4 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: January 2019
My wife and I travel regularly, however Cruises are not our primary choice. We joined some friends/business partners for an excursion recently on a 5 day cruise to Cozumel. The highlight of our cruise was our couples massage on our second ... Read More
My wife and I travel regularly, however Cruises are not our primary choice. We joined some friends/business partners for an excursion recently on a 5 day cruise to Cozumel. The highlight of our cruise was our couples massage on our second day at sea. In fact it was so relaxing and enjoyable we decided to schedule another massage on our 5th day at sea! Our masseuses were so amazing! If you decide to travel on Valor and are looking to make the most out of the experience, I suggest booking a massage with Dexie Ruiz or Natamon Wiboonma. One last thing, book a night at the steakhouse as well. A 5 course meal for only $38 per person is a steal...Hope the review makes your trip a little better! In case anyone is wondering for excursions...we did Passion Island at Cozumel, the only downside was how fast the excursion went...we could have stayed there an extra 5 hours! At the Yucatan, we did the Mayan Ruins (only 30 minutes away) then to the beach. The tour guide Adam made that excursion worth the cost, highly suggest it. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2018
We took my 18 year old son and 10 of his senior classmates on The Carnival Valor May 10th 4 day cruise to Cozumel Mexico out of Galveston Texas for their Senior Trip. The Carnival Valor was the best choice of ships because 1) We ... Read More
We took my 18 year old son and 10 of his senior classmates on The Carnival Valor May 10th 4 day cruise to Cozumel Mexico out of Galveston Texas for their Senior Trip. The Carnival Valor was the best choice of ships because 1) We live in Texas and the port is 4 hours away 2)The trip was only 4 days and one Port 3)The cruise, for the most part is inexpensive I will say from an 18 year old point of view is that they had a blast. Some of the students said 10 out of 10. My son had a blast, but has cruised before and knew that this ship was not as nice as the one he has been on (RCI FOS) Being with his friends was priceless for him though. I personally did not like the layout of the ship. One reason being that traffic is directed through the casino. I hate the smoke smell, and I hate that our teens walk through the casino to get from one end of the ship to the next. You can get land locked mid-ship. When you ask someone how to get through to AFT, etc, they will tell you "go up to deck 5, then come down to deck 3, go down stairs, blah blah" WHAT? I think the bottom line is that you get to the floor that the casino is on to get to forward or aft. Another layout issue is the Adult Area. The Adult Only pool and the Serenity Deck are not together. To get to The Serenity Deck, be prepared to climb up steps. There is no elevator. Why does Carnival ask their older passengers to climb stairs? I don't go on vacation to spend time climbing stairs. I don't mind some, but when your vacation is spent climbing, then to me, that equals no fun. My husband has had a hip replacement. Before the surgery, there would have been no way for him to get up there. My knees are beginning to get a bit sore in general. Food was great. We picked a cruise because most of our group of Seniors are boys and they need to eat. I think they loved Guys Burgers. The Mongolian got a thumbs down. My husband loved the Cantina. The Lido food was ok, not bad. Plentiful and basically good. The dining room was open for Brunch every sea day morning and the food and service there is fantastic. The evening meal was also very good. Carnival does their dining room very well. Dani our waiter was an absolute ROCKSTAR to our Seniors. They LOVED him. He could do no wrong in their eyes. The Carnival Valor served its purpose for the short trip close to home with our teens. The Valor is a value party ship. I personally will not be picking this ship for any future cruises Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2017
The Bland reunion choose this cruise to celebrate its 33rd reunion. I liked that the ship served and extended breakfast lunch in the dinning room on sea days. The ship needs a paint job. Also carpets could using a cleaning. Buffet ... Read More
The Bland reunion choose this cruise to celebrate its 33rd reunion. I liked that the ship served and extended breakfast lunch in the dinning room on sea days. The ship needs a paint job. Also carpets could using a cleaning. Buffet was not as good as the one on Celebrity but then I usually don't go to the buffet. Dinning room was OK but would have been nice to see more food selection. Staff was excellent entertainment was first class. Martini bar only had its martini sampler one one day of the cruise. Celebrity had it each evening. Boarding and disembarking was very easy. Liked that if you needed a wheelchair you were brought from the pier directly to the elevators on the ship. I have another cruise scheduled with Carnival in December. close carnival because I can drive to the port and don't have to fly. Read Less
25 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2017
I traveled with a group of co-workers. Food was good, not great, with a few inspired items, like the rabbit appetizer or strawberry bisque in the dining room or the apple cake on buffet. Plenty of activities. The port at Cozumel is ... Read More
I traveled with a group of co-workers. Food was good, not great, with a few inspired items, like the rabbit appetizer or strawberry bisque in the dining room or the apple cake on buffet. Plenty of activities. The port at Cozumel is not near the town center, and is essentially located at an artificial grouping of shops and restaurants and bars. The excursion around Cozumel island included a guide, Sebastian, at San Gervasio ruins who was excellent, wove history and an understanding of local plants and culture into an entertaining visit. The bathrooms were clean enough, well-designed, good hot water and force, plenty of space. Beds were sufficient, a bit small, but comfortable. Room steward Giri was top-notch. The rooms have a single electric plug, so bring a surge protector or extension cord. Temperature was uneven in the room. The ship shows lots of signs of wear, lots of torn curtains, stairs missing treads, nicks, mold and the like. The burger station got rave reviews, although ketchup had run out when I tried it. I had hoped for some jigsaw puzzles in the library, but found none. Karaoke DJ did a great job; the singers, not so much. I found the comedians unfunny, lowest common denominator, boorish. Piano bar had a great pianist and singer, but crowd participation was not as active as I anticipated. Quite a few kids in the adult only pool and hot tub, and some floating debris. Pools are far too small for any serious swimming. Excellent and relaxing massage, but background music was boring. Great gym, very little used. Bingo and line dancing class were enjoyable. A companion had stellar service from guest services when a family emergency developed during the cruise--compassionate and efficient. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: May 2017
A group of girls and I went on Carnival Valor for a bachelorette party. We had a great time. We enjoyed the food. Room service was fast during our evening midnight snacks. The service is outstanding. Edwin our bar waiter from Colombia was ... Read More
A group of girls and I went on Carnival Valor for a bachelorette party. We had a great time. We enjoyed the food. Room service was fast during our evening midnight snacks. The service is outstanding. Edwin our bar waiter from Colombia was always attentive and made sure we were taken care of. Andreja, Neil and Artawan took care of us during our dinner every night. They were courteous and energized. Always smiling and ready to serve us. The best live music entertainment came from Sabor Habanero with Rocio and Ignacio. They played songs to keep the crowd on the dance floor. I hope to see them next time I get on this cruise. The pamper party hosted by the Spa team was nice as well. The only thing I would say is that the spa needs some updating. It does not feel relaxing. I felt more like I was waiting for my turn at Visible Changes. Read Less
Sail Date: May 2017
I celebrated my bachelorette party on Carnival Valor from May 25 till May 29th and had an amazing experience with 7 of my bridesmaids. We had the best customer service from Neil, Andreja, and Artawan whom attended us in the Lincoln ... Read More
I celebrated my bachelorette party on Carnival Valor from May 25 till May 29th and had an amazing experience with 7 of my bridesmaids. We had the best customer service from Neil, Andreja, and Artawan whom attended us in the Lincoln dinning room. They were AMAZING! They had vibrant / positive / and full of energy personas ! In addition, we met Edwin from Colombia whom assisted us with our alcoholic beverages. He was very attentive and polite throughout the four/five day cruise. My group would ask Edwin for his itinerary so that he could assist us through-out the entire trip .....by far the BEST BARTENDER i have met on any Carnival Cruise Lines. Lastly, the highlight of our trip was Rocio & Ignacio from sabor Habanero ! they were phenomenal on their performance and made us feel like family. Every time we showed up to their assigned location it was a PARTY ! They ensured that me and my bridesmaids had the best time and even played several requested songs for us. My bridesmaids and I will never forget this unforgettable experience and all is thanks to the Carnival staff mentioned above! - Jesseca Ortiz Read Less
Sail Date: May 2017
We are in our early 50's we go out a lot at home and also work, so when we cruise we like to relax we cruised with 2 other couple that are our friends at home. We all had booked faster to the fun which was great we were thru ... Read More
We are in our early 50's we go out a lot at home and also work, so when we cruise we like to relax we cruised with 2 other couple that are our friends at home. We all had booked faster to the fun which was great we were thru embarkation in no time sat for a short time and then onboard we got! we got our rooms straight away this is worth the extra cost we dumped our soda, wine and carry on and headed to guys for our burger - yum, we walled around the ship she is a lot older than we are used to I guess, I first cruise on the Conquest, then the Magic, Triumph and Breeze which i guess just seem a bit newer. We liked the ship, the lay out on lido isnt great trying to find a chair was hard and we just gave up only sat out once, as it was a 5 day and we got to our two ports where we spent time on beach and snorkelling, more on excursions later. Our cabin Steward Made -I was awesome what a great guy so friendly and helpful ( especially with our problems outside the room - see cabin review) we always tip and we got our room cleaned twice a day and ice supplied as often as we used it. We had anytime dining, we went to this feature as soon as Carnival went to it. We love it so we depending on our day can pick the time. We had different tables each time, was great. We did have a bad meal, if we didnt like something we sent it back and got something else. I tried the vegetarian indian dish for the first time! wow yummy! We always tip the servers they dont know this til after the meal and we had great service each time! We also were celebrating two birthdays and a 10 Wedding anniversary of our friends and the dining room staff brought out a little cake and candles so sweet of them. We also booked and went to the steakhouse, food was great but they did nothing for our friends Wedding Anniversary even thru I had emailed them and told them about it, that was a shame. Ports Cozumel, we decided to go to Chanknaab park on our own the 6 of us, we took a cab for 6 which was $24 and on the way back we split up and its was $12 for us to get back. We got a voucher online and this allowed us to use the park for $19 a guest, we got a chair and shade for this and you could walk the steps into the sea to snorkel, we paid for food and drinks and they were normal prices for that kind of place, Bottled water $2 soda etc the same. Progesso, we just took the free shuttle into town and walked to the beach we got loungers and umbrellas and had a fun day! cost around $100 for all six of us, we had bucks of beer, tacos, soda and waters, there are a lot of vendors this is a poor part of Mexico you just say No thank You and they move on, not a big deal, we even had mariachy bands come up to us, it was a blast. We left the beach as it started to get really windy, then a big storm at the port blew in sand everywhere, we got onboard before it started by our friend were still shopping at the port, it made for interesting convo at dinner that night and we tried not to look out the windows as the sea went up and down, but after an hour or so it calmed down. Conclusion we had fun with our friend and we relaxed the hubbie slept a lot and I played craps and won several times! PLEASE CARNIVAL BAN THE SMOKING!!! I doubt we will go on a short trip again you just dont get into it as much as i do on a 7 days or more. The ship had a rowdy crowd, but not always in a nice way. Usually we hang out in the Redfrog for hours but it just didnt have the same vibe. Looking forward to the next ones on the Vista out of Miami and then next year back to the Breeze and doing our first Alaskan Cruise on the Legend. Read Less
