Spring Break full of Fun Valor: Carnival Valor Cruise Review by happysnorkel

Carnival Valor 5
Member Since 2010

Overall Member Rating

Spring Break full of Fun Valor

Sail Date: March 2010
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Miami
We were first time cruisers who selected this cruise for our kid's (16, 13, 9 and 7) Spring Break. We had a great time on this cruise and being prepared for dire events based on all the cruise reviews read over the past months, we were more than pleasantly suprised by how terrific this trip was. Great ship, great weather, and fun excursions. Thank you Carnival and the Valor.

Embarkation We were dropped off at the terminal by shuttle where we were promptly met by the friendly baggage handlers. We then proceeded through embarkation with equally friendly Carnival staff and were on the boat in less than 45 minutes door to boat. From the entrance at deck 3 we headed up to deck 9 (Lido) for a buffet lunch to wait for our rooms to become available (1:30PM).

Room and Room Steward We had two rooms - a balcony room and a quad interior room on deck 6 mid-ship. We thought the balcony room to be HUGE with ample closet and drawer space and a nice sized bathroom with plenty of More places ascending the mirror to store various toiletries. The quad room seemed smaller with the pullmans dropping from the ceilings but it was fine and comfortable for the kids. Loved the balcony (worth the $$) and the beds were nice and firm. We met Jerry the room steward within a few hours of embarkation and saw him at least a few times each day of the cruise. He never addressed us by name but he was always friendly and timely/helpful when we needed something. A note of caution about the location of this cabin. We were mid-ship just above the casino bar area where the band sets up each night and plays until 1AM. On some nights and into the morning it sounded like the band was playing in our room. Note to self - book future rooms more thoughtfully and not over the band!

Ship This ship sails with 3400 guests at 100% booking and because of Spring Break, we heard the cruise had 3685 aboard including 1200 kids/teens. To our surprise, the ship rarely (to us) felt crowded. We ate most breakfasts and all lunches at the buffets on the Lido deck and never waited more than 5 minutes in line except for once when I waited 20 minutes in line for the Mongolian Wok. The ship was clean with the crew constantly seen cleaning something, including the ceilings and cracks where carpeting meets bulkheads. We hate smoke and smokers and were somewhat disappointed with the seemingly endless smoking occuring throughout the ship. We would gladly pay extra for a smoke-free cruise. Pools fore and aft are tiny tiny with the hottubs being overflowing. The slide was open about 10% of the entire cruise - a disappointment. The fore pool for kids is too deep for younger kids so they all mob the hottubs - adults are forced to flee aft for respite. We both did the fitness club but it really is too small for a ship this large. Always had a small wait for the treadmills and recombinant bikes. Did not use the spa. We mostly used the outdoor jogging track.

Food We ate dinner every night in the Washington dining room with Sumi/Armada as our wait-staff. Both were attentive and friendly but did not address us by name during the week cruise. We all felt the food was very good - the cold food was always cold and the hot food was always hot. The flavors were excellent and the presentation was great. The buffet food was fine - no complaints. We had dinner (lobster/filet) at Scarletts on the last evening and the food and service was as good as any I've had in first rate restaurants. I've seen others complain about Scarletts but I don't agree - our experience overall with the food was exceptional.

Entertainment Have to put in a plug for Big Tex - the Cruise Director. I would pick a future cruise over another if I knew he was aboard. He had good humor and his Disco moves are a hoot. We went to every show and while not Broadway material, they were all good with the "Far From Over" show (I think on Thursday) being very high-energy and well-produced. The break-dancers during this show brought the house to it's feet. Note - get to the Ivanhoe Theater early for seats as this smallish theater fills up fast and early for the prime shows. We never played Bingo. Would have liked more dancing 80s/90s music in the bars instead of the grinding junk and alas - all the choking smoke.

Kids Camp Carnival for our 7 year old was great - thank you to the staff. Our 9 year old liked CC but not as much as the younger one. Less to do for the Circle C 13 year old but she is great making friends on her own. The Club 02 for the 16 year old was a joke. Nothing organized. Just a mob of teens parading endlessly back and forth on the promenade into all hours of the mornings - hey Carnival - how about a curfew of, oh say, 1AM in the MORNING - for <18?? Less

Published 04/07/10

Cabin review: 8B6351 Balcony

Mostly not an issue, but at times, the band below was very loud. Plenty of space, very comfortable beds. Loads of closet space.

