Western Caribbean on Carnival Valor: Carnival Valor Cruise Review by S Dakota

Carnival Valor 5
S Dakota
Member Since 2008
19 Forum Posts

Overall Member Rating

Western Caribbean on Carnival Valor

Sail Date: January 2012
Destination: Western Caribbean
Embarkation: Miami
My wife and I are in our late fifties and we have cruised 4 previous times--3 on Princess and one on RCI. Accompanying us were our 2 adult sons who had never cruised before. We chose Carnival because of the price and because we thought it might be a more lively and fun cruise for our sons. Frankly, my expectations weren't very high, as I had categorized Carnival as a low end, party only cruise line. I was pleasantly surprised and we enjoyed our cruise very much.

Embarkation and debarkation were fine. Nothing remarkable about either. The usual lines to stand in, but nothing too terrible. Carnival's website says you can bring on a bottle of wine and as many as 12, 12 oz water or soft drinks per person in your carry-on bags. The 4 of us each had a bottle of wine and a soft drink or 2 and had no trouble. I saw people with 12 packs of soda or water and they had no trouble. The pleasant surprise was that we were never charged the $10 corkage fee that the Carnival website More said we would. We brought a bottle of wine to dinner on 4 different nights, set it on the table, our waitress asked if she could open it for us and she did, and we were never charged any fee.

We were pleased with our cabin and cabin service. We thought it was a foot or 2 wider than Princess or RCI cabins. The bed seemed a little wider and there seemed to be a little more space on either side of the bed to come and go. Everything worked well in the room and bathroom. Our only complaint about the room was the noise. We were on deck 6, directly above the back of the Ivanhoe Theatre and we could hear everything happening in the theatre. I expected some degree of noise, but nothing to this extent. It didn't bother us too much because we usually went to the late show and nothing happened in the theatre after 11:30, but a couple of mornings when we planned to sleep in we heard loud music from the theatre at about 7:30, although there was nothing scheduled to take place in the theatre at that time. I certainly would not want to be above the casino or lounges where the noise level stays high well into the night.

The food was very good. We had late seating in the Washington Dining Room and ate there every night. Good selection and variety, especially the appetizers, and the food was always well prepared. Service was excellent. We usually ate lunch at the buffet and it was also good. In addition to the buffet line, they have a deli, a burrito place, a wok, fish n chips, and a grill area for burgers, etc. The buffet line had a different theme each day--Italian, French, Caribbean, etc and the food was generally very good. We usually had breakfast in the Washington Dining Room where the breakfast menu was the same every day and the service wasn't quite as good as at dinner, but again, no complaints about the food.

We didn't do any Carnival shore excursions, all were arranged privately. We also never used the spa.

Entertainment was ok. The Valor singers and dancers and band were the best we have seen so far. Their shows were very energetic, lively and entertaining. The outside entertainment wasn't great though. We saw a Motown singer who was ok, nothing great, and they are big on comedians. They had 2 early in the week and 2 others later in week. The 2 early week guys had pretty good shows, but we only saw one of the later guys and he was terrible. Nice miniature golf course on the ship. They had a lot of trivia contests that were generally well attended, and we also enjoyed the casino. The farewell party (with free drinks) was the best. They had this at 5:00 pm on the last night of the cruise. It was held in the biggest lounge which was just the right size so we all had a place to sit and they had a very good band playing. On past cruises you would be lucky to get a drink or 2 and they would stop serving after about 10 or 15 minutes. This one, the waiters kept coming around with full drink trays for about 45 minutes and we had all the drinks we could handle. Very enjoyable Less

Published 01/23/12

Cabin review: 4D6250 Interior

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Port and Shore Excursions

We did cavetubing with cavetubing.bz and it was great. The best shore excursion of the trip. Cavetubing.bz was great, service was outstanding. There were only 5 people in our group. Jose was our guide and driver and he provided us with excellent background information on Belize during our drive to the caves. There he was joined by Lionel so we had 2 guides for 5 people. The hike through the jungle was fun and the guides were very informative about the plant life and what we saw and heard (howler monkeys in the distance) along the way. The tubes were very comfortable and it was a very pleasant float through the caves. Cost was $50 per person and included an excellent lunch at the owners house where we had 2 large plates of chicken, rice and beans and coleslaw, and 2 large servings of excellent rum punch. I would highly recommend cavetubing.bz.

We rented a cab and driver for a tour of the island. This cost $95 for a 3 hour minimum and then $25 for each hour thereafter. We were out for 5 hours so our final cost was $145. This worked out fine, but I could have rented a car for about $50-$60, but I got scared off by some CC posts about problems if in an accident so I decided to go risk free. Victor was our guide and he provided some excellent information about the island. We stopped at El Cedral, Playa Palancar for some beach time, El Mirador on the east side of the island which is a rock formation on the east side of the island that juts out into the sea and is fun to climb around on, Martin or St. Martin's beach on the east side with crystal clear water and some fun waves, and the tequila factory. The east side of the island is beautiful and driving does appear to be very easy around the southern half of the island. We enjoyed Cozumel very much.
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We did the stingray sandbar and snorkel with Franks Watersports and enjoyed it very much. $35 per person and very personal attention. Snacks and drinks included. There were only 13 people on our boat and some of the boats at the sandbar looked like they had 50-100 people. We were able to feed and touch and handle the rays. After that we moved to another area not far from stingray city for some excellent snorkeling.

Carnival docks at Mahogany Bay which is its own private beach area. We just stayed at the beach and had a pleasant day. The beach is very nice and you can rent snorkel equipment and beach toys. We rented a turtle canopy for $22 to provide some shade for 2 of our beach chairs. There was also a very gentle waterway that ran for about 1/4 mile behind the beach area that emptied into another area of the ocean and you could rent kayaks or paddle boats to use on that. We rented a 2 person kayak for $23 for 1/2 hour and that was fun. This was a fun, easy day, as the beach is a very short walk from the ship.
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S Dakota
Member Since 2008
19 Forum Posts
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