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Cruise: Carnival Valor, 2019-09-09, from New Orleans Summary: not quite a five star cruise, let's call it four and a half. The good things were great, while the worst were merely mediocre. Us: 60+ retired folks who cruise often. We like New Orleans because it's a day's drive from home. We've been to Cozumel and Progreso many times, and plan to go again. Pre-cruise: we enjoy French Quarter night life - but it was 95 degrees after dark, so a quick walk was all we did. Our hosts at the 1870 Banana Courtyard B&B (in the French Quarter) say most music is now on Frenchman Street; we didn't get there. Most unfortunate, the Banana Courtyard has sold, and may not reopen as a B&B. Embarkation: wanted to try Cafe Du Monde, but could not find parking and so went to the ship a little early. Lots of people were there even earlier. Check-in times would have been a better idea if they had actually used them. But the lines moved quickly. The Valor is beautiful, very clean and polished. Only saw one grungy strip of rubber on the ship (I don't understand the complaints from other reviews.) We had an ocean-view cabin, mid ship on deck 1, which is a wonderful location. Fellow cruisers: every age. Most parents of young children seemed to have left them with grandparents, and teenagers were in school (I guess.) This was a mid-westerner's cruise. We found a lot of people who wanted to chat. Age didn't matter, we seemed to have many things in common with almost everyone we met. Nobody even mentioned politics! Highly recommended: the adults-only Serenity area. It's a three floor hike to two large hot-tubs. CruiseCritic thinks it is strange that the children's 3-story slide starts near Serenity, but there was never a problem; I think they looked at the deck layout on the computer and didn't actually walk up to Serenity. The very few children on the ship had no desire to invade an adults-only place. Even the rowdy 20 somethings seemed to prefer the (no kids) aft pool. Be sure not to miss: the eight hour river cruise from New Orleans to the Gulf of Mexico. See it from a Serenity hot-tub. Foodie warning: foodies won't like this ship. In the dining room the food is usually decent, but sometimes a little less than appetizing. My waiter made good suggestions on food, which I often ignored. The barbecue place had tasteless food; Guy's burgers were mundane at best. Except the chocolate buffet and the Mongolian buffet, the rest of the buffets were pretty mediocre. I got an amazingly good rib steak at the sea-day brunch, but otherwise brunch was disappointing - no juice, no pastries, and my wife wants me to mention that there was no bran cereal. Entertainment: the singers, dancers, and the band were excellent. I really enjoyed Sal the steel drum player. Comedians were plenty funny, especially the late shows. Too many acts for a short cruise - wish I'd had time to see more. Off-ship: cooking class in Cozumel was a lot of fun - recommended. Shrimp cocktail in Progreso beach restaurant - loved it. $9.00 private tour of Progreso was better than most $50 ship tours. Shopped at the Viva Mexico shop in Cozumel. Casino: thick plumes of smoke mark the spot. The odor told me to leave before losing any money. Guess I should be happy about that. My snark - Carnival figures smokers are natural-born losers, and they want nobody else in the casino. Dive-in movies: the Valor seems to have been designed for outdoor movies. Only problem was when it started to rain - now I may never know how Bohemian Rhapsody ended. Staff: almost everyone was very friendly. A little surprised to see so few ship officers on deck; I think this indicates that the staff members are well trained. Complaint: cruise director Kevin did way too many announcements. His voice is unfortunately grating on the intercom, and he's way too excited about boring stuff. I didn't see him on any of his shows, but my wife says he is not so bad in person. Carnival Hub cell phone app: nice to have. Sometimes the Fun Times newsletter (which I rate as a waste of paper) fails to mention things, but the Hub showed them. Some people told me the texting feature doesn't work reliably. The bad about the app - I like to leave billfold and phone in the safe; my suggestion (if you are listening, Carnival) is a ship card that displays a calendar of events. Debarkation: in the car and leaving the garage by 7:30. Never expected to be home Saturday evening. One couple from Chicago was staying on the Valor for another identical cruise. Their reason - maximum cruising with minimum driving. Good idea. I might consider driving from New Orleans to Mobile or Galveston for the same reason, but with a slightly different second cruise.

River Cruise and a Sea Cruise

Carnival Valor Cruise Review by tmlane

1 person found this helpful
Trip Details
Cruise: Carnival Valor, 2019-09-09, from New Orleans

Summary: not quite a five star cruise, let's call it four and a half. The good things were great, while the worst were merely mediocre.