2 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: October 2016
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. The cruise was a celebration of multiple anniversaries and a graduation; there was a total of 14 in our group. We are experienced cruisers, many of us are gold level VIFP. We were quite ... Read More
We chose this cruise because of the itinerary. The cruise was a celebration of multiple anniversaries and a graduation; there was a total of 14 in our group. We are experienced cruisers, many of us are gold level VIFP. We were quite disappointed in the steakhouse experience as well as the food in the main dining room. We usually eat in the dining room for breakfast as well as dinner; not this time. The lido food was much better. There was nothing special about the steakhouse experience and in hindsight, we should have spent the money on something else. My husband and I will be on the Carnival Dream in April 2017 with a different group of people and we hope that we have a much better experience. The upgrades were nice and we especially enjoyed the Alchemy Bar and Guys Burgers. We stayed in an extended aft cabin for the first and last time. There is not much privacy on the balcony and if it rains, there is no cover. Our bed was not at all comfortable and I have never gotten a bad bed on a Carnival ship. I was disappointed in the cleanliness of the ship as well as the frequent malfunctions of equipment. Oftentimes in the restrooms there was little to no soap for handwashing and many times the coffee dispensers, ice cream machines etc on the lido deck were not functioning. Commodes were out of service. Not at all the Carnival quality we have come to know and love. Read Less
3 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: September 2016
This was our 7th Carnival cruise. There has been a group of about 8 couples who have been trying to make this an every 2 year trip. My husband and I have made it a little more often with some or all from the group. We really noticed the ... Read More
This was our 7th Carnival cruise. There has been a group of about 8 couples who have been trying to make this an every 2 year trip. My husband and I have made it a little more often with some or all from the group. We really noticed the cruise director was one of the best we have ever experience. She was approachable and involved in all of the activities we attended, she kept everyone informed with daily announcements. In the past we never saw or heard the cruise director once. We also had an amazing room steward and great waiters. As always the comedians are awesome!! The dinning room experience was excellent always on task, personable and on top of everything. Knew our name a fun group to see every evening. The steak house was a little more uptight and did not even come close to the service offered in the dinning room. (and we paid extra for this experience) The steak house was not busy at the 5:30 dinner slot and the amount of service needed for them was nothing compared to the wait staff in the dinning area. Steak house was not a happy or personable group of people. Also there was a strict dress code, I saw them ask a man to change his nice pressed shorts to pants as a woman in stretch pants and wife beater type tank top came in for dinner. I am sure that rubbed him and his party the wrong way. The new app to see the daily schedule was a great addition,but we did not use the chat as it was an extra fee. The ONLY and BIGGEST complaint the groups of us have every time is the fees for the photos, the amount of photos that are being printed and wasted is sad this is were I feel "we" the customer are really being taken advantage of . There should be an opportunity to get a copy of our images for a better price This cruise seemed different than others as changes were made. The food and dessert did not seem as plentiful, but the choices were of a better quality. The fee for the steak house went up, the alcoholic beverage prices seemed more reasonable than in the past. There was fewer activities than I remember in the past. On the final day getting off the ship seemed a little confusing as we waited for our floor be called and it wasn't so we decided to just walk out @ 8:30 without direction. The overall experience was the cruise was wonderful and we will be back. Read Less
Sail Date: August 2016
We were told that this was a great ship from family.. We had 31 people with us to celebrate our 50th wedding anniv. The only thing was I was disappointed with the number of people we booked for the cruise . We got no incentives or perks ... Read More
We were told that this was a great ship from family.. We had 31 people with us to celebrate our 50th wedding anniv. The only thing was I was disappointed with the number of people we booked for the cruise . We got no incentives or perks from Carnival. I was told they help celebrate your special ocasion. The ship is beautiful and so clean. We had a storm in at ST. Kitts so they took us to St Thomas and the storm was also in Turks Cacios so we went to Nassau for the day We loved our shore excurtions The people on the islands were so friendly and we got some good bargains . I loved the ship so much we are going back on it 12-4-16. I could nor afford a balcony cabin as before. Hoping to get an up grade on our Dec trip. The food was out of this world. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: June 2016
We decided to take a cruise to celebrate lots of birthdays, anniversaries, and milestones among three families. There were 16 of us traveling, ranging in age from 20-60, so we had both small and large group excursions at the four ports. ... Read More
We decided to take a cruise to celebrate lots of birthdays, anniversaries, and milestones among three families. There were 16 of us traveling, ranging in age from 20-60, so we had both small and large group excursions at the four ports. The first two days were at sea, and the ship always had activities going on. We played a bunch of trivia, bingo, cornhole, and ping pong and spent many hours in and around the pools/hot tubs. The Valor had movies playing on their HD big screen on the top pool deck each night, and even played game 7 of the NBA Finals. Although the picture quality was superb, the satellite signal was extremely poor despite clear skies. Our first stop was in St. Maarten where our entire group took a private tour of the island through a third party company, Bernard's Taxi and Private Tours. Our guide drove us around the entire island in an air-conditioned "party bus". We stopped at a few beaches and overlooks while drinking the complimentary water, soda, beers, and rum punch provided on board. We came across herds of wild goats and iguanas but had the most fun at Maho Beach, watching the planes come and go right over our heads. Our driver, DJ, even let us stay past the designated time so we could see a few of the larger commercial planes take off. The second port we stopped at was St. Kitts, where we all did our own thing. The area wasn't very tourist-friendly, and the available excursions didn't seem too exciting. We walked around the immediate town near the port, but didn't feel welcome, so we cut the day short and spent the majority of the time back on the ship. We all agreed that we didn't want to come back to St. Kitts. Our third port was old San Juan, Puerto Rico. Unfortunately, we were only docked from 7:30am until 1:30pm, so we didn't want to risk booking a third-party excursion to the rain forest and not make it back on time. We got off the boat as soon as we docked, but almost everything was closed until 9am or later. We eventually toured el Castillo San Cristobal which was very cool and had lots of amazing views of the shoreline and the city. It's worth noting that this is the only port of call that required a photo ID to get back inside the cruise terminal before being allowed to board the ship. Our final port was the unanimous favorite among our group, Grand Turk. One family did an all-inclusive beach excursion that included snorkeling and beach inflatables as well as food and drinks. A few of us took a boat out with a company called White Sands to dive for conchs, snorkel, swim with and hold stingrays, and then eat the conch that we had just harvested. This company was much more private than the excursions booked through Carnival. Our boat only had 8 guests compared to the 50 or so on Chukka. Everyone met back up at Margaritaville with a giant pool, air conditioned cabanas, and a swim-up bar. Everyone is already trying to plan the next time we can go back. The food aboard the ship was usually very good, although I will say that Royal Caribbean's desserts were noticeably larger and tastier. With such a large group, keeping in touch on such a large ship was important, so we all used the lowest tier WiFi which allowed social media apps like Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp for $25 for the entire 8 days. This came in handy every single day. The usual Love and Marriage show and Quest game were both full of laughs, and the dance club on board was a great place to meet new friends and have fun almost every night. One thing I noticed, and perhaps it was purely coincidence or because of the port we were in, but getting on and off the ship was much smoother than my Royal Caribbean cruises. Read Less
12 Helpful Votes
Sail Date: February 2016
Upon boarding the ship, it took over 6 hours to receive our luggage only to find that every item had been removed in their search for alcohol (2 of our bags had been checked by TSA). No respect for personal property or an effort to keep ... Read More
Upon boarding the ship, it took over 6 hours to receive our luggage only to find that every item had been removed in their search for alcohol (2 of our bags had been checked by TSA). No respect for personal property or an effort to keep things the way they were found. While waiting on our luggage, there was a constant barrage of staff pushing poorly overpriced drinks. We are not big fans of Golden Corral type buffet lines but if that is your thing then this is your place. By the way, no disrespect to Golden Corral, but Carnival can't even come close to them. The food at the Washington restaurant was not only poor, every dinner was flat out disgusting. The steak, mussels, scallops, baked potatoes, fish, chicken and even the pasta was well over cooked and poorly seasoned. It is clear that they have no one checking the quality of what goes to the table. No exaggeration but I have never ordered seafood so dry or steak so over cooked. They did have an option for better quality steak for a nominal fee of $20.00 that 2 people in our party paid to get something decent. Three days into our trip, and after both my wife and I already developed intestinal issues from the food, over half the people in our party contacted the same virus and discussed in previous comments. It starts with fever/chills, severe coughing and respiratory problems, sore throat and green mucus. We are both missing our first days back at work. BTW, medical center nurses didn't clean up room after previous patient and I had to ask her to wear gloves. There was a constant line of people with the same symptoms at the medical center each trip we made and what seemed to be many more guest coughing by trips end. The Casino is extremely smoky and poorly ventilated. We could not stay is it for long periods and ultimately avoided it too. They really nickel and dime you for everything and you are constantly asked for that room card for everything. LAST TRIP FOR US. All-inclusive from now on with free internet and no surprises on your bill at the end. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2015
I was the group leader of 22. First and foremost - the ship exceeded our expectations. After following the reviews I was not certain we had made the right choice but even though it is an older ship, it was clean and well cared for. My ... Read More
