Carnival Valor - Family review with 3 & 6 year old: Carnival Valor Cruise Review by Gonz

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Carnival Valor - Family review with 3 & 6 year old

Sail Date: February 2010
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Miami
I'll try to be as brief as possible. It was my wife and I and our two boys, ages 3 & 6. We booked two interconnecting cabins, which in total was still less expensive than booking one larger suite that would accommodate all four of us. The price and the promise of a fantastic kids camp were the two main reasons for booking this cruise, with the itinerary being next.

Overall the kids had a great time, but the cruise left myself and my wife feeling like we spent the entire week chasing the kids with little time to ourselves to relax. We had a few great days in port, went to some nice beaches, but on board it was just too hard trying to keep control of two kids.

The price of the cruise was the reason we chose it over going to an all-inclusive resort, however after we include the shore excursions and bar tab and extras that Carnival gouges you for I think we'll have come out equal, which I'm not happy about.

Camp Carnival is my biggest disappointment, and More because of them I will never cruise again with Carnival. The staff was rude, disrespectful and inconsiderate. The hours that the camp was open were not what the Carnival booking agents told me over the phone. I was expecting them to be open from 9am til 10pm and we could come and go as we pleased. That was not at all the case. The camp completely closes down for lunch and for dinner, so you have to pick up your kids. Now, don't get me wrong we wanted to spend time with our kids and make this a family vacation, but on my terms not theirs. Those breaks made it very difficult for us to plan our day. And the worst was the last sea day the camp was closed from noon until 6 at night unless you were going to be there with your kid. So any hope of relaxing during prime afternoon sea day hours and reading in the sun was destroyed. To make it worse, our son has a food allergy and despite all the extra forms we filled out they were completely unwilling to accommodate him if we chose to have him eat dinner there. The first evening when our son had dinner I had asked ahead of time if it would be ok, but despite that they didn't prepare anything for him and he was given rice for dinner. I complained to the camp director and the following day the girl who was in charge the previous evening got in my face and yelled at me because she got in trouble! They were eating in the same dining area as the buffet, deli, burrito bar, hamburger/chicken strip grill, and they didn't have the initiative to find him something to eat. My son was in tears when I picked him up because he was so hungry.

To top it all off, at 12:30 at night on the second evening the lady from the cabin next to us was pounding on her door, screaming, "Let me in you *** ****". She was super wasted, pounded on the door for 30 minutes, and when my wife tried calling security they were hesitant to come down and handle it. My wife asked her to quiet down because the kids were sleeping and the drunk lady threatened her. That wasn't Carnival's fault, although I was less than impressed at guest service and security's unwillingness to handle the situation.

We won't be cruising with Carnival again, hopefully this experience hasn't removed cruising completely from our choices of subsequent family vacations. Less

Published 03/09/10
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Cabin review: 6c2274

We had two cabins, 2274 and 2276, which are outside cabins with a connecting door. The kids got their own cabin and bathroom and we got the same, but with the ability to keep an eye on them the entire time. BUT, these cabins were right next to the main, mid-ship elevators, and all night long you could hear the bell of arriving elevators. I was worried about noise from so much foot traffic, but instead it was those darn elevator bells that kept me up most of the night. Also, directly above our cabin must have been some kind of large water holding tank, because while the ship was at sea (all night) you could hear the water sloshing back and forth just above our heads. It was terribly annoying and also kept us up quite a bit. I would not recommend these cabins to anyone. In fact, I'm a bit upset with my travel agent for putting us in them even after I voiced my concern over the proximity to the elevators.

Port and Shore Excursions

I was pleasantly surprised by Belize City, especially after hearing and reading lots of bad things about it. We didn't leave the cruise port compound on foot, which was much nicer and larger than I expected, and probably would make for a short day just shopping and eating/drinking on the pier at the several restaurants and bars. We went with Eco Tours on their "Gallows Reef Snorkeling and Beach Break" and had a great time. It goes out to Bannister island then takes those who want to snorkel out to the reef which is a 5 minute boat ride further. The snorkeling was very nice, we got to see quite a variety of marine life including stingrays and lobsters and tons of fish. The beach was very nice as well, Grand Cayman just barely beats it out in first place. They had a large water trampoline for the kids to play on and very little waves or rough water. They rent kayaks and other water toys as well.

We had a nice day in Cozumel. We did a dune buggy tour through Island Marketing and the kids loved it. We essentially drove around the entire island, stopping for a snorkeling break, a small village shopping break, then a nice beach for swimming and lunch. The pier we docked at had a great little shopping area and a few restaurants. We left the kids on the ship for an hour in the morning while we shopped and had an early morning margarita. Then we went back and retrieved the kids and headed out for our Dune Buggy tour.

Read 5470 Cozumel Reviews

Grand Cayman was excellent, we had a great family day. With the two kids we decided to spend the day at Royal Palms beach, which is part of the 7 Mile stretch. It cost us $12 total each way in taxi fare, and that was it. We could have gotten beach chairs for an extra $5/chair but it wasn't necessary. We also could have paid Carnival $30/person to go to another more crowded beach (Sea Grape) which would have included a chair. Royal Palms is just as nice and much less crowded. There is a bar/restaurant right on the beach as well as water toy rentals if you are so inclined. Probably our best beach day of the cruise.

I gave this one a lower rating, but that is partially based on the fact that we didn't get to dock at Mohagany Bay. We were told it was too windy and the seas were too rough to attempt docking there, although when we pulled into Coxen Hole instead the water was completely placid and there was no wind at all. It blows my mind that Carnival failed in such a grand way spending all that money on the new docking facility and can't get their ships in there more often than not. In looking at other reviews it appears that your odds of actually going to Mohagany Bay are less than 50/50. And of course since we couldn't spend the day at the beach as we planned we had to find something else to do that set us back over $100 that I wasn't planning on spending. We rented a taxi through Bodden's tours that showed us the island and eventually took us to the beach adjacent to Tabyana, which was sup-par. The weather was bad, overcast and not warm, which didn't help as well. The island in general just wasn't that nice, it struck me as the kind of place you would go to scuba dive for cheap, not a nice cruise destination.

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