Unbelievably Entertaining!!: Carnival Valor Cruise Review by lajechal

Carnival Valor 5
Member Since 2009

Overall Member Rating

Unbelievably Entertaining!!

Sail Date: February 2009
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Miami
Landed in Miami from Toronto on Valentines day and rented a car for the day, went to a fabulous restaurant called Fleming (A taste of Denmark) on 136th St. (located in a strip mall) this restaurant is very quaint and elegant and the food is fabulous as is the waitstaff. We went to the Deering estate afterwards to a "Moonlight and Music" jazz concert on their 444 acre estate. This estate overlooks Biscayne Bay and was a stunningly romantic locale for Valentines Night. We had wine and dessert while being lured by the wonderful jazz talent of Nicole Henry. Because we rented a car we were able to drive around South Beach Miami for the day prior to cruise embarkation. Hertz rental at the Hilton is very well run, staff is very informative and friendly and the rental was really reasonably priced, better than taxi or shuttle prices (try to get this fee included in your hotel stay)

First Day: Cruise day on Sunday, embarkation was very smooth because we completed all the necessary More documents online the week before the cruise. The timing on the luggage delivery was great, we had a chance to putz around the ship and get our bearings including our room while they were organizing the luggage. Our room (inside cabin) was really nice, not big at all but we didn't spend a whole heap of time there so it didn't matter. The housekeeping was always available to assist especially when they forgot to replace our shower curtain, they were very apologetic and accommodating. The ship is spectacular and had so many places to go and see, I didn't even get to everywhere in the one week. Our first day was a fun day as sea, David our Cruise Director always made sure he was heard and had different plans arranged.

Dinner/Food/Drinks: We had the late dinner seating and were with 3 other couples, we had many laughs and tons of conversation (having dinner with unknown people is all about what you make of it). Dress up evenings were so fun (a little too many photo opportunities) and it was nice to see everyone so elegantly dressed. Drinks are not free and because we only used the sign and sail card we were a little cautious of our drinking levels, still we enjoyed the specials of the day (small without the glass purchase was about 4.95US, otherwise it was 6.95US)or the bucket of beer which was 4 beer at about 17.95US. First day we purchased the 5 bottles of wine with dinner deal for about $110US and this did last us the whole week as we didn't finish a bottle every night and it was stored and on our table the next night when we returned. Buffet breakfast at Rosies diner was always awesome (omelettes made to order) but the last morning we discovered the sit down seating for breakfast and had we not had early morning adventures on port we would have attended these breakfasts/lunches more often.

See Port Comments

Disembark for Ports: We only had to get on a tender (small boat from our ship to port) at Grand Cayman and Belize, otherwise we were docked at the pier, either way with a little wait it was easy to disembark. (too many photos op's at each port)

Back at Sea: Our last day was another day at sea (got a bit sick of Ding Dong David, our Cruise Director by this day) It was pretty windy and it rained for about 15 min. (rain in +27 temps is much better than sunny -27 temps.!!!) We spent this day saying our goodbyes to our new friends and enjoying our last day of lying in the sun before disembarking in Miami.

Miami disembark: We were one of the last ones to leave the ship (which was o.k. because I didn't want it all to end) so we spent our time watching the others leave (some of us saw some dolphins playing in the water) and watching the hustle and bustle of the Miami port. By the time we were disembarking, there was naturally another line-up (there was over 3000 people on the ship) so we waited to clear US customs (which was easy as a Canadian citizen who didn't have to declare anything at this customs location)

Overall Ship Stuff: The pools were not big and a little disappointing, there were two plus hot tubs for the side with all the kids and then at the aft there was one adult only with hot tubs (all locations were packed with people) There were always two towels in the room for using on the Lido deck, and if you got one from the deck you needed to remember to return it so you didn't get charged for it. The photo purchases were fairly pricey one 8X10 is $22US and the 5x7 were $9US each. Considering they were snapping pictures like crazy of you, they all added up to a ton of money it would have been better to have had package prices available to recoup their fees, since they printed the pictures whether you bought them or not. We got a newsletter each night which highlighted the next days events and gave you information on the port excursions, everyone had to participate in a life-jacket safety lesson on the first day (this was incredibly organized and considering its a life saving lesson it wasn't a nuisance at all). They have a kids club (we didn't need it for this vacation, but good to know) and this club must have kept the kids entertained because we hardly saw the littlest ones much at all, I saw them only once in a hallway and they were in an organized outing. We danced at the club one night which was alot of fun, the music was up to date and the DJ was really good. We went to the Captains Cocktail social (free drinks on the Captain) this was a good time, we met the high level staff and had an opportunity to thank them for their good service delivery. The evening entertainment was full of talent, including magicians, dancers, comedians and even the Karaoke was good. The ships decor is all in US colors and imagery (very well put together and not too over the top). The stairs were just as handy (maybe more handy) as the elevators. The washrooms were a little hidden on the Lido deck, but I found them towards the end of the week. The Casino and bar/lounges were a little to smoky for me, so I mainly just used them as a pass through location to get to the other side. The shopping on the ship was pretty dismal in that there wasn't much, I didn't buy anything at all. The prices were a little over inflated and they try to lure you into believing that you were getting a 40% discount, but the prices seemed to be jacked up by 40% in the first place.