I was the group leader of 22. First and foremost - the ship exceeded our expectations. After following the reviews I was not certain we had made the right choice but even though it is an older ship, it was clean and well cared for. My boss had the captains suite, which again - even though older, it was wonderful and we enjoyed having get togethers there. Everyone else was happy with their cabins with most having balcony rooms. The food was ok, some nights being better than others, and we know that going in. I promise you, no one went hungry!!! Scarlett's Steakhouse was good, not great. My husband and I felt rushed even though they were not busy and there was a language barrier. The little sample they bring out first was to die for!!! Our ports of Nassau, San Juan, Grand Turk were all great. We couldn't stop at St. Thomas because of the storm so we went to Amber Cove in the Dominican Republic and it was ok. Great cruise overall!!! My one complaint was booking. I had one assigned person for awhile and then Carnival has changed to where you can not leave a message for them anymore and it goes to the next person if they are busy - and they are ALWAYS busy. Very disappointing. I confirmed our dining together many times and when we got there we weren't even in the same dining room much less together. The maître de did a wonderful job of fixing it for the rest of the cruise. The ship did a great job. The customer service on the booking end needs improvement. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2013
This is the first time cruising the Eastern Caribbean for us. We have been to a number of islands in the area, but not to St. Kitts, St. Lucia and Barbados. Good weather and some beautiful islands - great time of year. Things gone right: ... Read More
This is the first time cruising the Eastern Caribbean for us. We have been to a number of islands in the area, but not to St. Kitts, St. Lucia and Barbados. Good weather and some beautiful islands - great time of year. Things gone right: Great Room Service from the Steward - He was the best and deserved more of a tip than we gave. Food was good to excellent. Buffett had a good selection and something new every day. Except scrambled eggs - they are rotten. Staff - most all were happy, helpful and enjoyed their work. Always a hello. Entertainment was very good - always something going on - great shows. Things gone wrong: Noise - This room was a nightmare. Noise ALL NIGHT LONG and I mean loud. Don't book on 8, anywhere near the back of the ship. Out of control, noisy, rude, obnoxious guests (PR's). Not to stereotype any group of people, but it was so obvious this is just the norm. Out of control, drunk people dancing (eating area), yelling (eating area), throwing food (eating area), and shouting obscenities (eating area). The place for this is the deck dance area, not the halls, dinner rooms and any where else they feel like it. The Ship Security / Staff did NOTHING to stop this crazy behavior. In fact they seemed to egg them on with loud, loud, loud music that would hurt your ears and just watching these chanting baboons prance around.. The Carnival Staff did not seem to care about the other 90% of the customers who wanted some peace and quiet. Don't EVER embark from San Juan unless you want to join these crazies. This Gang Behavior went on for three days - on the ship and off the ship. Hopefully these crazies ended up in jail or passed out. Seemed to stop on the fourth day out. I am no prude to having a few drinks and enjoying a party time, That is one of the reasons we are on the cruise - but there is a limit. Long story short, choose your cruise well, your departure place makes a big difference. Leave from Florida. Not doing this again for sure. The daily gratuity business is just plain nuts. I will tip who I want, and when I want. Carnival pay your employees better.   Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: July 2012
I've always cruised with Carnival and, again, they didn't disappoint. My best friend and her husband usually spear-head our couples retreat and they love Oasis of the Seas. I was surprised that they actually chose Carnival this ... Read More
I've always cruised with Carnival and, again, they didn't disappoint. My best friend and her husband usually spear-head our couples retreat and they love Oasis of the Seas. I was surprised that they actually chose Carnival this year (and elated as well). Our group grew from the standard 6 people to 18! Yeah, 9 couples so you know you can't please everyone right? WRONG!!! Everyone had a ball. We had our couples retreat, family gathering, ceremony and reception all on the Carnival Valor. We stayed in Ft. Lauderdale for about a week with everyone joining in their own time. By the time Sunday arrived, everyone was ready to tackle the long line. There wasn't one. It may have taken 45 minutes or less to go from outside, through the lines, through customer service, to the Lido Deck. The crew was awesome. It was almost like they were ready to party and were happy that we decided to show up! That's how I like it! I was greeted with the Drink of the Day and we did almost every line dance known to man. I almost forgot to go to my room with the dancing, drinking, and hot food that awaited me. Our balcony was wonderful and our room was nice and clean. The balcony had me making a choice-either go on the Lido Deck for the sailing fun or have my own private party as we sailed. I chose the first option this time. By the way, The Muster Station for the emergency drill ran smoothly. Boy can they take pictures! I'm glad that they do because some were good and some were bad but you didn't have to buy them (thank God). Later that evening we dined in the Washington Dining room. The food was great (although the flat-ironed steak was a little tough). We later went back to the Lido Deck to watch that 120" huge screen. We saw "The Wedding Planner" that night and Carnival supplied all of the popcorn. Later that evening we had a ball on the Lido Deck which was lit up to the hilt! Blue lights everywhere! They gave out American Flag hats, small American flags, music galore, dancing, drinks. I didn't go to bed until after 2:00pm. Then I remembered that I hadn't eaten. Room Service! They were there within 30 minutes. The next day was a Fun Day at Sea and also Elegant Night. Everyone was beautiful and the food was great. We had two tables assigned for us: 516 and 518. They both were near the windows so you can imagine the view. We went back to karaoke and my best friend sang so well that she was chose to be Aretha Franklin for the grand finale "Amateur of the Stars" (???) to be held on that Friday. I could go on and on about Ocho Rios, Fun Day at Sea and the last day but why? My cruise was fabulous and I had such a great time that I'm going on Carnival Elation in October. I know there's only 90 days between the two but I love Carnival. So if you're looking for fun, no agenda or itinerary, and a do-your-own-thang type of cruise, then Carnival is for you. Read Less
Sail Date: November 2011
I hesitate to write this review because it mirrors very much the last Carnival sailing we made two years ago. If you want to go back in the Carnival archives and find my review of the Carnival Victory for November 2009, you would get much ... Read More
I hesitate to write this review because it mirrors very much the last Carnival sailing we made two years ago. If you want to go back in the Carnival archives and find my review of the Carnival Victory for November 2009, you would get much of the sense of this review. Our second sailing on Carnival confirmed my earlier comment that I would never intentionally sail Carnival. We prefer a more traditional cruise experience as opposed to the Fun Ship concept that is characteristic of Carnival and Norwegian. This will be confirmed with our sailing in April 2012 on Regent to the Mediterranean. So, you might ask, why take this cruise? As was the case two years ago, we "won" this cruise as part of an incentive with my business. As such, our hosts provided us with balcony cabins, all transportation and transfers, two private cocktail parties with food and entertainment (one night we "owned" the disco for an hour), on board credits to cover tips and more, a soda card, and a special dinner at Scarlett's Steakhouse. Thus the many perks by our hosts turned the experience -- which would have been a 3-3.5 under normal circumstances -- into a 4.5-5. We flew down from NC on the day of embarkation with our group totalling about 38. Due top available flights to meet a 4:00PM sailing, we arrived at the cruise terminal EARLY...11:00AM. And while our check in in the terminal went quickly, we then had to wait until after NOON to board the ship. Thus a word to the wise...don't plan to get to the ship until after NOON if possible. We did board, explored, had some lunch, and then explored some more. We were able to take possession of our cabin around 1:45, and our luggage was all delivered by 6:30PM. Our cabin was a most adequate starboard balcony...located on deck 6 -- midway between the Washington Dining Room and the Lido Buffet...very convenient. No complaints about the cabin and its amenities, and since we love a balcony, there were many early mornings and mid to late afternoons spent there. Our cabin steward was good...we hardly ever saw him. The room was also cleaned promptly. As for the ship, I'll not repeat the information from the ship's profiles. We usually avoided the outdoor pool area with the big screen area. If we had to be near a pool, we chose the adult pool area at the stern. We most preferred reading, relaxing, napping, sunning at Serenity on Deck 12 -- the adults only area. No, no nude or topless sunbathing, but great lounge chairs, sofas and chaises, and a great place to relax. Had it's own hot tub and bar. A great place to get away...and we were there a lot. We had a late dinner seating in the Washington Dining Room. We prefer this time so we can get back from shore adventures, take a nap, clean up, and go have a drink, dance, listen to music before dinner. I'm continue to be constantly amazed at how folks seem to line up 10-15 minutes prior to the dinner hour and then complain when they have to wait or are not seated promptly. After all, one already has a guaranteed table so what's the rush. We find an entrance 5-10 minutes after the dinner gong sounds is perfect, and we seem to get much more attention from our waiter and/or the maitre d or his/her assistants. Interestingly, our Maitre d' for this cruise had been on the Victory two years before and it was nice to renew friendships. We also ate breakfast 5 of 7 mornings in the main dining room. Despite complaints to the contrary, we were promptly served. And we always requested...and received...a table for 2 at breakfast with no argument from the staff. Food everywhere was plentiful, although certainly not gourmet. I ate nothing "bad" the whole week, but can't think of anything I'd have re-ordered. A real highlight was an evening at Scarlett's Steakhouse. This is an excellent alternative dining experience, great menu, and worth the additional $30.00. I'd compare it with a Ruth's Chris Steakhouse. We are not much on "shows" and only attended one or two. I really can't remember much about them. The "Newlywed Game" -- or the attempt thereof -- was pretty good, as was the "Tribute to the 1980s". We saw several of the comedians perform...and like most...there was good and bad. The show band in the casino seemed to draw a lot of attention. I was a bit disappointed in the piano player, Maggie, who did well, but had to play from music as opposed to memories, and I don't think spoke English. She didn't interact with guests. As far as the itinerary, we had two sea days sandwiching four ports. We'd never gone to the Western Caribbean via cruise, so we were not sure what to expect. We did realize that this is a heavily scuba, snorkeling, and beach itinerary, and since we live 30 minutes from the ocean and own a second home at the ocean, this was not important to us. We are not shore excursion people, preferring to rent a car and explore on our own, wanting to see life away from the cruise ship dock. Many of our party participated in the various shore excursions and we heard nothing negative. As for our activities ashore: in Grand Cayman, we were unable to rent a car, so we hopped a van for a 3-hour tour of the island. Pleasant enough. Glad to get back to the ship. At Cozmel, we rented a car and drove around the island, stopping where we wanted. We lunched at a beach hotel with great food out by the water. We stayed on the ship in Belize -- partly because we didn't want to deal with a 20-minute each way tender, and we'd heard that unless you were on a ship excursion, the port was not safe. Roatan/Honduras was our favorite, where we rented scooters and explored the island, had lunch at a neat restaurant at West Bay, and ended back at the Mahogany Bay port terminal with some nice shops. Debarkation on Sunday was pretty painless. Our hosts had arranged for us to depart in the last group, which really only meant that we sat on the ship as opposed to sitting in Miami airport. A few final random thoughts: There were a lot of children on this cruise -- more than when we sailed two years ago from Miami. They were no bother at all. Photographers are everywhere...especially hawking their services on the way to and from dinner. They are pleasant enough, but a bit obnoxious. Finally, this is a casual cruise, and yet, it did seem that folks dressed up a bit more. I wore my tuxedo on one formal night and my white dinner jacket on the second, and notice a surprisingly large number of folks who followed this practice. All in all, it was a pleasant experience and very relaxing. Our hosts provided sufficient perks to make it really fun. I'll probably not return to the Western Caribbean on purpose. Read Less
