The six Deluxe Ocean View suites (also called Scenic Ocean View staterooms) on deck 9 are 250 square feet apiece. These have walls of slanted windows but no balconies. Two 500-square-foot Captain's Suites, located on Deck 9, are the largest accommodations onboard. Each has a separate bedroom with a bathroom, a sitting area with another bath, plus a couch and a desk. Light streams in from the wall of windows; however, some people find that the slanted windows in the sitting area foster a feeling of confinement.