We were on the last cruise by the Valor out of San Juan before it got repositioned. We had a very nice time.
Although the ship has not received the Funship 2.0 upgrades, it has been very well maintained. Public areas were kept very clean, our room was quite nice. Some reviews commented on ship being in poor shape, but it's beyond me to figure out what they were referring to...with the exception of a slight amount of rust on the very edge of our balcony, the ship was clean and well maintained. (and the rust was not that much or that noticeable).
2 weeks before the cruise CArnival contacted us with the opportunity to upgrade our Ocean View cabin to a Balcony for $55.00 per person. Seemed like a good deal to us. We got 2 adjoining cabins on the Spa deck. Rooms were standard Carnival balcony cabins, which are fine with us, but nothing out of the ordinary.
What we liked: Connecting cabins very handy for couples traveling together. Spa level rooms make all outdoor stuff very handy...out the door and you are on the lower level of the Serenity deck, and hot-tubs are only steps away. Walk out and down and you are at the pool, buffet, and outdoor stage. Super handy! Of course, you are right by the Spa, but we aren't really spa people, so that didn't make a difference to us.
IF you get a Spa level room, you will love the convenience to outdoor areas. However...being so far forward on the ship and so high up, you WILL feel more of the ships movement. We had calm seas, so no problem for us...but it might be an issue if the weather isn't so cooperative.
Dislikes: If you get connecting rooms, they can't take out the partition between the balconies, which we would have liked. Not a huge deal ,but something to think about if.
Old Town is lovely, and walkable. If you have time, walk to El Morrow, a extensive and historic fort. Its only about a 1/2 mile walk, but be careful, it's all uphill, and the tropic heat can wear you out.
Last day, and no sea day before getting back to San Juan, so needed some "unwind time" . Got off ship, took water taxi ($7.00 round trip per person) to beach. 2 beach chairs, umbrella, and bucket of 5 good beers for $20.00! Can't beat that. Shopping is right behind you on Front Street. Star Wars fan? Walk down the street to the "Yoda Guy" museum...worth it if you are a fan, and the actual "Yoda Guy" was right there, and happy to tell you about himself and everything. We bought some art, so the museum entry was free.
At around 1:30pm, we reluctantly gave up your beach chairs, walked to back-street, and caught a "bus" (actually a 16 passenger van) to Maho Beach to see the jets take off and land. Bus was $2.00 per person, and trip took maybe 25 minutes. Jets at Maho were pretty cool, definitely a "must do once" thing at St Maarten. It will keep you entertained for an hour or 3. Beach was steep, but nice. Surf when we were there was pounding, fine if you are wanting to try body-surfing, but it can pummel you if you aren't! Took another bus back to the beach ($2.00 per person again), then, after some shopping down an alley (not really an alley ,but kind of, and very good deals on stuff), then back to the beach, the water taxi, and back to the ship. Very fun and relaxing day.