1 Helpful Vote
Sail Date: March 2011
Hi everyone! I'm back from our wedding cruise and it was beautiful! I wanted to give you a review and will try to upload what pics we've received from our photographer. Let me know if you have any questions! Before the ... Read More
Hi everyone! I'm back from our wedding cruise and it was beautiful! I wanted to give you a review and will try to upload what pics we've received from our photographer. Let me know if you have any questions! Before the Cruise: My parents are in West Palm Beach and were kind enough to host us and our entire group of friends (31) who came with us for the cruise. The night before we left, we had a huge catered Cuban meal and just got to know each other. It was a fun time. I had a chartered bus with International Limos out of Miami and they were a great company to work with. They met us right at the house and drove our group to the port on Sunday morning and were there to pick us up when we got back the following Sunday. The Cruise Embarkation Day: We were VIP due to the room we booked so we got onboard first around 10:45a.m. (ahead of our group - they were on by 11:15a.m.) and went straight to the Lido deck to grab lunch. Then we dropped my gown and his suit off at our stateroom and went to the Lincoln Dining Room to work out how to get our group sitting together. We were pleasantly surprised & excited to find out that our Maitre d' had put our entire group in a private room in the dining room for the entire week! We had 4 tables all together and were pretty loud most nights - luckily we had a great staff to take care of us. Dining: We expected long waits due to the size of the ship and the fact that it was spring break week for most colleges, but had no problems at all with waiting for food! A typical wait was 5 minutes for the Deli line (I was addicted to the Arugula, Mozzarella, Grilled Peppers sandwich on Foccacia bread). The longest wait we had was at the midnight buffet on Mexican night - it was about 15 minutes till we got our food. The food was all excellent. I especially loved the Deli and the Burrito Bar. There was also a Mongolian Bar (cooked to order), a Fish & Chips Bar, a Salad Bar, the Buffet with a daily 'theme', and a Dessert Bar. We ate at the buffet most days for lunch & snacks but ate at the Lincoln Dining Room every night for dinner so we could spend time with our friends & family. The food in the Lincoln was also fantastic - I didn't notice any issues with the portion sizes (we were all stuffed after every meal) or the food quality. They had lobster tail and escargot (my faves) and other nice touches like the sirloin and lots of vegetarian options. Stateroom: I strongly recommend getting a suite for your wedding cruise. It was worth it for us! We had a large 2-sink bathroom with a shower/jet tub combo, a sitting room directly off of the bathroom with a large counter & seat with 2 closets, a full bar on one wall of the bedroom, a large balcony with seating for 4 reclining chairs, and a large bedroom with lots of mirrors throughout. We used our room as a meeting/ending point with as many as 20 people in there some nights drinking champagne and hanging out. It was a fun time. I was also able to fit myself, my mom and mother-in-law, my 3 sisters, my 2 friends, and my sister-in-law in there to get ready the morning of our wedding. So tons of space!!! Excursions: I did two excursions that I organized for our group, one in Belize and one in Roatan. Belize: I was excited that we stopped in Belize. I told everyone in our group who wanted to go that they had to be on one of the first 3 tenders if they wanted to go on the tour, and to meet us in the Eagles Lounge by 8:15am. Luckily my husband and I went a bit earlier because they were handing out tender tickets by 8a.m. (they listed the ticket time as starting at 8:30am). We were able to get most of us on tenders 1 and 2, with my parents arriving late and getting tender #4. I spoke to the lady handing out tickets and explained our group size (24) and she was kind enough to give my parents tender #2 so they could go with us. The tenders are larger and faster than they used to be - we were in port within 15minutes of getting in the tender. I went with Cave-tubing.com due to the reviews on Tripadvisor and they were so much fun! They had a large sign right outside of the terminal with an air-conditioned charter bus waiting for us and we started out right away. They kept us entertained the entire ride to the caves by talking about Belize and keeping us laughing. Very fun group of guys! We took a moderate walk to the caves and saw a tarantula (they held it and let others brave enough to hold it also - ick!) and fed some guests termites (they swore they tasted minty but I was too chicken to try this too!) Once we got to the river and started cave tubing, they were very informative about the culture and history of the caves and some of the local beliefs about the caves (believed it was their afterlife). It was an amazing trip and totally worth the price we paid! It included lunch and water and a taste of the Cashew Wine (we bought a bottle). If you have a group going, they will work with you on the price. I believe they start out at $55/pp which is a deal! Roatan: This was actually my favorite excursion that I've ever taken, even compared to the excellent and highly entertaining cave-tubing trip. We took a private catamaran charter aboard the Free Radical, which is owned by a retired couple named Ed & Julie. They had a crew of 3 - a cook-Chena and a crew made up of 3 younger guys, and it was like being royalty! They treated us like we were visiting family/friends but with the quality of a luxury boat. We were picked up right outside of the port and taken to their catamaran on the opposite side of the island (it's a beautiful island) where they met us. We got onboard and took off for the snorkeling site. It was a reef in a very quiet area and was so peaceful. We snorkeled around with the 2 younger guys and got to see some fun animals (giant starfish!) and then went back on board and rinsed off with freshwater. They had a large lunch ready for us - Ed grilled out hamburgers and hot dogs and chicken (they also have vegetarian options if you want it) and Chena made her homemade salsa (AMAZING! The 10 of us ate 3 bowls!!! Haha) and her homemade pasta salad and potato salad and...it was just delicious. We also had unlimited drinks - sodas and beers and their special 'punch' mix and water. On our way back we had a bit of time so Ed let out the sail and we sailed back into the bay. IT was absolutely beautiful and exactly what I'd imagined when I thought of a catamaran sail & snorkel. They also have excellent reviews on Tripadvisor (where I found them). Wedding Day - Grand Cayman: Ceremony: We got married at our first port stop - Grand Cayman - at the Grand Old House. I went through Desiree directly at the GOH due to the prices and reviews of The Wedding Experience (everything was priced double AND they have terrible reviews!). Desiree and I emailed and faxed everything back and forth and spoke on the phone a few times. She was great at getting back to me within the same day or the next day (which you know is important for us brides during planning!) I talked to the front desk on the Valor the night before and explained that we were getting married the next morning and our entire group would need to get off pretty early with the excursions. They were very helpful and said to stop by the front desk in the a.m. and they would escort us to the front of the tender line. The girls and me went first in the morning and had no problem getting off the boat onto a tender, and my husband and the rest of the wedding party (they left about 1.5 hours after us) went to the front desk and were escorted off of the ship onto a tender immediately. As soon as we walked out of the port area there was a driver holding a large sign that said 'Wedding' on it, which was us! He took us the 5 minutes to the GOH and I was taken directly to the Bridal Suite (a small room for me to get ready in) while my girls walked around and used the large restrooms to get ready and do their hair/makeup. Desiree had scheduled a hair stylist and makeup artist from a local salon to work on me and they were PERFECT! I wasn't sure what I wanted with my hair and the woman made it BEAUTIFUL and exactly what I would have picked if I'd seen it. And the makeup artist - she was talented! I wanted a very light amount of makeup as I don't wear it normally and she made me look flawless but not look like I was painted on. I didn't get their names - just ask Desiree - they were both perfect! And our ceremony was beautiful. We had a pastor from the island and he did everything I would have asked for if I'd thought about it - including asking our fathers to bless our marriage and including both sets of parents in a prayer at the front - which meant a lot to my mom and dad. It was a very sweet and romantic service. And the setup! IT was just like the pictures - cool breeze, sunny sky, bright blue ocean. I couldn't have had a better day. We had a cake with our cake topper and it was made with real fruit filling! I could've eaten the entire thing on my own. ? We used David Wolfe as our photographer on the island (I'm going to try to upload the photos he sent us) and he is a very talented photographer! He didn't force me into any awkward poses - he was more into natural-looking shots with the group and in unique settings and angles - which I loved! He's sending us a disk with all photos on it and was kind enough to forward a few of his favorite pictures to Desiree, who sent them on to us. I can't wait to see the rest of the pictures! Reception: The reception was back onboard (I didn't want to stress about what time we'd have to leave the island) in the One Small Step Disco with the DJ. They had a huge buffet setup with an ice sculpture and a LARGE cake with our cake topper on it again (we carried it back with us) and the food was delicious! We had our first song (I cried) to Marc Cohn's 'True Companion' and then my dad and I danced to 'When I See You Smile' by Bad English (It was my parent's wedding song - I remember their wedding every time I hear the song; it made my dad cry when he heard it) and then my husband danced with his mom. And then we cut the cake, and got to eat! Finally! I was starving by this point as I hadn't eaten that day due to being so nervous/excited. And the food was DELICIOUS! They had pot stickers and sushi and shrimp and beef and tons of delicious hors d' oeuvres. We all danced for 1.5 hours (the 2 hour reception is PLENTY of time!) and ate and drank a LOT. The carnival photographer was there taking pictures the entire time, and then when the reception ended he took us around the ship and did several hundred posed shots of us. I'm not a huge fan of pictures that make me put my hand 'just like that, curl the fingers, tilt your head...' but they came out really nice. I LOVED the coffee table book he'd made us, but it was $1,600 and had about 33 pictures in it - that was 3 times what we'd paid the professional photographer on the island! I couldn't do it - we just bought the $750 package which included 25 8x10's and 20 5x7's (they have most of the pictures in an 8x10 format which is annoying - way too many big pictures!). But when I got home and saw the email from David Wolfe with his pictures - I stopped being upset at not getting all of our photos from the ship. I mean, the ship's photographer was wonderful and took pretty pictures, but David's look like ARTWORK or something I'd see on a magazine cover -they're that beautiful! Overall - I LOVED MY CARNIVAL WEDDING!!!! I'd recommend it to any bride considering a less-stressful wedding option. I had nightmares of picking out colors and linens, so this was perfect for me and my family and my husband and his family. I would do it again if I had the choice (maybe adding on a back-to-back cruise for just us two to relax!!!). Read Less
