Carnival Valor - Western Caribbean: Carnival Valor Cruise Review by sydney66
Overall Member Rating
Carnival Valor - Western Caribbean
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation- We booked through Carnivals PVP (Personal Vacation Planner) and used the Fly Away Program and got our flight plans 1 month before sailing. They had half of us arriving into Miami at 1:30 and the other into Ft. Lauderdale at 12:00 so the Miami crew arrived at port around 2, not long after the Ft. Lauderdale crew. Since we arrived so late it only took us about a half our to get through all the check-ins and were right on board. It was nice that it was quick but I would have rather arrived earlier and waited in more lines in order to get on board earlier in the day. Rosies closed for lunch at 3pm so we were rushed at getting our lunch.
A NOTE ABOUT THE FLY AWAY PROGRAM DO NOT book your flights through Carnival. We booked the whole trip about 9 months in advance and could have found pretty decent prices at that point on flights. Instead, we were stuck with whatever Carnival gave us, which were More HORRIBLE. Like I said, our group flew out of two different cities so we both had different experiences. Group 1 had to wait 12 hours Sunday at the airport the day we went home (since they kick everyone off the boat so early). The other group had to spend that Sunday in Miami and fly out the next morning, missing yet another day of school/work for no good reason. That was the most horrible part of the trip. If I ever do it again, I will never let Carnival pick my flights& it would have been worth it to pay more and book them myself and get a good flight schedule. When we tried changing our flights thru carnival, they said there was nothing they could do for us, which I highly doubt seeing as one of the previous post-ers said they changed theirs for her.
The Ship- I loved the ship. Very big, new, very clean, and I liked the theme. Didnt think any of it was tacky thought it all was very tasteful and I thought the decorations were very creative. Highly considering the Valor again for these above reasons.
Room We had the lowest class room, inside, one room with 2 bunk beds and one room with 2 twins (which we turned into a king). The room was very small, especially with 4 teens getting ready for dinner it became very cramped. But we managed and the room steward did a great job of cleaning up. If I were to do it again, I would def get a balcony, the rooms were much bigger. However, one great advantage to our room we were on Riviera Deck (#1) so when the ship started swaying, we had the best place to be on the ship. (The lower you go in the ship, the less you feel the swaying). OH, and don't bother to pack shampoo or body wash- they have plenty of nice stuff in the shower there- I think it was Dove (don't pack your beach towels either, they give you clean ones everyday and I almost bought one they are so nice). Activities- I never felt bored, there was always something going on. I liked the shows at night the '80s show, Far From Over on Friday night was fantastic! Our cruise director Brett did a magician act one night, which was very good. And Jim Brick the comedian had both a hilarious PG and an R rated show. The show on Saturday night is worth seeing I guess our particular cruise didnt have that much talent because the Carnival Legends show wasnt all that great it could be hit or miss though.
The casino was fun. The slots are TIGHT so dont even waste your money. The tables were good though, I actually won back the cost of all my spending money which was pretty good. Almost all the dealers where very personable, making playing that much more enjoyable.
The Spa was a disappointment. The steam room smelled like mold and the sauna wasnt even hot. I got the Pick3 for $60 and was very disappointed. I had a blond from England and she had the softest touch ever. My 6-year-old cousin could give me a harder massage than she did. If you like your massage soft, request the English blond!
Food- Sit down dinner: I didnt find the food to be phenomenal but I didnt expect phenomenal either. How could it be phenomenal when they are cooking for 3000 people? I was never terribly disappointed and certainly never left the table hungry! Almost every night I left feeling like the food was good but not memorable. Two memorable dishes however were deserts- one called something like Chocolate Bomb, and another called Chocolate blanc (white and dark chocolate). Both were AMAZING. Our servers were very friendly but again not too memorable. I found the Ittttsssss Showwwwtime thing at the end of dinner to be kind of awkward. Rosies: Hated the long lines but got used to it. They ran out of granola on day 1 so I sadly had to find something else to eat, never a problem with the selection! The omelet line ran pretty quickly and was pretty yummy. Its a must to try the fish and chips for lunch. Never had the pizza but I heard it was very good as well. And of course there is the 24hour soft serve ice cream which I managed to choke down every single night of the cruise even when I wasnt the least bit hungry. They ran out of cones on several occasions very disappointing.
Buffets: One night they had a midnight (or was it 10pm?) Mexican and dessert buffet so good, a must try. Then they had the grand buffet on Friday night where they have all the ice carvings and eagles carved out of chocolate, etc. I wasnt hungry since dinner was so yummy but there looked like there was a lot of good things to try. Excursions- Grand Cayman- Since we were on the Western Caribbean cruise, our first stop on Tuesday was Grand Cayman. We snorkeled with the stingrays didnt go through Carnival, went through Moby Dick Tours. 100% worth it. We had super calm seas and a gorgeous day. Loved holding the stingrays. I saw the Carnival boat that came along a little after us. It had probably 200 people on it. Whereas our tour had 30 and we got individual attention. Our tour guides came in the water with us and helped us feed and hold the stingrays. Not only that but we paid $45pp and the ships group was more like $65!
Roatan, Honduras- On Wednesday we went to Roatan Honduras. We booked a tour through Victor Bodden tours. Again, %100 worth it. Book him soon if you are going to Roatan because his good name is getting out and he fills up fast now! I was the one that booked the tour for our party and as soon as we got in his air-conditioned van and out of the scorching heat, my family was thanking me and patting me on the back. We were so pleased with our guide, Ronny. First he took us to the zip line tour. Unfortunately we had to wait over an hour to go down the zip line but it was %150 worth the wait. This was everyones favorite thing we did on our entire cruise. I want to go back to the island just to do the zipline again. During the wait we walked in the woods a little with Ronny and he picked us fresh guava fruit (delicious, I had 3!) and showed us how cashews grow (smell them, I wish I could bottle that scent). After the zipline, Ronny took us to the beach café that he owns (the Barefoot Café) and we had a nice (inexpensive) home cooked meal there (watch out for the sandflies!). He stopped several places on the way so we could take pics of the scenery ( 2 shipwrecks). Finally he dropped us off at the end of the main street shopping so we could walk back to the ship and shop along the way. Bring your money and your bartering skills! Not only is the dollar worth more here ($1 to 18 of theirs), the deals are fantastic! They make GEORGEOUS wood products (I bought a fruit bowl), jewelry, cute T-shirts, and vanilla extract ($1.50 for half a liter!). Even my 15-year-old shy sister was striking deals at the end! We had a blast in Roatan and we would all LOVE to go back.
Belize-This was a tender port and when I say tender, I mean tender! The seas were really choppy and it was about a 20minute ride, not too fun. We didnt get up and through breakfast early enough to get a good tender ticket number so we ended up with F. Carnival gives out letters in order to help the tendering go smoother. Well since we had booked an excursion through Cave-Tubing.com and not Carnival, we needed to get off right away. (unlike in Grand Cayman, the tours thru carnival leave directly from the ship, so be careful which boat you are headed for). Anyway, since we needed to get off, we just got a tender letter and then proceeded down to deck 0. The guys that work the tendering are the carnival dancers and they dont really care or check your tender letter. We just kinda hid them and they let us off on the next boat (which I think was supposed to be group C). Lucky we did that because otherwise we would like missed our excursion. Anyway, we booked through Cave-Tubing.com and had a blast. I would recommend them highly. The group was kinda big, I guess a lot of people book through them now but they watch everyone closely. The best part about them is that not only do you get to do 2 caves (the Carnival group only gets 1 and that first cave is so worth it) but when you are done the caves and nearing the end, they actually pull you along! You dont have to paddle yourselves! By then you are tired and dont want to wade through the masses. That alone is priceless. I loved Cave-Tubing.com. After booking all my tours NOT through Carnival, I never will do anything but- we had such a wonderful experience with all the tours we took (all booked upon recommendations from posters on this website).
Debarkation- We didnt feel like leaving our luggage out the night before, so we did the self-assist debarkation which was a breeze. Had to be off the boat super early though. We didnt have anywhere to be but figured it was easier to carry our stuff off ourselves. Glad we did, getting off went very quickly. We just ate breakfast and waited until they made the last call for those doing self-assist and were through customs and everything else within 15 minutes.
Overall, I was very impressed with the Valor and Carnival. We had a great family vacation, loved the ports, and would go back in a heartbeat. Enjoy the Valor! Less
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