Read All Balcony (8B) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

This is a tendered port. The tendering here was quick and easy. We didn't book an excursion so we stayed on the Valor until after lunch to let all the lines die down. We stayed inside the gated port area and did a little shopping here. This is a bigger shopping area than Roatan with all the same big name shops, but also some local flavor. We found some local goods to purchase here. Wish I would have gotten the silver bangle here for $35. I thought Mexico, our next port, would be a better place for silver, but the same bracelets were going for $65 there.

The ship docks at Cozumel, which is an island. There is shopping here on the island just the same as all the other ports. But it is bigger, so we found some local things here, but still very touristy. We booked an excursion to see the Mayan ruins of Tulum on the mainland. There was a fast ferry boat waiting to take us right away. Our guide, Angel, with Sun and Fun Tours was excellent. He explained the Mayan history and the ruins very well. We wouldn't have gotten very much out of going to Tulum on our own. Our tour bus stopped at a fair trade Mexican outlet for tourists. They had all kinds of hand-crafted items here. Very nice. Also, There were many shops around the parking area of Tulum. We had fish tacos at a restaurant recommended by Angel as being authentic. Very delicious! Even the kids liked a little of the salsa with habeneros in it. Angel called it the " Eye, eye, eye" sauce. There was also subway and Dairy Queen for the less adventurous. The ferry from the mainland is about 30 minutes. We saw the hotel beaches at the end of the pier on the mainland where you could rent a chair for about $70 for the day ( maybe lunch is included). Very pricey! We would highly recommend the Tulum ruins excursion if you are interested in history. What a fun day for all.

Read 5491 Cozumel Reviews

Our ship was unable to dock at the usual place due to rough seas and we had to anchor on the other side of Georgetown. The tender was a short one, about 7 minutes to land. We took the tour with the turtle farm, Hell, and the stingrays. It was a great way to cram in the main things for the kids. We had a longer ride to get to the turtle farm through morning traffic in Georgetown, due to where we had to anchor. Once there, the kids loved getting to pick up the turtles. Everyone got a kick out of having our passports stamped for going to Hell. But the biggest hit was getting to swim with the stingrays. They even had squid for us to feed them. Fun! But all too soon , it was time to go back to the ship. Four ships had anchored where we did when we returned to get in the tender lines. It was a mad house, with very long unmarked lines. We found the line for the Valor and it took 45 minutes to get to the tender boats. People kept trying to cut the lines. A Grand Cayman guard/police came over to us and said not to let anyone cut the line, but nothing was being done about it. The lines were even longer after we were on the tender boat and looked back at them. We were late leaving port that day due to the long lines to get people back on board.

This port has a dock, so no need for tender boats here. We were advised not to leave the gated port area without an excursion. We chose to have a relaxing day at the beach which is just a short walk from the dock. This port must be newly done for the cruise ships. The shop area was very touristy with only one area at the back for local goods. We found some hand woven items here. Every other shop was similar to every other port, i.e. Diamonds International, Del-Sol, etc. There is a ski-lift to take you to the beach area or a paved easy walking path. The beach is gorgeous here. There are free beach chairs set up, some under palm trees. For a fee you can rent a cabana cover to shade 2 chairs. I think it was $20 for the cabana. We didn't rent one. We did rent snorkle equipment for $5 apiece for the day. The kids had fun snorkling around the shallow swimming area. We found some burried rocks over toward a small boat dock at one end ot the swimming area that had coral, amemone, and several types of fish. There is a place to buy food and drinks right on the beach. The sun is very hot here, make sure to bring plenty of sunscreen. We all applied it twice and still had some sunburn. What a great beach day.

Read 2447 Roatan Reviews

Compare Prices on Carnival Valor Western Caribbean Cruises

Read more Carnival Valor cruise reviews >>
Read Cruise Critic’s Carnival Valor Review >>

Compare Prices on Carnival Valor Western Caribbean Cruises

Member Since 2010
Enrichment Activities
Family & Children
Fitness & Recreation
Onboard Experience
Public Rooms
Shore Excursions
Value for Money
Skip X

See Carnival Valor deals up to 82% off:

October Deals
Carnival Valor 76% Loved It

4 Day Western Caribbean Cruise
See all Carnival Valor Deals >>