Sail Date: February 2011
Embarkation- This was our fourth cruise and the second with Carnival. I will say embarkation was the worst ever we processed thru the first line, and security,(Be sure to get a number) and more long lines got our sail and sign cards. Just ... Read More
Embarkation- This was our fourth cruise and the second with Carnival. I will say embarkation was the worst ever we processed thru the first line, and security,(Be sure to get a number) and more long lines got our sail and sign cards. Just to be told to wait for our number to be called to board the ship, an hour later we boarded the ship. Ship- The Valor is a Beautiful ship, Very patriotic in theme. Very clean crew were cleaning all the time. Enjoyed the pool deck and the curly slide. Nice Casino & Promenade, Theater,Stores & Public area very pretty. Cabin#2356- Our cabin was very nice, spacious with plenty of storage. Our steward did a great job he kept our room very clean, ice bucket filled and beds turned down with towel animals and chocolate every night. The down side to this room is we must have been close to large water pipes. All night long we could hear lots of water draining so not much sleep on this trip. Buffet- We enjoyed early breakfast in the buffet on Island days when we had to get an early start. The food was very tasty and warm, and a nice variety to. Loved the fresh omelette. During the week we ate a few lunches Salads, fruit, burgers, fries, nachos, chicken tenders, pizza and a dinner at Rosie's buffet. always plenty to choose from and very good food. And the cheesecake YUMMMM! Main Dining-Table #333- Our food was amazing all week long plenty of choices. My hubby really ate all kinds of seafood all week, and liked it all. I enjoyed fruit soups, salads, steak, chicken, pasta and the warm chocolate melting cake w/ice cream is devine! Even our teenage daughter tried new things and liked them. Our waiters (Kittipong & Iputu) were the best, by the second day they new our favorite breads and beverages. Kept our glasses full and always happy to get anything else we needed or second helpings if requested. Entertainment- Way to go Carnival, we really LOVED the new family friendly comedy in the Eagles lounge/Punchliner comedy club. The comedians were hilarious, especially Percy Crews loved him. Show time in the Ivanhoe theater was always entertaining. Loved the MUTS, caught a couple good movies out on the pool deck. Disembarkation- Was pretty easy we waited in the Theater until they called our number and we were off the ship by 9:15. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2011
Embarkation went really well. There was a huge line at 12:30, but it only took one hour and we were on the ship. Easy breezy. We brought on the two bottles of champagne and some soda as per guidelines. No problem there. Balcony ... Read More
Embarkation went really well. There was a huge line at 12:30, but it only took one hour and we were on the ship. Easy breezy. We brought on the two bottles of champagne and some soda as per guidelines. No problem there. Balcony room 7431 was terrific. Starboard (right) aft (back of ship). Very good location - staterooms above and below, no casino, disco or restaurant noise to worry about. Two flights up to Lido deck and grown-ups only back pool area, two flights down to casino and lounge areas. Just a few doors down from back elevator and stairs which were never crowded. Back pool - no children allowed, period (they do enforce it). Two great hot tubs, bar, pool and terrific music all day. Spent a lot of time here on sea days. So easy to grab some food (right through the doors), bring it to the pool area and enjoy. On the day it rained, they closed the glass roof and we were still able to enjoy the area. Front pool - this is were a lot of the "action" takes place. Hairy chest contest and bartender's Mixology contest takes place here along with other contests and the large screen tv/movie area where they show concerts like Tina Turner for example. Lots of little kids and families here. Every time I looked the two hot tubs here were jammed with little kids. Hundreds of lounge chairs here with amphitheater seating levels leading up to the slide entrance. You can also walk up to the next deck and enter the gym/spa area. Drink coupons - easy to use and so glad we purchased them. You can only get them on-line before the cruise. Each has a value of $5.75. If your drink costs more, you will only have to sign for the balance. Food - Food on Lido deck was good everywhere. Here is where the various buffets are located as well as the deli counter, burrito bar, Mongolian grill, omlette station, hot dogs/cheeseburger stations, ice cream machines, etc. The deli was my favorite. The fresh mozzerella,tomatoe and arugala on ciabatta bread with pesto was scrumptious. The hot pastrami was really good too. Dining Room food was terrible. Night after night, one poor meal after another. Tasteless sauces. Poor cuts of meat, fishy smelling mahi-mahi, pasty, oily pasta dishes with weird tasting red sauce. Escargo that was swimming in pools of oil - yuk!!! I never had a good meal here, not once. This was the only disappointing aspect to the cruise. Carnival has to know how bad it is by now. Many people complained on-line before this cruise, but I had to find out for myself - unfortunately I did. If I wasn't obligated to sit with the group I was with, I would have stopped going to the dining room after the second night. If you're a foodie - brace yourself for this nonsense. That being said, the best part of the dining room scene is the wonderful entertainment by the wait staff. Ports of Call: Grand Cayman - When you walk to the end of the pier there is a gazebo with woman hawking sting ray city/snorkeling/rum beach combo trips. For $62 a person we signed up right there with four other friends, and were lucky enough to go on the "MY WAY" boat with Moises the captain. Great boat, friendly, patient staff. Lots of screaming woman in the water when the rays started gathering for their feeding (you provide the squid). Crystal clear water at the snorkeling area and best of all - Rum Beach. Absolutely the most beautiful beach bar/restaurant/bar area you could imagine. Lunch (included with tour) was delicious (many choices). Drinks were strong (Rum Beach Sunset for example), addictive and expensive (about $10 US) - but worth it. Highly recommend this tour. Cozumel - Walked out to main street, turned left, found a taxi stand and hired a taxi for the day to take us to three beach bars around the island. (Our version of a pub crawl) Great time. The only bar I remember the name of is The Reggae Bar (as in Bob Marley) Everything here was $5 (US) drinks, cheeseburger, etc. Sat at a table in the sand for about 15 minutes, moved into the bar and really enjoyed the laid back, bare foot party atmoshere. Low ceilings, old t-shirts everywhere and Marley decor - perfect. I just know you'll enjoy it. Costa Maya - Surprise port. Belize canceled - as usual for Carnival. It's been doing this switch out for a while now, so don't be surprised and don't book excursions unless you can get your money back. (So much for the cave tubing adventure we had looked forward to for months.) Anyway, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise. We had a fantastic day. Walk out of the pool complex at the end of the pier, go to the parking area and get a taxi. It always costs $2 (US) per person. Go downtown to the beach. Walk to the palapas (thatched umbrellas) at the water's edge. Pick one for the day and order your drinks -$10(US) for a bucket of beers - including Coronas or $7 for large umbrella drinks. $20 for the best message you've ever had, and $35 for a half hour wave runner. If you prefer to just stay at the pier (yes, right at the end of the pier), the pool is gigantic, they have lots of lounge chairs and have a message area. Bars were jumping here and the shopping was nice. Roatan - Wow, how beautiful. A true tropical, lush, pirate like port. Mahagony Bay, Carnival's man made beach and shopping complex is terrific. New, clean, beautiful. Chair lift, looked like fun, but it was raining, so we just got our umbrellas, walked to the beach, went to the bar and a party broke out with lots of music and dancing - fun was had by all. Shows - Only saw two - the magic show and the Motown show. Marcus Anthony, the black Motown singer, was totally professional and entertaining - loved it. The magic show was good, lots of laughs. Comedy - Adam Ball was a riot - don't miss him. I was crying from laughing. Well that's it. Have a great time. Read Less
Sail Date: October 2010
I traveled October 3-10 on the Carnival Valor's Western Caribbean cruise from Miami and had the TIME OF MY LIFE! I was traveling with a group of individuals from my hometown who were all roughly in the same age group as me. We had ... Read More
I traveled October 3-10 on the Carnival Valor's Western Caribbean cruise from Miami and had the TIME OF MY LIFE! I was traveling with a group of individuals from my hometown who were all roughly in the same age group as me. We had many seasoned travelers and a few first-timers. While the opportunity existed, I suppose, to sit back and relax on this ship we chose to avail ourselves of many of the games, activities, etc. on the ship. It was FABULOUS. I couldn't wait to get up each morning and see what we were going to be doing. Rough seas did make tender ports difficult and I heard that they quit tendering sometime around noon to Grand Cayman. We probably had the best time at the Isla Roatan, Honduras stop. A large percentage of our group went to the Clip-N-Zip zipline center which is to the left and all the way down once you get into port. What fun that was! And only $40! Then we had a BLAST in "Fat Tuesdays" and met a large group that was also in port that day from Carnival's "Dream". Belize was another amazing stop on our trip with some amazing snorkeling! Soooo many excursion options available right when you get on the dock. On the boat itself it seemed like there was always something going on. Contests by the pool, music everywhere, dancing, singing, you name it you could do it. I took some golf lessons on the ship to in the "golf cage" up top. The Golf Pro, David Layton, was AWESOME. He *really* did help my golf swing in one very great hour lesson! Plus it was just kind of neat to be up on the top of this ship, staring out at the ocean, hitting golf balls. :-) I was so BUSY on this cruise that about half of the time I forgot to eat! I actually LOST TWO POUNDS on this trip! I was afraid of gaining weight after hearing so many stories of that happening on cruise ships. I was never hungry and when I forgot and missed a meal there was always pizza or room service meals available. I think the favorite food I ate was the Fish N Chips from up above the lido deck. They served a lot of stuff at that station but the plain old "Fish N Chips" was some of the best fish I've had in quite some time. I've not been home a full week yet but I wake up every morning, still, laughing over some memory or other of this trip. I am having a different kind of "sea sickness" now and if I could, I'd board that boat again this Sunday for the same trip. The cruise starts with a fun filled day at sea and then the four stops are all right in a row making for a go-go-go kind of week. So if you want an action-packed fun-filled week hop on board the Carnival Valor! Read Less
Sail Date: August 2010
Embarkation: Our group set sail on the Valor on August 8, 2010 from Miami and headed for the Western Carribean. Embarkation was quick and painless, we got to the port at 11:30 and never waited, we just kept on moving. Your best best to get ... Read More
