Carnival Valor, average with some suprises: Carnival Valor Cruise Review by holfam

Carnival Valor 3
Member Since 2010

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Carnival Valor, average with some suprises

Sail Date: June 2010
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Miami
We just returned from a 7 day cruise on the Valor to the western Caribbean. Ports included Grand Cayman, Belize, Honduras and Cozumel, Mexico. 2 Adults and 2 kids, ages 5 and 8.

This is our fourth cruise and my first review and sorry if I am little critical or blunt but these are the things that I would like to have known before booking this cruise.

Firstly the ship. I think we got spoiled on NCL and Royal Caribbean but Carnival Valor really did not live up to past experiences on cruise ships. If I was to compare, I would say that if NCL is like a 4 star hotel, Carnival is at best a 2 star.

The 2 pools on the main deck were tiny and way over crowded. The first day the hot tubs were full of 3 to 6 year old kids in their underwear because they hadn't got their luggage yet. Their was nobody trying to control or manage the people. The large slide did not even end in the pool and the wait for a slide was about 45 minutes. There was a small adults only pool in More the back which was a lot nicer but was not open the first day.

The food quality in Rosie's (The main buffet) was only average at best. There was a stir-fry station that was very good but the wait was anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes.

The kids camp was not open the first day and their was no baby sitting, so we couldn't do the late seating at the formal dining room. We had room service which was not bad.

On the positive side. The food in the main dining room, The Washington, was very good. We were very pleasantly surprised. The wait staff were great but we never saw the Maitre d'. Not that I needed to but they tell you that you are supposed to tip him... not sure what for.

The kids center, Camp Carnival, was great for the kids. They loved it and the staff were fantastic.

Finally, I know it seams to be industry standard now but Carnival adds $10 per person per day for automatic gratuities. I am not cheap but I strongly disagree with this. I tip my waiters, cabin staff, baby sitters and all drinks already include 15% gratuities. They claim this automatic gratuity is for 'behind the scenes' staff. I'm sorry but if I stay at a hotel, I don't tip the janitor. They should be paid a salary. They make it extremely difficult to remove this charge but it can be done. Secondly, automatic 15% on drinks gives no incentive for better service. On other ships, the pool staff knew our names and what we drank and made it so much more fun.

Conclusion. I think the Carnival Valor is good for kids and ours did have a really fun trip. Apart from the main dining food, it was not that great for us grown ups. I personally would not book Carnival again and I would also stick to Eastern Caribbean instead of Western. For the same price or only slightly more you can get something much better on other cruise lines. Less

Published 06/14/10

Cabin review: 8D Balcony

We had a balcony cabin on deck 8 which was nicely laid out but directly opposite the elevators and the noise woke us up early every morning. Our neighbors had huge fights every night at about 2am after drinking to much. Not the cruise ships fault but the walls are paper thin.

Read All Balcony (8D) Reviews >>

Port and Shore Excursions

Belize City, Belize. Very very poor place and again the cruise lines seam to do little to help the locals. We got a tour to the Mayan Ruins with a local and were told some distressing stories about the fees that he had to pay the cruises just to be able to pick up tourists. I wont elaborate on that but I would like to see Carnival do more to uplift the locals. The Mayan Ruins were amazing and well worth a visit.

Cozumel, Mexico. Very commercial cruise ship city. If you stay away from the chain places, you will find some really nice local restaurants and bars with excellent food. The beach absolutely sucked! no other word for it. We went to Playa Mia and paid $52 a person for a private beach with drinks and toys. It was about 1000 deck chairs set inches apart and all full. You still had to pay $12 for an umbrella if you wanted one (like you have a choice in that heat!). Cheap nasty warm draft beer was the free drinks. I resorted to paying $8 for a cocktail at the cash bar to get something that actually tasted of something. The ocean was rocky, slimy and dirty, and the marked off swimming area was small and dirty. The pool was so packed that nobody could move. We lasted about 30 minutes. It was the biggest waste of money ($200) of our trip.

Read 5492 Cozumel Reviews

Grand Cayman was nice and there are good activities that you can get on shore for 1/2 the price they charge on the ship. The stingrays are worth the trip.

Roatan, Honduras has a port and beach area that are owned by the cruise lines. Very collage 'spring break' atmosphere. I personally hate the way the cruise lines do those private areas and do little to help the local economy. We opted to rent a car for $60 and found some really fantastic small beaches with great restaurants and beaches. We even found some guys training dolphins just off the beach. Fantastic.

Read 2447 Roatan Reviews

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