Us: 60+ retired folks who cruise often. We like New Orleans because it's a day's drive from home. We've been to Cozumel and Progreso many times, and plan to go again.

Pre-cruise: we enjoy French Quarter night life - but it was 95 degrees after dark, so a quick walk was all we did. Our hosts at the 1870 Banana Courtyard B&B (in the French Quarter) say most music is now on Frenchman Street; we didn't get there. Most unfortunate, the Banana Courtyard has sold, and may not reopen as a B&B.

Embarkation: wanted to try Cafe Du Monde, but could not find parking and so went to the ship a little early. Lots of people were there even earlier. Check-in times would have been a better idea if they had actually used them. But the lines moved quickly.

The Valor is beautiful, very clean and polished. Only saw one grungy strip of rubber on the ship (I don't understand the complaints from other reviews.) We had an ocean-view cabin, mid ship on deck 1, which is a wonderful location.

Fellow cruisers: every age. Most parents of young children seemed to have left them with grandparents, and teenagers were in school (I guess.) This was a mid-westerner's cruise. We found a lot of people who wanted to chat. Age didn't matter, we seemed to have many things in common with almost everyone we met. Nobody even mentioned politics!

Highly recommended: the adults-only Serenity area. It's a three floor hike to two large hot-tubs. CruiseCritic thinks it is strange that the children's 3-story slide starts near Serenity, but there was never a problem; I think they looked at the deck layout on the computer and didn't actually walk up to Serenity. The very few children on the ship had no desire to invade an adults-only place. Even the rowdy 20 somethings seemed to prefer the (no kids) aft pool.

Be sure not to miss: the eight hour river cruise from New Orleans to the Gulf of Mexico. See it from a Serenity hot-tub.

Foodie warning: foodies won't like this ship. In the dining room the food is usually decent, but sometimes a little less than appetizing. My waiter made good suggestions on food, which I often ignored. The barbecue place had tasteless food; Guy's burgers were mundane at best. Except the chocolate buffet and the Mongolian buffet, the rest of the buffets were pretty mediocre. I got an amazingly good rib steak at the sea-day brunch, but otherwise brunch was disappointing - no juice, no pastries, and my wife wants me to mention that there was no bran cereal.

Entertainment: the singers, dancers, and the band were excellent. I really enjoyed Sal the steel drum player. Comedians were plenty funny, especially the late shows. Too many acts for a short cruise - wish I'd had time to see more.

Off-ship: cooking class in Cozumel was a lot of fun - recommended. Shrimp cocktail in Progreso beach restaurant - loved it. $9.00 private tour of Progreso was better than most $50 ship tours. Shopped at the Viva Mexico shop in Cozumel.

Casino: thick plumes of smoke mark the spot. The odor told me to leave before losing any money. Guess I should be happy about that. My snark - Carnival figures smokers are natural-born losers, and they want nobody else in the casino.

Dive-in movies: the Valor seems to have been designed for outdoor movies. Only problem was when it started to rain - now I may never know how Bohemian Rhapsody ended.

Staff: almost everyone was very friendly. A little surprised to see so few ship officers on deck; I think this indicates that the staff members are well trained.

Complaint: cruise director Kevin did way too many announcements. His voice is unfortunately grating on the intercom, and he's way too excited about boring stuff. I didn't see him on any of his shows, but my wife says he is not so bad in person.

Carnival Hub cell phone app: nice to have. Sometimes the Fun Times newsletter (which I rate as a waste of paper) fails to mention things, but the Hub showed them. Some people told me the texting feature doesn't work reliably. The bad about the app - I like to leave billfold and phone in the safe; my suggestion (if you are listening, Carnival) is a ship card that displays a calendar of events.

Debarkation: in the car and leaving the garage by 7:30. Never expected to be home Saturday evening.

One couple from Chicago was staying on the Valor for another identical cruise. Their reason - maximum cruising with minimum driving. Good idea. I might consider driving from New Orleans to Mobile or Galveston for the same reason, but with a slightly different second cruise.
tmlane’s Full Rating Summary
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Cabin Review

Ocean View
Cabin 6B 1328
Huge cabin, size of a balcony cabin if the balcony was inside the ship. Storage space that didn't get used. Window washers were at work minutes after rain stopped. Couch that I could stretch out on. Safe only worked on one person's card at a time, which would be inconvenient for two people who had different times for coming back from shore.

Great cabin steward. He felt bad that he didn't clean the cabin on a day my wife had a migraine. Once I told him our schedule, we never saw him except passing in the hallway.
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