Embarkation: Our group set sail on the Valor on August 8, 2010 from Miami and headed for the Western Carribean. Embarkation was quick and painless, we got to the port at 11:30 and never waited, we just kept on moving. Your best best to get to the port EARLY!! We all live in Florida, so getting there was easy. Food: I have Celiac Disease and require a STRICT Gluten Free Diet. Let me just tell you how unbelieably impressed I am at the way my situation was handled. I was absolutely catered to. I had food made special for me every day and it was fantasic. I can also say that everyone in our group (19 people) had not one complaint about the food - they all said it was the best food they have ever had. Mind you, we have all cruised on Royal Carribean and Norwegian too. Whether Carnival food is just better or we just hit it right, I don't know, but the food was great. Rosie's is always crowded, so be patient, they won't run out of food. We ate dinner in the Washington Dining Room every night and did not go to any of the specialty places. We have no regrets about that. Cabin: My husband and I upgraded to an aft oceanview - Cabin 2477 - and let me just tell you it was so big!! We actually enjoyed it more than any balcony we have ever been in. The space was wonderful and the window was huge. Storage space (in all the cabins) was more than enough, again, no one in our group of 19 had a single complaint about their cabin. My room stewart was never around, but it was always obvious he had been there. Our cabin was spotless and we never had to ask for a thing - he was on the ball!! Ship: The ship was a bit odd to navigate, but after a couple of days, you will get the hang of it. The ship was beautiful. There was always someone sweeping, cleaning, moping, dusting, etc., no matter what time it was or where you were. We were very impressed by this. No complaints about the ship. It is a little smokey walking through the casino, but nothing to ruin your day. Activities: There is ALWAYS something to do. You just have to read your daily and plan your day. I wasn't crazy about the hours of the basketball court (my son was 16 and was never able to play). I guess if you really want to play, again read your daily. He was just "winging" it. Mini golf is small, but fun nonetheless. Likewise, the pool slide is small, but still fun for the kids. The pools are extremely small, but they never seemed crowded. I did not experience kids at the adult pool like others have, I guess we just lucked out, but we had no problems and there were MANY kids on this cruise. Ports: Grand Cayman we just walked around for a bit - nothing special. Belize we did the cave tube excursion through Carnival and although it was more expensive, it was safe, efficient and wonderful. Great expereince - everyone should try this. Isla Roatan - did the zip line at the port and that too was great. The Magical Flying Beach Chairs is something you need to try and the beach is beautiful. We also had our own snorkle gear and the reef out there is beautiful and it cost nothing because we had our own stuff. Cozumel - we did the Mayan Ruins and I must say it was the most spectacular place I had ever seen in my life. You must go. But it was 110 degrees that day so go the the Ruins in Fall and Winter if at possible. Service: Service in the dining room was slow, although we were never in a hurry so this did not bother us. Our waiter and his assistant were friendly, funny and we alwasy looked forward to seeing them. Everyone around the ship was always saying hello and smiling. We always took time to say hello back and talk with them. You cannot beleive how hard they work and the hours they put in (7 days per week, 14 hours a day, for 7 month for PEANUTS). Make sure you take a minute to say hello. Summary: We all really enjoyed our vacation on the Valor. We booked our trip straight through Carnival Group sales and it was easy, uneventful and efficient. As a matter of fact, our group is already planning another Carnival Cruise for Summer 2012!! Enjoy. Read Less
Sail Date: January 2010
Just wanted to put up some thoughts on this last cruise in case it helps anyone. My girlfriend and I used this cruise as a means to be able to SCUBA dive 4 world class diving destinations and live in style with good meals, great drinks and ... Read More
Just wanted to put up some thoughts on this last cruise in case it helps anyone. My girlfriend and I used this cruise as a means to be able to SCUBA dive 4 world class diving destinations and live in style with good meals, great drinks and a few good shows (ok, ok, and a tiny bit of gambling), all for one low price. First let me say I'm glad we came down to miami a day early. It saved alot of worry about mid winter travel and making it to the ship. it was cheaper to get a nice hotel on the ocean beach than to purchase trip insurance. (just opinion) We had a wonderful night on the beach and a very easy relaxed 5 minute taxi ride to the ship the next day. We arrived at the port around 11:30.............. To my suprise, we were on the ship and sipping an umbrella drink and eating lots of good food by Noon !!!!!!!!!! The staff got us on board way quicker than I could imagine. Many others we also on board and eating by then........ So yes, you can board early and its FAST at that time !!!! The ship was very clean always, most of the food was very good, meals at dinner were Very good and great service. I had lots of food that I wouldn't normally ever try....all of it good. Many of the people I spoke with said it was as good or better than other cruise lines they had been on. I had noticed a few frills are gone now in the last year or two......but all the basic fancy stuff is intact. Oh YEAH.........The bacon was horrible........but with many many many other things like great ham slices right next to it.....who's complaining. At least 4 ice cream machines running 24/7 made it very difficult to go very far without yet another cone !!!! I think I broke some sort of world record. We choose an aft balcony cabin on this trip and it was wonderful. (6485) Deck 6 (upper Deck) There was some vibration and some motion.......but perfect for us, as it lulled us to sleep. The bigger balcony was worth its weight in gold.... Lots of room to stretch in the sun. Morning sunrises sipping coffee were wonderful. I will add more later tonight Read Less
Sail Date: October 2009
I am only about 6 months late writing this review, but better late than never, so here goes. We had a large group on the Carnival Valor on the 10/24/09 sailing from Miami to the Western Carribean (Grand Cayman, Belize, Roatan Island and ... Read More
I am only about 6 months late writing this review, but better late than never, so here goes. We had a large group on the Carnival Valor on the 10/24/09 sailing from Miami to the Western Carribean (Grand Cayman, Belize, Roatan Island and Cozumel). We were celebrating one member of our groups 30th birthday. In all, we had 17 people. Ages ranged from mid 20's to mid 40's. Some of our group had cruised many times and we also had several first timers. We also had people book various cabin types from an Interior to a Balcony. Our group was mostly from the Kentucky/Ohio area, with some joining us from Montana and California. For me, this was my 11th Carnival cruise and first time on the Valor. I had previously been to all of the ports except for Roatan Island, Honduras. Many people in our group (including myself, previously) worked for a commercial airline. Many of us flew in the day before standby. For the first time since my 2nd cruise, I booked confirmed airfare. Me and three others from our group flew into Ft. Lauderdale the morning before our cruise. We flew Delta non-stop to FLL and arrived right on time. I had arranged sedan service to pick us up from FLL and take us to our hotel in downtown Miami. When researching different types of transportation, I found this to be the most bang for our buck. I got a taxi quote for about $60 not incl. tip. And we did not want to do a long shared shuttle service that stopped at multiple hotels. We were able to secure the sedan for approximately $65 incl. tip. A couple days before we left our group of three flying together went up to 4. So I called the company and they upgraded us to an SUV for no extra cost. While we were waiting for our luggage, I received a text from our driver and he said that he was at the airport and to call when we had our bags and he would drive around to baggage claim and pick us up. We had our bags a few minutes later, so I called him and he was curbside in about 3 minutes. It only took us about 20 minutes to get to our hotel. I would highly recommend this service instead of a taxi or shared ride. In 30 minutes from the time we stepped off the plane we were at our hotel. Totally worth it. Other members of our group, used the ride share and it took them 45 minutes to an hour to get from MIA to our hotel. Our group stayed in several places for the night before the cruise. Some stayed with friends in Ft. Lauderdale and some were at the Courtyard Marriott downtown. We also had 4 rooms booked at the Intercontinental Miami Downtown. I stayed at the Intercontinental, which I booked on Easy Click Travel for on $84/nt. per room. This hotel usually goes for $250+ on other hotel sites. It is a beautiful hotel and in a great location. The rooms are spacious and we had a teeny corner view of the port. A real harbor view would have cost us much more. This hotel is just a short 5-10 minute walk to Bayside Marketplace. Those of us already in town, walked over to Bayside for lunch and a few drinks. Bayside is a great spot for different types of resturants and shops. The weather was beautiful as it had just stopped raining right when we got to our hotel and the sun had just come out. We spent the afternoon at Bayside and then waited for the rest of our group to get to town. We ventured out downtown to find a liquor store to stock up on some liquor and wine to take onboard the ship. There are several liquor stores within walking distance of the Intercontinental. Once our whole group had made it to town, we walked back to Bayside and had a great Italian dinner. I had arranged a shuttle van to take those of us who stayed at the two hotels downtown to the Port the morning of the cruise. The van picked us up at 10:00AM and we were at the port by 10:20 after making the pick up at the 2nd hotel. We left our bags with the porter on the pier and proceeded to the security checkpoint. There was no line at the checkpoint and we were through it and checked in within 15 minutes. We waited in the holding room until boarding began and were on the ship by 11:45. Ship: The ship was wonderful. It was being cleaned constantly. Our room steward was one of the most attentive and sweet that I have had in my 11 Carnival cruises. He intorduced himself to us immediately and always stopped to chat when passing us in the hallways. Our cabin was 1220, a Category 4A on the Riviera Deck. It was your standard Interior cabin. It was more than sufficient in size for me and my sister. There is ample closet space, which included more hangers that I remembered having on prevoius ships. I always bring a decent supply of extra hangers, but barely needed to use them this time. The bathroom has a standing shower and large vanity. Shampoo and Shower Gel are provided and there are samples of other items (toothpaste, rolaids, etc.) in a basket on the counter. Bring a small power strip with extra outlets tho, as there is only one standard outlet at the vanity in the main part of the cabin. All of the ship's crew were outstanding. We never received less than great service and crew members were also quick to say hello when passing in hallways or riding in elevators. A couple quick shout out's to a couple crewmembers who helped many our cruise that much more memorable: Benjamin - Our waiter in the Main Dining Room, was outstanding. He was prompt, funny, sweet and took great care of us. He also was a willing participant in the many pranks some of our group member liked to play on each other, including putting a boost chair in the seat of one of our group before he came to dinner one night and bringing the other a small bowl of butter with a candle in it on his "non" birtday! He was a great sport. Pinky - She was a server in the Piano Bar and was an absolute delight. We made a point to go in there each evening to have a drink just to see her. And by the end of the week, she was giving us big hugs everytime we came in. Food: I thought that the food was really great. We usually had the buffet for breakfast and lunch. The wait time was never more than it should have been. And any wait can be avoided by avoiding the peak times. We had dinner each night in the Main Dining Room at the late seating. We had two tables of 8 adjacent to each other. And we were able to put a chair at the end of one of our tables for a person in our group who booked his cruise a week before sailing and did not get seated with us initially. As I mentioned, we had Benjamin and he was fabulous. Some favorites of the food were the Warm Roasted Pumpkin Soup, Escargot, and any of the pasta dishes. Everything I ordered was