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We chose this cruise as it aligned with our flight dates from Australia. But, we did not realise that these dates also aligned with Spring Break in the US. However, as we are open-minded it did not bother us before we went on our cruise. The cabin selected was an Oceanview suite on Empress (Deck 7) of the Valor. We were looking for perks but have discovered that the only perk you receive with a suite is priority embarkation and disembarkation. This did help with embarkation... very smooth check in and were grateful for this when seeing all the other passengers. But, not for disembarkation (more information later). The ship itself is in very good condition and clean (was in dry dock last year we believe). Thankfully, there are a few areas where children are not permitted so frequented these areas more than others. This is only our second cruise but were surprised by the lack of hand sanitising stations on the ship. Most of these are in the buffet area prior to you picking up food. None around stairs where people hold banisters. Both of us ended up with colds on the second last day of our cruise. Also, the food was not really up to scratch (with exception of the Steakhouse). The buffet closed at 2.30pm and then reopened for dinner but closed at 8.30pm. All bulk food with no real flavour. The carvery had one meat available and that was it. Breakfast was horrendous here having to wait in long queues to eat. Also, the tables were not cleaned efficiently, so often you would be looking for an empty table that was clean and on a couple of occasions, we found it easier to eat outside on the deck. When having open time dining in the Lincoln Dining room, my husband had to send back his entree as it was stone cold. This was verified by the crew as well. Not a good first meal in this room. Entertainment during the meal here was great though when the staff perform. Also, had a beverage served in a dirty glass in the Shogun bar which was changed very efficiently. Only did one excursion and decided on one port day to stay on board and explore the ship. When walking on the deck where the lifeboats are, we were efficiently escorted off this deck by an officer who told us it was the crews area. We did not see any signage at all to state that this area was out of bounds. Also, there was no information at all to tell you how to get around the galley on Deck 3. A definite lack of information on the mud map you are given. Lots of activities - cannot grumble with that. Saving grace of this cruise - the crew in several areas. The Sports Bar staff were excellent along with many of the staff in the Shogun casino. They greeted you by name and went out of their way to assist and serve us. The same with the staff in the Steakhouse. The food here was excellent and plentiful (even though we did have to pay a surcharge) and the staff were very professional. Disembarkation - we we supposed to have priority disembarkation but still attended the briefing the day before docking as suggested. Nothing was mentioned but our time slot would still have enabled us to make Houston airport for our flight. That was until the next morning loomed - the people who had self assisted disembarkation still had not left the ship by our "anticipated" disembarkation time so we asked a staff member what we could do as we had a tight timeframe. He asked if we had received our paperwork in regards to priority disembarkation (what paperwork???) and then explained to go to another deck below and they would let us off. We did this but the crew member on this floor said no, we couldn't do it! A little frustrating. So we went to the Client Services Desk and explained we had no paperwork delivered and thankfully, they allowed us to disembark in time for our ride back to the airport. This cruise possibly is not for mature couples in spring break. I can imagine that for families it would be excellent. But - it was not for us and we will not be booking another cruise on Carnival in a hurry.

1st cruise with Carnival - not impressed

Carnival Valor Cruise Review by Badted

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
We chose this cruise as it aligned with our flight dates from Australia. But, we did not realise that these dates also aligned with Spring Break in the US. However, as we are open-minded it did not bother us before we went on our cruise.

The cabin selected was an Oceanview suite on Empress (Deck 7) of the Valor. We were looking for perks but have discovered that the only perk you receive with a suite is priority embarkation and disembarkation. This did help with embarkation... very smooth check in and were grateful for this when seeing all the other passengers. But, not for disembarkation (more information later).

The ship itself is in very good condition and clean (was in dry dock last year we believe).

Thankfully, there are a few areas where children are not permitted so frequented these areas more than others.

This is only our second cruise but were surprised by the lack of hand sanitising stations on the ship. Most of these are in the buffet area prior to you picking up food. None around stairs where people hold banisters. Both of us ended up with colds on the second last day of our cruise.

Also, the food was not really up to scratch (with exception of the Steakhouse). The buffet closed at 2.30pm and then reopened for dinner but closed at 8.30pm. All bulk food with no real flavour. The carvery had one meat available and that was it. Breakfast was horrendous here having to wait in long queues to eat. Also, the tables were not cleaned efficiently, so often you would be looking for an empty table that was clean and on a couple of occasions, we found it easier to eat outside on the deck.

When having open time dining in the Lincoln Dining room, my husband had to send back his entree as it was stone cold. This was verified by the crew as well. Not a good first meal in this room. Entertainment during the meal here was great though when the staff perform.

Also, had a beverage served in a dirty glass in the Shogun bar which was changed very efficiently.

Only did one excursion and decided on one port day to stay on board and explore the ship. When walking on the deck where the lifeboats are, we were efficiently escorted off this deck by an officer who told us it was the crews area. We did not see any signage at all to state that this area was out of bounds. Also, there was no information at all to tell you how to get around the galley on Deck 3. A definite lack of information on the mud map you are given.

Lots of activities - cannot grumble with that.

Saving grace of this cruise - the crew in several areas. The Sports Bar staff were excellent along with many of the staff in the Shogun casino. They greeted you by name and went out of their way to assist and serve us. The same with the staff in the Steakhouse. The food here was excellent and plentiful (even though we did have to pay a surcharge) and the staff were very professional.

Disembarkation - we we supposed to have priority disembarkation but still attended the briefing the day before docking as suggested. Nothing was mentioned but our time slot would still have enabled us to make Houston airport for our flight. That was until the next morning loomed - the people who had self assisted disembarkation still had not left the ship by our "anticipated" disembarkation time so we asked a staff member what we could do as we had a tight timeframe. He asked if we had received our paperwork in regards to priority disembarkation (what paperwork???) and then explained to go to another deck below and they would let us off. We did this but the crew member on this floor said no, we couldn't do it! A little frustrating. So we went to the Client Services Desk and explained we had no paperwork delivered and thankfully, they allowed us to disembark in time for our ride back to the airport.

This cruise possibly is not for mature couples in spring break. I can imagine that for families it would be excellent.

But - it was not for us and we will not be booking another cruise on Carnival in a hurry.
Badted’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
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Cabin Review

Ocean Suite
Cabin OS 7325
I would have given the cabin 4 stars as it was really well fitted out - lots of cupboard space for hanging and drawers for storage. But even though after sussing out the reviews on Cruisecritic, found that the cabin was noisy with scraping chairs early in the morning from the Lido deck that is 2 decks above!!! Obviously the crew getting the buffet ready for breakfast. Very noisy. If you are a light sleeper, forget it!
The balcony was the length of the cabin but not really wide enough to sit comfortably on.
Otherwise, a comfortable cabin with a sofa which was made into a bed on the first night and even though we told them we did not need it, it stayed made up for the entire cruise!
Empress Deck Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins