The cruise to celebrate our 40th anniversary .: Carnival Valor Cruise Review by lisadonald

Carnival Valor 5
Member Since 2014

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The cruise to celebrate our 40th anniversary .

Sail Date: May 2014
Destination: Southern Caribbean
Embarkation: San Juan
This was our 6th cruise and the 4th with Carnival . We chose San Juan as our departure port because of the ports of call and we wanted to spend a few extra days in San Juan when our cruise ended. We arrived the day of our cruise and took a taxi from the airport. We could have arranged for the cruise shuttle but I procrastinated and did not do so in advance. The taxi charge is 19.00 plus 1.00 for each piece of luggage. We found someone else looking for a taxi and shared the cost . Ended up costing each couple 13.00 plus the tip. Carnival charges 15.00 per person one way. After we got to the port the wait to check in was pretty quick. It could be that we got there around 5:00 and they had been boarding since 12:00. We checked in and gave them our luggage and went to see our room. Then we went down to the streets and went to CVS which is right down the street from the ship and purchased our water, soft drinks, and 2 bottles of wine that they allow, 1 per person. You might want to pack a More corkscrew if you plan on drinking your wine any other place than the dining room. They will also charge a 15.00 corkage fee in the dining room. There seems to be no limit on water and soft drinks you can bring onboard . We bought 4 8 packs of cokes and a case of water. The prices at CVS are pretty good considering. The cokes were 2.50 for an 8 pack. I had purchased the cheap blow up rafts at Walmart to take. They pack well as they are flat and you can take one to the beach, blow it up , use it and then leave it for somebody else to use. We also took 2 fifths of liquor in the plastic bottles. As long as there is not any metal it will not show up in the detector. They say your bags may be inspected but we took the chance and it made it through okay. Just separate it in different luggage just in case. If it is confiscated they will give it back to you at end end of the cruise. Our bed was a little too firm for us so I asked for a mattress pad and one was on there that night. We also asked our cabin steward for ice everyday and it was always provided.

We were assigned the Lincoln dining room and had chosen my time dining. We really enjoyed that since we could go when ever we wanted and sat with different people every night. Or you can get a table for 2 if you want. The food was pretty good and you could even get two entrees if you could not make up your mind . The chocolate molten cake was to dye for.

There was also hamburgers, hot dogs , fries and chicken strips on the lifo deck . A place to get pizza, sandwiches, a burrito bar { which was not open all the time } and of course the buffet.

The first port was St Thomas. If you are looking for jewelry this is the place to shop. One street has nothing but jewelry stores. Everybody trying to get you to come inside. We rented a moped and the island was pretty easy to get around. It only costs 65.00 for the day which was a lot cheaper than some of the excursions. We have done the snorkeling on previous cruises so decided to just see the islands this go around. The guy who rented us the moped was very helpful and provided a map and pointed out places of interest that we might like to see. You can also hire your own taxi or join an excursion with a local company on your own. It is usually cheaper too. All of the beaches are public, even the ones behind the Hilton and Marriott .

The next day we were at sea. Take advantage of the rest because you will be in port every other day. That night was the first formal night.. I just wore a pretty dress and my husband wore slacks and a shirt and tie. I even saw some men with just a short sleeve shirt on. Men just cannot wear shorts or flip flops on formal night.

Our next port was Barbados. The water there is beautiful . We ended just going to the beach. i can't remember the name of the one the cruise line steers you toward but we went to the Boatyard. For 15.00 per person you get chairs and umbrella, and two free drinks. Happy hour is from 11-12 and they are 2 for 1 .About 4.50 for two and they are pretty good. Happy hour rolls around again I think between 2 and 3 . There is a big trampoline you can get on as well as a rope to swing from. They also provide you a taxi back to the ship so it is a pretty good deal. There are people selling their wares on the beach . One guy is making bowls and hats out of coconut leaves. Pretty neat to watch. There is also a guy selling bird feeders made out of coconuts . He is not the only one that sells them. I paid 20.00 for one and then found them on the other islands cheaper.