prepared as I wished and I never had to send anything back. I am not a huge dessert eater, so I can't comment too much on those. The only dessert that I had was the Cheesecake. But several members in my group got the famous Warm Chocolate Melting Cake several times and raved about it. I brough a bottle of wine on board with me and had that with my dinner. I also ordered several times through room service and usually had the grilled cheese sandwich. Of the specialty eateries on board, I really enjoyed the burrito bar and deli. I never ate at the Tandoori Grill or the Fish N Chips spot. Entertainment: We saw both comics and they were good. They were not the best that I had seen on Carnival but they were way better than the worst. We also spent quite a bit of time in the Piano bar on this cruise. I have a love/hate relationship with Carnival's piano players. Some I love (Ed Rocks from years ago on the Triumph) but more often than not, I have not enjoyed the piano bar much in recent cruises. The piano player on the Valor, Larry, was really great. He really interacted with the crowd and was great about taking requests and getting to know the crowd. When he asked us the first night where we were from, we told him Kentucky, but almost from Cincinnati, OH. So the rest of the cruise he called us Almost Ohio! He was a lot of fun. We also spent alot of time in the night club and also in the casino. Halloween: This was my first cruise over any major holiday and I was really excited for it. We all brought costumes to dress up for Halloween. And the ship was decorated all over the place. They had Trick or Treating for the children all over the ship and there were a lot of passengers dressed up. But unfortunately, I came down with a terrible sore throat that day and by the time dinner was over, I was feeling so bad that I spent the rest of the night in my cabin. Others in our party went to the Costume Contest...the winner was a woman who dressed up as one of Carnival's Towel Animals. :) Ports: Grand Cayman - I had been to Grand Cayman several times and had already been to most of the "must-see" places: Stingray City, Hell, Turtle Farm, Rum Factory, etc. And since we had pretty active tours planned in the next two ports, we just had a lazy beach day here. We took a taxi shuttle to Seven Mile Beach for about $5 per person. This is a very inexpensive way to get to the beaches, but they won't leave until the whole shuttle is filled. We sat in this hot, unairconditioned shuttle van for about 15 minutes waiting for more people. She finally left, when we threatened to get off and look for other transportation. We were dropped off at a nice beach club where we spent most of the afternoon. The weather was beautiful, sand was soft and the water was clear and calm. We had a nice lunch for about $15 US. Most of the day was just spent goofing off in the ocean and relaxing on the beach. You can rent lounge chairs or umbrellas for an extra cost. The beach itself was free to use. Although, I didn't find out for myself, a couple in our group said the restroom facilities were pretty gross. Grand Cayman really is a great island due to it's beaches and unique activities such as swimming with the sting rays. Due to the amount of wealth on the island, you do not have to deal with agressive vendors in the shops or on the beachers, which is nice. Roatan Island - In Roatan, we booked the Pirates, Birds and Monkey's tour through the ship. This tour took place at Gumbalimba Park and you had to buy the tour to gain access to the park area. Several members of our group wanted to just try to meet up with us after our tour at the park and they couldn't without paying the same amount as the cost of the tour. We were taken to the park in shuttle vans. The driver stopped along the way to point out different places of interest and allow us to take pictures of the gorgeous scenery along the way. Gumbalimba park is part jungle, part beach, part resort. There are some little "shops" selling some locally made items like hammocks, artwork, etc. There is also a pool with a walk up resturant/bar and a little beach area. The tour itself started out with a walk through the bird sanctuarys. Some of the birds are in large natural setting cages and others just roam around. You can pose with a bird and take photos. Most of these are Macaw/Parrot type birds are very beautiful. They are very used to people being around and many seem to actually pose for photos. We then went up further into the wooded area to see the monkeys. Some of these monkeys are chained. The chain allows them to go only so far within the trees. One of the monkeys that was chained had been a little more agressive lately. Others just roam free in the trees. They will come right up and jump on your head or shoulders. You are advised by the tour guide to not wear hats or large earrings as they are attracted to shiny objets and the little button on the tops of ballcaps. My sister had on small hoops that the tour guide said should be fine and one of the monkeys ripped an earring right out of her earlobe. As soon as he had it, he scurried back up into the trees and began chomping on it. The guide coaxed him back with a peppermint and he dropped the earring in favor of the mint. So she got it back...dented! It was pretty funny. The pirate part of the tour was informative but not all that entertaining. Maybe because it came last and my feet were hurting from all the walking, but I couldn't pay attention to it at all. I would make sure to wear comfortable shoes as you are walking and standing for the duration of the tour. I had on flip flops and my feet and legs were sore by the end. After the tour, we went to the pool and ordered lunch from the restuarant. Lunch was decent and inexpensive. There were people walking around trying to get us to sign up for a massage on the beach. They wanted $25/per person. We got them down to $30 for two of us, so we did it. It was NOT the best beach massage I had ever had. They had me lay on a hard plastic beach chair and it was more rubbing on my back and legs than actually massaging them. But the ocean breeze was nice and I couldn't really complain about the price. After the tour, we headed back to the ship. We didn't really see anything else in port due to the duration of our tour. Belize - I had been to Belize once before and had already done the Cave-Tubing/Zip-line tour. This time we booked the Raiders of the Lost Mayan Ruins tour. I feel like you really need to do a tour in Belize or go to a reputable beach. There is not much near the port area and many areas of the city are not safe for tourists. The tour itself was great and a lot of fun. Not so much fun was the nearly 90 minute ride each way to get to the tour location. We were in an old school bus type vehicle for the ride. The last 30-45 minutes was on a gravel road. And the tour guide told us everything we could ever want to know about Belize on the ride. To make matters worse, my stomach was not feeling good on the way out there. Luckily, I had grabbed a cuple boxes of dry Cheerios from the buffet before leaving the ship to help settle my stomach during that long, bumpy ride. The tour is pretty intense and physical, so those who have mobility or endurance issues might have difficulty completing it. The tour starts with about a 10-15 minute hike uphill through some pretty rough terrain. There is no clear path and what path exists is obstructed with trees and rocks. It was a pretty taxing hike. Once you get to the hike, you are guided through the ruins in various ways. Some areas you have to rappel down the rocks or crawl through small openings in the caves or wade through knee deep water. There are a couple ziplines and wobbly suspension bridges. It was really neat. Dress comfortably though. I wore long yoga type pants and a T-Shirt with tennis shoes. If you have older shoes, wear them instead of news ones because they WILL get wet and dirty. Also bring bug spray and use liberally under your clothes and over them. I thought I used it pretty thouroughly but I still got pretty bit up especially around my ankels. The tour group provides all safety equipment including helmet with lamp and harness. The tour guides are really great. Very informative and entertaining. Like I said, the only negative to this tour is the long drive, but that can't really be helped. Just be prepared for it. After the tour, they took us to another part of the area for lunch. Lunch included some shis-ka-bobs, rice and fruit punch. You can also buy photos that they take of you throughout the tour if you choose. After lunch, it's back on the bus heading for port. This tour took about 6 total hours, so there is not much time for anything else. Cozumel - Cozumel is one of my favorite ports and I have been here probably about 8 times. We usually spend most of the day at our favorite beach, Playa Mia. Cozumel tends to be our drink and party day. So we hopped in a cab for Playa Mia and our cab driver told us about a deal on the all inclusive package if we book it through him. We ended up getting the all-inclusive package for around $40 including the buffet lunch. I love this beach. The beach is great and so is the pool area. The food was actually really good. Large variety on the buffet and the quailty was really good. Our waiter kept the drinks coming and was very sweet. He totally took care of us. All in all, it was another great cruise and we had a fantastic time. Shortly after returning, we booked another cruise, this time on the Splendor out of LA down to the Mexican Riviera for my brother's 15th wedding anniversary. So far we have 18 booked on this one and we still have 6 months until sailing! I will write another review of that cruise when we return (hopefully it won't take me 6 months to write that one). Thanks, Read Less
Sail Date: February 2009
Aloha! We joined the cruise to the Western Caribbean and on the Carnival Valor because of an embroidery user group. There were about 60 of us in the group...from all different parts of the USA. We had classes on our days at sea and ... Read More
Aloha! We joined the cruise to the Western Caribbean and on the Carnival Valor because of an embroidery user group. There were about 60 of us in the group...from all different parts of the USA. We had classes on our days at sea and had dinner each night together. We personally didn't really choose the destinations or the ship because the group had already chosen that for us. It didn't really matter to us as we just wanted a good vacation and see different parts of the world. This was our 5th cruise, two to Alaska, Bahamas and the Mexican Riviera. PRE-CRUISE: It took us over 18 hours to get to Miami from Hawaii. We arrived a couple a days ahead of time to visit Miami and to get acclimated to the time changes. I went on Priceline and got a hotel for under a hundred at the Airport Holiday Inn. Miami hotels were priced quite high and I was happy to get one under $100. We got to the Holiday Inn and was very disappointed in the Hotel. The bed was the worst I have had in a hotel in years....I think the last time sleeping in a broken bed was in Taiwan. The best thing about the hotel was the free shuttle to the pier. I never really felt real safe in the hotel as the door next to our bottom floor room didn't lock and it was open for anyone to come into the hotel. The embarkation process was quick and pleasant. The Miami Pier's are new and very spacious. We arrived at the pier at 10:30 am. and I think we got on the ship at 12:00 noon. Of course the rooms were not ready till 1:30 p.m. Food on the 9th floor was hot and ready for us when we boarded. By 1:30 p.m. our room was ready and our bags arrived a few minutes later. Exploring the Valor was fun and it was quite a beautiful ship. It does take while to get used to the layout....especially heading to the Washington Dining room. The day we left Miami was Superbowl Sunday. The large screen TV was great and everyone had a big party around the ship. Leaving Miami was a blast. Five large cruise ships leaving all at the same time was an incredible sight to see. Watching people pass us on the road was half of the fun as they headed to South Beach. We purchased a soda card $44.00 w/ the tip for one person. My Sister and I purchased a card so we spent $88 on soda to start....We shouldn't have bought spent that kind of money but hey, we were on vacation. The carnival soda card is unlimited for the cruise. I don't think I ever drank so many Sprite Zero's in my life. We also brought in small bottles of water we put in our extra handcarry bag. It was a great idea to bring in some water on board before the trip. STATEROOM: Our room was on the 9th floor room 9274. We added a third person on our