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Every company has that one department or division where they seem to dump their employees who just don't get it, or are incapable of performing at an acceptable level, but don't do enough to get fired. For Carnival, apparently that division is the Valor. This was out 5th Carnival cruise and the worst experience we've had to date. While there were a few crew who stood out for good service, they were the exception this time out as opposed to the rule we have experienced thus far from Carnival on the Pride, Legend, Miracle, and Dream. Martin, our table steward was good, and Nona in the Lido buffet was great. But in general, the crew was lackluster, disinterested, or incompetent. Please understand, I completely get how hard these people work, and I've defended them in the past from cranky guests or ones who expect to be treated like royalty 24-7 and act like spoiled petulant children when they don't get it, but by and large, this crew was a step down from Carnival's usual standard. At dinner every single night, something extra came out. It was a sort of running joke about what extra thing would show up because the waiters or kitchen staff couldn't write up tickets correctly or read them properly. Half-hearted attempts at wiping down the tables in the Lido buffet left dirty tables with a vague clean spot in the shape of a figure-8 pretty often, and most of the crumbs and debris ended up on the seats that you had to brush clean yourself. The food, which in the past we've always found to be excellent was instead more what I would expect from a reasonably affluent middle-school cafeteria. The steaks were very fatty, the flavors of the food on the buffet were generally bland, and the variety of food was cut way back. The Guy Fieri's Burger place was good, but with the rest of the food being so poor, it was mobbed all day long and so it took quite a while to get anything from it. The bar service was iffy. Usually the waiters in the comedy lounge or the theater are very good at remaining invisible while they take orders, deliver drinks, and get checks signed. On the Valor, they seemed to actually go out of their way to stand in your way so that you couldn't see what was going on. It was very distracting, and something that was definitely not up to the usual standards we've seen. If you get the soda plan, expect to get regularly ignored at the bars since the bartenders, once they see the sticker on your sign-n-sail card seem to assume they won't get a decent tip and will bypass you until you sort of make a scene. In the casino bar, my wife tried to get a soda with a souvenier glass, but the bartender range her up double, then when cancelling the extra, ended up actually charging her yet again. That took a trip to guest services and a day to straighten out. The comedy lounge was fine, but we had three days out of 8 with no comedy shows, which was disappointing. There was a lot of sound bleed into the comedy lounge from the karaoake lounge next door which was annoying. The magician, Jackson Rayne, was good, but needs to work on his act - less talk and more magic. The main singers were somewhat unintelligible at times, and the ship seemed to be stuck in a retro 80's mode the whole time. I do not know if this was by design or not, but something musically from less than 30 years prior would have been nice. the production shows were weak, but I fault the choreographers and directors rather than the actual dancers - they can only work with what they're told to do. The Fun Shops on the Valor are small. About half the size of what we've seen on smaller ships. That was surprising. The selection also seems far more limited. The ship was awash in smoke from the moment we boarded til we got off. It was like sailing inside a cigarette cloud. Also, because of the deck layouts, you could only traverse the length of the ship in deck 5 - through the smoke filled casino. You could go to a passenger deck to walk up and down, but it makes little sense to have to constantly change decks to get around impediments. We made three stops. Aruba, Curacao, and Grand Turk. Aruba was ok, but my wife definitely did not feel safe in town and at one point needed to pretend to be part of a larger group nearby to get a particularly aggressive local to leave her alone. Curacao was wonderful and we'd go back there in a heartbeat. We walked around the town and it was a really fantastic place. Grand Turk was fine for us, but our tablemates had several problems with locals trying to shake down guests at the beach for money for chair and umbrella rentals that were clearly labeled as "free" by large signs. Two hair braiders nearly got into a fistfight over who got to braid a little girl's hair, and a pack of wild dogs was running up and down the beach at will. The cruise director was far quieter than on other ships. I'm not usually a fan of endless shipwide announcements about every little thing happening, but he took things to the other extreme. I'd have been ok with that, but we had to divert for a medical emergency on day 2, and it threw our itinerary into question. We never heard if things got back on track or if any times or destinations changed until we showed up in port and looked at our watch to see where and when we landed. Our tablemates had cancelled their Aruba plans because they thought we wouldn't get there in time. Turns out we made up the time, but if we had been informed that we were still planning on meeting the original schedule, they'd have been able to keep their plans intact. Embarkation was ok. Debarkation was odd since they did not open up the comedy lounge or the theater as waiting areas. Instead, they made you either go to the Lido deck or deck 5 where the shops were to wait. there was no seating on 5, so you had a ton of people with their luggage packed into the aisles. Things would have gone a lot smoother if they had funneled people into the theater. All in all, it was a disappointing experience. We will not sail on the Valor again.

Carnival Valor - Where Service Goes to Die

Carnival Valor Cruise Review by ebliss1

16 people found this helpful
Trip Details
Every company has that one department or division where they seem to dump their employees who just don't get it, or are incapable of performing at an acceptable level, but don't do enough to get fired. For Carnival, apparently that division is the Valor.

This was out 5th Carnival cruise and the worst experience we've had to date.