Summary: Overall, I would definitely cruise again, I would go on another Carnival Cruise as well, I enjoyed the organized atmosphere and the daily excursion. Likewise I usually enjoy my fly and flop AI vacations too and that is probably what I will do next and so therefore I will not likely cruise again for a couple of years. Less

Published 03/12/09

Cabin review:

Our inside Cabin was adequate for the amount of time spent in it. I loved the fact that the bathroom floor was pretty much all the same as the shower floor with a drain, because our bathroom drain seemed to get plugged easily (or it didn't drain as fast as the shower produced) and therefore our whole bathroom was flooded after each shower. The hallway was a bit noisy in the morning, but since we didn't have the natural light to wake us we were o.k. with the early morning banter.

Port and Shore Excursions

Belize was my second favorite stop, we went on the Belize City Tour and Mayan Temple journey. We took a very comfortable bus ride through Belize City where our very well informed tour guide explained the different buildings, education, parliament and employment. Our bus ride to the temples was about an hour 15 min. a bit bumpy but manageable. The temples are fantastic to see, again the guide went through the history of the temples and the difference between temples and ruins. We got to climb these massive structures, lots of free time and lots of photo op's. We bought souvenirs from the local vendors and got back on our way to the ship.

Cozumel was our last port and having been to Mexico many times in the past, this was just like going home. Mexico doesn't really change, same type of stores and souvenirs, same kind of people, same great hospitality. We went our separate ways on this day (MAKE SURE YOU TAKE YOUR PASSPORT WHEN YOU LEAVE THE SHIP ON THIS DAY) the other days they didn't ask for photo ID to get back on the ship, this day they did. (As a rule I took it with me whenever I left the ship because I didn't want to be in a different country/Island without some ID other than a sail and sign card) I went Ziplining and he went scuba diving. We each declared our joy at the excursion we picked, ziplinning was every bit a rush as I expected and scuba diving was a wonderful sight of under water brilliance as he thought. After Ziplining I went to one of the public beaches with a family I met and we enjoyed the sun, beach and water for about an hour and a half before going back to the pier and doing some much needed shopping.

Read 5489 Cozumel Reviews

Grand Cayman's hospitality at first didn't thrill me, we had a fairly rude excursion organizer but she passed us off to another woman and she was much better. Grand Cayman is beautiful, we did a jeep excursion had another couple in the jeep with us. We spent some time at a local hotel before jeeping (this must have been a 2* or less hotel, bathroom was awful, but as expected) beach was o.k., food (provided with excursion) was just o.k. Our jeep tour guide was much better and very helpful (left hand automatic jeeps, left side of road drive) Our jeep was a little run down and kept breaking down on us when we stopped, the tour guide did get it started, but a bit of a nuisance. We visited a rum store and Hell (this was an eery place) and this took most of the day on the island. We were on time to return to the ship, but there was a huge line-up for the tender, so there is no rush from the Carnival planned excursions, don't panic on the timing because if planned through carnival the ship will not leave without you and you will likely have to wait a long time to get back to the ship anyway.

Isla Roatan was one of my favorite stops, while there is very obvious poverty, these people are so happy to have our tourism (their main industry) that they are determined to show you a good time (slightly different from Grand Cayman). We did the clear kayak, snorkel and Gumbalimba Park. This location was really beautiful and peaceful. We didn't get to see too much on the kayak (and don't go too fast or you won't see anything at all) The snorkelling also didn't provide much to see, but it was a good experience. Playing with the birds and monkeys in Gumbalimba Park was fun. I don't think the staff were prepared for the amount of people in attendance that day as the food deliver at the grill was very slow, some people got really uptight about that, I just walked away and waited because I wasn't in Isla Roatan to get upset about their laissez-faire lifestyle, this was a vacation (that's when you go somewhere and relax and go with the flow, enjoy the ride and have fun)
Read 2446 Roatan Reviews

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