First, the good things. My wife and I chose this cruise as a winter getaway. We generally prefer 7 day cruises but a 5 day trip departing from New Orleans looked like a good vacation. In addition we decided to stay in an oceanview cabin and it was a good value. The Valor staff were all hard working and courteous. Every employee we encountered did the best they could in their role to serve their customers. Our oceanview cabin was spacious and though on the 1st deck, provided a nice view of the Mississippi River and Gulf of Mexico as we traveled. Entertainment on the ship was varied. We enjoyed the three violinists and DJ 11 in the nightclub was pretty good. Other performers weren't our taste but they certainly were talented. The Valor Rock Band were called upon to sing in every genre. The backing musicians were good but the two lead singers were no where near the quality one would expect on a major cruise ship.
Our biggest issue with the Valor was the Dining options. We had My Time Dining. Each night we checked in (via the Carnival Hub App) there was at least a half hour wait. In some cases it was in excess of 40 minutes. Many cruisers in addition to us were very perturbed at the length of time it took to be seated. Of course that would be expected at the popular dining times, except we waited 30 minutes after checking in at 5:40 (10 minutes after opening), 45 minute wait at 6:30 and 35 minutes at 7:30. It appears the Valor was understaffed. The Lido Buffet was no better. Breakfast on two of the 5 days did not have bacon on the menu. My opinion is that a standard breakfast buffet should always have bacon. This is the first cruise where that occurred. For breakfast and lunch during the peak (and non peak) periods only one buffet line was open. Consequently, it could take up to 20 minutes to be served. My wife decided to go to the Mongolian Grill for lunch one day. Starting at 1:45pm (not peak lunch time) it took her 45 minutes to receive her meal. Again, there was a significant lack of personnel devoted to serving food. When we did get our food we found the quality to be sub par. Grits were watery. The breakfast cinnamon rolls were cheap and more importantly, stale. Interestingly, the best desserts - slices of freshly made cakes - was served at lunch. Desserts during dinner were cake squares akin to what one would find at a high school cafeteria. Breakfast eggs were runny and very little of the "hot" foods were actually hot (or even warm).
I would give high marks to Guy's Burger Joint with consistently good quality. The Carnival Deli was very popular as well and the lines long. The quality of the sandwiches, however, was very good. The BBQ restaurant was good. We did not try the pizza or Seafood Shack.