St Lucia was okay. We did not book an excursion but ended up sharing a taxi with 5 other people for 30.00 per person. Took us to the volcano , which smelled like sulfur, and around the island.

The next port was St. Kitts. We got our own taxi for 80.00 [ just the two of us ] and the day was very enjoyable. We saw the botanical gardens, an old sugarcane mill, a lot of great picture taking opportunities. We did find out that if you wanted to take the train or do the zip line you cannot unless you book through the ship. That have that all tied up. The driver then took us to a beach and came back and got us in a couple of hours. It was a very nice beach behind this resort. Which also had free wi-fi.

St Martin was the last port. We rented another scooter for 75.00 from a guy right when we got off the ship. If you walk into town a little ways there is someone else renting nicer ones for 57.00. We went to Moho beach which is right by an airport runway and the planes fly right over your head. St. Martin has 2 sides. The Dutch side and the French side. The Dutch side is way nicer and cleaner than the french side. We stopped and got an almond crussiant from a french bakery and it was wonderful. They also had free wi-fi . There is a beach there that is called Orient Beach. Beware because clothing is optional but there is one end of the beach where people are wearing their bathing suits . This is where most of the families with kids are. We noted that a few women did walk by with their tops off . You can tell which end the nudists are on if you want to avoid them. You can parasail there for about 60.00 if you want to. At least that is what I was offered just didn't have the courage to try it.

We got back to San Juan the next morning. Debarking was pretty easy. We opted to wait for our luggage and were number 22 so they called our number around 9:30 or so. We were staying at the Sheraton which is right by the terminal. Our room was not ready but they held our luggage so we could start sightseeing . We asked for a room on the upper floor so we could see out over the bay and got one on the 9th floor. They called me around 12 to tell me the room was ready so we went back to check in. The room was great and the bed was very comfortable . They provide 2 bottles of water everyday in your room. The hotel is right in the middle of Old San Juan so you can walk almost everywhere. If you want you can take a trolley for free that runs all around the area and to the forts . The bus runs also and costs 75 cents. You must have exact change. There are a lot of old buildings and cobblestone streets. The city is beautiful. Beware there are peddlers everywhere asking for money. Usually it is just 50 cents or so. One morning we were walking to Subway for breakfast and got stopped by a tall man who asked if we spoke English. He said beware by the forts because he and his father were robbed and beaten the day before . His father was in the hospital with 78 stitches and he needed 8 dollars for cab fare to get back to the hospital because they had stolen his wallet. The cops had not been any help and he had received more help from the bellhop at the Sheraton . Now being in a town where we really didn't know any different this seemed like a believable story . So we gave him the 8 dollars, he told us his name and that he was from Wisconsin. He even gave us his email address. We went directly to Joseph the bellhop at the Sheraton and he told us this guy lived on a box behind the hotel on some steps and was a dope head. Now we felt betrayed . It is one thing to just ask for money but to out and out lie is another. Wisconsin better be glad we didn't run into him again. Joseph was a great bellhop and was very informative with any questions we had . We went to the restaurant where the original Pin Colada was made. La Casa Donde Nacio. They are wonderful. The rum they use is Ron del Barrilito and is made in Puerto Rico. You can buy a fifth at CVS for 14.00 . Cheaper than the liquor stores there. You can also buy it in the airport for 18.00 and they will package it so you can carry it on the plane. This rum cannot be purchased in the states. They did tell me it may be at military px's but will be more expensive if they do have it. We did go tour the Bacardi Rum factory which is free. The ferry ride is 50 cents and then you take a taxi next door that will take you to the factory and costs 3.00 per person each way. They give you two free drinks also. There is a store there and we bought a pack of 3 liters of rum, 2 light and 1 dark, for 28.00 which is pretty good. If you want to go to the beach there are several to choose from but the one we went to was behind a lot of resort hotels and it was pretty close by. Not a huge beach though. All in all we had a great vacation. Ate way too much . Now to go on a diet. Less

Published 06/05/14

Cabin review: 8E1042 Balcony

Great room and lovely view. Did seem to not be as cool as I would have liked.

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