Travelled from England with 4 friends to Memphis, took the Amtrack train to New Orleans and after a 3 night break boarded the Carnival Valor for 5 night cruise. If you want a fun, casual and informal cruise would recommend. Was a bit apprehensive when we first boarded and made our way to the Lido and buffet, it was so busy but once we were in our cabins and got settled into sealife we had a great time. The entertainment on board was excellent - the T & T Duo and the Blues Band with Lucca and the 2 shows in the Theatre, so proffessional. Karaoke was fun, went to the Art Auction and we went to the Bingo on the 2 days at sea. Was a bit worried about Keviiiiin (!), entertainment manager, when we first heard him over the tannoy but he warmed on us and when we finally met him at the Captains Question time he was our best buddy!!! We didn't use any of the ships excursions but when we got to Cozamel we walked off the ship, went to the taxi rank where there were many small tour vans offering trips around the island. We paid $150 for a 4 hour trip for 5 of us - first we went to the Tequila factory where we sampled many tequila's which were free - then on to the Mayan ruins. You had to pay to enter and if you wanted a guide this was extra but not expensive. Then we continued on our journery to the south of the island where we visited 2 lovely beach bars, the views were stunning. Our driver took us to the Coconut Beach Bar which was very different to what we were expecting but a lot of fun. Our driver was excellent. There were about 6 cruise ships in port on the day but we would not have known. Had a great time. Next day we were in Progreso - did not know what to expect. Just walk through the duty free shops and catch the free shuttle from the port to the town. It drops you off at the bus station. The free shuttle service were selling trips and we took a 45min tour around the town in a fun open sided musical bus.$9. Friendly tour guide who was so much fun and so enthusiastic. When we got back to the bus station we followed the signs for the Beach. What an amazing beach with pelicans flying along the waters edge. We spent the rest of the afternoon at a beach bar drinking Sol! These 2 mexican ports exceeded our expectations. You dont need to book the ships expensive excursions and we felt very safe. We never went to the main restaurants but prefered the more informal buffet, When we finally arrived back in port we booked the Airport Shuttle and this was very well organised and was very easy to exit ship. Had a great time and dont be put off by any negative reviews. Just people watch, go with the flow and enjoy and you will have a lot of fun. The americans were friendly, fun and made us very welcome. Only negative we had to wait sometimes for drinks at the bar - too many people drinking cocktails and at times not enough staff. Its our second Carnival Mini Cruise and would highly recommend.
The cabin was a little dated but the beds were comfortable and the cabin very clean. We had a large window and were on deck 1 which was very close to the waters edge. Our steward - Alexander was very friendly and we had cute towel animals on the bed everyday. It was very close to the elevators so in a very good position.
Fun busy time during Mardi Gras month especially in the French Quarter. Lots of cruise ships in port during the daytime. Went on Hop on Bus tour and Mardi Gras World which was very good. Quite small and was quite easy to walk around.
Walk off the ship and go to Taxi Rank - easy to arrange a tour yourself.