stateroom a month out so they changed our room to one that could accommodate three people. We ended up right next to the elevators. This room we thought would be noisy but in reality it was a great room. We were on the same floor as the pool and buffet....We never had to walk very far because the main elevators were right next to us. There were some noise from the outside but nothing that bothered us. The size of the room was fine for three adults...the balcony always a treat. Only problem....room to the right smoked cigarettes and the room to the left smoked cigars. We are non-smokers so we couldn't enjoy the balconies while they were out also. We never really got to know our steward but he did a great job keeping us happy. FOOD: The food at the Buffet was tasty and plentiful. We enjoyed eating and watching the scenery go by. The burgers were very good as well as the pizza at the pizza shop. We spent one night at the upscale restaurant. The atmosphere was great and the food delicious. The steaks were great and the lobster tail my wife had was gigantic! The $30.00 was worth the night. We were scheduled for the early seating at the Washington Dining Room. The group we were with chose the early time, I would have preferred the later dining time. Anyway, food at our table came slow every night. We had lots of friends around us so time went by fast. However, slow every night started to get old. It seemed like our waiter and assistant were working fast but the food seemed to come out slow. The tables next to us were normally finished eating before we even put in our Dessert order. One formal night a waitress passed our table and dropped an entire main dish on me. The plate broke and flew between my wife and I....glass was in all of our food. The waitress looked back and continued to walk to server her guest. Everyone was in shock...especially me that someone had just dumped a plate of food on me. No one came to our rescue for several minutes. I had glass on me and food up and down from my shoes to my suit pants. I really don't know why all of the waiter and waitresses paused to help us. Apparently this is a rare case but you got to take care of the customer. Well eventually help came and I got cleaned up and we all got new entrees. They paid for cleaning and a bottle of wine....only thing is our family doesn't drink wine...go figure. I normally get pretty mad at things like that but I wasn't going to let it reck my vacation....many in our group were quite upset at the lack of care for us when it happened. ENTERTAINMENT: They brought on three different comedians on this trip... two to many. I thought they were pretty boring. The Valor musicians and dancers were top notch as usual. Bingo is a rip off...go to vegas if you want to play real bingo. Casino was okay...if you are lucky you can win like most casinos....just too smokey. EXCURSIONS: We didn't plan on any shore excursions until we got on the cruise. At the Grand Caymans we went on the Hell tour, Turtle farm and Sting ray excursion. What a great side tour. We went to Hell and back (the town is Hell, GC) sent our post card home from Hell and got to see the Hell gas station , went to a large Turtle farm and got to hold turtles, then went on a 20 minute boat ride to a sand bar with tons of tame sting rays. I was able to hold the sting ray in my hands.....what a thrill! In Isla Roatan we took a local cab around the island. I think we paid about $35 for two hours. It was a fun place, the pier is brand new as tourism is just starting to develop on the island. Shopping was great along the shops just outside of the pier. In Belize we chose to visit Altun Ha Mayan Ruins and city tour. The bus ride was about an hour from town. The ruins were beautiful and majestic. It was worth the the time to see the ruins. The Cozumel port was so beautiful. New piers with a long walk way along the most beautiful blue water. We chose the ATV jungle adventure. Make sure you are ready to get bumpy and dirty. The cool part is that there were Mayan ruins along the ATV route so besides riding fun ATV's we also got to see some history. Several of our friends went on the mini jeep tours which they said was lots of fun. Post Cruise: We disembarked after another breakfast buffet and went to Alamo to pick up a car. Alamo's buses were picking us up at the pier to get our cars at the airport. Nice touch from Alamo. We left a few days after the cruise. We stayed at the Embassy Suites at the airport ... about $125 a night on priceline. What a difference in hotel from the Holiday in across the street. As a fun side trip we took a three hour road trip down to Key West. I always wanted to drive the long bridges....a good six hour round trip. It was totally worth the time. Conclusions: We had a great time with our embroidery friends. It was a great vacation and had a great time on the Valor. The last day at sea was the only day I felt over crowded. It seemed like everyone was either eating or on deck at the same time....with close to 3000 guest plus 1000 crew it was a lot of people walking around. Over all value was terrific and itinerary was incredible! Planning our next cruise..... Read Less
Sail Date: December 2008
Having never been a cruise, I did not know what to expect from beginning to end. I found the entire process fascinating. Embarkation: The first experience memorable experience was getting on the ship itself. At the port in Miami your ... Read More
Having never been a cruise, I did not know what to expect from beginning to end. I found the entire process fascinating. Embarkation: The first experience memorable experience was getting on the ship itself. At the port in Miami your luggage is taken outside and tagged for the cruise ship to be delivered to your room before 6:00 pm. Once inside, we were required to go through security checks and then stand in line to receive our sign and sail card. This card is similar to a credit card that you use while you are on the cruise ship. I was completely naive concerning the additional expenses you encounter on a cruise, but I was educated very quickly. After I received my sign and sail card, I entered the ship, the Carnival Valor, which I though was simply beautiful. The ships corridors are richly decorated with themed paintings, all the ships interior had gold and wood accents, and I thought the ship was very clean and had an air of elegance. The departure from Miami port was amazing. All the cruise ships were in a line slowly sailing along the Miami beach coastline. I was able to take some breathtaking photos since the day was very clear, even though I was cruising in December. Dining: The ship's staff started immediately with entertainment by the poolside and of course lunch was already waiting for us on the Lido deck. My first disappointment was the decor of the casual dining room. It was a mishmash of lime green and other colors that didn't quite contrast. The cups were short plastic and I felt like a kid every time I had to get something to drink in one of these "mini" cups. The wait staff walked around selling overpriced drinks in plastic carnival branded cups, but that was the extent of their service. There was no person that walked around to actual assist you with anything, every thing was completely buffet style and self service. The view in the dining areas was gorgeous and although the ship was full there was adequate seating. The food quality was passable, but food was certainly aplenty. The coffee on the ship, the "free" coffee was completely atrocious and I found myself paying for coffee towards the middle of the cruise. For the most part I enjoyed the dining experience, the variety was excellent, the desserts were fantastic, and the food tasted fresh and had good presentation. I found the formal dining disappointing. I ate in the Washington dining room and I thought the quality of the food was poor. After ordering the meal, it took forever to come and when it did come, it was cold. I don't remember eating anything that was suppose to be hot, hot. If it was supposed to be hot, like soup, it was moderately room temperature at best, cold at worst. The wait staff was cordial and friendly, but the food was not quality and it just didn't taste very good. By the middle of the cruse, we opted to always take our meals on the Lido deck. In addition, at the end of the cruise you have to tip everyone including the Maitre'D who didn't do anything except visit the tables and say, "Hello, My name is Pablo and I'm your Maitre'D." I don't mind tipping the wait staff, but I felt like everybody had their hand out for something. Cabin: I did a virtual tour of the stateroom before I got on the ship and my room looked exactly like the one on Carnival's website. I was in a room with a widow, the level below those with a balcony. The window was large enough for me to sit in and look out at the water on the second floor of the ship. The view was fantastic. In retrospect, I think it would be worth the extra money to have a balcony view, but I was very satisfied with my view from the window. The room was large enough to walk around comfortably. It was clean and the cleaning staff took pride in making sure that we had plenty of clean towels and sheets. There was a TV, a safe and a mini bar (which remained locked even the sodas were $3.25). There was plenty of closet space and storage space. The couch even had extra pull out drawers, which was a bonus. Good lighting, pleasant decor, I was very pleased with my room and didn't mind spending time sleeping or relaxing. As a part of the service they charge you a mandatory fee of $70 for the cleaning staff. You can adjust to pay more if you're especially pleased with the service, but it will be charged to your sign and sail card by the middle of the cruise. I didn't particularly care for that. I think all those amenities should be included in the cruise price. Essential cabin amenity: A power strip. The room hand only one 110v outlet located near the middle of the room. I had a laptop, phone, video player, battery charger, curling iron, mp3 player and I was sharing a room with another person who had just as much electrical equipment. We had to trade off charging items and that was really a pain. Entertainment: Well it's a "Fun" ship so there was plenty of partying going on. I didn't really see anything that was excessive. For the most part, I was in my cabin by 10:00 pm and most of the clubbers were just leaving to go to one of the many bars or lounges on the ship. One thing I didn't like was to get to the Internet Cafe you had to go through the cigar bar. I hated that since I don't smoke and I think cigar/cigarette smoke is awful smelling. I literally had to hold my breath to get to the Internet Cafe. The variety shows were colorful, but the talent on the cruise was like bad "High School Musical." I mean bad, bad, off, off broadway. The comedians were not funny, with the exception of one guy, and the juggler kept dropping things. The Ivanhoe theater was a nice place to sit and enjoy entertainment, but I would have like it better if they just played movies there instead of the cheesy variety shows. I did enjoy Movies by the Sea and I found the festive spirit on the ship refreshing. Shore Excursions: Okay, I'm not cheap but I'm not rich either, and the shore excursions were just flat out over priced. I paid $40 (which didn't include snorkeling that was $75) for a day at the beach on the Roatan Island excursion, when I could have just given the driver $10 bucks and paid $10 for the snorkel equipment right on the beach. Most excursions can be negotiated by someone on the outside of the ship for at least half of what the ship offers. So my next cruise I want be paying for any shore excursions! But the excursion locations were beautiful. I enjoyed Grand Caymans, Cozumel, Roatan Island, but I didn't care at all for Belize. Belize is a dirty little city and I felt like I was surrounded by hustlers. Overall: I LOVED the cruise. I cannot describe what an incredible experience it was to be on a cruise ship. It was such smooth sailing. It's so economical too. Going to several different places instead of staying at one place and one hotel. The shore visits were long enough to enjoy the day and then get back to the ship for a hearty meal and rest before the evening activities. I recommend cruising to anyone who really wants to just enjoy a genuine carefree vacation. Read Less
Carnival Valor Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.0 4.3
Dining 4.0 4.0
Entertainment 4.0 3.9
Public Rooms 4.0 4.2
Fitness Recreation 4.0 3.9
Family 4.0 3.9
Shore Excursion 3.5 4.0
Enrichment 2.0 3.5
Service 5.0 4.3
Value For Money 5.0 4.1
Rates 4.0 4.3

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