While there were a few crew who stood out for good service, they were the exception this time out as opposed to the rule we have experienced thus far from Carnival on the Pride, Legend, Miracle, and Dream. Martin, our table steward was good, and Nona in the Lido buffet was great. But in general, the crew was lackluster, disinterested, or incompetent. Please understand, I completely get how hard these people work, and I've defended them in the past from cranky guests or ones who expect to be treated like royalty 24-7 and act like spoiled petulant children when they don't get it, but by and large, this crew was a step down from Carnival's usual standard. At dinner every single night, something extra came out. It was a sort of running joke about what extra thing would show up because the waiters or kitchen staff couldn't write up tickets correctly or read them properly. Half-hearted attempts at wiping down the tables in the Lido buffet left dirty tables with a vague clean spot in the shape of a figure-8 pretty often, and most of the crumbs and debris ended up on the seats that you had to brush clean yourself. The food, which in the past we've always found to be excellent was instead more what I would expect from a reasonably affluent middle-school cafeteria. The steaks were very fatty, the flavors of the food on the buffet were generally bland, and the variety of food was cut way back. The Guy Fieri's Burger place was good, but with the rest of the food being so poor, it was mobbed all day long and so it took quite a while to get anything from it.

The bar service was iffy. Usually the waiters in the comedy lounge or the theater are very good at remaining invisible while they take orders, deliver drinks, and get checks signed. On the Valor, they seemed to actually go out of their way to stand in your way so that you couldn't see what was going on. It was very distracting, and something that was definitely not up to the usual standards we've seen. If you get the soda plan, expect to get regularly ignored at the bars since the bartenders, once they see the sticker on your sign-n-sail card seem to assume they won't get a decent tip and will bypass you until you sort of make a scene. In the casino bar, my wife tried to get a soda with a souvenier glass, but the bartender range her up double, then when cancelling the extra, ended up actually charging her yet again. That took a trip to guest services and a day to straighten out.

The comedy lounge was fine, but we had three days out of 8 with no comedy shows, which was disappointing. There was a lot of sound bleed into the comedy lounge from the karaoake lounge next door which was annoying. The magician, Jackson Rayne, was good, but needs to work on his act - less talk and more magic. The main singers were somewhat unintelligible at times, and the ship seemed to be stuck in a retro 80's mode the whole time. I do not know if this was by design or not, but something musically from less than 30 years prior would have been nice. the production shows were weak, but I fault the choreographers and directors rather than the actual dancers - they can only work with what they're told to do.

The Fun Shops on the Valor are small. About half the size of what we've seen on smaller ships. That was surprising. The selection also seems far more limited. The ship was awash in smoke from the moment we boarded til we got off. It was like sailing inside a cigarette cloud. Also, because of the deck layouts, you could only traverse the length of the ship in deck 5 - through the smoke filled casino. You could go to a passenger deck to walk up and down, but it makes little sense to have to constantly change decks to get around impediments.

We made three stops. Aruba, Curacao, and Grand Turk. Aruba was ok, but my wife definitely did not feel safe in town and at one point needed to pretend to be part of a larger group nearby to get a particularly aggressive local to leave her alone. Curacao was wonderful and we'd go back there in a heartbeat. We walked around the town and it was a really fantastic place. Grand Turk was fine for us, but our tablemates had several problems with locals trying to shake down guests at the beach for money for chair and umbrella rentals that were clearly labeled as "free" by large signs. Two hair braiders nearly got into a fistfight over who got to braid a little girl's hair, and a pack of wild dogs was running up and down the beach at will.

The cruise director was far quieter than on other ships. I'm not usually a fan of endless shipwide announcements about every little thing happening, but he took things to the other extreme. I'd have been ok with that, but we had to divert for a medical emergency on day 2, and it threw our itinerary into question. We never heard if things got back on track or if any times or destinations changed until we showed up in port and looked at our watch to see where and when we landed. Our tablemates had cancelled their Aruba plans because they thought we wouldn't get there in time. Turns out we made up the time, but if we had been informed that we were still planning on meeting the original schedule, they'd have been able to keep their plans intact.

Embarkation was ok. Debarkation was odd since they did not open up the comedy lounge or the theater as waiting areas. Instead, they made you either go to the Lido deck or deck 5 where the shops were to wait. there was no seating on 5, so you had a ton of people with their luggage packed into the aisles. Things would have gone a lot smoother if they had funneled people into the theater.

All in all, it was a disappointing experience. We will not sail on the Valor again.
ebliss1’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Grand Suite
Cabin GS 7312
We upgraded to a Grand Suite for this cruise. We usually get a regular balcony, but splurged this time out. It was so NOT worth the money. Our room steward , while usually pretty quick to make the room up, did not have the room ready for us when we boarded. There were three of us, but the room was only configured for 2, so we had to call to get that rectified. That night, we realized that he never provided us with any of the breakfast door hangers, so we had to call to guest services for those. The balcony door would not seal correctly, so there was a high pitched whine like there was a hurricane outside running 24-7. Three of our closets would not properly turn off their interior lights, so the room would not get dark. When we called guest services about this, the maintenance man came in, looked at the light, saw that it was on, and said "its working now" and left. Of course its working. It won't STOP working. It actually took three calls to sort out that one closet light. By the end of the trip, two others were doing the same thing, but rather than deal with maintenance, I got creative with rubber bands and spare socks. Additionally, one of the bed lamps had a broken bulb with jagged glass in it when we embarked.

For a ship that was so recently refurbished, the bathroom had a large open rust hole near the tub, and about 10% of the floor was rust-stained. The room was large, but that was about the only positive.
Empress Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

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