Carnival Valor Cruise Review by SRLEONARD13
- Sail Date: June 2016
- Destination: Eastern Caribbean
- Cabin Type: Balcony
The first two days were at sea, and the ship always had activities going on. We played a bunch of trivia, bingo, cornhole, and ping pong and spent many hours in and around the pools/hot tubs. The Valor had movies playing on their HD big screen on the top pool deck each night, and even played game 7 of the NBA Finals. Although the picture quality was superb, the satellite signal was extremely poor despite clear skies.
Our first stop was in St. Maarten where our entire group took a private tour of the island through a third party company, Bernard's Taxi and Private Tours. Our guide drove us around the entire island in an air-conditioned "party bus". We stopped at a few beaches and overlooks while drinking the complimentary water, soda, beers, and rum punch provided on board. We came across herds of wild goats and iguanas but had the most fun at Maho Beach, watching the planes come and go right over our heads. Our driver, DJ, even let us stay past the designated time so we could see a few of the larger commercial planes take off.
The second port we stopped at was St. Kitts, where we all did our own thing. The area wasn't very tourist-friendly, and the available excursions didn't seem too exciting. We walked around the immediate town near the port, but didn't feel welcome, so we cut the day short and spent the majority of the time back on the ship. We all agreed that we didn't want to come back to St. Kitts.
Our third port was old San Juan, Puerto Rico. Unfortunately, we were only docked from 7:30am until 1:30pm, so we didn't want to risk booking a third-party excursion to the rain forest and not make it back on time. We got off the boat as soon as we docked, but almost everything was closed until 9am or later. We eventually toured el Castillo San Cristobal which was very cool and had lots of amazing views of the shoreline and the city. It's worth noting that this is the only port of call that required a photo ID to get back inside the cruise terminal before being allowed to board the ship.
Our final port was the unanimous favorite among our group, Grand Turk. One family did an all-inclusive beach excursion that included snorkeling and beach inflatables as well as food and drinks. A few of us took a boat out with a company called White Sands to dive for conchs, snorkel, swim with and hold stingrays, and then eat the conch that we had just harvested. This company was much more private than the excursions booked through Carnival. Our boat only had 8 guests compared to the 50 or so on Chukka. Everyone met back up at Margaritaville with a giant pool, air conditioned cabanas, and a swim-up bar. Everyone is already trying to plan the next time we can go back.
The food aboard the ship was usually very good, although I will say that Royal Caribbean's desserts were noticeably larger and tastier. With such a large group, keeping in touch on such a large ship was important, so we all used the lowest tier WiFi which allowed social media apps like Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp for $25 for the entire 8 days. This came in handy every single day. The usual Love and Marriage show and Quest game were both full of laughs, and the dance club on board was a great place to meet new friends and have fun almost every night.
One thing I noticed, and perhaps it was purely coincidence or because of the port we were in, but getting on and off the ship was much smoother than my Royal Caribbean cruises.
250,000+ people have entered their email
Port & Shore Excursion Reviews
BeachThis included drinks, food, snorkeling, and beach inflatables. Had fun for hours before heading to Margaritaville.View All 75 Beach Reviews
MargaritavilleYou can just walk up in to the Margaritaville pool, but we booked an air conditioned cabana, too. The swim-up bar made it even better. Can't wait to go back.View All 30 Margaritaville Reviews
SnorkelingThere were a few very large reefs in crystal clear water, but not too many fish and the coral was all brown.View All 189 Snorkeling Reviews
Stingray SwimWe fed, held, and kissed stingrays in crystal clear water. It was basically paradiseView All 73 Stingray Swim Reviews
Port Canaveral (Orlando)The port is fairly isolated and most of the area is involved with the space program.View All 2,159 Port Canaveral (Orlando) Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's Port Canaveral (Orlando) Cruise Port Review
San JuanEl Castillo San Cristobal was very interesting and provided lots of great views and pictures. Other passengers said the rain forest was amazing, but we were only in port for 6 hours, so we didn't risk the travel time.View All 3,805 San Juan Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's San Juan Cruise Port Review
St. Kitts (Port Zante)Not tourist-friendly at all.View All 1,706 St. Kitts (Port Zante) Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's St. Kitts (Port Zante) Cruise Port Review
St. MaartenOur driver, DJ, took us wherever we wanted to go. We stopped at several beaches, overlooks, a restaurant, and eventually made it to Maho Beach and watched planes land and take off right over our heads. We saw wild goats and iguanas and enjoyed the complimentary water, soda, beer, and rum punch on board the air conditioned bus. Highly recommended for a large group, but wish we had spent more time at Maho.View All 13,326 St. Maarten Cruise Port Reviews
View Cruise Critic's St. Maarten Cruise Port Review