Ok we arrived at Port Canaveral at 12:00pm and on seeing the ship it looked huge, we found the embarkation rather easy, we stuck to all the rules of 2 bottles of wine etc and didn't try and smuggle any booze. We didn't have to we booked the "Cheers" program. anyway we got through security and boarded in about 25 mins so rather good, well so we thought as we couldn't get to our room until 2pm but hey ho we mingled around with our new cruisers and got a few drinks in then some lunch.
so first impressions of the Valor are: Its a large ship and I personally liked the décor and layout however you can tell its rather dated and really needs a refurb but not that bad. our room 1290 was large enough for us both, great bed, plenty of storage, large enough toilet and shower facilities, there is only shower gel and shampoo in the toilet with 2 large towels for taking to the pools etc, also plenty of white towels for showering and washing etc, there is a mini bar fully stocked but we moved some of the stuff to put water and our champagne in.
we then went exploring the ship to get our bearings and found the layout really easy to navigate which was a bonus.
the restaurants are located on decks 5, 6, 9 and 10 with 5 & 6 the formal restaurants and 9 & 10 the buffet style, we mostly used the buffet restaurants however one night we decided to go to the restaurant and had emailed Carnival to ask for the "Anytime Dining" as our agent had booked the 20:15 slot, which we did not want, so we went along to "Guest Services" (ahuh ahuh) to explain that we had emailed for a change and we were not changed on our card, the Guy behind the desk looked at me as if I were the Devil incarnate and said " You have booked the 20:15 slot you cannot do "Anytime Dining." I told him I had emailed a week before, he said well "You will need to ask the Matre D if he can change you and if not then it will have to be 20:15!!!" I stated that I thought that is what Guest services was for and simply shrugged his shoulders and rolled his eyes and told me to take it up with the Matre D.
So we went down to the "Anytime Dining" restaurant and asked the Matre D if it was possible to go earlier to which this one replied, Not in this restaurant, you will need to go to your own and ask, which we did and to be fair the Matre D saw no problem with the request and sat us down as requested. (what a load of palaver over nothing) any way we ate, I ordered the Flat iron steak with vegetables and my wife had the same, we asked for the steaks medium which indeed they were, however the vegetables had simply been put in a steamer for no more than 10 seconds to warm through, they were raw! yuk. so we put that behind us and never went back to the restaurant again all cruise, in actual fact I enjoyed the buffet food much better.
bars and service were to be fair all really good, you had the option of going to the bar yourself or waiter service (which could be slow) it depended on where we were which way we done the bars. on the note of waiters etc they ALL work extremely hard and are really efficient as are the room staff.
ok entertainment: I think the ship is really confused when it comes to entertainment as there are things going on whilst a band is playing and people walking through etc it seemed all mixed up, the casino bar for instance has bands playing but people are trying to dance whilst others are playing bandits, slots etc and loads of folks queueing up for photos to be taken by the huge amount of photographers all around the ship it just seems stupid and mixed up. the same as the lobby on deck 3, the layout is ok but there are people walking through and queueing at Guest Services whilst there is something on.
, now for the Ivanhoe Grand theatre where most of the big shows are, this is a nice venue but unfortunately the large stations block a lot of peoples views and if you want a drink whilst a show is on you better be in deck 3 or 4 as I never saw a waiter above any of these floors, so if you are on upper viewing go get your own drinks
, the shows we saw were to be fair all very good and quite funny, the bingo is good but very pricey, at the back of the ship on deck 5 is the comedy club which was brilliant, lovely venue, but when it is very busy your advised to go to the bar yourself if you want a quicker service, the comedians we saw were all brilliant however one stood out like a sore thumb and that was a baldy guy called "Mark" he was hilarious, he is rather close to the bone tho so be warned (LOL)
The Piano bar is a great laugh with a sing song. oh I have run through the venues but never mention bar prices, its $6 per beer so if your going to have a few beers everyday then I would strongly advise the "Cheers" program, we took it and got our moneys worth, however if your simply wanting just a few then they sell buckets of 4 bottles for $22.
Excursions: ok we didn't do any of the ships excursions as we joined a Roll Call and another group related to our cruise date, we went to "Mr Sanchos" in Cozumel (Brilliant and must do) we just went ashore at Costa Maya (very poor excuse for a port) and Roatan Island (beautiful place but you cant really go anywhere else), we didn't get off at Belize as the tender was too far. In my honest opinion though I didn't actually like any of the "Ports" as they are purpose built and not actually in large ports or cities etc but I suppose Cozumel maybe be the exception.
Internet packages: I didn't take any of them until our last day because I needed to check in for our flight home, so off I went down the good old "Guest Services" and I asked the guy at the desk which internet package would allow me to check in, he asked if I had apps? I say Yes I have the British Airways app so he tells me the "Social 24 hr package would be good enough" so I get the "social" package and try to use my BA app to check in and it keeps cutting off after about 10 seconds so I go back to "Guest Services" and its a girl I now talk to and I try to explain that the app keeps cutting out and I cant get checked in for my flight, she takes my phone and types the web address for BA in the browser and it pops up and says I need to upgrade another $20 to get this service !!!
I said I don't want the webpage I want to use the app direct, she looks at me again as though I am the Devil Incarnate and shrugs her shoulders and says I cant help you UNLESS you give me another$22, I said are you having a laugh? its simply to get my check in done (no more than 1 minute) again she shrugs the shoulders and calls the next guest up !!! it seems that all the other staff are really nice and pleasant until you go anywhere near the Guest Services desk where I think that a diploma on being an obnoxious twat is a prerequisite to be working there.
So to summarise, we enjoyed our cruise immensely but not down to what Carnival done for us but by the people we met and became friendly with, the ship is good and easy to get around.
Would I book up again? : NO
Would I recommend Carnival : make your own mind up ;-)
unfortunately the 2 incidents at Guest Services even though quite minor stick with me and I believe that unless you are willing to allow them to fleece you at every given chance they have NO interest in you what so ever.
Good large cabin
Very nice purpose built area solely for cruise ships.
only used for embarkation and debarkation